LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–June 6, 2013
Data Breaches Cost Consumers Billions of Dollars
A new report from Javelin Strategy and Research concludes that a single massive data breach can result in “billions of dollars” in consumer fraud losses. A record number of breaches took place in 2012, a staggering 48 percent increase from 2011. In 2010, if you received a data breach notification, your odds of being a fraud victim were one in nine. Last year, that jumped to one in four. Story by Herb Weisbaum for Today.
Credit Cards Make Lots of Cents for L.A. Parking Meters
This spring, for the first time, the L.A. parking department made more money from credit and debit cards than it did from cash. In March, card payments at city parking meters and kiosks totaled $2.34 million, slightly more than half the $4.46 million collected that month. The average charge is $1.60, 12% of which the city pays in fees to credit card companies. About 65% of card payments are debit transactions. Story by Laura Nelson for the L.A. Times.
Smartphones Now Capable of Stealing Credit Card Data
In a matter of seconds, someone can come up to you and steal credit card information without ever having to touch your credit card. At least, that is what CBC News discovered in their latest investigation. All they did was download a free app from Google Play onto a Samsung Galaxy SIII. Then, they scanned the phone over a card in someone’s pocket, and they were able to capture all the information they needed to make a purchase. Story by John Oldshue for LowCards.com.
Consumer Protection Bureau is Under Attack, but Working
Unlike other parts of the Dodd-Frank law, the attacks haven’t stopped Washington’s first agency exclusively devoted to protecting U.S. consumers from getting up and running. So far, that track has included enforcement actions that ordered mortgage insurers to pay $15 million in fines and halt kickback payments to mortgage lenders. Story by Kevin McCoy for USA Today.
Strategies for Next Interest Rate Era
Don’t look now, but interest rates have started to rise. When that happens, short-term rates on instruments like money-market mutual funds and credit cards are likely to go up and you may find yourself paying more than you can afford to cover your mortgage, auto loan and credit cards. Before that happens, lock in a low rate for your credit cards. Most rates vary monthly, so once short-term rates start to rise, the rates on your balances will rise, too. But card issuers have been aggressive this year to lure new customers with zero-interest balance transfers lasting as long as 18 months. Even with transfer fees, that lets you lock in annual rates as low as 3 percent for more than a year. Story by Linda Stern for Reuters.
Canadian Credit Cards Stay Home
Canada’s over-leveraged consumers are have put away credit cards in the first three months of the year. The average consumer’s non-mortgage debt fell 2% in first quarter from the last three months of 2012, the first quarterly decline since the third quarter of 2011 and the biggest drop in the nine years of tracking it. Story by Caroline Van Hasselt for the Wall Street Journal.
CFPB Complaint Database Now Searchable by State
Last week, the CFPB expanded its Consumer Complaint Database to include state-by-state information. The CFPB also added complaints about money transfers and credit reporting to the database. Story by Lynn Oldshue for LowCards.com.
Banks Lag on Consumer-Friendly Checking Practices
Two of the country’s largest banks scored well on a ranking of the consumer-friendliness of their checking accounts, but no bank met all of the recommended criteria. The report identified seven “best” practices and 11 “good” practices. The top-ranked bank overall was Ally Bank, an online-only bank. Two of the biggest banks, Citibank and Bank of America, ranked in the top five over all, with five “best” practices each. Story by Ann Carrns for the New York Times.
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 14.28, slightly above last week’s 14.27 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.31 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.33 percent.