LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 30, 2020

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 30, 2020

December 30, 2020         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Economy Flops, Credit Cards Approvals Drop
Since June 2020, the likeliness of a credit card application being declined surged from 26% to 35.1% in October, according to NY Fed data. This high turndown rate is the largest on record since 2014. The decrease is undoubtedly not a surprise, as we continue to contend with the economic impact of Covid-19. According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence dropped in November from 101.4 to 96.11 on the index. And, according to the Fed’s Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey, lenders also feel queazy about lending. Story by Brian Riley for Payments Journal

Five Takeaways From Mastercard’s Holiday Spend Data
If the season were measured by traditional standards, from Thanksgiving through Christmas, overall sales would have bumped up by 2.4%, according to Mastercard. The Mastercard report showed eCommerce accounted for 19.7% of overall retail sales, up from approximately 13.4% in 2019. Department stores saw an overall sales decline of 10.2% and online sales growth of 3.3%. Black Friday was a shell of its former self. Any retailer that doubled down on the stay-at-home economy won this Christmas. Mastercard’s report showed that home furniture and furnishings experienced the strongest growth of any sector compared to 2019, up 16.2%. Home improvement was up 14.1%. Story in PYMNTS

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Buy Now, Pay Later Plans Take a Bite Out of Credit Card Purchases
A lot of people who bought home exercise equipment this year switched to a different kind of consumer credit that allowed them to make the purchase on installment plans rather than with credit cards. They made the transactions using a service called buy now, pay later, which is highly popular overseas and gaining traction in the U.S. It’s a way to make major purchases and pay it off in a set number of equal payments such as four payments over six weeks. Some of the companies serving this market charge a fixed fee instead of interest. Some keep interest rates to a minimum. Some don’t charge a fee whatsoever. An updated layaway plan. Story by Tim Grant for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

JPMorgan to Buy Credit Card Reward Business in Bet Travel Will Rebound
JPMorgan Chase said it would buy the global loyalty division of cxLoyalty Group Holdings, a third-party credit-card loyalty program service provider. The transaction, whose financial terms were not disclosed, will see the Wall Street bank integrate cxLoyalty’s technology platforms, full-service travel agency, gift card, merchandise, and points bank businesses into its Chase cards program. “Acquiring the travel and rewards businesses of cxLoyalty will provide enhanced experiences to our millions of Chase customers once they are ready, comfortable and confident to travel,” said a Chase spokesperson. Story by Tiyashi Datta for Reuters

Lawmakers Want Fees Waived if Stimulus is Paid Via Debit Cards
If Americans are going to receive the latest coronavirus stimulus payment through a government-provided debit card, they should not have to pay fees, U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Leesburg, and other lawmakers said in a letter to the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service. Congress has approved new stimulus payments of up to $600 per individual. The Treasury introduced prepaid debit cards during the last round of coronavirus stimulus payments authorized under the CARES Act. The cards were issued last spring to millions of Americans, while paper checks were issued to others. The cards, issued through a private vendor, came with numerous restrictions and fees. Story by Kathie Obradovich for the Virginia Mercury

Capital One Becomes Presenting Sponsor of The Rose Bowl
The College Football Playoff semifinal at the Rose Bowl won’t be played in Pasadena on Jan. 1 due to coronavirus restrictions in California, so top-ranked Alabama and No. 4 Notre Dame will instead meet at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. But that won’t be the only change for “The Granddaddy of Them All,” as it will now be presented by Capital One. It is also the title sponsor of the Orange Bowl, which will be played between North Carolina and Texas A&M on Jan. 2 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Story by Andrew Lind for SportsLogos.net

How Small Business Owners are Using Credit Cards to Stay Afloat
The majority of small business owners have been struggling since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in early 2020. Main Street America’s The Impact of Covid-19 on Small Businesses survey showed that 86% of small business revenue decreased by more than 75%. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll found that nearly 8 in 10 owners are concerned about the pandemic’s impact on their business. Without their normal revenue stream, some small business owners have turned to credit cards to get by. There are advantages to this method, but it has to be done carefully. Story by Erica Sandberg for Bankrate

What Is a Merchant Category Code?
If you use a credit card that offers cashback or other rewards based on your spending, there’s an invisible four-digit code you should probably know about. We’re talking about the merchant category code (MCC), which determines what rewards you can get on your rewards or cash back card. Every business that accepts credit cards from major networks is given an MCC to help the issuers organize and track purchases. While the MCC doesn’t matter for the basic function of your credit card, it is a critical part of how many credit cards classify rewards and cash back based on spending in different categories. Story by Ryan Haar for NextAdvisor

How Travel Credit Cards Are Changing
Travel has been curtailed in the wake of the coronavirus, and rewards credit cards are adapting to fit changing consumer priorities. You may have noticed that travel credit cards have refined their rewards to add earning opportunities for essentials, such as stocking up at the grocery store or filling up at the gas station. Credit card companies have also bumped up sign-up bonuses on travel cards, and many general rewards cards allow people to earn travel rewards now and use them later. Here is a look at some of the changes to travel credit cards and how you can take advantage of them. Story by Bob Musinski for US News

Virtual Cards Extend Mobile Presence with New Mastercard Service
The combination of virtual payment cards and mobile wallets gained further ground with the launch of a new service from Mastercard and digital card platform Extend. The service enables the delivery of virtual cards to mobile devices, where they subsequently can be used to make contactless payments—an area of growing demand amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which has changed corporate spending patterns and given rise to hygiene concerns around traditional touch-based payments methods. Story by Adam Perrotta for Business Travel News

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Simplex Partners with Visa to Issue Crypto Debit Cards
Over 200 Simplex partner companies can now offer crypto debit cards to their customers, potentially enabling greater adoption of cryptocurrencies for retail transactions. The development is the result of a recent partnership between Simplex and Visa announced Monday. Simplex, a fiat-to-crypto on-ramp service is now a principal member of Visa in Europe. Story by Osato Avan-Nomayo for Coin Telegraph

6 Mobile Payment Trends Here to Stay
Every retailer has felt the shift from in-store to digital over the last six months, but it’s also important for businesses to recognize the immense scope of this shift — beyond just a temporary reaction to the global coronavirus pandemic. According to IBM’s U.S. Retail Index, the pandemic has sped up the move from physical stores to digital by five years. This year alone, eCommerce spending is projected to increase by 20%. Here are six mobile payment trends every retailer should consider that are here to stay. Story by Brad Paterson for Retail Customer Experience

LowCards.com simplifies the confusion of shopping for credit cards. It is a free, independent website that helps consumers easily compare credit cards in a variety of categories such as lowest rates, rewards, rebates, balance transfers and lowest introductory rates. It also gives an unbiased ranking and review for each card. Created by Hampton & Associates, the company has been analyzing the credit card industry and supplying objective websites on various consumer expenses for 20 years. For more information, contact Bill Hardekopf at 205-985-9725 or billh@LowCards.com. Follow our tweets: @lowcards

The information contained within this article was accurate as of December 30, 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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2020 Top Credit Cards by Category
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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.