LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–February 17, 2017

February 17, 2017, Written By Lynn Oldshue

Why 12 Million of You Hide Credit Cards From Your Spouse
If you’re willing to conceal a credit card and make big purchases your spouse doesn’t know about, what other secrets are you willing to keep? If you want a great way to erode trust between you and your spouse, financial infidelity is a great way to do so. According to a new survey, 12 million Americans have concealed a bank or credit card account from their live-in spouse, partner or significant other. These aren’t just youthful indiscretions, either: older Baby Boomers (11%), those aged 63 to 71, are nearly four times as likely as Millennials to have had a secret account (3%). There’s a cost to retaining that little shred of independence. More than one in four (28%) people surveyed have admitted to spending $500 or more without consulting their partner. Again, Baby Boomers (39%) are nearly twice as likely to spend this amount compared to Millennials (20%). Story by Jason Notte for The Street.

Yahoo Notifies Users of ‘Forged Cookie’ Breach
Some Yahoo account holders are being notified that an intruder may have accessed their account without the need of a password. The incidents stem from the data theft that Yahoo disclosed on Sept. 22, 2016, in which at least 500 million Yahoo accounts were stolen from the company in 2014—an action that the online media company believed was performed by a state-sponsored actor. In the ongoing investigation into that breach, Yahoo has recently notified some users via email that “we believe a forged cookie may have been used in 2015 or 2016 to access your account.” Story by Mike Snider and Elizabeth Weise for USA Today.

Banks Look to Cellphones to Replace ATM Cards
Wallets can be lost, stolen or forgotten, but most people today wouldn’t be caught dead without their phones. Banks understand, and are grabbing on to that trend. Customers who don’t want to fumble around in their wallet for their ATM card—or who have misplaced it for the umpteenth time—will soon be able to unlock cash dispensers’ coffers by using their phone. JPMorgan Chase, which has more ATMs in the United States—18,000—than any other bank, has activated this technology on a few hundred machines in four test cities, including Miami and San Francisco. Six thousand more are already upgraded and ready to go. Bank of America and Wells Fargo plan to introduce cardless options to all their machines by the end of the year. And while swiping an ATM card may not exactly seem onerous, bankers think going card-free will be a hit with consumers. Story by Stacy Cowley for The New York Times.

MasterCard Canada Sets New Tone in Fee Battle
A small-business group has won lower merchant fees for its members from MasterCard Canada, a move that could put more pressure on credit-card firms to reduce their rates and prompt other associations to seek preferential pricing. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which represents more than 100,000 small firms, is set to unveil on Thursday a deal with MasterCard that will reduce most of CFIB members’ transaction fees to levels that are now offered to just a small number of the country’s largest merchants, those with annual MasterCard sales of $3-billion or more. It will mean that, starting on April 3, most members’ interchange fees for regular credit cards will drop by 12.5 per cent to 1.26 per cent of the value of a customer’s purchase from 1.44 per cent currently. Story by Marina Strauss for The Globe and Mail.

CFPB Looking to Alternative Data to Help Unbanked
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking feedback on the benefits and risks of using alternative data sources, such as rent or utility payments, that would allow lenders to build a credit history for unbanked consumers. Alternative data could be used to establish a track record and payment history for unbanked and underbanked consumers that tend to skew low-income and minority. An estimated 45 million consumers face barriers to accessing credit, or pay more for it, because they have no credit history. Story by Kate Berry for National Mortgage News.

Starz is Democratizing Premium-TV Subscriptions for People Without Credit Cards
Premium-cable network Starz has a strategy for winning the streaming-video war, and it doesn’t involve the colossal task of outspending larger rivals HBO, Netflix, and Amazon on big-budget productions. The network instead plans to offer its premium-TV services to more lower- and middle-income households, including the nearly one-third of US adults who don’t have credit cards. To reach these “underbanked” consumers, Starz, which was recently acquired by Lionsgate, is going to issue pre-paid subscription cards that will allow people to pay for the premium-streaming service without using credit cards. The plan builds on Starz’s programming strategy of catering to audiences that are seen as being “underserved” by premium channels, such as African Americans and women. Story by Ashley Rodriguez for Quartz.

The Curious Case of Prepaid Credit Cards in Iran
International credit cards, namely Visa and MasterCard, were slated to enter Iran, but they didn’t. The imposition of nuclear sanctions against Iran had made the official sales of these cards illegal. The year 2013 was the last year a couple of banks issued international prepaid credit cards in Iran officially. Nevertheless, some companies continue to issue Visa and MasterCard and sell them multiple times their real value. “These companies take ridiculously high commissions on their sales. For example, a 100-dollar card is sold at $118,” Iman Eslamian, a banking expert, said. Story in Financial Tribune.

GOP Lawmakers Seek to Block Prepaid Debit Card Rule
In the wake of the financial crisis, millions of consumers became “unbanked,” meaning they had no bank account. Some became “unbanked” by choice, but many were either dropped by their banks or could no longer afford the fees associated with bank accounts. These consumers often turned to prepaid debit cards as an alternative. These cards provided easy access to cash and an ability to pay bills online. But just like banks, these cards were often loaded with fees, including hefty overdraft fees. In October, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finalized rules to increase consumer protections for prepaid card users. The rules require prepaid card issuers to provide many of the same protections to consumers that credit card companies provide. They also require issuers to give consumers clear information about fees before an account is opened. Now, seven Republican members of the U.S. Senate are seeking to block implementation of those rules. Story by Mark Huffman for Consumer Affairs.

How The Internet Of Things Will Change Credit Card Acceptance
Providing the consumer with a truly frictionless experience is the holy grail for the payments industry. This has already been achieved in-app with platforms such as Uber, but has yet to be translated in-store. In the Internet of Things era, however, we are moving ever closer to delivering a seamless in-store experience. Beacons, geolocation, computer vision and biometric technologies are being combined to deliver a frictionless experience. Indeed, the industry will closely be monitoring the success of Amazon Go, which is currently in beta but is expected to launch publicly in early 2017. The concept deploys various technologies (the exact details are yet to be released) that enables a consumer to walk into the store, pick up an item and walk out, with the order charged to their Amazon account upon leaving. Story by Andre Stoorvogel for Mobile Payments Today.

Credit Card Issuer Reports Early Success for New Cell Phone Protection Feature
Credit card issuer TMG Financial Services (TMGFS) has launched a cell phone protection option for the cardmembers of its ATIRAcredit Platinum Rewards card. In exchange for paying monthly cell phone bills with their ATIRAcredit cards, cardmembers receive damage and theft protection for cell phone claims up to $200 each. Cellular Telephone Protection coverage applies to both the primary cell phone line and up to the first two secondary additional phones if they are on the same bill. Even before a marketing campaign to support the rollout had begun, TMGFS had already earned a 9-percent boost in the number of cardmembers using their ATIRAcredit cards to pay their monthly cellular phone bills. Story in CU Insight.

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 14.99 percent, slightly higher than last week’s average of 14.97 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.63 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.83 percent.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of February 17, 2017. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.