Personal Finance

This Week In Credit Card News: Amazon Testing Venmo Payments; Mastercard Sees Growth Slow Due To Inflation

Amazon to Let Customers Pay with Venmo at Checkout

Amazon is rolling out a new option for customers to pay with Venmo. Select customers will see an option at checkout to pay for orders on Amazon and via the mobile app using the popular PayPal-owned payment service rather than using their credit cards. The option will be available to US customers by Black Friday. To use the new option, customers can add their Venmo as a payment method on the Amazon account page and then select Venmo at checkout. The move is the latest example of Amazon looking to expand its checkout payment options for customers. Last year, Amazon partnered with Affirm to offer a buy-now-pay-later function for some purchases over $50. [CNN]

Mastercard Spending Growth Slows as Firm Watches Inflation

Mastercard saw spending growth slow to its lowest level in more than a year as the company said it’s watching the impact of inflation and other geopolitical risks on its business. Mastercard and its rivals have seen smaller increases in spending as inflation soars and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hinders economic growth globally. Payment companies are also facing tough comparisons to a year ago, when purchase volumes jumped as economies reopened following pandemic-related lockdowns. [Bloomberg]

Medical Debt Is Forcing 42% of Americans to Only Make Their Minimum Credit Card Payments

It’s easy to assume that medical debt is a problem mostly reserved for the uninsured. But actually, plenty of people with health insurance, even good insurance, end up with medical debt. Between high deductibles and out-of-network charges, it’s easy enough to rack up thousands of dollars in healthcare bills. Meanwhile, medical debt can be more than just stressful. It can also impact other financial decisions you make. In a recent Discover survey, 36% of those with medical debt stopped putting money into emergency savings due to having healthcare bills to tackle, while 27% stopped paying other bills. And 42% were forced to only make their minimum monthly credit card payments due to having medical debt. [The Motley Fool]

Synchrony Q3 Delinquencies Hint at Paycheck-to-Paycheck Consumer Pressures

Synchrony Financial differs from the other players because it offers the private label card that tend to be an option favored by consumers with relatively lower credit scores. Synchrony’s latest supplemental results show that its delinquency rate was 3.28% compared to 2.42% last year, and its 90-plus delinquency rate was 1.43% compared to 1.05% last year. What remains to be seen is how consumers juggle those balances, which in Synchrony’s latest filings were up 8% to an average $1,268 per account. [PYMNTS]

Many Young People Prefer ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ to Credit Cards. Here’s Why

Across generations, nearly 60% of consumers say they prefer buy now, pay later over credit cards due to the ease of set payments, the simple approval process and lack of interest charges, according to a PYMNTS survey. One reason young people in particular are drawn to buy now, pay later payment plans is because many watched their parents struggle with credit card debt amid the 2008 economic recession. Transparency about how long it will take to pay off a big-ticket purchase is also key for Gen Z and millennial consumers. [CNBC]

Cash Is Out, Credit Cards Are In After the Pandemic

Real people carry credit cards. Non-people, a subspecies of the American customer, are without. Today, there are more of these non-people because one of the lasting effects of the Covid pandemic is that cash is out, and plastic is in. Many hotels, airlines and even coffee shops have gone cashless. Ostensibly, this is because it is healthier. Truthfully, they don’t want to be bothered. Cash is a problem; credit is easier. This caused me to wonder again about the legions of Americans who don’t have credit cards. If we have a recession, which now seems inevitable, there will be more people without credit and immobilized by the post-Covid realities of the plastic-favored world. Cash on hand won’t save them. They are the unbanked, a lesser order of our citizenry. [The Post and Courier]

U.S. Consumer is Soldiering on Despite Soaring Inflation and Recession Risk, Credit Card Giants Say

U.S. consumers have demonstrated a willingness to continue to pay higher prices in the face of a sluggish economy that could be tipped into a recession, according to credit card giants American Express and Bank of America. American Express said overall customer spending jumped 21% year over year, driven by growth in goods and services as well as travel and entertainment. The demand for travel is particularly resilient as Americans make up for postponed trips due to the pandemic. Consumers are also splurging on food and entertainment after pandemic lockdowns eased. American Express said its travel and entertainment segment saw spending climb 57% from a year ago with volumes in its international markets surpassing pre-pandemic levels for the first time in the third quarter. [CNBC]

How Neobanks Are Helping Consumers Game Credit Scoring

About one in six Americans has a credit score below 619, according to the CFPB. Another 23% have too thin a credit file to score or no file at all. That puts them in a credit trap: to build credit, these consumers need someone to give them a line of credit with which they can demonstrate good financial habits. But with scores that low, few lenders are prepared to offer them anything. Neobanks say they can solve the problem through a new twist on secured credit cards. But regulators are already scrutinizing their offerings. [Protocol]

CFPB’s Funding Unconstitutional, Court Rules

A federal appeals court ruled that the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s funding apparatus is unconstitutional, faulting a system Democrats designed to insulate the agency from requiring congressional appropriations. The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the CFPB’s independent funding through the Federal Reserve rather than budgets passed by Congress violated the separation of powers principles in the U.S. Constitution. [Reuters]

The Number of Americans Without a Bank Account Drops to Lowest Level in More than a Decade

The number of American households that were unbanked last year dropped to its lowest level since 2009, a dip due in part to people opening accounts to receive financial assistance during the pandemic. Roughly 4.5% of U.S. households, or 5.9 million, didn’t have a checking or savings account with a bank or credit union in 2021, a record low, according to a recent FDIC survey. Roughly 45% of households that received a stimulus payment, jobless benefits or other government assistance after the start of the pandemic in March, 2020 said those funds helped compel them to open an account. [USA Today]

Crypto Company to Issue Visa Debit Card

Visa is opening its payment network to another major crypto firm a day after reporting earnings that topped estimates. This newest card from, which will be issued through fintech platform Marqeta, comes with no fees and allows users to earn 1% back in crypto. The move follows a long-term trend of crypto companies working to make it easier for customers to use their digital asset investments to pay for real world goods and services. Initially rolling out to U.S. customers with plans to expand to Europe by early next year, said its customer account-linked debit card already has 50,000 signups for its waitlist. [Yahoo Finance]

CFPB Addresses ‘Junk Data’ in Credit Reports

The CFPB recently issued an advisory opinion to consumer reporting companies about their obligation to prevent obviously false “junk data” from appearing on consumers’ credit reports. The opinion states that companies must take steps to reliably detect and remove logically inconsistent data from consumers’ credit reports such as information that is obviously impossible. [Consumer Finance Monitor]

Greenlight Launches Family Cash Card, Offers Parents Up to 3% Cashback on Everyday Purchases

Greenlight, the fintech company that’s on a mission to help teach children about personal finance, has introduced a new credit card specifically for parents. The Greenlight Family Cash Card allows parents to earn rewards and save for their family’s future by offering up to 3% cash back on all purchases and the option to automatically invest rewards in stocks and ETFs, all for no annual fee. It originally launched in May with a waitlist, but is now available to the general public. [CNBC]

Inflation Relief Debit Cards to Be Sent Out to Californians

Debit cards with inflation relief payments will be mailed out to millions of Californians starting Monday and should arrive in mailboxes over the next few weeks to help ease the pain of increased prices. The California “Middle Class Tax Refund” program aims to soften the blow of rising inflation through a one-time payment, ranging from $400 to $1,050 for couples who filed jointly on their 2020 state income tax return and $200 to $700 for those who filed independently. [The Los Angeles Times]

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