LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–January 25, 2019

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–January 25, 2019

January 25, 2019         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Nearly Three Quarters of the World Will Use Just Their Smartphones to Access the Internet by 2025
Almost three quarters (72.6%) of internet users will access the web solely via their smartphones by 2025, equivalent to nearly 3.7 billion people, according to a report published by the World Advertising Research Center (WARC). Just over 1.3 billion are forecast to access the internet via smartphone and PC by 2025; 69 million will access the internet via PC only. WARC estimates that around 2 billion people currently access the internet via only their smartphone. There will still be 2.4 billion people who do not own a mobile phone by 2025, the report said. Story by Lucy Handley for CNBC

Furloughed Employees’ Latest Headache: Work-Related Credit Card Debt
As if going without pay during the monthlong partial government shutdown isn’t enough, thousands of federal workers are dealing with another financial indignity: servicing debt on government-issued credit cards. They are receiving credit card bills—for which they are personally responsible—for work-related expenses they incurred before the shutdown, but can’t get reimbursed because their agencies are mostly closed and funds are frozen. JPMorgan Chase, one of several companies issuing government credit cards, will shield employees from downgrades to their credit scores for late payments, said a company spokesman. Story by Alan Levin for Bloomberg

Russia’s Finance Minister States That Crypto Debit Cards Are Legal
In a bullish turn of events for Russia, it appears as though the Finance Minister has declared that cryptocurrency debit cards are legal. Russia has changed its attitude towards cryptocurrency various times. The obvious example is Vladimir Putin, who, in late 2017, seemed to emphasize the fact that the digital asset was used by criminals, a stance often taken by those in the finance world who were skeptical of the legitimacy of cryptocurrency markets. Interestingly enough, Putin seemed to shift his stance immediately once he realized that a cryptocurrency could potentially help his country avoid sanctions. Story by Neil for Altcoin Buzz

Synchrony Says Walmart to Drop Lawsuit Against Credit Card Issuer
Synchrony Financial said Walmart has agreed to drop a lawsuit against the bank that alleged it breached the terms of their long-running credit card deal. In the lawsuit, filed late last year in the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Arkansas, Walmart said that some of Synchrony’s underwriting standards financially harmed the retailer. Walmart was seeking estimated damages of at least $800 million. Story by AnnaMaria Andriotis for The Wall Street Journal

E.U. Fines Mastercard $650 Million Over Fees Merchants Were Forced to Pay
The European Commission has fined Mastercard nearly $650 million for breaching antitrust rules by raising payment-processing fees artificially, leading to higher prices for retailers and consumers. The penalty involves the fees banks charge merchants when purchases are made with credit cards. Mastercard forced merchants to use only banks in their home countries when processing payments, a requirement that prevented them from shopping for lower fees at banks in other European countries. The retailers passed the cost of the higher fees on to consumers, leaving them to pay more for their purchases. Story by Amie Tsang for The New York Times

Bonjour, Bonvoy: Marriott, SPG Cards Getting New Names, Perks
When Marriott International announced it would rebrand its loyalty program as Marriott Bonvoy on Feb. 13, 2019, it was clear that changes to the Marriott- and SPG-branded card portfolios would follow. Now, Chase and American Express–the issuers that offer co-branded cards with Marriott–will be divvying up the portfolio: American Express will become the issuer of the Marriott-branded business credit card and luxury card, while Chase will become the issuer of the mass-market Marriott consumer card and a new no-annual-fee Marriott card planned to launch this summer. Story by Claire Tsosie for NerdWallet

1 in 3 Consumers Fear They Will Max Out a Credit Card
More than 1 in 3 people, or 86 million Americans, said they’re afraid they’ll max out their credit card when making a large purchase, according to a new WalletHub credit cards survey. Most Americans continue to take on ever-increasing amounts of debt. According to data from the Federal Reserve, the U.S. surpassed $1 trillion in credit card debt, the highest level since the Great Recession. The average household is carrying a $6,929 balance month to month and coughing up about $1,140 a year in interest, according to a separate report by NerdWallet. Story by Jessica Dickler for CNBC

How Mastercard is Doing its Part to Revolutionize Retail
Retail is topsy-turvy, as legacy brands build out their ecommerce offerings and digital-first retailers like Amazon enter the physical world. A new immersive commerce concept from Fred Segal, through a partnership with Mastercard and Next Retail Concept, does both simultaneously. Launched at a Refinery29 event during the holiday season, the website is equipped with 360-degree video that allows shoppers to “walk around.” Click on an item you find appealing; learn more and add it to your cart. The idea is for you to feel like you’re in a real store as you shop online. Story by Mike O’Brien for ClickZ

Credit Card Users Have Whispered about the ‘Barclays Blacklist’ for Years. Here’s How I Got on it.
Barclays, which issues branded credit cards for Apple, JetBlue, and the NFL, has a practice of rejecting applications from former customers who have fallen behind on payments, even if they’ve improved their credit history. The bank’s practice of not pulling credit reports for former customers is uncommon among banks willing to discuss it. Other banks say they always request credit reports, even for former customers. Story by J.K. Trotter for Business Insider

Mobile Payments Coming to More Major Retailers
Target has held out on the mobile payment craze, opting to use its own app for payments–but soon, you’ll be able to use your favorite mobile payment system at a store near you. Starting today, Target will accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and contactless cards, and if you liked paying with the Target app, you still can. The system will be available in all 1,850 Target stores in the coming weeks. With Target in on mobile payments, the last big holdout is Walmart, which only accepts payments through the Walmart Pay. Story by Elizabeth Harper for Techlicious

Microsoft Wallet: Barely There in Mobile Payments, and Soon To Be Gone for Good
Microsoft says it plans to retire its Microsoft Wallet mobile app, a distant also-ran in the mobile-wallet market, on Feb. 28. The post gave no explanation about why Microsoft is folding its mobile wallet after a run of just over two-and-a-half years. But the wallet’s demise seemed inevitable when Microsoft announced this week that it will end support for its Windows 10 Mobile operating system next Dec. 10. Story by Jim Daly for Digital Transactions

Chinese Mobile Users Forked Out 40% of the $101 Billion Spent Globally on Apps in 2018
Smartphone growth is slowing down globally, but users last year spent on average three hours a day–or one-and-a-half months a year–on their mobile phones and downloaded a total of around 194 billion applications, according to a report by App Annie. China also accounted for almost 40 percent of the $101 billion consumers spent on apps worldwide through paid downloads, in-app purchases and in-app subscriptions last year, the report said. Most of those purchases were made in mobile gaming. Story by Saheli Roy Choudhury for CNBC

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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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