LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–April 13, 2018

April 13, 2018, Written By Bill Hardekopf

US Mobile Sales Jumped 29% to $153 Billion Last Year
Mobile commerce sales grew 29% to $153 billion in 2017 from the prior year, making up one-third of online retail revenue. It estimates the rate will gradually slow as the market matures, growing by 13% a year to make up half of U.S. online retail sales growth by 2022. More than two-thirds of today’s online buyers are already mobile buyers, leaving less room for growth. About half of online adults in the country shopped on their phone at least once in 2017. Forrester forecasts the U.S. will add 53 million smartphone shoppers in the next five years to make up 82% of online shoppers buying through a mobile device. The next wave of buyers consists of late adopters of mobile shopping technology. Retail sales made on tablets continue to lose momentum, with 6% annual growth projected between 2017 and 2022, outpaced by smartphone retail sales growth of 16%. Story by Robert Williams for Mobile Marketer

PayPal Makes a Move Toward Traditional Banking
PayPal is nudging its customers closer to mainstream banking services. The payments company has been reaching out to groups of customers in recent months with an offer to add basic banking features to their PayPal digital wallet. The features include Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insurance for balances up to government-set limits, a debit card that can be used to withdraw cash at ATMs and the ability to add funds to accounts by taking a photo of a paper check or by having employers direct-deposit earnings there. Story by Peter Rudegeair for The Wall Street Journal

Fraudsters Are Stealing Corporate Funds with Tampered Debit Cards
Scammers are intercepting debit cards through the mail in order to steal the card chips as part of an elaborate fraud scheme bent on draining the bank accounts of large corporations. The US Secret Service told various banks that the crooks are swapping the chips from corporate-issued debit cards with old chips and then sending the tampered cards on to the companies. They then install the new chips on old cards, and when the company activates the card, the chip in the criminal’s possession is turned on, giving them access to business bank accounts. The payment card sent to the company is inoperable because of the old chip, so there’s only a small window of time that the crooks can carry out their activities before the companies notice a problem. Story by Tara Seals for Info Security Magazine

Say Goodbye To The Credit Card Signature
You’ve done this for as long as you’ve had a credit card. But times they are a-changin’. You will likely no longer need to sign for purchases when paying with your credit card. American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa have all announced they are eliminating the need for a signature at the register. The reason? The switch from magnetic stripe credit cards to chip-embedded cards, which began in October 2015, has made the signature unnecessary. When cards were first introduced, the signature was an additional step to verify your identity. But when was the last time a retail clerk verified your signature? Story by Bill Hardekopf for Forbes

Gas Station Credit Cards May Leave Your Wallet Empty
You might assume that gas station credit cards offer the best deal on filling your tank. That seems to make sense, because why wouldn’t the company selling the gas offer the best perks to customers using its branded credit card? The reality, however, is very different. An average gas station credit card charges an interest rate of 23.61%, almost 7 percentage points higher than the national average across all general purpose credit cards, according to a new CreditCards.com analysis of 28 widely available gas cards. In addition, the study showed that the rewards offered by gas station credit cards don’t measure up to those offered by general purpose cards. Story by Daniel B. Kline for USA Today

JPMorgan Sued Over Fees for Cryptocurrency Purchases
JPMorgan Chase has been hit with a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court accusing it of charging surprise fees when it stopped letting customers buy cryptocurrency with credit cards in late January and began treating the purchases as cash advances. Filed on Tuesday on behalf of a proposed nationwide class, the lawsuit said Chase charged both extra fees and substantially higher interest rates on the cash advances than on the credit cards and refused to refund the charges when customers complained. Several banks in Britain and the United States banned the use of credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies earlier this year after a dramatic fall in the value of bitcoin, the most popular virtual currency. Story by Dena Aubin for Reuters

LendingClub Founder Is Back and Wants to Replace Credit Cards
LendingClub founder and former Chief Executive Officer Renaud Laplanche, who shocked the online lending industry with his controversial departure two years ago, is taking a stab now at shaking up credit cards. Upgrade, his new San Francisco-based startup, is launching a personal credit line that’s meant to bring together the fixed-rate interest of a loan with the freedom of using a card. While LendingClub was largely used to help consumers refinance credit card debt, this new product is meant to be an alternative altogether.  The line of credit will lend between $500 and $50,000, and consumers will be able to draw from it when they need, only getting interest rate charges on the amount they use. The funds are deposited directly into the customers bank account. The offering resembles what’s known as a HELOC, or home equity line of credit, but Upgrade’s offering won’t require the customer to use their home as collateral. Story by Julie Verhage and Dakin Campbell for Bloomberg

CFPB Director Urges Congress to Change the Agency’s Structure
In appearances on Capitol Hill this week, the acting director of the CFPB is urging Congress to take steps that critics say would reduce the agency’s ability to protect consumers. In an appearance before the House Financial Services Committee, Mick Mulvaney, who also serves as the Trump administration budget director, elaborated on his written report to Congress and denied charges by Democratic lawmakers that he’s trying to wreck the agency he leads. However, a report says Mulvaney has floated the idea of changing the structure of the CFPB, turning it into a bipartisan commission that would make it more akin to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is run by five commissioners, made up of both Democrats and Republicans. Story by Mark Huffman for Consumer Affairs

Mobile Scan-And-Go Shopping: The Future of Retail is Now
Mobile scan-and-go solutions reduce (even remove) the need for physical checkout lanes, as consumers can pay in-aisle via a mobile app. This frees up valuable real estate for more product lines, or for in-store experiences such as cookery classes or beauty treatments, to help drive in-store sales. Scan-and-go technology can also contribute to increased average spend per visit. Because you can see a cumulative total as you shop, it is easier to keep track of your spending. If you are then under budget when checking out, this encourages impulse or top-up purchases. With mobile, retailers can also push targeted offers and promotions directly to the consumer as they shop. For repeat customers, merchants can collate user behaviour and purchase patterns to promote recommended products and remind consumers to pick up their frequently bought items. Story by Julian Wallis for Mobile Payments Today

Crate And Barrel Taps Synchrony For Branded Credit Cards
To offer financing options that will reward customers for loyalty and provide them with flexible financing, Crate and Barrel has announced a partnership with Synchrony. Through the arrangement, Crate and Barrel will pair with Synchrony on a private label credit card as well as a new dual-branded card. The partnership will offer financing options in nearly 100 Crate and Barrel brick-and-mortar stores as well as through the company’s digital channels. The new Synchrony-backed credit cards are expected to be released later in 2018. Story in PYMNTS



The information contained within this article was accurate as of April 13, 2018. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


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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