LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 26, 2014

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 26, 2014

December 26, 2014         Written By Lynn Oldshue

Staples Estimates Hackers Breached 1.16 Million Credit Cards
Staples confirmed that suspicious cyber activity, first spotted in September, was most likely a malware attack that may have breached 1.16 million credit cards. A preliminary investigation found evidence of malware installed in the point-of-sales systems at 115 locations. The malware may have given hackers access to cardholder names, credit card numbers and verification codes. The breaches began in late summer and continued until the retailer detected and removed the malware in mid-September. Story in Time.

Hack-Proof Pants Protect Your Credit Cards from Digital Pickpockets
While not quite a stylish version of the Iron Man exoskeleton, new crowdfunded apparel does protect the wearer from digital identity theft—if not providing a force beam, weapon capabilities and free flight. READY jeans for men, as well as a blazer for women, are slim fit denim jeans with hack-blocking pockets. Yes, it’s come to this. Story by Hal Bundrick for Main Street.

Credit Cards Are Getting More Secure: MasterCard President
Progress is being made to secure credit cards against fraud, said Chris McWilton, MasterCard’s president of North America. MasterCard and other credit card companies have developed high-tech chip cards, which have a microchip embedded. “We think about half the cards in circulation by the end of ’15 will be chip enabled and about half the merchant terminals at merchants around the country will be chip enabled,” McWilton said. Story by Michelle Fox for CNBC.

Gift Cards Are Ever Popular, But Also at Risk for Scams
They’re less gauche than cash and less restricting than the polyester monstrosity great-aunts have an affinity for. Gift cards are the gifts that keep on giving–and they give exactly what you want. Their popularity is undisputed; the segment represents $31.74 billion in spending, according to the National Retail Federation. Four out of five holiday shoppers plan to buy gift cards, and the average person will spend $172.74 on gift cards. While there are advantages, which gift card you buy and what you do with it makes a difference, experts say. Story by Zlati Meyer for Detroit Free Press.

How to Recover From Holiday Credit Card Debt
Holiday shopping is a wonderful experience, until the credit card bills start rolling in. Once the joy of the giving has passed, you stare at the painful task of paying the bills. There are several ways to recover from holiday credit card debt in order to get back on your financial feet. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

Neglected Server Provided Entry for JPMorgan Hackers
The computer breach at JPMorgan Chase this summer–the largest intrusion of an American bank to date–might have been thwarted if the bank had installed a simple security fix to an overlooked server in its vast network, said people who have been briefed on internal and outside investigations into the attack. Big corporations like JPMorgan spend millions–$250 million in the bank’s case–on computer security every year to guard against increasingly sophisticated attacks like the one on Sony Pictures. But the weak spot at JPMorgan appears to have been a very basic one, the people said. They did not want to be identified publicly because the investigation into the attack is incomplete. Story by Matthew Goldstein, Nicole Perlroth and Michael Corkery for The New York Times.

69% of Small Businesses Not Ready for Chip-and-PIN Transition
A new study about the transition to chip-and-PIN credit cards reveals 69% of small and mid-sized businesses do not think they will be able to meet the October 2015 deadline for switching to EMV terminals. These EMV terminals are required to operate chip-and-PIN cards, and 26% of these businesses don’t even know what they are. Only 11% of these businesses already have EMV terminals, and 25% are unaware of the upcoming deadline. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

2014: The Year of Living Vulnerably
It comes down to this: 2014 was the year we became more connected than ever. And it was also the year it became apparent that this connectivity will have terrible costs. In the past year, manufacturers have sold a record number of smartphones–1.3 billion, estimates IDC. It’s almost certain even more will be sold in 2015, since growth rates of smartphone sales in emerging markets are greater than 30%, and there remains 2.8 billion people in the world who use feature phones but not smartphones, according to eMarketer. Simultaneously, we’re connecting more and more of our devices to the Internet, as well as homes, factories, even cars and civic infrastructure. To take the most mundane example, what good is a modern office if its systems aren’t accessible from afar? And yet 2014 was also the year we discovered that making these systems accessible from the Internet opens everyone to vulnerabilities the public is only just beginning to comprehend. Story by Christopher Mims for The Wall Street Journal.

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 14.46 percent, the same as last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.52 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.46 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