LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–July 31, 2015

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–July 31, 2015

July 31, 2015         Written By Lynn Oldshue

Could Mike Tyson Become The New Face For Bitcoin?
Although bitcoin has taken some major steps toward mainstream adoption over the past year, the cryptocurrency’s user base is still largely dominated by tech-savvy individuals who see digital currencies as an important innovation. However, Bitcoin Direct LLC is looking to change the cryptocurrency’s image by making Mike Tyson its poster boy. Tyson, who is famous for his career as a boxer as well as his cameos in the “Hangover” film franchise, announced his plans to back a bitcoin ATM on Twitter last week. The former heavyweight champion is apparently lending his name and face to an ATM that will allow users to covert their cash into bitcoins. Story by Laura Brodbeck for Benzinga.

Hobby Lobby Sues over Card Fees
Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. is fighting Visa and MasterCard in court over what it claims are excessive fees for accepting debit and credit cards at its stores. Hobby Lobby and its sister company Mardel have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City over the fees, which are charged to merchants each time a customer swipes a debit or credit card. Hobby Lobby, which has more than 600 stores across the United States, claims in its lawsuit that Visa and MasterCard’s near total dominance of the payment processing market gives them the ability to fix prices. Story by Brianna Bailey for The Oklahoman.

42% of IT Decision Makers Aren’t Moving on EMV Transition
Many businesses are not prepared for the upcoming October 1st deadline for processing chip-embedded credit cards. A large portion of IT decision makers–those involved with deciding the technological state of a company–still have not made plans to change their card processing infrastructures. Randstad Technologies found 66% of IT decision makers, including C-suite executives, do not believe that Chip and Signature cards provide enough security, and that PINs should be mandatory for card transactions. The survey also revealed 42% of decision makers have no plans for switching to EMV technology at this time. A majority of respondents indicated little concern for the magnitude of risk associated with missing the liability shift deadline. In fact, 58% of businesses said the liability risks to come after the deadline “will have limited or no impact on their company’s bottom line.” Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

Discover Eliminates Some Credit Card Perks
Discover is “streamlining” cardholder benefits, eliminating some perks that offered customers help in times of emergency. Starting Aug. 1, consumers with Discover credit cards will no longer have access to 24/7 travel assistance, which is essentially a hotline to help you deal with a slew of travel issues you may encounter; baggage delay insurance, which covers your travel essentials of up to $500 if you bought your ticket with your Discover card and your checked bags are delayed for three hours or more; and MyConcierge, a lifestyle deals and planning service. Discover is also canceling its roadside assistance, travel delay insurance and lost luggage insurance, descriptions for which are no longer available online. Story by Christine DiGangi for Credit.com.

Mobile Payments Revolutionising African Lives
Africa is usually seen as a continent facing many obstacles, such as unreliable electricity, limited internet coverage, poverty and weak governance. However, it is a fertile ground for innovation, and the fact that in 2012 the number of mobile phone subscriptions exceeded that of US or EU proves this. The speed at which Africa embraced mobile technology has been faster than the one at which they have built infrastructures, and in some African countries people have greater access to mobile phones than to clean water. Mobile internet adoption in Africa is taking place at almost double the global rate. The number of people with mobile connection across the continent has grown from 778 million in 2013 to a projected 1 billion by the end of the year. Story by Matteo Trentini for The Market Mogul.

CurrentC Payment App Set to Launch Next Month
CurrentC, often coined as the “Retailer’s Answer to Apple Pay,” is set to hit stores next month. The payment app has been in development for three years. It was the brainchild of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a consortium of retailers including Walmart, Target and Best Buy. CurrentC will deduct money from a customer’s checking account, not a credit card, saving the retailers the 2-3% typically charged as the interchange or swipe fee. It will scan paycodes for purchases rather than relying on near field communications (NFC). Each transaction made on CurrentC is guarded by a secure passcode that is unique to every purchase. A personal four-digit code ensures that only the customer can access the account. Story by John Oldshue for LowCards.com.

MasterCard, Citibank India Launch e-Wallet MasterPass
Global payments company MasterCard has tied up with Citibank India to offer MasterPass, a digital wallet that enables the bank’s customers to undertake ecommerce transactions with fewer steps than that required for any other credit or debit cards. The customers can link their credit card or debit card to digital wallet for online transactions. MasterPass is present across 24 countries and has a customer base of 40 million. Story in The Economic Times.

42% of US iPhone 6 Owners Use Apple Pay in May and June
More than two fifths of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users reported having used Apple Pay between the end of May and mid-June, with 84% making more than three in-store transactions. Nearly a quarter (24%) used it in more than six stores during the same period and 70% say they are more likely to choose a store that accepts the mobile payment service. The research, based on a survey of 500 iPhone 6 owners in the US conducted every eight weeks, also reveals that 76% have used Apple Pay more than three times for in-app purchases and 10% have used it for purchases in six or more apps. Story by Rian Boden for NFC World.

This Court Ruling Just Made it Easier to Sue Companies that Get Hacked
Hackers are breaking into major companies and making off with hoards of customer data, including credit cards, at an alarming rate. But one minor consolation for the companies, so far, has been a legal rule that shields them from damages. Until now. In a ruling causing a stir on legal blogs, the influential 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last week reinstated a lawsuit against Neiman Marcus over a 2013 data breach in which hackers stole credit card information from as many as 350,000 customers. The unanimous 3-judge ruling, issued in Chicago, is a big deal because it lowers the bar for consumers who want to sue over such breaches. Until now, companies have been able to deflect many such lawsuits by invoking a Supreme Court case called Clapper that basically kept people out of court because they couldn’t show an injury. Story by Jeff John Roberts for Fortune.

Subway to Add PayPal as a Payment Option
Subway announced that it will integrate PayPal as a payment option later this year in more than 27,000 U.S. locations, according to a company blog post. Paydiant, a mobile wallet developer PayPal acquired last year, originally built Subway’s mobile app and released an update earlier this year. The app enables users to place mobile orders. Consumers who wish to pay for their Subway meals with PayPal can select the option on their smartphone whether they place the order in-store or through the app, according to the announcement. PayPal also will be integrated as a payment choice for online orders. Story in Mobile Payments Today.

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 14.68 percent, slightly above last week’s average of 14.67 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.41 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.49 percent.


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