I love credit cards and I don’t ever carry a balance. I have 0% balance transfer credit cards in which I take the credit card banks money at zero percent and invest it in high yielding CDs or bonds making 5% or more.
I have airline credit cards that rack up miles so I can upgrade my seat or get an economy seat for free and give me some other perks. I have hotel credit cards that rack up points for a free night stay or upgrade to a better suite. I have cash back credit cards that earn 2% or more in cash back.
At one point in time, I had a card swipe device that I could attach to my iPhone from Square and swipe credit cards but something happened the other day that made me wonder if all these credit card perk days are numbered.
I went to get a haircut and when I went to pay, the woman who owns the salon that I’ve known for 10+ years looked at me as I pulled my credit card out of my wallet to pay and pointed me to a sign she had posted on the nearby wall and it read: “We Accept Zelle – Text here” where here had her phone number.
She asked me if I could just Zelle her the money, it was better for her (less fees I assume) and I obliged because I’ve known her for a long time and I certainly want her to stay in business.
The thing is that this isn’t the first time that someone has asked me to pay them with Zelle. My landscaper gets paid with Zelle. My cleaning lady gets paid by Zelle. The difference with the salon is that it’s a brick and mortar business and she don’t want to take credit cards anymore!
Ultimately, if this trend continues then all of us credit card point grafters will end up losing all of our upgrade perks and cash back bonuses.
Curious about Zelle, I did some digging and found out that it’s a private corporation named ominously Early Warning System and co-owned by several large banks so I hope these banks plan on adding some type of point or cash back to Zelle otherwise we will all have less incentives to spend.
The cynic in me also says that the banks are pushing Zelle because the service offers very little protection from fraud so the risk of the transaction is transferred from the banks to the consumer. You can read more about it in the (paywalled) article from Mint & Wall Street Journal here or this other free article from NBCnews.
For now, I will continue to maximize credit card use for perks and protection but I think credit card days are numbered.