This Week In Credit Card News: Hackers Publish Ashley Madison Data, Huge Growth In Mobile Banking

Mobile Banking Usage to Double in Four Years

Mobile banking usage throughout the world is expected to double in less than four years, according to a study from KPMG and UBS. In 2014, the number of mobile banking users was close to 800 million, but that number is expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2018. If these predictions hold true, roughly 25% of the world’s population will have a mobile banking account by the end of 2018. []

Hackers Publish Names, Data of Ashley Madison Users

The hackers responsible for breaking into the systems of cheating Web site Ashley Madison have apparently made good on their threat to publicly dump data about the site’s millions of users. The hackers published 9.7 gigabytes of data on the dark Web. According to a text message titled “Time’s Up!” accompanying the files, “Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men. We have explained the fraud Relevant Products/Services, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data.” [CIO Today]

Discover Edges Out AmEx in Satisfaction Survey

Discover has overtaken American Express as the highest-rated credit card issuer for customer satisfaction, pushed to the top spot by its rewards and benefits, according to a J.D. Power study released Thursday. It’s the first year in the nine-year history of the study that Discover ranked alone as best, last year sharing the top spot with American Express. [Chicago Tribune]

Target to Pay Visa Issuers up to $67 Million over Data Breach

Target will pay Visa card issuers up to $67 million in a settlement over a massive 2013 data breach. The agreement would follow the rejection of a proposed $19 million deal with MasterCard, which needed approval from 90% of banks representing affected cardholder accounts. The settlement brings another step of closure to the retail giant after one of the largest data breaches in recent years, which exposed about 40 million debit and credit cards. [CNBC]

American Express Serve Cash Back Card Is the First to Offer Rewards to Prepaid Users

For the first time ever, users of prepaid cards can get in on the rewards that were once reserved just for credit card users. The new American Express Serve Cash Back prepaid card puts money in your pocket every time you use it. Serve Cash Back cardholders can earn 1% cash back on all purchases, making it the first prepaid card that offers a rewards feature. [Nerd Wallet]

Asia Pacific to Lead World in Mobile Payments

Steep growth in mobile payments across Asia Pacific is forecast by IDC, as a result of financial inclusion policies and the rise of so-called semi-closed wallets that are linked to bank accounts. Governments across the region want to engage with the unbanked, often putting mobile-based services at the forefront of such policies. Plus, limited penetration of credit/debit cards encourage a shift to mobile wallets linked directly to users’ bank accounts. [Mobile World Live]

American Express Unveils FICO Scores for Cardholders

American Express, the largest U.S. credit card issuer by purchase volume, began showing all its consumer charge card and credit card users their FICO score for free this week. [The Wall Street Journal]

Why Debit Cards Have Risen in Popularity

U.S. consumers love their debit cards, using them on an average of 21 times per month, according to new data from Pulse. That’s a 32% rise in usage over the past ten years; in 2005, there were only 16.1 monthly transactions. Americans spend, on average, $9,291 annually with their debit cards, up from $7,807 ten years ago. Interestingly, cash withdrawals using a debit card are down, from 3.4 withdrawals per month in 2005 to 2.0 withdrawals per month in 2014. [The Street] 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 14.65%, slightly lower than last week’s average of 14.68%. Six months ago, the average was 14.45%. One year ago, the average was 14.47%. []

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This Week In Credit Card News: Mobile Payment Wars Heat Up; Transactions Verified By Your Heartbeat

Samsung Enters Mobile Payment Wars With Samsung Pay

Samsung is taking on Apple and Google with its own mobile payment system. The company announced Samsung Pay, a new contactless payment system that lets people buy products in physical stores with their phones. While Apple’s Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay rely on Near Field Communication sensors to interact with point-of-sale systems at retailers, which are not yet widely distributed, Samsung is using a technology called Magnetic Secure Transmission that will allow Samsung Pay phones to communicate with the typical magnetic strip reader found in credit card terminals around the country. Samsung Pay also supports NFC. [Time]

New Device Authenticates Mobile Payment Using Your Heartbeat

Wearable biometrics provider Nymi has teamed up with TD Bank and MasterCard to create the world’s first wearable mobile payment solution. Backed by biometric technology, this wearable uses a person’s heartbeat to verify identity and authorize contactless payments for credit cards. The wearable band contains an NFC (near field communications) chip that communicates with any contactless terminal. The band then reads the person’s heartbeat to verify that person’s identity. []

Capital One Nears Deal to Acquire GE Health Finance Unit

Credit card lender Capital One is in exclusive talks to acquire General Electric’s U.S. healthcare finance unit, in a deal likely to top $10 billion. The potential deal could bulk up Capital One’s existing healthcare lending operations. [Reuters]

Wells Fargo Is Mining Video Game Secrets to Make a Better App

Wells Fargo, lagging behind its rivals in mobile-banking prowess, is turning to an unlikely source for advice: the video-game industry. The lender bought a small stake in Context360, a startup that makes behavior-predicting technology used by game-makers to retain mobile players. For Wells Fargo, similar technology could help it pitch car loans on Saturday mornings when customers visit dealerships, for example, or block a suspicious credit card transaction. [Bloomberg]

Researchers Find Security Flaws in Developing-World Money Apps

Mobile-money services are growing at a rapid clip in the developing world, but new research suggests many of the apps that give the poor access to banking services have woeful security protections, leaving users exposed to fraud and theft. [The Wall Street Journal]

Rite Aid Reverses Course, Will Accept Apple Pay

After shunning Apple Pay last fall, drugstore chain Rite Aid is reversing course. The company announced it will start accepting Apple’s mobile payments technology at all of Rite Aid’s nearly 4,600 stores in the U.S starting August 15. Rite Aid said it will also accept Google’s mobile payments technology, Android Pay. MCX’s Apple Pay rival, called CurrentC, is set to launch in the third quarter of 2015. The thought process behind CurrentC is to allow retailers to have access to valuable customer data from transactions. Rite Aid isn’t the first MCX merchant to embrace Apple Pay. Best Buy also started accepting the payments technology earlier this year. [Fortune]

American Airlines, Sabre Said to Be Hit in China-Tied Hacks

A group of China-linked hackers that has mowed through the databanks of major American health insurers and stolen personnel records of U.S. military and intelligence agencies has struck at the heart of the nation’s air-travel system, say people familiar with investigations of the attacks. Sabre Corp., which processes reservations for hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotels, confirmed that its systems were breached recently. [Bloomberg]

Apple Joins NFC Forum In Bid To Push Mobile Payments

Apple has reportedly become part of the Near Field Communication (NFC) Forum, the main association that handles wireless technology. Apple has decided to sponsor the non-profit organization and have Aon Mujtaba, the company’s director for wireless system engineering, join the NFC Board of Directors. With this, Apple’s investment towards securing a wireless form of payment for future products will be strengthened drastically, while also helping the company enter the rising trend of wireless transactions. [Bidness Etc.]

Man Who Used Pro Golfer’s Stolen Credit Cards Sentenced to Prison

The man who used Australian professional golfer Robert Allenby’s credit cards was sentenced Wednesday. Owen Harbison will have to serve five years in prison. In February, he was caught on surveillance video going on a shopping spree with the stolen cards. [KHON 2] 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 14.68%, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.40%. One year ago, the average was 14.46%. []

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This Week In Credit Card News: Scott Walker’s Credit Card Woes, Beware Of Losing Your Rewards

Using a Digital Wallet May Cost You in Credit Card Rewards

Digital wallets are typically free to use, but if you’re doing so with a credit card that offers bonus rewards on certain spending categories, your digital wallet may be costing you money. Credit card companies rely on merchant category codes to determine whether your purchase qualifies for certain bonuses on your credit card rewards. MCCs are assigned by the four major payment networks depending on the nature of the merchant. For example, a grocery store purchase will likely be coded as 5411, according to the MCC list provided by the IRS. However, if you purchase groceries from an online retailer such as Amazon, your purchase will likely generate a different MCC because Amazon’s primary business isn’t selling groceries. [Nerd Wallet]

Scott Walker Carrying Credit Card Debt with 27% Interest Rate

Gov. Scott Walker has a high-interest credit card with a more than 27% interest rate, his recently filed financial report shows. Walker’s form shows the card was issued by Barclays last year, and he owed as much as $10,000 to $15,000 at some point during the reporting period. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Card Fraud Losses Hit $16 Billion Worldwide

Worldwide fraud losses on credit cards, debit cards and prepaid cards hit $16.31 billion in 2014 on a total card sales volume of $28.844 trillion. This translates to a rate of 5.65 cents in fraud losses per every $100 in volume. In addition, fraud grew by 19% last year, while overall volume only grew by 15%. Nilson reported that U.S. fraud losses reached 12.75 cents for every $100 in volume annually, and that the U.S. accounted for 48.2% of the world’s card fraud losses. [Credit Union Times]

How We Pay: Digital Payments Rise, But Cash is Still King

More Americans are making digital payments but traditional payment methods are still overwhelmingly preferred. Cash is still king. In the last year, 93% of shoppers reported using cash, while 68% said they used debit cards. Checks were also used by 68% of the respondents, and 67% used credit cards. PayPal ranked the highest of all digital payment platforms, with 62% of respondents saying they had used this service in the past year. One in seven respondents (14%) made a mobile payment in the past year. Cash and checks saw the greatest drop in use among these mobile payment users. []

Judge Reinstates ATM Antitrust Case Against Visa, MasterCard

The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated an antitrust lawsuit brought against Visa and MasterCard by a trade association of ATM operators. Consumers, independent ATM operators and the National ATM Council filed the lawsuit in 2011. They alleged Visa’s and MasterCard’s ATM-fee policies suppressed competition because they barred ATM operators from offering discounts to customers who complete transactions over less-costly payment networks. [The Wall Street Journal]

Small Businesses Not Yet Ready for New Secure Card Payment System

October 1 is an important date for businesses that accept credit cards. That’s when a new rule takes effect, shifting the liability for fraudulent credit card purchases from the banks to the business making the sale, if it has not installed EMV chip card technology. Unfortunately, a survey by Wells Fargo shows small businesses are not only unprepared—they aren’t aware of what’s coming. Just 49% of small business owners who accept point-of-sale card payments today report being aware of the impending liability shift. [Consumer Affairs]

AmEx Judge Rejects Merchant Settlement Over Card Fee Rules

A U.S. judge rejected American Express Company’s settlement with merchants over credit card fees after finding the plaintiffs’ lawyer tainted the deal by exchanging confidential information with an attorney for MasterCard. The rejection means that merchants and the card firm may have to renegotiate the deal or possibly go to trial. [Bloomberg]

Hackers Turn Square Hardware into Device to Steal Credit Card Information

Just because the Square Reader is new doesn’t mean it isn’t susceptible to the same scams as old school ATMs and credit card readers. A team said it discovered a way to steal credit card information using a modified Square magnetic stripe reader. By tampering with the magstripe reader, the team was able to turn Square’s hardware into a credit card skimmer, a device that can be used to steal credit card information. The modified reader doesn’t work with the proprietary Square app. [Mashable]

China Curbs Online Payment in Fresh Blow to Internet Finance

China plans to tighten regulations governing the nation’s 270 online-payment firms, dealing another blow to the booming business of Internet finance. Under draft rules, the central bank will limit the amount an individual can pay online to 5,000 yuan ($805) per day through third-party payment accounts, unless the customer’s identity can be verified by a security token and electronic signature. Internet finance is posing a rising challenge to China’s traditional banks, which have lobbied for more regulation on third-party payments and peer-to-peer lending platforms. [Bloomberg] 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 14.68%, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.40%. One year ago, the average was 14.49%. []

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This Week In Credit Card News: Very Slow Move To Chip Cards, Mike Tyson Promoting Bitcoin

Could Mike Tyson Become The New Face For Bitcoin?

Although bitcoin has taken some major steps toward mainstream adoption over the past year, the cryptocurrency’s user base is still largely dominated by tech-savvy individuals who see digital currencies as an important innovation. However, Bitcoin Direct is looking to change the cryptocurrency’s image by making Mike Tyson its poster boy. The former heavyweight champion is apparently lending his name and face to an ATM that will allow users to covert their cash into bitcoins. [Benzinga]

42% of IT Decision Makers Aren’t Moving on EMV Transition

Many businesses are not prepared for the upcoming October 1st deadline for processing chip-embedded credit cards. A large portion of IT decision makers–those involved with deciding the technological state of a company–still have not made plans to change their card processing infrastructures. The survey revealed 42% of decision makers have no plans for switching to EMV technology at this time. A majority of respondents indicated little concern for the magnitude of risk associated with missing the liability shift deadline. In fact, 58% of businesses said the liability risks to come after the deadline “will have limited or no impact on their company’s bottom line.” []

Hobby Lobby Sues over Card Fees

Hobby Lobby is fighting Visa and MasterCard in court over what it claims are excessive fees for accepting debit and credit cards at its stores. Hobby Lobby, which has more than 600 stores across the United States, claims in its lawsuit that Visa and MasterCard’s near total dominance of the payment processing market gives them the ability to fix prices. [The Oklahoman]

Discover Eliminates Some Credit Card Perks

Discover is “streamlining” cardholder benefits, eliminating some perks that offered customers help in times of emergency. Starting Aug. 1, Discover is also canceling its roadside assistance, travel delay insurance, lost luggage insurance, baggage delay insurance, 24/7 travel assistance and MyConcierge, a lifestyle deals and planning service. []

Mobile Payments Revolutionising African Lives

Africa is usually seen as a continent facing many obstacles, such as unreliable electricity, limited internet coverage, poverty and weak governance. However, it is a fertile ground for innovation, and the fact that in 2012 the number of mobile phone subscriptions exceeded that of US or EU proves this. In some African countries people have greater access to mobile phones than to clean water. The number of people with mobile connection across the continent has grown from 778 million in 2013 to a projected 1 billion by the end of the year. [The Market Mogul]

CurrentC Payment App Set to Launch Next Month

CurrentC, often coined as the “Retailer’s Answer to Apple Pay,” is set to hit stores next month. The payment app has been in development for three years. It was the brainchild of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a consortium of retailers including Walmart, Target and Best Buy. CurrentC will deduct money from a customer’s checking account, not a credit card, saving the retailers the 2-3% typically charged as the interchange or swipe fee. It will scan paycodes for purchases rather than relying on near field communications (NFC). []

42% of US iPhone 6 Owners Use Apple Pay in May and June

More than two-fifths of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users reported having used Apple Pay between the end of May and mid-June, with 84% making more than three in-store transactions. Nearly a quarter (24%) used it in more than six stores during the same period and 70% say they are more likely to choose a store that accepts the mobile payment service. [NFC World]

This Court Ruling Just Made it Easier to Sue Companies that Get Hacked

Hackers are breaking into major companies and making off with hoards of customer data, including credit cards, at an alarming rate. But one minor consolation for the companies, so far, has been a legal rule that shields them from damages. Until now. In a ruling causing a stir on legal blogs, the influential 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last week reinstated a lawsuit against Neiman Marcus over a 2013 data breach in which hackers stole credit card information from as many as 350,000 customers. The unanimous 3-judge ruling, issued in Chicago, is a big deal because it lowers the bar for consumers who want to sue over such breaches. [Fortune]

Subway to Add PayPal as a Payment Option

Subway announced that it will integrate PayPal as a payment option later this year in more than 27,000 U.S. locations. Paydiant, a mobile wallet developer PayPal acquired last year, originally built Subway’s mobile app and released an update earlier this year. The app enables users to place mobile orders. PayPal also will be integrated as a payment choice for online orders. [Mobile Payments Today] 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 14.68%, slightly above last week’s average of 14.67%. Six months ago, the average was 14.41%. One year ago, the average was 14.49%. []

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This Week In Credit Card News: Huge Hacks On Adultery Website And Major Online Photo Sites

Adultery Website Hack Could Expose 37 Million Cheaters

Ashley Madison, the adultery website which uses the tagline “Life is short. Have an affair,” confirmed that it suffered a “criminal intrusion” into its system which could expose private details of as many as 37 million members as well as private information from the website’s company, Avid Life Media, which runs several similar sites. [ABC News]

Breach Hits Major Retail Photo Sites

CVS, Rite Aid, Sam’s Club, Costco, Walmart Canada and several other retail chains have suspended their online photo services following a possible breach of customer credit card information that resulted from a cyberattack against a third-party service provider, PNI Digital Media. Staples, which was the target of a major hack last year, acquired the company a year ago. [Credit Union Times]

Apple Patent Targets Ads Based on Credit Card Balance

Apple may soon be taking personalized ads to a whole new level if its pending patent application gets approved. The application outlines the possibility for Apple to check the balance on your credit card in order to push ads your way that it knows you can afford. The new platform would be an opt-in service, so Apple would not check your account information without your permission. But after that, the program could assess the current status of your debit and credit cards to determine which ads are best for you. []

Citibank Must Pay $700 Million to Consumers for Illegal Credit Card Practices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered Citibank to reimburse about nine million consumers for deceptive marketing and incorrect charges associated with credit card add-on services. These holders of Citi credit cards–or those of a Citi subsidiary that issues store-brand cards for Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s–were victims of misleading sales tactics, the CFPB alleges. In many cases, confusing text on credit card applications got consumers to sign up for extra debt-protection services they didn’t necessarily want to pay for. In some cases, says the CFPB, Citi charged customers for benefits, like credit monitoring, that they weren’t actually receiving. [Time]

Fraud Warning Issued as Security Flaw in Contactless Payment Cards Revealed

A security flaw in contactless bank cards means they can be “easily and heaply” exploited for fraud, a leading consumer group has warned. Tests showed that thieves can steal the details of debit and credit cards using easily obtained scanning equipment, enabling them to launch an online “shopping spree” with someone else’s money. The group tested contactless payments with six debit cards and four credit cards–and the scanners were able to extract key details including card numbers and expiry dates every time. [London Evening Standard]

Google Testing “Buy Button” on Mobile Search Ads

Google unveiled a new feature called “Purchases on Google.” Consumers now see a “Buy” button on a limited number of mobile search results. If they click on the button, they are taken to a page where they can purchase that item. The merchants will handle the actual transaction, and the pages will be hosted by Google. Google will test these buy buttons with approximately 12 merchants over the next two weeks. The plan is to then expand to most of the United States by 2016. []

Amazon Launches Prime Members Credit Card with 5% Cash Back

Amazon increasingly sees Prime as its future. This subscription service costs consumers $99 per year and offers a myriad of benefits like free two-day shipping, streaming video, Kindle rentals, and now 5% cash back with an Amazon store card. The retailer has quietly rolled out this new Prime card without so much as a press release. Amazon will probably start pushing it soon, though. This is a store card, so it won’t work anywhere other than Amazon. However, the new Prime card makes the process more seamless with an automatic 5% statement credit on all Amazon purchases (not just those eligible for Amazon Prime). [Geek]

9 Things That Surprisingly Won’t Affect Your Credit

There are a lot of things that have traditionally not made their way onto your credit report, even though you might have assumed (or hoped) they did. Responsible practices like always paying your rent on time basically go unrecognized. On the flip side, there’s some negative information that you might think could harm your credit but actually has no bearing on it. So what’s left out of the traditional credit score equation? Here are some of the more surprising things. [Forbes]

Mobile Payments: Moving Towards a Trillion Dollar Industry

Five years ago, the notion of paying for items via your smartphone was seen as something of a novelty. Mobile purchases are now at an all-time high and this trend is predicted to continue over the next few years. Estimates regarding the number of annual mobile payments vary between experts, but the majority agree that spend will increase by around $300 billion. According to Statista, mobile spending in 2015 will hit $431 billion globally, but by 2017, this figure will increase to more than $720 billion. [The Coin Telegraph] 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 14.67%, slightly above last week’s average of 14.65%. Six months ago, the average was 14.41%. One year ago, the average was 14.49%. []

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