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While Earth Week brought cool temperatures and surprise snow to parts of the U.S., credit card news continued to bloom. Apple, Capital One, and Discover all tended their card programs this week, which sprouted news of family-friendly features, more ways to use miles and cash back, and more.
This weekly credit card news roundup contains what you should know about the cards in your wallet, other available offers, and new product releases or reports that helped us shake off vaccination fatigue.
What’s the Lowdown?
Here’s what has caught our attention since April 16, 2021.
Apple Will Make Building Credit a Family Affair
The tech giant announced a new Apple Card feature on Tuesday, Apple Card Family, that will soon give families an opportunity to share a card account to build credit and help kids develop smart spending habits. The new feature may not be as flashy as the glam purple iPhone also teased this week, but it’s welcome. Until now, multiple people weren’t allowed to share one Apple Card account.
With Apple Card Family, two people can become co-owners on an account, which will allow them to share the credit limit and payment responsibility, and both reap credit history benefits from the account, like a traditional joint card account. Parents can invite children 13 or older to their Apple Card Family, which will let them use the card to start building spending habits. Don’t worry, mom and dad, you’ll be able to keep tabs on Junior’s card use and set purchase limits if you’d like. Cardholders who are at least 18 and part of an Apple Card Family can also opt-in to credit reporting, which will help fledglings build credit before they leave the nest for a card account of their own.
When Apple Card Family launches in May, two people who have separate Apple Card accounts will be able to merge their accounts into one that’s co-owned, with a higher shared credit limit, while hanging on to the lower APR.
Capital One Expands Mileage Transfer Program in Time for Travel Boom
As more travel dreams become reality, Capital One shared competitive updates to its Venture Rewards program with The Balance on Monday. The card issuer has added four new miles transfer partners—Choice Hotels, British Airways, TAP Air Portugal, and Turkish Airlines. The upgrade gives more options to cardholders who want to move Venture miles to a travel provider loyalty account. Capital One has also improved the transfer rate of several of its existing transfer partners.
Cardholders with Venture miles can now transfer their rewards to nine different loyalty programs at a 1-to-1 rate. Competing travel card programs such as American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards have long offered that transfer rate to their cardholders.
This transfer rate update not only makes the Venture Rewards program more competitive, but also helps travelers hang on to some of their rewards value. Before the improvement, cardholders only got 1 or 1.5 points for every 2 Venture miles transferred to a partner travel loyalty program.
Capital One has more travel program updates on its itinerary for 2021, too. It’s getting ready to open the first Capital One airport lounge at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW) later this summer, and a second in Virginia next year. We’re waiting to see how a previously teased Hopper partnership changes the travel booking portal experience later this year, too.
Discover Cardholders Can Now Plant Trees With Cash-Back Rewards
In the spirit of Earth Day 2021, Discover is offering cardholders an environmentally-friendly way to use rewards. The card issuer has partnered with Carbonfund.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping reduce and offset carbon emissions, to plant one tree for every $1 of cash back donated to the nonprofit.
Discover cardholders can donate their cash back to fund tree planting through the Discover mobile app, via their online account, or over the phone.
Discover is the third card issuer to announce a Mother Earth-friendly initiative this year. Aspiration unveiled its Aspiration Zero rewards card in March that plants trees with each swipe, and last week Mastercard debuted its carbon calculator to help consumers understand the environmental cost of each card purchase.
Unifimoney Jumps Into Hot Cryptocurrency Rewards Card Game
While the internet is twittering about Dogecoin and meme stocks, Unifimoney, an online investment management platform, has jumped on the cryptocurrency trend. The company announced Monday it has partnered with Railsbank to launch its Unifi Premier card in Q3 to Unifimoney customers, which will be a Visa Signature rewards card made from recycled ocean plastic. The card will offer cardholders cash-back rewards in cryptocurrency, precious metal, or equity investments.
There are very few details available about how this card will work, such as the rate of cash back each purchase will earn, interest rates, or fees, but the company’s press release indicates it will be well-suited for “high-income professionals.”
It’s not every day you hear about a card that will let you turn cash back into gold, but Unifimoney is one of several companies working on a cryptocurrency rewards card right now. BlockFi led the way with its announcement of the first Bitcoin rewards card in December, and Gemini said it will debut a cryptocurrency rewards card later this year.
What Else Is Happening?
- Wells Fargo Hit the Brakes on Propel Card Applications: Applications are currently closed for the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card. We noticed all webpages and references to the card were pulled off the Wells Fargo website on Monday, so we asked about it. The bank told us it has paused some card applications while it re-evaluates its offers. The Propel card was a very competitive no-annual-fee cash-back card, offering cardholders good earning rates on a variety of everyday purchases, including gas, takeout, and streaming services. It’s not clear how or if the card will make a comeback, but we’ll let you know when we get the scoop.
- Chase Boosts Marriott Bonvoy Card Bonuses: In other travel news, Chase upped the bonus offers attached to it’s Marriott Bonvoy Boundless and Bold cards Thursday. The Boundless Card (which charges a $95 annual fee) will give new cardholders who spend $3,000 within three months 100,000 points, which is a massive offer for a mid-level hotel card. The no-annual-fee Bold card is now giving new cardholders 50,000 points for spending just $1,000 within three months.