LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–July 24, 2015

July 24, 2015, Written By Lynn Oldshue
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Adultery Website Hack Could Expose 37 Million Cheaters
Ashley Madison, the adultery website which uses the tagline “Life is short. Have an affair,” confirmed that it suffered a “criminal intrusion” into its system which could expose private details of as many as 37 million members and private information from the website’s company, Avid Life Media, which runs several similar sites. It appears the hacker or hackers, who go by the alias the Impact Team, have published just a sliver of user account data and may be planning to publish more each day Ashley Madison and another site, Established Men, stay online. Story by Alyssa Newcomb for ABC News.

Google Testing “Buy Button” on Mobile Search Ads
Google unveiled a new feature called “Purchases on Google.” Consumers now see a “Buy” button on a limited number of mobile search results. If they click on the button, they are taken to a page where they can purchase that item. The merchants will handle the actual transaction, and the pages will be hosted by Google. Google will test these buy buttons with approximately 12 merchants over the next two weeks. The plan is to then expand to most of the United States by 2016. Google is following the lead of Pinterest and Twitter by adding a buy button to the website. The search giant is trying to reduce the steps or “friction” of a sale by making the purchase just one click away when searching for an item on a mobile device. Story by John Oldshue for LowCards.com.

Citibank Must Pay $700 Million to Consumers for Illegal Credit Card Practices
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered Citibank Tuesday to reimburse about 9 million consumers for deceptive marketing and incorrect charges associated with credit card add-on services. These holders of Citi cards–or those of a Citi subsidiary that issues store-brand cards for Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s–were victims of misleading sales tactics, the CFPB alleges. In many cases, confusing text on credit card applications got consumers to sign up for extra debt-protection services they didn’t necessarily want to pay for. In some cases, says the CFPB, Citi charged customers for benefits, like credit monitoring, that they weren’t actually receiving. The company also implied to many customers that they were protected from fraud and identity theft, when, in fact, they were not. Story by Susie Poppick for Time.

Breach Hits Major Retail Photo Sites
CVS, Rite Aid, Sam’s Club, Costco, Walmart Canada and several other retail chains have suspended their online photo services following a possible breach of customer credit card information that resulted from a cyberattack against a third-party service provider. At the center of the possible breach is the Canada-based PNI Digital Media, which may have leaked credit card information from its online photo processing websites, possibly compromising data linked to millions of users. Staples, which was the target of a major hack last year, acquired the company a year ago. Story by Roy Urrico for the Credit Union Times.

Fraud Warning Issued as Security Flaw in Contactless Payment Cards Revealed
A security flaw in contactless bank cards means they can be “easily and cheaply” exploited for fraud, a leading consumer group has warned. Tests showed that thieves can steal the details of debit and credit cards using easily obtained scanning equipment, enabling them to launch an online “shopping spree” with someone else’s money. The researchers for consumer group Which? were able to order a £3,000 television using the “stolen” data. The group tested contactless payments with six debit cards and four credit cards–and the scanners were able to extract key details including card numbers and expiry dates every time. Story by Tom Marshall for London Evening Standard.

Apple Patent Targets Ads Based on Credit Card Balance
Apple may soon be taking personalized ads to a whole new level if its pending patent application gets approved. The application outlines the possibility for Apple to check your credit card balance in order to push ads your way that it knows you can afford. The new platform would be an opt-in service, so Apple would not check your account information without your permission. But after that, the program could assess the current status of your debit and credit cards to determine which ads are best for you. People with large available balances will be served ads for higher priced items, while those with little to no money left in their accounts will see more affordable options. Story by Natalie Rutledge for LowCards.com.

Amazon Launches Prime Members Credit Card with 5% Cash Back
Amazon increasingly sees Prime as its future. This subscription service costs consumers $99 per year and offers a myriad of benefits like free 2-day shipping, streaming video, Kindle rentals, and now 5% cash back with an Amazon store card. The retailer has quietly rolled out this new Prime card without so much as a press release. Amazon will probably start pushing it soon, though. This is a store card, so it won’t work anywhere other than Amazon. There are already Amazon Visa cards that offer cash back in the form of gift cards. However, the new Prime card makes the process more seamless with an automatic 5% statement credit on all Amazon purchases (not just those eligible for Amazon Prime). There are also various no-interest financing options available on purchases over certain dollar amounts. The card itself has no annual fee. Story by Ryan Whitwam for Geek.

9 Things That Surprisingly Won’t Affect Your Credit
There is a lot that goes onto your credit report–it’s a veritable report card on your financial life, if you will. Your history of paying loans, whether or not you max out your credit card and how long you’ve had different accounts, plus a myriad of other details relating to your financial history are on your report and can affect your credit score and access to credit. But there are a lot of other things that have  traditionally not made their way onto your credit report, even though you might have assumed (or hoped) they did. Responsible practices like always paying your rent on time basically go unrecognized. On the flip side, there’s some negative information that you might think could harm your credit but actually has no bearing on it. So what’s left out of the traditional credit score equation? Here are some of the more surprising things. Story by Lauren Gensler for Forbes.

Mobile Payments: Moving Towards a Trillion Dollar Industry
Five years ago, the notion of paying for items via your smartphone was seen as something of a novelty. Although some mobile users are still skeptical about making big money purchases via their smartphone (as they were with their computers a decade ago), many will now buy anything from used goods on eBay to flights across the world. Mobile purchases are now at an all-time high and this trend is predicted to continue over the next few years. Estimates regarding the number of annual mobile payments vary between experts, but the majority agree that spend will increase by around $300 billion. According to Statista, mobile spending in 2015 will hit $431 billion globally, but by 2017 this figure will increase to more than $720 billion. Naturally, for this happen, technology must continue to improve and users need to feel less “scared” about anteing up via their mobile. Story by Thomas Redding for The Coin Telegraph.

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 14.67 percent, slightly above last week’s average of 14.65 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.41 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.49 percent.