LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–October 16, 2020

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–October 16, 2020

October 16, 2020         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Short-Term Interest Rates Are Close to Zero. Some Credit Cards Are Still Charging 30%  
Short-term benchmark interest rates are close to zero. For mortgages, home buyers are paying less than ever. Credit-card borrowers have no such luck, with some retail store cards charging APRs of nearly 30%. Last week the Federal Reserve found that the average APR for revolving credit products—that is, credit cards—jumped to 16.43% for August from an average of 15.78% in the second quarter. Among the most expensive cards out there: Retail store credit cards, which a 2018 report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found charge nearly a third more, on average, than general-purpose cards. Story by Martha C. White for Money

Covid-19’s Long Shadow Is Prompting a Rise in Gift Card Sales, Including Digital Cards 
With a looming holiday shopping season inflected by uncertainties surrounding the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, payments firms are trying to work out how consumers may change spending habits this year. A study released Thursday indicates processors expect a healthy jump in e-commerce volume, including a surge for gift cards. Consumers intend to buy 10 gift cards on average during the holiday season, twice the average number in 2019, devoting 40%, or $313 on average, of their gifting budget to the products, up 19%, according to a survey by Blackhawk Networks Inc. Digital gift cards appear to be enjoying strong demand as consumers can not only shop for them online but also deliver them remotely. The volume of digital cards sold on merchant sites is up 74% so far this year. Story by John Stewart for Digital Transactions

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35% of Small Businesses Would Not Have Survived the Pandemic without Ecommerce
According to the Chase Ink study, 35% of small businesses say they would have closed during the pandemic without ecommerce. This year, 19% of small businesses began selling products and services online for the first time, and 44% of online merchants saw an increase in sales during 2020. On average, ecommerce businesses have seen a 37% uptick in online sales from 2019 to 2020. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of small business owners who made changes this year say they will maintain those changes next year. Story by Heaven Speirs of LowCards.com

Credit and Debit Card Market Share by Network and Issuer
82% of American adults had a debit card in 2018, the most recent year for which this data has been published; 72% had a credit card. According to the Nilson Report, the 2019 market share for the top 10 issuers of credit cards based on outstanding balances was: Chase: 16.6%; Citi: 11.6%; American Express: 11.3%; Bank of America: 10.7%; Capital One: 10.5%; Discover: 7.6%; Wells Fargo: 4.3%; U.S. Bank: 4.1%; Barclays: 2.6%; and Synchrony: 2.0%  Story by Shannon Souza for The Motley Fool

Pandemic Hammers Small Businesses Vital to Economic Recovery
The pandemic has hammered small businesses across the United States — an alarming trend for an economy that’s trying to rebound from the deepest, fastest recession in U.S. history. Normally, small employers are a vital source of hiring after a recession. They account for nearly half the economy’s output and an outsize portion of new jobs. Roughly one in five small businesses have closed, according to the data firm Womply. Story by Paul Wiseman for the Associated Press

Chase Points Are Now Worth Up to 50% More When Redeeming for Apple
Consumer spending has drastically shifted in the last seven months. And credit card companies have taken note by pivoting their benefits and redemption opportunities. Chase has been one of the most agile, shifting bonus categories and offering new ways to redeem points, particularly with travel-focused cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Now, Chase is launching its latest points redemption offer. Cardholders can get up to 50% more value when purchasing eligible Apple products through Ultimate Rewards from Oct. 15, 2020 through Nov. 15, 2020. Story by Chris Dong for The Points Guy

Citi Prestige Offering 5x Points on Online, Cable, and Streaming Purchases
If you have the Citi Prestige Card, you could earn big bonus rewards until the end of the year. Through Dec. 31, 2020, the card earns 5 points per $1 on online, cable, and streaming purchases, up to a maximum of 7,500 points. Story by Lyle Daly for The Motley Fool

Get Up to $300 Bonus Cash Back with These Amex Blue Cash Credit Cards
If you’re opting for cash back credit cards these days, the amount of cash in your purse or wallet is about to increase with these two new credit card offers from American Express. For a limited time now through December 10, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is offering a $0 introductory annual fee for new card members ($95 per year thereafter) and a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months after opening the account. Also, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is offering a $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first three months after opening the account. The Blue Cash Everyday never has an annual fee. Story by Jennifer Yellin for CNN

The Resurgence of QR Codes
The pandemic has changed how customers shop. For customers, QR codes allow them to easily access menus and pay for food at restaurants, pay for a carton of milk at the grocery store or nectarines at the farmer’s market and more. From a business perspective, QR codes are allowing restaurants, retailers and even small businesses to reestablish trust with customers as they reenter storefronts following the pandemic. Story by Jennifer Sherman for Mobile Payments Today

Wells Fargo Sees Some Credit And Debit Card Gains Amid Generally Bad Q3
Wells Fargo reported that card fees rose to $912 million in the third period, up from $797 million in second quarter. The bank said that was predominantly due to increased consumer spending. Wells Fargo also saw heightened debit card usage during Q3. Debit card point-of-sale purchase volume hit $102.9 billion in the period, up 11.1 percent from a year ago. The firm also reported an uptick in digital-banking activity during the quarter, with 32 million active digital customers (online and mobile), including 25.9 million active mobile customers. But on the downside, general card purpose credit card point-of-sale purchase volume fell 6 percent year on year to $19.2 billion. Story in PYMNTS

UK Banks Plan to Hike Cost of Credit Card Borrowing
Banks are poised to increase the cost of credit card borrowing in the runup to Christmas, leading to fears that the UK’s poorest households will be priced out of vital credit as the furlough scheme ends and unemployment begins to climb. A majority of lenders are also expected to restrict loan products in the fourth quarter, though not by as much as in the third, further limiting access to loans as the second wave of the coronavirus spreads across the UK. The worsening outlook for many consumers was emphasized by industry forecasts predicting a rise in defaults on unsecured loans and mortgages over the next three months. Story by Phillip Inman for The Guardian

What’s the Difference Between Credit Card Preapproval and Pre-Qualification?
When you’re considering applying for a credit card, it’s helpful to know beforehand whether you have a good chance of getting approved, especially if you aren’t sure your credit score is high enough. That’s because applying for a credit card typically means a “hard pull” on your credit, which can cause your score to take a temporary dip. Consumers can get a better sense of their odds by getting “pre-qualified” or being “preapproved” by the credit card issuer. The terms are similar, and some issuers even use them interchangeably. But there’s an important distinction. Story by Kimberly Palmer for The Street

How Credit Cards Are Accommodating Transgender Identity
Transgender and nonbinary people can face an extra level of scrutiny and risk having embarrassing confrontations when they make a purchase using a credit card or debit card that doesn’t reflect their true identity. That’s why credit card companies—both payment network processors and card issuers—are starting to offer cards that enable transgender and nonbinary individuals to reflect their true identity. Here is a look at the cards, how they work and how to get them. Story by Bob Musinski for US News & World Report

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 October 16, 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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Assent Platinum 0% Intro Rate Mastercard Secured Credit Card
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First Digital NextGen Mastercard® Credit Card
EDITOR RATING
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Top Features: Reports to all three credit bureaus, perfect credit not required for approval


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.