LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–July 29, 2016

July 29, 2016, Written By Lynn Oldshue
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WikiLeaks’ DNC Email Trove Includes Social Security Numbers, Credit Card Info
The publishing platform WikiLeaks posted 19,252 searchable emails, including 8,034 attachments, from inside the Democratic National Committee. WikiLeaks says that the emails are from the accounts of seven top DNC officials from the period between January 2015 and May 2016. They are part of WikiLeaks’ “Hillary Leaks” initiative. The emails contain interesting and potentially important political information, but they also include data that is sensitive in a different way. As Gizmodo points out, the data trove is easily searchable for personal information like credit card numbers, birthdays, and even Social Security numbers. Story by Lily Hay Newman for Slate.com.

Credit Card Companies Still Confusing Customers, CFPB Contends
The CFPB found consumers still have a tough time getting clear information from their credit card companies regarding their creditworthiness and information about the fees and payments they are on tap for. One of the top complaints for the month centered on trouble understanding why a credit card company made the decision it did regarding an initial application for a credit card. Another issue consumers had with credit card companies: confusion over how payments are applied to accounts that have multiple balances. The consumers who complained said they didn’t receive clear information about how the payments made were applied to the multiple accounts. The CFPB also found consumers were charged with various fees and additional costs when using their credit cards, which they said were charged when things like automatic payment failed or a billing statement wasn’t delivered in a timely manner. Finally, the government agency said consumers felt misled about credit card reward programs, with many complaining they had a hard time receiving the benefits that were promised as part of a special rewards programs. Story in PYMNTS.

MasterCard May Apply for China Payment License This Year
MasterCard hopes to apply this year to become a payment service provider in China after the government opened the market, but the company is still weighing whether to do so alone or with a partner. The world’s most populous country is “pretty crucial” to its future, but MasterCard is still studying rules in China that would affect its business and is hammering out a business plan. China in June allowed foreign payment card companies to operate in the country under new rules, potentially giving companies like MasterCard and Visa access to its $8.25 trillion card payment market. Under the rules, China’s national security and cyber security standards must be met. Story by Matthew Miller for Reuters.

28% of US Merchants Now Accept EMV Cards
Visa announced there are 326.8 million EMV chip cards in the U.S., and 1.3 million merchant locations able to process EMV transactions, according to data the credit card giant collected at the end of June. The merchant number means that almost 28% of all merchants in the U.S. can accept the chip cards. Also, more than 75% of those EMV-ready merchants are small and medium-sized businesses. The number of payments using chip-based Visa cards reached 483 million at the end of last month, and chip-based payments accounted for about a quarter of the total dollars spent using Visa cards. Story by Dan O’ Shea for Retail Dive.

Non-Payments are Key to the Mobile Wallet
The list of reasons why the mobile wallet continues to fail to gain much traction despite a tremendous amount of hype is long. A variety of competing systems and technologies serve only to confuse consumers; mobile payments are often more cumbersome and time-consuming than using credit cards or cash; security concerns remain; and retailers have historically done a poor job of educating both their customers and their employees how to use mobile payments at the point of sale. Perhaps the most obvious reason users haven’t flocked to mobile payments is that they rarely add any value to the transaction. A new report from Urban Airship expands on that topic, examining whether non-payments might be the key to unlocking the mobile payments market. Mobile payments providers and retailers can add value to their offerings by serving as a single source for storing and retrieving loyalty cards, for instance, and for keeping and retrieving coupons. Story by Colin Gibbs for Fierce Wireless.

Why Is Citigroup Banking on Its Cards Business?
Citigroup has been investing heavily in growing its cards business. The credit cards business produces high returns for Citigroup. Consumer credit and purchases are both growing in the United States. This is a very competitive business. Marketing efforts are expensive, but the return potential is about double that of other key business lines. The company expects revenues in this business to be driven by Costco once the acquisition is complete. Story by Rebecca Keats for Market Realist.

Alexa and Capital One Introduce Voice-Powered Home and Auto Payments
Months ago, Capital One introduced an Alexa skill that allowed Amazon’s virtual voice assistant to tell you your credit card balance or even make a payment. Now, Capital One is expanding that skill to bring home and auto loans into play. To get started, you’ll need to enable the Capital One skill in the Alexa app on your Android or iOS device. Sync Alexa up with your Capital One mortgage or car payments, and you’ll be able to ask her when your next payment is due, how much you still owe, or what the payoff balance is. You’ll even be able to tell her to go ahead and make your next payment. And, lest you worry about nosy houseguests, you’ll need to tell Alexa a four-digit PIN code before she’ll divulge anything sensitive. Story by Ry Crist for CNet.

How Will Banks Address Mobile Wallets?
MasterCard’s recent decision to enable banks to add an in-store payments element to their mobile banking app for NFC-ready Android smartphones has rekindled an industry argument about what works best for financial institutions and proximity mobile payments. Banks today have two options: Go the Chase Pay route with a separate app that sits alongside the mobile banking app; or make NFC-based mobile payments a feature within a mobile banking app. Story by Will Hernandez for Mobile Payments Today.

MasterCard Results Top Expectations as Transactions Grow
MasterCard said profit and revenue grew in the second quarter as transactions increased at the credit card company. MasterCard said transactions rose 14% during the quarter but said that was partly offset by higher rebates and incentives. Story by Austen Hufford and Robin Sidel 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 14.62 percent, slightly lower than last week’s average of 14.66 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.88 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.68 percent.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of July 29, 2016. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.