LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–April 11, 2014

April 11, 2014, Written By Lynn Oldshue
LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–April 11, 2014

Heartbleed Threat Puts Passwords, Credit Cards, and Other Data at Risk
Passwords, credit cards and other sensitive data are at risk after security researchers discovered a problem with an encryption technology used to securely transmit email, e-commerce transactions, social networking posts and other Web traffic. Security researchers say the threat, known as  Heartbleed, is serious, partly because it remained undiscovered for more two years. Attackers can exploit the vulnerability without leaving any trace, so anything sent during that time has potentially been compromised. It’s not known, though, whether anyone has actually used it to conduct an attack. Researchers are advising people to change all of their passwords. Story by Anick Jesdanum for the Associated Press.

Americans Owed Less on Their Credit Cards In February
Americans shed more credit card debt in February, the latest sign of consumer caution about borrowing and spending since the recession. Outstanding revolving credit, which includes credit card debt, fell $2.42 billion from January, representing an annualized decline of 3.4% in February. Revolving credit also fell in January. Winter weather, post holiday shopping fatigue and the arrival of tax-refund checks all have contributed to lower debt levels in recent months. But borrowers also have become more diligent about paying off their balances. Story by Ben Leubsdorf for The Wall Street Journal.

Bank of America Must Pay $772 Million for Illegal Credit Card Practices
Bank of America was ordered by the CFPB to refund $727 million to consumers who were deceived by the bank’s marketing of credit card payment protection programs and others who were charged for credit monitoring services they never fully authorized. In addition, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency fined Bank of America $25 million in civil penalties for unfair billing practices. The bank also has to pay $20 million to the CFPB Civil Penalty Fund. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

Data Compilers’ Secret Scores Have Consumers Pegged–Fairly or Not
Consumers won access to their credit scores more than a decade ago, after advocates voiced concerns over errors and lending bias. But most people remain in the dark about hundreds of other data-collection programs still being used to size up consumers and market to them. The secret scores and data are used by employers, utilities, banks, healthcare providers, debt collectors and a host of other enterprises. Story by E. Scott Reckard for the Los Angeles Times.

American the Latest Airline to Tweak Flier Program
Airline travelers are adjusting to constant turbulence in frequent-flier programs. American Airlines is the latest to tinker with its program. The Dallas-based carrier announced changes that make it tougher to redeem miles for a flight during busy travel periods, and to check a bag without a fee. The changes aren’t as dramatic as Delta Air Lines’ recent switch to basing rewards on money spent, not miles flown, but they are just the latest example of airlines giving away less as executives increasingly focus on growing profits. Story by David Koenig for the Associated Press.

Walmart Partners with MasterCard for Store Branded Credit Cards
MasterCard will be the new payment network for Walmart’s store-branded credit cards, ending the nine year partnership between Discover and Walmart. MasterCard will also handle all the transactions on the store-branded credit cards for the Sam’s club subsidiary. General Electric’s Capital Retail Bank will be the store card’s issuer. Walmart indicated its credit cards will convert to MasterCard later this year and Sam’s Club credit cards will be switching in June. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

Do These 3 Things to Improve Your Credit Health
So you made some financial missteps in the past, and now you’re paying for it with your low credit score. You can’t get approved for a loan or–if you can–your interest rates are sky high. Unfortunately, there’s no magic potion to fix poor credit. But there are a few serious things you can try to boost your ailing credit health. Fair warning: These tips are not for credit newbies. Story by Bethy Hardeman for U.S. News.

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 14.45 percent, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.40 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.28 percent.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of April 11, 2014. 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