LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 15, 2017

December 15, 2017, Written By Lynn Oldshue

How The Fed Interest Rate Hike Could Affect Your Wallet
Monthly payments on credit cards, adjustable-rate mortgages and home equity lines are expected to increase after the Federal Reserve lifted its benchmark short-term interest Wednesday for the third time in 2017. All of those revolving loans have variable rates that go up or down based on the Fed’s key rate. which is rising by a quarter percentage point. The Fed lifted its federal funds rate—which is what banks charge each other for overnight loans—by a quarter percentage point to a range of 1.25% to 1.5% following similar hikes in March and June. Fed officials have penciled in three more rate increases next year. Here’s how the moves could affect consumers. Story by Paul Davidson for USA Today

How to Spend Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are confusing for the average American, to say the least. These currencies-which aren’t really currencies-can be interesting to invest in. But they’re also very difficult to spend. However, it’s getting a bit easier to spend. It can still take several days to complete any transactions with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other cryptocurrencies. Buying them can be difficult. You’ll have to register at an exchange, deposit money, verify your information, wait, and then buy and withdraw your currency. With that said, things are getting a bit better from the spending end of things. Here, we’ll summarize how and where to spend your cryptocurrencies, as well as how to transfer the currencies to a MasterCard that lets you spend more like a credit card. Story by Abby Hayes for Dough Roller

Mastercard Launches Money Management Tools For Millennials
Mastercard launched Assemble, a platform for issuers and partners that gives customers the ability to check balances, budget, and set savings goals. Users can also make near real-time payments to almost anyone in the US with a debit card using Mastercard Send, the firm’s peer-to-peer (P2P) money transferring platform. Assemble’s first product is geared toward millennials, offering an easy way to manage money through a digital prepaid account, mobile app, and physical or digital payment card. Issuers and partners can integrate the entire solution, or specific functions, into their current users’ interfaces through an application programming interface (API). Assemble for millennials is now available in the US, with other markets set to be targeted within the next year. Story by Rachel Green for Business Insider

JPMorgan Strikes Deal With Kroger As Mobile Payment Battle Heats Up
The mobile payment wars are making their way to a grocery store near you. Kroger, the largest U.S. supermarket chain, will begin offering JPMorgan Chase’s Chase Pay mobile wallet in certain markets beginning next year. The partnership will be Kroger’s first venture into mobile payments as the retailer seeks to bring its shopping experience into the digital age. Mobile payments have been slow to take off in the U.S. compared with other parts of the world as some merchants have balked at the higher fees associated with the technology and consumers have shown little interest in embracing it. Only about 0.5 percent of customer transactions on Visa Inc.’s network involves tokenized technologies such as wearables, digital wallets and mobile phones, the world’s largest payments network said at a conference in October. Story by Jennifer Surane and Craig Giammona for Bloomberg

To Boost Mobile Banking Growth Rates, Banks Must Address Consumers’ Fears
Most consumers love mobile banking. More than half of all those with a smartphone owners use the service. But growth in mobile banking appears to be tapering off. Certainly market saturation is one reason for slower growth, but fears surrounding are the most likely explanation. According to a Federal Reserve survey, 73% of non-mobile users say security concerns are an important reason they don’t jump on the mobile banking wagon. Consumers’ fears are fueled by the mushrooming number of data breaches. In 2016, Yahoo experienced the largest breach in history, affecting more than one billion accounts. Equifax’s breach in September 2017 touched more than 143 million U.S. consumers, and involved an unacceptable delay in notifying consumers. Banking providers are a favorite target of hackers. Of the more than 2,000 breaches reported in 2016, about 1,400 occurred in the financial services industry. Story by Kevin Tynan for The Financial Brand

Most Parents Help Adult Kids With Finances
Although their children are grown and out of the house, most parents haven’t cut off financial support. Seventy-four percent of parents with kids aged 18 and older give their children money for living expenses or debt, according to a new survey. Married people are more likely to financially help their grown children than divorced or never-married parents. In the survey, 39 percent of parents help with cellphone bills, while 36 percent chip in for transportations costs, and 10 percent contribute to personal loans. Men are more likely than women to help their kids out, especially with rent. Parents older than 55 are the most likely age group to help with debt, while parents between the ages of 35 and 54 tend to help with living expenses. Story by Melissa Wylie for The Business Journals

Consumers’ Pre-Recession Spending, Debt Habits Continue
Consumers built up $22 billion in new credit card debt in the third quarter 2017, meaning balances could surpass $50 billion by the end of the year, according to a new study. The third quarter increase brought credit card debt to $950.2 billion. The $22 billion increase is 46 percent higher than the post-Great Recession average and the highest accumulation since 2007. A year ago, in third quarter 2016, total credit card debt was $900.3 billion. Consumers had $87.2 billion in new credit card debt at the end of 2016, the most in one year since 2007 and a 130 percent increase compared to the post-recession average. According to the study, the average credit card debt per household in the third quarter was $8,109, a 5 percent increase from $7,711 in the third quarter of 2016. Story in ACA International

Wells Fargo Sued by Navajo Nation for Alleged Predatory Tactics
The Navajo Nation announced that it’s suing Wells Fargo for allegedly engaging in predatory and unlawful banking practices that targeted and harmed tribal members. In a statement, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said the tribe’s lawyer has been directed to seek restitution, damages and civil penalties based on Wells Fargo’s alleged violations of federal, state and tribal law. The tribe alleges employees at Wells Fargo branches on the vast reservation “routinely misled customers into opening unnecessary accounts and obtained debit and credit cards without customers’ consent.” They also allege Navajo elders “were purposely confused and deceived into purchasing products to help employees meet banking quotas.” Story by the Associated Press

Bitcoin Is Failing As A Currency
It’s been a good year for bitcoin investors but a terrible one for those who hoped that the cryptocurrency would become the de facto tender for the internet. Satoshi Nakamoto, its creator, may be dismayed at what has become of the project, intended as peer-to-peer electronic cash that didn’t require the supervision of banks. Instead, bitcoin has become an investment vehicle, embraced by many on Wall Street, an asset class like every other. For all the success of the blockchain and bitcoin’s soaring value, it’s clear that Nakamoto’s original vision has failed. Historically, people needed a way of storing their money in manners more sophisticated than stuffing their mattresses. The practice was to buy precious metals—like gold—and hope that it would retain, and appreciate in, its value over the years. But as economies grew and society matured, it was necessary to move toward fiat currencies, which weren’t intrinsically valuable in and of themselves. Bitcoin was Nakamoto’s deliberate attempt to undo this by building a digital equivalent to gold. Story by Daniel Cooper for Engadget

Another Startup Is Attempting To Make All-In-One Credit Cards A Thing
Smart credit cards that let you toggle between multiple digitally saved credit cards haven’t had a great run. Plastc, which raised more than $9 million in preorders, failed to ever ship a product and filed for bankruptcy. Coin, on the other hand, managed to ship a card, but ended its product services after Fitbit acquired the company. Still, the dream isn’t dead, yet. A company called Edge announced today that it’s acquiring Plastc for an undisclosed sum with the goal of incorporating its tech into the company’s own all-in-one credit card. Edge hopes to start shipping cards in the next seven months and won’t rely on preorder money. Instead, it’s depending on private equity. The company’s CEO and co-founder Peter Garrett says the company’s touchscreen technology was worthy of investment, as was its built-in customer base. Plastc had a problem “stitching [everything] together,” he says, and was under pressure to ship, hence its demise. Story by Ashley Carman for The Verge



The information contained within this article was accurate as of December 15, 2017. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


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