Credit Cards "End of an ERA"

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Replied by eugene66 on topic Re: Credit Cards "End of an ERA"

The big banks for the last couple of years were dropping all types of affinity credit cards from their websites because there were a few i tried to apply for from Chase last year and they were discontinued.

Bank of America has so many co-branded cards that it could be hard to tell what they dropped and what they kept but I believed that most if not all their affinity cards were acquired from the merger with MBNA.

Citibank dropped a few and renamed a few of their cards to reflect the changes to them but grandfathered certain cards.
9 years 4 months ago #1

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"Card Issuers Retreat From Niche Plastic"
Wall Street Journal by author Robin Sidel, March 22, 2010

Credit-card companies are pulling the plug on some of the specialized, rewards-loaded plastic they pitched to consumers when credit was easy and wallets were wide open.

Next week, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. will drop the Starbucks Duetto Visa card after it failed to attract enough customers to make the credit card financially viable for the New York bank. J.P. Morgan recently terminated credit-card deals with beauty retailer Avon Products Inc., the University of Maryland, the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League, and the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association.

Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., also among the giants of the U.S. credit-card industry, are reducing the number of niche-appeal cards. Bank of America, of Charlotte, N.C., now has about 4,400 affinity cards, typically pitched through college alumni associations, social groups and charities, down from 5,000.

"Issuers are taking a long, hard look at what they're offering and focusing on getting [the] best cards into [the] best customer hands," said Megan Bramlette, a managing associate at Auriemma Consulting Group, a financial-services consulting firm that specializes in credit cards and other payment forms.

When times were good, card issuers made it easy for Americans to fill their pockets with plastic stamped with the label or logo of retailers, colleges and professional associations. Such cards typically lure customers with rewards programs, rebates and discounts. Most cards can be used anywhere, but the rewards-related goodies are tied to the brand that is emblazoned on the plastic.

Co-branded and affinity cards have become too expensive as credit-card companies try to reduce expenses amid the surge in late payments and delinquencies by card users. Issuers usually pay partner firms or groups an upfront fee and percentage of profits throughout the term of the contract.

Banks also fund the bulk of rewards programs and maintain customer accounts.

The retreat by J.P. Morgan Chase's unit is part of an effort to stem card-related losses that are expected to haunt the company for the rest of this year. Chase now has about 110 co-branded credit cards, down from more than 200, and expects to eliminate more cards this year.

The Starbucks Duetto card, offered with coffee company Starbucks Corp., generated lots of buzz when it was introduced in 2003 because customers could use it either as a traditional credit card anywhere or turn it into a prepaid card by loading money onto it and using it at Starbucks.

"It was difficult to get the type of scale behind the program that we wanted," said Gordon Smith, who runs J.P. Morgan's credit-card business. "It was innovative and creative, but if these cards are small, there isn't much earnings power for the partner or the bank."

Chase is keeping its most successful partner cards, including those offered with Continental Airlines Inc. and Marriott International Inc. The bank also recently entered a new card partnership with Hyatt Hotels Corp.

Analysts said such cards are among the most successful specialized cards because customers typically have solid credit histories and often use them for the bulk of their spending in order to receive free trips and hotel stays.

:present: Another sign that the end of an era is upon us. :pumpkin1: Credit lovers... no more coffee!
9 years 4 months ago #2

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