4 Credit Card Trends We Expect to See in 2019

by Elizabeth Aldrich | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on March 11, 2019

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Consumers are demanding more when it comes to their finances, and credit card companies are rising to the challenge. Here’s what to expect in 2019.Image source: Getty Images.

When it comes to credit cards, we want it all: convenience and simplicity, high rewards and low fees, mobile apps and luxury perks. Luckily, as the credit card market becomes increasingly competitive, credit card companies are starting to offer it all.

The big issuers can no longer expect to achieve the same results by offering mediocre features and charging customers hidden fees. Here are the changes we expect to see from the best credit cards in 2019.

1. More transparency

Credit card fine print isn’t going anywhere, but the whole financial industry has started embracing transparency after years of consumers being wary of banks after the financial crisis. The proliferation of fee-free checking accounts and online banks with stripped down products that truly serve the consumer are proof that financial simplicity is here to stay.

In 2019, credit cards will have to offer simplicity and utility to compete. This includes more transparent rewards systems and easier rewards redemption, as well as fewer hidden fees and complimentary credit score monitoring. A couple credit cards are already ahead of the pack by offering no late fees or overdraft fees. We expect to see other credit card companies follow suit, giving the consumer more incentive to stick around.

2. Better mobile apps

The FinTech -- or financial technology -- industry had a record year in 2018, and the disruption it’s causing in the financial services industry is expected to continue. The credit card sector is one of the few that has remained relatively untouched. However, a couple of credit card startups have entered the space recently.

As tech companies continue to take over the finance space, expect to see mobile apps that are streamlined, improved, and outfitted with a new set of features -- all geared toward making the consumer’s life easier. This could include mobile apps that help you pay off debt using credit cards or algorithms that analyze your spending habits and help you find the best credit card deals.

3. More lifestyle rewards

Credit card companies have been trying to reel in millennials for years, but one popular travel credit card from Chase has proved that it can be done if you offer the right perks and rewards. It’s simple -- millennials expect their loyalty to be rewarded, and if it’s not, they will “vote with their feet” and move onto the next best thing.

More credit card companies will shift their rewards programs in 2019 to attract millennials, which will include offering more flexible travel rewards and lifestyle perks like airport lounge access, VIP concert tickets, and bonus rewards on dining out.

4. Budgeting help

Up until recently, millennials were described as very hesitant to open new credit cards and take on additional debt. This is no surprise as many grew up witnessing financial uncertainty and battled entering the workforce during the Great Recession.

As credit card companies increasingly try to capture the millennial generation, they’ll incorporate more ways for cardholders to conveniently track their finances. Credit score tracking is already offered by most major credit card issuers, but now a few are starting to offer easier ways to track and manage spending -- much like a budgeting app.

The new year brings in new opportunities to capture consumers by offering a more comprehensive product. As credit card companies start to use technology and consumer data to their advantage, we should expect to see credit card that are more simple, straightforward, and useful.

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