LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–May 5, 2017

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–May 5, 2017

May 5, 2017         Written By Lynn Oldshue

The Grim Upward Trajectory Of Mobile Fraud Risks
By 2019, more than 60 percent of online retail sales will be made via mobile devices, which offer great convenience for buyers, according to a new report. Yet with the potential rewards come potential risks. Mobile orders for digital goods, such as plane tickets and online gift cards, are four times as likely to be fraudulent as orders for physical goods. Further, mobile transactions in amounts greater than $1,000 are three times more likely to be fraudulent than those worth less than $200. By contrast, 96 percent of mobile orders in the lower price bracket are likely to be valid, the study found, compared to 91 percent carried out on traditional desktops or laptops. Story by Peter Suciu for E-Commerce Times.

The City Of Philadelphia Just Gave Wells Fargo Its Walking Papers
Efforts by Wells Fargo to move beyond its bogus accounts scandal have been set back by the loss of a big government contract. The Philadelphia City Council voted Monday to change handlers of its $2 billion payroll account, according to published reports. Instead of continuing the arrangement with Wells, the city chose to hire Citizens Bank for the next fiscal year starting in July. The move comes under the dark cloud that has enveloped Wells since the second-largest bank by assets in the U.S. agreed to pay $185 million in fines for opening some 2 million accounts for customers without their knowledge. Story by Jeff Cox for CNBC.

House Panel Advances Bill To Overhaul Dodd-Frank Financial Reforms
After nearly 23 hours of debate, House lawmakers on Thursday advanced one of President Trump’s top promises to dismantle the “horrendous” Dodd-Frank financial regulations that were put in place during the Obama administration. The House Financial Services Committee voted 34 to 26 along party lines, passing the Financial Choice Act, a Republican bill to undo the 2010 financial reform law. GOP lawmakers blame the Dodd-Frank regulations for choking U.S. economic growth and crimping lending by banks. The bill crafted by Jeb Hensarling, chairman of the panel, cleared the committee despite vehement objections by Democrats to preserve the sweeping law aimed at preventing another financial crisis and protecting American consumers. Story by Donna Borak for CNN Money.

Starbucks Sees Uptick In Q2 Mobile Orders, Payments
Starbucks reported second quarter results that showed a big uptick in mobile ordering and an increase in its rewards program. For Starbucks’ second quarter, which the company reported on Tuesday (May 2), the coffee chain operator said active U.S. membership in its Starbucks Rewards grew 11 percent year over year to 13.3 million members, while mobile payments reached 29 percent of transactions and Mobile Order and Pay grew to 8 percent of transactions. Story in PYMNTS.

MasterCard’s Profit Beats Estimates As Card Spending Rises
MasterCard, the world’s second-largest payments network, reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue as people spent more using credit and debit cards, sending its shares up as much as 3 percent to a record high. MasterCard and bigger rival Visa generate revenue by facilitating credit and debit card transactions and their fortunes are closely tied to the health of the economy and consumer spending. U.S. economic data has been largely positive in the past few months—the labor market has shown signs of improvement, while average wages are also up. The companies are facing increasing competition from digital payment services as more people use smartphones to make payments, forcing them to ramp up their own e-wallet offerings. Story by Nikhil Subba for Reuters.

Wal-Mart Lowers Money Transfer Fees, Unveils Mobile Services
Wal-mart, working with Ria Money Transfer and American Express, announced enhancements to its Walmart2Walmart money transfer service, lowering fees on transfers and unveiling plans to launch a mobile service next month called Bluebird2Walmart Money Transfer Service, which will let users of Bluebird alternative checking and debit products send money for cash pick-up at Wal-mart store locations. The big-box retailer said it already offers some of the lowest money transfer fees available, but beginning yesterday it cut costs to a point where customers will be able to save 20% to 90% on cash transfers versus what they will pay for using competing services. When the Bluebird2Walmart service launches, Walmart2Walmart account holders will be able to visit Bluebird.com or use the Bluebird smartphone app to send money. Parties receiving money don’t need a Bluebird account, but can pick up their funds at any Wal-Mart store within minutes of the online transfer. Story by Dan O’Shea for Retail Dive.

Research Finds Health And Wealth Connected
Your physical and financial well-being are more connected than many may believe, according to a new study. The study found that acquiring debt can have a negative impact on health, especially for women. Nearly 70% of women said acquiring debt led to higher stress, compared to 47% of men. Debt led to women sleeping worse (36% of women versus 21% of men), gaining weight (34% of women versus 17% of men) and becoming less active (29% of women versus 12% of men). However, perhaps due to this increased stress, women felt a greater sense of satisfaction when they paid off debt. In fact, 59% of women said paying off debt made them happier, compared to just 50% of men. Women also said their lives were improved (62% of women versus 53% of men), and their stress decreased (44% of women versus 37% of men). Story by Lynn Oldshue for LowCards.com.

“Smart” Credit Cards May Be Over Before They Started
Smart credit cards, combining several credit card accounts on a single card, promised big improvements over traditional credit cards—but they’ve had a rough ride. And now it looks like the journey is ending, with the last of the major would-be disruptors throwing in the towel. Plastc, in development since 2014, sent a letter to backers last week announcing that it was ceasing operations. Over the last year or so, virtually all of Plastc’s principal competitors have done the same—Coin, Stratos and Swyp among them. Now, in the middle of 2017, consumers can’t get a multiple-account electronic smart credit card at any price. Smart cards promised to work just like a traditional card, complete with swipe strip and/or EMV security chip. But inside the wafer-thin structure, electronics allowed a single card to mimic multiple credit card accounts. One card with a touch-sensitive button and e-ink digital display could behave like any of your Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards. The promise of carrying a single card was enough to fuel a number of pre-order campaigns. Story by Dave Johnson for CBS MoneyWatch.

The Key To Mobile Wallets Isn’t Payments
It’s estimated that mobile wallet usage around the world will increase by more than a third by 2021. But adoption is still slow. Why? Well, one of the main reasons is that people are still happy with the way they’ve been paying for the past few decades, using cards and cash. Brands are increasingly using the non-payment capabilities of mobile wallets to reach and engage consumers, and we’ve found that customers are responding to this, and want more. Mobile wallets are now among the top four ways consumers want to communicate with brands about sales, vouchers, loyalty programs and more. Despite millions of people having access to pre-installed mobile wallet apps on their phone, brands and businesses need to lead efforts to help consumers become aware of how simple and useful they can be to use, and in turn reap better customer engagement for the brands that get it right. Mobile wallets also give brands the opportunity to create a ‘living and breathing’ loyalty card that can send notifications to a device lock screen providing a new communication channel for businesses. Story by Emily Buckman for IT Pro Portal.

The Average American’s 2017 Tax Refund And How They’ll Spend It
According to recently released data, the IRS has processed 128.8 million tax returns submitted in 2017 so far, and has issued more than 97 million refunds. The average taxpayer who received a refund got $2,763, an increase of roughly 2% over last year. The majority of Americans (79%) plan to either pay down debt or save their tax refund in 2017. Just a small percentage said they planned to use the money for a vacation or to splurge on a large purchase. 41% plan to put the money in savings; 38% plan to pay off debt; 11% plan to use their refund toward a vacation; 5% plan to splurge on a purchase; and 5% plan to use their refunds toward a big purchase, such as a car or home. Story by Matthew Frankel for USA Today.

The Next Battleground for Amazon and Wal-Mart: The Unbanked
Few retailers have catered more to the unbanked than Wal-Mart. Whether it’s a dislike of banks, a distaste for their fees, or some other reason, a sizable portion of U.S. households have chosen not to have a checking or savings account at a financial institution, and Wal-Mart has ensured they have a place to go. Through its 1,200 money centers, unbanked consumers can meet all of their banking needs at greatly reduced cost. From paying bills to wiring money here or abroad, Wal-Mart has made it cheap, easy, and convenient to bank without a bank. Now it’s about to get some sizable competition from Amazon, which recently launched its Amazon Cash program that specifically targets this same subset of the population. Story in Madison.com.

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 15.26 percent, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.60 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.75 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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