LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–January 31, 2020

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–January 31, 2020

January 31, 2020         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Mastercard Wants to Give You Fast Access to Cash Using Only Your Cell Phone
Mastercard Cash Pick-Up lets anyone with a cell phone, even those without a bank account, withdraw cash from a nearby ATM. More than 32 million U.S. households are “unbanked” or “underbanked,” meaning they either don’t have bank accounts or have accounts but also use services such as payday loans to help make ends meet. The nascent technology could open up users to fraud such as imposter scams. Story by Greg Iacurci for CNBC

More Than Half of People with Rewards Cards Miss Out on Points or Cash Back
According to a survey from Bankrate, 55% of rewards card holders who pay their bills in full each month are missing out on rewards by choosing debit or cash. The survey found that rewards cardholders were most likely to leave points or cash back on the table by paying for groceries and restaurant purchases with cash or debit. Many credit cards offer bonus rewards for groceries and dining purchases. Coupled with a credit card sign-up bonus, the rewards from your everyday spending can help you book travel like award flights or hotel stays. Story by Sarah Silbert for Business Insider

Credit Card Interest Rates and Revolving Debt Hit Historic Highs in 2019:
Credit card interest rates hit a 25 year high in 2019 as lenders increased their rates. Mercator expects momentum to continue through 2023 with interest rates at 17.10%. At 17.10% and a prime rate at 6.5% – the interest spread will likely be 10.6% in 2023. Revolving debt hit historic highs at $1.03 trillion in 2019. Revolving Debt by year: 2004: $781 billion. 2008: $988 billion. 2011: $815 billion. 2019: $1.03 trillion. Mercator expects revolving debt to climb to $1.117 trillion by 2023. Story in Payments Journal

Amex Now Accepted in as Many Places as Visa, Mastercard
If you’ve been holding off on American Express credit cards because they’re not as widely accepted, that’s no longer true. As of 2019, Amex is now accepted in as many places as Visa and Mastercard, at least within the United States, CEO Steve Squeri announced. Amex’s higher merchant fees have been a primary point of pushback from most merchants, especially from small businesses. In response, Amex dropped its rates, charging merchants just 2.37% per transaction in 2019, down from 2.48% in 2014, according to Bloomberg. Chenault launched the OptBlue program within Amex, which lowered costs for small businesses willing to accept Amex cards in payment. The efforts were successful; in 2019 alone, one million new U.S. storefronts began sporting the Amex branded decal. Story by Katherine Fan for The Points Guy

Most Consumers Don’t Trust Mobile Payments. There’s a Way to Fix That.
While convenience, time savings and innovation are important, customers also need to feel the information they share is secure. Only about half of millennials believe their bank’s mobile app is secure. While less than half of baby boomers have faith in mobile banking security, the majority are still “app-rehensive'” to begin using mobile banking, payment and financial services platforms. By taking steps to improve the security of their apps, and informing consumers about how these measures protect confidential data from cybercriminals, companies can inspire consumers to become loyal customers who use their apps more frequently. Story by Gina DeCorla for American Banker

Data Breaches Soared by 17% in 2019. We Also Saw the Rise of a Significant New Threat
The number of reported data breaches rose 17% to 1,473 in 2019 from 1,257 a year earlier, according to a new report by the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center, suggesting that a trend-defying drop in data breaches recorded in 2018 was a mere “blip.” But the ITRC analysis also found there was a roughly 50% drop in the number of overall records exposed in 2019, and a 65% reduction–from more than 471 million in 2018 to under 165 million in 2019–in the exposure of “sensitive personally identifiable information.” We also saw the rise of a significant new threat–data exposure from unsecured databases–and growth of an existing tactic known as credential stuffing where data thieves use seemingly innocuous information like stolen email addresses and logins to attempt to access various kinds of accounts. Story by Meera Jagannathan for MarketWatch

8 Credit Card Perks You Might Not Know About
Credit cards are a great way to earn rewards and finance new purchases, but you could be overlooking some money-saving perks that offer added value to cardholders. Card issuers often market credit cards with generous welcome bonuses or long special financing periods, but bury the details of lesser-known perks, such as cell phone protection and exclusive shopping discounts. Story by Alexandria White for CNBC

Visa or Mastercard: What’s the Difference Between the Credit Cards?
Visa and Mastercard are two of the big names in credit cards. They’re accepted almost everywhere. While American Express and Discover have historically had smaller networks internationally, Visa is accepted by 46 million merchants worldwide and Mastercard boasts comparable numbers. Additionally, both cards make their money in the same manner. While the credit card issuer is allowed to charge you fees for things like late payments, Mastercard and Visa both make their money by charging merchants and businesses another fee for taking their card as a method of payment. Most of the differences come in the form of the rewards and protections that they offer the users in their card networks. Story by Tara Mastroeni for Fox Business

Is Cash Still King? Reviewing the Rise of Mobile Payments
The narrative that millennials never carry cash is wrong: the youngest (under 30) and the oldest (over 65) are both more likely to use cash than those in the middle. Cash is the most frequent means of payment for transactions under $25 and is more commonly used in rural American and by racial minorities. Rather than a cashless society being around the corner, public demand for cash remains strong and low dollar notes in circulation (ones, fives, tens, twenties) have grown steadily this decade. Story by Aaron Klein for Brookings

Delta Launches Its New Credit Cards, Including Two Made of Metal
Delta Air Lines launched its redesigned credit cards Thursday with revamped benefits and one more surprise: the two most expensive cards will be made of metal. All four tiers for the consumer cards–blue, gold, platinum and reserve–have a new look. Platinum and reserve will be made of metal versus the traditional plastic. Metal credit cards are growing in popularity, with dozens of premium cards on the market now made of the heavier material. After all, nothing says, “I’ve got this one” like throwing down a metal credit card on the restaurant table. Existing cardholders won’t get the redesigned cards until their current one expires. Story by Kristen Leigh Painter for the Star Tribune

Mastercard Says It Has a ‘Natural Hedge’ on Coronavirus as Much of Its China-Related Volume is Online
Mastercard’s latest results indicated strong consumer spending that analysts think will continue even as the coronavirus outbreak unfolds. Mastercard said it saw gross-dollar volume tick up 12% and cross-border volume grow 16% on a local-currency basis. Chief Financial Officer Sachin Mehra continued that it’s still early to have much visibility into impacts from the virus, which has prompted some businesses to close stores in China and caused a handful of airlines to reconsider flights in and out of the country. Mastercard has a “natural hedge,” Mehra said, because “a decent portion of our inbound and outbound cross-border from China is e-commerce related.” Story by Emily Bary for MarketWatch

We Don’t Need a Separate Cybersecurity Agency
Bad news from the cyber world keeps piling up: election security, disinformation, data breaches, ransomware and even the threat of cyber-warfare from the likes of Iran, Russia or China. A growing number of officials, inside and outside the government, are arguing that as a country we need to get better organized to address this complex threat, and that the best way is to create a stand-alone cyber security agency. It’s an option already under consideration by the commission Congress created to address cyber threats, as well at the National Security Council, which has a small directorate working on a national cyber strategy. Story by Sasha Cohen O’Connell for Politico

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 January 31, 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.

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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.