LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–February 5, 2016

February 5, 2016, Written By Lynn Oldshue
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Don’t Feel Bad, Millions Hide Bank Accounts From Their Spouses Too
One in twenty people in the U.S. admit to having started secret bank accounts or credit cards without their partner’s knowledge. Multiply that by the number of American adults, and you could be looking at 13 million people who have hidden bank accounts or credit cards from their significant others, according to a new survey. A dive into the survey, which canvassed 1,003 respondents for their thoughts on financial secrecy, reveals some interesting details. For example, 19% admitted to spending more than $500 without telling their significant others, but men are almost twice as likely to have done so. Twenty-four percent of men said they had spent over $500 without telling their partners, compared to just 14% of women. Story by Jonathan Chew for Fortune.

Your Smartphone Will Start Replacing Your Debit Card at ATMs This Year
The steady takeover by contactless payment services like Android Pay and Apple Pay scored a major victory today, with several major U.S. banks confirming they will be introducing contactless ATMs in 2016. These kinds of contactless ATMs have been around for a while – Spain has had them since 2011 and Australia introduced the first EMV chip ATM a year ago–but these will be the first in the U.S. market. Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo have all committed to employing NFC-equipped ATMs this year. Bank of America will have the new ATMS out in late February “at select ATMs in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Charlotte, New York and Boston, followed by a broader roll out to customers mid-year”. Wells Fargo and Chase will follow suit later in the year. Story by Kris Karlon for Android Authority.

These Hack-Proof Chips Might Actually Keep Your Credit Card Information Safe
MIT researchers and semiconductor company Texas Instruments say their new radio-frequency (RFID) chips are hack-proof and could keep your credit cards safer. RFID chips, which can be found in credit cards and security badges, can become vulnerable through what MIT calls “side-channel attacks,” which use fluctuations in a power source to attack the chip. This could potentially, though with some difficulty, occur when you use a contactless payment option when paying with your credit card. MIT’s researchers have come up with two solutions to this power-based side-channel attack, including an on-board power supply that has a connection with the chip circuitry that’s “virtually impossible to cut” and by using a set of “‘non-volatile memory cells that can store whatever data the chip is working on when it begins to lose power.” Story by Farrha Khan for Tech Radar.

More Canadians Choosing Credit Cards, Mobile Payments over Cash
Canadian consumers are more inclined to reach for their smartphones and credit cards over bills and coins to make purchases, according to a new study. In 2015, only 25 per cent of Canadian transactions were in cash, a decline of two percentage points from 2014. Meanwhile, credit cards accounted for the majority of transactions at 42 per cent, unchanged from the previous year. Debit cards were at 28 per cent, followed by mobile device payments at 3 per cent. Each category saw marginal growth of a percentage point each compared to 2014. In the case of mobile payments, GfK found that they tend to skew to younger and higher-income Canadians, as well as among urban dwellers and those with a higher education. But the high-tech payment method is also catching on with boomers and those of the silent generation born between 1925 and 1945. Story by Lauren La Rose for The Globe and Mail.

Mobile Payment Transactions Soar in US and UK
Mobile payment apps are soaring in popularity in the UK and US, but the world’s least developed countries are making almost no progress in the move to eliminate cash and cheque transactions that cost them billions of dollars annually. Finland topped the index for the third year running followed by Singapore and the US, which have been in the number two and number three slot respectively since 2014. The UK rose three places in 2015 to fourth. Story by Laura Noonan for Financial Times.

Consumers Concerned about Identity Theft during Tax Season
Approximately 42% of survey respondents say they are concerned about identity theft as they file their tax return, and 28% of respondents have been a victim of tax fraud or know someone who has. There are a number of situations that can lead to identity theft, especially with today’s technology. Tax season puts consumers in a more vulnerable position because of the personal information provided on their tax returns. 76% of consumers say they are aware of the risk of identity theft and tax fraud, an increase of 20% over the last two years. Story by Lynn Oldshue for LowCards.com.

EU to Step Up Checks on Bitcoin, Prepaid Cards to Fight Terrorism
The European Commission will propose by the end of June stricter rules on prepaid cards and virtual currencies in a bid to reduce anonymous payments and curb the financing of terrorism, documents released on Tuesday showed. Responding to attacks in Paris last November by Islamic State militants, the Commission is also considering imposing controls on bank transfers within the EU that are currently not monitored through the controversial EU-US Terrorist Financing Tracking Programme. Story by Francesco Guarascio for Reuters.

Credit Cards That Get You Free Checked Baggage
Most US airlines introduced checked bag fees in 2008, supposedly as a temporary measure in response to high fuel prices. Back then, oil reached a record price of more than $130 per barrel, yet here we are seven years later with prices less than one third of that and baggage fees persist for domestic flights on most carriers. Thankfully, the right credit card will offer you a free checked bag, and possibly even some for your companions. Here is a rundown of credit cards that feature free checked baggage as a benefit. Story by Jason Steele for The Points Guy.

Square’s Apple Pay Reader Is Going on Sale at Apple Stores
Square’s newest reader accepts payments from both smartphones and the new breed of credit card known as EMV, which includes a built-in security chip. Apple will sell the new Square reader for $49 both online and in its retail stores. Square has previously offered its new reader through its own site for the same $49 price, but it has not sold the device through retailers other than Apple. Its original credit card reader is also available through Apple. The new arrangement brings a certain synergy to the rapidly changing world of mobile payments. Apple is eager to promote its “contactless” payment service Apple Pay, and this is among the smartphone payment systems handled by the new Square Reader. So: Apple promotes the Square reader, and the Square reader promotes Apple Pay. Story by Cade Metz for Wired.

Western Union Brings Money Transfer And Its Tricky Fees To Chat Apps
Remittance has always been a shady business. Migrant workers need to send money they earn home to their families, but get hit with fine print fees so less cash comes out the other side than they might assume. Remittance companies earn extra by keeping the margin between their own made up exchange rate and the real one. Western Union is the best known remittance company, with 500,000 brick-and-mortar locations around the world. But tech startups like TransferWise, Azimo, and WorldRemit are gunning for the business. Now it’s getting into bed with Viber. The integration allows people to send up to $100 for $3.99 plus exchange rate fees, and that fixed fee increases the more they send up the $499 limit. Users add their debit card, credit card, or bank account, choose where they’re sending the money, and the recipient can pick up the cash at a Western Union location or have it transferred to a mobile wallet or bank account. Western Union’s secure servers hold the financial information so it’s less likely to be hacked. Story by Josh Constine for Tech Crunch.

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 14.85 percent, a slight decrease from last week’s average of 14.88%. Six months ago, the average was 14.68 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.40 percent.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of February 5, 2016. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.