LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–March 24, 2017

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–March 24, 2017

March 24, 2017         Written By Lynn Oldshue

Wells Fargo Credit Card Applications Plunge 55%
Wells Fargo is having a hard time getting Americans to sign up for credit cards these days. Credit card applications at Wells Fargo plunged by 55% in February, the sharpest decline since the bank’s fake account scandal erupted last September. Another sign of trouble: Wells Fargo said that consumers opened 43% fewer checking accounts than a year ago and interactions with branch bankers fell by 21% in the same month. Story by Matt Egan for CNN Money

Starbucks Ramps Up Digital Plans, Especially Voice-Activated Ones
While Starbucks’ is ramping up its commitment to digital initiatives, one of its newest programs gives a new meaning to “ordering on the go.” Expanding the integration of Amazon Alexa in its Mobile Order & Pay platform, the coffee giant is now adding Ford vehicles to the mix. Later this year, Starbucks customers with a Ford car equipped with Sync 3 vehicle communications and entertainment system will be able to order Starbucks beverages by saying, “Alexa, ask Starbucks to start my order.” This is the newest example of Starbucks’ commitment to voice-enabled ordering. For example, in January, the chain introduced My Starbucks barista functionality, powered by artificial intelligence, a service that allows Starbucks Mobile App users to place their orders via voice command or messaging interface. Since its launch, the service is now available to more than 100,000 customers across the U.S. Starbucks is also pursuing services designed to drive true one-to-one personalization. The company is currently testing personalized offers that it delivers to customers directly on their app’s opening screen – a message that includes suggested selling and recommendations. Story by Deena M. Amato-McCoy for Chain Store Age

Chase Credit Cards Account For Almost 18% Of All Credit Card Purchases In The U.S.
JPMorgan Chase reported total purchase volumes of $545 billion across all credit cards issued by it in the U.S. over 2016 – representing a nearly 18% share of the industry. This is largely because the banking giant is also the largest issuer of credit cards in the country . Notably, the six largest card issuers accounted for just over 60% of the total credit card purchases for the year. Story by Trefis

Samsung is Trying to Turn Wearables into Prepaid Credit Cards
Samsung has some new ideas for how mobile payments can work. Rather than giving devices like smartwatches and smart rings the full power of a credit card, Samsung’s new plan is to treat them more like prepaid credit cards, loaded with a specific amount of cash and unable to charge any more than that. The idea is to put limits on what a wearable can be used to buy. That could allow for a couple things: it’d make them less of a problem if lost or stolen, since the devices wouldn’t be able to make large charges. And Samsung imagines it could also be a useful way for parents to give money to their children, since they could put a limit on it. In addition to limiting the amount of money placed on a mobile payment device, Samsung would also let owners put time limits on when the funds can be used. If they weren’t used up before the time limit, access to the card would disappear. This is all part of a new payments service Samsung is calling the “Contactless Companion Platform,” or CCP. Story by Jacob Kastrenakes for The Verge.

Amazon Has a New Weapon in its War on Brick-and-Mortar Retail
The environment for brick-and-mortar stores is abysmal. On the other hand, Amazon accounted for 53% of online’s sales growth in the US in 2016, according to market research firm Slice Intelligence. In other words, for every new dollar American consumers spent online, Amazon took 53 cents of it. The offering has been built on speed, ease and cost. And now, according to a note out March 23 by equity analysts at Morgan Stanley, the retail giant has a new weapon in its war against brick-and-mortar retailers: credit cards. In January the firm renewed its credit card partnership with JPMorgan, and rolled out a new “Prime-only 5% cash back incentive for purchases on Amazon.” Morgan Stanley said that the firm’s new card will drive more consumers to spend their money on Amazon. “Amazon’s new Chase card is expected to drive more spend towards Amazon and away from retailers as 82% of prospective new Amazon card owners plan to shop “more” or “a lot more” on Amazon than they currently do.” Story by Frank Chaparro for Business Insider

Mobile Banking Apps Might Need More Customer Support
Thirty percent of U.S. adults would feel comfortable using a voice-activated conversational interface provided by their bank or credit union to pay a bill or make other banking transactions by speaking to this interface and providing verbal instructions, according to a recent report. Young adults and high-income earners are especially interested in using such an interface, according to a consumer survey in the report, which finds that roughly half of them would feel comfortable doing so. The percentage of U.S. consumers performing banking activities by smartphone or tablets rose to 65 percent in 2016, up from 60 percent in 2015 and 58 percent in 2014. The percentage using mobile to make bank transactions—such as paying bills from an FI’s website, transferring funds to another person’s account, or depositing checks—has risen to 45 percent of U.S. adults, up from 41 percent in 2015 and 36 percent in 2014. Story by Mobile Payments Today

Hundreds of Thousands of Job Seekers Affected in Data Breach
America’s JobLink has discovered a data breach that resulted in the theft of thousands of job seekers’ personal information. User names, birth dates and Social Security numbers were all exposed in the breach. JobLink matches job seekers with employers in 10 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, Vermont and Maine. The total number of Americans affected has not been released. The number of affected people is somewhat dependent on how long the state has been using JobLink. In Maine, anyone who has used the JobLink service since July 2016 could have been exposed. While in Alabama, anyone who has collected unemployment benefits over the past three to four years may also be at risk, as whenever someone in that state files for unemployment, they are automatically registered with JobLink. Story by John Oldshue for LowCards.com

This Startup Gives Small Businesses More Control Over Company Cards
Small expenses can get out of hand quickly, and that’s even more true for business expenses. But many small businesses can’t afford the time to closely track employee expenses for errant charges to the company card. Bento for Business helps stop those charges before they happen with an integrated system of smart software and individual, prepaid cards. Administrators can set up rules about where and when the cards are used, enforce daily or monthly limits, and quickly get an overview of the company’s spending. Story by James Risley for Built in Chicago

Consumer Adoption of Major Mobile Payment Apps Stalls
Mobile payment adoption among U.S. consumers appears to have stalled, with the exception of Apple Pay, and those with the apps aren’t using them frequently, according to a new survey. The study stated that fewer than one in 20 consumers who have one of the major mobile digital wallet apps—a group that includes Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay—use they app when the opportunity arises. Some consumers reported they don’t use the mobile payment apps often because they are happy with their current payment cards and cash. Respondents for the most part said that security was not an issue in their lack of mobile wallet usage. Story by Dan O’Shea for Retail Dive

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 15.20 percent, slightly higher than last week’s average of 15.15 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.64 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.72 percent.


About Lynn Oldshue

Lynn Oldshue has written personal finance stories for LowCards.com for twelve years. She majored in public relations at Mississippi State University.
View all posts by Lynn Oldshue
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