LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–March 16, 2018

March 16, 2018, Written By Bill Hardekopf

Amazon Wants to Dominate Office Supplies With Its Credit Card
Amazon is planning to offer a credit card to U.S. small-business customers, furthering its push to supply companies with everything from reams of paper to factory parts, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The e-commerce giant has been in talks with banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. on a co-branded credit card for small-business owners who shop on its website. Amazon has been looking for a way to replicate in the workplace the success that’s made it a go-to shopping destination for households. In October, the company launched a Prime membership program offering fast free delivery for businesses. Amazon is hoping the new credit card, which will feature rewards points for purchases, will also let it eventually add offerings such as business insurance through a portal designed for its small-business customers. Story by Hugh Son, Spencer Soper and Jennifer Surane for Bloomberg

Amex Makes Biggest Fee Cut In Two Decades
Good news for retailers doing business with American Express: The company is planning to cut its fee more than it has in two decades. Amex announced in New York last week that the global average of the fees it charges its merchants (known as its discount rate) would decline five or six basis points this year, to about 2.37 percent. If it reaches six points, it would be the biggest decline the company has offered since 1998. Each basis point comes to around 11 cents of earnings per share, said Don Fandetti of Wells Fargo Securities. With about 1.3 million fewer locations in the U.S. accepting American Express over Visa and MasterCard, this move is engineered by chief executive Stephen Squeri to entice merchants to accept his company’s card. In fact, Squeri has said he is willing to make “conscious trade-offs” to get more businesses to take Amex. Story in PYMNTS

Citigroup Says ‘Malicious Actor’ Tried to Hack Credit Cards Tied to the Defense Department
Citigroup said a “malicious actor” attempted to gain access to several Citi credit card accounts tied to the Department of Defense. Citi provides financial services for the Government Travel Charge Card, or GTCC, which is used by Department of Defense personnel to pay for authorized expenses when on official travel. CitiManager is the online portal used by the Defense Department to view statements online, make payments and confirm account balances. Story by Amanda Macias for CNBC

Why Are People Still Using So Much Cash?
Cash use is on the rise across the world. Overall, cash in circulation as share of GDP rose from 7% to 9% for a group of countries that comprise more than 80% of the world’s economy. No single country is responsible for the trend. One might think that people are keeping more cash for use in small transactions. But that isn’t it. The data show that the trends is towards using credit and debit cards for smaller transactions. The average value of a card payment across the world has nearly halved since 2000, from $61 to $36. Story by Dan Kopf for Quartz

Amazon Launches First Debit Card in Mexico to Woo Shoppers Without Bank Accounts
Amazon launched its first-ever debit card on Tuesday in Mexico, part of a push to encourage shoppers without bank accounts to buy online. Internet retailers and brick-and-mortar chains in Mexico are investing heavily in e-commerce as the sector gains in popularity, although it is still a small fraction of total retail sales. Part of the challenge is attracting consumers who are wary of online fraud and do not have access to credit and debit cards. Less than a third of adults in Mexico have credit cards, according to a 2017 government report. Amazon said that Mexico was the first country where it has offered a debit card, called Amazon Rechargeable, aiming to give customers a new method to shop on its website. Story by Daina Beth Solomon for Reuters

How Capital One Wants to Make Online Shopping Safer
Capital One unveiled a new security feature at SXSW designed to remove some of the inevitable hassle that comes with using plastic credit cards, and help retailers cut down on potential fraud issues. A Google Chrome plug-in that keeps customers connected with Eno, the bank’s digital assistant, now creates “virtual numbers” in real time so customers don’t have to enter their actual credit card information at checkout. Eno detects merchant checkout pages and automatically serves up the virtual card—completely different 16-digit credit card numbers, three-digit security codes and expiration dates – and customers decide whether to use, save or dismiss it. The bank plans to make the feature available on all browsers eventually. Story by Tanaya Macheel for Digiday

Millennials Lead Mobile Banking Adoption, But Abandon Lengthy Processes
While millennials are the leading generation for adoption of mobile banking services, the process takes too long for many, and 43 percent of millennials have abandoned attempts to use them. Older mobile banking users are more patient, as 25 percent of Generation Xers and 13 percent of baby boomers have abandoned mobile banking activities. The most common complaint about mobile banking from all generations is that it takes too long, according to 36 percent of those surveyed overall, and 38 percent of millennials. Twenty-eight percent reported difficulty remembering their passwords. The top concerns are security and fraud. Story by Chris Burt for Biometric Update

Walmart Expands Online Grocery Delivery to 100 Cities
The path to fast and affordable online grocery service is littered with obstacles: refrigeration challenges, storage woes and high transportation costs, among others. But the country’s largest retailers are convinced that it will lead to a lucrative and largely untapped market. Walmart escalated the competition on Wednesday by announcing plans to expand its online grocery delivery service to 100 metropolitan areas by the end of the year. Orders will be fulfilled at more than 800 stores nationwide and shuttled to shoppers by drivers contracted through Uber, Deliv and other ride and delivery platforms. Customers must order at least $30 worth of goods and pay an additional delivery fee of $9.95; they can receive their purchases in as little as four hours if they put in the request by 1 p.m. Story by Tiffany Hsu and Nick Wingfield for The New York Times.

Wirex Launches Multi-Currency Debit Cards to Enhance Bitcoin Spending Globally
Wirex, one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency wallet providers has announced the launch of the first-ever multi-currency accounts. The new multi-currency accounts allow cryptocurrency holders to quickly exchange between fiat and cryptocurrencies as well as enabling users to spend their virtual currencies using highly functional contactless debit cards. Presently, Wirex is the only company in Europe to allow spending in cash, converted from bitcoin. That’s not all; Wirex has now taken another giant leap in the right direction by integrating its debit cards in Sterling, Euro, and American dollar accounts. Story by Ogwu Osaemezu Emmanuel for BTC Manager

Mastercard And IBM Launch Trust To Help Companies Meet Europe Data Rules
Mastercard, the payments company, and IBM, the technology powerhouse, announced the creation of an independent trust to help companies meet the requirements of Europe’s upcoming privacy and data protection policies known as the European General Data Protection Regulation. The companies said the trust, which is called Truata, has been designed specifically to help companies become compliant with GDPR and enable them to meet the standards and at the same time continue to innovate. IBM was named a foundational partner for technology and services that will include cloud, analytics and cognitive computing capabilities. Story in PYMNTS

Amtrak Offering Customers New International Credit Card Options
Amtrak is now accepting Diners Club International, JCB and UnionPay credit cards as payment options for Amtrak travelers. The credit cards, which are part of the Discover Global Network, are accepted through Amtrak’s multiple payment channels. Amtrak’s international market share has grown significantly. Last year, Amtrak served visitors from 195 countries throughout the world generating more than $76.6 million in revenue. In the last five years, international point-of-origin revenue increased more than 19 percent. Story in Travel Pulse



The information contained within this article was accurate as of March 16, 2018. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


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