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Consumer Confidential: Netflix for kids, credit cards, coffee prices

August 16, 2011 |  9:31 am

Cookiepic Here's your take-me-home-country-road Tuesday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

-- Netflix is opening a store on Sesame Street. The company is giving kids and their parents a new reason to embrace its Internet video subscription service by adding a "Just For Kids" tab to subscribers' accounts. Clicking on the feature will pull up a list of kid-friendly recommendations drawn from about 1,000 movies and TV shows in Netflix's Internet video streaming library. It won't suggest titles that are only available as DVD rentals delivered through the mail. That's an option that Netflix is trying to make less enticing to subscribers so it can spend more money expanding its selection of videos available for streaming. The company says about half its subscribers have watched at least two movies or TV shows made for kids in the last 90 days.

-- We're getting smarter with our plastic. Credit card users have been so focused on keeping their accounts in good standing that they've driven the rate of late payments to its lowest level in 17 years. The national credit card delinquency rate, or rate of payments 90 days or more past due, fell to 0.60% in the second quarter, down from 0.92% a year ago. That's the lowest rate since 1994, according to credit reporting agency TransUnion. And the improved payment habits came despite increased use of credit cards, based on quarterly data on Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover cards. The average combined debt on all major credit cards increased to $4,699 per borrower, up $20 from the first three months of the year.

-- Here's some more happy news: J.M. Smucker, the top seller of packaged coffee, has cut prices by 6% for most of its brands, including its flagship, Folgers, as well as the Dunkin' Donuts branded coffee sold in grocery stores. Smucker is the first major roaster to trim prices in more than a year, putting pressure on its rivals to follow suit. The company raised its prices four times between May 2010 and May 2011, increasing them by a total of 38%.

-- David Lazarus

Photo: Netflix is striving to be more kid-friendly. Credit: Richard Termine/PBS