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LendingTree addresses consumer debt concerns with Win credit card

The news: LendingTree introduced the Win Card in partnership with card fintech Upgrade, per a press release. The co-brand card is available to select LendingTree customers during a beta launch; a waitlist is open for others who are interested.

Card highlights: The no-annual-fee Visa card is marketed toward LendingTree customers and emphasizes responsible spending.

  • It offers 1% cash back on all purchases, but customers can get 2% back if they sign up for autopay and log into their LendingTree account at least once per month.
  • Rewards are automatically applied to customers’ balances to help them pay down their debt faster. Rewards are earned only after customers have paid off their purchases, instead of after the statement closing date like most credit cards.
  • Cardholders can increase their credit limits if their credit scores improve by 20 points or more and they make six on-time monthly payments.
  • Unlike standard credit cards, the credit from the Win Card comes from closed-end loans. As customers repay their balances, additional credit will become available up to customers’ approved limits.

Why it’s worth watching: Credit card balances and delinquencies are creeping up—making debt a top-of-mind concern for consumers who are contending with inflation and higher interest rates.

  • US credit card debt reached nearly $1 trillion in the fourth quarter, growing a record $130 billion from the same period in 2021, according to data from the New York Federal Reserve.
  • Millennials are racking up debt faster than any other age group: Consumers between the ages of 30 and 39 racked up $3.82 trillion in total debt in Q4—up 27% from 2019 levels, per the New York Fed. About $19 billion of that debt load stemmed from credit cards.
  • Card issuers across the board have notched higher delinquency rates. Although these rates are still largely below pre-pandemic levels, issuers are preparing for the worst by setting aside reserves just in case consumers can’t pay back their loans.

The Win Card addresses many of these concerns by offering features that help customers spend more responsibly and pay down their debts.

The opportunity: Tethering the card to LendingTree’s money management and credit insights tools can help the firm boost customer engagement. Customers who may have otherwise used LendingTree on a limited basis are incentivized to use the platform more frequently to gain rewards.

The ties with LendingTree’s tools can also help the firm acquire new customers by appealing to money-conscious consumers.

The bottom line: The Win Card most likely won’t compete with mainstream cash-back credit cards like the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Citi Double Cash cards. But it may inform issuers’ strategies when they refresh their cards.

Related content: Check out the US Cash-Back Credit Card Emerging Features Benchmark 2022 to learn about the most in-demand features for 10 leading cash-back cards.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Payments Innovation Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the payments industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.