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1. Amazon May Drop Visa as Partner on U.S. Credit Card
Amazon is considering dropping Visa as a partner on its U.S. co-branded credit card after earlier confirming it would stop accepting Visa credit cards in the United Kingdom as a dispute over payments intensified.
Since Britain’s exit from the European Union, an EU-enforced cap on fees charged by card issuers is no longer in place in the UK, meaning providers are free to hike charges. Visa last month began charging 1.5% of the transaction value for credit card payments made online or over the phone between the UK and EU, and 1.15% for debit card transactions, up from 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively.
• Story By: Matt Scuffham, Reuters
2. It’s Not Just You. Banks Really Are Sending Out More Credit Card Offers
Americans paid down credit card debt during the pandemic. Credit card issuers are spending big to get them borrowing again. Lenders are spending on mailers and generous rewards to lure customers and boost balances.
Banks’ credit card marketing costs surged last quarter, and there is little evidence the multibillion-dollar spending spree will stop soon. Mailed credit card solicitations are back above pre-pandemic levels. Issuers are making cash-back offers and other rewards more generous.
• Story By: AnnaMaria Andriotis, The Wall Street Journal
3. Majority of Americans Not Very Confident in Credit Card Choices
Most people apparently aren’t certain that they have picked the right credit card, according to a U.S. News survey. In fact, nearly half are worried that different cards could earn them more rewards.
Only about 38% say they feel very confident that they are carrying the right cards in their wallet, and when survey respondents were asked if they worry that they could earn more rewards with a different credit card, almost 47% acknowledged feeling anxious about that possibility. A bit more than 36% of survey respondents say the most important feature of their newest credit card is the rewards program. Almost 15% say that they chose a credit card for the purpose of building credit.
• Story By: Beverly Harzog, U.S. News
4. Credit Card Start-Up Upgrade Jumps 83% in Valuation in Just Four Months to $6.28 Billion
Upgrade, the fintech start-up that turns credit card balances into installment loans, has closed a fundraising round that values the company at $6.28 billion. Most of that increase stemmed from steep growth in the company’s revenue, which climbed 70% between June and October, the two fundraising periods.
Upgrade’s main product is a card that turns purchases into fixed-rate installment loans, making the start-up the latest company to benefit from the “buy now, pay later” trend in fintech. While traditional cards charge more than 18% in interest annually, the Upgrade card starts at 8.99%. That has made it one of the fastest-growing cards in the country.
• Story By: Hugh Son, CNBC
5. Goodbye, Staples Center. Hello, Crypto.com Arena
Staples Center is getting a new name for Christmas: Crypto.com Arena. The downtown Los Angeles venue—home of the Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Sparks—will wear the new name for 20 years under a deal between the Singapore cryptocurrency exchange and AEG, the owner and operator of the arena. Crypto.com paid more than $700 million for the naming rights, making it one of the biggest naming deals in sports history.
All of Staples Center signage will be replaced with the new name by June 2022. Crypto.com’s chief executive, Kris Marszalek, hopes that the new name will come to be seen as a sign of the times.
• Story By: Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times
6. Eligible Chase Cardholders Now Get $10 a Month Per Card in Credits for Gopuff’s Rapid Delivery Service
Gopuff is an online service that delivers thousands of products to you for a nominal fee. From alcohol to electronics to medicine, you can get just about any “everyday” item through Gopuff. It prides itself on its speedy delivery time of 30 minutes (though it’s not guaranteed).
Now, Gopuff has partnered with Chase to give select cardmembers new benefits, namely, $10 in statement credits each month you use an eligible card to make a Gopuff purchase. The service charges a fee of $1.95 per delivery, or you can join Gopuff Fam and pay a flat $5.95 per month for unlimited deliveries. The minimum order is $10.95, and there’s an additional fee of up to $2 if your order contains alcohol.
• Story By: Joseph Hostetler, Business Insider
7. Morgan Stanley, American Express Announce New Cash-Back Credit Card for Brokerage Clients
Morgan Stanley and American Express announced their first-ever cash-back credit card, exclusively for Morgan Stanley and E*TRADE clients with eligible brokerage accounts. With the new Morgan Stanley Blue Cash Preferred American Express Card, cardholders can earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%); 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions; 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit; and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases.
New cardholders can earn a welcome bonus of a $300 statement credit after spending $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first six months. Plus, they get an exclusive Morgan Stanley cardmember perk of a $100 statement credit every year after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases.
• Story By: Elizabeth Gravier, CNBC
8. Banks, Credit Unions Slip in Customer Satisfaction Survey
Banks outperformed credit unions in a national customer satisfaction survey for a second consecutive year. The American Customer Satisfaction Index for 2020 saw the score for credit unions drop slightly from a year earlier. The industry’s 77 score was one point below the banking industry.
Last year was the first year banks bested credit unions, and this year’s survey marks a historic low for credit union satisfaction rates, down 10 points from the industry’s peak in 2011. Though they are doing better than credit unions, banks’ scores in 2020 were also down from a year earlier.
• Story By: Aaron Passman, American Banker
9. U.S. Retail Sales Surge as Holiday Shopping Starts, Brightening Economic Outlook
U.S. retail sales surged in October as Americans eagerly started their holiday shopping early to avoid empty shelves amid shortages of some goods because of the ongoing pandemic, giving the economy a lift at the start of the fourth quarter.
The solid report from the Commerce Department suggested high inflation was not yet dampening spending, even as worries about the rising cost of living sent consumer sentiment tumbling to a 10-year low in early November. Rising household wealth, thanks to a strong stock market and house prices, as well as massive savings and wage gains appear to be cushioning consumers against the highest annual inflation in three decades.
• Story By: Lucia Mutikani, Reuters
10. 18 of the Most Stunning Credit and Debit Card Designs in Banking
The banking industry may be ramping up digital innovation, but most of the credit and debit card designs out there are dull, boring and frankly vanilla. These little plastic (or metal) billboards are still used every day, and a handful of institutions (both traditional and digital) have found striking new ways to make their cards stand out with consumers.
Banks and credit unions might think their marketing teams should be focused entirely on the digital footprint. After all, during Covid-19, fears about spreading the virus generated a dread of using cards. In the post-vaccine world, much of that fear has diminished and people are pulling out their plastic (and metal) cards again.
• Story By: Garret Reich, The Financial Brand
11. The Catch with Buy Now, Pay Later Could Be Your Credit
Buy now, pay later payment plans let consumers break up their total purchase at checkout into a series of smaller installments. But with promises of convenience, zero interest and minimal fees, many shoppers are wondering, “What’s the catch?” It could be your credit.
BNPL providers don’t typically report on-time payments to the major credit bureaus, so unlike with credit cards or loans, you can’t build credit with this type of financing. Some providers will report missed payments, though, which could end up hurting your score. Experts also warn of risks, such as hidden fees and a lack of consumer protections, that might not be immediately apparent to borrowers.
• Story By: Jackie Veling, Associated Press
12. Is Mobile Enhancing the In-Store Shopping Experience?
A new survey finds that in-store shoppers continue to showroom, or use their mobile phones to check competitor prices, but they’re also using their devices for purposes beneficial to the store they’re in.
The most popular shopping use of mobile phones inside stores among U.S. consumers were [sic] using loyalty cards or coupons stored on the phone (70%); visiting the retailer’s website (68%); comparing prices (68%); using the retailer’s app (64%); reading users’ reviews (63%); and scanning QR codes or smart shelf tags for more information (53%).
• Story By: Tom Ryan, Retail Wire