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

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

Negligent Healthcare Practices Put Your Identity at Risk

A new study indicates an astounding 43 percent of identity theft cases in 2013 were the result of medical identity theft. This occurs when criminals gain access to your medical files and use information to open accounts and make purchases. The … Continue reading

Your Child’s ID is a Big Target for Identity Thieves

Child identity theft can be a bigger problem than other forms of identity theft because it can go unnoticed for years. A recent Carnegie Mellon study found that 10.2% of children under the age of 18 had someone else using their Social … Continue reading

Visa and MasterCard Stop Servicing Several Russian Banks

The sanctions imposed by the US Government on Russia for their annexation of Crimea are now starting to affect the common Russian citizen. Visa and MasterCard have stopped processing transactions by cardholders at several Russian banks that have been earmarked … Continue reading

Should I Get an Emergency Credit Card for my Teenager?

Once your teenager is driving, it is a good idea that he or she have access to some funds in case of an emergency. You don't want your loved one stranded on the side of the road, unable to pay … Continue reading

The Appeal of Prepaid Debit Cards

Two new surveys from the Pew Charitable Trusts show that prepaid debit cards have become a popular alternative to checking accounts for more Americans. Consumers loaded $64.5 billion onto prepaid debit cards in 2012, a 13% increase from the $56.8 billion in 2011, and … Continue reading

Neiman Marcus Hack Not as Widespread as Once Feared

When news first broke about the Neiman Marcus credit card hack, the company estimated that as many as 1.1 million cardholders could have been affected. New information suggests that the hack may not have been as widespread as once feared. … Continue reading

Big Changes in Frequent Flier Programs

Mergers have dramatically consolidated the airline industry, reducing the number of carriers, flights and competition. One of the overlooked factors of this consolidation is the significant change in frequent flier programs. Airlines are now rewarding how much members spend rather … Continue reading

Should I Pay My Taxes with a Credit Card?

April 15 is less than two months away, and many of us are already trying to figure out how to pay our taxes. Using a credit card to pay taxes may seem like an easy way to appease the IRS, … Continue reading

Prepaid Debit Cards Not Just for Unbanked Consumers

Prepaid debit cards are most often associated with unbanked consumers who use the cards to receive direct deposits or store their money securely. A surprising new study from Pew Charitable Trusts indicates that may not be the case anymore. According … Continue reading

Identity Fraud Continues to Skyrocket

Identity theft is happening all the time--literally. A new report by Javelin Strategy & Research shows that there was a new identity fraud victim nearly every two seconds in 2013. Last year, there were an estimated 13.1 million victims of identity … Continue reading

Millennials Cutting Back on Credit Cards, But Struggle with Credit Scores

Millennials are carrying far fewer credit cards with smaller balances than older consumers but are still struggling with their credit scores and debt utilization. Experian’s Fourth Annual State of Credit analyzed the credit card habits of four generations: Millennials (19-29), … Continue reading

Hotel Company Suffers Data Breach on Credit and Debit Cards

The wave of data breaches causing widespread concern among consumers has now spread to the hotel industry. A hotel franchise management company that manages 168 hotels in 21 states has apparently suffered a data breach that exposed hundreds of guests’ … Continue reading

Another Credit Card Scam Rocks Consumers

Yet another credit card scam is taking place, this one where consumers have an unauthorized $9.84 charge appear on their account. The business name on the fraudulent transaction is as an odd-looking website, such as CEWcs.com or EEETsac.com. The website … Continue reading

The Move to EMV Credit Cards

For years, the United States has lagged behind the rest of the world on moving to more secure EMV credit cards. Consumers have not asked for them, so credit card issuers and retailers have not made the costly switch. But the recent data thefts at … Continue reading

Feds Bust Online Counterfeit Credit Card Operation

Federal authorities have arrested three Florida men for running a major online operation that printed and sold fake credit cards and debit cards that resulted in an estimated $34.5 million in fraud losses. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in … Continue reading

Credit Card Data Theft Rocks South Korea

The largest credit card data theft in South Korean history is now affecting nearly 20 million cardholders or 40% of the country's population. A contractor with the Korea Credit Bureau, reportedly hired to improve the protection system on client data, … Continue reading

New Report Shows Credit Card Companies with Most Complaints

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched a complaint database in November, 2011, and it collected over 25,000 complaints through mid-September of 2013. A report released last week by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group summarized some of the findings from … Continue reading

Citi Replacing All Debit Cards Affected by Massive Target Breach

The fallout from the Target data breach continues. Citi will replace every debit card that consumers may have used at Target during the time of the cyber attacks, according to the New York Times. Citi will not replace any credit … Continue reading

Protecting Your Financial Accounts from Hackers

Consumers are getting bombarded with news of cyber security attacks at well-known retail stores such as Target and Neiman Marcus. They are concerned about their personal information and are left to wonder what can be done to protect themselves. Here … Continue reading

Hackers Steal Card Data from Neiman Marcus Customers

Target is not the only retailer that suffered cyber security attacks over the holidays. On Saturday, Neiman Marcus reported that hackers have accessed the debit and credit card information of an undisclosed number of customers and made unauthorized purchases. The … Continue reading

Target Breach Much Worse Than Reported

The news keeps getting worse for Target. Already the victim of one of the largest data breaches in history, the company disclosed this morning that certain personal information was compromised on up to 70 million shoppers during November and December. … Continue reading

Retail Group Appeals Swipe Fee Settlement

After a federal judge approved the $5.7 billion settlement over interchange fees between credit card companies and retailers, the National Retail Federation has filed an appeal, claiming that the current settlement is "flawed." "The settlement does nothing to reform the … Continue reading

Top 10 Signs of Identity Theft

Recent security breaches at Target, Skype and Snapchat show that identity theft has become a major problem in our society. Unfortunately, personal information, email, credit cards and bank accounts are not as private and protected as we think. It is … Continue reading

Top 10 Credit Card Stories of 2013

Identity theft and actions by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau dominated the credit card headlines in 2013. Below are the Top 10 news stories of the year in the credit card industry. One of the largest data breaches in history … Continue reading

College Credit Card Accounts Have Declined Steadily Since CARD Act

Each year, the CARD Act requires the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau to issue a report on the agreements between credit card issuers and institutions of higher learning and their affiliated organizations. The goal is to create more transparency in the world of college-affiliated … Continue reading

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 27, 2013

American Express To Pay $75 Million Over Credit Card Practices The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has ordered American Express to pay more than $75 million to settle claims that it charged improper fees and misled its credit card customers over … Continue reading

How to Stop Receiving Credit Card Offers In The Mail

Most of us signed up for the "do not call" list years ago when we found out how to stop telemarketers from calling our home phone numbers. But many of us have not taken time to opt out of direct … Continue reading

Chase Raises Limits on Debit Cards Used at Target Stores

On Saturday, JP Morgan Chase became the first major bank to place limitations on their customers’ debit cards that were possibly affected by the Target security breach. Chase placed a daily limit of $300 in purchases and $100 in cash … Continue reading

40 Million Card Accounts Affected by Security Breach at Target

A new data breach at almost all Target stores across the country could be one of the largest data breaches in history. The breach may have affected as many as 40 million people who used their credit or debit cards … Continue reading

Reducing Credit Card Debt in 2014

Christmas shopping has reached a frenzied pace, and millions of consumers are buying things they probably cannot afford. Many of us will enter January with credit card debt. Issuers are adding to the dilemma. Mailboxes have been filled with credit … Continue reading

Using Gift Cards Wisely

Gift card spending is predicted to reach an all-time high during the holidays. Eight out of ten shoppers will purchase gift cards this season and consumers will spend an average of $163.16 on gift cards, up 4% from the $156.86 … Continue reading

“Couponing” with Credit Cards

Couponing has been around for decades, but it became a very popular fad after shows like Extreme Couponing and Extreme Cheapskates highlighted the amount of money you can save with the practice. If you are an avid couponer, you may not … Continue reading

Three Credit Card Issuers Now Offer Free Credit Scores

Three major credit card companies--Discover, First Bankcard and Barclaycard US--will now enable their cardholders to see their credit scores for free once a month. These consumers will see their FICO credit score, the most widely-used credit scoring formula. This will affect … Continue reading

CFPB to Supervise Nonbanks That Service Student Loans

Starting today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will supervise nonbank student loans. This is new oversight for the large student loan market that serves over 40 million Americans. The Bureau currently oversees loan servicing at the largest banks, but now … Continue reading

Retail Credit Cards on the Rise

According to a new report from Equifax, retail credit card accounts are on the rise, both in terms of balances and the number of cards on the market. There were 24.6 million new retail credit card accounts opened between January … Continue reading

10 Credit Card Tips to Better Manage Holiday Spending

We are approaching one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. Nearly 140 million people plan to shop over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend according to the National Retail Federation. Last year, the average shopper spent $423 over the Thanksgiving … Continue reading

Chase Freedom Credit Card Doubles Sign-Up Bonus

Chase Freedom is one of the better cash back credit cards on the market. It just got even better. On Monday, Chase announced that it is increasing its signup bonus from $100 to $200 for any new cardholder who spends … Continue reading

Save on Holiday Shopping Using Credit Card Rewards

The holidays are here, and soon consumers will be hitting the malls and emptying their wallets. Last year, consumers spent an average of $786 on holiday gifts. According to the National Retail Federation’s holiday spending survey, nearly 75% of the … Continue reading

Discover Providing Free Credit Scores to Cardholders

Discover announced today that cardholders will receive free FICO credit scores on their monthly credit card statements. Discover becomes the first credit card issuer to provide FICO a credit score free of charge to their customers on monthly statements. In addition, cardholders … Continue reading

Coin Could Replace Every Card in Your Wallet

Ever feel like your wallet is bogged down with too many cards? Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to consolidate all of your credit, debit and gift cards into a single card? With Coin, that may not … Continue reading

CFPB Planning Tougher Rules on Debt Collectors

The scrutiny continues to increase on the debt collection industry. Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to upgrade the regulations governing debt collection. It is asking for public and business feedback before proposing … Continue reading

Recent Stories & News

Leading Provider of Campus Debit Cards under Investigation

Leading Provider of Campus Debit Cards under Investigation

April 24th, 2014

Higher One Holdings, the leading provider of campus debit cards in America, could be under investiga[...]

Chinese Bank Launches Credit Card for Young Moms

Chinese Bank Launches Credit Card for Young Moms

April 24th, 2014

The Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) has developed a credit card specifically for moms of younger ch[...]

The Mobile Wallet Battle Heats Up

The Mobile Wallet Battle Heats Up

April 23rd, 2014

Domino's Pizza is now accepting payment via Google Wallet. You can pay for your pizza with your Andr[...]

American Express Profits Higher Than Expected

American Express Profits Higher Than Expected

April 23rd, 2014

American Express reported higher-than-expected profits for the first quarter of 2014. Customer spend[...]

Sun Country Airlines Launching Frequent Fliers Card

Sun Country Airlines Launching Frequent Fliers Card

April 23rd, 2014

In an effort to stay up with the competition, Sun Country Airlines is boosting its Ufly frequent fli[...]

Netflix Scam Threatens Credit Card Accounts

Netflix Scam Threatens Credit Card Accounts

April 22nd, 2014

Identity thieves seem to get trickier by the day, and most recently, they have made targets out of N[...]

Rewards Program Manager Pinpoint to be Acquired by MasterCard

Rewards Program Manager Pinpoint to be Acquired by MasterCard

April 22nd, 2014

In an effort to expand its rewards program, MasterCard will purchase Pinpoint Pty. Ltd. Pinpoint is [...]