Six in Ten Consumers Abandon Online Purchases Out of Sheer Frustration

Cart abandonment? It’s so much worse than you think. A study of 6,000 consumers across the U.S. and Europe by Storyblok found that 60% of consumers abandon purchases due to poor user experience. The report concludes that this will cost e-commerce companies an average of five purchases a year per consumer. It says 8% of consumers abandon more than 10 purchases. When asked their main reasons for giving up, 37% of consumers said limited payment options, 37% cited poor navigation or layout and 33% pointed to slow loading times. [Mobile Marketing]

Among Six Proposals to Regulate Cryptocurrency, One is Superior

In the wake of billions in losses suffered by investors from the failure of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and other crypto collapses, how to regulate cryptocurrencies is a hot topic the new Congress must address. Competing proposals for it to consider range from banning cryptocurrencies outright, to giving them government backing, to stifling them with regulatory bureaucracy, to letting them fail or succeed entirely on their own. Some urge that cryptocurrencies simply be banned. [The Hill]

Credit Card Debt Pressures Millennial, Gen Z Paycheck-to-Paycheck Borrowers

Credit card debt is harder for younger consumers to handle amid the pressures of living paycheck to paycheck. To that end, the Urban Institute reported that nearly one in five adults between 18 and 24 with a credit file in the U.S. currently have debt in collections. In addition, according to the Institute, young adults are particularly vulnerable to credit card, auto loan and retail delinquencies compared with older adults. Where 5% of millennials and 4.5% of Gen Z consumers have credit card debt that is more than 60 days delinquent, just 3.5% of Gen X borrowers and 1.8% of boomers are behind on payments like that. [PYMNTS]

Middle Class Households Use Credit Cards to Fill Income Gap

Inflation and the higher cost of living are taking a toll on middle-class household finances, with many people turning to credit cards to make up for income shortfalls. More than half of middle-income Americans (75%) said their income is falling behind the cost of living, according to a quarterly survey from Primerica. And 37% reported taking on more credit card debt, the highest rate since Primerica began tracking the data. Moreover, 21% of respondents said they only make the minimum payment on their balance each month, which is another record high in the survey’s history. [Fox Business]

U.S. Retail Sales Grow 7.6% in Holiday Season

U.S. retail sales rose 7.6% between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24, which encompasses a majority of the holiday season, as steep discounts lured deal-hungry consumers, a Mastercard report showed. The increase is higher than the 7.1% growth Mastercard had forecast in September, when it anticipated consumers would pull purchases to October in the hunt for early deals. However, this year’s holiday retail sales growth is less than the 8.5% increase last year as decades-high inflation, rising interest rates and the threat of a recession turned consumers cautious. Retailers including Amazon and Walmart offered large discounts during the holiday season to get rid of excess stock and bring back inventories to normal levels. [Reuters]

FTC Orders Mastercard to Open Debit Transactions to Competing Payment Networks

The Federal Trade Commission has ordered Mastercard to start providing competing payment networks with the information they need to process debit card payments. In a proposed enforcement action, the FTC said Mastercard had allegedly violated a provision of the Dodd-Frank act known as the Durbin Amendment by prohibiting merchants from routing transactions over alternative networks. The action targets “tokenization,” the technology that underpins mobile payment applications like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. According to the FTC, Mastercard has historically stopped competing networks from accessing its token vault. That means whenever consumers decided to pay with a mobile wallet, merchants had to route the transactions over Mastercard or Visa and pay the company’s transactions fees, which are typically higher than that of its competitors. [Engadget]

ZELF Launches Anonymous Visa Debit Card with Crypto Recharge

American fintech company ZELF has introduced an anonymous Visa debit card that can be used at any of Visa’s 80 million locations worldwide. ZELF’s latest initiative will allow users to open up a U.S. dollar checking account with only their name, email and phone number, sparing them from having to provide documentation such as a social security number and proof of address. According to the fintech company, prospective clients can open a checking account and have an anonymous virtual debit card, which works with Apple Pay and Google Pay, within 30 seconds. ZELF’s collaboration with Visa aims to prioritize privacy and security for users when it comes to transacting with crypto. [Coin Telegraph]

How to Make Holiday Returns with Buy Now, Pay Later

Shoppers who used buy now, pay later to help finance gifts this holiday season may soon encounter an unwelcome surprise: Returns can be more challenging than when buying from the store with cash or a credit card. Returns and disputes are a common concern among buy now, pay later users, according to a September 2022 report from the CFPB, and dispute resolution is the top buy now, pay later-related complaint in the CFPB’s consumer complaint database. But making a seamless return with buy now, pay later isn’t impossible if you know the process ahead of time. [Associated Press]

What To Do with Gift Cards You Don’t Want

Most of us have that one family member or friend whose go-to gift each Christmas is a gift card. While they may sometimes seem like artifacts of holidays past, gift cards can still make great gifts, but what do you do with gift cards you won’t use? Instead of stockpiling vouchers you know you won’t use but can’t just throw away, here are a few ways to put them to good use this holiday season. [Deseret News]

Don’t Let the Amex Platinum’s Lifestyle Benefits Distract You from its True Value

Did you know that The Platinum Card from American Express comes with up to $6,099 in annual statement credits? With that knowledge, the card’s $695 annual fee doesn’t sound so bad. At least, that’s the way the card is marketed. The Amex Platinum has been stuffed with so many obscure benefits and credits that it’s technically possible to get many thousands of dollars in value each year from its perks, though, for most of us, it’s virtually impossible to do so. Let’s eliminate the distracting benefits that come with this card and look at what the Amex Platinum is worth to the average customer. [Business Insider]