LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–February 7, 2020

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–February 7, 2020

February 7, 2020         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Visa Is Planning the Biggest Changes to Swipe Fees in a Decade
Visa is planning the biggest changes in a decade to the rates U.S. merchants pay to accept its cards, hoping to persuade more people to abandon checks and adjusting its fees for new businesses such as ride-hailing services. The company’s interchange rates–fees charged every time a consumer uses a card–will go up or down depending on the merchant and the way a consumer pays for their purchases, according to a document Visa sent to banks that outlines the changes. Higher rates are looming for transactions on e-commerce sites, while retailers in certain services categories, such as real estate and education, will see fees decline. Story by Jennifer Surane for Bloomberg

93% of Attempted Mobile Transactions in 2019 Were Fraudulent
The number of malicious apps discovered in 2019 rose to 98,000, up from 63K in 2018. These 98,000 malicious apps had infected 43 million Android devices. With Android devices now accounting for an estimate 75-85% of all smartphone sales worldwide Android is by far the most dominant mobile OS. At the same time it is the most vulnerable due to its open nature, making it a favorite playground for fraudsters. While it is always a good rule of thumb for consumers to only download mobile applications from Google’s official storefront, Google Play, thanks to its scale and set up, rogue apps are still getting through its defenses. Story in Help Net Security

How Credit Card Issuers Classify Purchases for Bonus Rewards
If you have a rewards credit card that earns cash back, points or miles, you may earn bonus rewards in common spending categories, such as travel, dining and groceries. But card issuers differ in how they classify what purchases qualify for extra rewards. Card issuers use merchant category codes (MCCs) to classify purchases. But they have no control over which MCC a merchant receives. If you purchase groceries at a wholesale club, like Costco, for example, you typically won’t earn rewards under the supermarket category. And if you grab food at restaurant located in a hotel, it may not qualify for dining rewards. Story by Alexandria White for CNBC

Visa, Mastercard Could be the Next $1 Trillion Companies
Soaring stock prices are propelling credit and debit card companies Visa and Mastercard up the market value charts, where they currently rank 7th and 11th among companies in the benchmark S&P 500 index. The stock prices of both Visa and Mastercard have gained roughly 50% in the past year. While the stocks may not keep up that torrid pace, Visa and Mastercard would each be worth over $1 trillion by 2023 if their average annual gains of the past three years were to continue, surging past the likes of Facebook and Berkshire Hathaway, if they also maintain their recent pace. Fueling their rise is a shift toward cashless financial transactions spurred by a rise in online shopping. Story by Lewis Krauskopf for Reuters

Cancelling Travel Due To Coronavirus? Your Credit Card Insurance Might Help, But You Have Other Options
Whether it’s a natural disaster, political unrest or a quickly spreading pandemic, emergent situations tend to cause us to step back and take stock of our options and our insurance. In the wake of the developing coronavirus outbreak, it’s important to know exactly what your options are. Does travel insurance through your credit card help cover a sudden disease outbreak, and are you entitled to revise your travel plans due to fear of exposure? What about cases where your doctor advises you not to travel? Story by Caroline Lupini for Forbes

How to Use Up the Last Few Dollars on a Prepaid Gift Card
The thing about these prepaid gift cards is that they aren’t very useful for shopping online. Why? Because online retailers don’t read these kinds of gift cards as “gift cards”-that is, they don’t give you the option to pay part of your total from your prepaid Visa gift card and part from a credit or debit card. If you want to use a prepaid Visa or MasterCard card, you have to be prepared to make the entire purchase on the card. What was I supposed to do with my remaining $2? Here’s what I did: I bought a $2 online gift card from Amazon. Story by Nicole Dieker for Lifehacker

A Case for Paying With Your Phone
Thanks to “contactless” payment systems, there’s a revolutionary change going on in how credit cards are used. Contactless payment systems are easier. Whether using your phone or a credit card, the technology is also a more secure way to pay for purchases. A digital wallet like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay securely stores your credit card details, and to purchase something, you merely unlock your phone and tap it to the pay terminal. Often getting your phone close is enough: In most cases you don’t even need to open an app. Visa estimates that 50 percent of its in-person credit card sales outside the U.S. are now contactless, while Mastercard says 25 percent worldwide. Both companies say those numbers are increasing each year. Story by Geoffrey Morrison for The New York Times

That Wells Fargo Accounts Scandal Was Even Worse Than You Can Imagine
One useful rule of thumb when it comes to business scandals is that they often seem to get worse after the initial disclosures, even after a string of “official” investigations. The unauthorized-accounts scandal at Wells Fargo is an exemplary case, and we don’t mean that as a compliment. “I was in the 1991 Gulf War,” one employee wrote to Stumpf’s office in 2013, according to the document. “I had less stress in the 1991 Gulf War than working for Wells Fargo.” Others said they were warned that “if they did not achieve sales goals, they would be ‘transferred to a store where someone had been shot and killed’ or ‘forced to walk out in the hot sun around the block.'” Story by Michael Hiltzik for The Los Angeles Times

Divorce Can Mean More Debt and a Lower Credit Score
Divorce often takes a heavy financial toll, leaving a splitting spouse with joint debt from the marriage, at least $5,000 in new debt and a sunken credit score, a poll conducted by  MoneyWise.com and Debt.com has found. Though the results would seem to make a strong argument for couples to try to work out their differences and stay together–for the sake of their bank accounts–most respondents said they didn’t even consider the less extreme step of separating instead of divorcing, to avoid paying a big financial price. Story by Doug Whiteman for Yahoo Finance

FCA Tells Credit Cards To Ease Up On NonPayers
The U.K. financial watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is telling credit card companies to reduce fees on nonpayers’ debt rather than cancel cards, the agency announced. The FCA sent letters to credit card firms asking them to review policies for people “stuck in persistent debt,” and work to devise a repayment plan “in the best interest of the customer.” The letter sent to credit card CEOs said when firms reach out to customers in debt, it is required that “options must be reasonable.” Under the FCA’s affordability rules passed in 2018, firms have to send a minimum of three letters detailing repayment terms that won’t have customers in the position of paying more in interest and fees than they are paying on the balance they owe. Story in PYMNTS

Apple Weighing Israeli Launch of Mobile Payments App
Apple is accelerating plans ahead of a possible entry of its mobile payment and digital wallet service into the Israeli market, as regulators are working to introduce the EMV international security standard for electronic payments. Sources said that Apple executives have held a round of meetings with Israeli banks and credit card companies to discuss possible contractual arrangements and ceilings that would be set on payments made through the company’s Apple Pay app. Google has also been moving forward with its Google Pay app ahead of a November 30 date set by the Bank of Israeli when big businesses will be required to begin using the more secure EMV standard for payment via mobile devices. Story by Michael Rochvarger for Haaretz

LowCards.com simplifies the confusion of shopping for credit cards. It is a free, independent website that helps consumers easily compare compare credit cards in a variety of categories such as lowest rates, rewards, rebates, balance transfers and lowest introductory rates. It also gives an unbiased ranking and review for each card. Created by Hampton & Associates, the company has been analyzing the credit card industry and supplying objective websites on various consumer expenses for 20 years. For more information, contact Bill Hardekopf at 205-985-9725 or billh@LowCards.com. Follow our tweets: @lowcards

The information contained within this article was accurate as of February 7, 2020. 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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