LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–November 21, 2018

November 21, 2018, Written By Bill Hardekopf
LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–November 21, 2018

Smart Ways to Handle Holiday Credit Card Spending
An online survey found that shoppers expect to spend $776 on average this holiday season, up by $116 from 2017. Almost 73 percent of respondents say the bulk of their holiday spending will be on a credit card, compared with 58 percent in 2017. The survey also found that about 39.4 million Americans haven’t yet paid off last year’s holiday bills. If you have a rewards card and always pay your bills in full and on time, spending more on the card could be an opportunity to harvest greater bonuses. However, if you’re already carrying a balance on your credit cards, adding more holiday debt could spell trouble for your finances. Either way, it’s time for you to consider smart strategies for holiday credit card spending. Story by Mike Cetera for Consumer Reports

Consumers’ Comfort Level With Big-Ticket Mobile Purchases Grows
As merchant acquirers prepare for an expected tide of holiday purchase transactions, they might notice that more big-ticket spending will be originating this year from mobile devices, according to Comscore. Purchases of big-ticket items, defined as those costing more than $500, hit an inflection point last year, as significantly more consumers were completing transactions for these items on mobile devices. Data shows this trend has not only continued, it’s accelerated. Two or three years ago, few consumers were comfortable purchasing appliances, couches or other similar items on mobile phones. Now, we see this type of activity far more regularly. Story by Jim Daly for Digital Transactions

Not All Financial Institutions Are on Board the Mobile-Banking Train
Payments experts may think mobile technology is crucial for banks and other financial-service providers, but it turns out a significant chunk of financial institutions don’t agree. Fourteen percent of respondents in a survey this summer of banks and credit unions said they not only don’t offer mobile payments and other mobile-banking services but have no plans to offer them. These were, with just one exception, institutions with assets less than $500 million, but the group included an almost equal number of banks and credit unions. Story by John Stewart for Digital Transactions

Bitcoin for Payments a Distant Dream as Usage Dries Up
The use of bitcoin for commercial payments has dropped dramatically this year, even as the original digital coin starts to fulfill one of the basic features of any payment currency: stability. The value of bitcoins handled by major payment processors shriveled nearly 80 percent in the year to September, data from blockchain researcher Chainalysis shows. That suggests the cryptocurrency is struggling to mature from speculative asset to a serious alternative to state-issued money. Months of relative calm in bitcoin prices after the wild swings of last winter had fueled hopes it would become widely used for payments, its intended purpose. But its collapse in use as a payment currency has instead left big finance and crypto insiders eyeing better technological infrastructure to help bitcoin take off as a way to pay. Story by Tom Wilson for Reuters

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® Ups Its Bonus to 70,000 Miles
If you’ve been sitting on the fence, waiting for the right time to get a new travel card, it might be time to jump down and go for it. That’s because the already impressive intro bonus for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, one of our top-rated travel rewards credit cards, just got a whole lot more enticing. Starting now, new cardholders can earn an unbelievable 70,000 intro bonus miles by spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 90 days after opening their account. That’s equal to a whopping $700. Story by Jocelyn Baird for NextAdvisor

Credit Cards Do Reward Loyalty, Just Not in Flashy Ways
Eleven percent of cardholders report that they changed primary credit cards in the past year, according to a spokesman for J.D. Power. The main driver of switching is definitely rewards. Fifty-six percent of customers who switched cards said that they switched for a better rewards program or to take advantage of a sign-up offer. Credit card companies are forever searching for the right mix of benefits that will allow a card to both entice new applicants and keep longtime cardholders in the fold while still turning a profit. That last part is key. Sure, a card could offer a huge sign-up bonus, a 0% APR period, no annual fee, a low ongoing interest rate and high spending rewards. It would appeal to everyone, but it would also lose money. There’s only so much value that the issuer can afford to give to the consumer. Story by Robin Saks Frankel for NerdWallet

Mastercard Partners Wirecard in Drive Toward Going Cashless
Mastercard has tied up with Wirecard, the global innovation leader in digital financial technology, to expand the reach of the global issuing business. Both the companies aim to exploit the growth potential in the field of digital prepaid payment solutions. Their targeted customers are travel agencies, airlines, governments and SMEs. Mastercard Prepaid Services are widely used in more than 20,000 selling locations, with active programs in 23 countries worldwide. Wirecard will support Prepaid Services, with its global licensing footprint and expertise in issuing services. Story in Zacks

Chase Offers Give Mobile App Users Personalized Savings
The Chase Mobile App now features a new section to save users money at over 150 retailers and restaurants. With Chase Offers, users can browse through personalized deals and find savings on everyday purchases. Chase Offers does not require a coupon, promo code, or any extra effort. Users can simply activate the deals they like and make a qualifying purchase. The savings described in the offer will apply as a statement credit in 7-14 business days. According to Chase, only certain consumer credit and debit cards are eligible for Chase Offers. Story by Lynn Oldshue for LowCards.com

Capital One Buys Tech Start-Up Used by Millions to Price-Check while Shopping on Amazon
Capital One has acquired a 4-year-old online-shopping start-up in its latest effort to offer tech services that engender loyalty to the bank’s credit cards. The bank purchased Wikibuy for an undisclosed amount. Two million members use Wikibuy to automatically find low prices and coupon codes and earn loyalty points. Big banks have been snapping up fintech firms to better serve customers who have quickly become accustomed to digital products. For Capital One, the move fills out its strategy of helping customers save time and money while shopping online. In 2016, the bank bought Paribus, which helps users get refunds when prices drop after a purchase. The company also created tools like Second Look, which cuts down on accidental or fraudulent transactions. Story by Hugh Son for CNBC

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit over Wells Fargo’s ‘Hidden Fees’ Program
A federal judge in California has dismissed a proposed class action by a Texas jewelry company accusing Wells Fargo of encouraging thousands of retailers nationwide to charge hidden fees to customers using a finance program created by the bank. In a decision on Monday, a U.S. District Judge said claims by Texas-based J Edwards Jewelry Distributing that Wells Fargo violated California’s unfair competition law cannot proceed because there was no evidence that any wrongful conduct occurred in California. Story by Dena Aubin for Reuters

Retail Store Cards Come with Perks. Here’s the Catch
The average retail card charges an interest rate of around 26 percent. Some stores, including Zales and Staples, will cost you nearly 30 percent in interest each year. That’s a lot higher than the typical credit card rate of around 20 percent. Some of their no-interest offers can also backfire. Still, half of Americans say they have applied for a retail card, according to CreditCards.com. Nearly 95 million people impulsively signed up for one at checkout. Store employees are often compensated if they’re able to rack up the number of people who say yes to these cards. Story by Annie Nova for CNBC



The information contained within this article was accurate as of November 21, 2018. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Bill Hardekopf

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.
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