LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–July 8, 2016
Over 1,000 Wendy’s Restaurants Infected with Malware
For months, Wendy’s has been vague about the number of stores affected during a five-month-long data breach. The Ohio-based chain admitted that 1,025 restaurant point-of-sale systems were infected with malware. The attack was two-pronged. The fast food restaurant first noticed unusual payment card activity in February 2016 and reported they had disabled the malware responsible for this activity in May. However, in June, the company found additional malicious activity in other restaurants and discovered a second malware attack. The company said both infections have been removed. Hackers were able to use the malware to access the POS systems remotely to steal cardholder names, card numbers, expiration dates, verifications values, service codes and other data. The company said CVV codes were not at risk. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.
Counterfeit Credit Card Fraud Reaches Lowest Level Since 2013
The US credit card market’s move to EMV chip technology has helped reverse a years-long trend of increasing counterfeit fraud, new data from Auriemma Consulting Group shows. The share of financial losses stemming from counterfeit activity–which increased dramatically following a wave of high-profile data compromises in recent years–fell 18% in the first quarter of this year, reaching its lowest level since early 2013. Counterfeit fraud losses have declined steadily relative to other categories since the industry’s EMV liability shift took effect late last year, and have decreased by nearly one-fourth since their peak in late 2014. Story in the EconoTimes.
Supreme Court Asked to Weigh Florida Credit Card Surcharges
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a dispute about the constitutionality of a Florida law that has blocked businesses from imposing surcharges on customers who pay with credit cards. A divided 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that the longstanding law is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment. The appeals court said Florida allows businesses to offer discounts to customers who pay with cash but does not allow surcharges for credit card purchases—a situation the majority opinion likened to “distinctions in search of a difference.” Story by Jim Saunders for the Florida News Service.
Uber Switches to Bitcoin in Argentina After Govt Blocks Uber Credit Cards
The Argentinian government blocked credit card companies from dealing with Uber, causing the ridesharing company’s national branch to use Bitcoin instead. The city of Buenos Aires issued orders both to the national communications agency (ENACOM) and credit card companies to block the Uber app and deny the company use of credit card service. This prompted Uber to partner with Swiss Bitcoin company Xapo to enable payments through Bitcoin debit cards. The ride-sharing company has faced harsh resistance in Argentina, particularly in Buenos Aires. Both the consumer protection agency of Buenos Aires and a judge ordered credit card companies to cease doing business with Uber. Story by Joël Valenzuela for The Coin Telegraph.
The Hispanic Boom Extends to Credit Cards
Keep a watch for more Visa and MasterCard commercials appearing in Spanish. The huge growth in the number of U.S. Hispanics also means an opportunity for financial services companies. Between 2005 and 2015, credit card use among Latinos increased 11 times faster than it did among non-Hispanics. Hispanic usage surged 44 percent, versus just 4 percent for the general market. During that period 5.1 million Hispanics began using credit cards. That accounted for 49 percent of the overall growth in the number of U.S. consumers using credit cards. Story in Media Life Magazine.
MasterCard Could be Facing a $24.6 Billion Lawsuit
MasterCard could have a hefty lawsuit on its hands. U.K. consumers are preparing to a file a $24.6 billion suit against the payments company over cross-border transaction fees that were deemed illegal in 2014. A European Commission hearing in 2014 revealed that MasterCard’s cross-border interchange fees violated EU law. U.K. banking expert Walter Merricks is leading the new suit, which claims that the fees were so exorbitant that retailers increased their consumer prices in response. This forced consumers to over-spend on goods and services from 1992 to 2008, and the plaintiffs now believe they are owed losses as a result. For context, the 2014 ruling generated at least 12 lawsuits from retailers against MasterCard. The company vehemently disagrees with the fundamentals of the suit and states it does not earn any revenue from interchange. Instead, it claims it uses it to ensure that stakeholders deliver valuable services. Story by Andrew Meola for Business Insider.
Americans Spent Gas Savings on Dining, Shopping…and More Gas
Falling oil prices saved Americans hundreds of dollars at the gas pump in 2015, and a lot of them spent those savings . at the gas station. Middle-income households saved an average of $477 through the year, thanks to gas prices that fell 28 percent from 2014. The biggest business winners of the gas-price windfall were restaurants and retailers, both of which saw their share of consumers’ budgets increase. A big chunk of the gasoline savings–a full $155–was spent right back at the gas station. Consumers bought more gas, higher-quality gas and snacks. Story by Nicholas Wells for CNBC.
Bitcoin and Prepaid Cards Face Tighter Controls Under EU Proposals
The European Commission proposed expanding its anti-money-laundering rules to cover virtual currencies and prepaid cards, in a bid to fight terror financing and tax evasion as revealed in the Paris attacks and the Panama Papers disclosures. The proposals from the commission, the EU’s executive arm, also seek to strengthen oversight of bank accounts and increase transparency about the ownership of trusts across the bloc. The perpetrators of the Nov. 13 Paris terror attacks used prepaid cards. Virtual-currency platforms, such as bitcoin, would be brought under anti-money-laundering rules that should come into effect by the end of this year. Those platforms would also have to verify the identity of users and monitor transactions, as banks currently do. Story by Julia-Ambra Verlaine for The Wall Street Journal.
Walmart Pay now is Available Across the Whole Country
Walmart Stores said it has completed the rollout of its Walmart Pay mobile payment service across the United States and that 88 percent of transactions on the app are from repeat users. Walmart Pay is available on Apple and Android devices and allows payments with any major credit, debit, pre-paid or Walmart gift cards. Until the present day, the Walmart Pay feature on its app can now be used at all 4,600 U.S. stores and more than 20 million people regularly use its app, which also provides discounts and helps shoppers locate items within stores. Story by Sun Yulin for Financial Buzz.
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 14.68 percent, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.87 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.65 percent.