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Wells Fargo and Bilt are denying reports that their co-branded credit card relationship is in trouble.

The banking giant teamed with the FinTech startup in 2022 on a card that let users pay their rent while earning rewards points. 

However, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Sunday (June 16), citing current and former employees, that Wells Fargo is losing as much as $10 million a month on the program. The report says the bank’s executives made projections on revenue sources — such as the likelihood of customers carrying balances — that ended up being wrong.

Now, the report said, Wells Fargo has ceased bidding on new co-branded card initiatives, executives it had hired for such programs have departed, and its new cards won’t involve partners. (An exception being an already-announced Wells-Expedia deal.)

According to WSJ, Wells Fargo has been negotiating its arrangement with Bilt, and has said it doesn’t plan to renew its contract — scheduled to end in 2029 — unless things change in its favor.

Representatives for both companies denied the relationship is in doubt when reached for comment by PYMNTS.

“There has been no conversation among decision-makers to exit the Bilt agreement,” a Wells Fargo spokesperson said. “To suggest otherwise is false.”

The bank added that the partnership was typical of all new card launches, in that “it takes multiple years for the initial launch to pay off.” Wells Fargo declined to comment when asked by PYMNTS about other claims from the WSJ story, such as the bank’s revenue projections and its reported abandonment of co-branded card initiatives.

Bilt, meanwhile, says it is “committed to a long-term partnership with Wells Fargo,” with CEO Ankur Jain echoing the same on Twitter Sunday.

The news comes at a time when — as PYMNTS wrote last month — co-branded cards may be facing an existential crisis.

“General-purpose credit cards dominate the consumer credit card landscape,” that report said. “In fact, about 2.5 times more consumers hold general-use credit cards than either co-branded credit or store cards, with substantially wider gaps among lower-income consumers and those in younger age groups.”

In addition, cardholders who own both types of cards tend to reach for general-use cards more often, with 61% saying they frequently use their general-use card, per PYMNTS Intelligence research.

Co-branded card owners are more likely to pay their balances off each month, with 52% doing so compared to 49% of general-purpose card holders.

Still, co-branded cards still have their fans, as they are relatively more popular among older consumers and people who earn more than $100,000 per year.



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