LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–August 17, 2018

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–August 17, 2018

August 17, 2018         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Banks Are Eyeing $1.5 Trillion in Credit Card Secrets
Few people can get inside your head-or at least the part of your brain that makes spending decisions-quite like Scott Grimes and Lynne Laube. The co-founders of Cardlytics Inc. deal in some of the most valuable and revealing personal data on the planet: how people use their debit and credit cards. They’re quietly helping some of the largest banks in the U.S. to mine what’s known in the trade as purchase data and use it to encourage customers to buy more things with their plastic. Conventional banks are trying to raise their data game to fend off fast-growing financial technology startups and hold on to customers. “This is the bank’s secret weapon in the digital wars,” Silvio Tavares, chief executive officer of the trade group CardLinx Association, says of purchase data. But it’s a weapon they have to be extremely careful about using. Story by Jennifer Surane for Bloomberg

The Truth About Credit Card Debt Forgiveness
When some people think about credit card debt forgiveness, it goes something like this: Your debt is erased, and you live happily ever after with no consequences. That would be amazing. But the harsh truth lies somewhere short of “totally erased” and “no consequences.” To be clear, credit card debt forgiveness does exist, and it’s possible to settle your debt for less than what you owe. But to get it totally erased is rare, and it usually requires an extreme measure, such as bankruptcy. Here’s what it means for your credit score and your wallet. Story by Beverly Harzog for US News and World Report

The Costly Mistake That Even Smart Travelers Make
It makes sense for most people to use credit cards as much as possible when spending money abroad. But there is also a potential pitfall: dynamic currency conversion. You’ve probably come across it in the form of a question in a restaurant or store: Would you like to pay in the local currency or the currency of where your card is from? What they usually don’t mention is that this is a costly service-one that can add as much as an extra drink or two to your restaurant bill. You should always opt to pay in local currency, and not accept the card machine or ATM’s prompt to convert it for you. The reason is that the exchange rate a card terminal will give you is a worse deal than the one your bank would automatically give you. Sometimes, they may even charge an additional fee on top of that. Story by Rosie Spinks for Quartzy

New Credit Card Offers Big Cash Back for Foodies, Movie Buffs
Foodies and movie buffs, Capital One wants to put a new card in your wallet. The company announced a revamped Savor card with the highest cashback percentage in the industry for both dining and entertainment. The 4 percent is among the highest year-round offer in both dining and entertainment, which includes many movie theaters, theme parks, sporting events and concerts. Although experts were impressed with the Savor card’s cash back–including 2 percent on groceries and 1 percent on all other purchases–they said the $95 annual fee could be a turnoff for frugal consumers. Story by Kelly Tyko for USA Today

Square Readers Can Now Read Chip Cards in Just Two Seconds
Mobile payment company Square announced today that it’s lowered its chip card read time down to two seconds. The company says the industry average is typically between eight and 13 seconds. That makes Square’s Reader and Register platforms significantly faster than standard card-reading technology for EMV cards, which have rolled out broadly in tandem with retail chip readers in the US over the last five years. The company’s previous milestone was 4.2 seconds in 2016. Story by Nick Statt for The Verge

Discover Surpasses American Express in Credit Card Customer Satisfaction
Discover inched past American Express in the 12th annual U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study from J.D. Power. Discovered earned a score of 836, compared to 830 from American Express and 806 for Barclays US. Rewards were the driving force in customer satisfaction. Cardholders with rewards cards reported significantly higher satisfaction rates than those without rewards. Cards with understandable rewards programs ranked the highest. More than one-third (36%) of respondents said they did not understand their credit card rewards program. Those who did spent an average of $307 more per month on their credit cards. Story by Lynn Oldshue for LowCards.com

Citi’s Credit Card Chief to Exit in Consumer Bank Shake-Up
Citigroup is restructuring its consumer banking operation in a shake-up that includes the departure of its global credit card chief. Judson Linville, who ran the world’s largest portfolio of credit card loans, is leaving as the bank merges that business with its wealth and retail units in the U.S., according to an internal memo Monday from Stephen Bird, who leads Citigroup’s global consumer bank. Bird’s changes bring to the U.S. a model he oversaw while running the company’s Asia operations, before he was appointed to his current role in 2015. The bank often chooses Asia to test new consumer offerings such as branches and digital products. North America consumer revenue growth slowed to 1 percent last quarter from 4 percent in the previous three months, and Citigroup has struggled to meet targets for its U.S. branded-card business. Story by Jennifer Surane for Bloomberg

American Express Partners with GreenSky for Alternative Payments and Financing
GreenSky Inc. recently announced a partnership with American Express to offer alternative payment solutions to merchants and consumers. The companies aim to join American Express’s large customer base with GreenSky’s ability to offer point-of-sale financing options. The partnership would allow customers to finance large purchases without creating a large paper trail, making the interaction much more like a typical point-of-purchase sale. Story by Joe Resendiz for Value Penquin

Mobile Merchant Transactions to Help Drive Financial Inclusion
A new Juniper Research study forecasts that the use of mobile devices to make retail and store payments will act as a driver for financial inclusion of the unbanked in emerging markets. The research predicts mobile merchant transactions by unbanked individuals will grow from 1.8 billion per year in 2018 to 3.8 billion by 2023. The new research finds that Kenya and India will be core incubator markets for merchant services. Safaricom’s Lipa Na M-Pesa product already has over 100,000 merchants enrolled, and by 2023, merchant payment transactions in the Middle East and Africa alon e will surpass $16 billion per annum. The research singled out Mastercard as a key innovator in the sector. The company has launched a QR code-based solution with the aim of connecting 40 million micro and small merchants to its payments network by the end of 2020. Story in Mobile Payments Today

Barclays Brexit Move Shifts Credit Cards to a German Base
Barclays has a storied history in credit cards,  ranging from being one of the first non-US bank card issuers to its global presence.  With roots in London dating back to 1690, and strong presence across central Europe, the shift to Ireland is a significant sign of the world to come as the UK exits from the European Union. The move shows Barclays putting its Brexit contingency plans into action, in common with other banks which are not waiting for the outcome of negotiations over how financial services will operate after Britain leaves the EU in March. Story by Brian Riley for Payments Journal

How To Give Mobile Banking More Curb Appeal
If your mobile app doesn’t simplify people’s lives and make banking easier, you can’t compete. Financial institutions must rethink the mobile channel to grab people’s attention and move market share. Here are four ways you can rev up a tired mobile banking app. Story by Satya Swarup Das for The Financial Brand

The information contained within this article was accurate as of August 17, 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
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