LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–July 19, 2013
Wells Fargo Eyes a Credit Card Push
Wells Fargo has the most retail banking branches in the country, and makes the most mortgages, small business loans, commercial real estate loans and auto loans, but it is small in credit cards. But CEO John Stumpf said that the bank is making a big new push into credit cards this year. So far, 35% of Wells customers are using a Wells credit card, up from 31% a year ago, and the bank will make a push in the second half of this year. Story by Matthias Rieker for the Wall Street Journal.
Forget Credit Cards. In Finland, You Can Pay with Your Face
Uniqul, a Finnish startup, has patented and tested a unique payment system that does away with many security worries about paying for items in a store. In Uniqul’s system, your face is your PIN. To confirm a transaction at point of sale, the user simply has to present their face to the camera, watch for their ID to pop up, then click “OK” on a tablet display to confirm that yes, they actually do want to make a purchase. There’s said to be no payment card involved, no wallet, no mobile phone use involved. Story by Kit Eaton for Fast Company.
Earnings Soar for Most Major Banks
Most major banks saw their profits soar during the second quarter of 2013. Quarterly earnings increased as banks lowered their credit loss provisions, the economy improved and customers paid down their debts. The reports also showed that the credit card business for most issuers is not as profitable as a year ago as consumers seem to be doing a better job paying down their balances. Story by Bill Hardekopf of LowCards.com.
Citi Exposes Data on 150,000 Customers
Citigroup acknowledged that it failed to safeguard the personal information of nearly 150,000 consumers who went into bankruptcy between 2007 and 2011. Citi settled with a division of the Justice Department in a pact unsealed earlier this week in which it agreed to redact the customer information at its own expense; notify all the affected debtors and third parties; and offer a year of free credit monitoring. Story by Sean Sposito for American Banker.
Senate Approves Cordray as CFPB Director
Two years after the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency finally has a permanent Director. The Senate voted 66-34 to confirm Richard Cordray as Director of the CFPB. He has been serving as the acting director since January 2012 after being installed by President Obama as a recess appointment. That move angered Republicans and his nomination has been stalled ever since. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.
Turkish Premier Now Slams Credit Cards
The Turkish government blames the interest rate lobby for seeking to destabilize the country for its own profit. And credit cards are the latest front in the fight. The premier’s outburst is the latest in a string of attacks Turkey has launched on the shadowy cabal of investors, economists and journalists that has become the government’s scapegoat for everything ranging from a sell-off in markets to the political unrest. Story by Emre Peker for the Wall Street Journal.
EU Plans Limit on Credit Card Fees
The European Commission–the EU’s antitrust regulator–will next week recommend capping interbank charges at 0.2% of the value of consumer debit card transactions, and 0.3% for consumer credit card transactions. The process can take years. Story by Tom Fairless for the Wall Street Journal.
Senators Reach Deal to Lower Student Loan Rates
A bipartisan group of senators reached a deal Wednesday that would offer students better rates this fall but perhaps assign higher rates in coming years. The deal would offer students lower interest rates through the 2015 academic year, but then rates were expected to climb above where they were when students left campus this spring. The interest rates would be linked to the financial markets. Graduate students would not pay rates higher than 9.5%, and parents’ rates would top out at 10.5%. Story by David Jesse of the Detroit Free Press.
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 14.34 percent, the same as last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.32 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.34 percent.