LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–March 9, 2018

March 9, 2018, Written By Bill Hardekopf

Amazon Wants to Make it Easier to Shop its Website Without a Credit Card
Amazon is in early talks with financial institutions including J.P. Morgan Chase to help launch checking account-like products, aimed at younger customers and those without bank accounts. This is the latest move by the e-commerce giant to solve one of the biggest barriers to shopping on its website: lack of a credit card. More than a quarter of U.S. households have no or limited access to checking and savings accounts. These so-called unbanked and underbanked households rely heavily cash or checks to fund their purchases, making shopping online difficult. Unbanked doesn’t necessarily mean unconnected, about 6 in 10 unbanked consumers have a smartphone, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. Story by Lauren Hirsch for CNBC

Credit Card Losses Surge at Small Banks
Small banks have been fighting for a bigger piece of the credit-card market in search of higher returns. Now, they’re contending with rising losses. Missed payments on credit cards at small banks have risen sharply over the past year, a sign that their cardholders are taking on more debt than they can handle. Their charge-off rate, or the share of outstanding card balances written off as a loss after consumers failed to pay, hit 7.2% in the fourth quarter, up from 4.5% a year ago, according to Federal Reserve data. Concerns have been mounting in the broader credit-card industry about the recent trend of rising delinquencies. But they’ve especially surged at smaller banks, those outside the 100 largest by assets that have less than around $10.4 billion in assets. There, the average charge-off rate is near an eight-year high, while the 3.5% loss rate at large banks remains well below the 10.6% seen in 2010. Story by AnnaMaria Andriotis for The Wall Street Journal

This Credit Card Mistake Can Cost You a Lot of Money
I see it all the time. People want to help a partner, adult child or friend in financial trouble. Or they want to assist someone in building a good credit history so he or she can rent an apartment or buy a home. So they lend someone their credit card. Nearly half of current or former credit cardholders say they have let someone else use their credit card, according to a new survey. And it doesn’t end well for a lot of these folks. In fact, 35 percent of survey participants suffered negative consequences. People overspent on their card (19 percent), they weren’t repaid (14 percent) or their card was lost, stolen or never returned (10 percent). Story by Michelle Singletary for The Washington Post

This Credit Card Will Offer Rewards in Bitcoin
Instead of cash back, try crypto back. Thomas Harrison, a 25-year-old entrepreneur based in San Francisco, announced plans for a new credit card, Blockrize, that would offer cryptocurrency instead of cash back or travel rewards. He says there’s currently a 2,000-person waiting list, despite Blockrize still lacking a banking partner to issue the card. The card would offer 1% of the value of users’ purchases back in cryptocurrency, initially just BTCUSD and ethereum, every time they buy something. Harrison hopes the card will find a partner and be available to consumer by the end of 2018. Story by Maria LaMagna for MarketWatch

ATM Debit Card Fraud Hit 10 Percent In 2017
A new report has revealed that there was a 10 percent increase in the number of payment cards compromised at U.S. ATMs and merchants in 2017. Earlier this year, Diebold Nixdorf and NCR Corporation – the two biggest ATM makers in the world – warned that hackers are going after ATM machines in the U.S. with tools that can force the machines to spit out cash. A confidential alert was sent to banks from the U.S. Secret Service that hackers are targeting standalone ATMs that are usually found in drug stores, big-box retailers and drive-thru ATMs. Story in PYMNTS

Pennsylvania AG Says Uber Must Pay Up Over Data Breach
Uber’s got a new legal fight on its hands. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Monday filed a lawsuit against Uber after the San Francisco-based ride-sharing company took more than 12 months to inform users that it suffered a major hack. The attackers accessed the information of 25 million users in the US, 4.1 million of whom were drivers. The stolen data included names, email addresses, phone numbers and driver’s license numbers. Approximately 600,000 driver’s license numbers were compromised, but no credit card or Social Security numbers were stolen. About 13,500 of the affected Uber drivers lived in Pennsylvania. Story by Alfred Ng and Dara Kerr for CNet

Structural Changes at Mastercard Point to Centrality of Digital Services
Mastercard is planning to combine its physical and digital payments teams, and they will get a new leader. The changes appear to reflect the growing digitization of Mastercard’s business; while digital payments has for many years been perceived as a novel branch of mainstream payments, it is clearly now perceived by Mastercard as a part of the core payments business. This may point to an increasingly central role for Masterpass, Mastercard’s multi-channel digital payments platform, and also seems to reflect the growing importance of digital technologies like biometric fingerprint scans in card-based physical payments. Story by Alex Perala for Mobile ID World

US Consumers Might Be Willing to Pay for Better Mobile Payments Experience
Younger consumers are more willing to pay for a better mobile payments experience. Some 37 percent of U.S. consumers would be happy to pay more for a product or service if the mobile shopping experience is better, according to the Worldpay study. This number rises to 44 percent among consumers aged 18-24, who are twice as likely as older consumers (65+) are to reward brands that give them a “five-star” service. Story in Mobile Payments Today

166 Applebee’s Restaurants Hit With Payment Card Malware
Anyone who dined out at Applebee’s restaurants in 15 states – ranging from Alabama and Arizona to Texas and Wyoming – may have gotten a free side of payment card theft with their meal. RMH Franchise Holdings warned that of the 167 Applebee’s restaurants it owns and operates, 166 of them suffered a data breach in which point-of-sale systems were infected with malware designed to capture payment cards for anyone who dined at the restaurants. Infection periods vary by location, but the earliest infections began on Nov. 23, 2017, and none appear to have lasted longer than Jan. 2, the company says. It has not published an estimate of the number of payment cards that hackers compromised. RMH says it’s the second largest Applebee’s franchisee. Story by Mathew J. Schwartz for Bank Info Security

Weinstein Co. Sued Over $1.4 Million AmEx Balance
The unpaid bills continue to pile up for the Weinstein Co., as American Express filed a lawsuit Wednesday, claiming it is owed $1.4 million. The Weinstein Co. is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, as talks with potential buyers Ron Burkle and Maria Contreras-Sweet broke down over the weekend. The company is also facing suits from various other business partners, including a Canadian film distributor and a manufacturer of chocolate truffles. According to the latest suit, the Weinstein Co. has refused to pay the balance on his charge account. As a result, AmEx has suspended the company’s corporate credit cards. Story by Gene Maddaus for Variety

The Hidden Dangers of Buying Virtual Currency Go Beyond a Simple Hack
That cryptocurrency you just bought is as vulnerable to hackers as your smartphone or any other digital device, security experts are warning. Virtual and increasingly popular currencies like bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are unregulated and volatile, making them not just a high-risk investment, but criminals can break into crypto exchanges, drain crypto wallets and infect individual computers with malware that steals cryptocurrency. A new report from Ernst & Young provides some of the first hard numbers on this new crime spree. EY analysts looked at 372 initial coin offerings that occurred between 2015 and 2017 and found that more than 10 percent of the funds—as much as $1.5 million a month—were stolen. Story by Herb Weisbaum for NBC News

The information contained within this article was accurate as of March 9, 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.
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