LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–May 1, 2015

May 1, 2015, Written By Lynn Oldshue
weekly-credit-card-update (1)

Scott Walker Is Just Like You! In Debt
Scott Walker has preached fiscal responsibility from the onset of his political career. But will his credit card debt undermine his message? Scott Walker owes Sears up to $50,000. According to his most recent financial disclosure forms, the governor owed between $10,000 and $100,000 to credit card companies in 2014. One of the cards listed is a Barclay Card, and the other is a Sears MasterCard. The governor’s credit card situation, along with other potential 2016 contenders financial circumstances, was highlighted by The Boston Globe-and has provided an opening for some of his critics. Story by Betsy Woodruff for The Daily Beast.

4 Ways Credit Cards Will Change By 2020
It’s hard to believe how some things have changed during our lifetime. Not long ago, we used to hurry home to watch our favorite shows on low-definition televisions, but now we stream high-def programming on demand through the Internet onto any device with a screen. Given the fantastic pace of innovation, what might we expect from our credit cards in the next five years? 1. Chip and PIN everywhere. 2. One card fits all. 3. A standardized smartphone protocol for credit cards. 4. Taking the card out of credit. Story by Jason Steele for Credit.com.

Stratos Starts Shipping its All-in-One Smart Credit Card
Stratos announced Thursday has begun shipping its smart credit card to those who preordered it. The announcement comes just after competitor Coin has started to ship its connected card. Though Coin was the first to ship, it encountered delays along the way and is already fielding issues with its card. Of course, Coin isn’t the only competition in town. The connected-card arena features a slew of alternatives from players like Plastc, Dynamic, and Swype. Stratos will also have to contend with digital wallets like Google Wallet, Apple Passbook, and PayPal, which increasingly have a physical presence. Story by Ruth Reader in Venture Beat.

Discover Cards to Support Apple Pay
Apple Pay now supports all four major credit and debit card issuers. Discover, the last holdout, announced Monday that it had reached an agreement with Apple allowing its U.S. cardholders to make purchases by passing their iPhone or Apple Watch by a payment terminal. Visa, MasterCard and American Express already support Apple Pay, which the technology giant touts is a more secure way to pay than traditional card-swiping. Apple doesn’t store any card data; instead a unique code is held on the iPhone or other device and a separate one-time code is shared with the store during checkout. Story by Paresh Dave for the Los Angeles Times.

Regions Bank Fined $7.5 Million for Unlawful Overdraft Practices
Regions Bank was fined $7.5 million by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for unlawfully charging thousands of consumers for overdraft protection. The bank also charged overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees on its deposit advance product when they had promised consumers these fees would not be levied. This is the first action by the CFPB against a bank for overdraft practices. Regions assessed fees of up to $36 on overdrafts on hundreds of thousands of customers. In addition to the $7.5 million in fines it must pay to the CFPB’s Civil Penalty Fund, the bank has already refunded $49 million to customers. The bank must also correct the credit reports of all customers affected by these overdraft charges. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

Consumer Groups Call for Better Credit Card Security
This week, a frustrated group of consumer advocates and non-profit organisations called on the government to help make chip and PIN systems a reality in credit card security systems in the US. This request was passed on to Congress through a letter signed by ProtectMyData, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council, Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership, and DiverseTech. The letter argues that though there is an ongoing transition from the traditional magnetic stripe cards to chip and pin cards, those cards still rely on a signature, bringing up serious security concerns. Story by Thadeus Geodfrey for Payment Week.

Credit Card Terminals Have Used Same Password Since 1990s, Claim Researchers
While retailers battle breaches that have resulted in tens of millions of credit card numbers stolen, word comes from the RSA Conference in San Francisco that a major vendor of payment terminals has been shipping devices for over two decades with the same default password. The vendor wasn’t named by the researchers, David Byrne and Charles Henderson, but they did disclose the password: 166816. A Google search reveals that’s the default password for several models of credit card terminal sold by Verifone, a Silicon Valley-based vendor that says it connects 27 million payment devices and has operations in 150 countries. The researchers said that the password remains in use on nine out of 10 terminals they see from the vendor, in part because customers mistakenly assume it is unique to them. Story by Martyn Williams and Stephen Lawson for CSO Online.

Half of Europeans Expect to Use a Payment App This Year
One third of Europeans have already used a mobile payment app at least once, and more than half expect to do so during the next year, according to a survey conducted on behalf of leading Dutch bank ING. Users were asked if they had used ever used a payments app and whether they expected to use one over the next year. Just over half (51 per cent) said they would ‘certainly’ or ‘probably’ do so. The highest take-up so far has been in Turkey (56 per cent), followed by Poland (43 per cent), Italy (39 per cent), Spain (35 per cent), Romania (32 per cent) and the UK (30 per cent). The laggards included Austria (18 per cent) and ING’s own home market in the Netherlands with 13 per cent.  The average across Europe was 33 per cent. Story by Richard Handford for Mobile World Live.

Campus Announces Data Breach
UC Berkeley officials announced Thursday that they are sending alert notices to current students and other individuals regarding a computer data breach that may have resulted in unauthorized access to their Social Security numbers or other personal information. There is no evidence that such information has actually been used, but officials are notifying individuals in accordance with California law and so that they can be alert to signs of any possible misuse of their information. The data breach involved unauthorized access to a campus Web server maintained by a unit within UC Berkeley’s Division of Equity and Inclusion. The server was used to store information including family financial information submitted by students. This included documents containing Social Security and bank account numbers. Story by Janet Gilmore for UC Berkeley News Center.

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 14.48 percent, slightly higher than last week’s average of 14.46 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.51 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.49 percent.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of May 1, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.