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Hacking: Now it's Michaels Stores that's 'lost' data on millions of credit cards

Wednesday,23rd April, 2014
The time is rapidly approaching when those whose credit card information hasn't been compromised by hackers could form a small and exclusive club. Indeed, it won't be long before they could hold their annual meetings in an elevator. The latest in a long line of retailers to disclose that its IT systems have been successfully attacked by hackers is Michaels Stores, Inc., which describes itself as "North America's largest specialty retailer of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall decor and seasonal merchandise for the hobbyist and do-it-yourself home decorator." Michaels Stores, Inc. The company owns and operates more than 1,135 Michaels stores as well as 119 Aaron Brothers stores. Credit card information breached

Consumers making smart choice when using credit cards for online payments

Wednesday,16th April, 2014
Smart consumers are favoring credit cards over other payment methods when purchasing online, a new study shows. A report from Javelin Strategy & Research, published in March, identifies the choices people are making when buying on the Web: Major credit cards: 41 percent Debit cards: 32 percent Prepaid/gift cards: 6 percent Store-branded credit cards: 5 percent Alternative online payment methods: 15 percent That "alternative methods" group includes services such as Amazon Payments, Google Wallet and PayPal. Why credit cards are a smart choice

Bonus shopping categories for second quarter 2014

Thursday,10th April, 2014
Do you have one of those cash back credit cards that offer 5-percent rewards in categories of spending that change each quarter? Then now's the time to register (or "activate") your participation for the period April 1-June 30, 2014, either online or through your issuer's call center. Fail to do that, and you stand to carry on earning at your usual 1-percent rate. Cash-back credit cards' current promotions Here are this quarter's promotions for the three main companies that issue these cards, together with links to help you register: Chase Freedom: restaurants and Lowe's -- via the Chase activation page. Citi: Home furnishing stores, home and garden stores and The Home Depot -- via the Citi activation page. Discover: Home improvement stores, furniture stores and Bed Bath & Beyond -- via the Discover activation page. Other terms and conditions

American credit card balances increased by $16.1 billion last year

Wednesday,26th February, 2014
The Federal Reserve unveiled its provisional consumer credit data (excluding mortgages) for December 2013 on Feb. 7, and the figures revealed that credit card debt jumped by $5 billion that month. That brought the rise in card balances over the whole of 2013 to $16.1 billion. On Dec. 31, Americans owed $861.9 billion on their plastic. Credit card debt manageable Those big numbers may sound troubling, but, as has previously observed, they aren't really -- at least for now. Of course, it's pretty much inevitable that some individuals are currently struggling to stay on top of their plastic, but, for American consumers as a whole, this level of card debt is likely to be sustainable. The Fed's archive shows that credit card debt reached an all-time high back in December 2008, when it stood at $1,005,235.04 million -- or just over one trillion.

Study shows credit cards more secure than store cards

Wednesday,19th February, 2014
Regular readers may know that isn't a big fan of store cards. True, they can work well for some people, but a huge number of consumers end up paying very high interest rates for very few worthwhile benefits. Now a January report from Javelin Strategy & Research, an independent company that provides insights into customer transactions, suggests there's a new reason to dislike store cards: they tend to be way less secure than mainstream credit cards. Credit cards better Maybe this shouldn't come as a surprise, but, on average, retailers simply aren't as good at preventing and resolving fraud issues as financial institutions, according to the report. This used a scorecard system to measure different card issuers across three fraud-related criteria: Prevention Detection Resolution

Discover provides free FICO scores to cardholders every month

Wednesday,12th February, 2014
Early in December, reported FICO's offer to allow credit card companies, free of charge, to pass on to consumers their latest credit scores each month. Barclaycard and First Bankcard were the first to take advantage of this new facility, closely followed by Discover, which piloted the program with holders of just one of its products. Now Discover has announced it's rolling out the service to all its consumer credit card customers. Knowledge is power Discover says its intention is to empower its customers by providing them with the information and knowledge they need to better manage their finances.

Museums open doors to credit card customers

Wednesday,05th February, 2014
Bank of America recently announced its 2014 Museums on Us initiative, which permits its cardholders, including those who have Merrill Lynch-branded plastic, to gain free access to 150 cultural venues in 89 cities across 30 states. The offer applies only on the first full weekend of every month, and those taking advantage of it must present a Bank of America debit or credit card, along with a valid photo ID. They should then receive one free admission, although not to fundraisers, special exhibitions or other ticketed events. Existing participating venues include Houston Zoo, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. These are joined for the first time this year by 11 new venues, including Pérez Art Museum in Miami and the International Center of Photography in New York City. A full list of all the participating institutions can be accessed through Credit cards offer more

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