This Week In Credit Card News: Will You Spend More With Apple Pay? Why Free U2 Albums?

Apple Pay Could Make You Poorer

With Apple Pay, you might not need a wallet, and you can leave your debit and credit cards at home. Skeptics have focused on questions of security and privacy, but prospective users might want to pause over a different problem: when payment becomes easier, and when people don’t see the money they’re handing over, they tend to spend a lot more. And as payment becomes more automatic, people become less sensitive to what they’re losing. Apple Pay users might find that their thinner phones are making their bank accounts thinner as well. [Bloomberg]

The $40 Billion Reason Apple Is Giving Away That U2 Album For Free

You might be wondering why Apple is letting anyone with an iTunes account download U2′s new album for free until Oct. 13. It is possible that the more people Apple can get into its iTunes system, the more credit card numbers it is likely to collect from them. And the more credit card numbers it has, the more attractive Apple’s new mobile payments system, Apple Pay, becomes to those users. [Business Insider]

Credit Card Offers Are Not Always What They Seem

The offers stuffing your mailbox can sound enticing: do a balance transfer from a high-rate credit card to a new card and pay no interest for six months, a year or even longer. But the offers can carry other risks that consumers may not fully understand. [The New York Times]

Home Depot Data Breach Could Be the Largest Yet

The Home Depot breach could be the largest known breach of a retail company’s computer network. A person briefed on the investigation said the total number of credit card numbers stolen at Home Depot could top 60 million. By comparison, the breach last year at Target, the largest known attack to date, affected 40 million cardholders. [The New York Times]

Credit Card Industry Ramps Up Security Efforts

After a significant number of credit card breaches, the card industry is stepping up efforts to keep sensitive customer information out of the hands of merchants. Visa and MasterCard are rolling out technology that replaces cardholder information such as account numbers and expiration dates with a unique series of numbers that validates the customer’s identity. [The Wall Street Journal]

Walmart to Launch EMV Enabled Cards

Shoppers who use the Walmart credit card will be able to enjoy enhanced security as the store rolls out its chip-and-PIN credit cards. Walmart is not the first retailer to use EMV technology in its credit cards. The first major retailer to do this was Walmart’s sister company, Sam’s Club, which issued a chip-enabled MasterCard in June. []

Will Stores Warm Up to Apple Pay?

Apple has lined up an impressive list of banks and credit card issuers to support its new mobile-payment service. Now all it needs is more merchants, and customers. Apple hopes its service, Apple Pay, will prompt shoppers to ditch their wallet and make purchases with an iPhone. [The Wall Street Journal] Weekly Credit Card Rate Report

Based on the 1,000+ cards in the Complete Credit Card Index, the average advertised APR for credit cards is 14.46%, slightly lower than last week’s average of 14.48%. Six months ago, the average was 14.48%. One year ago, the average was 14.40%. []

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This Week In Credit Card News: More Major Data Breaches, Helping You Stop Card Fraud

Home Depot’s Credit Cards May Have Been Hacked

A massive batch of credit and debit card information that went on sale on a criminal Internet site Tuesday may be from Home Depot stores and could be linked to hackers responsible for breaches at Target and P.F. Chang’s. [USA Today]

New Services Help You Monitor Your Credit Cards

One credit card issuer is sending alerts to help spot errors and bogus charges on your statements, and some banks offer apps to switch your debit card on or off. Capital One’s new alert service, Second Look, flags such charges and sends an e-mail with instructions on how to question the transaction, if warranted. [Kiplinger]

Data Breach at Goodwill Compromises 868,000 Cards

Goodwill Industries confirmed that a data breach in 330 of its stores may have compromised an estimated 868,000 debit and credit cards. However, personal information such as addresses and PIN numbers were not affected. According to their investigation, a third-party vendor’s systems were attacked by malicious software, enabling criminals to access some payment card data of a number of the vendor’s customers. []

Why Only Apple Has What It Takes To Disrupt Our Wallets

Apple’s September 9 event is quickly approaching, and there is widespread consensus that the Cupertino computer giant will release a new iPhone, a smart watch, and, perhaps most unexpectedly, a mobile payments platform. [Time]

How Stolen Credit Cards Are Fenced on the Dark Web

Carder forums “are the Craig’s List of the hacker underground,” says Neal O’Farrell, founder of the non-profit Identity Theft Council. “It’s not just cards. It’s phishing kits, malware, spammer lists,” O’Farrell said. “It’s a like a shopping mall for cybercrime.” O’Farrell opened an account on one carder forum,, where he was able to peruse offers for millions of Target credit cards. The hacker asked for payment in Bitcoin, a difficult-to-trace digital currency. [USA Today]

CFPB Issues Warning on Deceptive Credit Card Marketing

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a warning to credit card companies about deceptive marketing tactics used to promote convenience checks and reduced or zero percent interest offers. The Bureau told banks to properly disclose the costs of these promotional offers and what would cause the reduced rates to cease. []

Loans at U.S. Credit Unions Jumped 9.8% in Second Quarter

U.S. credit unions are increasing their lending at the fastest clip in years, a sign that a once-sleepy part of the financial world is becoming more aggressive. Loan growth at U.S. credit unions was at 9.8% in the second quarter, according to data released Tuesday by the National Credit Union Administration, the government regulator for credit unions. [The Wall Street Journal] Weekly Credit Card Rate Report

Based on the 1,000+ cards in the Complete Credit Card Index, the average advertised APR for credit cards is 14.48%, slightly lower than last week’s average of 14.49%. Six months ago, the average was 14.49%. One year ago, the average was 14.39%. []

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This Week In Credit Card News: Late Payments At 7-Year Low; The Top-Rated Credit Cards

U.S. Late Payment Rate on Credit Cards is at the Lowest Level in Seven Years

The rate of U.S. credit card payments at least 90 days overdue fell to 1.16% in the second quarter–the lowest level in at least seven years, credit reporting agency TransUnion said. The second quarter delinquency rate on credit cards is down from 1.27% in the same period last year and 1.37% in the first three months of this year. [Associated Press]

American Express and Discover Rated Top Credit Cards

Two major credit card issuers targeting different clientele—upscale American Express and mainstream Discover–tied for top honors again in this year’s J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey. American Express and Discover both provide great personal service when customers call in and they also make it easy for people to manage their accounts online, as well as by using mobile apps. [Pittsburgh Post Gazette]

Banks, Retailers Speed Up Drive to Add Chips to Credit, Debit Cards

The push for the new cards is taking on greater urgency following a number of high-profile data breaches in recent months that have exposed millions of consumers to potential fraud. Supervalu disclosed a possible breach last week that could affect shoppers at roughly 1,000 supermarkets. In all, U.S. lenders will issue more than 575 million chip credit cards and debit cards by the end of 2015, representing roughly half of the one billion cards now in circulation. [The Wall Street Journal]

Cosigning a Student Loan Risky for Parents

Parents and grandparents feel they should help out when it comes to getting a college diploma and contribute to building up all that college debt. But cosigning can mean the parent or grandparent is on the hook if the student defaults. Cosigning puts your credit score at risk if the student makes late payments or falls behind. [Detroit Free Press]

Malware in Target Breach has Affected 1,000 Other Businesses

Last week, SuperValu and UPS Stores reported significant breaches. But what is becoming evident now is the link between so many of these security breaches. The Department of Homeland Security estimates more than 1,000 businesses have been affected by the same “Backoff” malware that led to the Target breach. []

For Student Loan Borrowers in Default, Redemption Just Got Easier

As college campuses prepare for a new academic year, revised federal rules now in effect should make it easier to return student loans in default to good standing. Under the rules, payments must be calculated in a way that takes into account a borrower’s income and expenses as well as family size. [The New York Times]

Extended Warranties May Not Save You Money

Beyond the manufacturer’s warranty, a good credit card such as American Express or Visa Signature can offer cardholders extended coverage simply by virtue of you swiping your card at checkout. Plans vary by provider, but if you’re eligible for this coverage at no additional cost, why pay for a two-year service contract? [USA Today]

Beat Those Annoying Overdraft Fees

Consumers paid an estimated $32 billion in overdraft fees on their debit accounts in 2013 and most of that revenue comes from customers who give the bank explicit permission to charge them. The CFPB recently released an analysis of overdraft data on nearly two million checking accounts held at many of the big banks. The patterns they turned up can help you avoid paying these very avoidable charges. [Chicago Tribune] Weekly Credit Card Rate Report

Based on the 1,000+ cards in the Complete Credit Card Index, the average advertised APR for credit cards is 14.49%, slightly higher than last week’s average of 14.47%. Six months ago, the average was 14.50%. One year ago, the average was 14.38%. []

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This Week In Credit Card News: Data Breaches At Supermarkets, Hospitals And UPS; Fighting Card Theft

Visa Wants to Make it Even Harder for Thieves to Buy Gas with Your Credit Card

Visa is rolling out software to detect whether it’s you or someone pretending to be you using a credit card to fill up on fuel. Roughly 25,000 gas stations have already signed on, with Chevron, an early test case, reporting a 23% drop in fraud at the pump. [The Washington Post]

Hospital Data Breach Affects 4.5 Million Patients

Community Health Systems said information on 4.5 million patients was stolen in a cyber attack that may have originated in China. Hackers may have obtained the patient names, birth dates, addresses, telephone and social security numbers. However, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said no credit card numbers or medical or clinical information were taken. []

Supermarket Chain Supervalu Investigating Potential Data Breach

Supermarket chain Supervalu is investigating a potential data breach that might have affected more than 1,000 stores. The breach appears to have taken place in late June or early July and may have resulted from hackers installing malicious software onto the company’s point-of-sale network. [The Wall Street Journal]

Bank Sues CardHub for Using Credit Card Data

A card issuer widely criticized for issuing high rate, high fee cards to lower income and credit-impaired consumers has sued a website dedicated to helping consumers compare credit cards. In its complaint, First PREMIER Bank, along with its card issuing subsidiaries, told the Federal District Court for South Dakota that Evolution Finance, the company that owns a website known as CardHub, had violated trademark law by including information about its credit cards in CardHub’s database. [Credit Union Times]

Data Breach at UPS Stores in 24 States

United Parcel Service has discovered a computer breach at 51 stores, making Big Brown the latest retailer to lose customer data. UPS said that the hacking had escaped detection at stores in 24 states, or around 1% of its locations. At most stores, the malware attack occurred after March 26, and was eliminated by August 11. [CNN Money]

Why a Rule on Loan Losses Could Squeeze Credit

The world’s accounting rule makers have decided that banks should immediately post a loss every time they make a loan on the theory that some percentage of loans will inevitably go bad. Requiring an immediate reporting of losses, long before a borrower has missed even one payment deadline, “could have serious unintended consequences,” one accounting expert warned two years ago. A bank facing a difficult quarter, and needing to do whatever it could to keep from further depressing earnings, could simply decide to stop making loans, at least until the quarter had passed. [The New York Times]

Inside the Dark, Lucrative World of Consumer Debt Collection

When debtors stop paying those bills, the banks regard the balances as assets for 180 days. After that, they are of questionable worth. So banks “charge off” the accounts, taking a loss, and other creditors act similarly. These huge, routine sell-offs have created a vast market for unpaid debts. From 2006 to 2009, the nation’s top nine debt buyers purchased almost 90 million consumer accounts with more than $140 billion in “face value.” And they bought at a steep discount. On average, they paid just 4.5 cents on the dollar. [The New York Times Magazine] Weekly Credit Card Rate Report

Based on the 1,000+ cards in the Complete Credit Card Index, the average advertised APR for credit cards is 14.47%, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.48%. One year ago, the average was 14.38%. []

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This Week In Credit Card News: Obnoxious Debt Collectors, Your Credit Score Could Magically Rise

Debt Collectors, What are Their Legal Limits?

Debt collectors will go to all lengths to intimidate people who owe or allegedly owe money. Collection has become a multi-billion dollar business, especially in the last few years as the slow economy had caused people to fall behind on payments. About 30 million Americans were saddled with debt or alleged debt in collection in 2012, averaging about $1,500 according to the CFPB. Yet the hodge-podge regulatory system over debt collection abuse fails to protect the harassed as law has fallen behind technology and the extent of the problem. [Los Angeles Post Examiner]

Credit Scores Could Rise with FICO’s New Model

The creator of one of the most widely used and influential credit scores, FICO, said that the latest version of its score would no longer weigh medical debts–which account for about half of all unpaid collections on consumers’ credit reports–as heavily as it did in previous iterations. [New York Times]

Mobile Payments Will Make Credit and ATM Cards Almost Obsolete

The demise of debit and credit cards isn’t imminent, but they’re going to begin to lose their appeal in a world where transactions can increasingly be done by smartphone. With more payments more going mobile, retailers, banks and card companies are scrambling for position. Mobile payments will hit $720 billion a year by 2017, up from $235 billion last year, according to the research firm Gartner. [Forbes]

A Line of Defense Against the Theft of Personal Data

Credit monitoring is often backward-looking, informing you of new accounts that thieves may have already opened in your name. But a credit freeze prohibits the bureaus from releasing your credit reports to any company or other entity that doesn’t already have a relationship with you. [New York Times]

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Warns on Bitcoins

Bitcoin is in the cross hairs of the CFPB. The Bureau issued its first consumer advisory on virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, and said it would begin accepting complaints about such issues or companies. The agency warns consumers to be aware of hackers and schemes, volatile exchange rates and a lack of government protection. “Virtual currencies are not backed by any government or central bank, and at this point, consumers are stepping into the Wild West when they engage in the market.” [New York Times]

Smart Credit Cards Don’t Make Up for Dumb Credit Card Readers

Chip and PIN credit cards are thought to be the solution for credit card security issues in the United States, but hacking experts have recently revealed those accounts may be more vulnerable than we think. The smart cards themselves may be fully protected, but the machines that process them are fairly simple to hack. Researchers at MWR Labs found they were able to make the machines work against their instincts, storing both card numbers and PINs for someone to steal. []

How to Protect Your Finances from Cyber Hackers

Cyber breaches are happening all around you. You can’t protect yourself completely. But you can make yourself much safer by doing these four things. [Fortune] Weekly Credit Card Rate Report

Based on the 1,000+ cards in the Complete Credit Card Index, the average advertised APR for credit cards is 14.47%, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.48%. One year ago, the average was 14.36%. []

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