LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–November 1, 2019

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–November 1, 2019

November 1, 2019         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Fed Cuts Interest Rates, But Indicates A Pause Is Ahead
The Federal Reserve approved an expected quarter-point interest rate cut Wednesday but indicated that the moves to ease policy could be nearing a pause. In a vote widely anticipated by financial markets, the central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee lowered its benchmark funds rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. The rate sets what banks charge each other for overnight lending but is also tied to most forms of revolving consumer debt. It was the third cut this year. Story by Jeff Cox for CNBC

Kroger Lifts Ban On Visa Credit Cards At Smith’s And Food Co. Stores
Kroger, the nation’s largest grocer, is reversing its ban on Visa credit cards that affected a small number of its stores, the company confirmed Wednesday. The Cincinnati-based company, which operates under several subsidiaries, had started banning use of the Visa card in its small Foods Co. chain in California in August 2018. It expanded the ban in April to the larger Smith’s Food & Drug Store chain. Smith’s ban on Visa spanned 142 supermarket and 108 fuel center locations across seven states – Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Arizona. Kroger had said it was banning Visa to save money on processing fees and keep groceries low. In April, officials also said they would consider expanding the ban to additional stores. Story by Kelly Tyko for USA Today

Uber Money Is The Company’s Latest Attempt To Expand Into Financial Services
Uber is creating a new division called Uber Money to handle its growing financial services business. The group will oversee everything from the company’s credit and debit card offerings, to digital wallets for riders, to products used by drivers to get paid in a timely manner. Typically drivers either wait for weekly payments or cash out using a feature called Instant Pay. Now, drivers and other freelance workers like Uber Eats couriers will have “real-time access to their earnings after every trip through the Uber Debit account,” the company says. This mobile bank account will mean that Uber’s 4-million-plus drivers and couriers can get their money instantly after every trip or delivery. Story by Andrew J. Hawkins for The Verge

AmEx Makes It Easier For Immigrants To Access Credit
Getting a good credit card is now a little easier for certain newcomers to the U.S. who already have good credit in other countries. American Express has launched a new feature with international credit-reporting startup Nova Credit that allows immigrants and expats in the U.S. to instantly translate certain international credit reports into U.S.-equivalent credit reports when applying for an AmEx consumer credit card. Currently, the feature in AmEx’s online application powered by Nova Credit’s technology can access credit reports from five foreign credit bureaus – one in each of these five countries: Australia, Canada, India, Mexico and the United Kingdom. The issuer says it’s working to add more countries and credit bureaus in the future. Story by Claire Tsosie for NerdWallet

Venmo’s Debit Card Now Gives You 5% Cash Back At Target, Sephora And Wendy’s
Venmo announced that it’s launching Venmo Rewards, a rewards program for its physical Venmo debit card. The program will give you automatic cash back at certain retailers if you pay with the Venmo card. Venmo says that the Venmo card will initially earn you 5 percent cash back at Target, Sephora, and Wendy’s, and 4 percent cash back at Dunkin’. However, these are “limited-time offers” and Venmo says new offers will be added on an ongoing basis. According to Venmo, any cash back will be deposited straight into your Venmo account. Story by Jay Peters for The Verge

Online Banking Has Become More Widespread Among Consumers
A new survey from Provident Bank might help explain why bank branches are disappearing. Consumers have gotten into the habit of doing their banking digitally, and they strongly prefer it. Only 20 percent of the consumers in the survey said they would rather visit a bank location than do their business using digital channels. That means banks must find the right balance between convenient physical locations and easy-to-use digital platforms. For the most part, consumers appear satisfied with their current financial institutions’ digital banking offerings. When asked if their bank or credit union’s online services meet their needs, 66 percent of respondents said that they did. In fact, banks’ online services are proving to be an effective customer retention tool, with 82 percent of bank customers mentioning their financial institution’s online and mobile platforms as a major reason they haven’t switched banks. Story by Mark Huffman for Consumer Affairs

The Uber Credit Card Just Got A Refresh With Improved Bonus Categories
The Uber credit card from Barclays has been a strong cash-back credit card ever since it launched in 2019. One “quirk” is that it’s offered a higher cash-back rate on dining purchases (4% back) than on Uber spending (2% back), but that’s changing now. You’ll now earn 5% back on all Uber purchases and 3% back on restaurants, bars, hotels, airfare, and vacation rentals. This means the Uber Visa is now the most rewarding cash-back card for Uber purchases. The other big change is that instead of earning cash back, the Uber card now earns Uber Cash, which you can only redeem with Uber, not for cash back or gift cards. Story by Jason Steele for Business Insider

China Bans Anti-Blockchain Sentiment As It Prepares For Launch Of State Cryptocurrency
China is preparing for the launch of its own state-backed cryptocurrency by removing online posts claiming that blockchain technology is a scam. It marks a significant shift in the country’s policy towards blockchain and comes just days after President Xi Jinping hailed it as an “important breakthrough” that should be developed. China’s central bank began exploring the possibility of creating a cryptocurrency in 2014, however bitcoin exchanges and other cryptocurrency platforms in the country were effectively banned. Until now, the state has also cracked down on any posts on social media relating to bitcoin. Story by Anthony Cuthbertson for The Independent

Details For 1.3 Million Indian Payment Cards Put Up For Sale On Joker’s Stash
In what security researchers have dubbed one of the biggest card dumps in recent years, more than 1.3 million payment card details have been put up for sale on Joker’s Stash, the internet’s largest carding shop. The new upload contains data primarily from Indian cardholders, security researchers at Group-IB told ZDNet today, after spotting the new upload just hours before. Group-IB said the cards are being sold at a top-tier price of $100/card, putting the hackers on a trajectory of making more than $130 million from their latest haul. Story by Catalin Cimpanu for ZDNet

Mastercard Pivots To New Venture: Blockchain Food Visibility
Mastercard, so long one of the biggest names in payment networks, is venturing into a new avenue which, at first, sounds far removed from its primary business model. Mastercard will be looking to the blockchain to bring visibility to food systems and supply chain, with the integration of Envisble’s Wholechain system. A growing desire from consumers to know the story behind what they eat has prompted Mastercard to go down this burgeoning market. Additionally, the want of dependable and visible supply chains in the food system for producers is the other edge of the sword driving the payments company in this direction. Story by Darryn Pollock for Forbes

Small Businesses Finally Embracing Mobile Banking
Mobile banking has finally crossed a bit of a threshold with small business customers, as customer satisfaction ratings are up in new J.D. Power survey, while banks are beginning to see reduced reliance on customer account managers. The J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Small Business Banking Satisfaction Survey shows that 61% of small business customers now use their bank’s mobile app, compared with 53% of small business customers in the 2018 survey. Story in Mobile Payments Today

The World’s First Internet Domain Name Provider Confirms Data Breach
Network Solutions was the world’s first internet domain provider, having won a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) back in 1991 and given an exclusive contract to be the sole name registrar for the .com, .net and .org domains a year later. According to DomainState, Networks Solutions, now owned by Web.com, is currently the fifth-largest domain name  registrar accounting for close on seven million domains. Along with another domain name registrar, Register.com, and parent Web.com, Network Solutions has confirmed it has been hacked. Here’s everything that is known so far. Story by Davey Winder for Forbes

bill-hardekopf

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.
View all posts by Bill Hardekopf
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