LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 23, 2020

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 23, 2020

December 23, 2020         Written By Bill Hardekopf

US Credit Card Applications Tumble
Demand for consumer credit in the U.S. has fallen dramatically during the Covid-19 crisis, with credit card applications falling to multiyear lows, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s survey of consumer expectations says. The proportion of households applying for any form of credit over the past 12 months fell by 11 percentage points, to 35%, between February and October. But the drop in demand was most acute for new credit cards, where the application rate fell 10 points to just under 16%, the lowest level since the Fed began collecting application data in 2013. Story by Robert Armstrong for The Financial Times

Gift Cards Are the Go-To Holiday Gifts of 2020
It isn’t just the PlayStation 5 and Lego Star Wars sets that are in high demand this year. Gift cards are one of the hottest holiday presents. Shoppers worried about visiting stores, as Covid-19 cases surge, and unwilling to risk gifts arriving late because of shipping delays are snapping up the prepaid debit cards. Gift-card purchases in the first week of December were twice the rate in the same period last year. Gift card sales jumped 48% last weekend, compared with earlier in the week, as deadlines for free shipping with guaranteed Christmas delivery expired. Story by Suzanne Kapner for The Wall Street Journal

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Offering responsible credit without fees, Petal 2 is Petal’s most advanced card. It has no fees of any kind, is designed to help you build credit, and with cash back on every swipe, competes with other prime rewards cards.

DraftKings Launches Branded Gift Cards for the Holidays
Just in time to make the perfect holiday stocking stuffer, DraftKings is introducing its own branded gift card in what it says is an industry first. The fantasy sports and sports betting leader is partnering with InComm Payments to have $25 and $50 gift cards for sale in the payment technology company’s network of convenience stores that includes chains like 7-Eleven, Sheetz, and Speedway, but also in pharmacies and general merchandise retailers such as Dollar General. Consumers will be able to use the gift cards to fund their DraftKings accounts. Story by Rich Duprey for The Motley Fool

Consumer Experience Is Loyalty’s New Currency
Whether it is with a small, medium or mega-sized merchant, Mastercard’s Loyalty and Engagement President Francis Hondal said businesses need to reimagine their loyalty strategies to manage customer experiences and ensure that they are consistently delivered throughout the organization. At a time when some online businesses are seeing 50%, 60% or even 70% traffic growth during the pandemic and holiday shopping season, the evidence–and timing–for improved loyalty efforts has never been more clear. Story in PYMNTS

The Biggest Hacks, Data Breaches of 2020
Cybersecurity may be far from many of our minds this year, and in light of a pandemic and catastrophic economic disruption, remembering to maintain our own personal privacy and security online isn’t necessarily a priority. However, cyberattackers certainly haven’t given anyone a break this year. Data breaches, network infiltrations, bulk data theft and sale, identity theft, and ransomware outbreaks have all occurred over 2020 and the underground market shows no signs of stopping. Many companies and organizations, too, have yet to practice reasonable security hygiene, and vulnerabilities pose a constant threat to corporate networks. As a result, we’ve seen a variety of cyberattacks this year, the worst of which we have documented below. Story Charlie Osborne for ZNet

Visa Maintains Card Usage Suspension on Pornhub
Visa said on Wednesday that usage of its cards on MindGeek’s platforms with user-generated content such as Pornhub will remain suspended until pending investigations are complete. The company, however, has allowed usage of its cards on MindGeek’s platforms that host professionally generated content. Story by Sohini Podder for Reuters

Credit Card Buzz Brings Hangover
One-third of Americans have taken on credit card debt to cover holiday shopping costs during the pandemic recession, including 48% of those laid off during the pandemic and 51% of those still out of work. For 63%, the credit card debt they have amassed is the most they’ve ever taken on. The same is true for 72% of those laid off during the pandemic and 75% of those still out of work. Story by Terry Savage for The Buffalo News

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Top Features:

Offering responsible credit without fees, Petal 2 is Petal’s most advanced card. It has no fees of any kind, is designed to help you build credit, and with cash back on every swipe, competes with other prime rewards cards.

Credit Card Regulations Don’t Always Help Consumers
The push for government—mandated fraud protection will intensify in the next Congress. Senator Dick Durbin, who has played an integral role in increasing government intervention in the credit card market, will likely become the lead Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee has jurisdiction over such regulatory issues. Seven trillion dollars of consumer credit was issued last year and consumers received $50 billion in consumer rewards, and these numbers have likely increased substantially this year. Both of these may diminish if the government decides to impose its own rules on credit card security rather than allow the private sector to innovate and modernize its systems. Story by Ike Brannon for Forbes

Italian Shoppers Embrace New Cash-Back Program For Credit Card Payments
Italian consumers are embracing a new government program aimed at boosting retail sales while tamping down on tax evasion that allows buyers to receive a 10% refund on card payments made in stores. Around 10% of Italy’s adults, or at least 5 million consumers, have enrolled in the pilot program, which involves registering online and downloading an app. The program allows shoppers to save up to 150 euros. Italy, which has one of the lowest rates of credit card use in Europe, announced the government would give bonuses to those who use electronic payment services over cash. The government put aside $3 billion to finance the bonuses for the next fiscal year. By offering the incentive, they hope to cut down on black market deals and fraud. Story in PYMNTS

The information contained within this article was accurate as of December 23, 2020. For up-to-date information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website. Many of the offers on this article are from our affiliate partners, and LowCards.com may be compensated if you take action with any of our affiliate partners.

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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.