As we step into 2024, the credit card landscape is poised for a transformation driven by cutting-edge technology, shifting consumer preferences, and a heightened focus on sustainability. In this comprehensive article, we will delve deep into the most significant credit card trends of the year, offering an in-depth exploration of AI integration, the embrace of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) principles, the rise of biometric authentication, the continued surge of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services, the evolution of travel rewards programs, and the impact of regulatory developments.

To provide you with a holistic understanding of these trends, we’ve enlisted the insights of a diverse panel of experts, including engineers, travel enthusiasts, credit card specialists, business executives, entrepreneurs, and accountants, who will share their valuable perspectives and predictions for credit cards in 2024.

Experts featured in this article

Rohit Das, AI Software Engineer and Co-Founder of Vondy

Paul Blunden, Founder and CEO, UX247 Ltd

Ben Lau, Founder, Featured SEO Company

Mac Steer, Owner and Director, Simify

Eugene Klimaszewski, President, Mammoth Security

John Frigo, E-commerce Manager at Best Price Nutrition

AI personalizes, ML secures

One of the most compelling trends on the horizon is the growing utilization of AI to personalize credit cards. Financial institutions are harnessing the power of AI algorithms to understand and adapt to individual spending behaviors and preferences. This means that your credit card will not be a one-size-fits-all solution anymore; it will evolve to become a tailored financial tool that understands your unique needs, offering personalized rewards, spending recommendations, and even proactive fraud detection.

Shopping will become a whole new experience and definitely the good kind (like when Julia Roberts gets the makeover in Pretty Woman and then goes back to the store with the mean ladies on Rodeo Drive.) Rohit Das, AI Software Engineer and Co-Founder of Vondy, told Credello, “Imagine shopping online with a credit card that personalizes your spending habits and alerts you to unusual transaction patterns. After a few months, this AI-powered credit card learns your preferences, recognizing your favored products and typical shopping times, such as in the evening after work. It recommends deals tailored for you, enhancing your shopping experience and making it more seamless.”

Moreover, machine learning is set to play a pivotal role in securing shopping transactions. As online shopping continues to surge, so do the risks associated with cybersecurity and fraud. Machine learning algorithms are becoming increasingly sophisticated in identifying unusual patterns and anomalies in transaction data. Das added, “Machine learning (ML) enhances security by detecting fraudulent patterns before they occur, revolutionizing the traditional approach to fraud detection. If an odd transaction is detected, such as a high-end purchase at an unusual hour, the card raises a red flag. AI and ML for credit cards combine the benefits of a personal assistant with the protection of a bodyguard.”

Biometrics break down digital barriers

In 2024, we’re witnessing a remarkable transformation in the credit card industry, driven by the rapidly growing trend of biometrics. Biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, and even iris scanning, are revolutionizing the way we interact with our credit cards. These cutting-edge technologies are not only streamlining the payment process but also enhancing security to unprecedented levels.

Paul Blunden, Founder and CEO, UX247 Ltd, spoke with Credello about how these developments will be a gamechanger for the user experience, especially for less digitally-inclined older generations. “Complicated password requirements, combined with limited digital skills, create barriers to conversion for the aging population. Digital natives demand seamless processes that allow them to complete transactions without interruption. Biometric authentication, such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, removes both these challenges. It also provides a higher level of security by removing the desire to write passwords and PINs. As security provisions have developed over time, user experience has been negatively affected. With rising cybercrime, the response has been seemingly more complicated with security requirements. But biometrics both simplify and retain security measures, delivering a better customer experience overall by giving consumers control.”

As we embrace biometrics in 2024, the days of fumbling for a plastic card or remembering complex passwords are fading away, giving way to a new era of seamless and secure credit card transactions.

Stricter BNPL lending regulations ahead

As governments and regulatory bodies become increasingly concerned about consumer protection and responsible lending practices, new regulations around BNPL will likely have a ripple effect on the credit card industry. With more stringent oversight, credit card issuers may find themselves adapting their lending and payment structures to align with these evolving standards. This could lead to enhanced transparency and responsible lending practices within the credit card sector, ultimately benefiting consumers by ensuring that they have access to clear terms and conditions, and manageable credit limits.

Ben Lau, Founder, Featured SEO Company, believes one of the regulatory developments expected to affect the BNPL industry and influence the role of credit cards is the implementation of stricter lending regulations for BNPL providers. “These regulations aim to prevent consumers from accumulating excessive debt and protect them from predatory lending practices. By imposing limitations on credit limits, interest rates, and debt-to-income ratios, authorities can ensure responsible lending practices within the BNPL industry. This development might lead consumers to shift away from credit cards and opt for more regulated and controlled BNPL options. For example, if a BNPL provider is required to assess a consumer’s creditworthiness and income before offering their services, individuals with high debt or unstable financial situations may be denied access, reducing their chances of getting into further financial trouble.”

Customized travel rewards for you

As global travel gradually returns to normalcy, credit card issuers are revamping their travel rewards to cater to the changing needs and preferences of travelers. Expect to see an increased focus on flexible redemption options, including travel credits, hotel stays, and experiences that align with post-pandemic travel trends. Additionally, many credit cards are likely to offer bonus rewards on travel-related expenses such as airfare, accommodations, and dining, enticing cardholders with valuable incentives to explore the world once again. These adaptations in travel rewards will provide consumers with greater flexibility and value when planning their adventures in 2024. Mac Steer, Owner and Director of Simify, told Credello, “I think the best way to entice consumers to choose a credit card for their travel expenses is by offering them rewards that are tailored specifically to what they want. For example, if you’re someone who loves to travel but doesn’t have much time off from work, then maybe you’d like to earn points that can be redeemed for quick getaways. If you’re someone who loves to explore new places and find hidden gems in your travels, then maybe you’d like to earn points that can be redeemed for hotel stays or flights on small airlines that don’t fly out of major hubs. If you’re someone who enjoys getting away from it all when you travel, then maybe you’d like to earn points that can be redeemed for luxury accommodations or luxury tours. We’re all different people with different tastes and preferences in traveling. So why should our rewards be any different?”

In 2024, credit cards like the Wells Fargo Autograph Card, Citi Premier Card, and Discover it Miles Card are expected to seamlessly adapt to evolving travel trends. These cards are likely to offer rewards and benefits that align with the changing preferences of travelers, such as increased points or miles on travel-related expenses. Their flexibility in redeeming rewards, whether for travel expenses or statement credits, will cater to the diverse needs of modern travelers.

ESG values drive credit card trends

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations are poised to play a significant role in shaping credit card trends in 2024 as consumers and businesses increasingly prioritize sustainability and ethical practices. Credit card issuers are likely to respond to this growing demand for responsible financial products by aligning their offerings with ESG principles. Eugene Klimaszewski, President, Mammoth Security told Credello, “Consumers today are more conscious about the impact of their spending habits on the environment and society. This awareness is driving the demand for credit cards that align with ESG values. For example, cards that offer rewards for environmentally friendly purchases or that donate a portion of transaction fees to social causes are becoming more popular. In the coming years, a continued rise in ESG-focused financial products is anticipated. This trend reflects a broader societal shift towards sustainability and ethical consumption, and credit cards are a direct channel through which consumers can express these values.”

The gamification of credit card points

Gamification is expected to have a transformative impact on the credit card industry, particularly in the way rewards points are earned and utilized. Credit card issuers are increasingly recognizing the power of gamified experiences to engage and motivate cardholders. We can anticipate the introduction of interactive features, challenges, and competitions that encourage cardholders to earn and redeem points in fun and engaging ways. This could involve turning spending into a game, where users compete for rewards or engage in quests to unlock exclusive benefits.

Gamification is likely to make credit card rewards programs more interactive, enhancing cardholder satisfaction and loyalty while making the process of accumulating and using points a more enjoyable and dynamic experience. John Frigo, E-commerce Manager at Best Price Nutrition, noted this demand. “One thing that’s always amazed me is how excited people get about points. I used to work at a currency exchange; due to us selling currency, you get charged cash advance fees on using a credit card. When it came time to pay, people would tell me they wanted to use a card for points. I’d explain to them that the cash advance fee would far outweigh the points, and some people would listen to me, but others would insist that wasn’t the case. One instance stands out in my mind where a guy came back in tears because he insisted on using his credit card and wound up getting hit with cash advance fees and higher interest. It’s amazing, though, that people think they’re making money with cash advance fees when it’s a pittance compared to what you’re spending. Credit card issuers may incorporate gamification elements such as point systems, challenges, and interactive rewards to enhance engagement and motivate cardholders.”