LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 13, 2013

September 13, 2013, Written By Lynn Oldshue
LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 13, 2013

Americans Cut Back Again on Credit Cards
Americans cut back on using their credit cards in July for the second straight month, while taking on more debt to buy cars and attend school. Slow but steady job growth and small wage gains have made many Americans more reluctant to charge goods and services to their plastic. Americans may also be hesitant to take on more high-interest debt because of higher Social Security taxes. Story by Martin Crutsinger for the Associated Press.

How to Beat the Worst Credit Card Fees
You may not realize that for every type of annoying credit card fee, there exists a card that doesn’t charge one (or all) of them. Annual fees are easily avoidable (only about 5 percent of cards charge them), and if your problem is just paying the minimum amount due on time, or being assessed currency conversion fees when you use your card overseas, you can find a card that doesn’t have such charges. Here’s the rundown on five common indiscretions cards penalize for and the handful of cards that mercifully don’t charge them. Story by Chris Fichera for Consumer Reports.

JP Morgan Said Near Regulatory Settlement Over Card Collections
JPMorgan Chase may settle regulators’ probes into the bank’s credit card debt collection practices and sales of identity-theft products as early as next week. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the CFPB may fine the bank less than $80 million for both matters. Story by Dawn Kopecki and Jesse Hamilton for Bloomberg Businessweek.

Citi’s Retail Services Adds Best Buy’s Credit Cards
Citi Retail Services, a provider of private label and co-branded card products, said it has added Best Buy’s U.S. credit card portfolio to the list of accounts it services after completing a deal with Capital One. The deal with the consumer electronics retailer was first announced in February. The Best Buy portfolio has more than $6 billion in receivables. Story by Christopher Seward for the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Most Americans Still Have Free Checking Accounts
When the economic downturn hit five years ago, many analysts predicted that free checking accounts would become a thing of the past. Regulations cut some of the revenue streams of financial institutions, and many people thought banks would have to make up for this revenue with additional fees. But the majority of Americans are still enjoying a free checking account. According to a new survey, 55 percent of bank customers are not being charged a fee for their checking account. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

Visa-MasterCard Judge to Weigh Final Approval of Fee Accord
Visa and MasterCard will ask a judge to put to rest antitrust allegations that have plagued the companies for years over swipe fees. Opposed by scores of big-box retailers and other consumer businesses, the accord is aimed at ending future court battles with U.S. merchants over the practice of setting credit card interchange payments. Story by Christie Smythe for Bloomberg Businessweek.

As Refinancing Slows, Banks Turn to Credit Cards for Growth
Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp are betting on credit cards and payments to help fuel revenue growth as the mortgage refi boom fades in the rearview mirror. Wells Fargo is making a big credit card push, targeting existing Wells Fargo customers, only a third of whom currently pack a Wells Fargo credit card. Rival U.S. Bank has been investing heavily in mobile payments technology and quietly marching its behind-the-scenes card processing operation for merchants across Europe and into Mexico and Brazil. Story by Jennifer Bjorhus for the Star Tribune.

‘Please Tell Us More’
Marketers and advertisers have likely built a dossier on you, and now you can read it at AboutTheData.com. There’s one catch: The website will ask you for more of your personal data before it tells you what it already knows about your life. You’ve got to give it your name, address, email address and even the last four digits of your Social Security number. Then, once you’re in, it asks you to correct anything it may have wrong. Story by Al Lewis 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 14.40 percent, slightly higher than last week’s 14.39 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.32 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.34 percent.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of September 13, 2013. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.

About Lynn Oldshue

Lynn Oldshue has written personal finance stories for LowCards.com for twelve years. She majored in public relations at Mississippi State University.
View all posts by Lynn Oldshue