LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 14, 2018

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 14, 2018

December 14, 2018         Written By Bill Hardekopf

How Wealthy People Use Credit Cards Differently Than Most Americans
Debit cards were the most popular payment method in the United States in 2017, as a study by TSYS found 44% of consumers preferred paying that way, compared to 33% who preferred credit cards. Here’s where it got interesting—each time you went up an income bracket, the percentage of consumers who preferred credit cards grew. Among consumers who made between $25,000 and $49,999, only 25% preferred credit cards compared to 50% who preferred debit cards. But among consumers who made more than $75,000, credit cards continually won out. Story by Lyle Daly for Yahoo Finance

Barclays Lets Customers Block Payments to Pubs and Restaurants to Help Them Address Consumer Debt
Barclays will be the first bank in the UK to allow its customers to block payments to pubs, restaurants and gambling sites in an attempt to address consumer debt. Barclays mobile banking users can now choose to block their ability to spend with certain types of retailer, in a move designed to put people struggling with addictions more in control of their finances. The new feature, launched today, could help those dealing with gambling problems to cut off their spending in betting shops and on gambling websites, for example. Story by Jamie Johnson for The Telegraph

Visa Announces Fintech Partnership to Help Companies Eliminate $33 Trillion in Paper Checks
Visa is partnering with Ingo Money to launch a product for merchants and banks to quickly get onto the payment network’s systems allowing fast digital payments to customers. It’s the latest sign of the rise of push-to-card payments where companies use existing card networks to push money to customers, reversing the traditional flow of dollars. In cases where companies want to send money to customers—say, a small business loan or an insurance payout—the method replaces paper checks or the decades-old Automated Clearing House (ACH) network, sending money over debit card rails directly into users’ checking accounts. Story by Hugh Son for CNBC

Many Consumers Not Taking Full Advantage of Balance Transfer Cards
Only 59% of cardholders have paid off their balance transfers before the end of the introductory period, according to a new survey from CompareCards. Another 22% said they paid most of the balance, and the remainder had only paid a part of it. Balance transfer cards remain a popular choice for Americans. In fact, 41% say they have had a balance transfer card in the past. That number increases with income. A staggering 69% of respondents with a household income over $100,000 have used a balance transfer card at least once, and 47% have transferred balances more than once. Only 28% of households earning under $50,000 had used a balance transfer card. Men were significantly more likely than women to pay off their transferred balances in full (70% vs. 43%) and more likely to get a balance transfer card in general (54% vs. 31%). Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com

New Report Reveals Students Still Scammed by Campus Debit Cards
The Department of Education released a previously suppressed February 2018 report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau revealing that students are paying millions of dollars in dubious fees on debit cards. These cards were made available to students under deals struck between their college and banks, which in some cases paid the school for these exclusive marketing opportunities. In those situations, students paid three times as much in fees than their peers at other institutions. Story in U.S. PIRG

Latest Mastercard Patent Filing Covers Anonymous Blockchain Transactions
Prolific patent filer Mastercard has applied for protection of yet another blockchain innovation-a platform that would allow anonymous blockchain transactions, using a somewhat familiar method. In what has been likened to a coin mixing or tumbling service, the patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office describes a system for splitting payments into separate transactions through a processing server to increase the anonymity of payments. According to the patent documentation, the Mastercard system would mean completely anonymous transaction data. Story by Dan Taylor for Coin Geek

U.S. Sanctions May Force Russia to Sever Connection to Visa, Mastercard Payment System
Russia’s Central Bank has reportedly warned leading financial institutions across the country that they could soon be disconnected from the global Visa and MasterCard credit card payment systems because of U.S. sanctions. Russia’s central bankers appear concerned over provisions in the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which target banks involved in “substantial transactions” with Russian enterprises connected to Moscow’s army and intelligence agency. Story by Dan Boylan for The Washington Times

Robinhood Launches No-Fee Checking/Savings with Mastercard
Robinhood  is undercutting the big banks by forgoing brick-and-mortar branches with its new zero-fee checking and savings account features. With no overdraft or monthly fees, a juicy 3 percent interest rate and a claim of more U.S. ATMs than the five biggest banks combined, Robinhood is using the scalability of software to pass impressive perks on to customers. The free stock trading app already used that approach to attack brokers like E*Trade and Charles Schwab that charge a per-trade fee. Now it’s breaking into the larger financial services market with a model that could put the squeeze on Wells Fargo, Chase and Bank of America. Story by Josh Constine for Tech Crunch

Marriott Data Breach Is Traced to Chinese Hackers as U.S. Readies Crackdown on Beijing
The cyberattack on the Marriott hotel chain that collected personal details of roughly 500 million guests was part of a Chinese intelligence-gathering effort that also hacked health insurers and the security clearance files of millions more Americans, according to two people briefed on the investigation. The hackers, they said, are suspected of working on behalf of the Ministry of State Security, the country’s Communist-controlled civilian spy agency. The discovery comes as the Trump administration is planning actions targeting China’s trade, cyber and economic policies, perhaps within days. Story by By David E. Sanger, Nicole Perlroth, Glenn Thrush and Alan Rappeport for The New York Times

Bank of America Will Launch Cash-Back Card With Choices
Bank of America is ringing in the new year with a card launch, debuting a fresh version of the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card in early 2019. Starting the week of Jan. 14, cardholders will be able to choose which category they earn 3% cash back rewards in, from a list of six categories: Gas, Online shopping, Dining, Travel, Drugstores, and Home improvement and furnishings. Story by Claire Tsosie for NerdWallet

P2P Dominates Banks’ Mobile Apps in Payments, but Other Functions Lag
All but two of 27 bank mobile apps examined in a new S&P Global Inc. study offer person-to-person payments and another bank will soon add the feature to its app. But less than a third of the apps support cardless ATM transactions. The study by New York City-based S&P Global’s Market Intelligence unit examined mobile apps from national banking giants and large regional banks for 23 features ranging from payments to biometric logins to access to statements, and other functions. Wells Fargo and Bank of America topped with rankings by offering all 23 features, according to S&P Global. But only seven, with one other planning a rollout, currently offer cardless ATM functions such as arranging a cash withdrawal in advance and using the app at the ATM to initiate dispensing. And just three of the financial institutions surveyed offer so-called picture bill pay through their mobile app. Story by Jim Daly for Digital Transactions

Western Union, TerraPay Form Alliance to Enable Mobile Wallet Payouts
Western Union has announced an alliance with TerraPay, which will allow remittances to go directly into mobile wallets and bank accounts in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, according to a news release. TerraPay operates a low-value payments network that lets customers send and receive payments across various domestic, regional and international markets. Western Union offers funds transfer services across 200 countries and westernunion.com is available in 50 countries. Story in Mobile Payments Today


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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