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

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

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

Recent Stories & News

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–November 21, 2014

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–November 21, 2014

November 21st, 2014

Shoppers Just Don't Care About Credit Card Hacks If Target and The Home Depot are still reeling fro[...]

Customer Satisfaction Drops As Bank Fees Increase

Customer Satisfaction Drops As Bank Fees Increase

November 20th, 2014

Customer satisfaction levels for banks are dropping due to rising fees, according to a report releas[...]

Canada May Allow Merchants to Decline Mobile Card Payments

Canada May Allow Merchants to Decline Mobile Card Payments

November 20th, 2014

As mobile payments increase in popularity, merchants in Canada are concerned about a possible increa[...]

Dumb and Dumber? Thief Uses Stolen Debit Card in Front of Real Cardholder

Dumb and Dumber? Thief Uses Stolen Debit Card in Front of Real Cardholder

November 20th, 2014

Not all credit card thieves are brilliant hackers that spend months coding their way to the perfect [...]

The LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report for November 20, 2014

The LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report for November 20, 2014

November 20th, 2014

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

Google Wallet Will No Longer Process In-App Purchases

Google Wallet Will No Longer Process In-App Purchases

November 19th, 2014

Google Wallet recently announced that it will no longer be processing in-app payments as of March 20[...]

Alibaba Launches Mobile App Equipped with Apple Pay

Alibaba Launches Mobile App Equipped with Apple Pay

November 19th, 2014

Chinese ecommerce merchant Alibaba is making its way into the United States market, thanks to their [...]