LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 1, 2019

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 1, 2019

December 2, 2019         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Black Friday Sets Online, Mobile Shopping Records
The 2019 holiday season continued the shift to shopping on the web as Black Friday numbers surged to a record $7.4 billion in online sales, according to a report from Adobe Analytics. Black Friday 2019 was the biggest ever day for mobile shopping with $2.9 billion in smartphone transactions, with 61% of all online retail coming from smartphone transactions, representing a 15.8% increase from a year ago, and 39% of all ecommerce sales coming from smartphones, a 21% increase from year-ago figures. Online shoppers are continuing to shift more expensive ticket orders to online channels, with average order values on Black Friday up 5.9% to $168, compared with a year ago. Story by David Jones for Mobile Payments Today

T-Mobile’s 5G Network Goes Live Ahead of Schedule
Last month, T-Mobile promised its 5G network would go live in 5,000 cities and towns on December 6th–if its merger with Sprint went through. That deal is not yet final, but today, a few days ahead of schedule, T-Mobile says it’s launching its nationwide 5G network. The catch is that, for now, T-Mobile is offering 600 MHz “low-band” 5G. The network covers more than one million square miles, including many rural areas, and 200 million people. The “low-band” 5G won’t be as fast as the 5G we’ve seen from carriers like Sprint and Verizon, but it will have better range. It will be accessible to a lot more people, and T-Mobile says it will cost the same as its LTE plans. Story by Christine Fisher for Engadget

Get Them Before They’re Gone: Costco is Selling Discounted Delta Gift Cards
While you were doing your pre-Thanksgiving shopping at Costco this week, did you notice anything exciting? Eagle-eyed shoppers are spying racks of Delta Air Lines gift cards on sale. The display shows plenty of in-stock $500 gift cards selling for $449.99. Customers can purchase up to three gift cards and all sales are final. Earlier this week, it was possible to purchase these gift cards online at Costco.com, though the site has sold out now. If you can’t get to a physical warehouse, keep checking the site to see if they restock. Story by Andrea M. Rotondo for The Points Guy

Why Retailers Love Gift Cards (And Why You Should Be Wary of Them)
Retailers love gift cards. They win when you buy one, in a number of ways. First, you have essentially given the store an interest-free loan of indeterminate length. A person might cash in a gift card quickly, use some of it, and sit on the rest for longer, or just leave it in a drawer for a long time (or forever). When you buy a gift card, you essentially agree to promote that retailer. Store-specific cards can’t be used elsewhere, and guarantee that someone will either come in and redeem these cards (a win for the store) or not use them at all (also a win). Even when you use the card, the retailer wins because it got you in the store and gained a chance to sell you things. You might overspend, or you may underspend and never use the remaining balance. Story by Daniel B. Kline for The Motley Fool

Citi Keeps Cards Close to its Chest over Google Partnership
Citi appears to have downplayed Google’s involvement in the new checking account, which is set to launch next year and announces the internet giant’s much-expected move into banking services. The US bank sees the association with Google as a key selling point in launching a digital bank account into a crowded and complex market but will be anxious not to cede as much control of their new product as, for example, Goldman Sachs did to Apple. Story in Finextra

Wells Fargo in Hot Water Again, May Refund Customers for Account Service Fees
Wells Fargo expects to refund some customers for monthly account service fees due to “confusion” over how to qualify to have the fees waived, the company said in a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The bank hasn’t disclosed how many customers might be affected by the issue or how much money is on the line, but the company mentioned the potential refunds as one way it was looking to rebuild customer trust after a series of embarrassing and costly scandals. Story by James Leggate for Fox Business

Green Dot’s Future is Less Walmart, More Apple and Uber
After the last two decades of selling prepaid cards and bank accounts direct to consumers, Green Dot has increasingly been shifting gears to rent out its payments and banking infrastructure to nonbanks who want to offer cards and banking services to their users. Recent examples of this shift in strategy include Apple and Uber, which are leveraging Green Dot’s infrastructure on a white label basis. The Apple Cash card, which is used to collect the daily cash back earned on the Apple credit card, is issued by Green Dot Bank. The pressure to diversify may come from Green Dot’s massive reliance on selling through its partnership with Walmart. Story by Michael Moeser for Payments Source

PayPal Expands Instant Transfers With Mastercard
PayPal has extended its Instant Transfer feature into Singapore and Europe. The feature, which is in partnership with Mastercard, allows for customers to transfer funds from their PayPal accounts to their Mastercards in real time. The application is called Mastercard Send, and it uses the card company’s infrastructure to make the transfer happen. Transactions typically take seconds. Story in PYMNTS

Amex Targeting Some Business Platinum Users for Second Card, Extra 75,000 Bonus Points
They don’t advertise it, but many credit card issuers allow you to have multiple copies of the same credit card, especially business credit cards since people can own or be part of more than one business. However, it’s generally tough to get a second welcome bonus if you haven’t waited 24 months or more since the first bonus, and with an issuer like American Express, you’re limited to one bonus per lifetime per card, making earning a second bonus for the same card all but impossible. But apparently the impossible has become possible. Story by Julian Mark Kheel for The Points Guy

Galileo, Mastercard Launch Program to Rapidly Issue Debit Cards to Companies
Galileo Financial Technologies announced the launch of Galileo Instant Issuing, a collaboration with Mastercard to allow the company to provide fintechs and other businesses to quickly open bank accounts and issue white-labeled debit cards without long-term contracts and startup fees. Galileo CEO Clay Wilkes said the program is designed to let gig economy companies, fintechs and other firms quickly scale card programs that they can use to rapidly pay and manage funds for vendors, workers and others who need to have transactions completed in a fast and seamless manner. Story in Mobile Payments Today

Softbank Offers Blockchain Wallet on a Debit Card
Today SoftBank Card announced a Wallet Card, a special kind of debit card which has embedded IoT chips to make it smart. It includes both conventional prepaid debit card functionality as well as a blockchain wallet – both a hot and cold wallet version depending on whether WiFi is enabled. Apart from WiFi, which can be switched on and off, the debit card includes a battery, programmability and a small on-card display. Story in Ledger Insights

bill-hardekopf

About 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
Featured Low Interest Card
Top Features : 1.25X miles on every purchase; no annual fee; bonus of 20,000 miles once $1,000 is spent in first 3 months
Featured No Annual Fee Card
Top Features : Earn cash back twice. 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay; 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers
Featured Bad Credit Card
Top Features : No Annual Fee; Cash Back match at the end of your first year; Social Security Alerts
Featured Fair Credit Card
Top Features : No annual fee; access to higher credit line after making first 5 monthly payments on time
Featured Limited/No Credit
Top Features : No annual fee; reports to major credit bureaus; access to higher credit line after making first 5 monthly payments on time
Featured Cash Back Card
Top Features : No Annual Fee, Bonus Offer, Cash Back