Consumer Payments

A new study has found that cash and checks now account for only 45% of consumers’ monthly payments, down from 57% in 2001, and 49% in 2003. Surprisingly, gift cards now account for 4% of all in-store purchases, up from 2% in 2003. Also, the percent of consumers who indicate using gift/prepaid cards to make…

Carded Americans

The total number of U.S. payment cards-in-force rose 9% at mid-year topping 926 million, setting the pace to pass the one billion milestone in mid 2006. A recently concluded CardWeb.com poll revealed that 52% of Americans carry three or more credit cards. As of June 30th, there were 682.2 million credit cards and 243.8 million…

Gift Cards & Xmas

Americans expect to spend an average of $248 on gift cards during the upcoming holiday season, an increase from $223 in 2004 and $183 in 2003. A new survey shows that 70% have either purchased or received a gift card and of the 30% who have not, one-quarter say they are likely to make a…

Simplicity MasterCard

Citibank wants to untangle the hassles surrounding modern credit cards by waiving its $39 late fees and providing direct access to customer reps. The new “Citi Simplicity MasterCard” will not charge a late fee for cardholders who make a purchase or cash advance in each billing period. The card also offers points with purchases through…

Nitro Card

Shell Oil and Citibank added more octane to their MasterCard to attract new cardholders. Consumers applying for the “Shell MasterCard” through January 15th will earn triple rebates on their purchases. The triple Shell rebates will apply for the first 60 days. Additionally, new cardholders will earn triple rebates on the first $100 spent at Jiffy…

Fee-Free Card

The fee frenzy that swept the credit card industry since 1996 has now created a marketing opportunity. American Express this week introduced a new free credit card devoid of any fees including late fees, over-limit fees and balance transfer fees. However, cardholders who make two late payments within a twelve-month period may be subject to…

PIN or SIG?

A new study has determined that the use of a PIN to authorize debit card purchases is about 15 times more secure than signature debit card transactions. However, this has little direct impact on consumers since the major card networks stand behind signature debit card transactions. Nevertheless, the study commissioned by the PULSE EFT Association…

Cost Shifting

A big battle is brewing between merchants and the payment card industry that may lead to higher costs and the loss of perks and rewards for consumers. Merchants say they are fed up with the rising fees they must pay to take credit cards and have headed to the courts for help. At the same…

Aug Debt

The $800 billion milestone for U.S. consumer revolving credit is fast approaching despite the siphoning off by refinancing and home equity loans. Revised figures released last week show that revolving consumer credit did not pass the $800 billion mark in June and July. Nevertheless, Americans held $798 billion in revolving credit for August. According to…

One Card

Given the negative personal savings rate for the U.S., another credit card company has come up with a way to encourage consumers to put something away for a rainy day. American Express has launched a credit card that generates cash rewards automatically swept into a savings account. The new “American Express One” card also features…