LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–January 4, 2019

January 4, 2019, Written By Bill Hardekopf
LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–January 4, 2019

Rewards Credit Cards Gained a Fanatic Following-Now Banks Are Pulling Back
The ultra-premium rewards have turned into financial albatrosses. Big banks calculated that giant rewards would make consumers spend more, earning the banks more interest and boosting their returns. They calculated wrong. Consumers have figured out how to game the system, spending just enough to earn generous sign-up bonuses-then abandoning the cards in a drawer. After ratcheting up the perks for several years, banks hit peak rewards frenzy about two years ago. Now banks face increasing costs associated with the cards. Rewards costs grew an average of 15% in the third quarter of 2018 from a year earlier at Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan, U.S. Bancorp and Wells Fargo, according to bank analyst Charles Peabody. Story by AnnaMaria Andriotis and Emily Glazer for The Wall Street Journal

Pilot Project Demos Credit Cards with Shifting CVV Codes to Stop Fraud
PNC Bank is in the middle of a pilot project that aims to test out credit cards with constantly changing card verification values (or CVVs) to reduce online credit card fraud. The dynamic CVV is displayed on the back of such a card in e-ink and changes according to an algorithm supplied by Visa. To stop thieves from re-using credit card numbers in brick-and-mortar stores, the U.S. has been moving to chip-based credit and debit cards, which create a unique code for each transaction. But online credit card fraud is another beast. Once a fraudster has stolen a credit card number, they often can use the static number to make online purchases without being thwarted by chip complications. Story by Megan Geuss for Ars Technica

Alexa Voice Shopping Up 3X This Holiday Season
Amazon’s record-breaking holiday shopping season was powered in part by voice-activated shopping, with the eCommerce giant saying orders placed via Alexa were three times higher than the year-ago holiday shopping season. According to Amazon, Alexa was also called upon hundreds of thousands of times to help consumers find cocktail recipes. Other milestones for Amazon’s voice-activated digital assistant includes consumers listening to hundreds of millions of more hours of music compared to a year ago, while customers asked Alexa to turn on the holiday lights tens of millions of times during the holiday season. Story in PYMNTS

Vegan-Targeted Prepaid Card Launches in Europe
London-based Vegannection has launched a prepaid card for vegans that’s accepted only at merchants that pass its standards test. The virtual cash-back card provides users with 2 percent cash back on purchases at participating establishments that are certified vegan, and the company sends a portion of its profits to vegan charities. A big part of the marketing strategy is referrals, or “vegganections.”. Users who recommend Vegannection to others and are associated via email will receive an additional 0.5 percent reward for each purchase the referred user makes. Story by Kate Fitzgerald for Payments Source

In 2019, Mobilize The Commercial Card: JPMorgan
While commercial card innovation certainly accelerated in 2018, progress can always continue. One area of development is in mobilizing the corporate card. Much attention has been paid to mobile business payments in the fleet sector in particular, with Comdata launching its mobile app, Comdata OnRoad, that links to fleet driver funds, for example. Some financial institutions have also invested in mobile B2B payments. In September, Bank of America announced that it had added mobile wallet support for a suite of commercial card products, now letting corporate card holders use Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. But so far, mobile B2B payments have been slow to take off. Story by Carolyn Vallejo for PYMNTS

Wells Fargo’s $575 Million Settlement Could Help It Refocus Its Efforts on Launching New Products
Wells Fargo came to an agreement with attorneys general from all 50 states to pay $575 million to settle a 2016 scandal in which the firm’s employees opened accounts for customers without their knowledge. As part of the settlement, Wells Fargo will assemble a team dedicated to reviewing and responding to customer inquiries relating to the issues, create a website outlining the firm’s efforts to resolve the covered issues, and provide periodic reports on the progress of those efforts. Story by Rachel Green for Business Insider

The First Bitcoin was Born 10 Years Ago Today. How Far We’ve Come
Today is the 10-year anniversary of the day the first Bitcoin came into existence. It’s the decade-old anniversary of the mining of the genesis block.  Why is this significant? Well, the genesis block is the very first block in the blockchain technology that powers every function of Bitcoin and its altcoin pretenders. It’s a unique link in the chain because it’s the very first one, the only block in the entire digital infrastructure that is not tied to a previous block. Let’s look back on a decade of Bitcoin mining and how it’s changed over the years. Story by Jon Martindale for Digital Trends

How Your Credit Score Can Cost (or Save) You More Money This Year
If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to save money in 2019, then boosting your credit score is likely part of the plan.  Your credit score—looked at by everyone from lenders to landlords—can make a number of essential expenses a whole lot cheaper. Among the many benefits of a strong credit score: a better chance for credit card and loan approval, competitive interest rates, more affordable car insurance premiums, access to the best credit card deals, and more negotiating power on mortgage loan terms and conditions. Story by Vera Gibbons for Fox Business

Your Data Was Probably Stolen in Cyberattack in 2018 – and You Should Care
Billions of people were affected by data breaches and cyberattacks in 2018—765 million in the months of April, May and June alone—with losses surpassing tens of millions of dollars, according to global digital security firm Positive Technologies. Cyberattacks increased 32 percent in the first three months of the year and 47 percent during the April-June period, compared to the same periods in 2017. Story by Mike Snider for USA Today

3 Ways Credit Cards Can Save You Money in 2019
When used responsibly—so, as long as you don’t spend wildly and you avoid interest by paying off your balances—a top credit card can save the average American hundreds of dollars every year. Here are three simple ways you can use credit cards to save money in 2019: Rewards, Sign Up Bonuses and Extended Warranties and Price Protection. Story by Yoni Blumberg for CNBC

LowCards.com simplifies the confusion of shopping for credit cards. It is a free, independent website that helps consumers easily 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 creditcard industry and supplying objective websites on various consumer expenses for 18 years. For more information, contact Bill Hardekopf at 1-205-985-9725 or billh@LowCards.com. Follow our tweets: @lowcards



The information contained within this article was accurate as of January 4, 2019. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Bill Hardekopf

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