About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of LowCards.com and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 12 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor. Bill can be contacted directly at billh@lowcards.com

Visa and Citi Win Credit Card Deal with Costco

Costco announced today that it will enter into a new co-brand credit card program with Citi, with Visa replacing American Express as the card network. Costco stated on February 12 that it was ending its exclusive relationship with American Express in the … Continue reading

Companies Doing Poor Job of Detecting Data Breaches

A report released Tuesday shows companies may not have the security systems in place to detect data breaches when they occur. As a result, over two-thirds of data breaches last year were detected by outside sources, not the company itself. … Continue reading

Two Million Americans Were Victims of Medical Identity Theft in 2014

More than two million Americans were victims of medical identity theft in 2014, according to new information from the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance. The Fifth Annual Study on Medical Identity Theft found the number of consumers affected by medical identity theft … Continue reading

Big Data is New Tool Used in Consumer Lending

Two new start-ups have recently opened their doors to serve consumers with limited or no credit files. These consumers find it difficult, if not impossible, to borrow from traditional lenders because the credit bureaus do not have enough information to … Continue reading

MasterCard Commits $20 Million to Enhance Cybersecurity

Credit card companies, retailers and payment networks are all feeling the heat after a year of massive data breaches and countless cases of identity theft. MasterCard is now taking some major steps to protect their customers with a $20 million … Continue reading

90% of Consumers Don’t Use Mobile Payments When Available

A new study shows the mobile payment industry may have a more difficult time than expected breaking into mainstream America. Research from the marketing firm Placeable indicates that 90% of consumers won't use mobile payments when available, and a surprising 42% … Continue reading

Federal Government Will Accept Apple Pay in September

The United States federal government has given the mobile payment industry, and specifically Apple Pay, a major vote of confidence. On Friday, Apple's CEO Tim Cook announced at the cybersecurity summit that Apple Pay will be accepted as a payment method … Continue reading

President Obama Hosts Cybersecurity Summit at Stanford Today

President Obama is hosting a cybersecurity summit today at Stanford University, bringing together government and industry representatives to discuss ways to improve national security against cyber attacks. Discussion topics will range from public education to the development of more secure … Continue reading

Costco, American Express to End Exclusive Partnership in U.S.

The exclusive relationship between American Express and Costco will end in the retailer’s United States stores on March 31, 2016, the credit card issuer announced this morning. The Canadian division of Costco made a similar decision in September of last … Continue reading

Big Jump In Credit Card Debt in December

Consumers racked up a sizeable amount of new credit card debt during the Christmas holiday. Revolving debt, most of which is credit card debt, rose $5.8 billion during the month of December, an annualized rate of 7.9%. It was the … Continue reading

Subprime Credit Card Company Must Refund $2.7 Million in Excessive Fees to Customers

On Wednesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered subprime credit card company Continental Finance Company LLC to pay $2.7 million in refunds to its customers for misrepresented services and excessive fees. The order also mandated the Delaware-based company to pay $250,000 … Continue reading

Top 5 Balance Transfer Credit Cards for 2015

Balance transfer credit card offers have been flooding the market for some time, giving consumers with a good credit score the opportunity to save some money. Issuers are offering cards with a 0% APR for 15-18 months on the amount … Continue reading

Password Managers Could Limit Identity Theft

Password managers could be an answer to the growing fear of identity theft. In general, consumers do a very poor job of creating secure passwords. Most people use a password that is a memorable word and possibly a number or … Continue reading

Amazon Abandons Its Mobile Wallet

Amazon Wallet, Amazon's entry into the growing mobile wallet industry, has been discontinued after only being on the market since July. The app stored loyalty and gift cards in digital wallets on Android and Fire phones. But unlike other mobile … Continue reading

A Truly “Green” Credit Card Hits The Market

Credit card issuers have marketed their cards to specific target audiences for years. Frequent fliers, bookworms, NFL fans, home fixer-uppers, students, travelers, NASCAR fans....and now, people concerned about climate change. Today, a biodegradable MasterCard that helps combat climate change hit … Continue reading

Mobile Payments Quickly Changing the Transaction Industry

Mobile payments are no longer just a trendy way to make a payment. They are quickly becoming the major force in the transaction industry. According to a report from Business Insider, mobile payment volume in the United States is projected … Continue reading

President Wants Laws on Student Privacy, Hacking Notification

The rash of data breaches has tested the patience of the President of the United States. Yesterday, President Barack Obama took steps to counter identity theft by calling for laws to protect the personal data of students and require notification … Continue reading

College Credit Card Agreements Decline As More Debit Card Deals Emerge

The Consumer Federal Protection Bureau recently reported a nearly 70% decline in college credit card agreements since Congress established regulations for disclosures in 2009. Educational institutions are now forced to be completely transparent when offering credit cards to students, and it seems … Continue reading

Major Data Breaches of 2014

A year ago, the country was rocked by the Target data breach. Previously, consumers rarely thought about the security on their credit or debit cards. But all that changed when Target reported that 40 million debit and credit card numbers had … Continue reading

Possible Credit Card Breach at Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A today acknowledged it is investigating reports of unusual activity involving debit and credit cards used at some of their restaurants. Initial reports indicate this may have affected up to 9,000 customers and may be concentrated in stores located in … Continue reading

69% of Small Businesses Not Ready for Chip-and-PIN Transition

A new study about the transition to chip-and-PIN credit cards reveals 69% of small and mid-sized businesses do not think they will be able to meet the October 2015 deadline for switching to EMV terminals. These EMV terminals are required … Continue reading

How to Recover from Holiday Credit Card Debt

Holiday shopping is a wonderful experience, until the credit card bills start rolling in. Once the joy of the giving has passed, you stare at the painful task of paying the bills. There are several ways to recover from holiday credit card … Continue reading

Bebe Confirms Credit Card Data Breach

Bebe Stores Inc., a women's clothing retailer, has officially confirmed a data breach at its stores during the month of November. The breach is expected to impact shoppers from the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who … Continue reading

Save Coupons to Your Credit Card with “Twitter Offers”

Twitter is launching a new program that allows users to store discounts and coupons on their credit cards. Twitter Offers can convert Promoted Tweets, the ads that appear in a users stream, to coupons which users can save to their credit … Continue reading

New Year’s Credit Card Resolutions

We're approaching another new year, which means we all have a chance to focus and fix areas of our life with some New Year's resolutions. One resolution may be to get your credit card account in order so you can … Continue reading

Consumers Plan to Use Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping

Americans have seen a number of substantial data breaches since last year's holiday season, but that has not had a major effect on how they plan to pay for their items this Christmas. A new survey from TransUnion shows 80% of … Continue reading

CFPB Proposes Stronger Consumer Protections on Prepaid Cards

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced today that it will propose much stronger protections on prepaid cards. The CFPB proposal would require prepaid companies provide easy and free access to account information, work with consumers to resolve errors, and to … Continue reading

Debit Cards Decline in Popularity

A new report indicates debit cards are dropping in popularity, even though they remain the most common form of payment in America. According to the TSYS's 2014 Consumer Payment Study, the decline is primarily motivated by security fears from the number … Continue reading

Apple Pay’s Biggest Competitor Could be a Totally New Credit Card

Apple Pay is being heralded as a revolutionary new payment system because of its two new security features: tokenization and fingerprint identification. The shocking number of data breaches in the last year have made credit card theft the crime that … Continue reading

53 Million Email Addresses Also Stolen in Home Depot Breach

The extent of the Home Depot data breach deepened on Thursday when the company disclosed that hackers also stole 53 million email addresses. In September, Home Depot confirmed that a whopping 56 million credit and debit cards were affected by … Continue reading

Americans Are Losing Trust in Their Banks

Half of American adults say they have lost trust in their banks over the last few years, according to a recent Harris Poll. By comparison, 49% of the respondents said their trust in credit unions has remained the same in … Continue reading

Data Breaches Affected 18.5 Million Californians in 2013

Nearly half of California's residents were affected by data breaches and cyber intrusions in 2013, a staggering seven-fold increase from the previous year. According to a new report issued by Kamala Harris, the state's Attorney General, the personal information of … Continue reading

Citibank to Provide Free Credit Scores to Cardholders

Citibank will become the largest credit card issuer to provide free credit scores to their credit card customers. The bank will begin providing these scores on a monthly basis beginning in January. The scores will only be available online. Citi … Continue reading

Staples Investigating Potential Data Breach

Staples may be the latest victim of a debit and credit card breach. The office supply chain announced late yesterday that it is investigating a potential data breach at several locations. According to security expert Brian Krebs, several banks identified … Continue reading

President Obama Tightens Security on Government-Issued Debit Cards

Even the federal government is feeling uneasy about the security of debit and credit cards. Reacting to the incredible number of data breaches at major retail chains, the United States government will now require that all federal benefits issued via … Continue reading

Apple Pay to Launch Monday

Apple Pay, a revolutionary new payment system where consumers can make payments with a touch of their finger on their new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, will launch this Monday, October 20. Apple Pay allows consumers to store their … Continue reading

Did the Durbin Amendment Make a Difference?

The Durbin Amendment contained a provision that limited the interchange fees merchants paid for debit card transactions. The thought was that retailers would lower their prices if these high swipe fees were decreased. But on the third anniversary of this … Continue reading

Kmart Latest Chain Hit by Data Breach

Credit card hackers have hit another major retailer in the United States. This time, it's Kmart. In a filing last Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company says a month-long data breach took place in early September. Debit and … Continue reading

Dairy Queen Confirms Data Breach in 395 Stores

International Dairy Queen has confirmed a data breach did take place in 395 locations and may have affected nearly 600,000 debit and credit cards. After an investigation that began in August, the company found that Backoff malware, used in so … Continue reading

How To Use Credit Card Chip & PIN Technology

America is now a year away from an October 2015 deadline when all banks, retailers and credit card providers will transition to chip and PIN cards in order to strengthen credit card security. All of the cards currently in your wallet … Continue reading

Credit Card Debt Falls for First Time Since February

Credit card debt fell slightly in August for the first time since February, dropping $208 million or an annual rate of 0.3%. These were the findings of the latest monthly Consumer Credit report from the Federal Reserve. Americans now have … Continue reading

Major Data Breach at JP Morgan Chase Hits 76 Million Households

JP Morgan Chase, the nation's largest bank in terms of assets, has acknowledged a massive data breach that affects 76 million households and 7 million small businesses. The bank disclosed the extent of the breach in a filing yesterday with … Continue reading

Proposal to Cap Interest Rates for Military Members

In an effort to better protect members of the military from high interest rates, the Department of Defense has proposed an update to the Military Lending Act from 2006. The update would put more credit products under the 36% interest … Continue reading

Recent Stories & News

Credit Card Balances Reach 6-Year High

Credit Card Balances Reach 6-Year High

March 2nd, 2015

Credit card balances grew approximately 5% in 2014, the highest growth rate since the economy crashe[...]

Visa and Citi Win Credit Card Deal with Costco

Visa and Citi Win Credit Card Deal with Costco

March 2nd, 2015

Costco announced today that it will enter into a new co-brand credit card program with Citi, with Vi[...]

Boku Launches Phone-on-File Payments to Compete with Credit Cards

Boku Launches Phone-on-File Payments to Compete with Credit Cards

February 27th, 2015

Boku, a mobile payment solution using carrier billing, has created a program called Phone-on-File th[...]

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–February 27, 2015

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–February 27, 2015

February 27th, 2015

Google Buys Softcard, Teams Up with Carriers on Mobile Payments Google and the mobile carriers have[...]

Companies Doing Poor Job of Detecting Data Breaches

Companies Doing Poor Job of Detecting Data Breaches

February 26th, 2015

A report released Tuesday shows companies may not have the security systems in place to detect data [...]

The LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report for February 26, 2015

The LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report for February 26, 2015

February 26th, 2015

The LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report is based on our Complete Credit Card Index which tra[...]

Two Million Americans Were Victims of Medical Identity Theft in 2014

Two Million Americans Were Victims of Medical Identity Theft in 2014

February 25th, 2015

More than two million Americans were victims of medical identity theft in 2014, according to new inf[...]