This Week In Credit Card News: Defaults Steadily Rising; Google Teams With Retailers To Fight Amazon

Banks have enjoyed years of declining losses from fewer consumers defaulting on debts. They appear to be preparing for a turn. Shares of JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup fell after the banks boosted their reserves for consumer-loan losses by the most in more than four years. Both lenders set aside money in the third quarter because they expected write-offs on credit cards to climb in periods ahead, with Citigroup saying the increase is coming faster than it had anticipated. [Bloomberg]

Google is teaming with major retailers to take on Amazon. Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images

Google Is Essentially Building An Anti-Amazon Alliance, And Target Is The Latest To Join

Google and the country’s biggest retailers have one problem in common: Amazon. Both sides are acting like they are serious about working together to do something about it. Target and Google announced they are expanding what was a years-old delivery partnership from a small experiment in a handful of cities to the entire continental U.S. The expansion will allow Target to become a retail partner in Google’s voice-shopping initiative, which lets owners of the Google Home “smart” speaker order items through voice commands like owners of the Echo can do from Amazon. The announcement comes seven weeks after Walmart inked a similar deal with Google to offer hundreds of thousands of products through the service. [Recode]

Citigroup Hasn’t Played Its (Credit) Cards Right

Citi all but gave up on its credit card business in 2009. But it realized that was a mistake. In 2015, the bank began investing in the division again, going after the branded business of retailers. Its biggest move came last year when it undercut American Express and took over Costco’s card business. Citi executives have warned that the expansion would boost costs and losses for a time. But they have repeatedly said that investors would see an improvement starting in the second half of 2017. In the third quarter, at least, the payoff wasn’t evident. Credit card loans were up just 1% from the quarter before. And credit card losses were up 36%, to $611 million, from a year ago. [Bloomberg]

Amazon Is Making It Easier For Teens To Use Their Parents’ Credit Cards

Amazon is already the most popular online retailer among adults, and it’s setting its sights on a new demographic: teenagers. The company’s newest efforts are aimed at getting these shoppers to purchase items on its site with approval from their parents. Teens can now log into Amazon using their own accounts to buy items and stream videos. Their parents can approve their purchases by text message or set spending limits per order. Analysts say the teenage market could be particularly lucrative for Amazon. [The Washington Post]