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It's getting easier to be approved for credit cards

Wednesday,04th June, 2014
If your finances got into a mess a while back, but are getting better now, you stand a better chance of seeing a credit card application approved than you have for some time. In the last quarter of 2013, 28.95 percent of all new cards issued went to "non-prime" consumers, in other words, people with less than impressive credit scores. That's up from 27.28 percent during the same period in 2012. As importantly, the overall number of new cards being issued is rising: 13.45 million of these accounts were opened between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013, while during the same period in 2012 that number was 11.56 million. More cards, less credit card debt, fewer problems Those data came from a May 14 report compiled by TransUnion, one of the Big 3 credit bureaus. It went on to explain why credit card companies are growing more relaxed about issuing plastic to non-prime borrowers: Nationwide, average credit card debt is down. In spite of the larger number of cards, balances per borrower averaged $5,164 in the first quarter of 2014, down from $5,201 during the same period in 2013. Delinquencies (when people fall 90 days or more behind with payments) were also down for these cards. They stood at just 1.37 percent during the first three months of this year, compared with 1.51 percent during the first quarter of 2013.

Chips on 96 percent of credit cards by 2018

Wednesday,28th May, 2014
By the end of 2018, 96 percent of all American credit cards could have EMV chips (tiny microprocessors that store and guard card data more effectively than today's magnetic strips) embedded in them, according to a new study from Javelin Strategy & Research, a company that specializes in monitoring and understanding payments and transactions. And, by the close of 2015, Javelin forecasts 166 million credit cards (29 percent of all those in circulation) are going to have these chips. Debit and prepaid cards are likely to migrate to EMV more slowly, with only 17 percent of them expected to have chips by the end of next year. Plastic and chips America has come late to the EMV party (the abbreviation stands for the companies originally behind the technology, Europay, MasterCard and Visa), and such chips are already widely used in other countries. One of the reasons for our tardiness is the sheer scale of the logistical challenge that migration involves in such a huge country as ours. Javelin reckons there are: About 1.2 billion debit, prepaid and credit cards in the U.S. Roughly 8 million point-of-sale payment terminals across America.

Business credit cards best for building business credit -- not borrowing

Wednesday,21st May, 2014
Early in March, this website published an article about the different forms of credit available to small-business owners. It suggested that some successful companies that had previously been forced to fund their operations using small-business credit cards might now be able to switch to less expensive types of borrowing. Business cards Now, new research from Citibank, released May 8, suggests small businesses are doing even better than many previously thought. The study found that -- even after a difficult winter -- half of all American small-business owners see business conditions as good or excellent. That's up from fewer than one in four, just four years ago.

Make bill payments with Citi ThankYou rewards points

Wednesday,14th May, 2014
Citi recently unveiled a new service that adds flexibility to the redemption of ThankYou points earned using its rewards credit cards and banking services. Already up and running, it allows those with Citi checking accounts to use points to make online bill payments. Customers can use their points to pay all or part of "virtually any" bill, including those for electricity, phone and cable, according to a company press release. Easy but not cheap Those wanting to use this new service can find step-by-step directions at www.thankyou.com/onlineBillPayment.jspx, and the process does sound very simple. It's particularly useful that you can choose to pay using only ThankYou points, or a combination of points and cash (meaning some or all the balance available on your checking account). Under the hood, your points are redeemed for cash, and credited to your checking account on the day you schedule the bill to be paid.

Good time to apply for credit cards

Wednesday,07th May, 2014
Credit card companies are becoming increasingly willing to approve card applications and offer higher limits, according to new research. That appears to be the implication of data contained in the National Consumer Credit Trends Report published by Big 3 credit bureau Equifax on April 28. Credit cards leading the way The report measured the amount of increased credit made available to (though not necessarily used by) consumers in January 2014. And, when compared with auto loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC), cards saw the biggest percentage growth over the same month in 2013. Here are the figures: Bank-issued credit cards: Up 28.5 percent to $19.5 billion in January 2014 compared to January 2013. Home equity revolving credit (HELOCs): Up 18.4 percent to $7.3 billion. Auto: Up 19.8 percent to $34.3 billion.

New app locks up your credit cards

Wednesday,30th April, 2014
If you're a customer of the Lone Star National Bank in southern Texas, you may have participated in a pilot program for OnDot Mobile Card Services, a new app that allows you to remotely manage your prepaid, debit and credit cards using your smartphone or similar device. Over the year that pilot lasted, the bank saw its card fraud expenses plummet by 60 percent. Credit card control The app is a sort of remote control for cards. With OnDot, you can turn your plastic on and off (tell your credit card companies to accept or decline payments) at the touch of a button. You can also configure it to: Bar purchases from certain categories of merchants. Set spending limits. Sync it with your smartphone's global positioning system (GPS). If someone tries to use your card in a different location from your phone's, you'll receive an alert showing where the purchase is being attempted. And that might allow you to prevent a fraud. Available only through credit card companies

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

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