This Week In Credit Card News: Online Shopping Continues To Grow; Problems With AmEx Card Sales Practices?

News

Federal Investigators Probing AmEx Card Sales Practices

Federal investigators are probing business card sales practices at American Express. The inspectors general offices of the Treasury Department, FDIC and Federal Reserve are investigating whether AmEx used aggressive and misleading sales tactics to sell cards to business owners and whether customers were harmed. They are also examining whether specific employees contributed to the alleged behavior and if higher-level employees supported it. [The Wall Street Journal]

Retail’s Online Future Grows Brighter after Pandemic Bump

Online shopping has been a lifeline for many as the virus pandemic shuttered stores and kept people at home. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the change in how people shop in a world growing more comfortable and savvier with technology. Online sales are likely going to take up a progressively bigger portion of all retail sales in coming years. E-commerce sales are forecast to account for just over 15% of all retail sales in the fourth quarter of last year, and the share is likely to reach nearly 17% by the end of this year. [Associated Press]

Petal Cardholders Can Win Up to $500 by Paying More Than Their Minimum Balance

If you’re a Petal card member who’s carrying a balance, you’re incurring interest charges every month that can add up fast. Petal just announced a new promotion where you can qualify to win a statement credit of up to $500. All you need to do to enter the contest is pay at least a penny more than the minimum balance on your December 2020 Petal Card billing statement between now and January 26. Petal will reward the prize to 100 card members, selecting 50 in January and another 50 in February. [CNBC]

Green Dot Introduces GO2bank To Help Cash-Strapped Consumers

Green Dot is rolling out the mobile bank GO2bank to assist people who are living paycheck to paycheck. About 7.1 million U.S. households were unbanked in 2019. Further, almost 12% had to rely on pricey cashier checks, money orders and bill pay services. GO2bank features as much as $200 overdraft protection, high-value rewards, high-interest savings and opportunities to establish, build and track credit, regardless of credit history. GO2bank also gives ease of access to more than 90,000 retail distribution locations nationwide, giving people the ability to conveniently deposit money and to get paid up to two days early. [PYMNTS]

MORE FOR YOU

Senator Durbin, Don’t Hurt Consumers By Making Credit Cards More Expensive

Senator Dick Durbin recently said that “anticompetitive practices in the debit card industry are hurting American consumers and merchants.” He’s absolutely right. But those anticompetitive practices are coming from Congress itself. Sen. Durbin himself—responsible for the Durbin Amendment in a 2010 financial reform law—is the source of much of the extremely costly regulation that hurts everyday consumers and low-income depositors. [Inside Sources]

From Door Hangers To Credit Cards, How Girl Scouts Are Getting Creative To Sell Cookies

Girl Scout cookie sales are taking different forms as the coronavirus pandemic continues in 2021. They are making digital cookie commercials, doing door hangers, and finding new ways to connect with their customers. While online sales and payments have been available for several years, you’re likely to see more scouts taking credit cards via a mobile app this year instead of the traditional cash or check options. [WVXU]

Here’s What You Need to Know About Stimulus Debit Cards

Lawmakers finally settled on a $900 coronavirus relief bill to follow late March’s CARES Act. It includes, among other provisions, rental assistance, boosted unemployment benefits, and a second round of direct stimulus payments worth $600 apiece. Most recipients with bank account details on file with the IRS will receive their money via direct deposit, similar to the first round. But others, including those without bank account details on record, will need to either wait for a physical check to arrive in the mail, or wait for a debit card. Here’s what you need to know about the latter. [The Motley Fool]

Navy Accepts Debit Cards to Pay Tuition Assistance Debts for the First Time

A new U.S. Navy program streamlines methods for repayment of tuition assistance debts, allowing use of debit cards and electronic funds transfers. Previously, the agency only accepted repayment of back tuition assistance debts only by cashier’s checks, money orders or payroll deductions. That process could take up to 45 days to complete, keeping service members from applying for additional courses. The new process allows payment by debit card, electric funds transfer or use of PayPal if it is linked to a bank account, and can be executed on mobile devices or computers. [UPI]

Mastercard Stock Gets Two Upgrades Because Travel Will Rebound Sharply

How much will a cross-border travel recovery be worth to Mastercard’s stock? That was the rationale behind a couple of upgrades of the stock on Wednesday. Cross-border revenue is one of the largest and most profitable businesses for both Mastercard and Visa

V
. Revenue in that segment accounted for 25% to 30% of Mastercard’s revenue before the pandemic, and it took a nosedive last year, falling 53% in the second quarter of 2020 alone. But as with all “reopening” stocks, the end is now in sight as vaccines roll out worldwide and the global economy recovers. [Barron’s]

New Limited-Time Benefits Added to American Express Platinum Cards

Credit card issuers are continuing to make temporary additions to their travel credit cards to replace benefits that are mostly unusable at the moment. This week, American Express unveiled several new limited-time perks on The Platinum Card from American Express and The Business Platinum Card from American Express. From now through June 30, card members with the personal American Express Platinum can earn up to $180 in statement credits when paying with the card at eligible merchants through PayPal. These credits are available in $30 monthly portions during each of the first six months of the year. [CNN]

Wells Fargo to Expand Investment Bank as Scharf Sets Strategy

Wells Fargo, rarely seen as a major force in the world of trading and deal-making, aims to expand its investment bank in coming years. It’s part of a strategy Chief Executive Officer Charlie Scharf has been developing since taking over the troubled consumer and commercial banking giant 14 months ago. Inside Wells Fargo, managers say they intend to build a more commensurate presence on Wall Street by focusing on business lines and industries where it already has credibility. That would translate to providing more underwriting and merger advice to corporate clients, but also lending to hedge funds looking to ramp up bets. [Bloomberg]

Business Credit Cards with No Personal Guarantee

A personal guarantee makes you personally liable for any charges your business makes to the card. If you fall behind on payments and default, the credit card company can attempt to collect what’s owed from you, as well as the business. Personal guarantees can be limited or unlimited, in terms of how far liability can extend. No personal guarantee business credit cards do exist, though only a handful of card issuers offer them. That’s because credit card companies want to see that you have some skin in the game, so to speak, when extending credit. Finding business credit cards without personal guarantee requirements typically means looking beyond the usual business credit options. [Bankrate]

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