Discover LGBTQ scores a perfect 100 score alongside almost 700 other companies as “Best Place to Work” for equality. Nordstrom, Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Madewell are shifting retail to preloved clothes, shoes and handbags. GOP wants to revamp the Volcker Rule and continue gutting the CFPB. The Curve Mastercard with Apple Pay app takes shape.
Discover LGBTQ Rainbow Card Soars
The Human Rights Campaign’s Annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI) has given Discover a perfect 100. CEI is a national benchmarking survey and report that measures corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality and inclusion. Discover has ten Employee Resource Groups, which provides tools and resources to help employees connect, build communities at work, and foster an inclusive environment. PRIDE is the employee resource group supporting Discover’s LGBTQ community.
In recent years, the group helped lead marketing efforts behind Discover’s rainbow card design, known as the Discover it Pride Card. These efforts have led to an almost 5% increase in Pride Cards issued in 2019 as compared to 2018, according to Bankcenter.
Preloved Retail Stuff
National retailers have a new plan to attract customers: used clothing. Nordstrom, a 119-year old retailer, began selling secondhand apparel, shoes and accessories online and in its New York flagship store this month. It joins Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Madewell, among others, in carving out a place for used clothing, shoes and handbags alongside new ones. Secondhand sites such as ThredUp, Poshmark and the RealReal have become destinations as eco-friendly alternatives to fast fashion. As resale goes mainstream — the market is projected to triple in three years — department stores have become an unexpected next step to woo younger shoppers.
Senior Analyst Robert McKinley says the key to surviving brick-and-mortar retail is to shift to three departments: latest new retail stuff; older discounted items; and clean preowned stuff.
Killing Volker Rule Sets Stage for “Greater Recession”
Banks could invest heavily in or even sponsor venture capital funds under a proposed change to a post-crisis rule that was intended to limit their risk-taking. The proposal, unveiled by the Federal Reserve and other banking agencies, would revamp the Volcker Rule, which was created as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. The rule restricts banks like Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan from making risky bets with customer deposits and generally prevents firms from sponsoring or investing in private equity and hedge funds. Regulators tapped by President Trump have been steadily chipping away at post-crisis banking rules, according to CardBuzz.
GOP & High School Teacher Busting CFPB
The GOP continues on its path to destroy all things Obama and its crown jewel is to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Democrats are rallying around the consumer protection agency Congress created in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis as conservatives urge the Supreme Court to declare the regulator unconstitutional. The CFPB could be on the chopping block as the Supreme Court considers whether its unique structure violates the Constitution.
Mastercard Throws a Curve in Payments
Mastercard and the Curve banking platform which consolidates multiple cards and accounts into one smart card and even smarter app, now brings its customers Apple Pay. Curve simplifies and unifies the money management experience for customers with its unique ability to consolidate all bank cards into a single card and transfer transactions up to two weeks after a purchase was made with its go-back-in-time functionality. As soon as a customer sets up their Curve Mastercard with Apple Pay, it will work instantly with all cardholders’ bank and cards linked to their Curve app.
Curve for Apple Pay also enables 1% instant cashback, the ability to travel in time and change the account that you spent with, and great foreign exchange rates at millions of places around the world.
Intelligent Virtual Agents Handle Citi Biz Cards
Citi Commercial Cards has deployed an intelligent virtual agent (IVA) capability within its U.S. call centers leveraging technology from Interactions. The IVA solution leverages Interactions’ Adaptive Understanding technology, which provides a blend of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and real-time human understanding to provide the highest level of modernized customer care. With the support of humans, the IVA leverages advanced conversational AI to understand languages, accents and dialects as well as to make sense of a customer’s word choice and the respective intent based on the context of the call. With the implementation of the IVA, Citi’s Commercial Card cardholders can speak in their own words and be understood without concern for background noise.
Citi’s Commercial Cards business provides Travel, Purchase and Virtual cards solutions to institutional clients, including corporations, financial institutions and public sector entities. It has the largest proprietary network in the industry, with local issuance in over 60 countries, 45 unique currencies and 30 languages according and RAM Research and CardData.
Coming Up Payment Events
PYVNTS notes must-do payment events this month include: ATMIA U.S. Conference (Feb 11-13 in Houston); European Financial Forum (Feb 12 in Dublin); B2B Expo & Conference (Feb 13 in Berlin); Merchant Payments Ecosystem (Feb 18-20 in Berlin); eTail West (Feb 24-27 in Palm Springs: and BankTech (Feb 26-27 in Johannesburg).
Coming Up Payment Reports
PYRPTS reports U.S. Major Networks & Issuers Market Analysis, Performance & Trends – Quarterly Review (2015-2019) and Annual Historical & Forecast (2015-2025) [42 Parts + 310 Exhibits + 5005 Data Points + 500+ Pages] with be released in the U.S. on March 15 by RAM Research and internationally by Eberts.
Unsimple Card Shopping
There has never been the “ten best credit cards,” or even the “one best credit card” you gotta have, says payments expert Professor Cardworthy. Four decades ago there were two choices: “classic” and “gold.” To get a “gold” card with a minimum $5,000 credit line, you had top be making at least $25,000 per year. Googling “perfect credit card” you’ll get 630 million links or results and searching “best credit card” produces 4.4 billion results. Incidentally. The highest ranked credit card sites raked in between $150 and $200 per approved account by big issuers, according to Ruebud Media.
Card Rates Continue to Soar
The credit card APR spread between the rates charged across all accounts and the prime rate computed to 1012 basis points (bps) in the fourth-quarter (4Q/19). The average credit card rate charged by the nation’s Top 100 banks hit 14.87% in 4Q/19, down 23 bps from the prior quarter, but up 65 bps compared to 14.22% for 4Q/18. Since December 20, 2018 the prime rate has declined from 5.50% to 4.75%, according to figures gathered CardFlash and CardTrak.
During 2019 credit card rates charged by the nation’s Top 100 issuers across all accounts reported to the Federal Reserve were 15.09% in the first-quarter, 15.13% for second-quarter, 15.10% for the third-quarter, and 14.87% for the fourth-quarter.
Good Economy Extends Surprisingly
It appears the economy will continue to chug along at a heathy pace through the 2020 elections. Stable, or slightly increased, consumer confidence is the driving force. Consumer spending represents close to two-thirds of the U.S. economy. When personal wallets snap shut, economic growth shuts down, notes CardWeb and Robear’s List.
According to the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, consumer confidence increased for the second consecutive month in January, reports CardTrak.