LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 4, 2020

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 4, 2020

December 4, 2020         Written By Bill Hardekopf

How Amex Has Innovated to Keep Cardholders Engaged in 2020
Credit card companies have had to adapt to a new normal, and American Express was one of the first to make accommodations for the drastic shift in consumer behavior earlier this year. In May, Amex led the pack with tangible, limited time offers to provide value to cardholders in this new reality that we’re living in. Just a month later, their “Shop Small” promotional campaign elevated the profile of independent stores and restaurants at a time when they needed it most. Finally, with an additional three months to earn a welcome offer, various retention offers, “Appreciation Credits” and other bonuses, Amex has been able to foster goodwill with its customer base. Story by Chris Dong for The Points Guy

Visa Is Doing What Big American Companies Do to ‘Protect This Business’
Visa dominates the lucrative business of processing debit card transactions. Merchants must choose between paying the financial services company’s fees or forgoing sales to the millions of Americans who carry cards emblazoned with Visa’s logo. A San Francisco technology start-up named Plaid threatened that dominance. The company planned to debut a rival service next year that would charge half as much as Visa. So Visa did what big American companies have learned to do: It agreed to buy the smaller company, pledging a king’s ransom to eliminate the threat of competition. Last month, the Justice Department sued to block the deal as a violation of antitrust law. Story in The New York Times

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More Americans Pay Rent On Credit Cards As Lawmakers Fail To Pass Relief Bill
With their savings running out, many Americans are being forced to use credit cards to pay for bills they can’t afford, even their rent. Housing experts and economists say this is a blinking-red warning light that without more relief from Congress, the economy is headed for even more serious trouble. There’s been as much as a 70% increase from last year in people paying rent on a credit card, according to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Story by Chris Arnold for NPR

Despite Covid, Credit Card Debt Sinks to Lowest Level Since 2017
During the pandemic-created recession, when millions of Americans are strapped for cash, you’d think that more of us would turn to credit cards to help tide us over. It appears that just the opposite has happened, though. Before 2020, consumer credit card debt grew for eight consecutive years, hitting a record high of $829 million in 2019, according to new data from Experian. But in the past year, that tally fell by 9 percent. Now, outstanding credit card debt in the U.S. totals $756 billion. That’s the lowest dollar amount since 2017, Experian says. Story by John Egan for Bankrate

More Shoppers Favor Local, Minority-Owned Businesses
A move to mindful shopping has American consumers favoring small, local stores and those owned by Black merchants, women and other minorities, according to a new spending survey by Mastercard. Three-quarters of the 2,017 people surveyed said they planned to shop more consciously and spend at smaller, minority-owned stores. Some 77% percent said they planned to shop local. Story in PYMNTS

How Covid-19 Could Disrupt Store Credit Cards
Before Covid-19 forced nonessential retailers to close, consumers faced a familiar interaction at the checkout counter: the store credit card pitch. But with temporary store closures during the spring and ongoing worries about keeping nonessential storefronts open, store employees can’t pitch as many consumers these store cards in person. So what does the ongoing pandemic mean for store credit cards? Research suggests that consumers may be more interested in them, but financial institutions aren’t extending credit to as many borrowers. Story by Tatiana Walk-Morris for Retail Dive

Stripe to Offer Banking Services in Deal With Goldman Sachs, Citigroup
Stripe is teaming up with banks including Goldman Sachs Group and Citigroup to offer checking accounts and other business-banking services, the startup’s latest attempt to become the internet economy’s financial supermarket. Stripe, which processes payments for millions of online businesses and e-commerce platforms, will soon give its customers the option of offering insured, interest-bearing bank accounts, debit cards and other cash-management services. These products aren’t meant for consumers. Rather, they are designed for the merchants and vendors that do business with Stripe’s customers. Among the early adopters of Stripe’s new banking services is Shopify. Story by Peter Rudegeair for The Wall Street Journal

$10 Credit Cards, $2 PayPal Accounts, and More on the Dark Web This Holiday Season
This holiday season, more consumers than ever will be shopping digitally – and cybercriminals are already capitalizing on the opportunity. There’s a continued rise in e-skimming attacks in the retail sector, where attackers inject JavaScript into website payment processing pages in order to siphon credit cards and account credentials from customers. Swiped credit cards are going for an average rate of $10-20 per card on the dark web. PayPal accounts are selling for $2-$10 per account, with those accounts loaded with more money costing more. Story by Maria Henriquez for Security Magazine

Earn Up to $500 a Year When You Refer a Friend to These Cards
If you’re looking for alternative ways to earn rewards or bonuses from your credit card – and you’ve already exhausted your sign-up bonus, maximized your rewards earning potential and taken advantage of your card’s limited-time promotions – referral bonuses may be your answer. Discover, Chase, Capital One and American Express all offer opportunities to earn cash and rewards bonuses when you refer a friend who is approved for one of their card products. Story by Emily Sherman and Anastasiia Staples for CreditCards.com

Visa Backs The First-Ever Credit Card to Offer Bitcoin Rewards
It’s about to get a lot easier to earn bitcoin thanks to a first-of-its-kind credit card: the Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card. While there are debit cards by Coinbase and Fold that offer bitcoin rewards, this is the first credit card that rewards you with the cryptocurrency, instead of points or miles. Visa and cryptocurrency financial tech company BlockFi have partnered to release the Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card to U.S. residents in all states except for New York (due to regulatory restrictions) in spring 2021. Cardholders will earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases that will automatically be converted to bitcoin and placed into a BlockFi account every month. Story by Alexandria White for CNBC

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No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card it is a prepaid card.

Google Fires Next Salvo in Big Tech’s War on Banking
Google has loosed a double-barreled challenge on the financial services business. First, the big tech announced major advancements in functionality for its Google Pay digital wallet. Second, it simultaneously revealed more details about its partnership expansion with banks and credit unions, which now has a name: Plex By Google Pay. Story by Steve Cocheo for The Financial Brand

7-Eleven Mobile Wallet Offers Contactless Payment Option
Convenience store chain 7-Eleven has introduced the 7-Eleven mobile wallet, a contactless way for customers to pay at participating U.S. stores. Customers can access the wallet through the 7-Eleven app and securely load funds to use at checkout using cash, debit and credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay and prepaid 7-Eleven gift cards. Cash must be loaded at the store but all other payment methods can be loaded in the app without a loading or transaction fees or incurring fees from credit cards charge. First-time wallet users can earn 2,000 7Rewards points for a limited time when they load $20 into their 7-Eleven Wallet. Story in PYMNTS

LowCards.com simplifies the confusion of shopping for credit cards. It is a free, independent website that helps consumers easily compare 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 4, 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.

Review LowCards.com Editor’s Top Cards!

2020 Top Credit Cards by Category
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NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card
EDITOR RATING
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Assent Platinum 0% Intro Rate Mastercard Secured Credit Card
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Top Features: Intro APR Offer on Purchases

Featured Fair Credit Card
Reflex Mastercard® Credit Card
EDITOR RATING
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Reflex Mastercard® Credit Card

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First Digital NextGen Mastercard® Credit Card
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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.