LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 27, 2019

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 27, 2019

December 27, 2019         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Record Online Sales Give U.S. Holiday Shopping Season a Boost
U.S. shoppers spent more online during this year’s holiday shopping season, a report by Mastercard showed on Wednesday, with e-commerce sales hitting a record high. E-commerce sales this year made up 14.6% of total retail and rose 18.8% from the 2018 period, according to Mastercard’s data tracking retail sales from Nov. 1 through Christmas Eve. Overall holiday retail sales, excluding autos, rose 3.4%. Retailers have invested heavily to provide same-day delivery, lockers for store pick-up and improve their online presence as they battle against retail giant Amazon for market share. Story by Nivedita Balu, Ismail Shakil and Andrea Shalal for Reuters

Opinion: How Credit Card Companies Reward the Rich and Punish the Rest of Us
Cash registers across America should post a new holiday shopping sign: The richer you are, the less you pay. That may sound outrageous, but it’s true. The U.S. payment system has turned cash registers into engines of economic inequality. Driving this new system, in which the wealthy receive large discounts and the non-wealthy don’t, are ever more lucrative credit card reward programs and the government policies that promote them. How you pay and how much you make is strongly correlated. Story by Aaron Klein for the Los Angeles Times

Malware Threatens Credit Card Info at ‘Potentially All’ Wawa Stores
Popular East Coast convenience store chain Wawa has announced that “potentially all” of its 800-plus locations in the United States were affected by a data breach compromising customers’ credit and debit card information. The company said malicious software was discovered on Wawa payment processing servers on Dec. 10, and was contained by Dec. 12. The chain said sensitive information may have been exposed, but not the cards’ security features. Story by Clyde Hughes for UPI

Americans’ Near-Record Levels of Credit Card Debt Help Bolster Banking Industry
Americans have accumulated near-record levels of credit card debt over the past year as card companies have increased interest rates and fees. The booming market is helping drive record banking industry profits but could become increasingly costly for consumers who don’t pay off their bill every month or miss a payment, industry experts say. JPMorgan Chase, the country’s largest bank by assets, and Citigroup reported that credit card sales were up 10 percent and 5 percent respectively in the third quarter. Profits at Visa were up 17 percent in its most recent fiscal year, while Mastercard reported an 11 percent profit jump in its most recent quarter. Story by Renae Merle for The Washington Post

Mobile Order-Ahead: It’s What’s For Dinner
What consumers really want from mobile ordering is more mobile ordering. A recent National Restaurant Association (NRA) survey found that 43% of consumers want to order via app, but only 18% of NRA members have it on the menu. The survey found that 91% of consumers have ordered using a restaurant app or website over the past year, while six in 10 people are using a third-party service like DoorDash, Grubhub and Uber Eats. With only about 15% of ordered meals being consumed in actual restaurants (compared to 40% in the recent past), mobile order-ahead is becoming a make-or-break proposition in the unforgiving restaurant sector. Story in PYMNTS

Over 40% of Rural Communities Lost Bank Branches in Recent Years
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System recently released a report highlighting the decline in bank branches in rural communities. Between 2012 and 2017, 40.7% of rural counties in America lost bank branches, limiting the access to many banking features. The overall number of branches in rural counties dropped by 7%. Of the rural counties surveyed, only 8.4% gained bank branches over that time period, and 50.9% saw no change in the number of branches. Story by John Oldshue for LowCards.com

5 Mistakes Points and Miles Collectors Can Easily Avoid
When you’re just starting out in the points and miles world, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all of the credit card choices, bonus categories and different ways to earn and spend points. It can be easy to make the kind of mistake that will prevent you from getting all the value you can out of your new card. This guide will help you avoid some of the most common mistakes made by new points collectors. Story by Alex Cramer for Nerd Wallet

Payment Security in a World Going Mobile
According to a recent study, roughly half of American adults no longer worry about carrying cash as they increasingly reach for their smartphones instead of their wallets. Within the past year, nearly a third of U.S. adults used one or more mobile payment options (like mobile wallets or apps) to make a payment or transfer money. The challenge for businesses accepting these payments is that consumers aren’t the only ones leaning into this payment system; fraudsters are increasingly targeting these transactions as well. By implementing a multilayered approach to security, businesses can better protect their mobile environment and customer payment data. Story Brian Borneman for Mobile Payments Today

Google’s YouTube Goes To War With Bitcoin And Crypto
Google’s relationship with bitcoin and cryptocurrency has long been fraught but it has apparently just taken a turn for the worse. The search giant previously banned bitcoin and cryptocurrency ads, knocking the bitcoin price, before deciding to allow them again in September last year after three-month block. Now, Google has decided to remove hundreds of bitcoin and cryptocurrency videos from its video-sharing site YouTube in what’s being called a “crypto-purge”-leaving many who make bitcoin and cryptocurrency-related videos feeling unfairly targeted by the search giant. Story by Billy Bambrough for Forbes

Most Consumers Don’t Understand 0% Balance Transfer Cards
According to a new survey, 75 percent of consumers mistakenly believed that they would be assessed interest on the full balance if they didn’t pay it off completely during the transfer card’s introductory period. That’s not the case, although that’s exactly what happens with a merchant’s “deferred interest” plan. Nearly 20 percent of consumers with credit cards plan to apply for a new card that will allow them to transfer a balance. Another 32 percent said they’re thinking about it. This is a fairly common practice. About half of all credit card customers say they have opened a new credit card account just to transfer a balance and take advantage of a 0 percent interest rate. Of that number, 18 percent have done it more than once. Story by Mark Huffman for Consumer Affairs

What Are Biometric Credit Cards?
Imagine buying a beer or tank of gas with just a touch of your finger or scan of your iris. The next generation of credit cards, known as biometric cards, could make this happen. These credit cards rely on biometric authentication, which involves using some part of your physical makeup to verify your identity. Still in the pilot phase, biometric cards may be the next big thing for banks, merchants and consumers because of the need for better card security. Although the cards won’t be widely available for some time in the United States, the technology is expected to help fight credit card fraud. Story by Bob Musinski for US News

The information contained within this article was accurate as of December 27, 2019. For up-to-date information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website. Many of the offers on this article are from our affiliate partners, and LowCards.com may be compensated if you take action with any of our affiliate partners.


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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