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New credit card pays rewards in bitcoins

Upgrade, a fintech startup, says it’s an easy way to own the cryptocurrency

Fintech companies have revolutionized financial services, and Upgrade, Inc. is doing it with credit cards. The fintech startup, founded four years ago, has introduced a new credit card that pays rewards in bitcoins.

The Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Card is an update of the company’s existing Upgrade Card, with the added feature that rewards are paid in the volatile cryptocurrency. Users earn unlimited 1.5% Bitcoin rewards on every purchase as they make payments. 

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    Walgreens to roll out its own credit cards and a prepaid debit card in 2021

    The drugstore chain has its sights set on boosting customer loyalty and adding more revenue streams

    It’s commonplace for retailers to have their own vanity cards, but Walgreens’ latest foray goes a little further. In an effort to boost both loyalty and revenue, the drugstore chain says it will partner with Synchrony and Mastercard to launch credit cards and a prepaid debit card, and it is exploring other financial services.

    The company’s short-term plan for the credit cards is to connect them with its new customer loyalty program, myWalgreens, allowing cardholders to receive cash rewards and other offers. 

    A wide range of benefits

    Walgreens is keeping its cards close to its chest, only going as far as saying that the co-branded credit card will offer an undefined “wider range of benefits” when used at other retailers and service providers. The offering will reportedly be the first in another “range of new financial products and services” that the company has up its sleeve. While it didn’t give specifics, it said in a release that it plans to explore a number of add-ons that Mastercard offers such as point-of-sale financing and installments.

    That last part -- point-of-sale financing and installment plans -- comes directly from the financial crunch that the pandemic put the consumer world in. According to a report by Salesforce and coverage by CNBC, the use of “buy now, pay later” for online orders grew 109 percent during the 2020 holiday shopping season.

    The company is also taking a health-first cue from the pandemic, allowing customers to have access to contactless shopping experiences.

    “Walgreens is committed to providing our customers and patients with unparalleled loyalty and rewards experiences for managing their health and well-being, and we are excited to partner with Synchrony and Mastercard, who share our commitment to support healthy communities,” said John Standley, Walgreens president. 

    “As we continue to focus on creating new revenue streams, we look forward to exploring and introducing even more health and well-being payment initiatives in the near future.”

    The new Walgreens credit cards are slated to be available in the second half of 2021, and eligible customers will be able to use the Walgreens credit card for purchases at more than 9,000 Walgreens stores, via the Walgreens mobile app, and at Walgreens.com.

    It’s commonplace for retailers to have their own vanity cards, but Walgreens’ latest foray goes a little further. In an effort to boost both loyalty and re...
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