Mastercard introduces digital-first credit card

Mastercard announced the expansion of its Digital First Card Program. The company said that through the expansion of its Digital-First Card Program, which was announced on Sept. 23rd, it is offering foundational digital guidelines to help several partners – including payment processors FIS, CoreCard, i2c, TSYS (owned by Global Payments) and others – to access card data in a speedy, secure manner.

Those processors will in turn work with issuing banks to offer near-instant issuance of cards. It helps Cardholders to gain the ability to make online and in-app purchases – and at the point of sale, through digital wallets – almost immediately after issuer approval.

Through the expanded program, cardholders will also be able to manage their accounts, review their transaction history, check their balances and complete other activities – all in a digital environment.

The Digital First Card Program modernizes the process of issuing credit cards. It makes cards virtual, existing in mobile wallets only. Personalization is entirely electronic. Card numbers, expiration dates, verification digits, and credentials are stored on a smartphone, not plastic. Customers can request a plastic card, but the primary use is virtual on mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

The entire process of issuing a digital credit card, from application to approval to personalization to activation, should take no more than a few seconds rather than a few days.

eCommerce retailers to face hikes in holiday shipping

For the first time in its history, the United States Postal Service is imposing a holiday surcharge on commercial packages. The price increases will begin on October 18 and run through December 27, 2020, and range from $0.24 to $1.50 per package.

The temporary price adjustments are attributable to increased expenses and heightened package volume as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and an expected surge in holiday gift shipping. Consumer and international pricing will not be subject to a surcharge.

The spike in demand for online shopping is overwhelming the retail industry’s capacity to meet make-or-break consumer expectations – such as inventory availability and on-time delivery. With the holiday season approaching, the largest shipping carriers face operational challenges, including meeting heightened shipment volumes as well as expected delivery times. These challenges, inevitably, have led to delivery carriers confirming shipping surcharges for the holiday season.

The capacity of the USPS is already under strain because of the growth of ecommerce sales since the pandemic began. According to SJ Consulting Group, which focuses on logistics advice, the USPS handled 34 percent of package deliveries in the 2019 holiday shopping season, more than any other carrier.

UPS said its holiday surcharges could total as much as $3 a package for U.S. ground shipments and other lower-priced shipping options, and up to $4 per package for air shipments bound for residences. The fees depend on the percentage increase in volume for each customer from February 2020.

However, the UPS surcharges apply only to customers who ship more than 25,000 packages a week. The increases will start on November 15 and stay in effect until January 16, 2021. Large packages will incur a surcharge of $50 from October 4, 2020, until January 16, 2021. Effective October 18, rates for all UPS SurePost services (last-mile delivery by USPS) will increase by $0.24.

FedEx stated that its holiday surcharges would mostly affect larger customers. FedEx SmartPost, the home delivery service, which, like UPS SurePost, transfers to the USPS for the final stretch, will impose a $1 per package surcharge from November 2, 2020, to November 29, 2020. That increases to $2 per package from November 30, 2020, to December 6, 2020, and reverts to $1 per package from December 7, 2020, to January 17, 2021.

FedEx will also charge as much as $5 a package on its premium Express service for large shippers whose volume far exceeds normal levels. FedEx currently has surcharges for applicable home delivery and SmartPost shipments in place until November 1, 2020, as a result of increased volume due to Covid-19.