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

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

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

Recent Stories & News

Possible Card Data Breach at Home Depot

Possible Card Data Breach at Home Depot

September 2nd, 2014

Home Depot may be the latest American retailer to suffer a significant data breach. Today, a mass[...]

Amex and Discover Top Credit Cards in Customer Satisfaction

Amex and Discover Top Credit Cards in Customer Satisfaction

September 2nd, 2014

Of all the credit card issuers in the United States, cardholders rated American Express and Discover[...]

Target Hit with Yet Another Credit Card Breach

Target Hit with Yet Another Credit Card Breach

September 2nd, 2014

Target stores in the Stockton, California area have been victim to yet another credit card breach af[...]

Data Breach at Dairy Queen

Data Breach at Dairy Queen

August 29th, 2014

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security issued an advisory that estimated more than 1,000 bus[...]

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–August 29, 2014

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–August 29, 2014

August 29th, 2014

U.S. Late Payment Rate on Credit Cards is at the Lowest Level in Seven Years Americans are doing a [...]

Gold Dealer Now Takes Bitcoin Instead of Credit Cards

Gold Dealer Now Takes Bitcoin Instead of Credit Cards

August 28th, 2014

In an effort to prevent credit card fraud on the sale of gold, the owner of Agora Commodities has de[...]

5 Credit Score Blunders Even Savvy People Make

5 Credit Score Blunders Even Savvy People Make

August 28th, 2014

Maintaining your credit score requires careful money management and attention to detail. Even the sm[...]