This Week In Credit Card News: Thieves Steal $12 Million With Fake Cards; Free Credit Scores For All

Ocean’s 100: Thieves Steal $12.7 Million from ATMs in Just Three Hours

A few days ago, 100 coordinated thieves stole no less than $12.7 million from ATMs in Japan. The entire thing took just three hours, and no suspects have been apprehended. The operation was orchestrated by an organized crime ring. 100 people targeted 1,400 ATMs and used fake credit cards that contained details stolen from an unidentified South African bank. Thieves stole precisely 100,000 yen per withdrawal. That means each card was used only for a single transaction worth around $914, but the grand total was just under $13 million. [BGR]

Discover Now Offers Free Credit Scores to All Consumers

Discover launched a new website that allows consumers to look at their free credit score online. Known as the Discover Scorecard, this program provides a free FICO credit score, along with basic information about the person’s credit history. Discover has been providing free FICO scores on credit card statements since November 2013, but this new program does not require users to be a Discover cardholder. By entering some basic personal information, users can gain access to important details about their credit. FICO scores are used by 90% of the top lenders in the United States, so having access to these scores gives consumers a good idea of whether they qualify for a loan or line of credit. []

Balance Due: Credit Card Debt Nears $1 Trillion as Banks Push Plastic

U.S. credit card balances are on track to hit $1 trillion this year, as banks aggressively push their plastic and consumers grow more comfortable carrying debt. That sum would come close to the all-time peak of $1.02 trillion set in July 2008, just before the financial crisis intensified, and could signal an easing of frugal habits ingrained by the recession. In addition, lenders have signed up millions of consumers for subprime credit cards who previously weren’t able to get credit. [The Wall Street Journal]

Americans are Pretty Clueless on Credit Cards and Scores

Financial education isn’t standardized in the United States, leading many Americans to rely on loved ones or the news media for guidance. They manage their money through trial and error. As a result, they have significant blind spots about basic concepts. The survey of more than 2,000 adults shows that most Americans don’t understand the effects that common actions have on their credit scores, largely underestimate how many credit scores they have, and don’t understand how credit card interest works. [USA Today]

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This Week In Credit Card News: Who Is Stealing Your Data; Companies Unprepared For Cyber Attacks

You Won’t Believe Who is Responsible for 50% of Hacks

According to Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report, about 50% of all security incidents–any event that compromises the confidentiality, integrity or availability of an information asset—are caused by people inside an organization. And while 30% of all cases are due to worker negligence like delivering sensitive information to the wrong recipient or the insecure disposal of personal and medical data, roughly 20% are considered insider misuse events, where employees could be stealing and/or profiting from company-owned or protected information. [CNBC]

Most Organizations Unprepared for Cyber Attacks

Nearly 80% of organizations remain unprepared and without a formal plan to respond to cyber security incidents, a report has revealed. There has been little improvement in preparedness in the past three years. It shows that on average, only 23% of organizations have the capability to respond effectively to critical security incidents. [Computer Weekly]

Chase Changes Overdraft Policy: No Credit Cards for Backup Funding

Linking a checking account to a credit card to provide a cushion in case of an overdraft is a time-honored tradition in consumer banking, but Chase is taking a new approach. Starting Aug. 20, a Chase credit card can no longer be used to provide overdraft protection for a personal checking account. So what happens if Chase checking account holders overdraw their accounts and don’t have a Chase savings account? It means they might have more declined transactions and might incur insufficient funds and returned item fees. [Chicago Tribune]

Fitbit Bets on Mobile Payments with Acquisition of Coin

Fitbit, the fitness company perhaps best known for its bevy of activity-tracking smartbands and phone apps, is making an unlikely acquisition. It announced the purchase of Coin, the payments developer of the credit card-emulating Coin card. Fitbit’s not investing in Coin’s current product offering, Coin 2.0, but instead bringing the company’s near-field communication, mobile, and wireless talent on board for as-yet unspecified future projects. [Digital Trends]

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This Week In Credit Card News: Using Peer-To-Peer Loan To Pay Card Debt; Google Bans Payday Loan Ads

Why a Peer-to-Peer Loan Could Help You Pay Off Pesky Credit Card Debt

If you’re carrying a large amount of high-interest debt on your credit card, you should consider a peer-to-peer loan for one simple reason: It can save you lots of money. Peer-to-peer loans won’t fix the core issue that draws people into credit card debt spirals, which boils down to spending more than they have or can repay. But for people trying to break a cycle of bad and growing debt, the combination of fixed and competitive interest rates make peer-to-peer loans a compelling option. The enthusiasm of investors looking to add consumer debt to their portfolios means you can find interest rates better than many credit card firms will offer. [MarketWatch]

Google To Ban Payday Loan Ads

Beginning July 13, Google will no longer accept ads for payday loan products on its site. Many financial experts feel these products exploit the poor by offering loans which must be paid back quickly at extremely high interest rates. According to Google’s policy, payday lending ads are loans in which repayment is required within 60 days, that have an APR of 36% or higher. Consumers will still be able to find payday loan information in the search results. Facebook has also banned ads for payday loan products in August 2015. []

Walmart Sues Visa to Require PIN Use with Chip Credit Cards

Walmart has filed a lawsuit against Visa, charging that the payments network had blocked implementation of a PIN system, favored by retailers, to make the new chip credit cards more secure. The suit alleges the current system, in which a chip card user authenticates the purchase with a signature, is “fraud prone.” [Consumer Affairs]

Proposed Rule Would Allow Consumers to Sue Banks, Credit Card Companies

Consumers are set to gain new powers to sue banks under a proposal unveiled by the CFPB. The proposed rule would restrict the use of arbitration clauses in consumer financial contracts, shifting more power to consumers for a range of financial products, from credit cards to bank accounts to private student loans. The CFPB aims to prohibit financial companies from using mandatory-arbitration clauses as a way to block class-action lawsuits, in which a large number of plaintiffs with similar complaints band together. Companies would still be able to require consumers to enter arbitration to resolve individual disputes. [The Wall Street Journal]

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This Week In Credit Card News: Data Breaches Happen In Minutes; Are Bank Branches Slowly Dying?

The Future of Banking: No Shoes, No Shirt, No Tellers

A dramatic shift is underway in the banking industry. Banks are rethinking how they provide services to their everyday customers, which could result in the eventual demise of traditional branches and tellers, and find us banking from home, on the road or at the beach. Banks are closing branches, shrinking branch footprints, “digitizing” branches, and trying new branch formats to match changing customer behaviors. At one time, there were roughly 95,000 branches in the United States. That number is down to 86,000 branches and falling. Even the long-held belief in the importance of branches to a bank’s brand is changing. [CMS Wire]

Nearly All Data Breaches Happen in Minutes

Most data breaches happen fast–in a matter of minutes–but the impact on you and your credit report could make for a very long lasting financial headache. These thieves still find success with phishing emails. 30% of phishing messages were opened, compared to only 23% the previous year. Meanwhile, 13% of those clicked to open the malicious attachment or nefarious link. In 93% of cases, attackers were able to compromise systems in just a matter of minutes. []

Consumers are Using Credit Cards More Often; 42% Carry a Balance

Spending on credit cards in the fourth quarter jumped 3% for consumers with good credit ratings, and jumped 6% for consumers with less-than-stellar credit ratings. 80 million new credit card accounts were opened, an increase of 16% versus year-ago levels. The number of new subprime accounts soared by 26%, but still remain significantly below the number of subprime accounts before the financial crisis. The number of total open credit card accounts hit a post-recession high of 323 million, an increase of nearly 6%, after taking in account both newly opened and closed accounts. [The Plain Dealer]

MasterCard Grocery App Puts Ordering Right in the Kitchen

The Groceries by MasterCard shopping app, integrated in the Samsung Family Hub refrigerator, lets consumers buy food from online FreshDirect and Shop Right right in the kitchen. The app signifies a move by MasterCard into the smart home market and expands on its Commerce for Every Device strategy regarding development of internet-connected payment devices. The app provides insight on nutritional value, allergen information and freshness rating of products. Once the order is final the list is approved with a four-digit pin, providing control over household purchases. [Mobile Payments Today]

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This Week In Credit Card News: Hackers Stealing Your Personal Info, Kids’ Allowances Going Digital

Hackers Don’t Just Want Your Credit Cards, Now They Want the Pattern of Your Life

Rather than just trying to grab information from your credit card, criminals are now looking for broader sets of data: names, addresses, dates of birth, and other identifying material which can be used to carry out fraud, blackmail, and other crimes. This rising demand for personal data is reflected in underground criminal forums, especially in Russia. [ZD Net]

When Kids’ Allowance Goes Digital

Call them the “electronic wallet” generation, or the “swipe” kids, because no longer is the allowance debate about whether to pay their children to do chores. The conversation now surrounds getting children as young as five their own debit cards. Proponents of the plastic allowance say a first debit card is a modern passage into adulthood. It allows parents to easily transfer allowances into their children’s accounts whenever they want; kids can access the money with the swipe of a card. They don’t view it as a passport to profligacy. Some parents simply find it safer than young kids carrying cash. [Maclean’s]

Does Your Credit Card Contract Contain a Hidden Surprise?

Like most of us, Larry Maizlish seldom scrutinizes the pages of fine print that accompany his credit cards. About halfway through the pages of legalese, Maizlish found this: “You grant us a security interest in all goods you purchase through the use of the account, now or at any time in the future ..” In other words, Comenity Capital Bank reserves the right to send guys to your home and take any stuff you have purchased with your card if you don’t pay your bills. Comenity is securing its credit card loans with all of the goodies cardholders put on plastic. [Los Angeles Times]

Chinese Bank Unveils US Credit Cards

The largest bank and card issuer in China is offering new credit cards featuring two brands, UnionPay and Visa, for the needs of newcomers to the United States who seek to find bank services and those travelling to China who find it difficult to make payments without cash. For both networks, the ICBC offers two levels of cards: preferred and premier, with the first allowing customers to earn 1% cash back on their spending with no annual fee. Roughly 2.7 million Chinese traveled to the United States in 2015, and about 2 million Americans made trips to China for business, and the number is still growing. About 300,000 Chinese students are studying in the United States. [News Ghana]

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