How’s that big shiny metal credit card doing for you? If you’re like many, bragging rights for having a sharp and weighty credit card have taken a back seat to the practicality of simply tapping your phone against the payment terminal. Google Pay, Android Pay and Apple Pay have revolutionised the in person purchase experience with secure, lightning fast transactions, but that speed doesn’t come without a bit of clumsiness.
Whoops, did I just use the wrong card and miss out on bonus points, because it wasn’t saved as my default card?
As I walked out of the supermarket it hit me like a sack of bricks. I had just missed out on at least double the points from a purchase by paying with the default card saved to my GooglePay. In fairness, it was understandable. In between bagging groceries and trying to elevate small talk to medium talk with the cashier, I simply raised my phone to the payment terminal and carried on with the multi tasking.
We are in the midst of eliminating the thought process behind transactions. No longer do we reach into our wallet, take a look at our diverse portfolio of cards and choose one. We simply wave a magic wand – also known as a mobile phone – in the near vicinity of a machine, without even glancing at the screen.
This begs the question: what should the default credit card in your mobile phone wallet be?
The question is simpler than the answer. When it comes to multi tasking thoughtless transactions, earning double points on all transactions can be shrewd. The Capital One Venture and Citi Double Cash, each offer 2% back, which basically guarantee you’re beating the 1% rewards standard. But if most of your in person purchases involve a specific “bonus spend” category, your best bet is to default the card which will best capture the majority of your mindless transactions.
If supermarkets and dining are your most frequent taps, the American Express Gold Card, offering 4X at each is tough to beat, as is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, bringing a whopping 6% cash back on US supermarket purchases. Capital One Savor is another venerable contender with 4% back (4X) at restaurants and entertainment venues, as well as 2% (2X) at supermarkets.
Noting this trend of speed in favour of bragging rights, Apple is encouraging cardholders to put away their Titanium cards by offering 3X categories at certain merchants when using their card, but only when used through Apple Pay itself. If Uber and Uber Eats, which are the Apple Card’s two current 3X categories, are your main expenses, it’s certainly not a bad shout.
When Apple promised a “revolutionary” product, perhaps this is where they’ve actually delivered. Apple is almost leading the way into pushing people down their preferred payment route, and are on a path to rewarding customers handsomely when they do. Use your Apple Credit Card via Apple Pay, and 3X is yours.
This is the new battleground for credit card rewards in 2020.
Technical aspects of earning aside, garnering the default spot in a digital wallet is perhaps even more valuable than any physical wallet in history, given just how easy it is to complete a transaction.
Whereas with a physical wallet claiming the top spot is as simple as placing one card over another, doing so in a digital wallet requires a few swipes, a few gestures and a few moments of concentration. Basically, it’s harder to dethrone a card in a digital wallet, once it’s reached the spot.
Expect to see a hyper focus from each card issuer this year as each attempts to lure you into tapping their product as your primary go to. But onto more important things, what are we to do with those weighty metal credit cards we all bought into?