This Week In Credit Card News: Big Breach At Bebe Stores, Beware Of Store Credit Cards

Bebe Stores Confirms Credit Card Breach

Women’s clothier chain Bebe confirmed hackers had stolen customer credit card information from stores across the country in a breach that took place between Nov. 8 and Nov. 26. The data may have included cardholder name, account number, expiration date and verification code. The company emphasized that purchases made though its web site, mobile site/application, or in Canada or other international stores were not affected. [KrebsOnSecurity]

‘Tis The Season for Store Credit Cards, but Tread Carefully

That instant store credit card discount–often as much as 20% off–can be tempting. You could save hundreds of dollars on a large purchase. It’s easy to say “yes” without thinking about the possible repercussions. Don’t be afraid to say no. [CNBC]

Pizza Orders Reveal Credit Card Scheme, and a Secondhand Market

“Who wants pizza?” The seemingly harmless question raised suspicions among police officers in Brooklyn when they saw the query posed repeatedly on Facebook, by users whose profiles they were keeping an eye on because of suspected gang ties. Thieves working through lists of stolen credit card numbers were using a smartphone app that orders pizza to see which numbers still worked. When they found a number to be valid, the thieves used it to order bigger-ticket items online–while people in pockets of Brownsville and East New York in Brooklyn ate the pizzas. [The New York Times]

CFTC Bans Use of Credit Cards in Foreign Exchanges

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has approved a ban on credit cards to fund retail foreign exchange and futures accounts. The rule will take effect at the end of January. “Given the highly volatile nature of the forex and futures markets, the substantial risk of loss, and the possibility that a total loss may occur in a very short period of time, the Board has concluded that Members should be prohibited from permitting customers to use credit cards,” said the self-regulatory agency’s original notice. [MarketWatch]

Sony Data Breach Worse Than Expected

Last month’s data breach at Sony continues to become more concerning. Hackers originally leaked five unreleased movies online and some employees’ Social Security numbers. But now, security firm Identity Finder has found the hack that occurred on November 24 exposed over 47,000 Social Security numbers, including over 15,000 current or former employees. A significant number of files containing the Social Security numbers were accompanied by other personal information, such as full names, dates of birth and home addresses, increasing the chances of identity fraud. [LowCards.com]

Personal and Business Credit Cards: What’s the Difference?

With so many different kinds of credit cards out there, from cash back and travel rewards to 0% intro APR, it can be difficult to decide which card is best for you. To make matters more complicated, you might come across small business credit cards that offer similar rewards, but that are marketed toward people running a business who need to make big purchases. [NextAdvisor]

MasterCard to Offer Interactive Payment Cards to its Issuers Around the World

Interactive payment card developer Dynamics has signed a deal with MasterCard that will see the payments network offering the startup’s technology to its issuers around the world. When a consumer enters the correct unlock code using the card’s buttons, the payment card number is provided on a built-in display for online use and is written to the ‘stripe’ on the back for in-store use. [NFC World]

Fed Aims to Signal Shift on Low Rates

Federal Reserve officials are seriously considering an important shift in tone at their policy meeting next week: dropping an assurance that short-term interest rates will stay near zero for a “considerable time” as they look more confidently toward rate increases around the middle of next year. [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 14.46%, slightly higher than last week’s average of 14.50%. Six months ago, the average was 14.48%. One year ago, the average was 14.42%. [LowCards.com]

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Source post on MoneyBuilder

This Week In Credit Card News: Get Better Credit Card Rewards, How Your Card Data Is Stolen

What Happens When You Swipe Your Card?

The number of reported illegal intrusions into the computer systems of U.S. companies is at a record high this year and climbing. The hacking of Target, Home Depot, Staples and other top retailers made headlines. And behind the headlines are two separate crimes with two sets of criminals. Sophisticated cyberthieves steal the information on your credit card. Common criminals buy it and go on shopping sprees–racking up billions of dollars in fraudulent purchases. When computer crooks swipe your card number, we all end up paying the price. [CBS News]

Credit Card Rewards: The Deals Get Sweeter

Lenders are giving more cash back to cardholders, offering deeper discounts on selected purchases and making it easier to earn free travel. More cards allow borrowers to postpone making interest payments while collecting such benefits. The incentives can be particularly profitable during the holiday season, when many consumers spend heavily. Consumers took on $43 billion in new credit card debt in last year’s fourth quarter, compared with $11.8 billion in the prior quarter. [The Wall Street Journal]

Changes Coming to Credit Card Readers for Small Merchants

Over the past few years, small merchants have grown their businesses and accepted credit cards for the first time without having to pay big fees that turned them off initially to taking credit. But big changes are coming, in the form of an all-new type of credit card, and all but certain higher costs. [USA Today]

Protect Yourself While Shopping

Over the past year, so many data breaches at retail chains and restaurants have come to light that it’s hard to keep track. Although it’s unnerving to have any sort of card information stolen–whether by hackers or through an old-fashioned pilfered wallet–consumer and security experts say the fallout may be less damaging if shoppers avoid debit cards and use credit cards instead. [The New York Times]

Preparing for Chip-and-PIN Cards in the United States

President Obama announced in October that cards issued by the federal government would come with encrypted microchips and four-digit codes as standard, beginning in 2015. In total, roughly 70 percent of credit cards and 40 percent of debit cards are expected to use the chip technology by the end of next year, though the introduction of upgraded checkout systems will not be completed until the end of the decade. [The New York Times]

MasterCard Boosts Dividend, Unveils New Buyback

MasterCard said that its board increased the credit card company’s dividend and approved a new share-buyback program. The company said it boosted its dividend by 45% to 16 cents a share, putting the yield at about 0.7%. MasterCard’s new buyback program is pegged at $3.75 billion. It will take effect once the company’s existing $3.5 billion plan winds down. The company said it had about $275 million remaining on the plan as of December 1. [The Wall Street Journal]

New Year’s Credit Card Resolutions

We’re approaching another new year, which means we all have a chance to focus and fix areas of our life with some New Year’s resolutions. One resolution may be to get your credit card account in order so you can lower your balance and boost your credit score. Here are some ideas to get you started. [LowCards.com]

More Borrowers Fall Behind on Car Payments, Report Shows

An increasing number of borrowers are falling behind on their car payments, even as the total amount of outstanding debt reaches new heights, according to the latest report by Experian, the credit and research firm. In a presentation, Experian said the balance of loans that were 60 days delinquent increased 27%, to roughly $4 billion, in the third quarter from the same period a year ago. [The New York Times]

Will New Student Loan Options Make a Dent in Debt?

Millions of Americans live with student debt for years, after they graduate from college. Now, two of the nation’s largest private student lenders have introduced options to allow borrowers to modify the terms on their loans. [PBS]

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 14.50%, slightly higher than last week’s average of 14.49%. Six months ago, the average was 14.44%. One year ago, the average was 14.42%. [LowCards.com]

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Source post on MoneyBuilder

This Week In Credit Card News: Millennials Do Little About Money, 2015 Card Predictions

Disconnected: Millennials Talk Big, Do Little About Money

In a survey, the majority of millennials say they are good at living within their means–paying off credit cards in full each month and limiting spending. Yet more than half admit to living paycheck to paycheck–and many are still living with or living off their parents. [CNBC]

5 Credit Card Predictions for 2015

This year Apple Pay launched and several major security breaches put consumers on edge. As we prepare to usher in a new year, here are the thoughts of several credit card experts about what to expect from credit card issuers in 2015. [U.S. News]

Dinged Credit? Card Issuers are Happy to Lend

Consumers with dinged credit are back in a borrowing mood, and lenders are more than happy to give them new credit cards. Since the Great Recession ended five years ago, consumers have been gradually taking on more debt and lenders have been accommodating them, easing up on tighter standards. Revolving credit–mainly in the form of credit cards–is picking up. And the biggest growth in new credit cards is coming from so-called subprime borrowers whose credit scores are less than 660, according to the latest Equifax data. Another 7.8 million cards have been issued to subprime borrowers by retailers this year, up 13% from 2013 to an eight-year high. [CNBC]

Federal Site Helps Consumers Avoid Financial Fraud

Financial fraud is thriving. So the Commodity Futures Trading Commission unveiled a national consumer education campaign and website aimed at helping investors avoid becoming victims. Named SmartCheck, the program’s crucial feature is an online tool that consumers can use to check the registrations and disciplinary histories of brokers and other financial professionals. [The New York Times]

How Will Data Breaches Affect Holiday Shopping?

How will data breaches affect holiday shopping? A recent study showed many consumers are hesitant to shop at stores that have reported data breaches. The survey indicated 45% of consumers will “probably not” or “definitely not” shop with a retailer that has been recently hacked, even if that store is one they go to on a regular basis.[LowCards.com]

Federal Reserve Could Add to Toolkit for Raising Rates

At their October meeting, Federal Reserve officials discussed a new tool to use when it comes time for them to start raising short-term interest rates from near zero, according to minutes of the meeting. Raising the fed funds rate would cause other borrowing costs to rise throughout the economy, such as those for mortgages, credit cards andbusiness loans. Lowering it had the opposite effect. [The Wall Street Journal]

5 Store Credit Cards That Are Worth It

In some cases, store credit cards are not a good deal. However, these cards are some of the easiest credit cards to get, which make them attractive if you’re trying to build or rebuild credit. Fortunately, there are some store cards that do make sense. These are the cards that can offer impressive discounts, competitive rewards, or both. [Credit.com]

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 14.49%, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.45%. One year ago, the average was 14.42%. [LowCards.com]

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Source post on MoneyBuilder

This Week In Credit Card News: Card Hacks Not Hurting Stores, Your APR Could Rise In 2015

Shoppers Just Don’t Care About Credit Card Hacks

If Target and Home Depot are still reeling from the collective breach of 96 million customers’ debit and credit cards, it didn’t show in either company’s earnings reports. Target posted $17.73 billion in revenue, beating one Wall Street consensus forecast by $17 million. Home Depot’s rosy earnings report, which showed store sales in the U.S. climbed by 5.8% in the third quarter. [Time]

Credit Card Rates are Likely to Rise in 2015

Many credit cards use the prime rate (the lowest rate of interest at which banks lend money) as their benchmark. Since December 2008, the prime rate has been stuck at 3.25%. That’s all about to change. [CNBC]

Warren Buffett Loves Credit Cards and GM

Warren Buffett is a fan of credit cards these days. The legendary investor increased his stakes in Visa and MasterCard last quarter by 20% and 16%, respectively. The move is likely a bet that consumers are ready to spend again as the economy picks up steam. Both companies reported a jump in credit card volume last quarter, especially in the U.S. [CNN Money]

Merchants Get PayPal, Square Loans to Ready for Holidays

Small businesses preparing for the most lucrative time of year have found a new source of capital: digital-payment providers PayPal and Square. The companies have extended more than $275 million in financing to about 40,000 merchants over the past year, with demand for loans spiking when businesses need to build up inventory for the holidays. In the process, PayPal and Square are encroaching on the turf of banks and other lenders. The practice highlights a growing side business for PayPal and Square, which can use data they collect in processing transactions to find new business opportunities. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

Debts Canceled by Bankruptcy Still Mar Consumer Credit Scores

Tens of thousands of Americans who went through bankruptcy are still haunted by debts long after–sometimes as long as a decade after–federal judges have extinguished the bills in court. Paying no heed to the courts, the banks keep the debts alive on credit reports, essentially forcing borrowers to make payments on bills that they do not legally owe. The practice, a subtle but powerful tactic that effectively holds the credit report hostage until borrowers pay, potentially breathes new life into the pools of bad debt that are bought by financial firms. [The New York Times]

The Federal Reserve Meets with Big Banks, Regulators on Libor Alternatives

The Federal Reserve met with big banks and international regulators on Monday to discuss alternatives to the current London interbank offered rate, or Libor, in the wake of a rate-rigging scandal that has called the widely used benchmark into question. Fed Gov. Jerome Powell said the Fed’s aim is to “start the process of choosing a risk-free rate” as an alternative to Libor. [The Wall Street Journal]

Google Wallet Will No Longer Process In-App Purchases

Google Wallet recently announced that it will no longer be processing in-app payments as of March 2015. The company has not provided recommendations for any replacement services for merchants to use. The company says, “To preserve your user experience, we highly recommend removing your integration and migrating to another payment processing solution as soon as possible.” [LowCards.com]

Federal Agents Arrest Debt Collectors in Crackdown

The government is putting debt collectors on notice. Federal agents in Georgia arrested the founder of debt collection agency Williams, Scott & Associates along with six other employees morning for allegedly running a $4.1 million debt collection scam that targeted more than 6,000 people across the United States. It appears to be the first time federal authorities have taken coordinated action against debt collectors, and could be the beginning of a broader crackdown. [CNN Money]

4 Ways You’re Accidentally Committing Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud law covers a wide range of activity, and the terms and conditions of credit cards are lengthy and difficult to understand. Committing credit card fraud, whether it’s on purpose or by accident, can carry legal and financial consequences and might impact your ability to obtain future credit or even open a bank account. Keep the law on your side by knowing what to watch out for. [Huffington Post]

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 14.49%, slightly lower than last week’s average of 14.50%. Six months ago, the average was 14.47%. One year ago, the average was 14.42%. [LowCards.com]

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Source post on MoneyBuilder

This Week In Credit Card News: New Protections For Prepaid Cards, How Thieves Steal Gas

New Consumer Protections for Prepaid Cards

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is extending many of the financial protections of bank accounts to prepaid cards. New rules proposed Thursday by the federal regulator would require that prepaid card users be protected against fraudulent charges and provided with free monthly billing statements. Consumers have gone from loading less than $1 billion onto their cards in 2003 to nearly $100 billion through 2014. [Associated Press]

Credit Card Thieves Take Gas in ‘Pump and Dump’ Scheme

The man in the white shirt was pumping gas into an ordinary-looking white van. But he was no ordinary customer. In the 17 minutes he was at the pump, he used two stolen credit cards to pump 95 gallons of diesel fuel. What happened at this gas station outside Atlanta is part of a crime wave around the country. It’s called “pump and dump.” Thieves use stolen credit cards to get gas and then sell it at cut-rate prices to truckers and gas stations that are part of the scheme. [CNN]

$450 Credit Cards: Should You Pay for Premium Plastic?

Banks are pitching credit cards with annual fees more aggressively this year. Before you sign up, consider whether it makes sense to pay up to $500 a year for the perks that come with premium plastic. The stiff price tags on high-end cards might be worth it if you are a frequent traveler or spend significant sums on dining or entertainment. But cardholders should be sure that they won’t ramp up their purchases just to justify paying the annual fee—particularly if spending more would increase the odds that they wouldn’t pay the credit card bill in full each month. [The Wall Street Journal]

Debit Cards Decline in Popularity

A new report indicates debit cards are dropping in popularity, even though they remain the most common form of payment in America. The decline is primarily motivated by security fears from the number of data hacks that retailers have suffered this year. The report found 43% of the respondents preferred using debit cards to make payments, compared to 49% last year. [LowCards.com]

Costco Weighs Dropping AmEx as U.S. Card Partner

Costco, the retailer that replaced American Express as its credit card issuer in Canada, is considering a similar move with its larger U.S. portfolio, according to two people familiar with the matter. New York-based AmEx could be among firms bidding for the contract. [Bloomberg]

Square Rolls Out New Reader for Chip-Based Credit Cards

You can now pre-order the Square Reader for chip cards. The new reader, which will ship in spring 2015, is the first Square device to deal with EMV technology, meaning it has the ability to process payments made with credit cards embedded with computer chips. The $29 reader will accept both magnetic-stripe and chip cards, and can be used with iPhones, iPads and Android devices. [Entrepreneur]

Apple Pay’s Biggest Competitor Could be a Totally New Credit Card

American Express will replace credit card numbers with unique tokens which can be used to complete transactions online, from a mobile app or in-store with a mobile near field communications-enabled device. The card will have an embedded EMV chip that will generate a unique token for each transaction. Then, that token will be passed to a payment terminal via near field communications, much the same way that Apple Pay makes a transaction. In addition, issuers are developing fingerprint identification for credit cards. MasterCard is already working on a fingerprint ID system in their cards. The system would be similar to Apple’s TouchID system where your fingerprint would need to be verified by the card before it can be used. If these two security features are incorporated into a credit card, then the argument that Apple Pay is somehow more secure than credit cards will be a moot point. [LowCards.com]

5 Holiday Spending Mistakes That Can Kill Your Credit

Companies are pulling out all the stops to get us to spend. But watch out: there are some fairly common holiday spending behaviors that can do a number on your credit score. Here’s what the experts say you need to avoid. [Time]

Younger Generation Faces a Savings Deficit

After a flirtation with thrift after the recession, young Americans have stopped saving. Adults under age 35–the so-called millennial generation–currently have a savings rate of negative 2%, meaning they are burning through their assets or going into debt. That compares with a positive savings rate of about 3% for those age 35 to 44, 6% for those 45 to 54, and 13% for those 55 and older. A lack of savings increases the vulnerability of young workers in the postrecession economy, leaving many without a financial cushion for unexpected expenses, raising the difficulty of job transitions and leaving them further away from goals like eventual homeownership–let alone retirement. [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 14.50%, slightly below last week’s average of 14.51%. Six months ago, the average was 14.45%. One year ago, the average was 14.45%. [LowCards.com]

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Source post on MoneyBuilder