LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–January 31, 2019

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–January 31, 2019

January 31, 2019         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Customized Cash Back Could be the Best Thing to Happen to Millennials’ Credit Cards
The millennial generation has made customization the new norm. Rather than conform to a one-size-fits-all formula, this generation expects a multitude of choice right at their fingertips. To meet this growing demand for control and customization, Bank of America kicked off the new year with the introduction of a new Cash Rewards credit card designed to fit your specific spending habits and help you rack up more rewards. The card takes a customized approach to rewards by offering 3 percent cash back in a category of your choosing. The new choice categories–which you can change once per billing cycle–include gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, and home improvements and furnishings. Story in Mashable

Only 14% of U.S. Consumers Using Mobile Wallets for In-Store Purchases
Mobile wallets have become a part of today’s culture, but are they as popular as they appear to be? According to a new study from Juniper Research, only 14% of U.S. consumers use mobile wallets for in-store purchases. Story by Lynn Oldshue for LowCards.com

Why Google Wants To Ride Shotgun With Automobile OEMs
In the quickly developing world of voice-controlled artificial intelligence, the car is shaping up to be the newest battleground. The AI system that can understand that intent suddenly has a lot of monetizable opportunities to reach that customer in context. The average American has a 51-minute round-trip commute five days a week, and commuters collectively spend $230 billion annually during those trips. As the PYMNTS Digital Drive Report indicates, those same commuters seem to be affirming that their favorite co-pilot for these rides are their voice assistants. By the numbers, 53.3 percent of commuters are already turning to voice assistants while driving. Amazon’s biggest jump forward lately has been the release of Alexa Auto, an in-car device that pairs with a user’s phone and allows them to interact with Alexa through the car’s infotainment system. Story in PYMNTS

The Data Breach Next Door
Huge data breaches, like the ones at Equifax in 2017 and Marriott’s Starwood hotels in 2018, can each affect hundreds of millions of people. But added together, small incidents might pose an equally big problem for consumers. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, an advocacy group, maintains a database of breaches going back to 2005 that lists 8,980 incidents. Of that total, 8,448 or 94% affected fewer than 100,000 consumers. Yet in total, nearly 50 million consumers were caught up in these smaller incidents. They include everything from hacks to “unintended disclosures,” in which potentially sensitive information was accidentally posted publicly, mishandled, or sent to the wrong party. Unintended disclosures account for roughly 20 percent of all the breaches in the PRC database. Story by Allen St. John for Consumer Reports

Visa Envisions a Cashless Super Bowl
Visa is encouraging fans to use digital and contactless payment systems at Super Bowl LIII. Visa is implementing an MVP checkout line at the NFL Shop locations for the game. Fans can go through the express checkout lane if they are paying with a mobile wallet, contactless card, or wearable device. Super Bowl LIII will also feature “more than 30 cashless concessionaires throughout the stadium.”  Lynne Biggar, chief marketing and communications officer for Visa, says, “Looking ahead, we see a cashless future for NFL fans where events, including future Super Bowls, are digital, creating a more secure and seamless payment environment for fans and concessionaires alike.” Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com

Petal Raises $30 Million for Alt-Credit Cards
Fintech firm Petal has raised $30 million for its mission to “make credit honest, simple, and accessible.” Petal offers credit cards to people who lack a credit profile or score. Petal was launched in 2017 to “give millions of Americans access to credit who have previously been overlooked.” Its card is underwritten using alternative credit risk metrics, like how much cash is moving in and out of a person’s bank account, rather than traditional FICO scores. Its introductory cards start with credit limits as low as $200. Standard cards have limits up to $10,000. Petal’s interest rates range from 15.24% to 26.24%-in-line with or below many standard cards. Story by Jessica Pothering for Impact Alpha

Mastercard Says Plans to Apply for China License to Clear Card Payments
Mastercard said it still plans to apply for a bankcard clearing license in China and was in “active discussions” to explore solutions. Mastercard “continues to make every effort to secure the requisite license to be able to access China’s domestic market,” it said in a statement posted on its website. The company “hopes to be able to present another application for the bankcard clearing license in the very near future.” Story by Brenda Goh for Reuters

Visa Eyes More Contactless Cards And More Volume From Visa Direct
Visa saw payment volume growth of nearly 11% in the quarter ended Dec. 31, and sees ever-more contactless cards and volume on its Visa Direct real-time payments service in its future. Visa reported a respectable first quarter of fiscal 2019 despite the beginning of the U.S. federal-government shutdown, Brexit worries in Europe, and weakening cross-border payment growth. Worldwide payment volume totaled $2.2 trillion, up 10.7% year-over-year on a constant-currency basis. In the U.S., quarterly payment volume grew 10.6% to $980 billion from $886 billion the year before. CEO Alfred F. Kelly said contactless transactions continue to be a major growth focus, both in the U.S. and abroad. “Excluding the U.S., 44% of domestic face-to-face transactions that run over our network are now tap-to-pay.” Story by Jim Daly for Digital Transactions

Binance Now Lets You Buy Cryptocurrency with Credit Cards
Binance users will now be able to use their credit cards to purchase cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. The crypto-to-crypto exchange has joined forces with a third party to enable consumers to make credit card purchases directly on its platform. According to CoinMarketCap, Binance is the number one cryptocurrency exchange per trading volume, currently processing over $650 million in trades every day. Story by Yessi Bello Perez for The Next Web

Step Targets Teens and Parents with a No-Fees Mobile Bank Account and Visa Card
A new mobile banking startup called Step wants to help bring teenagers and other young adults into the cashless era. Teenagers in particular are still heavily burdened with cash–even though they, too, want to spend their money on things that require a payment card, like Amazon.com purchases or mobile gaming. That’s where Step comes in. The company aims to address the needs of what it believes is an underserved market in mobile banking–the 75 million children and young adults under the age of 21 in the U.S., who are still being forced to use cash. Story by Sarah Perez for Tech Crunch

Nasdaq to Roll-Out Surveillance Tech for 7 Cryptocurrency Exchanges
The world’s second-largest stock exchange, Nasdaq, is set to roll out its proprietary surveillance technology for seven cryptocurrency exchanges to detect cases of fraud that are rampant in the virtual currency space. Nasdaq has not revealed the complete list. An increasing number of cryptocurrency exchanges will look to adopt such a surveillance system to bring more transparency and increase adoption. Story by Aakash Athawasya for AMB Crypto

bill-hardekopf

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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