LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–August 1, 2014

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–August 1, 2014

August 1, 2014         Written By Lynn Oldshue

A Third of Americans Delinquent on Debt
More than a third of the country is in trouble when it comes to paying debts on time; 35% of Americans have debt in collections, according to a study out Tuesday from the Urban Institute, which analyzed the credit files of 7 million Americans. That means the debt is so far past due that the account has been closed and placed in collections. This typically happens after the bill hasn’t been paid for 180 days. It also means the debt has been reported to credit bureaus and can affect someone’s credit score. Story by Hadley Malcolm for USA Today.

Beware of Large Fees for Overdrafts on Debit Cards, ATMs
Overdraft services for debit card and ATM transactions can rack up huge fees on small purchases, according to a study out today from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The median amount on debit card transactions that leads to an overdraft fee is $24, says the study, which is based on checking account data from a set of large banks supervised by the bureau. More than half of consumers pay back negative balances in three days; 76% within a week, the report says. That means if a consumer borrowed $24 for three days and paid the median overdraft fee of $34, that loan would carry a 17,000% annual percentage rate. Story by Nanci Hellmich for USA Today.

Square Introduces New Reader for Chip-Based Credit Cards
Mobile payments company Square announced Wednesday that it has developed a new credit card reader that will make transactions with chip-enabled EMV cards. Square is a credit card reader that plugs into smartphones or tablets, allowing a credit or debit card purchase from just about any location. One of the largest hurdles in the conversion to EMV cards is the cost to retailers. New processing machines are needed. Square seems to be in a good position with this latest announcement. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

New Bank Card Credit Reaches Six-Year High
The total number of new cards issued through the first four months of 2014 was 15.5 million, a six-year high and an increase of 17.2 percent from the same time in 2013. The total dollar amount of new credit originated in that same time was $77.4 billion, which is also a six-year high and an increase of 24.1 percent from the same time in 2013. Story in ACA International.

Amazon Apparently Set to Launch Square-Competitor in August
Amazon could be preparing to launch its own mobile credit card reading hardware in the coming weeks, according to internal Staples documents hinting at such a launch that we’ve obtained. According to the documents, Staples stores will prepare next month to stock a new product called the “Amazon Card Reader” alongside existing card readers from Square, PayPal, and Staples’ own in-house brand. The small hardware, which will likely connect to smartphones to process payments, will cost $9.99, according to the Staples internal sales systems. Story by Mark Gurman for 9to5 Mac.

Take Advantage of Credit Cards and Good Credit
A barrage of credit card offers is a cyclical phenomenon. Sometimes the offers include 0 percent financing, but they can also be balance transfers or sign-on bonuses. The no-interest offers being distributed now are really a “Christmas in July” kind of gift. If anyone needed more proof that the Great Recession changed people’s financial habits, consider that nearly 30 percent of Americans pay off their balances in full each month. That’s a 50 percent increase since 2008, according to the American Bankers Association. The ABA’s data said that more than half of Americans now have a credit score of 759 or higher, compared to 41 percent in 2008. Middle and higher-income families have contributed to a larger paydown in credit card debt. Story by John Ewoldt for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

What You Need to Know about Card Skimming
Today’s world of skimming is high-tech, and it wants your credit card and banking info. What is skimming? How does it work? What can I do to protect myself? What does the law say? Arm yourself against skimmers by taking an interest and protecting yourself by knowing a bit about them. Story by Sean Cooper for Engadget.

Boost Your Credit Score With These 4 Tricks
We all know the basics of a good credit score, right? Pay your bills on time, don’t max out your credit cards, and don’t let too many lenders review your credit. However, there a few lesser-known “tricks” that can boost a credit score. Story by Matthew Frankel for Business Insider.

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 14.49 percent, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.50 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.32 percent.


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