LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–February 20, 2015

February 20, 2015, Written By Lynn Oldshue
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In Challenge to Apple Pay, Samsung Buys Mobile Payment Company
Samsung is buying mobile-payment startup LoopPay as the Korean phone maker steps up to challenge Apple and its payment system on iPhones. The deal strengthens speculation that Samsung Electronics plans to include mobile-payment technology in its next major phone, which is expected to be announced March 1 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Launched a year ago, LoopPay works by reproducing the signals from a credit card’s magnetic swipe as users tap a LoopPay device next to a retailer’s card reader. That means LoopPay should work with most retailers’ existing payment terminals. Story by Anick Jesdanun for the Associated Press.

Visa, MasterCard to Roll Out New Cybersecurity Features
Visa and MasterCard are taking long-awaited next steps to ramp up security of customer data as concerns over cyberattacks continue to mount. Visa said it would bring its Visa Token Service, which replaces cardholder information such as account numbers and expiration dates with a unique series of numbers that validates the customer’s identity, to device manufacturers beyond Apple. Visa launched the service on Apple devices in October, allowing users to wave an iPhone in front of a wireless reader and complete the transaction with a fingerprint. MasterCard, meanwhile, said it plans to spend more than $20 million on its efforts, which include a pilot program to be rolled out later this year that will use a combination of biometrics, such as facial and voice recognition and fingerprint matching, to authenticate and verify transactions. Story by Chelsey Dulaney for The Wall Street Journal.

Federal Government Will Accept Apple Pay in September
The United States federal government has given the mobile payment industry, and specifically Apple Pay, a major vote of confidence. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook announced at the cybersecurity summit that Apple Pay will be accepted as a payment method for federal government services, starting in September. Initially, Apple Pay will be adopted into the kiosks for national parks, allowing customers to pay admission with their phones. Then, beginning in September, federal payment cards are expected to support Apple Pay, including debit cards where veteran benefits and Social Security payments are issued. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

American Express Loses Legal Battle On Merchant Rules
American Express lost its legal battle against the United States Department of Justice related to its merchant rules. The DOJ alleged that the credit card company’s merchant rules prevents competition and drives fees higher for consumers. The merchant rules of American Express restrict businesses from directing their customers to use lower cost payment cards. United States Judge Nicholas Garaufis found that the merchant rules of American Express violate antitrust law. In his ruling, the judge emphasized that the credit card company’s merchant rules “constitute an unlawful restraint on trade.” Story by Marie Cabural for Value Walk.

Visa Wants to Track Your Smartphone to Combat Fraud
Visa will introduce a feature this spring that will allow its cardholders to inform their banks where they are automatically, using the location function found in nearly every smartphone. Having your bank and Visa know where you are at all times may sound a little like Big Brother. But privacy experts are applauding the feature, saying that, if used correctly, it could protect cardholders and cut down on credit card fraud. Story by Ken Sweet for the Associated Press.

JetBlue to End Partnership with American Express
JetBlue Airways Corporation will soon be dropping American Express as its credit card provider in favor of MasterCard and Barclays, according to multiple media reports. The Jet Blue-American Express partnership began in 2005, and will expire at the end of this year. This breakup comes just a week after American Express lost its contract with Costco. That partnership lasted for 16 years, and according to some sources, accounted for nearly 8% of American Express’ worldwide billed business. Story by John Oldshue for LowCards.com.

Russian National Charged in Largest Known Data Breach Extradited to the U.S.
A Russian national has appeared in federal court in Newark after being extradited from the Netherlands to face charges that he conspired in the largest international hacking and data breach scheme ever prosecuted in the United States. Vladimir Drinkman, 34, of Syktyykar and Moscow, Russia, was charged for his alleged role in a data theft conspiracy that targeted major corporate networks, stole more than 160 million credit card numbers, and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. He had been fighting his extradition for two years since his arrest in the Netherlands on 28 June, 2012. Drinkman and four Russian co-defendants are charged with attacks on Nasdaq, 7-Eleven, Carrefour, JCP, Hannaford, Heartland, Wet Seal, Commidea, Dexia, JetBlue, Dow Jones, Euronet, Visa Jordan, Global Payment, Diners Singapore and Ingenicard. Drinkman has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Story in Finextra.

How to Challenge & Win A Credit Card Dispute
It is fairly common to occasionally have an incorrect charge appear on your credit card bill. The Fair Credit Billing Act mandates that you notify the creditor within 60 days of getting the statement, and the creditor must acknowledge receipt of the letter within 30 days. But you’ll probably start with a telephone call to the credit card company, and you should be armed with your receipt or other evidence of the error. Whether your credit card information was stolen or a legitimate charge was made for the wrong amount, here are some strategies for disputing a charge with your credit card company. Story by Kate Nixon for Investopedia.

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 14.45 percent, slightly higher than the 14.40 percent last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.47 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.48 percent.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of February 20, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.