Even as the economy in the United States softens, Citigroup has been making a push for credit cards. The company is said to be among the most aggressive zero-interest balance transfer promoters, Reuters reported.
Some investors and analysts, however, have concerns that the portfolio could turn into a liability if the economy sours. The bank reportedly still advertises deals for zero-interest through mailers and popular finance sites, while rivals have cut back.
Moody’s Analyst Warren Kornfeld said, according to the report, “Just recognizing where we are in the credit cycle, it’s interesting to see Citigroup doubling down and pushing forward.”
Customers can transfer their debt from a competitor’s card onto Citi’s plastic for a small charge and not pay any interest for 21 months. This is the longest 0 percent deal in the industry, one observer cited in the report. Competitors are said to offer 15 interest-free months without a charge.
Those who tap into balance transfers are said to be higher risk because they use easy financing to take on increased debt, per credit underwriters. However, Citigroup’s card business “has reported delinquency rates far below the industry average in recent years.”
In separate news, Citi announced a new feature that allows qualifying cardmembers to shop and receive real-time alerts to redeem their ThankYou Points for eligible purchases. This new Pay With Points feature allows Citi Premier, Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou Preferred and Citi Rewards+ cardmembers to redeem their ThankYou Points immediately for everyday purchases.
Mary Hines, head of customer engagement and innovation for Citi branded cards, said in a press release at the time, “This unique offering is the latest in our journey to continuously offer the most convenient points redemption options for our valued ThankYou cardmembers.”