The financial product information on this page is accurate as of the time of posting; some of the offers mentioned may have expired since that time.
April has been a whirlwind of news, even in the credit card industry. This week brought us news of another 2% cash-back card, cryptocurrency rewards details from Gemini and SoFi, Barclays’ leap into the buy-now-pay-later trend, and more.
This weekly credit card news roundup contains what you should know about the cards in your wallet and new product releases, offers, or reports that held our attention much better than a verbose, Zoom-hosted Oscar acceptance speech.
What’s the Lowdown?
Here’s what has caught our attention since April 23, 2021.
Got Points? Use Them For Travel
Now that travel is making a comeback, it’s a good time to dust off those credit card points and miles you stockpiled along with all that toilet paper last year. Depending on the rewards program, you may have a few options for how you can redeem them, but The Balance has found credit card points are typically worth most when spent on international flights and hotel stays.
According to our latest calculations, average reward point values sank over the past year—and they are still best used for travel. Airline miles can be stretched a bit further when used for international flights, even though near-future global travel might be dicey. Hotel points (which took the biggest value hit over the past year) are worth about the same whether you use them for an economy room or treat yourself to a luxe suite.
The most valuable credit card rewards come from American Airlines, Hyatt, and Chase.
Note that, our recommendations are based on average values to give you a general idea of how much rewards earned with your credit cards are worth. Award flight and hotel stay prices can vary based on variables such as the destination, time of year, or even the deal a loyalty program may be running. But there is one constant: Credit card rewards don’t have fixed values and are always subject to change—this past year is more evidence of that. So if you’re getting ready to travel, consider using rewards to help pay the way.
Another 2% Cash-Back Rewards Card Has Entered the Arena
What do “Fauci Ouchies” and 2% cash-back rewards cards have in common? They’re both easier to find this spring.
First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) launched a new credit card—the Evergreen Rewards Visa—on Wednesday that offers unlimited 2% back on all purchases, making it the third card offering such a rewards scheme to debut this year. It’s still more common for flat-rate cash back cards to offer 1% or1 .5% back on all purchases, but the new FNBO card gives consumers seeking easy rewards another (and better) option.
The Evergreen Rewards Visa doesn’t charge an annual fee or require applicants have an existing FNBO account. Plus, new cardholders won’t pay interest on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. That dual-0% APR deal actually gives this card a leg up against similar cards, such as the Citi Double Cash Card (which laid the groundwork for 2% cash-back cards), and newcomers like the TD Bank Double Up Card.
Gemini Shares More About Upcoming Cryptocurrency Rewards Card
Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange owned by the infamous (in cryptocurrency circles) Winklevoss twins, has revealed a few more specs of the upcoming cryptocurrency rewards card it announced early this year. The Gemini Credit Card will operate on the Mastercard network and offer cardholders up to 3% back on purchases as follows:
- 3% back on dining
- 2% back on groceries
- 1% back on everything else
That’s a fairly typical line-up for a cash-back card that offers bonus rewards on some purchases, and gives this card potential as a daily driver. However, unlike traditional cash back cards, the Gemini Credit Card will offer rewards as Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies supported on the Gemini platform. Rewards will be deposited into cardholders’ Gemini cryptocurrency accounts in real time, unlike most credit cards that pay out rewards monthly. The company said that feature will help cardholders more quickly benefit from any value gains the digital currency makes over time.
The Gemini Credit Card will be available in all 50 states once it launches this summer. There’s a waitlist for those interested in being first in line when the card rolls out.
Barclays Jumps on ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Bandwagon
This year is jam-packed with fads, but “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) seems like it may stick around for the long haul as more shoppers use instant installment loans to finance online purchases. Barclays wants in on the action, too, based on a Tuesday announcement.
The co-branded credit card issuer has teamed up with Amount, which builds point-of-sale technologies, to develop a BNPL option for retailers in its store-branded card network. Barclays is the first traditional credit-card-issuing bank in the U.S. to develop a white-label BNPL offering to go up against non-bank BNPL companies like Affirm, Klarna, and AfterPay. The bank hasn’t announced which retailers might use the new system yet, but its card line-up includes branded offers from retailers such as Barnes & Noble and the NFL.
What Else Is Happening?
- SoFi Credit Card Now Offers Cryptocurrency Redemption Option: Rewards earned with the SoFi Credit Card can now be turned into Bitcoin or Ethereum cryptocurrency deposits in a SoFi Invest account. More notably, there are no transaction fees for doing so, which you’d typically pay when buying cryptocurrency through an exchange platform.
- FTC Sends More Than $11 Million to APR Scam Victims: The Federal Trade Commission announced Wednesday that it’s sending full refunds to more than 11,000 consumers who paid $695-$1,495 to telemarketers promising big interest rate savings. The scammers claimed they would refund customers if they failed to get the consumer’s credit card interest rates cut, but that never happened. The refunds average $995 each and will go out within the next 90 days.