Lenders are issuing more credit cards; Crypto can improve your love life

US has more credit cards than ever as issuance increased in 2021

U.S. lenders issued more credit cards than ever last year, with a growing share going to consumers with lower credit scores. A record 196 million Americans held cards at the end of 2021, according to a TransUnion report. In the third quarter, the number of new cards issued reached a record high of 20.1 million. Some 9 million of these went to so-called unpreferred borrowers – those with poor or fair credit. The surge shows how eager growth-seeking lenders are to tap into consumers who were largely able to meet their obligations even after pandemic stimulus programs ended last year. Credit card issuers are ramping up marketing campaigns and competing to attract customers. [Advisor Perspectives]

Owning a cryptocurrency can make you more desirable in the dating scene

As Valentine’s Day approaches, single men and women set their sights on a partner who is not only financially stable, but savvy, especially when it comes to digital currencies. At this point, 33% of Americans said they would be more likely to go on a date with someone who mentioned crypto assets in their online dating profile. Additionally, nearly three out of four would be more interested in a second date with someone who paid the bill in bitcoin, according to a recent survey by eToro. Other digital assets, like non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are also desirable. Almost 20% of single people would be more romantically interested in you if you set an NFT as your profile picture on a social platform or dating site. [CNBC]

Bankruptcy filings continue to decline despite soaring credit balances

Bankruptcy filings declined when the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020 as revolving loan balances fell sharply. Although revolving credit balances rose sharply in 2021, bankruptcy filings continued to decline steadily. Personal bankruptcy filings fell 29.1% for the year ending September 30, according to the US Courts Administrative Office. Consumers have less revolving debt on their credit cards during this period. According to the US courts report, increased government benefits such as stimulus checks, foreclosure moratoriums and eviction bans may also have “relieved financial pressures in many households”. But recent data from the Federal Reserve shows revolving credit balances rose 7.7% nationally in 2021 alone, meaning some consumers may be considering filing for bankruptcy to pay off debt. unsecured like credit cards and personal loans. [Fox Business]

PayPal warns that consumer spending is about to fall sharply

Omicron, inflation and the lack of government stimulus are making some Venmo users nervous about spending money with their digital wallets. That’s bad news for Venmo owner PayPal, and a potential warning sign for consumer spending in general. Rising prices, coupled with lingering concerns about the broader economy, have weighed on consumer confidence recently. Even if wages continue to rise at a healthy pace, some consumers may simply be put to work. [CNN]

Visa Crypto Cards Hit $2.5 Billion in Volume in the First Fiscal Quarter of 2022

Significant is Visa’s announcement that its crypto card usage hit $2.5 billion in its most recent quarter. This figure represents 70% of the company’s crypto volume for all of fiscal 2021, meaning the adoption of crypto-secured cards is growing significantly. Visa Chief Financial Officer Vasant Prabhu noted that card users treat their crypto-linked cards as general-purpose accounts, using them to make everyday purchases. The company recently added Coinbase, BlockFi, and Circle to its network of crypto wallet partners, increasing the total number of partners from 54 to over 65. [Investopedia]

The card processor revolution allows customers to pay by SMS

Credit card processor Revolution Payments has made SMS payments available to its gateway customers in the United States. The SMS payment solution supports credit cards and ACH payments. This is partly due to the growing popularity of businesses seeking alternative payments during the Covid pandemic. With a 98% open rate of text messages, businesses will get paid faster and more frequently. As a plus for customers accepting corporate or government credit cards, Revolution said, all B2B and B2G transactions are instantly upgraded to Tier II and Tier III interchange rates AKA Tier III processing, including including text-to-pay. Level III processing can reduce the interchange cost of accepting commercial cards by up to 40%. [PYMNTS]

Credit cards, car loans and mortgages are about to get more expensive and faster

Rates on everything from home loans to interest on savings are set to rise faster than experts predicted just weeks ago. The near-zero interest rates seen throughout the pandemic are on their way out. But where the Fed’s own December projections saw policymakers pricing in three rate hikes in 2022, Wall Street is bracing for a much more aggressive fight against inflation. By raising rates, the central bank increases borrowing costs, slows economic activity, and indirectly puts downward pressure on inflation. For the average American, Fed hikes mean higher interest rates on loans, credit card payments, and interest on savings accounts. Those with debt to pay will face more pressure to pay, but savers will start earning a bit more on their deposits. Rate hikes are the Fed’s best tool to rein in soaring prices. [Business Insider]

67% of retirees have credit card debt

When we think of consumer debt, it’s easy to assume that young people are the source. But in reality, many older Americans also carry their share of debt. In a recent survey by Clever, it was revealed that 76% of American retirees have some form of debt. And 67% of retirees have a balance on their credit cards that is not paid off. [The Motley Fool]

Square Afterpay Acquisition Closed, Sellers Can Now Offer BNPL

Square is launching a buy now, pay later product with Afterpay after its purchase from the latter company. This will allow Square sellers to offer Afterpay’s BNPL product and get more customers. Nearly 56% of US consumers have used a BNPL service, and young people, such as Gen Z and Millennials, make up 75% of BNPL users. Afterpay is available from February 1 for Square users, and sellers will be able to access Afterpay at no additional cost until May 10. [PYMNTS]

Use this Amex offer to save $100 on your next Delta flight

An attractive Amex offer made its way to a number of American Express accounts today. The offer, which is especially lucrative for Delta frequent flyers, provides targeted cardholders with up to $100 in statement credit after spending $400 or more on a Delta-operated flight booking when booked through AmexTravel.com. [The Points Guy]

Chase launches new option to “spend instantly” after opening a Chase card

Waiting for a new credit card to arrive in the mail seems inevitable after opening a new credit card. After all, the bank has to print a personalized card and mail it to you. What if there was a faster way? Maybe some sort of digital card for a digital wallet. Turns out the technology is available, and Chase is now using digital wallets to make it easy for new cardholders to start spending on a new card right after opening it. Chase aptly dubs this new feature “Spend Instantly”. Eligible Chase cardholders can start using a new Chase card right after it’s been approved by adding the new card to a digital wallet, like Apple Pay or Google Pay. [Forbes]

Citi signs multi-year private label credit card renewal with ExxonMobil

Citigroup’s retail credit unit and ExxonMobil signed a multi-year renewal of their credit card relationship and introduced an enhanced version of the oil company’s private label credit card. The renewal extends the 15-year credit card partnership between Citi and Exxon. The new card, called the Exxon Mobil Smart Card+, offers members savings of $0.12 per gallon on Synergy Supreme+ premium fuel and $0.10 per gallon on other Synergy fuel grades at Exxon and Mobil in the United States. Cardholders are also eligible to get 5% back as statement credit on in-store purchases and car washes at Exxon and Mobil stations for the first $1,200 spent on non-fuel related purchases per year . [Seeking Alpha]

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