LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–March 4, 2016

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–March 4, 2016

March 4, 2016         Written By Lynn Oldshue

Google Launches Hands Free, Voice-Activated Mobile Payments System
There might come a time when mobile payments do not even involve having a mobile device on hand. In an announcement on Wednesday, Google unveiled Hands Free, a new app which would enable users to pay for purchases simply by using their voice. The system is currently in its trial phases in the southern San Francisco Bay Area, and could be used in a number of stores and restaurants, including some branches of McDonald’s, Papa John’s as well as some local establishments in the area. Hands Free uses a pretty clever combination of tried and tested technology such as Bluetooth low energy, Wi-Fi and location services in order to allow the app to communicate with cash registers in participating stores. In order to confirm a purchase, a user would simply need to utter the words, “I’ll pay with Google.” Story by Peter de Jesus for HNGN.

No-Frills Supermarket Chain Aldi to Accept Credit Cards
Aldi, the Germany-based no-frills supermarket chain, is now accepting credit cards at its U.S. stores as it tries to attract more shoppers. Aldi customers will now be able to use Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express at its nearly 1,500 stores. Aldi had previously accepted just cash and debit cards. The step, announced Tuesday, is part of Aldi’s strategy to broaden its base beyond low-income customers and make its shopping experience more convenient. It also creates more competition for Wal-Mart, Target and traditional grocers like Kroger. The announcement comes a little more than a month after the chain said it was adding healthier choices at checkout. Story by Anne D’Innocenzio for the Associated Press.

Costco Cardholders Will Transfer from Amex to Citi in June
Costco cardholders will no longer be able to pay with American Express come June. That’s when a deal for American Express to sell its Costco-branded portfolio to Citibank is expected to close, and cardholders issued new plastic. The agreement has been in the works since Costco announced it was cutting ties with American Express last year. Citi was originally supposed to take over from American Express April 1, but the deal was delayed. Story by Hadley Malcolm for USA Today.

Samsung Pay Adds Compatibility With Wells Fargo Debit Cards And Credit Cards
Wells Fargo customers can now store information from any of the bank’s debit cards or credit cards on Samsung Pay, then use the authentication system to pay. The bank has been fairly forward-looking when it comes to mobile payments – it also cooperates with Android Pay and Apple Pay. Samsung has partnered with over 60 institutions for Samsung Pay in the US, from huge multinationals like Chase and Bank of America all the way down to credit unions that one serve a small region or even single states. Story by Michael Crider for Android Police.

Embarrassed Americans Underreport Credit Card Debt by $415 Billion
It’s not uncommon to fudge some of life’s most sensitive numbers, such as age or weight. Consumers aren’t just fibbing a little when it comes to their credit card balances. In fact, government data show them reporting a total of $415 billion less than they actually owe. As of December 2013, lenders reported about $683 billion in outstanding credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Borrowers, on the other hand, reported only about $268 billion when asked for the Federal Reserve’s 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances. This disparity was greater for credit card debt than any other type of debt, including student loans and mortgage debt. When NerdWallet dug into the reasons behind this reporting difference, it found that the stigma surrounding credit card debt may be a leading cause of underreporting. Story by Erin El Issa for Nerd Wallet.

Coinbase Initiates Bitcoin Purchase through US Debit Cards
Coinbase has announced the beta launch of a new feature that will facilitate the purchase of bitcoin(s) instantly with US-based debit cards. The feature is already available for European users of Coinbase who have the means to buy the cryptocurrency through credit and debit cards. Users who see this feature already enabled in their accounts can add a debit card via the payment methods page on Coinbase’s website. The same can be done from Coinbase’s Android and iOS apps. Once added, users can instantly buy bitcoin via the buy page. Story by Samburaj Das for Crypto Coins News.

Credit Unions Feeling Pinch in Wendy’s Breach
A number of credit unions say they have experienced an unusually high level of debit card fraud from the breach at nationwide fast food chain Wendy’s, and that the losses so far eclipse those that came in the wake of huge card breaches at Target and Home Depot. Even if thieves don’t know the PIN assigned to a given debit card, very often banks and credit unions will let customers call in and change their PIN using automated systems that ask the caller to verify the cardholder’s identity by keying in static identifiers, like Social Security numbers, dates of birth and the card’s expiration date. Thieves can abuse these automated systems to reset the PIN on the victim’s debit card, and then use a counterfeit copy of the card to withdraw cash from the account at ATMs. Story by Brian Krebs for Krebs on Security.

The Human Problem at the Heart of Snapchat’s Employee Data Breach
Snapchat says it’s “just impossibly sorry” for a recent data breach that exposed payroll information of some current and former employees on Friday. The Snapchat data wasn’t stolen by a coding mastermind who penetrated the company’s servers using some unknown flaw. Instead, it was stolen by an attacker who exploited a much simpler, more human vulnerability: trust. The attacker pretended to be Snapchat chief executive Evan Spiegel and tricked an employee into emailing over the information, according to a blog post the company posted Sunday about the incident. Roughly 700 current or former employees had information including their names, Social Security numbers and wage data compromised in the attack. Story by Andrea Peterson for the Washington Post.

Third of All Chinese Mobile Banking Apps Infected with Malware
Malware is infecting almost a third of all Chinese mobile banking apps, according to analysis conducted by Graphite Software. 32% of all those it tested were infected, among them some from recognized global app stores and major banks. In a Chinese study, 68% of consumers said that they avoid using mobile banking in the country, with 63% of those citing the security risks as the primary reason. From the same study it was revealed that less than 15% of Chinese businesses use mobile banking, with nearly half saying that security was a major concern. Story by IBS Intelligence.

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 14.81 percent, a slight decrease from last week’s average of 14.83 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.60 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.45 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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