LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–January 16, 2015

January 16, 2015, Written By Lynn Oldshue

Obama Seeks Laws on Data Hacking, Student Privacy
President Barack Obama wants Congress to pass legislation requiring companies to inform customers within 30 days if their data has been hacked, a move that follows high-profile breaches at retailers including Target, Home Depot and Neiman Marcus. Obama announced the proposed legislation Monday, along with a measure aimed at preventing companies from selling student data to third parties and from using information collected in school to engage in targeted advertising. Story by Julie Pace for the Associated Press.

Millions More People to Get Their Credit Score for Free
Millions more people will have free access to their FICO credit score this year. That’s good news for consumers, since the number is widely used by lenders to check potential borrowers’ financial health. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Ally Financial said that they will offer the score free to some of its customers this year. Discover already offers a free FICO score to its credit card customers and Citigroup will offer it to most of its Citi-brand credit card customers this month. The White House announced the new agreements Monday, saying that a free credit score was a tool to help people uncover identity theft. By Joseph Pisani for the Associated Press.

How to Perfect Your Credit Score
Turning a good score into a great one can win you an even lower interest rate, and save thousands–even tens of thousands–of dollars for borrowers who take out a mortgage, buy a new car and use credit cards, experts say. In addition, consumers with sterling credit often have their pick of lenders and can sometimes use that leverage to pay lower loan fees. Tens of millions of Americans carry credit scores that are just under the highest range. Some 32.8 million people have FICO scores between 700 and 749, on a scale of 300 to 850, and another roughly 36.4 million people have scores between 750 and 799. About 38.6 million are in the 800-to-850 range. Roughly 1% of the people with FICO scores, or around 2 million individuals, have a perfect 850. Story by AnnaMaria Andriotis for the Wall Street Journal.

Older Consumer Say Debt Collectors Cross the Line
Problems with debt collectors top the list of complaints that older adults have filed with the federal Consumer Protection Financial Bureau in the past year. More than one third of the 25,800 complaints filed by consumers 62 and older between August 2013 and October 2014 were about debt collectors who allegedly harassed them by phone, refused to disclose information about the debts or threatened to garnish their wages if they didn’t pay up, among other things. The report on debt collection complaints from older consumers highlighted a few of the alleged incidents without disclosing the names of complainants or the companies accused of unethical, and sometimes criminal, behavior. Story by Liza Kaufman Hogan for Marketwatch.

In New Congress, Wall Street Pushes to Undermine Dodd- Frank Reform
In the span of a month, the nation’s biggest banks and investment firms have twice won passage of measures to weaken regulations intended to help lessen the risk of another financial crisis, setting their sights on narrow, arcane provisions and greasing their efforts with a surge of lobbying and campaign contributions. The continuing assault on the 2010 Dodd-Frank law has achieved remarkable success, especially compared with the repeated failures of opponents of another 2010 law, the Affordable Care Act. The financial industry has been methodical, drafting technically complicated legislation that can pass the heavily Republican House with a few Democratic votes. And then, once approved, Wall Street has pushed to tack such measures on to larger bills considered too important for the White House to block. Story by Jonathan Weisman and Eric Lipton for The New York Times.

Six Habits of People With Excellent Credit Scores
Without even knowing it you might be doing things that are damaging your credit score, which affects your ability to get credit and the interest rate you pay when you do get credit. A 2014 survey found that consumers sometimes don’t understand which actions will and will not help them improve their credit scores. To take the right steps to boost your score, you need to start by understanding the basics of credit scores. Once you know your score, you can start taking the right steps to improve it. To do so, follow these six habits of people with excellent credit scores. Story by Cameron Huddleston for Kiplinger.

Credit Card Debt Dropped Significantly in November
The latest monthly report from the Federal Reserve showed a large decline in credit card debt during the month of November, the first decrease in three months. According to the Federal Reserve’s Consumer Credit report, the total revolving credit is now $882.1 billion after a decrease of $946 million in November. This is the largest decline in over a year and is 1.3% decline on an annualized basis. Story by Lynn Oldshue for LowCards.com.

Lender Drops Challenge to Credit Card Comparison Website
Consumers scored a legal win that should allow them to continue comparing credit card interest rates and fees on card-comparison websites. Tensions between certain card issuers and comparison sites intensified last year as the two sides butted heads over what card information consumers could view. Officials at some sites mentioned cases in which lenders cut off ties after the sites criticized their cards for high costs or other negative features. Some sites stopped posting some cards’ interest rates or fees, which made it harder for consumers to compare those cards with others. Story by AnnaMaria Andriotis for the Wall Street Journal.

Capital One Acquires Budgeting App Level Money
Capital One has acquired San Francisco-based money management app, Level Money, the companies are announcing this morning. The app, which is focused on allowing consumers to keep track of their spendable cash and savings, had 700,000 users at the time of the acquisition, and has helped its customers manage over $12 billion in transactions. The startup will now continue on as a part of Capital One, but will remain a standalone application. Story by Sarah Perez for TechCrunch.

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 14.44 percent, the same as last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.49 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.47 percent.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of January 16, 2015. 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