The world of plastic never stands still. There’s an increase in mailed credit card offers, a survey finds that prepaid cards have oodles of fees, and the road to mobile wallets is pretty darn complicated. For your reading pleasure, here are a few highlights from the past week:
Competitive Credit Card Offers On the Rise with Better Economy
Are you getting tons of credit card offers again? If you have excellent credit, you probably are. This story suggests that one reason for the increase in offers is that banks now make more money from credit cards than debit cards. So that reality, plus an improving economy, may have been catalysts for this new bombardment of offers in your mailbox. Take your time, read the fine print, and don’t jump at every offer.
Bankrate.com Surveys Prepaid Cards, Finds Fees Galore
Bankrate recently surveyed 18 prepaid cards and found that two-thirds of the cards charged a monthly fee. This was just the beginning of the fee parade for many of the cards. Since it seems like prepaid cards are becoming more popular by the minute, this is a sobering reminder to proceed with caution if you plan to use a prepaid card.
Many Competing Paths on the Road to the Phone Wallet
Despite the predictions of the credit card’s imminent demise, a widespread transition to the phone wallet isn’t going to happen quickly. At this point, the reason has more to do with the merchants than with consumers’ reluctance to change. Most stores still don’t have the equipment required to let consumers pay via a phone tap. This isn’t surprising since many merchants still don’t have the needed equipment to process smart cards, either. But Visa, Mastercard and Discover have started pressuring merchants to upgrade equipment to accommodate smart cards. This story gives a good overview about where we stand with smart cards and with mobile wallets.
Pay Off Your Whole Credit Card Balance Each Month
Love the opening line of this post on The Simple Dollar: “Credit cards are like sharp knives. They’re wonderful tools, but they can damage you badly if you use them incorrectly.” All so true, too. This post encourages you to use your credit cards as long as you don’t go crazy and carry a balance. Read this for some good, solid advice.
JPMorgan Adding Prepaid Cards to Product Menu
This Marketwatch story points out reasons why mainstream lenders are jumping on the prepaid bandwagon. Among them, many kinds of prepaid cards are exempt from the new regulations that limit revenue from debit cards. JPMorgan’s new card is called Chase Liquid. The design of the card is quite appealing with a stream of water and stray droplets on a sea-blue background. But be aware that behind that lovely façade is a $4.95 monthly fee.
Image: 401k, via Flickr