LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–January 8, 2021

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–January 8, 2021

January 8, 2021         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Federal Investigators Probing AmEx Card Sales Practices
Federal investigators are probing business card sales practices at American Express. The inspectors general offices of the Treasury Department, FDIC and Federal Reserve are investigating whether AmEx used aggressive and misleading sales tactics to sell cards to business owners and whether customers were harmed. They are also examining whether specific employees contributed to the alleged behavior and if higher-level employees supported it. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is also investigating business card sales practices at AmEx. Story by AnnaMaria Andriotis for The Wall Street Journal

Petal Cardholders Can Win Up to $500 by Paying More Than Their Minimum Balance
If you’re a Petal card member who’s carrying a balance, you’re incurring interest charges every month that can add up fast. Petal just announced a new promotion where you can qualify to win a statement credit of up to $500. All you need to do to enter the contest is pay at least a penny more than the minimum balance on your December 2020 Petal Card billing statement between now and January 26. Petal will reward the prize to 100 card members, selecting 50 in January and another 50 in February. If you’re a winner, Petal will award you with a statement credit of up to $500 to offset your credit card bill. Story by Alexandria White for CNBC

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Green Dot Introduces GO2bank To Help Cash-Strapped Consumers
Green Dot is rolling out the mobile bank GO2bank to assist people who are living paycheck to paycheck. About 7.1 million U.S. households were unbanked in 2019. Further, almost 12% had to rely on pricey cashier checks, money orders and bill pay services. GO2bank aims to assist customers with lowering costs and building confidence. The bank features as much as $200 overdraft protection, high-value rewards, high-interest savings and opportunities to establish, build and track credit, regardless of credit history. GO2bank also extends low or no monthly fees and ease of access to more than 90,000 retail distribution locations nationwide, giving them the ability to quickly and conveniently deposit money and to get paid up to two days early. Story in PYMNTS

Senator Durbin, Don’t Hurt Consumers By Making Credit Cards More Expensive
Senator Dick Durbin recently said that “anticompetitive practices in the debit card industry are hurting American consumers and merchants.” He’s absolutely right. But those anticompetitive practices are coming from Congress itself, forcing harmful and regressive payment regulations on an industry that needs flexibility to best serve consumers. Sen. Durbin himself – responsible for the Durbin Amendment in a 2010 financial reform law – is the source of much of the extremely costly regulation that hurts everyday consumers and low-income depositors. Story by Thomas Aiello for Inside Sources

From Door Hangers To Credit Cards, How Girl Scouts Are Getting Creative To Sell Cookies
Girl Scout cookie sales are taking different forms as the coronavirus pandemic continues in 2021. They might not be able to do their normal walk and see 200 houses in their neighborhood and talk to all of those people, so they are making commercials – digital cookie commercials – and doing door hangers, and finding new ways to connect with their customers. While online sales and payments have been available for several years, you’re likely to see more scouts taking credit cards via a mobile app this year instead of the traditional cash or check options. Story by Tana Weingartner for WVXU

Here’s What You Need to Know About Stimulus Debit Cards
After months of fruitless negotiations, lawmakers finally settled on a $900 coronavirus relief bill to follow late March’s CARES Act. The bill was officially passed into law at the end of last year. It includes, among other provisions, rental assistance, boosted unemployment benefits, and a second round of direct stimulus payments worth $600 apiece. Most recipients with bank account details on file with the IRS will receive their money via direct deposit, similar to the first round. But others, including those without bank account details on record, will need to either wait for a physical check to arrive in the mail, or wait for a debit card. Here’s what you need to know about the latter. Story by Maurie Backman for The Motley Fool

Navy Accepts Debit Cards to Pay Tuition Assistance Debts for the First Time
A new U.S. Navy program streamlines methods for repayment of tuition assistance debts, allowing use of debit cards and electronic funds transfers. Until now, the agency has only has accepted repayment of back tuition assistance debts only by cashier’s checks, money orders or payroll deductions. That process could take up to 45 days to complete, keeping service members from applying for additional courses. The new process allows payment by debit card, electric funds transfer or use of PayPal if it is linked to a bank account, and can be executed on mobile devices or computers. Story by Ed Adamczyk for UPI

Mastercard Stock Gets Two Upgrades Because Travel Will Rebound Sharply
How much will a cross-border travel recovery be worth to Mastercard’s stock? More than the market is now pricing in. That was the rationale behind a couple of upgrades of the stock on Wednesday. Cross-border revenue is one of the largest and most profitable businesses for Mastercard and its card network rival Visa. Revenue in that segment accounted for 25% to 30% of Mastercard’s revenue before the pandemic, and it took a nosedive last year, falling 53% in the second quarter of 2020 alone. But as with all “reopening” stocks, the end is now in sight as vaccines roll out worldwide and the global economy recovers. Story by Daren Fonda for Barron’s

New Limited-Time Benefits Added to American Express Platinum Cards
While many Americans hope to see the resumption of travel later this year as vaccines tame the coronavirus pandemic, most people are unlikely to pursue trips during the first half of 2021. As a result, credit card issuers are continuing to make temporary additions to their travel credit cards to replace benefits that are mostly unusable at the moment. This week, American Express unveiled several new limited-time perks on The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. From now through June 30, card members with the personal American Express Platinum can earn up to $180 in statement credits when paying with the card at eligible merchants through PayPal. These credits are available in $30 monthly portions during each of the first six months of the year and can be accessed by adding an eligible Amex Platinum card to PayPal as a payment method, then selecting the card as the payment option when checking out via PayPal. Story by Julian Kheel for CNN

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Wells Fargo to Expand Investment Bank as Scharf Sets Strategy
Wells Fargo, rarely seen as a major force in the world of trading and deal-making, aims to expand its investment bank in coming years. It’s part of a strategy Chief Executive Officer Charlie Scharf has been developing since taking over the troubled consumer and commercial banking giant 14 months ago. The push would take the fourth-largest U.S. bank a step closer to emulating some of its biggest rivals. Inside Wells Fargo, managers say they intend to build a more commensurate presence on Wall Street by focusing on business lines and industries where it already has credibility. That would translate, for example, to providing more underwriting and merger advice to corporate clients, but also lending to hedge funds looking to ramp up bets. Story by Hannah Levitt for Bloomberg

Retail’s Online Future Grows Brighter after Pandemic Bump
Online shopping has been a lifeline for many as the virus pandemic shuttered stores and kept people at home. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the change in how people shop in a world growing more comfortable and savvier with technology. E-commerce sales’ strong growth is expected to continue long after the virus subsides. More importantly, online sales are likely going to take up a progressively bigger portion of all retail sales in coming years. E-commerce sales are forecast to account for just over 15% of all retail sales in the fourth quarter of last year, according to Refinitiv, and the share is likely to reach nearly 17% by the end of this year. Story by Damien J. Troise for the Associated Press

Business Credit Cards with No Personal Guarantee
A personal guarantee makes you personally liable for any charges your business makes to the card. If you fall behind on payments and default, the credit card company can attempt to collect what’s owed from you, as well as the business. Personal guarantees can be limited or unlimited, in terms of how far liability can extend. No personal guarantee business credit cards do exist, though only a handful of card issuers offer them. That’s because credit card companies want to see that you have some skin in the game, so to speak, when extending credit. A personal guarantee acts as an insurance policy of sorts for the card issuer. Finding business credit cards without personal guarantee requirements typically means looking beyond the usual business credit options. Story by Rebecca Lake for Bankrate

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 January 8, 2021. 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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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.