LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–October 4, 2019

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–October 4, 2019

October 4, 2019         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Visa, Mastercard, Others Reconsider Involvement in Facebook’s Libra Network
Cracks are forming in the coalition Facebook assembled to build a global cryptocurrency-based payments network. Visa, Mastercard and other financial partners that signed on to help build and maintain the Libra payments network are reconsidering their involvement following a backlash from U.S. and European government officials, according to people familiar with the matter. Wary of attracting regulatory scrutiny, executives of some of Libra’s backers have declined Facebook’s requests to publicly support the project, the people said. Their reluctance has Facebook scrambling to keep Libra on track. Policy executives from Libra’s more than two dozen backers-a group called the Libra Association-have been summoned to a meeting in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, according to people familiar with the matter. Story by AnnaMaria Andriotis and Peter Rudegeair for The Wall Street Journal

How to Avoid Being Fleeced When Using a Credit Card Overseas
Most of the time, when you make a charge overseas, the amount is sent to Visa, Mastercard or American Express in the local currency. The card networks convert the charge into your home currency at a wholesale rate and send it your bank, which might tack on an additional foreign transaction fee of 0 to 2 percent, depending on the card. However, in a bid to make more money from travelers, many businesses have programmed their card machines to present foreign customers with a choice: Do you want to process the charge in the local currency or your home currency? They tout this dynamic currency conversion as a convenience to you. But the merchants rarely disclose that you are paying them an extra fee of 3 percent to 8 percent, sometimes more. Story by Vindu Goel for The New York Times

Bank of America Plans to Expand Customer-Loyalty Program After Initial Success
Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program is celebrating five years, logging 6 million members with $475 billion in assets since its inception. BofA’s Preferred Rewards is a loyalty program for customers with at least $20,000 across their banking and investment accounts. The program is divided into three tiers: Gold, $20,000 and up; Platinum, $50,000 and up; and Platinum Honors, $100,000 and up. Members receive fee discounts, interest-rate boosts on savings accounts and credit-card rewards bonuses, among other perks. Story by Caroline Hudson for the Charlotte Business Journal

Delta’s American Express Credit Cards Just Got Way Better For Travelers
It’s an excellent day to be a Delta Skymiles American Express credit card holder. Fresh off the heels of renewing their partnership through 2029, Amex and Delta just announced a complete upgrade of every credit card in their portfolio, with each of their four cards receiving a host of new perks that will apply both to existing and new cardholders. The perks include discounts on Global Entry and TSA Precheck, bonus miles for grocery store purchases, and access to American Express Centurion Lounges. Story by Louis Cheslaw for Conde Nast Traveler

Are Americans Embracing Mobile Payments?
To help shed light on consumer preferences and concerns, Pew conducted a nationally representative survey that captured Americans’ opinions of and experiences with an array of payment methods, including mobile payments; credit, debit, and prepaid cards; checks and money orders; and cash. Story by Nick Bourke for Pew Charitable Trusts

Credit One Bank and American Express Launch New Cash-Back Rewards Credit Card
Credit One Bank and American Express announced the launch of the Credit One Bank American Express Card on Wednesday. Cardholders receive unlimited 1% cash-back rewards on all purchases. The credit card offers a variety of perks beyond cash-back rewards such as discounts from participating merchants with Amex Offers; early access to concert and event tickets from American Express Experiences; retail and return protection; extended warranty coverage; travel accident insurance; and car rental loss and damage insurance. Story by Alexandria White for CNBC

I Worked at Capital One for Five Years. This Is How We Justified Piling Debt on Poor Customers.
The real question, of course, isn’t whether a credit card with a 27 percent interest rate and a $39 late fee is better than a payday loan. It’s whether Capital One’s marketing campaigns push people into debt who would have otherwise avoided it; whether it is actually in a person’s best interest, desperate though they may be, to borrow money at an exorbitant rate; and whether this enterprise is ethically defensible-in particular, for the decent, hard-working employees who toil every day to make Capital One’s mercenary strategy a reality. Because the ugly truth is that subprime credit is all about profiting from other people’s misery. Story by Elena Botella for The New Republic

Mastercard, Samsung Launch Prepaid Samsung Pay Cash
Mastercard announced that it was teaming up with Samsung and Netspend to launch Samsung Pay Cash, which combines a prepaid debit card with tokenized security so that customers don’t have to display their 16-digit account numbers on their cards, in a blogpost. Mastercard said Samsung Pay Cash works anywhere Samsung Pay and Mastercard are accepted using contactless or magnetic stripe payments. Story in Mobile Payments Today

Visa, Mastercard Seek Out Blockchain’s Role in Cross-Border Payments
The card networks are taking blockchain seriously as a means of streamlining cross-border B2B payments. But while they share a vision, they are taking different paths to this goal. Visa has opted for a closed network that it controls, while Mastercard envisages a wider, more open ecosystem. Mastercard is developing a blockchain-based platform to connect faster payment systems in partnership with bank-backed R3, whose Corda software is used by multiple industry verticals including banking, healthcare, telecoms and trade finance. Visa now has 62 international trade corridors on its Visa B2B Connect platform, which it launched in June, and expects to expand to 100 countries in 2020. Story by Robin Arnfield for Payments Source

Wells Fargo’s New CEO Charlie Scharf Spent 25 Years Learning From Jamie Dimon. Now He’s Taking Him On
Charlie Scharf will soon be competing against the mentor he followed for a quarter-century as the new CEO of Wells Fargo. He’s taking charge at the institution that in just three years has fallen from its pinnacle as the most prudent and arguably best managed of America’s Big Four banks, a group that also encompasses Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Citigroup, to a severely tarnished, no-growth franchise that’s hobbled by regulators and widely reviled by customers. Scharf three main challenges: winning the support of regulators unmoved by his predecessors’ reforms, restoring Wells’ reputation with customers, and getting what was once a powerful growth machine moving once again. Story by Shawn Tully for Fortune

Understanding Interest Rates and Why You Need to Care
It’s easy to lose sight of how interest rates impact our household finances amid a decade of tumultuous rate fluctuations. It may be tempting to write off rate increases and decreases as something you cannot nor should not react to, since it ultimately is out of your control. But to ignore interest rates is folly. What follows is a primer on interest rates and what they mean for you. Story by Jamie Letcher for Kiplinger


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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