3 Credit Card Trends to Watch for 2018

Posted January 6, 2018 by cccadmin in

With 2017 all wrapped up, we thought it would be a great time to look at our crystal ball and predict credit card trends for 2018. 2017 sure was an eventful year for credit cards. We saw the shutdown of PC Financial, the merger of Shoppers Optimum and PC Mastercard, and Air Canada and Aeroplan parting ways to name a few. Let’s look at some interesting trends to watch for 2018 and how you as a cardholder can make the most of them.

1. More Co-Branded Credit Cards

We recently wrote a post about why companies love co-branded credit cards so much. Don’t expect this trend to go away anytime soon. In fact, expect to see more co-branded credit cards in 2018. Although the Uber credit card hasn’t been launched in Canada, expect other household Canadian names to launch their own co-branded credit cards here.

Companies realize how powerful co-branded credit cards can be to foster brand loyalty. And consumers love ’em. Just look at Air Canada. It decided to part ways with Aeroplan over the summer. Air Canada is going it alone, launching its own credit card reward program because it understands the power of consumer loyalty. Not only do cardholders tend to spend more with a specific company once they have their credit card, it’s easier to upsell them on products as well.

2. More Credit Card Uncertainty

Boy, 2017 sure was a year of changes! Don’t expect 2018 to be any different. We saw Air Miles try to win back cardholders after its controversial expiry point policy, PC Financial shut its doors and rebranded as Simplii Financial, and Tangerine devalue its cashback Mastercard to name a few.

If you’ve learned anything from 2017, it’s that uncertainty in the credit card space is just a fact of life, so you’ll need to learn to deal with it. Your best strategy going forward may be “earning and burning.” Instead of stockpiling your points for that dream vacation, only to see them expire (here’s a story where a man stockpiled his points for 30 years only to see them expire), you’re likely better off using your points in the short-term.

If we use Aeroplan as an example, cardholders have no idea what they can redeem their points for once Air Canada and Aeroplan split up in 2020. (There’s also the devaluing of points that credit cards issuers like to do so much). Redeeming your points in the short-term is likely the best strategy to combat this uncertainty.

3. Simplicity of Rewards

2017 has hopefully marked the end of credit card reward programs getting more complicated. The widely anticipated merger of Shoppers Optimum and PC Mastercard was finally announced. When I read the press release, I looked for the “gotcha” moment or the catch, but I couldn’t find one. Much to the surprise of cardholders everywhere, the new program is relatively simple. Not only is it easy to figure out how much your points are worth, it’s easy to redeem them, too.

It seems credit card issuers are listening after the Air Miles fiasco. They’re hearing loud and clear that cardholders want simple programs, where you don’t have to jump through hoops to redeem points. Even Air Miles is listening. This year Air Miles finally raised its cap on from $50 to $100 on grocery bills.

The Bottom Line

So, there you have it, a few trends to watch for in 2018. While we don’t expect as many shake ups as 2017, 2018 will be an interesting year to watch. If 2017 has taught us anything, it’s that it’s a good idea as a cardholder to read every single piece of mail you get and read helpful blogs (like this one – shameless plug) to make sure there aren’t any major credit card changes that will make your once rewarding credit card unrewarding.