LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 15, 2017

September 15, 2017, Written By Lynn Oldshue
LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 15, 2017

Scammers Are Constructing Fake People to Get Real Credit Cards
Known as synthetic identity theft, the scam relies on creating identities rather than stealing existing ones. Synthetic fraudsters buy stolen SSNs or try to guess numbers not in use, then combine them with a sham identity. Using other people’s real addresses, they begin applying for cards. Banks usually reject the first requests after seeing that the applicant has no credit profile. Thieves keep applying for cards until a lender eventually opens an account. Then the long con starts. Fraudsters can spend years faithfully paying the monthly bills for the cards-which they may have forwarded to P.O. boxes or their own homes-while watching credit limits tick higher. After an identity is established, they sign up for more cards. When the scheme is ripe, the fraudsters charge everything to the hilt, a phase commonly known as “busting out.” Payoffs can stretch into the tens of thousands of dollars. The identities are then discarded. Barely on the radar a half decade ago, the technique may already account for as much as 20 percent of credit card loans that go bad. Synthetic identity theft probably cost banks at least $6 billion in 2016. Story by Jennifer Surane for Bloomberg

Apple Just Unleashed Its Venmo Killer
You now have even less of an excuse to delay paying back your friends. Apple’s newly launched software update, iOS 11, includes a new feature that allows users to send or request money through iMessage, Apple’s texting app, rather than using a separate app like Venmo or Square Cash. It’s also sometimes referred as the ‘Venmo killer.’ Using the new mobile peer-to-peer payment system is simple. If you use Apple Pay, you can complete a transaction with a friend over iMessage – and it will appear within your text conversation. Users can send money with their credit or debit cards, and can authenticate their transactions through a password or TouchID. If they receive money, it will appear virtually as an Apple Pay Cash card in their Wallet app. They can then use it instantly to pay at stores and for online purchases or transfer the money to their bank accounts. Story by Jennifer Calfas for Time

The FTC is Looking into the Equifax Breach
The Federal Trade Commission is actively investigating the massive breach revealed last week at credit bureau Equifax, which leaked personal financial information on 143 million people. Equifax made a number of severe errors in handling the breach, beginning with apparent insider trading by Equifax executives more than a month before the breach was made public. Once the compromise was announced, ambiguous language in the recovery site’s Terms of Service made it seem as if anyone accepting Equifax’s credit-monitoring services would waive their right to sue the service. More recently, Equifax’s cybersecurity has come under fire. Last night, the service said the core of the compromise was a vulnerability in Apache’s open-source Struts software. First discovered earlier this year, the vulnerability was patched in March, months before the beginning of the Equifax compromise. Had Equifax patched the software when a fix first became available, the breach could have been averted. Story by Russell Brandom for The Verge

Bitcoin a ‘Fraud’ That Will ‘Blow Up’ According to JPMorgan Chase Boss
It’s hit a record high price of just below $5,000 at the start of the month. And it’s been the main driver of a boom in a value of all cryptocurrencies, which started the year valued at $17 billion and are now worth close to $180 billion. So why has bitcoin lost more than 15 per cent of its value in the last 10 days? There have been grim warnings from people in the know, specifically from JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon. He told a New York investor conference that bitcoin was a “fraud” and will eventually “blow up”. Story by ABC News

Subprime Credit Costs Capital One And Synchrony Downgrades From Morgan Stanley
Why is it that credit card losses continue to rise at a time when employment data shows a healthy labor force? Taking a deep dive into the subprime consumer shows that they are coming to terms with higher rent and health care costs, which are in fact rising faster than their wage growth, the analysts found. At the same time, the banks are also tightening their stands and pulling back on subprime card growth. As such, the analysts felt it prudent to downgrade the two credit card companies with the biggest exposure to the subprime segment: Capital One and Synchrony Financial. Specifically, 36 percent of Capital One’s total card loans are held by subprime customers while Synchrony’s exposure stands at 28 percent. Story by Jayson Derrick for Benzinga

Google is Reportedly Releasing a Localized Mobile Payment Service in India
Google is increasing its focus on India with plans to introduce a localized digital payment service as soon as next week. The publication claims Google ‘Tez,’ meaning fast in India, will offer a comprehensive set of payment options beyond existing products like Google Wallet or Android Pay. Tez, for one thing, will include support for Unified Payments Interface (UPI)—a payment system backed by the government—and other consumer payment services including Paytm and MobiKwik. Apparently it will be a dedicated app when it arrives. This is a big deal because Google hasn’t made a big push into payments outside of the U.S. and, while it has a strong consumer presence in India, revenue from the country is nothing to write home about. Yet. Story by Jon Russell for Tech Crunch

MasterCard Tests Cardless Cash Pick-Up
MasterCard is testing MasterCard Cash Pick-Up, a mobile cash disbursement service that allows users to access cash from a participating ATM using only a mobile phone. The service allows users, including as individuals or companies, to send money to anyone via a text message, providing the recipient with an order number and PIN that they can then use to retrieve the cash at an ATM without using a card. The service will be piloted in the US during Q4 2017. Story by Rachel Green for Business Insider

What To Do About the Equifax Credit Data Breach
Equifax is one of the three large credit bureaus that collect information on all your financial transactions from banks, credit card companies, merchants, mortgage lenders, landlords and utilities—just about every company to which you make payments or from which you borrow. And much of that information, on almost every adult in America, has just been exposed to hackers. The potential impact is extensive. Information gained by the hackers includes addresses, social security numbers, birth dates and in some cases driver’s license numbers. The breach happened in late spring but only now is being disclosed. The only truly surprising thing about the huge breach of security at Equifax is that it took so long to happen. Equifax allows protected public access to its data to individuals seeking information about their own credit reports and to merchants seeking to grant “instant credit” at point of purchase. That access creates greater vulnerability to a breach. Equifax knew that but obviously failed in some way to secure the information. Here’s what you should do now. Story by Terry Savage for the Chicago Tribune

Citi Debuts its First Facebook Messenger Banking Chatbot in Singapore
Citi has beta launched a banking chatbot on Facebook Messenger that is capable of providing customer account information to users. Dubbed Citi Bot, the chatbot will make its debut in the Singapore market and be progressively introduced to the wider Asia Pacific region in the coming months. The chatbot’s launch is a world-first for Citi in a social media network. Citi Bot operates using natural language processing, a branch of artificial intelligence that concerns programming computers to understand the nuances of human language. Story in FinTech Innovation

This Debit Card Lets Parents Control Where and How Much Their Kids Spend
The makers of a new debit card for kids say their product helps improve children’s money know-how while also giving parents control over how their kids spend. The Greenlight debit card is designed to be used by kids, but parents decide exactly how much and where their children can spend – say, $10 at Starbucks. The card costs $4.99 a month per family (the fee covers both parents and up to five children). There are no overdraft fees or other fees associated with the card, which is a Mastercard issued by Community Federal Savings Bank. Greenlight is one of several options for parents who want to monitor kids’ spending. Others include Current, which costs $4 a month for two kids and a $1 for each additional child. It’s similar to Greenlight but also allows users to set aside money for savings or charity. Current lets parents prohibit kids from spending in certain categories, such as casinos or bars, and parents can block specific stores. Others include Bluebird from American Express and Oink. Story by Leslie Albrecht for MarketWatch

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report
Based on the 1,000+ cards in the LowCards.com Complete Credit Card Index, the average advertised APR for credit cards is 15.41 percent, slightly higher than last week’s average of 15.40 percent. Six months ago, the average was 15.15 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.64 percent.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of September 15, 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.
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