Credit card news roundup, holiday edition
It’s a busy time of year, so here in a very quick read is a news digest comprising four stories that haven’t been covered in the main IndexCreditCards.com news blog.
Credit card giving boosted by Capital One
‘Tis the season for charitable giving, so first up is Capital One, which recently reminded its customers of its donations website, www.capitalone.com/give. Generally, credit card companies deduct interchange fees from charitable donations, which means that up to 5 percent of any gift made using plastic goes into issuers’ coffers. But for those using this site, Capital One waives its fees, and 100 percent of your donation reaches the good cause of your choice.
You can search the site’s 1.2 million-strong database for the charity of your choice by name, type of cause or zip code, and you can also redeem points from Capital One rewards cards to make your donation. As Katya Andresen, the chief strategy officer at Network for Good, remarked in a press release:
While offline giving has declined through the economic downturn, online giving is on the rise and people are looking for easy, convenient and cost-effective ways to be generous. The Giving Site is a great tool for consumers and we are thrilled that Capital One is getting extra money to charities at a time when every penny counts.
Too busy to shop? American Express takes it on for you
If you’re lucky enough to have The Platinum Card® from American Express, your holiday shopping just got a whole lot easier. That’s because the concierge service that comes with that particular card is offering to do all the legwork for you.
All you have to do is send a list of the gifts you require, and the concierge team will research your options, find you the best price, buy what you want on your card, and then make sure the items are delivered in time for Christmas.
Store credit cards in decline
The amount people spent on “private-label” (store and similarly branded) credit cards plummeted by 14.4 percent to $183 billion in 2010, according to a study conducted by Packaged Facts and reported in Marketing Daily on Nov. 30.
Meanwhile the “receivables” (the total credit card debt outstanding) on private-label plastic fell even further, down 18 percent during last year. Much of this may be down to credit card companies “charging off” debt (writing it off their books and passing it on to collection agencies), though the dollar volume spent on this sort of card was also down.
This may well be a good thing. Although private-label plastic often comes with tempting discounts and exclusive offers, mainstream credit card interest rates tend to be lower than those for store cards, and the latter are frequently an expensive form of credit card debt.
It’s generally better to use low interest credit cards— rather than store cards or rewards credit cards — for purchases that you won’t be paying down quickly.
Record-breaking online holiday shopping
ComScore, a research company specializing in the digital world, is tracking online holiday spending. And 2011 is proving to be a bumper year. Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 4, online spending reached $19.57 billion, 15 percent up on the same period in 2010. On Cyber Monday (Nov. 28) alone, it reached over $1.25 billion, 22 percent more than that day last year.
This is almost certainly good news for credit card companies. More and more people are recognizing the superior statutory protections offered to consumers by credit cards — as opposed to debit, gift and prepaid cards — and these can be especially valuable online. So the more people shop on the web, the more the turnover of card issuers is likely to rise.
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