How Taylor Swift got fans signing up for her first credit cards

Halie Smith’s dedication to Taylor Swift runs so deep that she feels like she can be trusted like a friend. After the pop star encouraged fans to vote in the 2018 midterm election, Ms. Schmidt said registeredly. The 23-year-old’s final rite of passage – receiving her first credit card – was also prompted by the singer.

When the 11-time Grammy winner announced her Eras Tour, her first in five years, Ms. Smith said she knew she had to “do everything in my power to get tickets.” So she signed up for a ticket through Capital One, which has partnered with Ms. Swift to promote the tour and offered fans priority access to pre-sale tickets.

“Taylor Swift was that nudge once again,” said Ms. Smith, who lives in Pittsburgh. Besides the concert tickets, she hoped the card would help her build good credit. “When I signed up for the Taylor presale, I realized how important financial literacy is and maybe it should be promoted more in schools and colleges,” she said. Woman. Smith, who has cerebral palsy, was able to get four accessible seats for her and her friends for about $1,013, although she used her debit card because the total exceeded her credit card limit.

However, getting a credit card was already a goal of Ms. Smith’s, in part because her mother had encouraged her to start building credit so she would have good credit when she moved into her own apartment, and Ms. Swift’s Concert contract led Ms. Smith to take this financial step.

More than a decade ago, credit card companies popped up on college campuses to market themselves to students, offering them free groceries or T-shirts in exchange for filling out applications for their first cards. This practice declined after Congress passed legislation known as the Credit CARD Act in 2009, which provided broad consumer protections, including restricting marketing to students on college campuses and at off-campus college events.

However, credit card companies continue to employ marketing practices aimed at young people, including collaborating with their favorite musicians. Now, instead of free loot, the chance to see artists like Ms. Swift, Harry Styles or Shawn Mendes live in concert is convincing many young music fans to sign up for their first tickets.

Like Capital One, Citi offers cardholders early access to concert tickets through its Citi Entertainment program, which has no entry fee and is available to all Citi credit and debit cardholders. American Express offers some cardholders priority access to tickets to Broadway shows and concerts in addition to exclusive entry at some venues. However, access to certain exclusive experiences, like a three-day package to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, requires an American Express Platinum Card or Centurion Card — premium cards with exorbitant annual fees.

In the case of the Eras Tour, demand was so great that millions of fans known as Swifties experienced hours of waiting and frustrating technical issues that prevented them from securing tickets. During one of the presale days, Ticketmaster announced that it had received 3.5 billion system requests to purchase tickets for Ms. Swift’s tour. Some fans applied for their first credit cards through Capital One to increase their chances of getting tickets. (Capital One did not respond to a question about whether the issuer had an increase in applications following Ms Swift’s tour announcement.)

Other young fans were able to use their first credit card to pay for shows they couldn’t immediately afford.

Leah Garcia, a 21-year-old college student living in El Paso, is a fan of artists like Mr. Styles, Dominic Fike and The Driver Era. She recently spent around $800 on tickets to her shows using her first credit card, a Discover card.

“A lot of artists that I really like started announcing tours and I was like, ‘Oh god, I don’t have any money in my bank account to buy tickets right now,'” Ms. Garcia said. “So I decided to open a credit card just because I thought it would be easier to buy the tickets.”

Woman. Garcia said she consulted with her mother, who taught her how to use the card responsibly and told her not just to use it for concert tickets. Woman. Garcia said she used money she earned babysitting to pay for her credit card before the bill came due.

Nyazia Martin, a 28-year-old college student living in Louisville, Kentucky, saw Reba McEntire at a concert in October and had so much fun that she applied for her first credit card to purchase a ticket for another show in Indianapolis. Before signing up, she researched the best credit cards for students and settled on a Discover card with a $500 limit.

Woman. Martin, who said her mother stopped her from getting a credit card because “it led to money problems,” spent about $280 on the ticket and also used the card to buy new red boots for the show .

“It just feels like my Reba credit card,” said Frau. Martin, who planned to pay off the balance in three installments.

Woman. Martin said she gets a scholarship to teach drama to undergraduate students and her program has been fully funded. She now sticks to a strict budget compared to her hours and has had more financial flexibility.

Elliot Pepper, a financial literacy teacher and co-founder of Northbrook Financial, a wealth management and tax planning firm, said that getting credit cards and using them responsibly is positive for young people, but he warned them not to fall for the marketing of companies .

“I worry that people will rush into using a credit card and think that with all the glitz and glamor of the marketing that credit card companies are doing, they’re going to get a deal,” he said. “A credit card is not free money. A credit card is just a short-term loan that you have to pay back.”

Mr. Pepper suggested reaping the benefits of a credit card by signing up for one that offers rewards and no fees, and paying the balance in full each month. “Your goal should be to be the credit card company’s worst customer,” he said.

Jena Soliman considers going to concerts a priority and often travels with her friends to her favorite artists’ performances. In 2019, 23-year-old college student Mr. Mendes saw 10 hours on tour. Last year, Mrs. Soliman saw Mr. Styles in concert eight times and said she spent between $3,000 and $5,000 on travel expenses and tickets using cash and a credit card.

Woman. Soliman opened her first credit card through Capital One a few years ago to purchase tickets to Mr. Styles’ Love on Tour concert series, which was postponed due to the pandemic. At the time, Mrs. Soliman, who had already spoken to her parents about getting a credit card, spent about $205 on a ticket.

“When he announced his tour, that solidified for me,” Ms. Soloman said.

Woman. Soliman, who has since signed up for a second credit card through Discover, said she paid off her balance in full as soon as she used the card because her father taught her the importance of maintaining her credit rating. She uses the card primarily for concert tickets and occasionally for small purchases like gas.

Alyssa Smith, a 33-year-old resident of Salt Lake City, is the same age as Ms. Swift and has listened to all of the pop star’s albums since the beginning of her career.

Woman. Smith, who works in the medical industry, said the Eras tour was the first concert she felt financially stable enough to afford tickets for. Swift’s shows. She signed up for her first credit card after seeing Ms. Swift in a Capital One commercial and saw it as an opportunity to gain access to pre-sale tickets while building her bankroll.

“I was really excited because this is my first credit card,” Ms. Smith said. “I was scared and financially it’s quite difficult being a millennial.”

Woman. Smith was given priority access during the presale because she bought tickets to Ms. Swift’s Lover Fest tour, which was canceled due to the pandemic, and because she bought tickets for Ms. Swift’s new album before it came out. Still, Mrs. Smith couldn’t get tickets due to high demand.

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