LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–September 8, 2017

September 8, 2017, Written By Lynn Oldshue

Equifax Reveals Hack That Likely Exposed Data of 143 Million Customers
Equifax Inc, a provider of consumer credit scores, said on Thursday that personal details of as many as 143 million U.S. consumers were accessed by hackers between mid-May and July, in what could be one of the largest data breaches in the United States. Equifax said in a statement that it discovered the breach on July 29. It said criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files that included names, Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers of around 209,000 U.S. consumers and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information of around 182,000 U.S. consumers were accessed. Story by Yashaswini Swamynathan for Reuters

How Much Credit Card Debt Does The Average American Hold?
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve, American households owe on average a staggering $16,425 in credit card debt, and that amount has risen 10 percent since 2013. Collectively, we owe nearly $1 trillion in credit card debt, on which we pay an average interest rate of 18.76 percent, or about $1,292 per household each year. In May 2017, it was found that credit card debt had risen 6 percent from the previous year and reached an average high that hadn’t been seen since the Great Recession. Nevertheless, more than 60 percent of American households pay off their credit cards every month or don’t have one at all. Average credit card debt varies between demographics. Men hold on average thousands of dollars more in credit card debt than woman. Across age groups, the amount of debt steadily rises as people get older until it reaches a peak for individuals between the ages of 35 and 54, but it starts to decline after that. And although many people continue to carry debt well into their 70s, people over age 75 have the lowest total average debt of any age group, comparably only to young people. Story by Lea Terry for Bankrate

Groupon Debuts Groupon+, Voucherless Meal Deals With Visa And Mastercard
Restaurant deals are some of the most popular offers on Groupon, the platform that lets you buy discounted experiences and goods from retailers near you. Today, the company is launching a new service to help promote that vertical more. Groupon+, as it is called, will let people use Groupon meal deals that they pay for with their Visa or MasterCard (credit or debit cards), and when they do so, they will get 30 percent of the value of the deal back to their accounts. Groupon+ will initially be available in 23 U.S. markets and 1,500 participating local restaurants and “other neighborhood favorites.” Later, Groupon plans to expand it to more categories like beauty, retail and home and auto services. Story by Ingrid Lunden for Tech Crunch

Delta Rolls Out New No-Fee AmEx Amid Hot Airline Credit Card Market
Delta Air Lines is rolling out a new frequent-flier credit card with no annual fee, part of an effort to court new customers in the increasingly lucrative market for airline-branded credit cards. The new “Blue Delta SkyMiles Credit Card” will become available starting Thursday, continuing Delta’s long-standing partnership with American Express. Unlike Delta’s other SkyMiles American Express cards – the Gold, Platinum and Delta Reserve cards – the Blue card will not charge an annual fee. It also will come with a mileage-earning bonus not featured on any of the other Delta cards: double miles on purchases at U.S. restaurants. However, the no-annual-fee Blue card does not include perks common to Delta’s other American Express cards. Delta’s Blue cardholders, for example, will not be earn elite “qualifying miles” for hitting spending thresholds. Nor will they have bag fees waived for being a cardholder. Story by Ben Mutzabaugh for USA Today

Sift Untangles Credit Card Benefits, You Save Big
We all know about credit card rewards and cash back, but there are tons of hidden credit card benefits that most people don’t even know are included. These include extended warranties, price drop protection, return protection, a lot of travel insurance benefits and much more. You don’t need to read through pages of fine print to know what your credit card can do to help you save money—you just need to install Sift. The Sift app is a free tool that will help you identify and use all of the hidden credit card benefits that are linked to your cards. You simply need to install the Sift app, link it to your credit cards and then it will help you make sure you get all the benefits you are already paying for with your credit card. The Sift app is iPhone only right now. Story by Josh Smith for Gotta Be Mobile

Meet Hoot, the Debit Card Just for Millennials
Millennials don’t do banking like everyone else. That’s why they want a special debit card that comes with personal touches like customized photos and AI-driven features to help them save more. This is the vision, anyways, behind a new financial product called Hoot that launched on Wednesday morning and trying to shake up the world of payment cards. Hoot contains a small screen that is tethered by Bluetooth to the owner’s smartphone and a companion app. This pairing of the card and the phone allows the user to transpose a picture of themselves (or their dog or anything else) onto the card. The Hoot card also contains a physical button that, when pressed, will reveal the user’s bank balance, spending habits and financial tips. Taken together, the Hoot cards creates the same sort of personalization options that millennials have long craved with apps and smartphones. Whether it will catch on is another question. Story by Jeff John Roberts for Fortune

Merchants Now Pay More In Credit Card Swipe Fees Than Customers Pay In Overdraft Charges
There’s good reason why banks are pushing the latest flashy credit card. For the first time ever, credit-card interchange fees, the amount a merchant pays card networks every time a customer uses a credit card to make a purchase, have exceeded the amount customers pay in overdraft fees. Total overdraft fees totaled $33.3 billion in 2016, just shy of the $33.8 billion financial institutions collected in credit-card interchange fees, according to a new analysis of service fees from Moebs Services. Overdraft revenue is up only slightly from $37.1 billion in 2009, as new rules stipulate that banks must make customers opt into overdraft facilities and customers shy away from higher overdraft fees, but interchange fees have more than doubled from $18.5 billion eight years ago. The increase in these fees, particularly those shouldered by merchants, represents a “major shift” in how banks, credit unions and other financial institutions have collected fees in the last several decades. Story by Maria LaMagna for MarketWatch

Why People Mismanage Credit Card Debt
Consumer finance experts usually advise people with balances on multiple credit cards to pay off the card with the highest interest rate first. However, relatively few people do that, and research suggests why. Consumers try to manage multiple debts at once rather than pay off the most expensive one. That flawed approach can be costly. The most cost-effective thing people with two or more credit-card balances can do is to first make the minimum payment on each, then repay as much as possible on the card with the highest interest rate. Only after paying off the highest-rate card in full should they pay down the lower-rate cards. This minimizes overall interest payments and maximizes debt reduction. Story by Alex Verkhivker for Chicago Booth Review

Mastercard Engage Brings Together Digital Vendors
Mastercard announced news that it is expanding its Digital Vendor program with the launch of Mastercard Engage. The company’s Digital Vendor program is a list of vendors serving issuers around the globe to help them bring to market their Masterpass digital wallets and tokenize payment credentials in an easy and quick manner. The directory lists both global and regional vendors and provides information about each vendor’s digital payments offering and geographical presence. It also assigns each vendor a level of standard, gold or platinum, depending on the vendor’s readiness level in integrating with Masterpass and with the Mastercard Digital Enablement Service. Story in PYMNTS

Does Your Small Business Need Data Breach Insurance?
Data breach insurance is designed to protect and support a business if it becomes the victim of a cyber-attack. This specific type of insurance provides comprehensive cover in the event of a claim related to a malicious cyber-attack or breach of data. Data breach insurance offers protection if a hacker attempts to hold a business to ransom. The insurance can cover the ransom you are forced to pay the hacker, as well as helping you manage the whole stressful situation. Comprehensive data breach insurance will also offer practical support in the event of a cyber-attack on your business. Such support includes providing a business with legal advice, forensic investigations, notifications to clients, customers and regulators and support to affected customers, such as credit card monitoring. Story by Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead for Small Business Trends

Card Networks Enable Corporate Cards on Fitness Tracking Smartwatches
U.S. business travelers soon will be able to use their fitness smartwatches not only to track their steps as they race to their gates but also to pay for the coffee that fuels their sprints. American Express, MasterCard and Visa have enabled corporate card use for the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch, coming in October, and MasterCard and Visa also integrated with Garmin’s Vivoactive 3 smartwatch. If the bank that issues a corporate card enables it on these devices and the corporate travel program OKs it, travelers then can connect their corporate cards through Fitbit’s and Garmin’s apps. As for mobile wallets and other smartwatches, the user taps or waves the watch at a near-field communication-enabled terminal to pay. Story by JoAnn DeLuna for Business Travel News

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 15.40 percent, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.99 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.64 percent.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of September 8, 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