7. New prepaid cards
The recession, credit card regulations, and stricter lending standards have created new interest in prepaid cards. In some ways, prepaid cards are trying to fill the void created by the CARD Act for credit cards for teenagers and young adults.
These regulations made it difficult for those under age 21 to get credit cards. Any teenager (with a parent’s permission) can get a prepaid reloadable card.
8. Longer introductory periods for balance transfers
When the economy turned south, issuers cut attractive balance transfer offers, reducing some to as little as three months. But a big shift has occurred in 2010 as more issuers have increased the time period of these 0% offers.
Many now offer 0% interest on balance transfers for 12 months. This trend should continue into at least the first half of 2011.
9. The Fed may raise interest rates
Rates can’t stay at record lows forever. When increases do occur, it will have a corresponding effect on most credit cards’ APR.
During the recent economic downturn, many credit card issuers converted their remaining fixed-rate cards to variable rates tied to an index such as the prime rate. So when the prime rate goes up, those variable-rate cards will show a corresponding APR increase.
10. Payments via smart phones
This could be the year that consumers wave their smart phones at cashier readers to make payments. Smart phone manufacturers, credit card companies, and Google are testing mobile payment systems, and there may be an expansion in 2011 with this form of payment.
More individuals and small businesses will also use programs like Square to accept credit card payments from their mobile phones.