LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–March 15, 2019

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–March 15, 2019

March 15, 2019         Written By Bill Hardekopf

More Refunds Are Being Made With Prepaid Debit Cards. Is That a Good Thing For Consumers?
A growing number of companies in numerous industries now routinely provide rebates and refunds in the form of prepaid debit cards. According to some estimates, paper checks are twice as expensive for a business to process and mail out as prepaid cards, so big companies can save piles of cash. Meanwhile, financial firms issuing the cards on businesses’ behalf gain access to potentially millions of new customers, who instantly become fair game for marketing campaigns. Studies show that prepaid cards frequently are forgotten by recipients. In such cases, the unused money can be turned over to state authorities or can be consumed by the card issuer in the form of high-priced maintenance fees. Story by David Lazarus for The Los Angeles Times

Half of Millennials Are Spending Above Their Recommended Credit Limit
Millennials have lower average credit scores than older generations, and a new study reveals certain spending habits that could be major factors.  Research from TD Bank shows 32% of Millennials don’t pay their credit cards in full every month, and 25% don’t know their credit scores. One of the biggest factors that influence credit scores is debt utilization. The TD Bank study reveals half of Millennials use between 31% and 90% of their available credit. Since this is above the recommended amount, it is likely to damage their credit scores. Story by John Oldshue for LowCards.com

Chase Plans Expansion In Top US Markets In 2019
Chase has announced it is expanding its retail footprint into nine of the top American markets, as well as opening dozens of new locations in the greater Washington, D.C area, Philadelphia and Boston. Chase plans to open 90 new branches and hire 700 employees by the end of 2018. Over the next five years, the bank plans to open 400 new locations, which will need about 3,000 employees. The bank said about 30 percent of the branches will be in low or moderately low income communities. Chase said it will also open branches in locations close to major universities in Auburn, Alabama and Lincoln, Nebraska. Story in PYMNTS

A New Way to Tap and Pay
U.S. credit card and debit card issuers are hopping on the tap-and-pay bandwagon. Contactless payments are typically speedier than transactions in which you insert a card into a chip reader. To use a contactless card, you hold it within a few inches of any terminal that accepts near-field communication (NFC) payments–look for a symbol with four vertical curves. All newly issued and renewed Chase Visa consumer credit cards now have contactless-payment capability. Chase Visa debit cards will carry the technology starting in the second half of 2019. Capital One added contactless technology to its Quicksilver, Savor and Venture credit cards last year. Among U.S. merchants that accept Visa payments, 78 of the top 100 (ranked by number of transactions) can now handle contactless transactions. Target announced that it would soon take contactless payments; other merchants accepting them include Costco Wholesale, CVS Pharmacy and McDonald’s. Story by Lisa Gerstner for Kiplinger

Mastercard Buys Ethoca To Boost Fraud-Fighting Chops
Mastercard announced it has inked a deal to acquire Ethoca, a global provider of technology to identify and resolve fraud in digital commerce. Mastercard said Ethoca enables merchants and card issuers to collaborate in real time to fight digital commerce fraud. Mastercard said Ethoca’s products add to the payment company’s focus on driving greater protection online, and will be integrated with Mastercard’s suite of fraud management and security products. Story in PYMNTS

Citi Prestige Credit Card Rolls Out Cellphone Protection
Citi Prestige Credit Card holders will soon get access to up to $1,500 in cellphone theft and damage coverage each year. The coverage, which starts May 1, offers up to $1,000 per claim for five eligible cellphones per account when you pay your monthly cellphone bill with the card. Claims can be filed online, with a $50 deductible per claim. Most cards with cellphone coverage feature a maximum benefit of $200 to $600 per claim, with deductibles ranging from $25 to $100. With a higher $1,000 per-claim limit, the Citi Prestige Credit Card may offer more value for cellphone users who want to cover more expensive devices. Story by Rebecca Lake for US News

Wells Fargo Says Its Culture Has Changed. Some Employees Disagree.
Wells Fargo has spent years publicly apologizing for deceiving customers with fake bank accounts, unwarranted fees and unwanted products. Its top executives say that because they have eliminated the aggressive sales targets that spurred bad behavior, the bank’s culture has changed. Many employees say that is news to them. But Wells Fargo workers say they remain under heavy pressure to squeeze extra money out of customers. Some have witnessed colleagues bending or breaking internal rules to meet ambitious performance goals, according to interviews with 17 current and former employees and internal documents reviewed by The New York Times. Story by Emily Flitter and Stacy Cowley for The New York Times

Citrix Breach Underscores Password Perils
The recent cyberattack on enterprise technology provider Citrix Systems using a technique known as password spraying highlights a major problem that passwords pose for companies: Users who select weak passwords or reuse their login credentials on different sites expose their organizations to compromise. On March 8, Citrix posted a statement confirming that the company’s internal network had been breached by hackers who had used password spraying, successfully using a short list of passwords on a wide swath of systems to eventually find a digital key that worked. The company began investigating after being contacted by the FBI on March 6, confirming that the attackers appeared to have downloaded business documents. Story by Robert Lemos for Dark Reading

Debit Card with Built-In Fingerprint Reader Begins Trial in the UK
British bank NatWest is trialling the use of a new NFC payment card with a built-in fingerprint scanner. The trial, which will include 200 customers when it begins in mid-April, will allow its participants to make NFC payments (called “contactless” in the UK) without needing to input a PIN or offer a signature. The standard £30 limit for contactless payments will not apply when the fingerprint is used. The fingerprint data is stored locally on the card, meaning there’s no security information for a hacker to be able to steal from a bank’s central database. Biometric authentication has become a standard component of NFC mobile payments, but despite credit card trials having been conducted since 2015, they’ve failed to find a home on traditional bank cards. Story by Jon Porter for The Verge

Navy Federal Revamps Online Credit Card Shopping Portal
Navy Federal Credit Union, the nation’s largest credit union, has overhauled its online shopping portal, renaming it Member Deals and increasing ways for credit card holders to earn pumped-up rewards by making purchases through the site. Navy Federal’s portal makeover includes over 900 retailers with opportunities to earn as much as 15X points or 15% cash back, depending on the merchant. Story by Robin Saks Frankel for NerdWallet

Mastercard is Acquiring Transfast
Mastercard announced plans to acquire cross-border account-to-account money transfer platform Transfast for an undisclosed amount. Building out several segments of cross-border payments can aid in Mastercard’s global ambitions, while opening up new streams of revenue. The acquisition will open up more revenue-generating opportunities for Mastercard beyond its core card offerings, which could be especially important a time when interchange and network fees–important sources of revenue for the firm–are being met with regulatory barriers globally. Transfast’s capabilities in the account-to-account space can enhance Mastercard’s existing offerings and ultimately accelerate its volume. Story by Rachel Green for Business Insider

The information contained within this article was accurate as of March 15, 2019. For up-to-date information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website. Many of the offers on this article are from our affiliate partners, and LowCards.com may be compensated if you take action with any of our affiliate partners.


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
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