LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–February 13, 2015

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–February 13, 2015

February 13, 2015         Written By Lynn Oldshue

Why Some People Still Have Hidden Bank or Credit Card Accounts
More than 7 million Americans, including 4.4 million men and 2.8 million women have hidden a bank or credit card account from their live-in spouse or partner, according to a new report. People are keeping other financial secrets and one in five Americans has spent $500 or more on a purchase without their partner’s knowledge. Men are much more likely to be the big spenders, and 26% of them have spent more than $500 without notifying their significant other versus just 14% of women. The biggest secret spenders have annual household incomes between $50,000 and $74,999 and are between the ages of 18 and 29. What is even more surprising is that many people say they are fine with their spouse or significant other making big purchases without telling them. Nearly one in three men do not have an issue with their spouse or partner spending more than $500 without their knowledge versus only 18% of women. Story by Ellen Chang for MainStreet.

White House Cybersecurity Summit Draws Big CEO Crowd
President Barack Obama heads to Stanford University in Palo Alto, California on Friday for a White House summit on cybersecurity, one of his top national security legislative priorities for his second term. Obama wants to build support for efforts to better protect against cyber threats and share more information about cyber attacks. The day-long event will bring together top officials from the tech and financial services sectors with top Obama administration officials and privacy and civil liberties groups. Story by Roberta Rampton for Reuters.

American Express to Lose Costco Exclusivity
American Express said its 16-year-old exclusive relationship with warehouse club Costco will end next year, dealing a blow to the card company that has already been falling short of its revenue goals. The company, which issues cards and owns a processing network, said it had been unable to reach a new agreement with Costco on terms that “would have made economic sense.” Costco is one of the few big U.S. merchants that only accepts AmEx cards. Cards branded by Visa, MasterCard and Discover can’t be used at its warehouse stores. American Express said the pact would end on March 31, 2016. Story by Robin Sidel for The Wall Street Journal.

Several Dangers of Increasing Your Credit Card Limit
It can be quite flattering when your credit card company sends you a notification in the mail saying you are eligible for a credit line increase. Obviously, the company thinks you’re doing a great job managing your credit card–or, at the very least, you’re paying the minimum balance. However, before you get too flattered by your credit card company’s approval of a higher spending limit, figure out if it’s the right decision for your finances. Getting a higher credit limit can give you more spending power and can also increase your credit score. But for the many benefits of a higher limit, there are several dangers, too. Story by Ashley Eneriz for the Dallas News.

Why Health Hacks are Worse than Credit Card Hacks
In the largest-ever security breach of a health insurance company, Anthem revealed that the personal data of 80 million customers may have been exposed to hackers. It’s likely that hackers will continue to target health care companies. For one thing, health data is a richer source of personal information than credit card data. Among the bounty: social security numbers, e-mail addresses, birthdays, street addresses, policy numbers, diagnosis codes, billing information, and the names of family members–the sort of information used in security questions for online accounts. Story by Erin Griffith for Fortune.

Big Jump In Credit Card Debt in December
Consumers racked up a sizeable amount of new credit card debt during the Christmas holiday. Revolving debt, most of which is credit card debt, rose $5.8 billion during the month of December, an annualized rate of 7.9%. It was the largest increase in eight months. This followed nearly a billion dollar drop during November. According to the latest Federal Reserve figures, consumers now have $887.9 billion in revolving debt, an annualized increase of 2.9% during the fourth quarter of 2014. This was the second consecutive quarter where the annualized increase was 2.9%. In fact, every quarter of 2014 showed an increase in revolving debt. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

The Wealthy Also Like Cash Back Rewards
When it comes to credit card perks, the wealthy might not be that much different from the average guy, according to a survey done by ORC International. Whether a consumer has $100,000 in the bank or just $1,000, cash back rewards appear to be the favored credit card reward. The ORC survey, which polled individuals with investment assets above $100,000, showed that 60 percent favor cash back rewards as a credit card perk, which isn’t far off the 63 percent for all credit card holders. Frequent flyer miles were listed by 22 percent as the next preferred reward, followed by 7 percent who want free hotel stays, and 5 percent who like merchandise. Other perks like companion airline tickets or airport lounge access made up 3 percent of responses. Story in PYMNTS.com.

Banks Want Bucks: ABA Pushes for Retailer Paybacks
Small banks were hit hard with fraud losses and recovery costs in the Target data breach last year, says the American Banking Association. Combined with Home Depot, Jimmy John’s and other national breaches, banks absorbed millions in costs and bore the expense of issuing new debit and credit cards to customers. Enough is enough, says the American Banking Association. It is asking Congress for federal laws that provide for uniform cyber security standards requiring retailers to use the same levels of protections banks are required to use. In addition, ABA wants retailers with breaches to notify law enforcement, financial institutions and customers faster than in the past. Finally, the bankers want reimbursement for the costs absorbed. Story by Eric Jay Toll for the Phoenix Business 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 14.40 percent, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.46 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.48 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