As one year ends, a new one begins. I plan for this to be a continuous New Year’s tradition. On New Year’s Day, I plan to continually write about all my wishes that I would like to see during the year. On July 1st, I will write up a mid-term report. My final report comes out on New Year’s eve. So let’s get the ball rolling with what I would like to see throughout 2016.
1) Strong Year for Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses
I actually designated 2013 as the year of the credit card sign up bonuses. This is the 3rd year since then, so I think we are due for another big year for credit card sign up bonuses. What would make it a big year is to see higher than normal sign up bonuses and first year fee waived. This wish would actually be fulfilled if we saw the next wish also fulfilled at the same time.
2) Incentives to Retain Credit Cards
This has continually been a long shot, but the reason I continue to wish for this is because it can easily be a win/win scenario. The hope is that customers receive a benefit for being a big spender with a specific credit card company.
It is no secret that first year fees waived encourage customers to sign up for credit cards in the first place. But the second year, when the annual fees are due, it actually pushes churners to cancel the credit card before even making it to the 1 year anniversary. I would really like to see an incentive like this: “If that we spend $10,000 per year, we receive the annual fee waived the following year” Perhaps even more additional bonuses for even more spending, like 10,000 bonus points for an additional $5,000 – $10,000 in spending. Some credit card companies already waive the fees the following year if we ask for it, but it is not automatic.
3) More Co-Branded Airline and Hotel Loyalty Credit Cards
The overall credit card market took a bit of a beating last year, with the discontinuation of the Delta Air Lines and IHG Rewards co-branded credit cards. I really hope that we do not see a continuation of this trend, but rather an opportunity for someone to jump in and take some market share.
4) More Cash Back Credit Cards
The truth is, I am not holding out much hope for wishes #1 and #4. Especially with the weak Canadian dollar and record high profits for our banks, I really do not expect to see a big year for high sign up bonuses. All the signs are actually pointing to a weak year. That being said, this also opens the door to cash back credit cards. The industry may eventually lean more towards cash back credit cards, in which case I hope that we see some healthy competition here.
So I am hoping to see some improvements to existing products and the introduction of new products. In 2015, we already saw the introduction of the new Tangerine cash back credit card, which should put some pressure on the competition.
5) Improved Safety and Security for Travellers
It is very unfortunate that I continually insist on including this factor, but I really believe that it is probably the most important one. Without safety, none of the above factors matter anyway.
Happy New Year everyone!!