Most consumers look for a minimum of four different features when deciding on a credit card, but some consider as many as six, according to a new study. Among the consumers living paycheck to paycheck, 82% say the safety measures taken are “very” or “extremely” important when determining preferences between different credit cards, and 74% say the same of rewards programs. Other top factors are customer service quality, cited by 64% of the consumers living paycheck to paycheck, and interest rates or fee applied, cited by 62%. Among the active users who are parents, 75% cite credit-building tools as a key factor when deciding between cards.
Inflation is Still Red Hot, and It’s Forcing the Federal Reserve into a New Game Plan
The Federal Reserve is paving the way for possible interest rate hikes next year, in an effort to contain stubbornly high inflation. At the conclusion of a two-day policy meeting Wednesday, the central bank announced plans to phase out its large-scale bond-buying program faster than initially planned. Ending the bond purchases earlier would give the Fed more flexibility to raise interest rates sooner, if necessary, to keep prices from spiraling out of control. The Fed is taking a harder line against inflation after consumer prices in November jumped 6.8% from a year ago, the largest increase in nearly four decades. [NPR]
Visa-Mastercard Payments Duopoly Has Staying Power
A threat to the Visa-Mastercard duopoly is that new fintech players bypass the networks altogether. So-called digital wallets allow consumers to pay merchants directly through bank transfers. These wallets accounted for 28% of e-commerce on average across North America and Europe, according to Worldpay. But consumers often load cards into their digital wallets rather than using direct bank transfers, meaning Visa and Mastercard still process the purchases. Meanwhile, fast-growing buy-now-pay-later upstarts give shoppers the option of breaking up their purchases into monthly instalments. That threatens credit cards, the traditional mainstay of Visa and Mastercard’s business. None of those risks are as terrifying as they seem. [Reuters]
Chase Launches Ink Premier Card With $1,000 Bonus, Unlimited 2% Cash Back
Chase added a brand-new business card to its Ink lineup and it’s a winner for big spenders. The new $195-annual-fee Chase Ink Business Premier comes with a generous welcome offer of $1,000 cash back on $10,000 in business purchases in the first three months of account opening. The card earns ongoing unlimited rewards of 2% cash back, but purchases of $5,000 or more will earn 2.5% cash back and travel booked though Chase Ultimate Rewards will earn 5% cash back, making it one of the more generous rewards rates currently available on a business card. The card is also Chase’s first “Pay In Full” card, meaning cardholders will either have to pay the balance in full each month, or opt-in to Chase’s Flex for Business payment plan and make fixed monthly payments towards the balance. This is a departure from most business credit cards which charge a variable APR each month to carry a balance.