Credit card users enjoyed a bounty of rewards in 2018 as issuers launched new products with attractive incentives. But there was a downside: Rising interest rates made carrying credit card debt more expensive. What’s ahead? Here are five credit card trends to look for:
More dining and entertainment rewards
In 2018, Wells Fargo launched a card that offers triple points on such things as dining out, ordering in, travel, transit and streaming services. Capital One also began offering additional rewards in the dining and entertainment categories on a couple of its cards. We can expect to see more issuers try to get in on that action as long as the strong economy continues.
More co-branded retail cards
If your favorite store still doesn’t have its own co-branded credit card, there’s a good chance that it will before 2019 is over. Over the past 12 months, we saw even more retailers offering co-branded credit cards, including Ikea and Starbucks. Such cards can be lucrative for the merchant. Consumers should be mindful of the fees and high interest rates associated with many store-branded cards.
More credit card spending
As more merchants eliminate cash as a payment option, consumers will continue to increase their credit card usage as a proportion of their overall spending. Some businesses, especially restaurants that cater to lunch crowds, say going cashless can save them time and money. They don’t need to count cash at the end of the day, and transactions at the register often move more quickly.
More contactless options
A growing number of consumers are using contactless cards, and even more will do so this year. More card issuers are adding such options to their cards: Chase said it will offer contactless payment on all of its Visa credit and debit cards by the end of the year, and others, such as Capital One, already do so on many cards. For consumers who enjoy convenience and speed, that’s something to look forward to.
Higher interest rates
If you are carrying credit card debt, make a plan to pay it off as soon as possible in 2019. Interest rates are expected to continue to rise this year, meaning debt could become more expensive to carry as the year goes on. If credit card debt is a concern, focus less on the flashy rewards your cards may offer and more on ways to pay down your balances.