LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 6, 2013
Data Security Begins with the Traveler
Criminal hackers gravitate to some hotels because hotels do many credit card transactions at a local level which may lack centralized, sophisticated data security safeguards. Most hotels are locally owned and it is expensive to come into full compliance with the tough global data security criteria set by the credit card companies. The best protection includes using complex passwords, being wary of public Wi-Fi, updating antivirus software and checking credit card statements carefully. Story by Joe Sharkey for the New York Times.
Smaller Banks’ Loans Growing Faster Than Larger Rivals
There has been a sharp surge in loan growth at little banks. Small banks saw annualized loan growth of more than 6% in the second quarter, compared with less than 2% at the 25 largest banks. As long as regulatory uncertainty remains, big banks will continue to be at a disadvantage, according to bank analysts and executives. Story by Shayndi Raice for the Wall Street Journal.
Credit Card Confusion, How Do I Earn Rewards?
Credit cards that offer rewards are more popular than ever, but many people don’t really know how they work. They aren’t sure how to maximize the points, miles or cash rebates they can get by using them, according to a new study. Just 59 percent of the customers with a rewards card feel they “completely understand” how to earn rewards, down from 66 percent in 2012. Even more surprising, 33 percent of these cardholders say they are unaware of the benefits associated with their rewards card. Story by Herb Weisbaum for NBC News.
Huntington Bank to Launch Consumer Credit Card
After a long hiatus, Huntington Bank is getting back into the credit card business with a consumer credit card that allows customers to choose among rewards in 13 categories or low interest rates on their revolving balances. The new card marks the first time Huntington will issue and service credit card accounts since 1999, when it outsourced those functions for its $585 million portfolio to Chase Manhattan Bank. Story by Robin Sidel for The Wall Street Journal.
Bank of America to Discontinue Cruise, Merchandise Rewards on Power Rewards Card
Bank of America will soon stop offering cruises and retail merchandise as redemption options for Power Rewards account holders. The changes are effective in October. A bank spokeswoman says cruises and retail merchandise were the least popular items for cardholders to redeem points for. The bank surveyed customers and determined exchanging those options for more hotel choices and gift cards would be preferred. Story by Adam O’Daniel for the Charlotte Business Journal.
CFPB Warns Companies to Investigate Credit Report Errors
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is cracking down on companies that supply information to consumer reporting companies. This should make it easier for consumers to get reporting errors resolved. The CFPB issued a notice that says these companies–called “furnishers”–are responsible for investigating consumer disputes forwarded by the consumer reporting companies. Furnishers must review all relevant information provided with the disputes, including documents submitted by consumers. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.
How to Stop an American from Charging
The only people in Britain who still have or try to use mag-stripe cards with a signature are foreigners. Credit card companies insist that businesses that take their cards accept “any valid card.” So mag stripe, chip-and-PIN, chip-and-signature–it shouldn’t matter to the merchant. Under their agreements with their banks, merchants commit to using the best available security–so if a chip-and-PIN is available, but not used, they could be held liable. But if it isn’t, then accepting a signature card–with or without a chip–is no riskier for the merchant than accepting a chip-and-PIN. Story by Brian Carney for the Wall Street Journal.
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 14.39 percent, slightly higher than the 14.38 percent last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.32 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.36 percent.