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

PoSeidon Malware Program Attacks Point of Sale Terminals

Many of the data breaches that wreaked havoc on major retailers during the past 18 months were caused by malware in the point of sale systems. Now, a stronger and more damaging malware program has been uncovered. The network company … Continue reading

Smartphones Now Account for 1/3 of Online Shopping Traffic

There is a significant shift in the way people research and buy products online--more and more consumers are using mobile devices rather than personal computers. Smartphones accounted for 34% of the worldwide online shopping traffic and 16% of eCommerce orders … Continue reading

One in Four Consumers Willing to Pay for Mobile Banking

Mobile banking apps are becoming an increasingly important feature in the financial industry, and for the most part, they are completely free to use. However, new data from SNL Financial indicates one in four consumers would pay for mobile banking if … Continue reading

Top 7 No Annual Fee Credit Cards Of 2015

There are plenty of different credit cards on the market, many with tempting offers and rewards, so it can be hard to figure out which card is best for you. Some credit card companies charge a fee when you are … Continue reading

Big Changes at the Three Major Credit Bureaus

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion track consumer credit information on almost every person in the United States. This information is put into a database and also calculated into a credit score that is used to determine what interest rate you will … Continue reading

CFPB Wants Public’s Input on Credit Card Industry

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is requesting public input on how the credit card market is operating. This is part of a required review which must be conducted every two years according to the CARD Act of 2009. The Request for … Continue reading

New Changes to Credit Reports Should Benefit Consumers

On Monday, the three largest credit reporting agencies reached an agreement with the New York Attorney General to change the way consumers can dispute errors on their credit reports. As a result, disputing a mistake on your credit report could … Continue reading

Apple Watch will be Fully Integrated with Apple Pay

Apple released more details today on Apple Watch at a publicity event in Cupertino, California. There were a multitude of new features that were detailed, the most exciting of which may be the integration with Apple Pay. The Apple Watch … Continue reading

CFPB May Reform Mandatory Arbitration Clauses in Credit Card Agreements

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may issue a report this week on how limited consumers are when they want to take action against their credit card company, according to the Washington Post. The current system of mandatory arbitration prevents customers … Continue reading

Mandarin Oriental Hotels Suffer Credit Card Data Breach

Mandarin Oriental Hotels is investigating a credit card breach that took place at some of its upscale hotels. The data breach likely occurred on payment terminals at restaurants and other businesses inside the hotels rather than the front desk, according … Continue reading

Avoid Becoming a Victim of Today’s Biggest Scams

Protecting your financial data and personal information is critical, especially when massive data breaches and identity theft cases seem to occur every week. Becoming aware of the scams being used by thieves can help people avoid falling victim to these … Continue reading

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

Recent Stories & News

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

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

March 27th, 2015

Google Working on Project to Let You Receive and Pay Bills Directly Inside Gmail Google's mission t[...]

PoSeidon Malware Program Attacks Point of Sale Terminals

PoSeidon Malware Program Attacks Point of Sale Terminals

March 26th, 2015

Many of the data breaches that wreaked havoc on major retailers during the past 18 months were cause[...]

Google's "Pony Express" Could Offer Bill-Paying Through Gmail

Google's

March 26th, 2015

Google may soon introduce a service enabling consumers to receive and pay bills directly from their [...]

FTC Requests Clarification in Data Security Draft Bill

FTC Requests Clarification in Data Security Draft Bill

March 26th, 2015

The recently proposed Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2015 was designed to create a sta[...]

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

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

March 26th, 2015

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

Prepaid Card Group Asks CFPB to Restructure Broad Card Restrictions

Prepaid Card Group Asks CFPB to Restructure Broad Card Restrictions

March 25th, 2015

The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association (NBPCA) has asked the Consumer Financial Protection Bur[...]

Smartphones Now Account for 1/3 of Online Shopping Traffic

Smartphones Now Account for 1/3 of Online Shopping Traffic

March 25th, 2015

There is a significant shift in the way people research and buy products online--more and more consu[...]