LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–June 5, 2015

June 5, 2015, Written By Lynn Oldshue
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FBI Warns Retailers of New Credit Card Malware
A recent cyber attack against a restaurant chain’s credit card system prompted the FBI to issue a warning last week that criminal hackers are using new malicious software to steal personal financial data. An internal FBI cyber alert sent to U.S. companies Wednesday states that Bureau cyber investigators have identified software signatures used in a new point-of-sale malware called “Punkey,” after the 1980s sitcom character Punky Brewster. Story by Bill Gertz for the Washington Free Beacon.

For Millions, Mobile Banking Now Trumps Going to a Branch
So long branches, hello smartphones. The widespread and rapidly growing consumer adoption of mobile technology has long had implications for the banking and financial services industries, and now it has reached a critical turning point. In the U.S., nearly one in four banking consumers, or 56 million people, consider themselves “mobile first,” primarily using a mobile device to access their checking accounts, according to a new study from Javelin Strategy & Research. The number of people accessing their banks weekly via a mobile device is now equal to the numbers who visit a bank branch, the study found. Just four years ago, only 9% of banking consumers regularly reached for their smartphone or tablet. Now, that share has climbed to 27%. During that same period, weekly visitors to brick and mortar bank branches shrunk to 28% of bank customers from 40%. Story by for Phyllis Furman for Financial Planning.

Why the FireEye and Visa Pact Is a Game Changer in Cybersecurity
Hacks and data security breaches in recent years have torn up some consumers’ lives and cumulatively have cost companies billions of dollars, but several cybersecurity outfits looking to protect consumer interests and corporate interests alike. Visa has announced a new contract with cybersecurity firm, FireEye to protect consumers. The case might be a total “game changer” in cybersecurity going forward. Late on Wednesday, FireEye and Visa announced that they intend to work together to create tools and services to help merchants and issuers protect against advanced cyberattacks. This deal is one of the first of its kind. The Visa and FireEye Community Threat Intelligence (CTI) offering will bring together threat information from both companies, allowing merchants and issuers to quickly detect and respond to attacks against their IT and payment infrastructure. Story by Chris Lange for 24/7 Wall Street.

Small Businesses Not Ready for EMV Credit Cards
The credit card industry is preparing for a major shift to make payment transactions more secure, but small businesses aren’t ready to handle it, according to a new survey. Starting in October 2015, businesses that don’t accept EMV-chip credit cards will be responsible for paying for fraud that occurs at the point of sale. EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa and is the global standard for credit cards with encrypted chips rather than magnetic stripes. Sixty-four percent of small businesses are aware of EMV-chip cards, but only 42% are committed to accepting EMV payments, according to the Intuit survey of 504 small business owners and managers–and just 19% know about the October liability shift. Credit card issuers now are typically liable when fraud occurs. Story by Teddy Nykiel for Nerd Wallet.

Restaurants Add Reservation Cancellation Fees to the Menu
Booking a table used to feel pretty good. But lately, these same pleasantries seem more likely to come wrapped around a barbed hook. Before you can write down the time and address, you will have to dig into your wallet for a credit card number. Then you are told that if you need to cancel without adequate notice–anywhere from a few hours to a full week before–you will have to pay a cancellation fee, which may be as low as $30 or as high as $200 a person. Or, in a twist that several restaurants have adopted, you may have to pay for the meal in advance in exchange for a ticket. If your plans change, it’s your job to find someone to take the ticket off your hands. Story by Pete Wells for The New York Times.

New Discover Cardholders Can Double Their Cash Back Rewards
One of the better credit card rewards programs just became even more attractive. Discover announced that consumers who apply and are approved for eligible cards during June and July will have their cash rewards doubled at the end of the first year of card membership. The promotion applies to the Discover it card, the Discover it card with an 18-month balance transfer offer, the Discover it Chrome, the Discover it for Students and the Discover it Chrome for Students. The Discover it Miles card already doubles your miles on the one-year anniversary of becoming a card member, so this card is not part of this limited-time offer. New Discover customers do not have to go through any extra steps to take part in this offer. They simply use their card to make everyday purchases and the cash rewards they have accumulated in the first 12 months are automatically doubled on their one-year anniversary date. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

AmEx Risks Losing ‘Rewards War’ Unless Lender Sweetens Benefits
American Express Co. has to spend more on its credit-card rewards program if the lender wants to remain competitive with Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. products, according to Nomura Holdings Inc. Visa and MasterCard issuers JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Capital One Financial Corp. have the highest-value rewards cards, while AmEx offers the lowest, Nomura analysts led by Bill Carcache said Thursday in a note to clients. AmEx’s customer service and iconic brand allow the company to retain the perception of offering the best perks, though that advantage may not last. Story by Doug Alexander for Bloomberg Business.

New Android NFC Attack Could Steal Money From Credit Cards Anytime Your Phone Is Near
Your NFC capable Android smartphone could be the newest weapon hackers use to steal money from the credit cards in your pocket, researchers find. In a presentation at Hack In The Box Security Conference in Amsterdam, security researchers Ricardo J. Rodriguez and Jose Vila presented a demo of a real world attack, to which all NFC capable Android phones are vulnerable. This attack, delivered through poisoned apps, exploits the NFC feature allowing unethical hackers to steal money from victims’ credit cards anytime the cards are near the victims’ phone. Story by Cammy Harbison for iDigital Times.

IRS: Cyber-Thieves Stole up to $39 Million
Cyber-thieves responsible for a large IRS data breach stole as much as $39 million by filing fraudulent tax refunds after gaining access to taxpayer information, the head of the nation’s tax agency told Congress Tuesday. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen provided the updated damage estimate on the embarrassing data breach initially made public last week and said federal tax officials are working with private tax-preparation firms in an effort to strengthen U.S. tax system security. However, the federal inspector general who oversees the IRS predicted the agency could face additional computer attacks as preliminary investigation results show the cyber-thieves were part of an effort operated from Internet domains in Russia and other countries. Story by Kevin McCoy for USA Today.

Samsung Delays Start of Mobile Payment Service to September
Samsung Electronics delayed the start of its mobile payment service until September, further hindering its ability to gain ground against competing services from Apple and Google. Samsung Pay will debut in the U.S. and South Korea in conjunction with the company’s next high-end mobile device. The company previously said the service would start as soon as July. Google, Apple and PayPal are among the companies seeking to capture a piece of the mobile-payment market as customers seek to use their smartphones to buy coffee, clothing and food at stores and restaurants. The market will top $142 billion by 2019, compared with $67 billion this year, according to Forrester Research. Story by Jungah Lee for Bloomberg Business.

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 14.55 percent, the same as last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.49 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.44 percent.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of June 5, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.