LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–August 22, 2014

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–August 22, 2014

August 22, 2014         Written By Lynn Oldshue

Visa Wants to Make it Even Harder for Thieves to Buy Gas with Your Credit Card
Gas stations are among the easiest places for crooks to use stolen credit cards. Pumps are usually unattended, so all the thieves have to do is swipe your plastic to fill up their tanks. Now Visa is rolling out software to detect whether it’s you or someone pretending to be you filling up on fuel. Roughly 25,000 gas stations have already signed on, with Chevron, an early test case, reporting a 23 percent drop in fraud at the pump. Story by Danielle Douglas for The Washington Post.

Hospital Data Breach Affects 4.5 Million Patients
No company or industry appears to be safe from cyber attacks. Not even hospitals. Community Health Systems said information on 4.5 million patients was stolen in a cyber attack that may have originated in China. The data breach may have impacted anyone who was a patient in a CHS hospital during the last five years. Hackers may have obtained the patient names, birth dates, addresses, telephone and social security numbers. However, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said no credit card numbers or medical or clinical information were taken. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

Supermarket Chain Supervalu Investigating Potential Data Breach
Supermarket chain Supervalu is investigating a potential data breach that might have affected more than 1,000 stores, according to people familiar with the situation, the latest attack against a big merchant in recent months. The breach appears to have taken place in late June or early July and may have resulted from hackers installing malicious software onto the company’s point-of-sale network, these people said. That is the system that includes the cash register and terminals that handle credit card and debit card transactions. Story by By Robin Sidel for The Wall Street Journal.

Bank Sues CardHub for Using Credit Card Data
A card issuer widely criticized for issuing high rate, high fee cards to lower income and credit-impaired consumers has sued a website dedicated to helping consumers compare credit cards terms. In its complaint, First PREMIER Bank, along with its card issuing subsidiaries, told the Federal District Court for South Dakota that Evolution Finance, the company that owns a website known as CardHub, had violated trademark law by including information about its credit cards in CardHub’s database. The attorney representing CardHub in the suit, said, “This lawsuit is a transparent attempt to keep consumers in the dark, and it raises troubling First Amendment issues.” Story by David Morrison for the Credit Union Times.

Data Breach at UPS Stores in 24 States
United Parcel Service has discovered a computer breach at 51 stores, making Big Brown the latest retailer to lose customer data. UPS said that the hacking had escaped detection at stores in 24 states, or around 1% of its locations. At most stores, the malware attack occurred after March 26, and was eliminated by August 11. No fraud has yet been discovered, UPS said, but customer names, postal addresses, email addresses and payment card information were compromised. Story by Charles Riley for CNN Money.

Why a Rule on Loan Losses Could Squeeze Credit
No bank loses money on every loan, at least not if it is going to stay in business. But the world’s accounting rule makers have decided that banks should immediately post a loss every time they make a loan on the theory that some percentage of loans will inevitably go bad. Requiring an immediate reporting of losses, long before a borrower has missed even one payment deadline, “could have serious unintended consequences,” one accounting expert warned two years ago. A bank facing a difficult quarter, and needing to do whatever it could to keep from further depressing earnings, could simply decide to stop making loans, at least until the quarter had passed. Story by Floyd Norris for The New York Times.

Inside the Dark, Lucrative World of Consumer Debt Collection
When debtors stop paying those bills, the banks regard the balances as assets for 180 days. After that, they are of questionable worth. So banks “charge off” the accounts, taking a loss, and other creditors act similarly. These huge, routine sell-offs have created a vast market for unpaid debts–not just credit card debts but also auto loans, medical loans, gym fees, payday loans, overdue cellphone tabs, old utility bills, delinquent book-club accounts. The scale is breathtaking. From 2006 to 2009, for example, the nation’s top nine debt buyers purchased almost 90 million consumer accounts with more than $140 billion in “face value.” And they bought at a steep discount. On average, they paid just 4.5 cents on the dollar. These debt buyers collect what they can and then sell the remaining accounts to other buyers, and so on. Those who trade in such debt call it “paper.” Story by Jake Halpern for The New York Times Magazine.

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 14.47 percent, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.48 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.38 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