LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017, Written By Lynn Oldshue

Apple’s Venmo Killer Is Finally Here
Apple’s iPhone now has a built-in way to send cash via a text message. On Monday, the company launched Apple Pay Cash. The feature allows users in the US with an up-to-date iPhone to send money to other iPhone users through the Messages app. A direct competitor to other digital payment apps like Venmo and Square Cash, Apple Pay Cash was announced in June at Apple’s annual developers’ conference. It was supposed to launch with iOS 11, the latest version of the operating system underlying the iPhone that Apple released in September. But the company delayed its launch until the release of iOS 11.2, which became available over the weekend. Story by Kif Leswing for Business Insider

Bitcoin Soars Above $17,000, Boosting Worries And A Worldwide Frenzy
Bitcoin soared past the $17,000 mark on Thursday, a dizzying run for a digital currency that was worth less than $1,000 at the start of the year and was once largely the preoccupation of technologists or those looking to avoid scrutiny to launder money or buy drugs and weapons online. The fast rise – it has gone up more than 40 percent this week alone – is creating a buying frenzy among eager speculators around the world and helping push bitcoin into the mainstream. And it is also forcing U.S. regulators to grapple with whether to legitimize a product that operates outside the control of any government or financial institution. The run-up in price comes as bitcoin enthusiasts prepare to reach a new landmark. On Sunday, a bitcoin product will trade for the first time on a U.S. financial market, making it almost as easy to bet on the virtual currency as oil, corn or the euro. Story by Renae Merle for the Washington Post

Bank of America Faces Long Road to Credit Card Revival
When it comes to the super-competitive world of credit cards, Bank of America knows it’s in a battle. But is it doing enough? In the past decade, Bank of America’s failure to cultivate this unit has seen it slip in rank to fifth position by market share, where it now sits behind Capital One. Unlike JPMorgan Chase, which has offered well-telegraphed rich rewards to poach customers with strong credit and their deposits, CEO Brian Moynihan said his bank is more focused on strengthening its existing relationships. In other words, it’s still trying to figure out how to encourage the two-thirds of its client base that already have a Bank of America card to use it as their card of choice. Story by Gillian Tan for Bloomberg

AmEx and J.P. Morgan Will Keep Sharing Marriott’s Credit Card Program
J.P. Morgan Chase and American Express will remain credit-card issuers for the Marriott International rewards program. The longstanding U.S. partnership, in which J.P. Morgan issues Marriott credit cards and American Express issues Starwood Hotels & Resorts credit cards, was in question after Marriott purchased Starwood last year and began negotiations with the issuers. One possibility in the process was merging the rewards programs down to one issuer, which would have pushed all of the roughly $60 billion spent on the hotel chain’s credit cards in 2016 to one lender. Maintaining the status quo is a win for AmEx in particular, where the Starwood program is the card issuer’s second-largest co-brand program, following Delta Air Lines. Story by AnnaMaria Andriotis for The Wall Street Journal

5 Credit Card Trends To Look Out For In 2018
Your wallet might get heavier next year with more plastic and, in some cases, metal. That’s because credit card issuers are taking steps to launch more cards with better benefits – all in the hope of enticing customers to thicken their credit card portfolios. Competition means more choices, especially for those with good to excellent credit scores. Here’s what to look out for in 2018. Story by Kimberly Palmer for Forbes

The Strange Case of the Look-Alike Credit Cards
First National Bank of Marin was a small Las Vegas lender with an image problem. Federal investigators accused it of issuing credit cards to strapped consumers, then piling on so many fees and obligations that some new clients couldn’t buy a sandwich without hitting their credit limit. But by 2006, it had settled the claims and was ready to expand. It changed its name to Credit One Bank and adopted a new logo, placing the company’s signature swoosh above its name, arcing leftward from the letter O. If that looks familiar, there’s a good reason. In 2008, credit-card titan Capital One Financial Corp. unveiled an almost identical insignia, adding a swoosh that arced leftward from the letter O. And so began the improbable story of how one of the top U.S. card lenders-admired in the industry for its innovative marketing-gave an accidental advertising boost to a then-obscure rival. That company would soon take off, reshaping the competitive landscape for subprime lending to U.S. consumers. Story by Jennifer Surane for Bloomberg

Target Gets Its Own Digital Wallet
Target announced Monday the launch of a digital wallet in the Target app. The Wallet feature in the Target app will provide customers with a new way to pay and save at Target stores. Using Wallet, Target customers can pay using their Target REDcard and save money with Cartwheel, all with a single scan of their mobile devices at checkout. The goal is to make checkout quicker, and to offer convenient digital savings by including Cartwheel offers and weekly ad coupons, along with the 5 percent REDcard discount. Coming soon, Target said guests will also be able to  store and redeem Target gift cards with Wallet. Story in PYMNTS

Uber Paid 20-year-old Florida Man To Keep Data Breach Secret
A 20-year-old Florida man was responsible for the large data breach at Uber last year and was paid by Uber to destroy the data through a so-called “bug bounty” program normally used to identify small code vulnerabilities, three people familiar with the events have told Reuters. Uber announced on Nov. 21 that the personal data of 57 million users, including 600,000 drivers in the United States, were stolen in a breach that occurred in October 2016, and that it paid the hacker $100,000 to destroy the information. But the company did not reveal any information about the hacker or how it paid him the money. Uber made the payment last year through a program designed to reward security researchers who report flaws in a company’s software, these people said. Uber’s bug bounty service—as such a program is known in the industry—is hosted by a company called HackerOne, which offers its platform to a number of tech companies. Story by Joseph Menn and Dustin Volz for Reuters

Fingerprint Payments To Be ‘Commonplace’ in Australia Within A Year: Visa
Shoppers will soon be able to take a scan of their fingerprint or face to authorise a credit card purchase, instead of entering a PIN, as part of a crackdown on payment fraud. With online card fraud rising quickly as stolen card details are used for website purchases, payments giant Visa is rolling out a suite of new changes aimed at stopping fraudsters. In a bid to counter fraud, it has issued new standards that will remove the need to enter a personal identification number (PIN) when making purchases in-person. It is also beefing up its systems for detecting fraudulent transactions made online. Instead of using a PIN for purchases over $100, as occurs today, customers will be able to use their smart phone to take a scan of their fingerprint, or face, under the new standards issued to banks and technology companies. This option would only be available to those using a “digital wallet” – where a phone is used to make payments, by tapping it on a contactless card reader. Story by Clancy Yeates for the Sydney Morning Herald

To Promote Cashless Transactions, Reserve Bank of India Reduces Charges For Debit Cards
In a bid to further boost digital transactions, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) brought several changes to the merchant discount rate (MDR) for debit card transactions. The revised charges will be effective from January 1, 2018. In its latest circular on MDR, RBI has categorized merchants on the basis of turnover. The central bank has also adopted a differentiated MDR for QR-code based transactions. MDR is the cost paid by a merchant to a bank for accepting payment from their customers via credit or debit cards every time a card is used for payments in their stores. The merchant discount rate is expressed in percentage of the transaction amount. Story for Business Today



The information contained within this article was accurate as of December 8, 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