The future of card rewards — via cash back, automated and flexible in nature — is shifting with more millennials and Generation Z customers demanding ease and simplicity. Citi’s Custom Cash Card, unveiled last month, and billed as a “next gen cash back credit card,” lets users earn as much as 5 percent cash back on the top eligible spend categories per billing cycle (there are several categories spanning everyday spend, from groceries to gas), up to the first $500 spent, with 1 percent cash back thereafter, unlimited, on other purchases. With a nod toward the connected status of the next generation of customers, the card and the rewards program have been built with the digital, customer-facing experience top of mind. Through a mobile application, the consumer can get the Citi Custom Card provisioned directly into their digital wallets (the 5 percent cash back, can be earned as points or applied directly to spending as transactions occur and can help defray the cost of rising prices, a hallmark of the new inflationary environment). There’s also the option, to “pay your bill your way” with installment options (built into Citi cards through Flex Pay).
Zelle moved $120 billion via 436 million transactions in the second quarter, 68 percent and 58 percent growth respectively. Venmo reported having 76 million active accounts, up from about 70 million at the end of 2020. Specific figures Zelle was willing to call out included its active expansion into credit unions (CUs) and other small lenders with less than $10 billion in assets now accounting for 40 percent of the Zelle Network. The bank-backed P2P services also highlighted its growing count of business-related transactions. Zelle Small Business saw the fastest growth in transaction in the Zelle network, up 157 percent year on year. With access to as many direct deposit accounts (DDAs) Zelle takes care of its backing by banking, it has a big advantage in the market. It was said early on Zelle could only work if it captures an incredibly compounding share of consumer bank accounts into its platform — and in that regard, it is clearly succeeding. But Venmo is playing hard ball — and building a powerfully sized legion of consumers who aren’t only signed on by happenstance but chose to seek out the platform. And P2P, as PayPal’s last earnings report indicates, is a big part of a super app strategy that PayPal is doggedly pursuing, and which looks to be getting dangerously close to encroaching on mainstream banks’ historical territory. Pay with Venmo revenues grew by 183 percent year over year and is also seeing strong adoption and trading of crypto on Venmo. More is to come with the Venmo payments offering, including high-yield savings, early access to direct deposit funds, new and improved bill pay functionality, messaging capabilities outside of P2P to enable family and friend communications, as well as additional crypto capabilities and customized deals and offers.
Citibank once again provides a presence at the fair with the 2021 LA Art Show Gallerist Talks, a series of in-person and live-streaming events and discussions highlighting some of the LA Art Show’s most popular galleries. Conscious of the state of community and varying degrees of comfort when it comes to in-person programming, Citibank has come up with a thoughtful solution. In a coordinated effort, there will be both an in-person presence and a virtual experience, focusing on four selected galleries and the Citi Collection, providing insight all weekend long, affording viewers a window into the experience of bringing work to the fair. These talks will be broadcast around the world from Citi’s gallery space and gives viewers an in-depth look at the curation of each show, with spirited dialogue about each piece, with the option to experience it in person or from the comfort of their own home. Virtual viewers can experience each gallery’s virtual exhibit and livestream event which includes a gallery walkthrough, extended commentary, and conversations with gallerists.
Dollar General is taking its pOpshef retail format in house, to its larger format DG Market stores. The retailer plans to have approximately 25 Dollar General and pOpshelf combination stores, as well as up to an additional 50 pOpshelf freestanding locations in various markets by the end of fiscal year 2021. pOpshelf is designed to make the shopping experience “fun” and “affordable,” with the vast majority of items priced at $5 or less. Stores are bright and colorful, with a treasure hunt sort of ambience. The merchandise offering is updated frequently and includes on-trend seasonal and home décor, health and beauty must-haves, home cleaning supplies, household and specialty items, toys, arts and crafts and party planning and home entertaining supplies. Through this combined format, Dollar General aims to deliver the value and products customers trust from a DG Market with the continually-refreshed merchandise including beauty and seasonal products, home décor and arts and crafts through pOpshelf.
Snap has debuted a new map feature to help users discover new businesses, log favorite spots and get personalized recommendations. Called My Places, the new feature in Snap Map allows users to keep in touch with people they care about and connect in real life. There will be other new features debuting later in the year, with integrations with Layers from The Infatuation and Ticketmaster coming to the app.
Online sharing site Pinterest is moving to make inroads into the social commerce movement and extending tools to help creators monetize their pins. To enable influencers to leverage the platform to make a living, Pinterest has added a cross-section of pins on its social site to give users the ability to tap on those pins to make purchases. Creators can also make use of affiliate links to bank a percentage of sales volume. Pinterest’s data supports the effectiveness of pins: Some 89 percent of buyers are more likely to move forward with a purchase that’s tagged with Idea Pins compared to those seen in Product Pins. Pinterest is also adding a “paid partnerships” label for creators who share branded content. Influencers who create content on behalf of a company can tag the brand in Idea Pins. Once the brand gives the tag the green light, the label will appear. The goal is to improve transparency and make it easier for creators to disclose paid partnerships. Product tagging on Idea Pins will initially roll out to business accounts in the U.S. and the U.K., and will later expand to international users.
- In PYMNTS’ July 2021 survey BNPL’s ability to spread payments over time and its ease of use were the most cited reasons for choosing the method, regardless of the consumers’ level of financial inclusion. Consumers with blemished credit or challenging credit histories see BNPL to improve overall credit health and scores specifically, a fact that is amply supported by the findings. 51 percent of consumers who have used or would use installments think BNPL “will allow them to improve their credit scores. This rate is higher for financially underserved consumers (57 percent and 69 percent of second-chance and shut-out consumers, respectively).” Additionally, 77 percent of consumers with little credit or damaged credit now see BNPL “as an option that improves their ability to buy things that they want without overspending.”
- Among the three BNPL personas identified in the new research — the financially stable “worry-free,” nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of “second-chance” consumers with blemished credit, and “shut-out” consumers typically living paycheck to paycheck and struggling with bills — BNPL is seen as an alternative to credit cards they either can’t access or can’t afford. Many consumers cite a fear of overspending. Card fees and interest rates are top reasons people in all personas avoid traditional credit cards. 40 percent of worry-free consumers who did not have a credit card in the last 12 months reported that they did not want to use credit cards because the cards encouraged them to spend money,” per the study.