CardRatings Shares Credit Card Predictions for H2 2021 and Beyond
The first half of 2021 has been filled with credit card news. From mega welcome bonuses to new and revamped products, the credit card market has been going through some big changes. With the back half of the year now underway, CardRatings analyst Brooklyn Lowery has shared some new predictions for what trends we can expect going forward while also checking in on some of her prior predictions from late last year.
Starting with a positive trend that Lowery believes is set to continue is the boom of travel credit cards. Throughout 2021, numerous co-branded and travel-centric cards have unveiled lucrative offers — some of which have been the best ever offered by the issuer. That said, while the popularity of such cards may last, these sky-high offers may not. Thus, consumers with their eyes on certain record welcome offers may want to put in their application sooner rather than later.
Turning to the negatives, even as travel card issuers compete for new customers, anecdotal evidence suggests that approvals for some cards are still lagging. Similarly, if consumers are approved for new cards, they may notice that their credit limits are lower than expected. Luckily, CardRatings reports that this risk aversion on the part of issuers has wained some as the economy reopens. Still, it’s something that potential applicants should be aware of. As for small business owners, there’s good news in that approvals of small business credit cards seem to be on the rise, with more entrepreneurs getting approved.
Revisiting some of Lowery’s previous predictions, one that’s proven true is the extension of “limited time” perks that issuers first introduced during the pandemic. A prime example of this is Chase’s Pay Yourself Back program, which has continued to evolve as the year has gone on and now seems poised to play a longer-term role in Chase’s strategy. Meanwhile, it seems that American Express took some of the lessons it learned from its temporary 2020 perks when refreshing its Platinum card. Unveiled earlier this month, the now $695 annual fee card includes a “digital entertainment credit” valid for purchases from Peacock, Audible, The New York Times, and SiriusXM. Indeed, when announcing the updated card, Amex cited the popularity of the streaming credit it offered select cardholders last year as part of the inspiration behind the new credit.
One of Lowery’s 2021 predictions that hasn’t come to fruition yet is increasing interest rates. Instead, rates have remained low and steady. In fact, the Federal Reserve currently doesn’t anticipate hiking its rates higher until 2023. Nevertheless, even if interest rates do remain “low,” consumers are always advised to pay off as much of their credit card balances as possible each month.
Obviously a lot of what happens in the credit card space later this year and beyond will depend on what impact the pandemic — including the concerning delta variant — will have on the economy. Additionally, with card issuers trying to outdo each other, we could see trends not yet realized emerge. With that, we’ll have to wait and see whether these predictions prove true or not.