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Card Demand At Record Levels; Crypto-Linked Cards Are Flourishing

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Borrowing Is Back as Sign-Ups for Auto Loans, Credit Cards Hit Records

Americans are borrowing again, in some cases at levels not seen in more than a decade. According to Equifax, consumer demand for auto loans and leases, general-purpose credit cards and personal loans was up 39% in April compared to year ago levels. It was also up 11% compared with April 2019. Equifax said lenders bumped up credit card originations, issuing more general-purpose credit cards than any other March on record since Equifax started tracking data in 2010. [The Wall Street Journal]

Visa Says Spending on Crypto-Linked Cards Topped $1 Billion in First Half This Year

Visa said its customers spent more than $1 billion on its crypto-linked cards in the first half of this year, as the payments processor takes steps to make crypto transactions smoother. The company said it was partnering with 50 cryptocurrency platforms to make it easier for customers to convert and spend digital currencies at 70 million merchants worldwide. In March, the company announced it will allow the use of the USD Coin to settle transactions on its payment network. [Reuters]

Visa and BlockFi Launch 2% Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card

BlockFi launched its first-ever crypto rewards credit card, in conjunction with Visa, to approved clients in the United States. BlockFi’s plans for a credit card were initially disclosed in December 2020 when the exchange released a waiting list for US-based clients, which is now over 400,000 people. The new offering provides clients with a simple way to acquire bitcoin without having to pay fees or navigate the sometimes-complicated onboarding processes at exchanges. [Forbes]

The Best Credit Card Combos: Maximize Rewards and Cash Back for Every Dollar You Spend

Most people would love to just use one credit card for all purchases. However, no credit card currently offers all of the perks and rewards needed to make it the one card to rule them all. Instead, the best way to maximize the return on your purchases is by curating a credit card portfolio. By using the right combination of cards, you can earn the highest amount of rewards on every type of purchase you make. Here are some of the best two- and three-card combos that can help you maximize the return on every dollar you spend. [CNBC]

Verizon Jumps into the Increasingly Crowded Teen Card Market

Verizon has launched Family Money, a prepaid card on the Galileo platform issued through Metropolitan Commercial Bank. The goal is to help provide a tool for parents to help their children learn financial management skills at an early age. Parents link their checking account to the Family Money app which creates the means to load funds onto their kids’ cards. The card comes with card controls that can block certain transaction types and establishes spending limits. A savings account is also a part of the service. The cost is $5.99 per month for up to five prepaid cards. [Payments Journal]

Wells Fargo Tells Customers It’s Shuttering All Personal Lines of Credit

Wells Fargo bank is shutting down all existing personal lines of credit in the coming weeks and no longer offers the product. The product, which typically gave users $3,000 to $100,000 in revolving credit lines, was pitched as a way to consolidate higher-interest credit card debt, pay for home renovations or avoid overdraft fees on linked checking accounts. [CNBC]

Emirates Rolls Out Instant Direct Payment Method for Travel Bypassing Credit Card Issuers

Emirates is rolling out a way for travelers to pay for tickets directly from their bank accounts into the airline’s bank account via an industry-run system. The move comes as many travel companies are eager to push consumers away from credit and debit card payments as cheaper options become commercially available. Emirates Pay lets consumers in Germany and the UK purchase tickets at the airline’s website by directly debiting their bank accounts. [Skift]

American Express Expands Digital Receipts with Increased Purchase Details

American Express has announced expanding the feature of Digital Receipts to provide card members who shop on Amazon increased purchase information about their recent orders with the retailer. With more people shopping online, Digital Receipts gives U.S. card members access to additional information about their purchases with specific merchants. Amex is enabling card members using the new Digital Receipts for Amazon purchases to see detailed information on their order including the specific items purchased, the order number and even delivery details. [IBS Intelligence]

East Bay Assemblymember’s Bill Would Regulate Booming Debt Settlement Industry

The booming debt settlement industry is composed largely of online companies that promise to reduce personal debt by negotiating with banks and credit card companies on the customer’s behalf. But consumer advocates point out that these companies often prey on financial desperation and fail to warn customers of the potential consequences, like ending up in court. California lawmakers are now considering legislation that would more tightly regulate the industry after largely overlooking personal debt from credit cards and loans in pandemic-era legislation focused on relieving rental and utility debt. The bill is reviving a perennial debate in the Capitol over whether alternative financial services—-like payday loans, debt settlement, and credit repair—-are financial predators or a needed lifeline for Californians with little or poor credit. [East Bay Times]

I’m Tired of Being Asked to Front Thousands in Business Expenses on my Personal Credit Card

Employers should not be floating operating expenses on their employees’ backs, no matter how much those employees earn, or how they spend it. Your paycheck is not a slush fund for your employer to dip into to keep its books balanced. No employee should be asked or even subtly pressured to do the same for management’s convenience. What if reimbursement is delayed and the employee has to pay interest? What if the expense isn’t approved for reimbursement, or the company suffers a catastrophic (cough-pandemic-cough) setback?  [The Washington Post]

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How to Build Credit Without a Credit Card – MoneyWise.com

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How to Build Credit Without a Credit Card  MoneyWise.com

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Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card? – MoneyWise.com

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Can You Buy Crypto With a Credit Card?  MoneyWise.com

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Ask Gareth Shaw: ‘I’m scared I’ll get rejected for credit card because of mistakes I made in the past’

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‘Credit-builder’ cards can be used to demonstrate that you are a responsible borrower

Answer: Well done to you for getting back on your financial feet. Climbing your way out of debt is a marathon – it takes sacrifices and planning, so you’ve taken some really important steps in your financial journey.

The good news is that the negative information – the records of missed payments, defaults and even county court judgments – won’t stay on your credit report forever. Details of your late payments can be viewed for six years after they were settled. Searches and rejections of credit typically disappear after 12 months. So this dark cloud won’t hang over you forever.

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Before we talk about applying for credit again, there are steps you can take to improve your credit health. Firstly, you should review your credit reports and make sure there are no errors that could be holding your score back. You can get your credit report for free from each of the three credit reference agencies – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian – and can ask them to investigate errors. Lenders and credit reference agencies have 28 days to respond to disputes.

Registering to vote by getting on the electoral roll can boost your credit score, while you may even be able to add the record of your monthly rent payments to your credit score by asking your landlord to report rental payments to firms like The Rental Exchange, CreditLadder or Canopy.

Experian has launched a new tool that allows you to share information about your banking habits and subscriptions – information which is not traditionally factored into your credit score – in order to increase your score. That means paying your council tax or even paying for Netflix and Amazon Prime could give your score a boost.

If you still want a credit card, your choice is likely to be limited to a particular set of cards designed for people with poor or ‘thin’ credit histories. These are known as ‘credit-builder’ cards, or sometimes ‘bad credit’ cards.

These cards have higher interest rates compared to the most competitive products in the market, to reflect the risk that a lender is taking in by providing credit to someone with a history of repayment problems. You can expect to find an APR of around 29 per cent. They also have lower limits, so when you apply, don’t be surprised to find that the lender will initially only give you £250 to £500.

However, these cards can be used to demonstrate that you are a responsible borrower, can repay on time and stay within your credit limit.

Here’s the golden rule – avoid borrowing money on these credit cards. Purchases tend to be interest-free for 55 days, after which you’ll be charged a considerable amount of interest. So limit the use of these cards, and when you do use them, try to pay them off in full. If you don’t pay on time, you will lose any promotional offer, be hit with a fee and your provider will report your missed payment to the credit reference agencies, reversing any good work you might have done. Set up a direct debit to ensure that your minimum payments are met in advance of the credit card payment date.

When you apply, use an eligibility checker first. This will ask for some basic information and carry out a ‘soft search’ on your credit file, returning a list of cards and the probability of your application being successful. That would be a helpful guide to find a card that is likely to accept you.

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