Financially Struggled Consumers Find New Ways to Pay Just for Food

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Hardened Americans are now taking out loans to pay for groceries using the Buy Now, Pay Later apps

A growing number of Americans are using “buy now, pay later” services to purchase basics such as groceries, raising concerns that consumers are taking on more debt. Grocery accounted for about 6% of purchases last year, but appears to be playing a significant role in the industry’s explosive growth as soaring grocery prices in the US increase the appeal of deferred payments. Klarna, for example, reported that grocery or household items accounted for more than half of the top 100 in-app purchases. Zip claims to have seen a 95% growth in U.S. grocery purchases and 64% growth in restaurant transactions. [Daily Mail]

A growing number of stressed consumers are looking for alternatives to credit cards

Credit card companies continue to have strong satisfaction in an uncertain economic environment, but big concerns loom on the horizon. Many consumers are struggling financially, and higher interest rates are causing them to consider other options, such as buy now, pay later. Other short-term loan options, such as installment plans, personal loans, and buy now, pay later, have “exploded” over the past 24 months. These choices are especially appealing to consumers who are financially stressed and have tighter budgets. This is a rapidly growing part of the cardholder population. Data from JD Power indicated a significant increase in the number of consumers who cannot pay their bills and who lack long-term financial plans. [The Financial Brand]

New York officials want credit card companies to help track gun and ammunition sales

New York City officials said Tuesday they want major credit card companies to create a code to track gun and ammunition purchases to help law enforcement order to better monitor criminals. They are asking credit card companies such as American Express, Mastercard and Visa to add a new four-digit “merchant code” that would list gun and ammunition stores on individual statements when purchases are made. The new code would help businesses track suspicious purchases and could even help law enforcement stop shootings before they happen, supporters said. [The New York Post]

Americans’ credit ratings hold steady despite fears of recession

Soaring inflation and an economy that shrank in the first half of the year could be causing more recession jitters these days, but new data shows Americans are still paying their debts. Analytics firm Fair Isaac Corporation said Tuesday that the national average FICO score is currently 716, the same as a year ago. FICO said 2022 marks the first time the average score has not increased in recent years, noting there was a significant increase in scores in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic. [Fox Business]

How Gift Cards Can Help Restaurants Deal With Inflation

Gift cards are readily available, providing restaurants with free advertising. In fact, they are often referred to as “pocket billboards” because they feature a brand’s logo and remain confined, a physical or mobile wallet, where consumers are constantly reminded of “free money” qu ‘they can use to dine out. Gift cards almost always guarantee that the money will be spent on that specific business, with the potential to attract new customers. Additionally, 60% of gift card recipients spend more than the original amount of their card, which generates windfall revenue for restaurants. Gift cards are also great for running promotions. For example, offering a promotion such as “buy a $100 gift card to give away, get a $10 gift card to keep” both encourages freebies for new customers and invites repeat customers to return to their favorite restaurant. [Modern Restaurant Management]

Mastercard reports on growing consumer adoption of emerging payment technologies

Nearly nine in ten consumers worldwide have made digital payments using digital wallets, contactless, QR codes, buy now, pay later, money transfer apps, cryptocurrencies, biometrics and other technologies digital payment method (85%) and more than six in ten say they have increased their use of at least one digital payment method (61%) in the past 12 months, according to a Mastercard survey. Overall, 35% of survey respondents said they had used less cash in the past year. Asked specifically about biometric payments, more than two-thirds of respondents say they think authenticating payments using biometric technology is more secure than using a PIN or password password, while just under two-thirds agree that it is easier to pay with biometrics than using a payment method. card (61%). [NFC World]

Klarna loses more than triple following the valuation crisis

Buy now, pay later Giant Klarna saw its losses more than triple in the first half of the year, amid tough times for the company which also saw its valuation plummet by 85%. The company reported pretax operating losses that reached $580 million in the six months to July, more than tripling from $168 million in the same period a year earlier. It comes after the company laid off 10% of its global workforce, or about 700 people, in May. Confirmation of Klarna’s worsening burn rate comes a month after the startup suffered a massive drop in its valuation from $46 billion to $6.7 billion as it appealed to investors for $800 million in new financing. [Sifted]

Three Hilton credit cards offer welcome bonuses up to 130,000 points

For a limited time, American Express and Hilton have increased welcome bonus offers on three of their Hilton Honors cards: the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card, the Hilton Honors American Express Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card. Until October 26, you can earn up to 130,000 Hilton Honors Points when you sign up for one of these three Hilton credit cards and meet minimum spend requirements. [CNBC]

Citi expands transgender-friendly True Name program to debit cards

Nearly two years after allowing transgender people and other customers to use their preferred name on credit cards, Citigroup is expanding the option to debit cards for the first time. Citi is the largest bank to broadly expand its chosen name feature to debit cards after Mastercard first announced the True Name program in 2019. Starting Monday, Citi debit customers can call Citi or visit a Citi branch to use their preferred name on their debit card. instead of their legal name. [American Banker]

What is cryptocurrency and how does it work?

To get started in crypto investing, you must first understand how cryptocurrency works. Half of our visitors are familiar with cryptocurrency, but most (95%) have never used it and 99% have never paid for anything with it. Whether you are completely ignorant of crypto, have a basic understanding, or want to dip your toes in the waters of digital currency, it helps to understand the technology before using it. Keep reading for easy-to-understand answers to questions you’ve probably been asking since bitcoin hit the scene: how does cryptocurrency work, what can you do with it, and what does the future of digital currency hold? [Reader’s Digest]

US Department of Agriculture to test NFC and QR mobile payments for contactless state benefits

The United States Department of Agriculture is to launch a series of pilot programs to test the use of mobile payment technology to enable citizens eligible for financial support under its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ( SNAP) to receive benefits and make NFC or QR code payments for eligible purchases. on their mobile device. The USDA is planning up to five pilot projects in partnership with state agencies that would allow SNAP recipients to pay for bread, fruits, vegetables and other essential groceries at authorized merchants using their smartphone, tablet or smartwatch rather than using their existing physical SNAP payment card. [NFC World]

Latin American crypto company Ripio launches prepaid crypto card in Brazil

Latin American crypto company Ripio has started rolling out a prepaid debit card in Brazil that allows payments to be made in cryptocurrency and earn cash back in bitcoin. The company hopes to launch 250,000 cards, which have been developed in partnership with Visa, by the end of the year, offering the product to the one million users it has in the South American country. The card will allow payments in Brazilian reals and the 28 cryptocurrencies listed by Ripio on its platform. The company also plans to launch the card in Argentina later this year, and isn’t ruling out rolling it out to other countries where the company operates, such as Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico and Spain. [Coin Desk]

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