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This Week In Credit Card News: A No-Interest Credit Card; How ChatGPT Could Be Used In The Card Industry

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TD Bank’s No-Interest Credit Card: Niche Product or Trendsetter?

TD Bank is offering a new credit card called TD Clear that charges exactly 0% on revolving balances. This is not a loss leader. Neither is this a charge card, like the traditional American Express Green Card, which requires monthly repayment unless the cardholder taps a special credit line. Instead of charging interest, TD Bank assesses a monthly fee in exchange for providing a bare bones credit line. For $10 per month, consumers can obtain a $1,000 line with a $45 minimum monthly payment. For $20 per month, the cardholder gets a $2,000 credit limit, with a $70 minimum payment. [The Financial Brand]

American Express Unveils Plans to Use Services Like ChatGPT to Decide Whether Customers Qualify for Loans

American Express is planning to use artificial intelligence to decide whether or not to approve customers for credit cards. The financial services giant said it would use the controversial technology to decide whether to give customers the green light for lines of credit, and to analyze feedback from users and even respond to people on social media. [Daily Mail]

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Americans Are Using ChatGPT to Shop for New Credit Cards

It seems like people are using ChatGPT for just about everything nowadays, and that even includes financial advice. More than half (54%) of American adults said they used it to recommend financial products, according to a ChatGPT study by The Motley Fool Ascent. The most common type of financial advice people asked for was help finding a new credit card. Of those surveyed, 26% said that they had used ChatGPT to recommend a credit card. [The Motley Fool]

Americans Owe Nearly $1 Trillion in Credit Card Debt

Americans are carrying roughly $988 billion in credit card debt, the Federal Reserve reported this month, the highest amount ever. Card debt has increased close to $250 billion since April 2021 when it reached $740 billion. The average interest rate on existing cards was 20.92% in the first quarter of 2023, according to Wallet Hub, the highest since the Federal Reserve began tracking such information in 1994. For new credit card offers, annual percentage rates averaged 22.15% in the first quarter of 2023, up from 18.32% during the same period last year. Nearly half (46%) of cardholders are carrying a balance from month to month, Bankrate reported, up from 39% a year prior. [CNet]

More Than One in Three Adults Used Credit Cards or Loans to Cover Basic Living Expenses

As consumer spending started to recover and inflation swelled, revolving debt has been climbing steadily and is now nearing pre-pandemic levels. Unfortunately, at the same time credit card balances rose, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates 10 times in a bid to rein in inflation. This combination of high interest rates and rising costs has put American households in a challenging position. Now, nearly 70% of people report they are finding it difficult to pay for basic living expenses—and as of February 2023, 37% of adults nationwide said they used credit cards to cover basic living expenses. [Crow River Media]

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Americans Are Spending Big with Credit Cards. Here’s What That Means for the Possibility of a Recession

Economists have been forecasting a recession for months, and that looming downturn is one of the most anticipated in U.S. history. But it’s not yet materialized, in part due to strong consumer spending. “Consumer spending represents more than half of the economy,” said Curt Long, chief economist at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions. “So if consumer spending is strong, that alone is, generally speaking, enough to keep the economy from slipping into a recession.” In the first quarter of 2023, gross domestic product grew at a 1.1% rate compared to the previous quarter. This modest level of growth is an improvement from mid-2022 GDP figures, which initially brought recession fears to light. [CNBC]

FTC Approves Final Order Requiring Mastercard to Stop Blocking the Use of Competing Debit Payment Networks

Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission finalized a consent order settling charges that Mastercard used illegal business tactics to force merchants to route debit card payments through its payment network. Under the FTC’s order, Mastercard will have to start providing competing networks with customer account information that these networks need to process debit payments. The Durbin Amendment requires banks to enable at least two unaffiliated networks on every debit card, thereby giving merchants a choice of which network to use for a given debit transaction. It also bars payment card networks from inhibiting merchants from using other networks. The FTC alleged that Mastercard violated the law by setting policies that effectively blocked merchants from routing ecommerce transactions using Mastercard-branded debit cards saved in ewallets to alternative payment card networks. [Federal Trade Commission]

Only 16% of Americans Support the U.S. Adopting a Central Bank Digital Currency, 68% Would Oppose if Gov’t Could See What You Buy

Only 16% of Americans support the U.S. government adopting a Central Bank Digital Currency or “CBDC,” according to the new Cato Institute 2023 CBDC National Survey Report. The national survey found that twice as many Americans (34%) oppose adopting a CBDC, while 49% don’t yet have an opinion. Strong majorities of Americans would oppose adopting a CBDC if it meant that the government could control what people spend their money on (74%), that the government could monitor their spending (68%), that a CBDC would lead to the abolishment of all U.S. cash (68%), or that the government could freeze the digital bank accounts of political protesters (59%). [CATO Institute]

Credit Card Spending in April Declined for the First Time Since February 2021, Says Bank of America Data

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In April, total card expenditure per household was down 1.2% year on year, as measured by Bank of America aggregated credit and debit cards. This follows the trend seen in consumer prices. The credit card data captured by Bank of America marked the first decline in card spending since February 2021. A reduction in household credit card spending might signal that consumer demand is softening. [Benzinga]

Bank of America Must Face Class Action over 2020 Benefit Card Fraud

Bank of America must face cardholder allegations that it bungled its response to unauthorized transactions on unemployment and disability benefits cards in California during the pandemic. U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns said benefits recipients can move forward with a proposed class action lawsuit claiming the bank violated state law by issuing cards to millions of Californians that lacked standard security measures. The cardholders also claim Bank of America broke federal law by failing to investigate fraud claims or summarily freezing tens of thousands of accounts. [Reuters]

Bed Now Pay Later. Airbnb Partners With Klarna on Payments

Airbnb has announced new partnerships with Stripe and Klarna aimed at beefing up its payments offerings, including new buy now, pay later options. Its new partnership with Klarna will allow users in the U.S. and Canada pay for bookings in four interest-free installments over six weeks. For bookings over $500, guests in the U.S. can apply to pay monthly. More markets will be added throughout the year. [CU Today]

Consumers, Businesses Gravitate to Faster, Mobile Payments

The use of mobile and faster payment services by consumers and businesses in the U.S. is rising as those services become more widely available. In the consumer research, 67% of U.S. household decision-makers surveyed last year said they mainly use online and mobile services for their banking needs and rarely or occasionally visit a bank branch, up from 63% in 2021 and 61% in 2020. Faster payment use rose to 75% last year, up from 68% in 2021 and 62% in 2020. For its business research, which included surveying 2,000 companies of all sizes, the Fed said 83% already use some form of faster payments and 90% expect to be using them within three years. The businesses mainly use those speedier payments because they’re lower cost and provide flexibility, they said last year. [Payments Dive]

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Source: Fox Business

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