LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 21, 2018

September 21, 2018, Written By Bill Hardekopf
LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 21, 2018

New Law Lets Consumers Freeze Credit for Free
Americans can put their credit reports in the deep freeze–and “thaw” them whenever they want–without cost thanks to a federal law that goes into effect today. Spurred by the massive Equifax data breach in 2017 that exposed the private data of nearly half of all Americans, Congress passed legislation earlier this year that gives every consumer the right to lock up their credit information quickly and for free. That makes it unavailable to both creditors and identity thieves. Although consumers could freeze their credit in the past, most credit bureaus charged between $3 and $10 each time a credit file was frozen or thawed. That made the process cumbersome and costly. The new law makes the process free, and also demands that credit bureaus make the process nearly instantaneous. Story by Kathy Kristof for CBS News

Visa and MasterCard Agree to Settle Swipe Fee Class Action for $6.2 Billion
Visa and MasterCard, along with some top US banks, have agreed to pay as much as $6.2 billion in a class action settlement with US retailers over swipe fees. The settlement ends a 13-year old suit brought by the nation’s leading merchants, which claimed that Visa and MasterCard violated antitrust laws by fixing prices to benefit the banks. It’s the largest antitrust settlement ever. The suit has been settled before, but the original settlement reached in 2012 was rejected by major merchants as unfair and overturned on appeal. Opponents of the earlier agreement argued it would have limited the retailers’ ability to bring future lawsuits and done little to end uncompetitive practices. Under the new deal, Visa will pay an additional $600 million, while MasterCard will pay an additional $108 million, according to the companies’ filings. Story by Chris Isidore for CNN

How Much Are Stolen Frequent Flyer Miles Worth on the Dark Web?
There’s a black market for your frequent flyer miles. Stolen frequent flyer accounts and rewards points are a hot commodity on the Dark Net. Stolen airline miles aren’t usually spent on actual airfare or hotel bookings-purchases that require proof of ID. But many reward programs allow account holders to redeem points at local retailers, often through gift cards. Members aren’t required to enter a password or PIN number when spending points, and retail staff often don’t ask for an ID. Due to the lack of verification, frequent flyer miles have become a profitable target for hackers and thieves. And because most of us don’t use or check our frequent flyer accounts very often, the theft can go unnoticed for months. Story by Paul Bischoff for Comparitech

Amazon is Testing a Shopping Site That Recommends Products Based on Your Likes
Amazon is testing out a shopping site for consumers who don’t know specifically what they want but are willing to take some automated recommendations to help them find it. The new service, Scout, asks shoppers to like or dislike a product (thumbs up or thumbs down) and responds by showing other products based on their choices. Amazon is using machine learning technology to address one of the perpetual criticisms of the site–that it’s a great place to buy things but a lousy place to browse. While Amazon is by far the largest U.S. e-commerce company, it’s left the door open for e-retailers. Scout is currently available for home furniture, kitchen and dining products, women’s shoes, home decor, patio furniture, lighting and bedding. The site says that more categories are coming soon for things like clothing and handbags. Story by Ari Levy for CNBC

2 Of 5 U.S. Cardholders Have Fallen Victim To Credit Card Scams
The convenience and ease of credit cards comes with a downside: credit card fraud is a tempting and lucrative target for criminals. According to a new Finder.com study, approximately 42% of consumers (roughly 103 million Americans) who use credit cards have experienced at least one fraudulent transaction in their lifetime. At an average loss of $1,319, credit card scammers have racked up approximately $136 billion in fraudulent charges, more than the current market value of McDonalds or General Electric and greater than the GDP of 132 countries. Story on KSDK

NewEgg Cracked in Breach, Hosted Card-Stealing Code Within its Own Checkout
The popular computer and electronics Web retailer NewEgg has apparently been hit by the same payment-data-stealing attackers who targeted TicketMaster UK and British Airways. The attackers, referred to by researchers as Magecart, managed to inject 15 lines of JavaScript into NewEgg’s webstore checkout that forwarded credit card and other data to a server with a domain name that made it look like part of NewEgg’s Web infrastructure. It appears that all Web transactions over the past month were affected by the breach. Story by Sean Gallagher for Ars Technica

Amazon Opens ‘Amazon Storefronts’ to Showcase American Small Businesses
Amazon launched a new section of their website called Amazon Storefronts. This area exclusively features products sold by American-owned small- and mid-sized businesses. Amazon Storefronts currently includes over one million products from 20,000 businesses across all 50 states. According to Amazon, half the products sold on their website come from small- and medium-sized businesses. Storefronts is a platform to showcase those items in “curated collections,” such as pet supplies, travel, jewelry and home products. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com

Riot Games Inks Multiyear Global Sponsorship Deal With Mastercard
Mastercard is teaming with Riot Games for a multiyear deal to become the first global sponsor of the studio’s online multiplayer game League of Legends, one of the largest and most profitable e-sports brands in the world. The deal is Mastercard’s first major pact in the world of competitive gaming and follows sponsorship deals for the company in more traditional sports leagues such as the MLB, PGA Tour and UEFA Champions League. League of Legends, first released in October 2009, boasts 14 professional e-sports leagues and 113 professional teams around the globe. Story by Patrick Shanley for The Hollywood Reporter

Citi Launches Massive 400,000 Bonus Point Offer in Australia
Citi have made a number of changes to their suite of credit cards, including the introduction of a number of substantial bonus points offers which could earn cardholders up to 400,000 Citi Points. Implemented today, the new bonus points offers apply to the Citi Platinum, Citi Signature and Citi Prestige credit cards, with applicants having until March 31, 2019 to take advantage of the deals. Cardholders will be able to earn up to 200,000 bonus points (10,000 a month) on the Citi Platinum, 300,000 (15,000 a month) on the Citi Signature and 400,000 (20,000 a month) on the Citi Prestige credit cards by meeting a minimum spending requirement of $1,000 each statement period for 20 months. That’s on top of the standard points earning rates on the respective cards. Story by Tom Watson for Mozo

In ‘Golden Age’ of Branded Credit Cards, Shoppers Cash In
Credit cards that are affiliated with brands–such as American Airlines, Uber, L.L. Bean and Ikea–are suddenly ramping up rewards for everyday purchases at restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores. These rewards cards, co-branded by the issuer and a retail brand, were formerly one-trick ponies that were best for purchases at a single merchant only. But with better rewards, the cards are now becoming more useful for consumers. Now, co-branded card issuers might offer double or triple points every time you swipe at the pump or hand your card to a waiter or store clerk. Story by Gregory Karp for NerdWallet

Square is Considering Offering Investment and Savings Products Through its Cash App
The payments company Square is increasingly looking more and more like a bank account, with a Cash App that the company says is trying to serve 30 million unbanked or underbanked households in the United States. The company may be offering savings products like a neighborhood bank might, and will perhaps allow customers to purchase stock just like Cash users today can purchase bitcoin. Those are still just ideas that the company can do with the more than $200 million in balances that customers hold in the app. Story by Theodore Schleifer for Recode

Stripe Extends its Infrastructure to In-Person Shopping
Stripe rolled out a new product that allows online businesses to build their own custom checkout experiences for in-person shoppers. The product, called Stripe Terminal, extends Stripe’s e-commerce presence to the world of offline commerce, which still accounts for 90 percent of retail sales. In addition to serving retailers, Stripe Terminal caters to booking and commerce platforms that host services for other merchants. Because Stripe Terminal is integrated with other Stripe services, it can facilitate further customer interactions. Story by Stephanie Condon for ZD Net



The information contained within this article was accurate as of September 21, 2018. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Bill Hardekopf

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.
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