LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–April 20, 2018

April 20, 2018, Written By Bill Hardekopf

Small But Growing Number of Restaurants Are Going Cashless
The trend toward cashless small and mid-sized businesses is fairly new. During a busy lunch hour with customers lined up at ordering stations and cashiers, forgoing cash means faster transactions. Many business owners would rather be cashless. Cash actually costs money: banks charge fees for cash deposits and to handle coins. If businesses take in enough cash to justify pickups by armored car services, that’s another cost. And restaurants can be a target for holdups. Counting and checking cash and preparing it for deposit takes up time a manager could spend with staff or customers. “We feel a manager’s time is so valuable, and it was being spent on what is only 10 percent of our revenue,” said one manager. Story by Joyce M. Rosenberg for the Associated Press

Chevrolet And Shell Roll Out In-Car Fuel Payments
Chevrolet and Shell are doing their part to try and make refueling easier on drivers by introducing the first ever, in-car fuel payment system, rendering unnecessary the need to swipe a credit card or use your mobile device. The new feature will allow drivers of 2017 model year and newer Chevrolet vehicles in the U.S. to pay and earn rewards directly through the vehicle’s touchscreen when getting gas at participating Shell-branded stations. To use the new feature, drivers will simply press the Shell icon within the Marketplace app and select their preferred station location. After a few more taps on the touchscreen, a code will be generated that allows the user to activate a pump and start fueling. The fill-up is then automatically charged to the payment method on file. Story by Michael Accardi for Car Buzz

Visa, Mastercard Talk About Cooperating in Online Shopping
Visa and Mastercard, the two largest U.S. card networks, said they’re planning to drop their longstanding initiatives to get online shoppers to use dedicated payment buttons. The two payments giants instead want to create a new online option that would amount to a shared single payment button that could succeed the current pay tabs, Visa Checkout and Mastercard Masterpass. Story by AnnaMaria Andriotis for The Wall Street Journal

Trust in Facebook Has Dropped By 66%
Facebook users’ confidence in the company has plunged by 66 percent as a result of revelations that data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica inappropriately acquired data on tens of millions of Facebook users – and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s public mea culpa during two days of congressional hearings last week did not change that, a new report reveals. Only 28 percent of the Facebook users surveyed after Zuckerberg’s testimony last week believe the company is committed to privacy, down from a high of 79 percent just last year. Story by Herb Weisbaum for NBC News

American Express Launches a New Credit Card for Jet-Setters with a $450 Annual Fee
American Express has a new idea for keeping the jet set happy. The company announced a new card Monday, the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) American Express Luxury Card. The card is aimed at American Express’s “most premium and often-traveling, globetrotting” customers. It also comes with a hefty annual fee of $450. The new card arrives as American Express has faced some pressure from competitors, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and the Citi Prestige Card.The new card debuts in August and comes with an annual perk designed to make customers loyal: One free hotel stay at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels on the anniversary of the day the customer opened their account. That one night can be at or under the value of 50,000 points. Story by Maria LaMagna for MarketWatch

Mastercard Files Patent To Use Blockchain To Protect Identity Data
Mastercard has filed a patent that reveals it might utilize blockchain as a way to protect identity data. The application, which was originally filed in September 2017 and was released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last week, describes how a semi-private or private blockchain could be used to receive and store identity data, including a “name, a street address, tax identification number” and more. “The use of a blockchain for the storage of identity and credential data may provide for an immutable storage of such data that can provide an accurate verification thereof and also prevent the fabrication of such data,” wrote Mastercard in the filing. Story in PYMNTS

Google Pay Hits 100 Million Installs on the Play Store
Nowadays, several phone manufacturers have their own payment services. There’s Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, the upcoming LG Pay, and of course, Google Pay. After experiencing two rebrands and retaining the same Play Store listing, the Google Pay app has just hit 100 million downloads on the Play Store. Most recently, Google Pay began incentivizing people to use it by offering $10 to both the referrer and the referred, and it’s steadily been adding support for more banks and credit unions. Story by Richard Gao for Android Police

American Express Plenti Shopping Program Is Shuttering
American Express has decided to end its Plenti frequent shopper program. The company said that the Plenti program will cease to exist on July 10. Between now and then, users can continue to rack up their rewards when they buy products at participating retailers. As of July 10, however, all their Plenti points will expire and they won’t be redeemable for rewards and other benefits. American Express had pitched Plenti in 2015 as a rewards program that would tie the consumer to retailers. Consumers would benefit by buying products at specific retailers and getting points they would redeem for rewards, and retailers would be able to attract frequent shoppers looking for those points. Story by Don Reisinger for Fortune

Biometrics And The Future: What It Means For Small Businesses
Apple normalized facial recognition software with the iPhone X. The TSA has implemented biometrics into airport security. Airlines are experimenting with biometric boarding passes to make your travel experiences more efficient and hassle free. Biometrics are popping up everywhere, and it’s an industry that’s gaining ground as consumers opt for the convenience of using the most natural authenticator out there: themselves. Through biometric technology, consumers can use their fingerprints or face scans to verify their identity, make payments and increase security. The technology may be in its developing stages in the U.S., but as it ramps up, so will business applications. Story by Matt D’Angelo for Business.com

Why Are Credit Card Numbers on the Back Now?
If you’ve recently received a new credit card, you may have noticed a change. Perhaps what was missing caught your attention. A growing number of credit cards have a sleek design on their faces without bulky, raised account numbers running along the bottom. Flip the card over, and you’ll see that the numerals have been moved to the back with the rest of the card information. It’s a trend that has taken off across the industry in the past few years, from elite cards to low-cost accounts. Although it’s difficult to determine exactly when this style started taking off, credit card companies have increasingly modeled their cards in this fashion as they search for new ways to make users feel confident and look classy while using their cards. Story by Jaime Dunaway for Slate

When to Ignore Credit Card Advice
Conventional wisdom about credit cards is often black and white, from whether you should use cards at all to which types deserve a slot in your wallet. But personal finance is just that – personal, experts say. Credit card tips might be easier to understand when they’re binary – do this, don’t do that – but that advice usually doesn’t apply to everybody. In fact, some advice could hurt more than help. Story by Gregory Karp for the Associated Press



The information contained within this article was accurate as of April 20, 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.
View all posts by Bill Hardekopf