LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–February 16, 2018

February 16, 2018, Written By Bill Hardekopf

Why Children Are Now Prime Targets for Identity Theft
Synthetic identity theft frequently involves the use of stolen Social Security Numbers combined with fabricated personal information, which is used to trigger the creation of a “synthetic” credit file. This file is then nurtured and grown over time, generating a slim but positive credit history, which is then leveraged in a “bust out” to obtain credit, max it out, and never repay. For a criminal set on committing synthetic identity fraud, the key is finding SSNs associated with very young children or others with non-existent credit files. This became a little easier for thieves when the Social Security Administration in 2011 switched systems. The absence of any history is a clean slate on which the synthetic identity can be built. For the child today whose SSN is used to create a synthetic identity, they probably will not discover the consequences of the theft until many years later. Story by Eva Casey Velasquez for The Hill

Why Credit Card Debt Can Be Bad for Your Health
Outstanding card debt has now hit its highest point ever, surpassing $1 trillion in 2017, according to the Federal Reserve. Yet 86 percent of Americans who have or had credit card debt said they regret it, according to a recent report by NerdWallet. The main regrets are because it took a long time to pay off, resulting in hefty interest expenses and causing unnecessary stress. Nearly 2 in 5 consumers who have had credit card debt said it affected their general happiness, NerdWallet found. One-third said it negatively affected their standard of living, and 1 in 5 said it negatively impacted their health. Story by Jessica Dickler for CNBC

Equifax Breach Worse Than Previously Disclosed
In documents provided to the Senate Banking Committee, Equifax revealed their 2017 breach may have exposed even more information than previously disclosed. In September, credit reporting agency Equifax announced that the personal information of 145.5 million consumers had been stolen. Information included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses. At that time, they also announced that credit card and driver’s license numbers may also have been taken. Last week, the company said a forensic investigation determined that tax identification numbers, email addresses and phone numbers may also have been stolen, as well as credit card expiration dates and the issuing state of drivers’ licenses. Story by John Oldshue for LowCards.com

Lydia Raises $16.1 Million to Become the PayPal of Mobile Payments
Lydia isn’t the first startup that wants to replace PayPal, and also probably not the last one. But it’s clear that the company is slowly becoming mainstream in France. The company first focused on Venmo-like peer-to-peer payments but is now branching out to cover all sorts of transactions. The product roadmap is quite simple. First, Lydia grabs new users thanks to free and instant transactions to pay back your friends. And now, the company is letting you use your Lydia account to pay in store, online and more. Story by Romain Dillet for Tech Crunch

Data Breach Fatigue Requires Better Response Planning
With the number of data breaches reaching record levels and expected to rise, companies and consumers alike are trying to navigate a new reality where data theft is a common occurrence. While companies look to protect themselves from both an actual attack and the potentially devastating cost of remediation and notification, consumers are just trying to make sense of a seemingly endless flood of notification letters. Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the ways that consumers are reacting is by turning a blind eye to the whole issue. No one likes to have their data compromised, but when you hear about it happening so often, it’s easy to grow indifferent. This is referred to as data breach fatigue, and it is on the rise among consumers. Story by Loren Dealy Mahler for CSO

The Inventor of Prepaid Debit Cards Is Going Mobile
It was 2012, and payment systems entrepreneur Steve Streit could see that banking was moving to mobile. He also knew that his company couldn’t get there in time. In what may have seemed like an unorthodox move, Streit, the founder and chief executive officer of the country’s largest prepaid card provider, Green Dot, decided to acquire the failing location-based dating app Loopt for $43 million-not for its technology but for its talent. Loopt’s co-founder and CEO, Sam Altman, stayed on for a time to lead Green Dot’s mobile development program. (He went on to become president of the famed tech incubator Y Combinator.) Streit’s gamble paid off last year when he announced that Green Dot would power Apple’s new person-to-person payments offering, Apple Pay Cash. Story by Jennifer Surane for Bloomberg

How the CFPB Plans to Scale Back Its Regulatory Mission
The acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau outlined a less aggressive regulatory mission for the watchdog agency, saying it will enforce consumer protections but not go beyond its mandate under the Dodd-Frank law. The mission statement by Mick Mulvaney, released Monday, said the CFPB’s main goals are to “ensure that all consumers have access” to consumer financial products and services and to “implement and enforce the law consistently” to ensure that markets “are fair, transparent, and competitive.” The new direction is a sharp departure from the aggressive regulatory stance taken by the CFPB’s first director, Richard Cordray. Under his watch, the agency targeted a number of financial services companies it felt were misleading or cheating consumers, often resulting in fines and other punitive measures. Story by Octavio Blanco for Consumer Reports.

Coinbase Doesn’t Accept Credit Cards As A Payment Method Any Longer
Coinbase, the cryptocurrency startup, announced Tuesday that it disabled the ability for customers to add new credit cards as a payment method for those in the U.S. In a blog post, the company said debit cards are unaffected by this change, which was prompted by the realization that it can’t ensure customers that they will have a successful experience purchasing cryptocurrency via credit card. In recent weeks credit card companies have said they are banning the use of their cards to purchase digital tokens. Story in PYMNTS

In Launch Of ‘Start Something Priceless,’ Mastercard Works To Further Brand’s Cultural Relevance
Mastercard unveiled the evolution of its two decades-old “Priceless” brand platform: “Start Something Priceless.” It’s a move that acknowledges societal changes and the reality that today’s increasingly younger consumers want to both work for and engage with brands and businesses with a distinguishable core purpose, companies that stand for more than just making money. It’s also part of Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Raja Rajamannar’s goal to move the company’s brand from storytelling and story-making to “story-inspiring,” he said. “We wanted to advance ‘Priceless’ from being a big ad platform, from observing priceless moments in people’s lives, to actually enabling them,” he said. It’s a call for people to “wake up and do something good. Story by Jennifer Rooney for Forbes

Visa Hawks Its Wares at PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games
As a worldwide audience keeps tabs on their favorite Winter Olympics athletes in South Korea, Visa once again is using that stage to showcase emerging payments technology as the official payment service provider for the event, as well as the Paralympics Games. Visa late last year announced a partnership with Lotte Card, the financial arm of South Korean-based retailer Lotte Department Store, to produce and make new prepaid payment wearables consumers could buy to use at Olympic venues. Visa’s wearables initiative at the PyeongChang Games continued to illustrate how the card networks have acted more like technology companies than ever before as the payments industry continues to evolve. Story by Will Hernandez for Mobile Payments Today



The information contained within this article was accurate as of February 16, 2018. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


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