LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–November 17, 2017

November 17, 2017, Written By Lynn Oldshue

CFPB’s Cordray Resigns; Agency Future Uncertain
Richard Cordray, first Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will leave the agency at the end of the month. It has long been rumored that he intends to run for governor of Ohio. Cordray served as acting director for an extended period after the agency was created as Republicans in the Senate announced they would block his confirmation or that of any other nominee to the position. His appointment was only made official after Senate Democrats reversed a long-standing rule allowing a 51-vote majority for confirmation. Bloomberg News says the White House had already begun a search for Cordray’s successor (there had been widespread discussion that the President was looking for a way to remove Cordray before his term expires in July.) Among those who have been discussed are former Texas congressman Randy Neugebauer and Todd Zywicki, a scholar at George Mason’s University’s Mercatus Center. Story by Jann Swanson for Mortgage News Daily

Payments Company Square Tests Bitcoin Buying and Selling
Payments company Square said it has started allowing select customers to buy and sell bitcoins on its Cash app, as it looks to tap into a craze that has sent the cryptocurrency up nearly sevenfold this year. For the most part though, institutional investors have stayed away from bitcoin, the original and largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, despite outperforming all the world’s traditional currencies. But Square, best known for its technology that allows merchants to process credit card transactions without a cash register or expensive system, says its customers have shown an appetite for the “alt-currency.” Story by Aparajita Saxena for Reuters

Why Are So Many More Shoppers Buying Gifts on Credit This Holiday Season?
More than half of holiday shoppers (56 percent, in fact) admit that debt is the way they now finance their gift buying. While the total amount that each shopper spends on presents has stayed roughly the same, at about $660 per person, the majority of shoppers will pay for those gifts with a credit card. What’s more, the 56 percent of consumers who pay with plastic represents an 8 percent increase over the previous year, when 48 percent used debt to finance purchases. But why now? It’s very likely a combination of factors. Among them is the steadily growing popularity of buying things online, which hit its highest level ever last year, according to the National Retail Federation. With the ubiquity of search and the ease of technologies like Amazon’s one-click checkout, buying goods on the web has become so easy. And since credit is the most preferred payment method for online transactions-47 percent of shoppers pay this way, according to a 2016 study from Total System Services-it follows that a good many of these purchases wind up on the plastic. Story by Robert Klara for Adweek

Forever 21 May Be Latest Credit Card Breach Victim
Forever 21 may be the latest retailer to fall victim to a credit card breach. At issue are payment cards used at certain stores between March and October of this year, according to the company. The encryption of payment-card readers there weren’t working and the chain received a third-party report suggesting that there may have been unauthorized access to data from those cards. The Los Angeles-based clothier hasn’t said how many customers could be potentially affected or where the stores are located. The retailer said it implemented new encryption programs in 2015. Story by Zlati Meyer for USA Today

Wells Fargo Uncovers 450 More Illegal Vehicle Repossessions
The number of Wells Fargo illegal vehicle repossessions has more than doubled, according to settlement information from the Department of Justice. The bank found 450 more instances between January 2008 and July 2015 where military service members had their cars repossessed without a court order, bringing the total to 863. Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $5.4 million for the additional vehicle seizures, with a total settlement of $10.2 million. The bank has agreed to repair the credit of any service member affected by this incident, along with $10,000 and compensation for equity lost on the vehicle. Story by Lynn Oldshue for LowCards.com

5 Ways An Identity Thief Can Use Your Social Security Number
Having your Social Security number or card stolen isn’t quite like getting your bank account information taken – though granted, both are stressful experiences. The major difference is that you can get a new bank account number, while the Social Security Administration very rarely issues new Social Security numbers. Once an identity thief has your Social Security number, they can commit all sorts of financial fraud with it, potentially leaving you on the hook for their misconduct. Look at it this way: Social Security numbers are wrapped up in most aspects of Americans’ lives – employment, medical history, taxes, education, bank accounts, and so on. Below is a list of just a few things someone can do with your SSN if they get their hands on it. Story by Christine DiGangi for USA Today

Citigroup’s Credit Card Growth Plans Hit a Snag
One of the bright spots in Citigroup Inc.’s turnaround strategy is starting to lose a little luster. For years, the New York-based bank has steadily grown its card business, boosting loans and investing heavily despite problems elsewhere that ranged from headaches in Mexico to regulatory problems that lingered after the financial crisis. But now, some cracks in the card business have emerged, raising questions just as CEO Michael Corbat has shored up the bank’s other issues. This summer, the bank lowered its profitability potential for Citi-branded credit cards to at least a 2.15% return on assets, down from 2.25%. The seemingly narrow nugget in one part of Citigroup’s sprawling empire is getting a lot of attention, in part because credit cards have been a crucial business for a bank that has spent much of its efforts getting smaller and simpler. Among the factors pressuring the business are more activity on cards that don’t tend to generate as much lending income and consumers’ increasing demand for rewards. Story by Telis Demos and AnnaMaria Andriotis for The Wall Street Journal

Senators Reach Rare Bipartisan Deal To Ease Banking Rules
A group of senators on Monday rolled out a rare, bipartisan agreement years in the making that would relax a number of banking regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis. The deal was driven by Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and a handful of red-state Democrats who have long argued that the rules were stifling lending for their rural constituents. The same Democrats are facing tough reelection campaigns next year. The compromise would ease regulations on small, community banks as well as several larger lenders that have been subject to stricter oversight because they have more than $50 billion in assets. Story by Zachary Warmbrodt for Politico

MasterCard Has Filed a Patent on its Own Blockchain-Based Money Transfer Solution
In about 2014, most bitcoin companies quickly pivoted to the “next big thing”: blockchain. Among them were the financial and fintech houses that were eager to avoid SEC scrutiny of their cryptocurrency holdings but were happy to use blockchain technology to speed up transaction times. Many of those early efforts are now apparently bearing fruit. MasterCard, for example, has just filed a patent for a “Method and System For Instantaneous Payment Using Recorded Guarantees.” This is, in short, a patent for a blockchain-like system that offers instant payment. It is not a clone, per se, but a patent that assumes that a blockchain-like ledger will be available to store and manage international transactions instantly. Story by John Biggs for Tech Crunch

Why Mobile Payments Are Still So Hard for J.P. Morgan
Many U.S. companies from startups to Apple Inc. have struggled to gain traction in the fast-growing world of mobile payments. The country’s largest bank is no exception. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., run by chairman and CEO James Dimon, has made numerous splashes to promote its mobile offerings, including a television spot featuring a ping-pong playing Serena Williams. But the payoff has yet to come. Banks view mobile commerce as one of their biggest opportunities, but they still largely trail technology firms and non-banks such as Visa Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc. Still, banks are pushing to expand offerings to have them in place for the day when the general U.S. consumer flocks to paying with their phone as much as millennial consumers have begun to do or those in other countries such as China. Story by Emily Glazer for The Wall Street Journal



The information contained within this article was accurate as of November 17, 2017. 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