LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 29, 2017

September 29, 2017, Written By Lynn Oldshue

Breach at Sonic Drive-In May Have Impacted Millions of Credit, Debit Cards
Sonic Drive-In, a fast-food chain with nearly 3,600 locations across 45 U.S. states, has acknowledged a breach affecting an unknown number of store payment systems. The ongoing breach may have led to a fire sale on millions of stolen credit and debit card accounts that are now being peddled in shadowy underground cybercrime stores, KrebsOnSecurity has learned. The first hints of a breach at Oklahoma City-based Sonic came last week when I began hearing from sources at multiple financial institutions who noticed a recent pattern of fraudulent transactions on cards that had all previously been used at Sonic. I directed several of these banking industry sources to have a look at a brand new batch of some five million credit and debit card accounts that were first put up for sale on Sept. 18 in a credit card theft bazaar called Joker’s Stash. Story by Brian Krebs for Krebs on Security

Equifax To Launch A Free Lifetime Credit Lock Service
Equifax’s new chief knows it’ll take a lot of effort to make people trust the credit reporting agency again. He started by penning a letter of apology published by The Wall Street Journal, wherein he admitted that the company wasn’t able to live up to people’s expectations. Equifax was hacked, he wrote — its website “did not function as it should have,” and its “call center couldn’t manage the volume of calls” the company received after the security breach was made public. The interim CEO has also revealed that Equifax will launch a new service on January 31st that will give you the power to lock and unlock your credit anytime. Best thing about the offer? It will be free for life to all its customers in the US. Story by Mariella Moon for Engadget

Nearly Half Of Americans Carry Credit Card Debt For At Least 2 Years
Nearly half of all U.S. adults who carry credit card debt-about 29 million people-say they’ve been carrying around a balance for at least two years now, according to a CreditCards.com study. Half of them (15 million) have been carrying the extra load for at least five years. The most likely offenders of debt were older Baby Boomers (age 63-71) at 63%, while the Silent Generation (ages 72+) followed at 57%. More than 50% of younger Millennials (ages 18-26) cited day-to-day expenses for their added debt, while only 35% of Generation Xers blamed their debt on simple life choices. Additional reasons included: retail purchases (16%), medical bills (12%), home repairs (10%), vacation expenses (10%) and car repairs (7%). People who make more money and have a higher education are more likely to carry debt than lower income, less educated and unemployed Americans. Story by Jade Scipioni for Fox Business

How To Fight Fraud By Updating Credit Card Terminals Before It’s Too Late
Seventy-five percent of companies experienced payment fraud in 2016, and half said the number of attacks increased over 2015. New industry standards and updated payment terminals technology can help protect businesses, but only if they take much-needed action. Today, businesses of every size rely on payments technology to transact and engage with customers. To get the best performance and to protect customers and sales, it is critical that software is always updated and compliant with security standards that deter fraud. SHA-2, the most current industry standard for payment encryption, is the best-available protection for the safety and security of credit card transactions. Not only is it recommended; soon, it will be mandatory. Currently, only about 40 percent of merchants are using SHA-2, and the remainder have until this December to convert to the new technology. Story by Laura Miller for The Business Journals

Equifax CEO Retires after Data Breach
Equifax CEO Richard Smith stepped down from his position after 12 years with the company. His immediate retirement comes on the heels of a huge data breach that affected 143 million Americans. The Chief Information Officer and Chief Security Officer announced their retirements last week, representing a major overhaul in Equifax’s executive officers. Former CEO Smith will not receive his annual bonus until the credit bureau has completed its data breach investigation. Smith can stay on Equifax’s health plan for life, and may be eligible for a retirement package of $18.48 million. If Smith is found at fault for the breach, the company may issue clawbacks or deny him a portion of his retirement. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com

Here’s Why Experts Say You May Need A New Virtual Credit Card
About 15.4 million consumers were victims of fraud or identity theft last year. That’s an increase of 16 percent from 2015 and the highest total since 2004. Including all types of fraud, hackers stole $16 billion in 2016, and, according to a report from Credit.com, that number could rise to $8 trillion in the next five years. But there could be a new way to protect yourself: Virtual credit cards that provide only a temporary 16-digit card number, and, depending on the card issuer, a custom spending limit and an expiration date. Story by Shawn M. Carter for CNBC

Chime Raises $18 Million For Mobile Banking Without The Fees
It’s a bank account and debit card built for the digital age. Chime is raising $18 million in Series B financing for its mobile-first approach to banking. Without monthly fees or overdraft charges, Chime tries to appeal to the millennial generation, touting its affordability and easy-to-use app. Since launching in 2014, Chime has signed up 500,000 customers, who are typically in their late 20s and making between $50,000 and $70,000 per year. Chime gets its revenue from the accompanying debit card, where it earns about 1.5 percent in fees per transaction. Chime touts its optional automatic-saving tools, which can set aside a pre-determined amount of money or round-up to the next dollar on transactions, putting the spare change in savings. Story by Katie Roof for Tech Crunch

Express Yourself With The Thing You Rely On Most–Your Credit Card
Most of the things we use everyday can been heavily customized—there’s an entire industry around weird phone cases. When it comes to credit cards, something we use almost every day, it’s an entirely different story. This Kickstarter project wants you to be able to treat your credit card like your phone or computer, with personalized covers that you can change whenever you get bored of them. CUCU makes temporary covers for your credit card that are (apparently) easy to apply, peel off, and replace. It’s way easier and more fun than having to choose from the bank’s limited selection of customizable cards that are expensive, lame, and permanent. The art on the covers is quirky and cool, and with more than 300 designs you’re sure to find something you like every time. Story by Emily Heller for Mashable

Starbucks Now Lets You Reload Store Cards With Apple Pay On Apple Watch
Starbucks just made its Apple Watch app a whole lot more useful. You can reload your Starbucks Card using Apple Pay right on the Apple Watch. Paying with your Starbucks Card was previously supported but was possible with the built-in Wallet app; reloading required using the iPhone app. Apple first added the ability to use Apple Pay in apps with last year’s watchOS 3 software update. Few apps take advantage of this feature so far (Apple Store for watchOS lets you purchase favorite items using Apple Pay as one example), so it’s nice to see Starbucks finally making use of it. Most Starbucks locations actually let you pay directly with Apple Pay from the Apple Watch in stores, but using your debit or credit card and not a pre-loaded Starbucks Card doesn’t let you earn points and rewards. Story by Zac Hall for 9 to 5 Mac

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, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 15.21 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.64 percent.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of September 29, 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.
View all posts by Lynn Oldshue