To lure millennials, Apple, Ikea and Uber are pushing branded credit cards

  • With Apple, Uber and Ikea launching branded credit cards, millennials (and older people) have more options than ever.
  • However, some of these cards have a high APR and any perks are quickly negated if you carry a monthly balance.

Millennials looking to pay with plastic have more options than ever.

Most recently, word spread of a new credit card courtesy of Apple and Goldman Sachs, which may be introduced as early as next year. The card will be branded with Apple Pay, the technology giant's mobile payment and digital wallet platform.

Although few details have been released, the move clearly shows the big opportunity in credit cards, according to Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com's senior analyst.

"Despite worries in the industry about the rising cost of rewards and the uptick in delinquencies, banks still make a ton of profit off of credit cards, and Goldman Sachs wants to get its share," he said.

For Apple, it's another opportunity to get millennials on board with the brand, Schulz added. "They want to establish long-term relationships with these folks."

The same goes for the Ikea Visa.

Introduced this month, the Swedish retailer famous for its home furnishings and bargain meatballs, is offering card holders 5 percent back in rewards on all Ikea purchases, as well as kitchen installation and TaskRabbit At-Home Assembly services; 3 percent back on dining, grocery and utility purchases and 1 percent back on all other purchases made with the card.

There's also $25 off the first purchase and free shipping on in-store Ikea purchases through August.

There's no annual fee but the annual interest rate is 21.99 percent across the board. (The current national average APR is 16.73 percent, according to CreditCards.com.)

Uber Visa Barclay card debuted November 2018
Source: Uber
Uber Visa Barclay card debuted November 2018

Another new contender is the Uber Visa.

Launched last fall, the card comes with perks like 4 percent back on restaurants, takeout and bars; 3 percent back on airfare and hotels, including Airbnb; 2 percent back on all online purchases and 1 percent back on all other purchases.

There's no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, plus cardholders get a $100 bonus after spending $500 in the first 90 days.

But the annual interest rate is also on the high side — ranging from about 16.5 percent to 25 percent, according to the company.

From the lenders' standpoint, millennials are a massive group of potential consumers — now surpassing baby boomers as the nation's largest living generation, according to the Census Bureau.

Young people are spending more than other generations on everyday purchases such as groceries and gas, as well as on experiences such as dining out, according to a report by Bankrate.com.

To lure those spenders, card issuers have upped the ante with better rewards and sign-up bonuses. And it's working.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which initially offered a $1,500 sign-up bonus to people who spent $4,000 in the first three months, proved so popular, particularly among millennials, that the bank said it cost it some $200 million in profits (even with a $450 annual fee).

Last year, more than a quarter of all credit card originations came from consumers ages 18 to 34, according to TransUnion's latest quarterly report.

However, for borrowers — particularly those just starting out — enticing rewards generally go hand in hand with higher-than-average interest rates to compensate issuers for the additional perks.

To that point, the benefits of using a fancy card are quickly negated if you carry a monthly balance.

For example, if you have a $3,000 balance on an Uber card with a 16.49 percent APR and only pay the minimum, it will take 14 years to pay it off and over $3,200 in interest to boot.

If it's the Ikea card and the interest rate is 21.99 percent, that $3,000 will take an additional year and over $4,430 in interest charges to pay down.

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