LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–November 15, 2019

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–November 15, 2019

November 15, 2019         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Google Wants To Be Your Banker
Google plans to launch a checking account aimed at individuals as soon as next year. The search giant will tie the accounts to its Google Pay offering, which already has 100 million users around the globe. Google, though, isn’t launching its own bank. Rather, it’s partnering with Citigroup and a San Francisco University credit union to offer the accounts. That means the accounts will likely carry fees. Google’s move into checking comes at a time when other Big Tech companies like Apple and Facebook are looking to dive deeper into consumer banking and financial services. It’s also happening at a time when consumer watchdogs and lawmakers increasingly warn that those same companies are getting too large and may have too much control over Americans’ personal data. Story by Stephen Gandel for CBS News

Hackers Are Stealing Loyalty Rewards. Are Your Air Miles Or Hotel Points At Risk?
American consumers love loyalty programs. It’s estimated that the 3.3 billion loyalty program members in the U.S. currently store about $48 billion worth of points and miles in their accounts, according to Chargebacks911. These programs have grown so large in recent years that they’ve become an inviting target for hackers. While we call them miles or points, loyalty rewards are really a form of digital currency that can be used just like cash. Because they’re so liquid, the hackers don’t have to book flights or hotel stays with them. They can buy gift cards or merchandise to resell online, or they can simply sell the stolen rewards to other criminals. Story by Herb Weisbaum for NBC News

These Credit Card Offers Seem Great. Expert Calls Them ‘Bait-And-Switch’
Not all financing, particularly when it comes to deferred interest, works the way you’d expect. If someone tells you that an interest-free introductory offer is good for three months or six months, you might reasonably expect that you’d pay absolutely no interest during that time frame. You’d never expect that some slip-up suddenly could change all the rules when it comes to deferred interest so that you never get any break from the start. Roughly eight in 10 consumers do not understand how deferred interest actually works, according a survey by WalletHub. Here’s another tip: Nearly nine in 10 store credit cards that promote interest-free introductory rates are products that involve deferred interest. Story by Susan Tompor for the Detroit Free Press

Visa, Mastercard Draw FTC Inquiry Over Debit Card Transactions
Visa and Mastercard are once again in the crosshairs of U.S. antitrust regulators over policies that can prohibit merchants from routing card transactions over alternative debit networks. The Federal Trade Commission has been reaching out to large merchants and their trade groups over the issue as part of a preliminary inquiry, according to people with knowledge of the matter. At issue is whether Visa and Mastercard and large debit card issuers are blocking retailers from routing some mobile wallet payments and tap-to-pay transactions over alternative networks such as Pulse, NYCE and Star. Story by Jennifer Surane for Bloomberg

The War on Cash May Already Be Over
Cash is no longer king. U.S. consumers are significantly more likely to use credit or debit cards than they are to use cash when making a purchase. In fact, more than 70% of them are most likely to pull out either a credit or debit card for a personal purchase, compared to 23.8% who are most apt to use cash, according to a new survey from Business.org. Nearly half (47.8%) of those surveyed said they believe cash remains the safest way to pay. Safety concerns may be the primary thing keeping cash in the game. Story by Daniel B. Kline for The Motley Fool

New York Probing Apple Card For Alleged Gender Discrimination After Viral Tweet
A string of viral tweets blasting Apple’s new credit card for alleged gender discrimination has led to an investigation from New York’s Department of Financial Services. The tech giant’s credit card, launched in partnership with Goldman Sachs earlier this year, uses an algorithm to assign credit limits, and many online pointed out it may favor men over women. Story by Catherine Thorbecke for ABC News

95% of Americans Give Their Digital Banking Apps Thumbs Up
Americans appear to really, really like their mobile banking apps. According to a recent study, 95% of consumers surveyed rated their bank’s online and mobile app experience as “excellent,” “very good,” or “good.” Among those surveyed, 70% used a mobile device to manage their bank account at least once in the previous month, and 43% did so more than three times. The survey found that one-third of U.S. adults (34%) used a mobile app to make a payment or transfer money within the past year, up from 29% a year ago. The most-used mobile payment apps included PayPal (61%), Venmo (34%), their bank’s app (27%), Zelle (27%), Apple Pay (17%) and Starbucks (11%). Story by Mobile Payments Today

Visa and Mastercard Changed Their Dispute Resolution Process
The dispute process is a crucial component of the credit card industry. When a consumer disputes a transaction, believing it to be fraudulent, for example, the card issuer and merchant must resolve who is financially liable for the purchase. And with the transaction volume of credit cards expected to rise significantly over the next few years, the number of disputes is expected to increase as well. In response to the forecasted increase in disputes, Visa and Mastercard have implemented changes to their respective dispute processes. Story in Payments Journal

3 Everyday Things in Your Office That Could Lead to a Data Breach
We’ve entered the age of the gigabreach, but the way your company could get hacked might surprise you. The personal data of entire nations is up for grabs–literally: Ecuador, Bulgaria. And the threat is not only coming from external sources. There are smaller things to worry about, and they are in your office right now. Cables, printers and wifi. Story by Adam Levin for Inc.

The Holiday Season Puts A Quarter Of Americans Into Debt
Between purchasing the perfect gift, buying food to feed the whole family and traveling to see loved ones, over a quarter of Americans have gone into debt due to holiday spending, according to new research. A survey of 2,000 Americans who celebrate a winter holiday found that 28 percent have gone into debt during the holiday season. And those racking up debt will be stuck paying it off through March – or about three months after the holidays. Story by Marie Haaland for the New York Post

California Replaces Paper Checks With Debit Cards To Ease Shopping, Reduce Stigma, In Government-Funded Nutrition Program
California residents who receive money for food through the Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program are now getting electronic cards instead of the cumbersome paper vouchers they’ve shopped with since the program’s inception in 1974. The federal program, better known by the acronym WIC, helps feed more than 1 million people statewide, most of them children. Modernization is expected to make the benefit more efficient and easier to use, and less embarrassing, for those who participate in the program. The hope is that the cards also will encourage more participation from people who need the help and retailers who accept WIC payments. Story by Theresa Walker for The Mercury News

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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