LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–April 29, 2016

April 29, 2016, Written By Lynn Oldshue
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Hackers Don’t Just Want Your Credit Cards, Now They Want the Pattern of Your Life
While underground forum users and other crooks are still very much interested in stolen credit card numbers, they’re also increasingly keen to trade in another type of information: personal data. Rather than just trying to grab credit card information, criminals are now looking for broader sets of data: names, addresses, dates of birth, and other identifying material which can be used to carry out fraud, blackmail, and other crimes. This rising demand for personal data is reflected in underground criminal forums, especially in Russia. CybelAngel examined information from thousands of actors, who posted 44,000 messages on 4,000 forum threads and found that stolen personal details are now in extremely high demand. Story by Danny Palmer for ZD Net.

Does Your Credit Card Contract Contain a Hidden Surprise?
Like most of us, Larry Maizlish seldom scrutinizes the pages of fine print that accompany his credit cards. The other day, however, he decided to give it a go for his Lexus Pursuits Visa card, which offers points for vehicle repairs. About halfway through the pages of legalese, Maizlish found this: “You grant us a security interest in all goods you purchase through the use of the account, now or at any time in the future ..” In other words, Comenity Capital Bank reserves the right to send guys to your home and take any stuff you have purchased with your card if you don’t pay your bills. Comenity is securing its credit-card loans with all of the goodies cardholders put on plastic. Story by David Lazarus for the Los Angeles Times.

Beware of Scams Targeting the New Chip Cards
The new microchip-enabled credit and debit cards that millions of Americans are using are designed to make it harder for crooks to steal sensitive data. But, of course, that hasn’t stopped them from coming up with sneaky new ways of trying. Scammers, pretending to be card issuers, are sending emails to individuals who haven’t yet received their new chip cards, according to the New York State Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection (DCP). The emails ask recipients to update their accounts by providing personal information in order to receive their new chip cards, or to click on a link to continue the process. By clicking on the link, malware can be installed on your computer or mobile device, according to the DCP. Story by Anna Robaton for CBS News.

Chinese Bank Unveils US Credit Cards
The largest bank and card issuer in China is offering new credit cards featuring two brands, UnionPay and Visa, for the needs of newcomers to the United States who seek to find bank services and those travelling to China who find it difficult to make payments without cash. For both networks, the ICBC offers two levels of cards: preferred and premier, with the first allowing customers to earn 1 percent cash back on their spending with no annual fee. Roughly 2.7 million Chinese traveled to the United States in 2015, and about 2 million Americans made trips to China for business, and the number is still growing. About 300,000 Chinese students are studying in the United States. With 2016 declared the China-US Tourism Year, the launching of the new credit cards will bring convenience to travelers from both sides. Story in News Ghana.

Americans Not Taking Advantage of Free Credit Reports
Even though many Americans understand the importance of good credit, most are not taking advantage of their free annual credit report, which is a key part of maintaining or improving credit. According to Equifax’s 2016 Personal Solutions Group Financial Literacy Month Survey, 81% of Americans are aware they can get a free credit report every year, but more than 40% are not doing so. 16% have not checked their report within the past year, 14% have never checked their reports and 12% could not remember when they last accessed their report. Story by Lynn Oldshue for LowCards.com.

Samsung Pay Can Now Withdraw Cash from ATMs in South Korea
In South Korea, Samsung announced that Pay can now be used to withdraw cash from an ATM. For now, the feature will only work with customers of the Woori Bank in South Korea. Samsung has yet to announce the useful feature for other banks or countries. In getting rid of the debit card, Pay gets closer to a true mobile payment replacement that will allow users to stop carrying around plastic cards. Samsung Pay is different from Google and Apple’s services in that it uses Magnetic Secure Transmission technology to replicate a physical credit card. As a result, it is compatible with most current credit readers. In comparison, Android and Apple Pay require new compatible terminals to be installed. Story by Abner Li for 9 to 5 Google.

Coinbase Users in the US Can Now Buy Bitcoin with Debit Cards
Starting on Thursday, users of Coinbase in the US will be able to purchase Bitcoin using their debit cards. Until now, the bitcoin wallet and exchange company required users to connect their US bank accounts to their Coinbase accounts, verify with a small double-deposit and then wait up to five days. Now, as was announced in a tweet by Coinbase, users are able to make instant purchases with their debit cards, creating a more streamlined process. There is, however, a 3.75 percent fee for using a debit card, as opposed to the 1 percent banking fee. There is also a daily purchase limit of $250-worth of bitcoin compared to the $10,000 limit via a banking institution. Story in Yahoo News.

When Kids’ Allowance Goes Digital
Call them the “electronic wallet” generation, or the “swipe” kids, because no longer is the allowance debate about whether or not to pay their children to do chores. The conversation now surrounds getting children as young as five their own debit cards. Proponents of the plastic allowance say a first debit card is a modern passage into adulthood. It allows parents to easily transfer allowances into their children’s accounts whenever they want; kids can access the money with the swipe of a card. They don’t view it as a passport to profligacy. Some parents simply find it safer than young kids carrying cash. In fact, the e-allowance route, as opposed to handing cash to kids, who will rarely keep receipts for what they purchase, has its advantages, they argue. Story by Rebecca Eckler for Maclean’s.

The Rise of Reloadable Prepaid Cards Could Affect the Way Millennials Approach Banking
Prepaid cards were originally targeted at consumers with minimal access to financing or bank accounts. However, the appeal of these cards has broadened, attracting traditional banking customers as well. This is because the formula behind prepaid cards resonates with the growing population of debt-averse consumers–namely, millennials and Gen Xers–who recently suffered through the Great Recession. The prepaid cards industry is diversifying. Higher-end issuers like American Express are now pushing prepaid cards like Serve and Bluebird to customers, and these cards are seeing stellar growth in terms of spending volume. The push by these issuers is adding dynamism to the prepaid cards market. Younger consumers, in particular, are adopting prepaid cards, and many cite the avoidance of overdraft fees and debt as motivating factors. Story by Evan Bakker for Business Insider.

The Problems Weighing Down Mobile Payments
Every big technology player wants a mobile payment system. But, mobile payments aren’t good enough to supplant traditional payment methods completely. Here’s why. There are tons of different mobile payment apps and systems. Some run by banks, some built into devices and use hardware-based encryption, and others coming from companies that may have good intentions but lack the expertise to mitigate user mistakes or process loopholes. More than that, mobile pay systems require a lot of upkeep. Minimum security standards change constantly as black-hats hack or reverse engineer the old ones. For example, in June of 2016, SSL will no longer be suitable for e-commerce security, and all sites that need to be PCI compliant will move to TLS for their secure certificates. There are simple process issues as well. Story by Robert Brodie for Mobile Payments Today.

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report
Based on the 1,000+ cards in the LowCards.com Complete Credit Card Index, the average advertised APR for credit cards is 14.76 percent, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.56 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.46 percent.