LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–April 12, 2019

April 12, 2019, Written By Bill Hardekopf
LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–April 12, 2019

Most People Never Think to Try a Stunningly Simple Way to Cut Down Credit Card Debt
Most people don’t know you can call your credit card issuer to ask for a reduced annual percentage rate. Eight in 10 credit card holders who asked for a lower interest rate in the past year were successful, according to a new survey from CompareCards.com. The average reduction was 6 percentage points. Credit card companies may also be lenient when it comes to waiving fees and increasing credit limits. You just have to ask. Story by Tanza Loudenback for Business Insider

Delta Expects to Make $7 Billion From Its Amex Credit Card Relationship by 2023. But How?
Delta Air Lines is promising investors it can earn up to $7 billion by 2023 from its new credit card contract with American Express, about double this year’s haul. But it’ll only see that much money if it meets certain performance goals. In recent years, banks have rewarded airlines with increasingly richer contracts, hoping they can sway consumers to apply for their cards by dangling the promise of free travel, upgrades, and other perks. Banks typically pay airlines a fixed price per mile, often between 1.25 and 1.50 cents, which they buy directly from the carriers and give as a reward to their customers. Banks may also pay incentives based on the number of new cardholders who sign up. Story by Brian Sumers for Skift

Chase Freedom Card Sweetens the Rewards for New Customers
As competition in the credit card industry increases, so do the benefits for consumers. The Chase Freedom Card is the latest to ratchet up rewards for cardholders. The card is doubling its cash back rewards for new account holders from 1.5 percent to 3 percent on up to $20,000 in purchases during the first year. That potentially adds up to an extra $300 in cash back. After the first year, the cash back rewards rate returns to 1.5 percent on all purchases. Story by Mark Huffman for Consumer Affairs

Capital One Quietly Changed Some of its Credit Card Rewards. Why You Should Care
For some Capital One credit card holders, it’s gotten more expensive to turn rewards miles into gift cards. At the end of March, Capital One quietly updated the number of rewards miles card holders need before they can trade them in for gift cards for certain popular retailers including Amazon, Apple and Walmart. The change applied to Capital One’s mile-based cards: Venture, VentureOne, Spark Miles and Spark Miles Select. Previously, a single mile earned with these Capital One cards equated to 1 cent for all gift cards, meaning that card holders would need to accrue 1,000 miles to cash out for a $10 gift card for any retailer. Now, the pricing for certain retailers has changed, making the gift cards more expensive to redeem. To get a $10 gift card from these retailers, it now costs 1,250 miles. In other words, a single mile is worth 0.8 cents when redeeming these cards. Story by Jacob Passy for MarketWatch

Bank of America is Creating a Digital Financial Coach to Chase the ‘Holy Grail’ of Banking
Bank of America wants to pull off an unlikely transformation: from megabank to trusted financial coach for its 66 million customers. For years, the second biggest U.S. lender has steadily released new digital capabilities, from updated banking apps to electronic payments and a virtual assistant named Erica. Now, it’s preparing to unveil something that ties together these innovations. It’s called Life Plan, and its Bank of America’s bet at securing decades’ worth of loyalty from its customers. The product, due for release in the fall, is a digital portal that helps users work toward goals like buying a home or saving for retirement. Story by Hugh Son for CNBC

Prepaid Phone Cards Just Got Bank-Level Protection
A sweeping new rule is finally giving prepaid phone cards the same user benefits and protections as, say, bank debit cards. The amount loaded there is now given the same treatment against fraud, unauthorized charges or errors as, say, debit cards linked to checking accounts. It’s part of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau requirement to issuers of prepaid cards and peer-to-peer payment services such as Venmo, PayPal, Google Pay, and even Facebook Messenger’s payment options. The amount loaded on prepaid cards is projected to hit $428 billion in 2021, and now users of such financial instruments will have more clarity about fraud protection and fee structures, such as ATM withdrawals or cash deposits. Story by Daniel Petrov for Phone Arena

Laundry, Vending Make Change with 100M Mobile Transactions
PayRange, maker of an in-app mobile payment service for unattended retail, reports its platform has powered over 100 million mobile payment transactions. Mobile payment adoption in unattended retail is gaining momentum ahead of traditional retail, in part because it is solving a frequent problem: consumers often don’t have the change necessary to make a purchase. PayRange says consumers using its app pay faster than inserting quarters, making the transaction quick and easy. In addition, features specific to each vertical market leverage the power of mobile. In laundry, for example, consumers can view machine timers in the app and receive cycle completion notifications. In vending, if a product fails to dispense, the user can be alerted immediately with a notification that the malfunction was detected and the user’s account was automatically refunded. tory in American Coin-Op

90% of Consumers Value Additional Security Measures to Verify Mobile-Based Transactions
A strong majority of US adults value additional security measures for mobile transactions, with 90% reporting they would want the ability to approve some or all mobile device transactions before the transaction is completed, and 71% interested in approving all such transactions. One in five (19%) would prefer only to approve some transactions, such as those totaling $100 or more. Story in Help Net Security

Millennials Are Racking Up Credit Card Points. Here’s How That Could Backfire
Almost 40% of rewards cardholders say they’ve paid for purchases with their cards just to earn points, according to a study from Finder.com. Finder surveyed around 2,100 American adults about their credit card habits. It found that while Gen Xers spent the most on their rewards cards, millennials are “most committed to racking up loyalty points”: 35% of millennials (ages 24 to 38) reported using a credit card for points, compared to the 30% of baby boomers (ages 54 to 74) and 23% of Gen X (ages 39 to 53). Swiping simply to acquire points could backfire and dig you into debt. Story by Alicia Adamczyk for CNBC

How to Avoid Fees on Your Social Security Debit Card
The days of paper Social Security checks are over. All Social Security beneficiaries are now required to receive their payments electronically. Most people elect to have their Social Security payments directly deposited into a bank or credit union account. Retirees who don’t have bank accounts or prefer not to use one can have their payments loaded on a prepaid Direct Express Debit Mastercard. However, as with every financial product, there is some fine print and potential to trigger extra costs. Here’s how to avoid fees on your Social Security debit card. Story by Emily Brandon for US News

4 Biggest Mistakes Most People Make with Credit Card Rewards
Gaming credit-card rewards to score the best perks and free trips has become a popular hobby among many consumers these days. But a new study by NerdWallet shows how many misconceptions people have about these rewards programs, which could be setting them up for serious disappointment, or worse. Here is what the study found: two in five people believe carrying a balance won’t affect the value of rewards. Many Americans don’t know how much points or miles are really worth. Younger consumers are more likely to overestimate sign-up bonuses. Less than half of consumers would use credit card points for flights. Story by Jacob Passy for MarketWatch

First Quarter Profits Top 4 Credit Card Networks & Issuers
The major 4 credit card networks–Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover–reported a combined fourth quarter after tax profit of $6573 million, compared to $7118 million for 3Q/18 and $1930 for 4Q/17, according to data collected by CardData. Credit card profits after tax among the nation’s top 4 bank credit card issuers–Chase, Capital One, Bank of America and Citibank–soared 31.4% in the fourth quarter, compared to one year ago. This compares to a year-over-year growth rate of 28.8% for the prior quarter. Story by Robert McKinley for CardFlash



The information contained within this article was accurate as of April 12, 2019. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Bill Hardekopf

bill-hardekopf
Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of LowCards.com and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
View all posts by Bill Hardekopf