LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–January 31, 2014

January 31, 2014, Written By Lynn Oldshue
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Were You Charged $9.84? It Might Be Fraud
Be on the lookout for a recent $9.84 charge on your debit or credit card. It might be part of a massive, worldwide scam. Thieves are using stolen payment cards to make small charges that could easily go unnoticed. The charges are attributed to generic-looking websites such as EEETsac.com, CEWcs.com and EduAcc.in, which claim to offer customer support services. The Better Business Bureau put out a national alert about the scam on Monday. The organization urged people to closely monitor past and current credit card statements and to call the actual card-issuing banks to resolve the issues. Story by Jose Pagliery for CNN Money.

Michaels Warns of Possible Data Breach
Michaels Stores said it may have been the victim of an attack on its data security, making it the third major chain in a rash of assaults aimed at  U.S. retailers. The arts-and-crafts retailer said it had recently learned of possible fraudulent activity involving credit or debit cards that had been used at Michaels. The company said it hasn’t determined that a breach occurred, but said it is working with federal law-enforcement authorities and computer-security experts to determine what happened. Story by Andrew Dowell for The Wall Street Journal.

Apple Pushes Deeper into Mobile Payments
Apple is laying the groundwork for an expanded mobile payments service, leveraging its growing base of iPhone and iPad users and the hundreds of millions of credit cards on file through its iTunes stores. Apple could offer iPhone users the option to fill in credit card information automatically based on a card already registered with iTunes. Another possibility would be to reduce fraud by using an iPhone’s fingerprint reader before completing an online purchase. Story by Douglas MacMillan and Daisuke Wakabayashi for The Wall Street Journal.

Data Theft Not Deterring Americans From Using Credit Cards
Most Americans have been victims of data theft, but that hasn’t stopped them from using credit cards and social media sites or shopping online. One in three Americans surveyed said they have seen fraudulent charges appear on a debit or credit card, and a quarter have had their email hacked, according to the Ipsos/Reuters poll of 8,308 Americans. More than a fifth said they have been told by a company or service provider that their financial information had been compromised, while about 14 percent have seen a social media account hacked. Only 38 percent of Americans have never had personal data stolen, the poll found. About 64 percent of the data theft victims said the experience had not deterred them from using their credit or debit cards, and 63 percent continued to shop online. More than half said they did not start paying for things with cash after a data theft. Story by Dhanya Skariachan for Chicago Tribune.

The Move to EMV Credit Cards
For years, the United States has lagged behind the rest of the world on moving to more secure EMV credit cards. Consumers have not asked for them, so credit card issuers and retailers have not made the costly switch. But the recent data thefts at Target and Neiman Marcus that have affected millions may force that long-overdue change on the credit card industry. While the United States accounts for only 27 percent of the credit card transactions in the world, it is responsible for 47 percent of card fraud, according to the Nilson Report. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

Banks Have Replaced 15.3 Million Cards Since Target Breach
U.S. banks have spent more than $153 million so far replacing 15.3 million debit and credit cards after the huge data heist from Target Corp., and the numbers are only growing. The Consumer Bankers Association announced the numbers, saying that as more retailers announce breaches, the price tag for banks could grow to “hundreds of millions of dollars, and possibly billions.” Story by Jennifer Bjorhus for the Star Tribune.

Feds Bust Online Counterfeit Credit Card Operation
Federal authorities have arrested three Florida men for running a major online operation that printed and sold fake credit cards and debit cards that resulted in an estimated $34.5 million in fraud losses. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of New Jersey, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service took control of the website, FakePlastic.net, on December 5. The business filled orders for approximately 69,000 counterfeit cards, 35,000 holographic stickers to make the cards appear more realistic, and 30,000 state identification cards with holographic overlays. Over 3,600 parcels were shipped via the United States postal service. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

Visa Posts Higher Profit as Payments Volume Rises
Visa’s fiscal first quarter profit rose 8.8% as the company recorded a rise in operating revenue and payments volume. Profit and revenue for the period topped Wall Street’s expectations. While consumer borrowing has remained muted, spending on credit and debit cards has stayed strong as consumers migrated from cash and checks to electronic payments. Visa and competitor MasterCard earn fees each time a transaction travels over their networks. Story by Anna Prior for The Wall Street Journal.

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 14.50 percent, slightly higher than last week’s average of 14.46 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.32 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.32 percent.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of January 31, 2014. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.