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

Data Breach at 216 Jimmy John’s Locations

Jimmy John's is the latest company to suffer a major data breach. The sandwich shop chain confirmed today that criminals hacked into their point of sale systems at 216 stores and accessed customer debit and credit card information. The breach … Continue reading

Home Depot Breach Hit 56 Million Credit And Debit Cards

Earlier this month, Home Depot announced a data breach that hit its 2,200+ home improvement stores in America and Canada. The company now confirms that a whopping 56 million credit and debit cards were affected by the breach. The magnitude … Continue reading

Barclaycard Offers 0% APR for 34 Months On Balance Transfers in UK

There are some very good balance transfer offers on credit cards here in the United States. But nothing compared to what is going on in the United Kingdom. Barclaycard has now introduced a card with a 0% APR for 34 months on … Continue reading

Could Apple Pay Be the End of Data Breaches?

Apple's announcement of a new payment system, Apple Pay, could not have come at a more opportune time.Consumers have been shell-shocked by the number of data breaches that have taken place at well-known stores: Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels, P.F. Chang's, … Continue reading

Home Depot Confirms Credit Card Hack

Yesterday, Home Depot confirmed a breach of its payment data system that may affect any customer who used a debit or credit card since April. Since Home Depot has nearly 2,000 stores in the United States and another 180 in … Continue reading

Millennials Shying Away from Credit Cards

Credit card issuers must be very concerned by the results of a survey released today: nearly two-thirds of millennials do not have a credit card. 63% of adults 18-29 years old do not own a credit card compared to 35% of adults … Continue reading

Apple’s Introduction May Lead to the End of the Plastic Credit Card

The date of September 9, 2014 may very well be the beginning of the end of the physical credit card. As we forecasted in June, there is a good chance Apple will announce a watch and/or phone on Tuesday that … Continue reading

Data Breach at Goodwill Compromises 868,000 Cards

Goodwill Industries confirmed yesterday that a data breach in 330 of its stores may have compromised an estimated 868,000 debit and credit cards. Payment card information, such as names, payment card numbers and expiration dates, may have been compromised. However, … Continue reading

CFPB Issues Warning on Deceptive Credit Card Marketing

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a warning to credit card companies about deceptive marketing tactics used to promote convenience checks and reduced or zero percent interest offers. The Bureau told banks to properly disclose the costs of these … Continue reading

Mobile Wallet Isis Changes Name to Softcard to Avoid Association with Terrorist Group

The mobile wallet formerly known as Isis has rebranded its product to Softcard in order to avoid any association or confusion with the violent Islamic militant group with the same name. "We have no interest in sharing a name with … Continue reading

Possible Card Data Breach at Home Depot

Home Depot may be the latest American retailer to suffer a significant data breach. Today, a massive number of debit and credit card information appeared on a site where card numbers are illegally sold. According to security expert Brian Krebs, … Continue reading

Data Breach at Dairy Queen

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security issued an advisory that estimated more than 1,000 businesses have been affected by the same "Backoff" malicious software which led to the Target breach. Dairy Queen appears to be the latest victim. The Minneapolis-based … Continue reading

UPS Reveals Data Breach in 51 Stores

United Parcel Service reported yesterday that a data breach may have occurred in 51 of their UPS Stores, possibly leading to the theft of customer debit and credit card information. Malicious software that was not identified by current anti-virus software … Continue reading

Hospital Data Breach Affects 4.5 Million Patients

No company or industry appears to be safe from cyber attacks. Not even hospitals. Yesterday, Community Health Systems said information on 4.5 million patients was stolen in a cyber attack that may have originated in China. The data breach may have impacted anyone … Continue reading

Credit Card Breach Hits Major Supermarket Chains

Last Friday, some of the country's most popular supermarkets, including Albertson's, Jewel-Osco and SuperValu, reported they experienced data breaches over the summer. Hackers have apparently broken into the debit and credit card payment networks of the stores under the AB … Continue reading

Alarming Statistics about Delinquent Debt in America

A new study from the Urban Institute and the Consumer Credit Research Institute reveals that 35% of adults with credit files have debt in collections. This amounts to an astounding 77 million people. The average debt is $5,178 per person. … Continue reading

CFPB Warns Consumers of Bitcoin Dangers

Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an advisory warning consumers about the dangers of virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, referring to these currencies as the "Wild West" of the financial world. The government agency also announced it is now … Continue reading

High Credit Card Debt Increases Risk of Depression

According to a study from Rutgers University, older adults with a high level of unsecured debt are much more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression compared to people with secured debt. Unsecured debt is debt that has no physical property … Continue reading

Small Debit Card Purchases Lead to Big Overdraft Fees

A new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau indicates most overdraft fees on debit cards occur on transactions of $24 or less. In addition, the majority of consumers pay back those overdrafts within three days. This means that a … Continue reading

P.F. Chang’s Data Breach Spans 33 Restaurants in 16 States

The security breach at P.F. Chang's China Bistro first reported in June may have affected customers at 33 restaurants located in 16 states. The intruder may have stolen some data from certain credit and debit cards that were used during an eight-month period … Continue reading

Square Introduces New Reader for Chip-Based Credit Cards

Today, mobile payments company Square announced it has developed a new credit card reader that will make transactions with chip-enabled EMV cards. Square is a credit card reader that plugs into smartphones or tablets, allowing a credit or debit card … Continue reading

Big Gap between Awareness and Usage for Mobile Wallets

Mobile wallets have made a big splash in recent years, but a new study shows there may be more discussion going on than actual usage. Research from Thrive Analytics shows far more people in America know about digital wallets than … Continue reading

6 Tips For Paying Off Your Credit Card Debt

If you are looking to pay off your credit card debt, you are making the right financial move. It is easy for manageable credit card debt to turn into an overwhelming situation. But the good news is that you can … Continue reading

Consumers Anxious For Chip And PIN Credit Cards

Consumers in the United States are more than willing to transition to chip and PIN cards. In fact, a recent survey indicates the majority of Americans are looking forward to the transition. According to a survey from Vision Critical, 69% … Continue reading

LowCards Exclusive Study: Identity Theft Concerns Shifting Shopping Habits of Americans

Identity theft has become a major concern for the American consumer and is now having a significant impact on their shopping habits. These are the findings of an exclusive survey conducted on over 400 random individuals by LowCards.com.   Nearly 46% of … Continue reading

AmEx On Trial Over Credit Card Processing Fees

American Express went on trial yesterday with the U.S. government and 17 states claiming AmEx stifles competition from other credit card companies that charge lower processing fees. The case alleges that American Express will not allow merchants to offer discounts and other … Continue reading

Credit Card Companies Look to Risky Borrowers to Boost Revenue

Banks are starting to rely more heavily on risky buyers to boost their revenues, with 3.7 million in subprime credit cards being approved and distributed during the first quarter of the year. That represents a 39% increase over the same period … Continue reading

What Is Chip And Pin Credit Card Technology?

The credit card breaches at major retailers such as Target, Michaels and Neiman Marcus have rocked consumer confidence regarding their financial information. That is why credit card companies are rapidly investing in new technology to make their products more secure. … Continue reading

GE Capital to Pay $225 Million for Discriminatory and Deceptive Credit Card Practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has cracked down on yet another credit card issuer. Today, the CFPB and the Justice Department ordered GE Capital Retail Bank, General Electric's retail credit card business, to pay $225 million in relief to consumers … Continue reading

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Identity Theft

Identity theft has become one of the biggest concerns for Americans. However, it is also one of the most misunderstood subjects among consumers. We are always looking for ways to protect ourselves from fraud. Credit card fraud or identity theft … Continue reading

PF Chang’s Investigates Possible Card Breach

Another well-known company has been the possible victim of a debit and credit card breach. PF Chang’s China Bistro, which operates restaurants throughout the country, reported Tuesday that they are investigating a card breach that may have occurred from March … Continue reading

AT&T Develops New Program to Help Prevent Credit Card Fraud

AT&T will pilot a new service that could help credit card companies prevent fraud. The program will let the credit card company know the current location of the accountholder based on the location of his or her phone. If that … Continue reading

The Ultimate Guide To The Best Credit Cards Of 2014

If you are interested getting a credit card, you’ll want to have all of the facts before you make a critical decision. Getting a credit card is a big step for most consumers, and too many people make that choice … Continue reading

Will the Apple iWatch be a Revolutionary New Payment System?

The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco begins on June 2 and everything from Apple TV to the Beats acquisition for $3.2 billion has been mentioned as possible groundbreaking announcements. One of the latest rumors has an Apple iWatch with … Continue reading

Consumer Survey Shows Growing Concern over Security of Financial Information

According to the Unisys Security Index Report, an increasing number of Americans are "very" concerned about the security of their financial information. Only 28% of Americans said they were "very" concerned in 2013, but 35% reported the same level of … Continue reading

Ten Ways To Prevent Identity Theft In 2014

There are always going to be people who try to steal your identity or credit cards. The key to protecting your critical financial and personal information is to be proactive in keeping them safe. While there are ways to limit … Continue reading

Turn “Off” Your Credit Cards to Prevent Fraud

Don't you wish you were able to turn off your credit cards when you don't need them so that no one else could use them? And then back on when you were ready to make a purchase? With OnDot CardControl, … Continue reading

Target Switching to Chip-and-PIN Cards after Massive Breach

In order to improve the security of its debit and credit cards, Target will begin issuing chip-and-PIN cards in early 2015. The company said yesterday that it will replace its entire REDcard portfolio, including all Target-branded debit and credit cards, … Continue reading

Apple Primed to Become Mobile Wallet Leader

Apple published its quarterly earnings last week, a few hours after we published our original story "The Mobile Wallet Battle Heats Up". Apple CEO Tim Cook took the earnings call as an opportunity to tell everybody about his war plan … Continue reading

The Mobile Wallet Battle Heats Up

Domino's Pizza is now accepting payment via Google Wallet. You can pay for your pizza with your Android app. That might not sound like big news but it signals a significant move in the battle for how you make your … Continue reading

Michaels Breach Exposed Nearly 3 Million Cards

Michaels, the nation's largest arts and crafts chain, said that nearly three million debit and credit cards may have been exposed in their data breach. The company said that the data security attack has been contained. The company reported that … Continue reading

Proposed Senate Bill Mandates Free Annual Credit Scores

A proposed bill in the United States Senate would mandate all consumers have access to free annual credit scores. The Stop Errors in Credit Use and Reporting (SECURE) Act is designed to reduce the problems consumers experience through errors in their … Continue reading

Another Massive Data Breach Under Investigation

A data breach that may have exposed the personal information of over 200 million Americans--over twice the size of the Target breach--is not getting nearly the attention of other recent data breaches. Hieu Minh Ngo, a Vietnamese national, posed as … Continue reading

CFPB Has History of Cracking Down on Illegal Credit Card Practices

Today’s actions by the CFPB against Bank of America for illegal credit card practices was the fifth such crackdown on a major credit card issuer by the Bureau in the past two years. As reported earlier, Bank of America was … Continue reading

Bank of America Must Pay $772 Million for Illegal Credit Card Practices

Today, Bank of America was ordered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to refund $727 million to consumers who were deceived by the bank's marketing of credit card payment protection programs and others who were charged for credit monitoring services they never … Continue reading

Walmart Partners with MasterCard for Store Branded Credit Cards

MasterCard will be the new payment network for Walmart’s store-branded credit cards, ending the nine year partnership between Discover and Walmart. MasterCard will also handle all the transactions on the store-branded credit cards for the Sam's club subsidiary. General Electric’s … Continue reading

Credit Card Debt Drops for Second Straight Month

The latest Consumer Credit report from the Federal Reserve shows that credit card debt has decreased for the second consecutive month. The February G19 report shows that revolving credit, made up mostly of credit card debt, decreased $2.4 billion from … Continue reading

Wells Fargo Continues Credit Card Push

For the past year, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has had a major corporate directive for his bank to capture a greater share of the credit card market. Wells Fargo took another step toward this goal by entering into a credit … Continue reading

Recent Stories & News

Stolen Medical Data Worth 10 Times More Than Credit Card Information

Stolen Medical Data Worth 10 Times More Than Credit Card Information

October 1st, 2014

How much are your medical records worth? About $10 on the open market, which is 10 times more than t[...]

Aldi Now Accepting Credit Cards in England

Aldi Now Accepting Credit Cards in England

September 30th, 2014

Aldi, the retail food chain best known for its low prices, will lift the credit card ban for its sto[...]

Pay Rent with a Credit Card, Thanks to New App

Pay Rent with a Credit Card, Thanks to New App

September 30th, 2014

A new app known as RadPad allows users to pay rent with a credit card, even if the landlord does not[...]

U.S. Bank to Refund $48 Million for Improper Credit Card Practices

U.S. Bank to Refund $48 Million for Improper Credit Card Practices

September 29th, 2014

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lowered the boom on U.S. Bank for improper credi[...]

Walmart to Offer Low-Cost Checking Accounts

Walmart to Offer Low-Cost Checking Accounts

September 29th, 2014

Walmart is once again expanding its products and services. After years of rumors about entering the [...]

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 26, 2014

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 26, 2014

September 26th, 2014

Walmart Prepares to Offer Low-Cost Checking Accounts Here comes Wal-Bank. After years of thwarted e[...]

The 10 States with the Most and Least Credit Card Debt

The 10 States with the Most and Least Credit Card Debt

September 25th, 2014

Which states have the most credit card debt? The least? A new study by Experian-Oliver Wyman Mark[...]