LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–January 23, 2015

January 23, 2015, Written By Lynn Oldshue

More Than 90% of Data Breaches Could Have Been Avoided
Nine out of 10 data breaches that occurred in the first half of last year could have been avoided, according to a new report. The report, which analyzed more than 1,000 breaches that involved personally identifiable information, found that 40% of breaches stemmed from external intrusions; 29% were caused by employees–either accidentally or maliciously; 18% stemmed from lost or stolen devices or documents; 11% were the result of social engineering. Story by Zak Stambor for Internet Retailer.

How to Make Your Debit Card Safer
Worried about data breaches but still prefer to use your debit card? You’re not alone. Although debit cards remain our most preferred payment method, their popularity continues to shrink, likely attributable to the fraud and risk concerns of consumers. In 2014, the company found, 43 percent of consumers said they preferred to buy with debit cards, compared with 49 percent in 2013 and an overwhelming majority in the past decade. Meanwhile, credit-preferring consumers held steady at 35 percent both years and now include those 65 and older by a 2-to-1 margin. Sure, credit cards offer more protections beyond the risk of fraud, and there are certain scenarios where you should never use debit cards. But debit cards help you avoid debt and possible interest charges. Here are ways to make them safer. Story by Sid Kirchheimer for AARP.

The Need for a National Data Breach Notification Law
Currently, all but three states have their own data breach notification laws. This means that if a company doing business in multiple states faces a large breach of personal information, that company will immediately be obligated to identify and comply with a patchwork of state laws. These laws may impose different requirements on when and under what circumstances notification is required, and on the method and the content of the notification. In some states, failure to follow these specifications can result in fines, penalties or lawsuits. The result: at a time when immediate response and remediation is critical, these organizations and their counsel must first ascertain and negotiate compliance with any and all state laws that may be applicable to that specific breach. Ambiguity in some state laws can complicate the legal issues, creating uncertainty where clarity is needed most. Story by Mary Bono for The Hill.

Amazon Abandons Digital Payments, Leaving Fight to Apple, Google
After giving digital payments a brief shot, Amazon said that it is killing its mobile wallet, leaving the fight to competitors Apple and Google. Amazon Wallet let consumers store gift cards and loyalty cards on their phone to use for in-store and online purchase. Unlike digital wallets from Apple and Google, Amazon’s application didn’t store credit or debit cards. Story by Rebecca Borison for The Street.

Supreme Court Rejects Retailers’ Bid to Lower Debit Card Fees
The Supreme Court handed banks a victory as it declined to consider a challenge by retailers to Federal Reserve regulations setting fees for processing debit card transactions. The high court’s action on Tuesday, which came in a brief written order, removes uncertainty for the banking industry by ending a three-year federal court battle over fees associated with tens of billions of debit card transactions annually, though it did little to ease a feud between banks and retail merchants on transaction fees. Story by Brent Kendall and Ryan Tracy for The Wall Street Journal.

Mobile Payments Quickly Changing the Transaction Industry
Mobile payments are no longer just a trendy way to make a payment. They are quickly becoming the major force in the transaction industry. Mobile payment volume in the United States is projected to increase at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 172%. By 2019, mobile payments will make up nearly 15% of the total payment volume in the United States, accounting for $818 billion in transactions. Apple Pay and its early success is a significant part of this growth. But another factor is the use of mobile payments by the underbanked. Unbanked and underbanked spenders have easily adapted to mobile payments because they allow for fast transaction processing and easy financial management. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

MasterCard Announces a Credit Card Even A Security Fanatic Can Love
If there was a ever credit card that could ease your anxiety about credit card fraud, the new MasterCard (MC) “Hidden,” coming to market later this year, would be it. Developed by technology start-up Dynamics, Hidden is a computer masquerading as a fully functional payment card that works everywhere via swipe, tap, or online entry. And it’s a security lover’s dream. The card features several layers of protection you won’t find on your run-of-the-mill credit card, including even a light that indicates when the card is “on” and usable. Story by Jenn Van Grove for The Street.

Apple Pay Helps Security, But it’s Not Foolproof
With the introduction of Apple Pay, mobile wallet payment systems promise to disrupt long stagnant payment card status quo. But will these new services make our data and transactions safer? On paper, Apple Pay greatly improves data and transaction security, but it’s not foolproof. As usual, hackers are not standing still. A researcher at the Chaos Computer Club in Germany recently demonstrated how to replicate fingerprints with a high-quality photo of a user’s fingers, which could presumably be used to gain access to anything protected by biometric data. This is not the first time Chaos Computer Club has targeted fingerprints. A week after the Apple iPhone 5s launched last year, the club successfully unlocked the device using a fake fingerprint. Story by Torsten George for Payments Source.

Is Google Set to Acquire Mobile Payments Service Softcard?
Rumor has it that Google is in talks to acquire Softcard, a mobile-payments service, in a bid to boost its Wallet and compete against Apple Pay. Softcard, formerly known as Isis, was started jointly by AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile USA in 2010. Softcard was launched to battle Google Wallet but saw little success. The company claims that it can be used at over 200,000 merchants, including McDonalds and Subway. Softcard has an app which works both on Windows Phone and Android. It allows consumers to make payments through connected debit and credit cards from American Express, Chase, Wells Fargo and others banks. The company has recently laid off a number of workers and is reportedly looking for a buyer. Per reports, Google recently entered exclusive discussions with Softcard by offering to buy the service for at least $50 million. Story on Zacks.

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 14.41 percent, slightly lower than last week’s average of 14.44 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.49 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.46 percent.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of January 23, 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