LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 4, 2015

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 4, 2015

December 4, 2015         Written By Lynn Oldshue

As Subprime Credit Cards Grow, So Do Fees
There’s a growing subprime threat–and it fits in your billfold. The number of subprime credit cards in circulation–those with the highest interest rates–has exploded over the last five years to where in 2014 there was one issued for every subprime borrower, according to a government report. In 2009, there was one subprime credit card issued for every 2 ¹/2 subprime borrowers, the report reveals. “These subprime specialists derive over half their revenue from fees, with much of that revenue coming from application or origination fees,” Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said. “These cards put many consumers at risk by eating up their monthly payments with fees and interest charges that impede them from paying down their principal balance.” While riskier borrowers were likely to have at least one subprime credit card in 2014, only 40 percent of those people got these kinds of cards in 2009, according to the report. Story by Kevin Dugan for the New York Post.

8 Credit Card Perks You Aren’t Taking Advantage Of
Are you getting the most out of your credit cards? Most credit card users focus primarily on key terms such as the interest rate and annual fees, and rewards in the form of points, miles and cash back. But beyond these important terms and valuable rewards lies another realm of credit card perks that few customers bother to explore, such as those that protect your purchases and others that insure you against travel problems. Here are eight credit card perks you may not be taking advantage of. Story by Jason Steele for Credit.com.

Here’s Exactly How Much Your Stolen Credit Card Info is Worth to Hackers
The “Dark Web” houses the seedy corner of the internet that few truly understand. And as a new research report highlights, the Dark Web also contains a growing and sophisticated economy with its own marketplaces where our “information is being openly sold,” including access to stolen financial account and card details. McAfee Labs recently published its findings after researching these hidden online marketplaces in a document titled, “The Hidden Data Economy,” and it offers a look at how our information is valued after its been stolen. According to McAfee Labs, the more data a cyber thief can collect–particularly with credit or debit cards–the more it’s worth. Along with a credit card number, these are some of the things that increase the value of your information. Story by Tess Danielson for Business Insider.

Target in $39.4 Million Settlement with Banks over Data Breach
Target Corp has agreed to pay $39.4 million to resolve claims by banks and credit unions that said they lost money because of the retailer’s late 2013 data breach. The settlement filed on Wednesday resolves class-action claims by lenders seeking to hold Target responsible for their costs to reimburse fraudulent charges and issue new credit and debit cards. Target previously said at least 40 million credit cards were compromised in the breach, and that as many as 110 million people may have suffered the theft of personal information such as email addresses and phone numbers. A Target spokeswoman said on Wednesday that 70 million people may have lost personal data. Story by Jonathan Stempel and Nandita Bose for Reuters.

FreshBooks Takes on Square with $30 Card Reader
Cloud accounting software company FreshBooks has revealed that it’s entering the mobile-payments space with the launch of a new card reader that lets merchants accept credit card payments through a smartphone. Similar to Jack Dorsey-owned Square, which recently filed to go public, FreshBooks has a branded contraption that plugs into an iPhone’s audio jack. It is designed as a simple solution for smaller merchants who want to go “cash-free,” and accepts most of the common bank cards as payment. The Toronto-based company is inviting small businesses to apply for early access ahead of the service’s expected launch in the U.S. in the first half of 2016. Story by Paul Sawers for Venture Beat.

Large Amount of Banking Will Be Done on Wearables by 2020
Mobile banking has grown tremendously in the past few years, and is projected to reach one billion users by the end of this year, according to new data from Juniper Research. By the end of 2020, that number could reach two billion. But the surprising finding in the data is that wearables, like the Apple Watch, will be responsible for approximately 100 million annual mobile banking sessions by the end of 2020. This is a huge increase from the 2015 estimates of only 10 million transactions. Story by Lynn Oldshue for LowCards.com.

Bad Credit? Make a Secured Credit Card Work for You
If you’re trying to build or rebuild your credit history, a secured credit card can be a great tool. Secured cards are valuable mostly because they can be a steppingstone to traditional unsecured credit cards, which are more likely to offer rewards or lower interest rates. Using a secured card wisely can help you make the transition to an unsecured card sooner. Here’s how to make sure you put a secured card to good use. Story by Virginia C. McGuire for USA Today.

EU Steps Up Controls on Bitcoin, Prepaid Cards to Curb Terrorist Funds
The European Union will increase controls on pre-paid cards, money remittances and bitcoin in a bid to curb terrorism funding after the attacks in Paris that killed 129 people. EU interior and justice ministers agreed to tighten checks on payment methods that may be conducted anonymously and might be used by terrorist organizations to finance attacks. Ministers urged the European Commission, the EU Executive, to “strengthen controls of non-banking payment methods such as electronic/anonymous payments, money remittances, cash-carriers, virtual currencies, transfers of gold or precious metals and pre-paid cards in line with the risk they present”, they said in a joint statement at the end of the meeting. Story by Francesco Guarascio for Reuters.

The Merging of Social Media, Payments and Mobile
No other online channel is driving retail sales and referral traffic quite like that of social media. BI Intelligence reports that between the first quarters of 2014 and 2015, social media increased its share of e-commerce referrals by nearly 200 percent. And while this year saw the merging of social media and payments into an undeniable powerhouse, social engagement with retail is still limited when it comes to a mobile device. But in 2016, this will change. For one thing, mobile is becoming the preferred channel for e-commerce. Forrester’s prediction that remote mobile payments (purchases made via apps and mobile websites) will be the largest area of growth over the next five years, expected to reach $91 billion in volume in the United States by 2019. And social media users are also migrating to the mobile channel. Last year, Facebook reported that more than 399 million of its users access the social network only from their mobile device. Moreover, while Facebook’s monthly user base has grown 14 percent year over year, its mobile user base has grown much more, at 31 percent year over year. Story by Michael Hagan for Mobile Payments Today.

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 14.63 percent, slightly lower than last week’s average of 14.64 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.52 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.49 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