December 6, 2023

Business Visa

The Business Visa Is Mightier Than Sword

Card Balances Are Soaring; How To Get 6% Back At Walmart And Amazon

Credit Card Balances Jump 15%, Highest Annual Leap in Over 20 Years, as Americans Fall Deeper in Debt

In an economy that has produced the highest inflation rate since the early 1980s, Americans are struggling to keep up with day-to-day expenses. More consumers are now relying on credit cards to get by, which has helped propel total credit card debt to $930 billion in the third quarter, just shy of the all-time record. Credit card balances climbed more than 15% from a year earlier, the largest annual jump in more than 20 years. [CNBC]

This Hot New Card Earns Up to 6% Back at Walmart

The new U.S. Bank Shopper Cash Rewards Card is a unique card that offers up to 6% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases at two major retailers every quarter. Which retailers? That’s the kicker; you get to choose where you earn bonus rewards from a list that includes a ton of big names, including Walmart, Target, Amazon and Best Buy. And to top it all off, you can choose new retailers every quarter, or keep the ones you already have. This makes it easy to adapt your bonus categories to your spending habits. [The Motley Fool]

Some Retail Store Credit Cards Now Carry APRs of More Than 30%

There has long been a threshold that few issuers of store-branded credit cards have been willing to surpass: the 30% annual percentage rate. However, amid a rapid succession of blockbuster rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, those lines in the sand are quickly being crossed. At least a half-dozen major retail credit cards—including those for Kroger, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Shell, Exxon Mobil and Wayfair—recently bumped up their maximum APRs to more than 30%. [CNN]

These Credit Cards Just Started Offering 10% Cash Back on Uber and Uber Eats

Four Capital One credit cards now have a rewards bonus that’s ideal for anyone who enjoys eating out or is always in need of a ride: unlimited 10% cash back on Uber and Uber Eats purchases. The Capital One Savor Rewards, Capital One SavorOne Rewards, Capital One SavorOne Rewards for Students and Capital One Quicksilver Rewards for Students cards all just began offering the 10% cash back rate. Both existing and new cardmembers can benefit from this new bonus category, which is available until November 14, 2024. [Money]

Square Is Teaming with AmEx to Offer a Credit Card for Square Merchants

Merchants in the United States that use Square’s point-of-sale technology and also accept American Express will be getting a credit card from Square in coming months that will run on AmEx’s network. The so-called Square Credit Card is said to be the first credit card the Block unit has offered to its network of sellers. The card, which will be issued by Celtic Bank, will be supported by technology provided by i2c Inc., a card-issuing platform for both physical and virtual payment cards. [Digital Transactions]

How Canada’s New Credit Card Surcharge Will Affect Consumers and Businesses

Canada has some of the highest interchange fees in the world. Interchange fees are the fees businesses pay each time their customers pay by credit card. The average interchange fee in Canada is about 1.5% of the transaction value, with fees typically falling between one and 2.5%. Up until last month, credit card networks did not allow businesses to pass these fees to customers. That recently changed with the settlement of a class-action lawsuit that alleged certain banks and credit card networks conspired to set high interchange fees and prevent businesses from adding surcharges or refusing high-cost cards. In response to the lawsuit, Visa and Mastercard agreed to remove their no-surcharge rule, leaving businesses free to pass the interchange fee to their customers. [The Conversation]

Most Banking Customers Use an App Despite Security Concerns

If “go to the bank” isn’t on your list of errands these days, you’re not alone: a new NerdWallet survey finds that close to three-quarters of banking customers (72%) use a mobile banking app, and 41% use more than one. More than 3 in 5 mobile banking app users (62%) say they conduct most of their regular banking activities via a mobile app, and 41% say they don’t typically need to use a physical bank branch for banking activities. More than 2 in 5 banking customers who don’t use mobile banking apps (42%) say it is because they don’t trust the security of these apps. Similarly, nearly half of mobile banking app users (46%) are concerned about their accounts getting hacked. [NerdWallet]

The Unsettling Truth about Buy Now, Pay Later

BNPL offers a convenient and accessible way to defer the full cost of the things you buy. The problem is that it can create the illusion that you have room in your budget for things you can’t truly afford. Most BNPL services don’t report on-time payments, which means your responsible use of BNPL loans doesn’t appear in your credit report or help your score. But your credit can suffer if you miss payments, the same as it would with a credit card. And when that happens, BNPL late fees tend to be much higher. BNPL providers have set their sights on college students, recent graduates and other young adults from the very beginning. It’s the demographic that is least likely to have an established credit history, least like to be financially literate and most likely to be suspicious of traditional financial institutions. [GO Banking Rates]

Mastercard Projects 15% Growth in Black Friday Spending

Mastercard is offering a sunny forecast for Black Friday, with its SpendingPulse report projecting a 15% growth in retail sales on the day after Thanksgiving. The report predicts trends such as robust indoor shopping, driven by the “post-pandemic return of doorbusters, window displays and brick-and-mortar collaborations,” all adding up to an 18% increase in in-store retail sales. In addition, the report says department store sales will increase by more than 25% year-over-year as consumers take advantage of deals and the chance to get all their gifts in one place. [PYMNTS]

FTX Bankruptcy Will Offer a Look Behind Crypto’s Dark Curtain

The bankruptcy of FTX Trading and other cryptocurrency companies will give the legal system, like Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard of Oz”, a peek behind the curtain into a private, opaque and largely unregulated world. Dorothy found the man behind the wizard. What the courts will find, according to court observers, is anyone’s guess. In their quest to understand what took place behind the scenes at FTX, judges and lawyers will confront emerging technologies and unregulated issues, offering the opportunity to set fresh precedents or create new case law. [Fox Business]

The Cost of Going Cashless

But the most significant objection to a cashless system is whom it shuts out. Whereas cash enables everyone, no matter their age, credit history, immigration status or income, to pay directly for goods or services rather than use an intermediary, credit cards generally require a bank account. Not everyone has one. And even those who do don’t necessarily want to add to their credit card debt. Regardless of whether they have a choice, teenagers and people earning less than $30,000 a year are more likely to use cash. This is also disproportionately true for minorities. In response to these disparities, Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York City and the state of New Jersey have passed legislation forbidding most merchants from refusing to accept cash. But that’s a tiny fraction of the country. [The New York Times]

TransUnion Confirms Recent Data Breach with State Attorney General’s Office

On November 7, 2022, TransUnion reported a data breach with the Massachusetts Attorney General after information in the company’s possession was subject to unauthorized access. According to TransUnion, the breach resulted in the names, Social Security numbers, financial account numbers and driver’s license numbers being compromised. Recently, TransUnion sent out data breach letters to all affected parties, informing them of the incident and what they can do to protect themselves from identity theft and other frauds. While the total number of people affected by the TransUnion data breach remains unknown at this point, the company has stated that it possesses “200 million files profiling nearly every credit-active consumer in the United States.” [JD Supra]