LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–May 23, 2014

May 23, 2014, Written By Lynn Oldshue
LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–May 23, 2014

Microchips in our Passports and Credit Cards: Are They Safe?
U.S. passports have them. And these days, many more U.S. credit cards are starting to carry them, too. The tiny plastic chips embedded in passports and credit cards are primarily designed to thwart fraud and counterfeiting. But they also make many credit card users and travelers uneasy about the potential for someone with prying eyes trying to steal their personal data. Story by Claudia Buck for The Sacramento Bee.

Fed’s Rate-Change System Up for a Revamp
Janet Yellen’s first big task as Federal Reserve chairwoman isn’t deciding when to raise interest rates. It is deciding how. The Fed’s old system for moving interest rates up or down looks increasingly unsuited for the post crisis financial system, so officials are rewriting their strategy for replacing it. But first they need to resolve big questions with implications for $2.6 trillion that banks have parked at the Fed, trillions sitting in money-market mutual funds and trillions more at stake in derivatives contracts. Story by Jon Hilsenrath for The Wall Street Journal.

Consumer Survey Shows Growing Concern over Security of Financial Information
According to the Unisys Security Index Report, an increasing number of Americans are “very” concerned about the security of their financial information. Only 28% of Americans said they were “very” concerned in 2013, but 35% reported the same level of worry in 2014. More than half (59%) of the people surveyed in March 2014 said they were very or extremely concerned about other people obtaining their credit or debit card details. Only 17% in 2014 said they were not concerned at all, down from 18% in 2013 and 19% in 2012. It seems that recent credit card breaches at Target, Michaels, Neiman Marcus and Sally Beauty have caused some Americans to question the safety of their financial information. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.

10 Mobile Credit Card Processing Myths Busted
Although mobile payment adoption has been slow, consumers are steadily shifting their preferences as an increasing number of merchants implement mobile payment technologies (made easier and more accessible by major mobile payment players such as Square and PayPal). To stay competitive, it’s more important than ever for small businesses to stay current and understand where mobile payment technology is headed. If you’re considering adopting mobile payments or are simply curious about the technology, here are 10 mobile payment myths that you may have heard, but are completely untrue. Story by Sara Angeles for Business News Daily.

Angling to be the MasterCard of Bitcoin
Bitcoin is the dominant player in the field, and the CEO of Coinbase thinks he has found a rich vein to mine. He wants to be the Visa and MasterCard of Bitcoin payment processing, taking those behemoths out of the picture as merchants and customers move to virtual transactions. Credit card companies “collect $500 billion in fees”. As commerce eventually turns increasingly virtual and credit card fees drop to match cheaper technology, he says, “it’s going to be $50 billion.” Story by Andy Kessler for The Wall Street Journal.

U.S. Seeks Disclosure of All Fees Fliers Face
Airlines and travel agents will be required to list fees for services like checked bags, carry-ons and seat reservations so that travelers can compare fares more easily under a proposal announced by the Transportation Department. The proposal would also broaden the definition of “ticket  agent,” so that travel websites like Kayak, which help consumers compare ticket prices but do not sell the tickets themselves, would be subject to the same disclosure rules. But consumers purchasing a ticket on fare comparison websites do not learn of these fees until they have been steered to an airline’s site to buy the ticket. And even then they must “review lengthy and complex charts to determine the exact fee that they would be charged for their baggage.” Story by Matthew Wald for The New York Times.

Student Debt is Slowing Down the U.S. Housing Recovery
Former White House adviser Lawrence Summers said Wednesday that student debt is slowing the housing recovery and the broader economic recovery. Mr. Summers is the latest to weigh in on a debate about the economic effects of student debt, which has roughly doubled since 2007 to roughly $1.1 trillion, reflecting rising school enrollment during the weak job market along with higher tuitions. But other leading economists and academics have been unable to show a causal link between higher student debt and the weak economy. That’s largely because student debt enables many Americans to ultimately boost their incomes by going to college, a benefit to the economy. Story by Josh Mitchell for The Wall Street Journal.

Sallie Mae Torments Faithful Student Borrowers After Co-Signers Die
Seven borrowers who had been paying their Sallie Mae student loans on time for years were unexpectedly threatened with asset seizures after a Sallie Mae contractor demanded they immediately repay tens of thousands of dollars simply because a family member had died. Since an April report by the CFPB highlighted the troubling practice, the financial services industry has spent four weeks on the defensive, arguing that borrowers who face the demands are often delinquent on their debts, or are just out of college and thus unable to shoulder the burden. What’s more, they argue, borrowers should’ve known they could face auto defaults because it’s detailed in their loan contracts. Story by Shahien Nasiripour for The Huffington Post.

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 14.47 percent, slightly higher than last week’s 14.45 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.31 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.27 percent.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of May 23, 2014. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.

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