LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 5, 2019

LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 5, 2019

September 5, 2019         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Amazon Tests Whole Foods Payment System that Uses Hands as ID
Forget the titanium Apple Card. Amazon’s latest payment method uses flesh and blood. The e-tailing giant’s engineers are quietly testing scanners that can identify an individual human hand as a way to ring up a store purchase, with the goal of rolling them out at its Whole Foods supermarket chain in the coming months. Employees at Amazon’s New York offices are serving as guinea pigs for the biometric technology, using it at a handful of vending machines to buy such items as sodas, chips, granola bars and phone chargers. Story by Nicolas Vega for The New York Post

Credit Card Companies Take Cue From Start-Ups to Offer Flexible Payment Plans
More credit cards are offering flexible payment plans for customers who want to spread out the cost of expensive items, or unexpected expenses, over several months. Card companies say the options make it easier for their customers to borrow money, and to manage their monthly cash flow. The new options are also a response to the rise of financial technology start-ups, like Affirm and Afterpay, which work with online retailers to offer shoppers quick approval of installment loans at the moment of purchase. Amazon also offers some customers no-cost monthly installment options, which it charges to the credit card on file with your account. Story by Ann Carrns for The New York Times

Fewer Women Now Pay Their Credit Card Balances in Full
Americans, especially women, are feeling less secure about their finances today than just a few months ago. Overall, cardholders are paying their balances in full less often and feeling less confident about doing so in the future than at any time in the past year, according to a monthly credit card confidence survey by CompareCards.com. Women are struggling the most. For the first time, women were more likely to say they never paid their card statements in full once in the previous six months than to say they did so every month, CompareCards found. Men were much more likely to say they always paid their bill in full. Story by Jessica Dickler for CNBC

Is Letting Google Chrome Autofill My Credit Card Number A Huge Mistake?
Should I let my Chrome autofill my credit card number on websites? Is it safe? I decided to find out. I began by digging into my Chrome settings, where I found a page with the option “Save and fill payment methods” selected. It showed my cards were linked to Google Pay, which I learned encrypts payment info and stores it on secure servers. That sounded good until I called Robert Siciliano, a cybersecurity market segment expert. He explained that despite the encryption on the back end, I’m still in danger if my computer is accessed by someone who’s not me (which can happen through malware or being physically stolen). So letting Chrome store my payment info isn’t exactly the most secure move. Story by Julia Glum for CNN Money

Bay Area Restaurateurs Want to Charge Diners for Using Credit Cards. But They’re Scared
Kiraku is one of the first restaurants in the Bay Area to charge diners an extra fee for paying with plastic. The move hasn’t kept diners from lining up nightly for corn tempura and grilled beef tongue, but other restaurant owners are nervous about following Kiraku’s lead. Understandably so. “Some people get really angry,” said Kiraku co-owner Sanae Saito. “Some post one-star reviews on Yelp complaining.” As the costs of running a restaurant in the Bay Area continue to rise and profit margins remain low, owners are eyeing credit card surcharges as one potential way to save a lot of money, as much as $100,000 per year, depending on the size of the restaurant. When a diner pays with a credit card, the restaurant ends up paying a processing fee that is usually somewhere between 2% and 4%, depending on the card. Story by Janelle Bitker for the San Francisco Chronicle

Some College Students Think Credit Cards Are Free Money
A new Wallet Hub survey of incoming college students found one in 10 college students think credit cards are free money. Read that again. Credit cards are free money, they believe. If you have a female student, she’s five times more likely to think she could be a better money manager; 14% of students would rather miss a credit card payment than a party. And finally, 35% of students rely on parents to help pay their credit card bills. Story by Dana Fowle for Fox 5 Atlanta

Visa Chip Cards Reduced Counterfeit Fraud By 87%
Visa announced that since their inception, chip cards have reduced counterfeit fraud by 87 percent. Chip cards are now accepted at more than 3.7 million merchants, whereas in September of 2015 that number was only 392,000. That’s an 825 percent increase. The number of active Visa chip cards is up significantly: from 159 million in September of 2015 to 521 million in June of this year. That’s a 227 percent increase, and 72 percent of Visa credit and debit cards have chips. They’re becoming increasingly more common. In fact, 99 percent of all U.S. payment volume in June was done on EMV cards. Story in PYMNTS

Many Americans Would Sacrifice Having a Family To Avoid Credit Card Debt
According to the GOBankingRates survey, many Americans are willing to make big sacrifices in order to reach their financial goals — and that includes starting a family. In fact, 11% of respondents said they’re willing to give up having children, and 10% said they would sacrifice marriage if it meant never falling into credit card debt. A smaller but still significant percentage of Americans — 6% — said they’re willing to surrender both having children and getting married. On the flip side, more than half of those polled said they aren’t willing to give up any of those things to avoid credit card debt — which might help explain why some Americans are struggling to maintain control over their finances. Story by Charlene Oldham for Yahoo Finance

Consumer Watchdog Agency Shows One Way to Help Improve Your Savings
Gentle encouragement or financial incentives could result in more people setting aside at least some of their tax refund for emergency savings, a new study suggests. The research shows that among taxpayers who used a prepaid card from H&R Block to receive their 2017 refund, those who were sent messages about saving their refund were more likely to squirrel something away than those who did not receive any communications, according to the study, which was released on Tuesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Story on CNBC

How The Real Time Payments Revolution is Pushing Mastercard Beyond Cards
Just as 5G technology promises to accelerate and transform the very nature of telecommunications, so is there a similar revolution currently underway in the realm of financial services. It’s what led Mastercard to splash nearly $3.2 billion earlier this month to buy most of the corporate services business of European payment services firm Nets, the largest acquisition in the company’s history. And it’s spurred the Federal Reserve into laying the groundwork for a new, tech-enabled infrastructure that promises a drastically quicker, more efficient path for commerce. The world of real-time payments is no longer a pipe dream of the near-future. The financial system is now braced for an unprecedented wave of innovation that will change the way both consumers and businesses transact with one another. Story by Rey Mashayekhi for Fortune



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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