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Bill Hardekopf
By: Bill Hardekopf
Updated: July 19, 2021

Our experts and industry insiders blog the latest news, studies and current events from inside the credit card industry. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines.

For media inquiries on these stories and more, contact credit card expert and industry analyst Bill Hardekopf at (205) 985-9725 or

1. Bill Payments Jump 30% as Americans Use $1,400 Stimulus Checks to Cover Household Expenses

CNBC LogoWhen stimulus payments hit bank accounts earlier this month, many Americans spent at least a portion of that money to pay their bills. There was a 30% month-over-month increase in the number of payments made to pay household bills from March 17 to March 21, according to research by doxo.

The company calculates that about 62% of stimulus payments are being spent on bills. A significant portion of that is being used to pay off credit card debt. During the week of March 17, there was a 29% increase in credit card payments as compared to the same period in February. There was a 72% increase in the amount paid.

• Story By: Megan Leonhardt, CNBC

2. Travelers Are Sitting on Piles of Unused Credit Card Rewards

Travel Pulse LogoA recent NerdWallet survey found that Americans have largely relegated their travel rewards cards to the back of their wallet since the pandemic started. 39% of travel rewards cardholders reported using their cash back credit cards more than their travel rewards cards since the onset of Covid-19.

And, 34% of travel rewards cardholders said that they used their travel rewards cards more prior to the pandemic than they do now. 19% are not currently charging any of their purchases to their travel rewards cards at all. 7% of respondents said they’d had a travel rewards card, but canceled it in 2020 or 2021.

• Story By: Laurie Baratti, Travel Pulse

3. Visa Moves to Allow Payment Settlements Using Cryptocurrency

Reuters LogoVisa said it will allow the use of the cryptocurrency USD Coin to settle transactions on its payment network, the latest sign of growing acceptance of digital currencies by the mainstream financial industry. The company said it had launched the pilot program with payment and crypto platform and plans to offer the option to more partners later this year. The USD Coin is a stablecoin cryptocurrency whose value is pegged directly to the U.S. dollar. Visa’s move comes as finance firms including BNY Mellon, BlackRock, and Mastercard take steps to make more use of cryptocurrencies for investment and payment purposes.

• Story By: Noor Zainab Hussain, Reuters

4. Capital One Venture Welcome Offer Soars to 100K Points

Forbes LogoThis promotion has expired.

As travel plans start to pick up around the United States, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card’s new welcome bonus might make it a bit easier for you to commit to a trip. The issuer brought back its highest-ever offer on its popular $95-annual-fee card.

Starting March 31, 2021, the new limited-time welcome offer on the card is: Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

• Story By: Robin Saks Frankel, Forbes

5. How Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers Use Credit Cards

The Motley Fool Logo45% of consumers prefer using credit cards to make their purchases, making this the most common way to pay. That figure is up from 36% in 2019. Debit cards made up 58% of people’s payment preferences in 2019, but fell to 42% in 2021.

Cash back credit cards are still the most popular type of credit card, with 46% of American cardholders having one. But that’s down from nearly 60% in 2019. Travel credit cards have gotten more popular in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.

• Story By: Lyle Daly, The Motley Fool

6. Mastercard Adds DoorDash and HelloFresh Perks to World and World Elite Cards

CNBC LogoIf you have a credit card that’s backed by Mastercard, you may be able to take advantage of new DoorDash and HelloFresh benefits. Starting April 1, World and World Elite Mastercard consumer credit cardholders who are new to DashPass will get a free 3-month membership. Plus, all new and existing DashPass members will automatically get a $5 discount on their first two orders every month.

Additionally, consumer World and World Elite credit cardholders will earn 5% back on each HelloFresh purchase that you can later use towards future orders. New HelloFresh customers will also receive a discount off their first few orders. Small business Mastercard users are able to automatically take advantage of marketing and payroll tools to help grow their business.

• Story By: Alexandria White, CNBC

7. Credit Card Hacking Forum Gets Hacked, Exposing 300,000 Hackers’ Accounts

Vice News LogoCarding Mafia, a forum for stealing and trading credit cards has been hacked, exposing almost 300,000 user accounts, according to data breach notification service Have I Been Pwned. The hacked user information can be used to link pseudonymous users across different forums. Law enforcement agencies could also use the stolen data to try to identify criminals hiding behind those nicknames.

• Story By: Lorenzo Francheschi-Bicchierai, VICE

8. Mobile Banking Usage Continues to Grow as Financial Tools Become More Sophisticated

Business Insider LogoThis year, there will be 169.3 million mobile device banking users in the US, making up 64.9% of the population. Growth will continue throughout 2024, and at that point, expect 183.6 million people to have used any mobile device (including mobile phones and tablets) to access their bank, brokerage account, credit card or credit union digitally at least once per month.

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, mobile capabilities are a more significant factor in bank selection among respondents than a year prior. The foremost concern consumers have when mobile banking remains security.

• Story In: Business Insider

9. Visa, Mastercard Face New Pushback in $5.5 Billion Retailer Suit

Bloomberg LogoVisa and Mastercard are facing fresh opposition from U.S. retailers in a long-running legal fight over the fees merchants pay each time consumers swipe their credit or debit card at checkout. The Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Retail Federation want to join a federal lawsuit filed in 2005 that led Visa, Mastercard and some big banks to agree to pay $5.54 billion to settle the case.

While the suit is still in the midst of appeals, the industry’s two largest trade groups said the class of merchants the existing plaintiffs are seeking to certify is too broad and would prevent retailers who don’t like the settlement terms from opting out and taking their own legal action.

• Story By: Jennifer Surane, Bloomberg

10. 5 Pandemic-Driven Financial Habits Worth Keeping

Nerdwallet LogoWhile the pandemic caused incredible financial stress and uncertainty, it also led many consumers to form new financial habits worth keeping, including saving more and spending less. A NerdWallet survey found that most people who formed new financial habits plan to continue them into 2021.

Here are five habits to consider sticking with even as life starts to return to normal: spend less, save more; stick with a budget; minimize travel expenses; earn extra income; and use autopay for bills.

• Story By: Kimberly Palmer, NerdWallet

11. Mastercard Partners Up to Advance Digital Economy Via Financial Inclusion

PYNTS LogoA new Mastercard arrangement provides new Liberty Tax customers a 30% discount off tax preparation fees, a $15 bonus, and another $15 credit if filers choose to take any tax refunds on a prepaid Mastercard.

To further incentivize a shift toward the digital economy for those that may have not yet embraced it, Mastercard has also joined with Walmart to offer $10 bonuses to individuals who deposit stimulus payments to a Walmart Money Card, along with another $20 for a deposit of a payroll or government benefit payment of more than $500 by the end of May.

• Story In: PYMNTS