LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–October 9, 2020

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–October 9, 2020

October 9, 2020         Written By Bill Hardekopf

U.S. Consumer Borrowing Falls on Smaller Credit Card Balances
U.S. consumer borrowing unexpectedly fell in August as credit-card balances declined for a sixth consecutive month with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to limit some purchases amid elevated unemployment. The drop in revolving credit to a three-year low indicates the pace of consumer spending growth is moderating after outsize gains immediately following the gradual lifting of restrictions on businesses and individuals. The expiration of a $600 weekly supplemental benefit for the unemployed may have also played a role in the drop in consumer charges. Story by Vince Golle for Bloomberg

Venmo Launches Its First Credit Card, Offering Up To 3% Cash Back, Personalized Rewards
The Venmo Credit Card is rolling out to select customers. The Visa card offers 3% cash back on eligible purchases, personalized rewards and tools to track and manage finances. What makes the card potentially appealing to Venmo’s younger user base is how the card is directly integrated into the Venmo mobile app. Instead of offering a certain percentage in cash back rewards to all Venmo users by category, the new Venmo Card rewards system will be personalized. Users can earn rewards from eight spending categories. Users will earn 3% back on their top spending category, 2% from the second highest category, then 1% on all others. Story by Sarah Perez for Tech Crunch

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How the Pandemic Is Changing Americans’ Credit Card Habits
Americans aren’t necessarily canceling their cards. Over half of those surveyed in September said that they’ve put money towards a debt as a direct result of the pandemic, or plan to in the future. 29% of credit card users said they’re using their credit cards more than they were pre-pandemic, particularly when it comes to food and self-care items. Even as Americans decrease their balances, however, there’s anxiety around it: 25% of Americans say credit card debt is a source of daily stress right now. Story by Prachi Bhardwaj for Money

Travel May Not Be Back to Normal, but Credit Card Companies are Starting to Offer New Flight, Hotel, and Points Perks
Credit card companies shifted away from travel benefits at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, but these perks are starting to creep back. American Express recently unveiled a suite of travel features for its cardholders, including discounts on eligible hotel stays and airfare. Chase and Capital One also launched record-high welcome bonuses on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Story by David McMillin for Business Insider

Mastercard Consumers Can Receive 2 Free Months of an Instacart Express Membership for a Limited Time
There’s a new money-saving promotion that can help you buy groceries at lower fees. Mastercard and Instacart are running a limited-time promotion where cardholders can qualify for two free months of Instacart Express membership upon sign-up now through March 31, 2021. This perk is valued at approximately $20 since Instacart Express costs $9.99 per month. In order to get two months free, you must add your Mastercard as the payment method. Any U.S.-issued Mastercard that is accepted on Instacart’s platform is eligible, excluding HSA and FSA cards. Story by Alexandria White for CNBC

Petal Launches Credit Card for People with Poor Credit
US fintech startup Petal has unveiled a credit card designed for people with non-prime credit scores in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. Petal 1 is the firm’s second credit card. Like the first, it is a no-annual fee Visa card paired with a mobile app. However, while the first card, now called Petal 2, focused on those with no or thin credit histories, the new card is aimed at a wider audience: people who already have a history that is fair or poor. Story in FinExtra

Interest Rates on Store Credit Cards Remain High Despite Action from Fed
Retail credit card APRs have not changed despite the Federal Reserve slashing interest rates to near zero this year, according to a new report from CreditCards.com. Store-only cards have the highest interest rate at nearly 30%. The website’s survey found more than 43% of people have impulsively applied for a store card at checkout. That phenomenon may change this holiday season, when much of the shopping is expected to be online. Story by Scripps National

United Airlines and Chase Launch New No-Annual-Fee United Gateway Card
Two weeks after Chase launched the new Chase Freedom Flex, the issuer is releasing a new co-branded card with United Airlines: the United Gateway Card. This card joins two other consumer United cards, but it’s the only one with no annual fee that’s currently open to new applicants. If you often fly United, you may want to consider adding this no-annual-fee card to your wallet to maximize the miles you earn on everyday purchases like groceries and gas. Story by Alexandria White for CNBC

Ultraleap Introduces Touch-Free, Gesture Recognition Retrofit for Kiosks
Ultraleap has introduced its TouchFree application to enable companies to retrofit existing kiosks and touchscreens. Using Ultraleap’s camera module and hand tracking software alongside the application, touchless gesture control can be added to any screen to create a hygienic alternative. TouchFree is designed to run invisibly on top of existing user interfaces without the need for modifications to existing interfaces and design. According to recent Ultraleap research, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, 80% of people now think public touchscreens are unhygienic and locations are having to adapt. Story in Mobile Payments Today

Square Stands to Benefit from Growing Usage of Debit Cards
The Covid-19 crisis is pushing people in the U.S. to increasingly choose debit cards over credit cards. Visa disclosed in early September that overall U.S. payment volume was up 7% in August, led by a 24% increase in debit volume as credit volume fell 8%. Mastercard saw U.S. debit volumes exceed credit volumes for the first time in the June quarter, while Visa saw its widest spread to date between the two payment types then. Square could see its own transaction costs fall amid the increased debit card spending, since the interchange fees the company incurs on debit transactions are much lower than for credit transactions, and Square’s fee structure means that these reduced costs aren’t passed through to merchants. Story by Emily Bary for MarketWatch

A Gamer’s Credit Card Needs to Light Up, There’s No Other Way
Financial technology company Razer, in collaboration with Visa, announced Tuesday the launch of the Razer Card in Singapore. The Razer Card is a prepaid card offering year-long cashback features on all transactions. Users can sign up and use the virtual card at no subscription with the option to upgrade to a physical card, including the Premium card, which the company says is “the world’s first card that lights up on payment.” Razer does not currently have plans to expand the program to the United States. Story by Josh Rivera for USA Today

The information contained within this article was accurate as of October 9, 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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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.