LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–April 10, 2020

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–April 10, 2020

April 10, 2020         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Another Challenge for Small Businesses: Higher Card Fees Could Be on the Way 
Many small businesses could have another thing to worry about when they come out of a coronavirus coma: higher credit-card fees. Visa and Mastercard had planned to raise swipe fees on many merchants this year, and the changes in some cases would be hardest on small businesses, according to people familiar with the situation. It is unclear if the fee changes, in the works for months, will be rolled out if the pandemic persists. Story by AnnaMaria Andriotis for The Wall Street Journal

Harris Calls for Credit Card Fees to Be Suspended During Coronavirus Crisis
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Wednesday said that all credit card interest, fees and penalties should be suspended during the coronavirus crisis, as many people have lost their jobs and are struggling to cover their expenses. “I’m calling for the suspension of credit card interest, fees, and penalties until at least four months after this crisis is over,” Harris wrote in an essay. “In the midst of this crisis, no one should be profiting from these hardships. There must be moral and corporate responsibility to support consumers and prevent an economic catastrophe in the lives of American families.” Story by Naomi Jagoda for The Hill

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Businesses Banning Banknotes, Asking Customers to Use Credit, Debit Cards 
That’s the sentiment a growing number of businesses around the world have adopted as fear grows over the spread of COVID-19. Despite assurances from public health officials, some retailers are banning banknotes. In Chicago, Open Books, a non-profit bookstore, sent an email to customers asking they not use cash. A chain of diners in Washington state has stopped accepting cash and door-to-door delivery services like Grubhub and Door Dash have put “no contact” policies in place and have either removed cash payment options or are actively discouraging them. Story by Barnini Chakraborty for Fox Business

Hilton and American Express Donate Up to 1 Million Free Nights for Medical Workers 
American Express and Hilton have partnered to offer health care workers free rooms across the United States. The two companies announced on Monday that they’ll donate up to one million nights to frontline medical professionals fighting the novel coronavirus. The two companies detailed that doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics and other frontline medical staff who need a place to “sleep, recharge or isolate from their families,” will be eligible for the donated rooms. The one million nights will be available to eligible health care workers between April 13 and May 31 for stays of up to seven nights each. Story by Emily McNutt for The Points Guy

Demand for Real-Time Payments Rises Amid COVID-19 Pressure 
The demand for real-time payments has taken on a new urgency in recent weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed enormous pressure on consumers and small businesses struggling to generate income as public health concerns force travel, retail shopping and billions of dollars in business activity to a halt. The need to access immediate funds has forced businesses and individuals to leverage various means of moving funds across town and across borders to provide the basic necessities of every day living and business continuity. Story by David Jones for Mobile Payments Today

The $35 Billion Airline Refund Tidal Wave Is Complicated By Credit Card Companies 
Airlines are pushing back on calls to refund customers up to $35 billion for tickets for canceled flights. While governments in the U.S. and EU have stated that consumers have a right to get their money back, it’s not a straightforward transaction. In fact, some airlines may not yet have received the cash they are required to refund from the credit card companies that process airline payments. Story by Marisa Garcia for Forbes

Mastercard Pledges $250M In Help For Small Businesses
Recognizing that Main Street is being hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, Mastercard committed $250 million over the next five years to support small- to medium-sized businesses. The company pledged to help defend businesses and their employees through free cyber vulnerability assessments and identity theft protection for the 28 million SMBs eligible to participate in the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. Story in PYMNTS

DoJ Calls for Mandatory Data Breach Reporting to Law Enforcement 
Department of Justice Deputy Assistant Attorney General for National Asset Protection in the National Security Division Adam Hickey called upon Congress to enact legislation that would create a uniform nationwide data breach disclosure law (presumptively superseding state data breach laws) and include a requirement that companies report breaches not just to customers but also to law enforcement. Story by Mark Rasch for Security Boulevard

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LA Rolls Out Prepaid Cards for Covid-19 Financial Assistance 
Amid the coronavirus crisis, the City of Los Angeles is providing pre-paid debit cards to get financial assistance to the most in-need residents faster. The program was deployed with Accelerator for America and Mastercard’s City Possible, and the partners say the approach could be quickly scaled to other cities. The funds are being distributed via no-fee, pre-paid debit cards, enabled by City Possible, to citizens who are experiencing financial hardship due to Covid-19-related job losses or furloughing. Story by Sarah Wray for Smart Cities World

Citi Premier Will Become Less Valuable for Travelers 
Citi has announced major upcoming changes to the Citi Premier Card that will take effect Aug. 23, 2020, generally making the card less valuable for travelers despite some added benefits. Overall, the long-planned changes are negative for the $95-annual-fee card, which has long been a top choice for travelers because of its broad bonus categories and solid travel redemption options. The changes to the Citi Premier Card make it better for spending at supermarkets and on high-cost hotels booked through the Citi ThankYou portal, but worse for travel in general. Story by Claire Tsosie for NerdWallet

Chinese Mobile Users Delay Buying 5G Phones 
Chinese consumers have pushed back plans to buy new smartphones, including the latest 5G models, as the COVID-19 pandemic dampens big-ticket purchases, per a study by Strategy Analytics. Its survey of 1,300 consumers found that 37% have delayed buying a new smartphone while 32% put off adopting 5G. The delayed or canceled plans to buy a new smartphone come as many Chinese consumers express caution about their spending. Two-thirds of survey respondents said they postponed a planned trip, while 40% delayed purchases of cars, furniture or major appliances, per Strategy Analytics. Story by Robert Williams for Mobile Marketer


About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of LowCards.com and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
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