LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–June 14, 2019

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–June 14, 2019

June 14, 2019         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Columbia Care Launches First Credit Card for the Cannabis Industry
Cannabis is now legal for medical use in 33 states and for recreational use in 10 states. However, the use and distribution of marijuana remains illegal at the federal level. Major credit card issuers like Mastercard and Visa are hesitant about entering the cannabis industry until federal laws change. As a result, many dispensaries are unable to process credit card payments for their products. Columbia Care, a multi-state operator for medical marijuana, is launching the first credit card for the cannabis industry. The Columbia National Credit Card was piloted in New York last year. Consumers who used the CNC Card had an 18% increase in basket size for in-store purchases. The card comes with no annual fee and no fees or interest if paid on time. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com

Amazon Launches a Credit Card for the ‘Underbanked’ with Bad Credit
Amazon is finding a way to get its rewards credit card in the hands of more people. The e-commerce giant partnered with publicly traded bank Synchrony Financial to launch “Amazon Credit Builder,” a program that lends to shoppers with no credit history or bad credit, who would otherwise be exempt from Amazon’s loyalty cards. The card has the same perks, like 5% cash back on purchases, that come with the popular Amazon Store card, which Synchrony also powers. These rewards cards incentivize shoppers to use Amazon instead of an alternative and helps drive loyalty within its customer base. Story by Kate Rooney for CNBC

Sallie Mae is Expanding from Student Loans to Credit Cards
Sallie Mae, the student loan provider once sponsored by the government, is expanding into credit cards. The company unveiled a suite of three credit cards aimed at college students, recent graduates and young professionals. Its new cards offer rewards for responsible financial behavior. They come 18 months after the company introduced personal loans. But some consumer advocates warn that these young adults, many of whom have debt from school, shouldn’t mix their student loans with credit cards. Story by Rebekah Tuchscherer for USA Today

Mastercard Braces for Retail’s AI-Fueled Future
The rise of cashless and cardless retail transactions suggests consumers are growing comfortable with paying for products from accounts linked to portable devices. How quickly these commerce modalities go mainstream is an open question, but Mastercard is leaving nothing to chance. The global payment network is not only preparing for digital commerce ruled by recommendation systems fueled by machine learning systems but also war-gaming for the arrival of 5G, as well as the proliferation of the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. Story by Clint Boulton for CIO

Visa Aims to Expand Beyond Cards with Launch of B2B Connect
Visa announced the launch of its B2B Connect platform, part of the payments giant’s efforts to move beyond card-based transactions. The company is trying to get a piece of the lucrative market for commercial cross-border transactions, which Visa estimates could add about $12.5 trillion to its addressable opportunity. Visa’s B2B Connect also bypasses cards, relying on bank-to-bank transfers and making use of hyperledger technology. B2B Connect will look to offer businesses an advantage in speed, with a goal of completing the funds transfer on the transaction day or the day after. In many cases, high-value cross-border transfers take three to five days using alternative methods. Story by Emily Bary for MarketWatch

Publix Poised To Take Mobile Payments Via Its IPhone App
If there’s one place that mobile payments can really make an impact, it’s big-box retail, especially groceries. We’ve seen it before at chains like Meijer, as it’s now possible to turn your phone into a checkout stand, using mobile payments systems to pay for your groceries without having to wait in a line for one of a few manned checkout stations or the self-checkout systems that only work with a few groceries. Publix is stepping into this arena itself, rolling out a new mobile payments system gradually to all its stores. Story by Steven Anderson for Payment Week

Most US Mobile Banking Apps Have Security and Privacy Flaws, Researchers Say
You might figure the biggest U.S. banks would have some of the most secure mobile apps. Spoiler alert: not so much. New findings from security firm Zimperium say most of the top banking apps have security flaws that put user data at risk. The researchers found most of the apps had issues, like failing to adhere to best coding practices and using old open-source libraries that are infrequently updated. Story by Zack Whittaker for Tech Crunch

Chase Launches Student Credit Card in Branches Only
If you’re a college student who isn’t ready to throw a graduation cap into the air just yet, take a look at the hat Chase just tossed into the ring. The issuer has launched Chase Freedom Student, a credit card designed for those still in school. As of June 9, 2019, students can apply for the card, but only at a Chase branch. The Chase Freedom Student card is aimed at providing young adults with tools and information that can guide them on a strong path to financial health and independent credit building. Story by Melissa Lambarena for NerdWallet

You’re Eating about a Credit Card’s Worth of Plastic Every Week
From the top of Mount Everest to the deepest oceans, we know that plastic trash is everywhere on Earth. Now we know it’s in us, too. You’re eating, swallowing or breathing in about 2,000 tiny pieces of plastic each week, a new study suggests, an amount equal to the weight of one credit card. This plastic contamination comes from “microplastics” – particles smaller than five millimeters – which are making their way into our food, drinking water and even the air. Story by Doyle Rice for USA Today

Places Where People Are Most Likely to Have 5-Figure Credit Card Balances
About 1 in 6 credit cardholders in America’s biggest cities carry a balance of $10,000 or more, according to a new report from CompareCards. Most of the cities with the biggest percentages of people with five-figure credit card debt are clustered along the East Coast and West Coast. Often, it is the wealthiest cities, not the less affluent ones as one might expect, that carry the biggest credit card balances. Story by Matt Schultz for CompareCards.com

Six European Mobile Wallets to Use Alipay’s QR Format
Leading lifestyle and payments app Alipay has partnered with six mobile wallets in Europe to promote the easy use of QR code-based digital payments for travelers both on the Continent and from China. The mobile wallets are working towards adopting a unified QR code based on Alipay technology. Once the rollout is complete, users of the six participating European digital wallets will be able to make QR code-based payments with their home apps at local merchants in 10 European countries where those apps are accepted. For merchants, it means accepting payments not only from users of their home-market apps but from those of the six other partners as well. Story by Tom Brennan for Alizila

Two New Tools Can Help You Achieve a Good Credit Score
The rules for achieving a decent credit score haven’t changed much since credit scoring was invented: Pay all your bills on time, don’t use too much of your available credit and build a long history of responsible behavior. But credit novices and those looking to rebuild after missteps now have two new tools they can use: Experian Boost and UltraFICO. Both reward good financial habits that go unrecognized by current credit scoring models. They are likeliest to help those with scores in the 500s and 600s. Story by Amrita Jayakumar for USA Today


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.
View all posts by Bill Hardekopf
Featured Low Interest Card
Top Features : 1.25X miles on every purchase; no annual fee; bonus of 20,000 miles once $1,000 is spent in first 3 months
Featured Cash Back Card
Top Features : No Annual Fee, Bonus Offer, Cash Back
Featured No Annual Fee Card
Top Features : Earn cash back twice. 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay; 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers
Featured Bad Credit Card
Top Features : No Annual Fee; Cash Back match at the end of your first year; Social Security Alerts
Featured Fair Credit Card
Top Features : No annual fee; access to higher credit line after making first 5 monthly payments on time
Featured Limited/No Credit
Top Features : No annual fee; reports to major credit bureaus; access to higher credit line after making first 5 monthly payments on time