LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–July 14, 2017

July 14, 2017, Written By Lynn Oldshue

Visa Takes War on Cash to Restaurants
Visa has a new offer for small merchants: take thousands of dollars from the card giant to upgrade their payment technology. In return, the businesses must stop accepting cash. The company unveiled the initiative on Wednesday as part of a broader effort to steer Americans away from using old-fashioned paper money. Visa says it is planning to give $10,000 apiece to up to 50 restaurants and food vendors to pay for their technology and marketing costs, as long as the businesses pledge to start a “journey to cashless.” Consumers at those stores would be able to pay for goods or services only with debit or credit cards or with their cellphones. In exchange, Visa is offering to pay for upgrades to merchants’ technology at the checkout line so that they can accept contactless payments, such as Apple Pay. The $10,000 incentive can also help cover some of the merchants’ marketing expenses. Visa has long considered cash one of its biggest competitors and has been taking steps to chip away at it. Story by AnnaMaria Andriotis for The Wall Street Journal

Trump Hotels Discloses Data Breach at 14 Properties
Trump International Hotels Management said a data breach at a service provider compromised card payment details at 14 of its properties. The compromised information included payment card numbers and card security codes for some of the hotel chain’s reservations processed through service provider Sabre’s central reservation system. The breach is part of a cyber attack on Sabre’s systems disclosed in May. Sabre’s reservation systems are used by nearly 32,000 properties worldwide. The breach did not affect Trump Hotels’ own systems. This was the third involving the hotel chain since May 2015. Story by Aishwarya Venugopal for Reuters

It Just Got Easier to Sue Your Bank and Credit Card Company
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a new rule Monday that prevents companies from using arbitration clauses to stop consumers from bringing class action lawsuits. The clauses force people to “go it alone or give up.” Many people aren’t aware that their bank account or credit card contracts came with an arbitration clause buried in the fine print. But they’re pretty common. Credit card issuers representing more than half of all credit card debt, and banks representing 44% of insured deposits use mandatory arbitration clauses. The clauses typically allow companies to require disputes to be resolved in private mediation rather than in a public court case. That eliminates the option of consumers banding together and suing as a class. Story by Katie Lobosco for CNN

Credit Card Users Rack Up Over $1 Trillion in Debt
With consumers feeling better about the economy, the amount of money borrowed has reached its highest level since the Great Recession. Total consumer borrowing rose by $18.4 billion in May, the strongest gain since November’s $25.1 billion increase, according to a recent report by the U.S. Federal Reserve. While household income has grown over the past decade, it has failed to keep up with the increased cost of living over the same period. To bridge the gap, more Americans rely on credit cards, one of the most expensive ways to borrow. Consumers’ revolving credit, or credit cards, rose by $7.4 billion in May to $1.02 trillion, the highest level since July 2008, according to a separate report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Story by Jessica Dickler for CNBC

Experian Launches Mobile Credit Application Platform “Text for Credit”
Experian unveiled its new Text for Credit platform, which gives consumers a chance to fill out simplified credit applications on their mobile devices. This program  can be used on applications for credit cards, store cards, auto loans, and most other lines of credit. There are several ways merchants can set up the Text for Credit option. They can display a sign, run a commercial, or give consumers the information directly. Consumers can start their credit application by texting a short code to the number the business provides. If the consumer qualifies for pre-financing, they will receive a link on their phone to complete the next step for the application. Experian will generate a large portion of the application data based on information associated with the person’s phone number. Experian will verify the applicant’s identity and credit worthiness to provide offers tailored to each consumer. The approval process promises to be fast and efficient. It is designed to give consumers a chance to apply for a store credit card while they are waiting in line at the register. Story by John Oldshue for LowCards.com

Self-Service Food Kiosk Vendor Avanti Hacked
Avanti Markets, a company whose self-service payment kiosks sit beside shelves of snacks and drinks in thousands of corporate breakrooms across America, has suffered of breach of its internal networks in which hackers were able to push malicious software out to those payment devices, the company has acknowledged. The breach may have jeopardized customer credit card accounts as well as biometric data. Story by Brian Krebs for Krebs on Security

Voice-Controls Making Mobile, Desktop Devices Less Important For Online Commerce
Some 19% of consumers have made a purchase using a voice-controlled device in the past 12 months, according to a study released Wednesday. 33% plan to make a purchase one in the next year. Nearly one-fourth of consumers own a voice-controlled device, such as Amazon or Google Home, 16% and 6%, respectively. Another 20% plan to purchase one this year. Millennials are more inclined to purchase through voice-connected systems. In fact, 37% of Millennials, ages 26 through 35, say they either always or often shop online via voice-controlled devices. There are concerns about purchasing through voice devices. The top, security at 38%; privacy, 33%; lack of visuals, 31%; uncertain about price and payment process, 29%; difficulty of voice interactions, 24%; and even an inability to search across products, 22%. Story by Laurie Sullivan for Media Post

Consumers Want Online Retailers to Provide Two-Factor Authentication
In today’s fast-paced world, one might think consumers value speed more than anything. In case of online banking, however, this is not the case. Instead, consumers would rather have more security than speed. A new report states consumer would very much like multi-factor authentication implemented. When asked what online retailers could do to improve trust, 40 percent would love to use cardholder PIN, 50 percent would like to see a combination of PIN and biometrics, while just two percent valued speed over security. Story by Sead Fadilpasic for Beta News

Citi Pay Arrives in the United States
Citi MasterCard credit customers in the U.S. can now begin using Citi Pay, the mobile tap-and-pay service the bank first announced in November. Citi Pay launched in Singapore, Australia and Mexico in 2016. Customers with an Android device will have the ability to make in-store purchases via NFC at contactless point-of-sale terminals. Citi Pay is not available as an iOS app. Story in ATM Marketplace

Mastercard Launches Dine Out Campaign To Support Stand Up To Cancer
Mastercard has announced the launch of its annual “Dine Out” campaign in partnership with Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C). When customers use their Mastercards to spend $10 or more at qualifying U.S. restaurants between now and August 18, 2017, Mastercard will make a one cent donation up to $4 million to SU2C. Mastercard is putting a spotlight on these caregivers with the #StandUpForThem effort on social media and sharing how anyone can help out, whether it’s stepping in to give a main caregiver a break, or taking someone battling cancer and his or her caretaker out for a meal. Story in PYMNTS

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 15.45 percent, slightly higher than last week’s average of 15.43 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.95 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.66 percent.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of July 14, 2017. 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