JP Morgan Chase launches customisable credit card
US credit card issuer JP Morgan Chase has launched Blueprint, an electronic billing platform that enables its 20 million cardholders to customise their existing Chase credit card accounts.
Using Chase Blueprint, cardholders can select special financing terms for individual purchases. They can finance certain purchases while paying others in full each month interest-free. Customers then choose the number of monthly installments, and Blueprint calculates the interest they can save by paying more than the monthly minimum.
Bill Wallace, president of card services for JP Morgan, said the move was about share of wallet and loyalty. He added: “Our industry has never done a very good job of articulating the interest expense that a consumer incurs and the implication of that interest expense.”
JPMorgan is challenging American Express by following Amex’s charge card in allowing consumers to finance some purchases while paying off the rest interest-free — and embedding this feature in a credit card. In August JP Morgan launched Chase Sapphire, targeting the market for affluent card holders that Amex dominates.
Small business cards
Chase has also launched several three new credit cards and a charge card all aimed at small businesses, which offer rewards, cash back and large credit limits.
Banks, hit by rising losses and record defaults have been drastically reducing the amount of credit on offer to small businesses. Some commentators say Chase’s new Ink Bold charge card, which has to be paid off in full at the end of each month, is a sign that the credit crunch may be thawing slightly.
“We’re starting to see a real stabilization that we think is a harbinger of the turnaround,” says Richard Quigley, president of Chase Business Cards. While Chase planned to be “prudent” in its underwriting, Quigley said the company is more optimistic about small businesses’ prospects than it had been in 2007. “It’s really going to be small businesses that are going to help pull the US out of the recession.”
He added that small businesses each year spend almost US$5 trillion on non-payroll expenses in the US, adding that 70% of these are paid with checks.
The charge card has no fee for the first year but carries a fee of US$95 from then on. The new credit cards for small businesses have no annual fee the first year and cost up to $60 thereafter.
Ink Bold, Ink Plus, Ink and Ink Cash customers all earn one point for every dollar spent on all purchases with no limits.
Ink Cash customers can also earn an additional 3% on business-related purchases, specifically fuel, dining, home improvement and office supplies. The small-business cards also allow users to track and report their business expenses online and add additional cards – and set spending limits – for employees at no extra cost.