LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–November 30, 2018

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–November 30, 2018

November 30, 2018         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Next Up for Amazon: Checking Accounts
Amazon is in talks with big banks including JPMorgan Chase about building a checking-account-like product the online retailer could offer its customers, according to people familiar with the matter. The effort is still in its early stages and may not come to fruition. The talks with financial firms are focused on creating a product that would appeal to younger customers and those without bank accounts. Whatever its final form, the initiative wouldn’t involve Amazon becoming a bank. Story by Emily Glazer, Liz Hoffman and Laura Stevens for The Wall Street Journal

T-Mobile Money Mobile Banking Launches with Special Incentives for T-Mobile Wireless Customers
If you thought T-Mobile was just a wireless carrier that takes your money, now it’s giving you a place to store your money. And earn interest on it. The company has quietly launched the online bank T-Mobile Money in partnership with BankMobile. Available through iOS and Android apps—and, if necessary, a web app for laptops and desktop computers—the online bank promotes fee-free digital banking with a 1 percent annual percentage yield (APY) on all balances. But that’s boosted to 4 percent APY on checking account balances up to $3,000 for T-Mobile wireless customers with qualifying service and who deposit at least $200 per month. Story by Frank Catalano for Geek Wire

Lenders Extending More Loans to Subprime Consumers as Credit Market Continues to Exhibit Signs of Strength
Auto loans, credit cards and personal loans all saw year-over-year growth in subprime originations this past quarter according to a new TransUnion  report, a sign that lenders are returning to this space following several consecutive quarters of declining originations. Credit cards, by far the most popular credit product, reversed a declining originations trend with year-over-year growth observed for the first time since 2016. Growth of 3.6% was seen by subprime and positive growth was observed in the prime plus and super prime risk tiers. The current industry-wide treatment of subprime appears to be one in which lenders are providing more access to credit cards, though with smaller credit limits. Story in the Associated Press

Marriott Reveals Massive Database Breach Affecting up to 500 Million Hotel Guests
Marriott is revealing a massive database breach today, affecting up to 500 million guests of its Starwood hotels the company first acquired in 2016. A security investigation has concluded that there was “unauthorized access” to a database holding hotel guest records. “Marriott learned during the investigation that there had been unauthorized access to the Starwood network since 2014,” says a statement from the company. The Starwood security breach affects a number of branded hotels owned by Marriott, including W Hotels, Sheraton, St. Regis, Westin, and more. Story by Tom Warren for The Verge

Ohio Is ‘Planting A Flag’ And ‘Embracing Cryptocurrency’
Asked on Bloomberg News Thursday morning “just how big a deal” it is that Ohio now accepts cryptocurrencies for tax payments, Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel responded in kind saying that Ohio is “proud to do its small part” by being the first in the nation to do so. Speaking from a true position of authority on the subject of state taxation, the official said there were two primary motivations for the move: one, to make life easier for taxpayers and two, perhaps most significantly, to stimulate innovative industries to migrate to Ohio. Story in CCN

3 Drivers Helping Bridge the Gap to a Cashless Society
Today, only 41 percent of Americans regularly carry cash, creating a demand for alternative payment methods and unlocking a world of potential for innovation in Fintech. As payment solution providers strive to be ahead of the shift, and in many cases push the cashless agenda, they’ll be further confronted with consumers demanding developments that are in tune with their lifestyle. But adapting to better meet the needs of an increasingly cashless society won’t happen overnight – so how will the financial services industry realistically bridge the gap between today and the cashless future on the horizon? Among the payment innovations helping them do so are convenient prepaid debit cards, frictionless dual-interface cards and multi-use point-of-sale systems. Story by Jason Bohrer for Mobile Payments Today

Survey Says Gift Cards are Number 1 on Holiday Wish Lists
Gift cards are the most popular items on wish lists for the 12th year in a row, according to a survey released by National Retail Federation and  Prosper Insights & Analytics. Sixty percent of those surveyed say that’s what they want for Christmas. Bankcards, such as a prepaid debit card from Visa, American Express or MasterCard, can be used almost anywhere, making them a good choice. But some consider them impersonal, which is one of the biggest complaints about gift cards. 53 percent want clothing and accessories, making those items the second most popular choice. Books, movies and music came in third at 37 percent. Twenty-nine percent said they wanted electronics, 23 percent home décor, 22 percent jewelry and 19 percent wanted personal care or beauty products. Last in the survey was sporting goods at 18 percent and home improvement items at 17 percent. Story by Suzette Porter for Tampa Bay Newspapers

Target’s Massive One-Day Gift Card Sale is Happening This Sunday
Your once-a-year chance to save on Target gift cards is happening this Sunday. On Dec. 2, you can get Target gift cards worth up to $300 total for 10% off. This deal is available both in stores and online at Target.com, so whether you wanted to go do some shopping or just want to stay in bed, you can still get these savings. It’s the one day of the year Target discounts its store gift cards, offering a rare chance to save on gifts or cards to keep for yourself. Just note that this does not include gift cards to other retailers that are available from Target stores. Story by Kelly Tyko for USA Today

Mobile Payments Lag Behind Mobile Banking
About one in five financial institutions still do not offer mobile banking and 43% do not offer mobile payments, according to research published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The survey of 565 financial institutions, including 178 credit unions, found that 82% of respondents offered mobile banking. In addition, 14% of all respondents had “no plans to offer” mobile banking. Story by Tina Orem for The Credit Union Times

Sinemia Brings Back Physical Debit Cards For In-Person Fee-Free Movie Tickets
Sinemia announced the return of its physical debit card for in-person movie ticket sales, by “popular customer demand.” The MoviePass competitor dropped the feature back in May, but the push toward a cardless system met with pushback from customers irritated by third-party  transaction fees driving up the service’s cost-cutting promises. The new cards can be used to purchase movie tickets in-person at theaters. They also can be used for standard online orders, but those tickets will be subject to the same sorts of fees that have left some customers irritated at Sinemia’s shifting business model. The card will also cost you $15, a one-time purchase made through the company’s site, which means it will take a couple of movies before the savings really kick in. Story by Brian Heater for Tech Crunch

Check Gift Cards Before Purchasing to Prevent Theft
Gift cards are a big business, ringing up sales of over $27 billion in recent years. But thieves have figured out ways to steal the money placed on gift cards. According to Consumer Reports, the gift cards sold at any number of stores can be an easy target. Consumers should make sure they check the gift card for signs of tampering before they are purchased. Protective stickers and coating should be intact. And if a pin is revealed flag it with the store. Story by Monica Laliberte for WRAL



The information contained within this article was accurate as of November 30, 2018. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


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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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