The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, June 25, 2024 Weekly Credit Card Update — April 16, 2021

Weekly Credit Card Update 2021 04 16
Bill Hardekopf

Written by: Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf
Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is Senior Industry Analyst at CardRates, bringing two decades of experience in the credit card business to our audience. For 18 years, he was the Chief Executive Officer of, a free resource that helped consumers navigate the complex world of credit cards. He is a weekly contributor to Forbes and has written numerous articles for sites like The Street and The Christian Science Monitor. He has been cited in more than 100 financial publications, including The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, USA Today, Newsweek, Kiplinger, and Barron’s. He is also the co-author of the book "The Credit Card Guidebook". Bill received his Bachelor of Science and MBA degrees from the University of Southern California.

Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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

1. Mastercard Rewrites Rules for Banks Backing Pornography Sellers

Bloomberg LogoMastercard is updating the requirements it sets for banks that process payments for sellers of adult content. The banks will now have to ensure that sellers require “clear, unambiguous and documented consent” in adult content.

The firms will also be required to ensure websites document the age and verify the identity of anyone depicted in pictures and videos as well as those uploading the content. The payments network is also mandating that banks make sure that sites have an appeals process that allows for anyone depicted in adult videos or photos to request that the content be removed.

2. Gap to Replace Longtime Credit Card Issuer Synchrony With Barclays

WSJ LogoGap is parting ways with its longtime credit card issuer, Synchrony Financial, and moving the business to Barclays. Barclays will take over Gap’s private-label and co-branded credit cards, including Athleta, Banana Republic, and Old Navy.

The portfolio includes some 11 million open card accounts with total balances of roughly $3.8 billion at the end of March. Synchrony has been issuing cards for Gap—one of its five largest retail card partners—for about 22 years. The retailer’s co-branded credit cards will also change networks, Gap said, moving from Visa to Mastercard.

3. Mortgage, Car Loans, or Credit Cards: Here’s What Bills People Paid First During the Pandemic

CNN LogoMaking mortgage payments took priority over other forms of debt payments during the past year, as the home became an essential place for Americans to work, school their children, and stay safe during the pandemic.

Mortgage payments had the lowest rate of 30-day delinquencies, followed by car loan payments and credit card payments in the third quarter of 2020, according to a study of people who hold those three types of debts by TransUnion. For the 27.8 million consumers who hold all three credit types, mortgage loans had a 30-day past-due rate of 0.75%, car loans followed with a rate of 1.13%, and credit cards at 1.95%.

Story By: Anna Bahney, CNN

4. ‘Like Sneaker Culture’: Are Gimmicky Debit Cards Overplayed or a Smart Business Decision?

Tearsheet LogoAs digital banks compete and seek to differentiate themselves, odd cards have become commonplace. Industry insiders say it’s a smart marketing strategy that continues to yield results. On April 6, Revolut announced a new glow-in-the-dark debit card in partnership with 2x heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua.

The digital bank has previously supported LGBTQ charities with the launch of a rainbow card in July 2019. There were only 30,000 cards available, all of which were sold in 24 hours. As digital banks fight for space in an increasingly overcrowded market, debit cards have ranged from plastic to metal to wood to virtual and beyond.

• Story By: Shehzil Zahid, Tearsheet

5. United Airlines and Chase Launch New United Quest Card with 100,000-Mile Bonus Offer

CNBC LogoChase and United Airlines announced the release of a new co-branded credit card: the New United Quest Card. This card offers up to a 100,000-mile welcome bonus: New cardholders can earn 80,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases within three months of account opening; plus, an additional 20,000 bonus miles after spending an additional $5,000 on purchases within six months of account opening.

This means a $10,000 total spend in the first six months will get you 100,000 bonus miles.

6. JPMorgan Profit Soars to Record After Bank Releases Reserves For Bad Loans

WSJ LogoJPMorgan Chase posted a nearly fivefold increase in quarterly profit thanks to booming markets and an economic recovery that allowed it to free up $5.2 billion in funds it had set aside to cover soured loans.

After the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the U.S. early last year, JPMorgan and other big banks set aside billions of dollars in loan-loss reserves to prepare for a potential flood of consumer and business defaults. The rainy-day funds ate into quarterly profits for much of 2020. But big losses never materialized, and now banks are now cashing in on their diligence.

7. Retail Sales Surged in March

CNN LogoRetail sales surged in March as federal stimulus checks bolstered wallets and the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines boosted spending at stores. The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales soared a seasonally adjusted 9.8% in March compared with the month prior.

It was the steepest increase since May last year, when the retail sector started to rebound from the early spring shutdowns across the nation. The uptick was also far greater than the 5.9% bump economists surveyed by Refinitiv had predicted.

8. GSMA Reports Huge Growth in Mobile Transactions During Covid-19

TechRadar LogoMobile payment transactions skyrocketed as a direct result of lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the new annual report from GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide.

It shows that the number of registered mobile payment accounts grew by 13% globally during 2020, reaching a figure of more than 1.2 billion, which is twice that predicted. Growth was most rapid in countries where governments were more proactive with their pandemic relief measures.

• Story By: Rob Clymo, Tech Radar

9. CEO of a Top Bitcoin Exchange Warns a Crackdown on Cryptocurrencies May Be Coming

CNBC LogoGovernments around the world may start to clamp down on the use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the CEO of a top crypto exchange has warned.

A number of officials, from U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, have sounded the alarm about the use of bitcoin for money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illegal activities.

• Story By: Ryan Browne, CNBC

10. Mastercard Launches Tool For Banks To Help Consumers Calculate Carbon Footprint

Mastercard and Swedish FinTech Doconomy have collaborated to develop a tool that lets consumers calculate the carbon footprint of their shopping habits. The Mastercard Carbon Calculator is now part of the company’s global network and is customizable to suit the needs of banks’ eco-conscious clients.

New Mastercard research showed that sustainability is on the minds of people post-pandemic, with 54% indicating that preserving the environment is more important now than it was pre-Covid-19. The new data pointed to a growing eco-consciousness trend when it comes to spending and consumption.

• Story In: PYMNTS

11. 3 Simple Ways to Track Your Credit Card Spending

The Motley Fool LogoWhen you use credit cards, tracking your spending is a must. It’s easy to overspend, and extra purchases here and there can add up. The key to tracking your credit card spending is finding a method that works for you.

Here are a few simple, effective ways to check up on your credit cards: download a budgeting app; review transactions in your online account; and use your credit card company’s mobile app.

• Story By: Lyle Daly, The Motley Fool

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