As online credit card wars heat up, consumers are finding themselves wooed
with new services and safeguards for Internet shopping.
One recent entry in the field is NextCard. Launched in December of last
year, the Visa card provider is
promoting itself as the credit card service most thoroughly integrated with
Facing competition from online giants Yahoo and AOL, NextCard is trumpeting features it
claims are unique to its service. One of these is automatic approval of
online applications through its system that links to three national credit
But what might be most appealing to Internet shoppers is no longer unique
to NextCard. The company offers an unlimited guarantee against any kind of
credit card fraud, a protection the company said it introduced and that its
competitors have since imitated. Such a guarantee could prove crucial to
easing the flow of Internet commerce, which has been stymied in part by
concerns about security.
NextCard also uses the Internet to automate other aspects of the
application process. Based on credit histories obtained from credit
bureaus, NextCard automatically sends customers four options with a range
of introductory rates and lines of credit. The company also offers
automatic balance transfers from other credit card accounts, as well as
online access to the account once it is established.
Not to be outdone, Yahoo today announced its Platinum Visa card, which
offers an online rewards program, Web-based account management, and an
antifraud guarantee. Other benefits include auto rental insurance,
warranty manager insurance, $1 million travel accident insurance, and
Other more established credit card issuers are beefing up their online
programs as well. Bank of America, for
example, recently offered its credit card customers access to account
information online, joining other credit card companies including American Express, Discover, and Columbus Bank & Trust.