LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 19, 2014

December 19, 2014, Written By Lynn Oldshue
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Apple Pay Grows to Support 90% of U.S. Credit Cards
Apple Pay has been adding support for more credit cards in the United States since the service launched. By transaction volume, the service now supports 90% of the credit cards in the market. There are dozens of banks that support the payment system, and ten more have just been added. Since the majority of Americans use credit cards from the big banks, Apple supports the majority of consumers. Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan, Capital One, and PNC all have support for the system. The majority of those financial institutions support personal debit cards as well. Story by Seth Fitzgerald for Technology Tell.

Fewer Colleges Marketing Credit Cards Could Signal Shift to Prepaid Cards
Fewer colleges are marketing credit cards to their students, according to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report released Monday, but the decline may not signal good news for consumers. The near 70 percent drop in the last four years in the number of agreements colleges and universities have with financial institutions to market credit cards to students could be an indicator that agreements marketing prepaid cards are on the rise. CFPB credits the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 for the decline in college credit card agreements, but agency officials worry schools are crafting agreements that carry fewer protections. Story by Lydia Wheeler for The Hill.

EU Reaches Initial Deal on Capping Card Payment Fees
An initial deal on capping fees charged for paying with debit or credit cards across the 28-nation European Union has been reached by negotiators from EU governments and the economic committee of the European Union parliament. The cap would apply to both cross-border and domestic card-based payments and should result in lower costs for consumers, the parliamentary statement said. Currently, such interchange fees for card-based payments, paid by the merchant’s bank to the bank that issued the card, are not transparent and differ between EU countries. For cross-border debit card transactions the negotiators agreed on a cap of 0.2 percent of the transaction value. For credit card transactions, the agreed cap is 0.3 percent of the transaction value. Story by Jan Strupczewski for Reuters.

Cigars, Rum and Credit Cards: What Is in U.S.-Cuba Agreement?
The White House announced the changes to Cuba policy as new rules to be posted by the Treasury and Commerce departments. It is the latest in Mr. Obama’s spree of executive orders since Democrats were trounced in last month’s midterm elections. The administration’s actions don’t change the 1996 Helms-Burton Act and other laws passed by Congress that restrict most travel and trade with Cuba. But it is the most significant move by the American government to ease sanctions with Cuba in 50 years. For the first time, credit and debit cards issued by U.S. banks will work in Cuba. American travelers to the island now have been forced to either carry large amounts of cash with them or acquire a credit card from a bank in another country. Story by Reid Epstein for The Wall Street Journal.

Quantum Encryption Could Make Credit Cards Unhackable
Imagine credit cards and ID cards which could never be hacked. That’s the promise of quantum cryptography, which harnesses peculiar properties of subatomic particles to thwart data thieves. Now a team of Dutch researchers says we’re closer to making such technology a practical reality. Publishing in the current issue of Optica, scientists at the University of Twente and Eindhoven University of Technology describe what they call quantum-secure authentication (QSA) of a “classical multiple-scattering key.” Story by Damon Poeter for PC Magazine.

Emboldened Wall Street Ready to Dismantle Dodd-Frank Financial Law
Banks and financial institutions are planning an aggressive push to dismantle parts of the Wall Street reform law when Republicans take control of Congress in January. Fresh off a victory in the government funding debate that liberals decried as a giveaway to Wall Street, advocates for the financial sector aim to pursue additional changes to Dodd-Frank that they say would lighten burdens created by the 2010 law. Among the top items on the wish list: easing new requirements on mortgages, loosening  restrictions on financial derivatives and overhauling the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Story by Peter Schroeder for The Hill.

Facial Recognition ATMs Could Curb ATM Theft
A credit union in Baltimore is testing a biometric ATM that could help curb ATM theft. Using facial recognition as a form of identity authentication, this ATM will ensure that only the card owner will be the one pulling money from an account. As America moves toward a stronger level of security in its credit cards, Securityplus Federal Credit Union is taking a stand in the ATM world. The company has long used fingerprint authentication for its 100+ employees, but it is now testing facial biometrics for its customers. The goal is to provide customers with peace of mind when using their SFCU cards because they know the ATM will only approve their use. Story by John Oldshue for LowCards.com.

42.9 Million Americans Have Unpaid Medical Bills
Nearly 20 percent of U.S. consumers with credit records–42.9 million people–have unpaid medical debts, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The findings suggest that many Americans are being trapped by debt because they are confused by the notices they get from hospitals and insurance companies about the cost of treatment. As a result, millions of Americans may be surprised to find they are stuck with lower credit scores, making it harder for them to borrow to buy a home or an automobile. Story by Josh Boak for the Associated Press.

Metro Atlanta Women Using Prayer to Steal from Shoppers
Metro Atlanta police are looking for two women accused of using prayer to prey on shoppers at Walmart and other stores throughout the metro area. Surveillance cameras at a Walmart store in Hiram, Ga. capture the women using the name of God to steal purses, credit cards and cash from the carts of the victims they ask to share a prayer with. What happened is this: one of them strikes up a conversation with a shopper. After a few minutes she invites her victims to pray. As they pray with their eyes closed, another woman comes by and swipes cash and credit cards from the victim’s purse. Story by Terry Shropshire for Atlanta Daily World.

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 14.46 percent, the same as last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.52 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.46 percent.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of December 19, 2014. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.