Up first: U.S. Bank rolled a new app for Android smartphones that allow consumers to apply and get approved for an REI store credit card as they shop at the outdoor recreation retailer.
REI is the first co-brand partner for the bank's Android app. U.S. Bank last October unveiled a similar REI credit card app for iPhones and rolled out an Ace Hardware version for iPhones in April.
The credit card issuer says it plans to add more retailers this year for both types of smartphones.
Consumers simply apply through the app while in the store and if approved, they will receive a virtual credit card on their smartphone that can be used to make a purchase immediately. The app also provides access to the account, so cardholders can see the most recent transactions or pay from their phone.
The app is part of the larger move toward mobile finances. Via smartphone, consumers now can access their bank accounts, upload digital coupons, upload store loyalty cards and certain credit cards among other uses.
To wrap up the week, Equifax said credit card balances (excluding retail cards) as of April were $531 billion, or 28 percent below their peak of $730 billion in January 2009. Retail credit card balances have remained roughly the same.
In two years, the percentage of credit card accounts that banks write off as uncollectible fell by more than half to 6 percent in April 2012 from 13.2 percent in April 2010. Well done.
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