LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 27, 2013
Google Wallet Arrives on iPhone
Google introduced the Wallet app to the iPhone, a move which will hasten the replacement of cash and credit cards. The iOS app will allow users to store gift and loyalty cards and send cash between people. However, it won’t work for tap-and-go payments using NFC, or near-field communication, which is available on some Android phones. That’s because Apple didn’t include NFC in its latest iPhones. Story by Greg Bensinger for the Wall Street Journal.
Avoid Losing Your Credit Card Rewards
More than half of the credit cards on the market offer popular rewards, such as cash back, airline miles or points. But rewards can also be things like merchandise from your favorite NFL team, NASCAR souvenirs, and discounts at bookstores or home improvement stores. Consumers should realize you don’t “own” your rewards, and there are ways to lose them. Here are seven ways to lose your credit card rewards and how you can protect them. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.
Consumers Making Mortgage Payments Priority Again
A new study suggests that the steady rise in U.S. home values is increasingly motivating homeowners to make paying their mortgage on time a priority. The study found consumers are still most likely to make timely payments on their auto loans ahead of credit cards and home loans. As home values increased over the past year, the late-payment rate on mortgages nearly closed the gap with credit cards. Story by the Associated Press.
Chase Scraps Joint Credit Cards
Chase will no longer allow customers to open joint credit cards. The issuer recently pulled the plug on the option in order to “simplify” its offerings. Instead of opening a joint credit card, customers will have to add their spouse, partner or anyone else they want as an authorized user to an account. Story by Blake Ellis for CNN Money.
Report Urges Changes at Consumer Protection Bureau
The CFPB should revamp aspects of the way it supervises financial institutions and be more open to public feedback, a centrist think tank says in a new report. The report recommended that the CFPB set up formal timelines for finishing examinations, a key issue for banks and other firms seeking clarity about where they stand. Many institutions are concerned about the level of turnover and lack of experience among the CFPB’s examiners. Story by Alan Zibel for the Wall Street Journal.
Dump Your Big Bank and Save
Bank Transfer Day was two years ago this month. It was a bust. Few people switched, in part because of the grip big banks had on them with their alluring online and mobile-banking services. Now new competitors have entered the market and the top 10 credit unions have caught up, and many smaller ones have added, or are working to add, smart-phone banking. Story in Consumer Reports.
Southwest Airlines Devaluing Frequent Flier Points
Southwest Airlines said it is devaluing its frequent flier points. The airline said it will raise, to 70 from 60, the number of Rapid Rewards frequent flier points needed to book its cheapest nonrefundable “Wanna Get Away” reward flights, starting with bookings made March 31. Anytime and Business Select redemption rates remain the same. Story by Gregory Karp for the Chicago Tribune.
Don’t be Tricked by Gas Station Cash Discounts
Some gas stations offer discounts for customers who use cash instead of credit. Pay attention because those discounts could leave you paying more to fuel up. While the difference between the cash and credit prices at gas stations typically is about 5 to 10 cents a gallon, there have been reports about stations’ charging credit card customers as much as $1 more per gallon than those paying with cash. Story by Anthony Giorgianni for Consumer Reports.
Banks Sued for Alleged Libor Manipulation
JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, Credit Suisse and 10 other international banks have been sued by a federal credit union regulator on charges they manipulated a financial benchmark used to set rates on trillions of dollars in loans. The lawsuits charge that the banks conspired to rig Libor, which is used to set the rates on mortgages, car loans, student loans, credit cards and complex financial derivatives contracts. By keeping the rate artificially low from at least January 2005 through December 2010, the alleged manipulation resulted in improperly low interest income for five failed corporate credit unions now being liquidated by the regulator. Story by Kevin McCoy for USA Today.
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 14.38 percent, slightly lower than last week’s 14.39 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.29 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.32 percent.