LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–March 22, 2013
Lawmakers Target Unfair Overdraft Charges
Democrats have introduced a bill that would limit the cost of overdraft fees and prohibit practices that increase the likelihood customers will overdraw their accounts. The Overdraft Protection Act would prohibit financial institutions from charging more than one overdraft fee per month or more than six each year; require overdraft fees to be “reasonable and proportional” to the amount of the overdraft; prohibit a fee if the overdraft results solely from a hold placed on an account that exceeds the amount of the transaction. The bill would also ban the practice of posting checking account transactions in a way that maximizes overdraft fees by clearing debits from highest to lowest dollar amount. Story by Herb Weisbaum for Today.
Mobile Wallet Technology Raises Privacy, Security Concerns
Privacy advocates worry that the emergence of “mobile wallet” technology will leave consumers more vulnerable than ever to identity theft and invasive data collection. One single device knows wherever you go, your geographic history, your social media connections and your financial behaviors. However, the technology provides convenience and coupons for consumers, and allows companies to better track customer behavior and test marketing strategies. Story by Lindsay Wise for McClatchy Newspapers.
In U.S., Young Adults Increasingly Avoid Credit Cards
Thirty-nine percent of undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 24 owned a credit card in 2012, down from 49 percent in 2010, a new survey found. They are also carrying smaller balances: A median of $1,600 in 2010 compared with $2,500 in 2001 for under-35 households, according to Federal Reserve data. The downside is that fewer people in that age group are building the credit histories that would help them to gain financing for purchases of homes and cars that are critical to economic growth. Story by Jeanna Smialek for Bloomberg.
Massachusetts Court Rules Zip Codes Can’t be Required at Check Out
Consumers in Massachusetts no longer have to give their zip code information when making a credit card transaction. The Massachusetts Supreme Court unanimously ruled that zip codes are considered private information according to the state’s consumer privacy laws. The lawsuit was Melissa Tyler vs. Michaels Stores which Tyler filed against the retailer for collecting her zip code during a credit card transaction, as if it were required to complete the purchase. She claims the retailer used her name and zip code to find her address and sent unsolicited junk mail, violating the state law banning the collection of personal information. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.
MasterCard Defies Debt Crisis as Europeans Boost Card Spending
MasterCard said European consumers are increasingly using credit and debit cards for purchases, dismissing the region’s sovereign debt crisis. “Our business in Europe has been growing really well,” said Ann Cairns, president of international markets at the company. The value of transactions processed by MasterCard climbed 9.3 percent to $1.1 trillion on a local currency basis last year. MasterCard expects an 11 percent to 14 percent net revenue compound annual growth rate this year. Story by Stefania Bianchi for Bloomberg.
Senate Committee Approves Cordray to Head CFPB
The nomination of Richard Cordray to again head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was approved by the U.S. Senate Banking Committee by a 12-10 vote that was split down party lines. Cordray’s approval by the full Senate still looks like it will continue to be stalled due to a deadlock preventing his vote. In order to be confirmed by the full Senate, 60 of the 100 Senators have to agree to allow his vote to come to the floor. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.
Visa May Have to Buy Europe System
Visa could be forced to pay billions of dollars to buy the Visa Europe payments system under a plan being discussed by the European banks that own the business. Buying Visa Europe would expand Visa’s footprint as it competes for a larger share of the international market. It could also help Visa directly tap fast-growing markets like Turkey and Poland. Story in the Wall Street Journal.
LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report
Based on the 1000+ cards in the LowCards.com Complete Credit Card Index, the average advertised APR for credit cards is 14.30 percent, slightly below last week’s average of 14.31 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.32 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.30 percent.