Monthly Archives: July 2014

2014
07/26

Category:
Credit Cards

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8 FAQs About New EMV Credit Cards

The nationwide shift to EMV has begun.

EMV — which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa — is a global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions.

In the wake of numerous large-scale data breaches and increasing rates of counterfeit card fraud, US card issuers are migrating to this new technology to protect consumers and reduce the costs of fraud.

These new and improved cards are being deployed to improve payment security, making it more difficult for fraudsters to successfully counterfeit cards, says Julie Conroy, research director for retail banking at Aite Group, a financial industry research company. Its an important step forward.

For merchants and financial institutions, the switch to EMV means adding new in-store technology and internal processing systems, and complying with new liability rules. For consumers, it means activating new cards and learning new payment processes.

Most of all, it means greater protection against fraud.

The EMV ship has sailed in the US, according to Martin Ferenczi, president of Oberthur Technologies, the leading global EMV product and service provider. Consumers will receive their first chip-card soon, if they have not already.

I predict that by the end of this year, every household will have at least one card with a chip, he says.

Want to know more about the transition? Here are eight frequently asked questions to help you understand the changes.

1. Why are EMV cards more secure than traditional cards?

Its that small, metallic square youll see on new cards. Thats a computer chip, and its what sets apart the new generation of cards.

The magnetic stripes on traditional credit and debit cards store contain unchanging data. Whoever accesses that data gains the sensitive card and cardholder information necessary to make purchasaes. That makes traditional cards prime targets for counterfieiters, who convert stolen card data to cash.

If someone copies a mag stripe, they can easily replicate that data over and over again because it doesnt change, says Dave Witts, president of US payment systems for Creditcall.

Unlike magnetic-stripe cards, every time an EMV card is used for payment, the card chip creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again.

If a hacker stole the chip information from one specific point of sale, typical card duplication would never work because the stolen transaction number created in that instance wouldnt be useable again and the card would just get denied, Witts says.

EMV technology will not prevent data breaches from occurring, but it will make it much harder for criminals to successfully profit from what they steal.

Experts hope it will help significantly reduce fraud in the US, which has doubled in the past seven years as criminals have shied away from countries that already have transitioned to EMV cards, Conroy says.

The introduction of dynamic data is what makes EMV cards so effective at bringing down counterfeit card rates in other countries, she says.

2. How do I use an EMV card to make a purchase?

Just like magnetic-stripe cards, EMV cards are processed for payment in two steps: card reading and transaction verification.

However, with EMV cards you no longer have to master a quick, fluid card swipe in the right direction. Chip cards are read in a different way.

Instead of going to a register and swiping your card, you are going to do what is called card dipping instead, which means inserting your card into a terminal slot and waiting for it to process, Conroy says.

When an EMV card is dipped, data flows between the card chip and the issuing financial institution to verify the cards legitimacy and create the unique transaction data. This process isnt as quick as a magnetic-stripe swipe.

It will take a tiny bit longer for that transmission of data to happen, Witts says. If a person just sticks the card in and pulls it out, the transaction will likely be denied. A little bit of patience will be involved.

3. Is card dipping the only option?

Not necessarily. EMV cards can also support contactless card reading, also known as near field communication.

Instead of dipping or swiping, NFC-equipped cards are tapped against a terminal scanner that can pick up the card data from the embedded computer chip.

Contactless transactions are more consumer-friendly because you just have to tap, Ferenczi says. Around the world, there is a move to make EMV cards dual-interface, which means contact and contactless. However, in the US, most financial instructions are issuing contact cards.

Dual-interface cards and the equipment needed to scan them are expensive. Right now, the first step is to successfully integrate EMV cards into the US shopping scene. Dual interface will arrive later, according to Ferenczi.

4. Will I still have to sign or enter a PIN for my card transaction?

Yes and no. You will have to do one of those verification methods, but it depends on the verification method tied to your EMV card, not if your card is debit or credit.

Chip-and-PIN cards operate just like the checking-account debit card you have been using for years.

Entering a PIN connects the payment terminal to the payment processor for real-time transaction verification and approval. However, many payment processors are not equipped with the technology needed to handle EMV chip-and-PIN credit transactions. So it is not likely you will have to memorize new PINs anytime soon, according to Conroy.

There arent going to be many issuers requiring a PIN, she says. A vast majority will be issuing chip-and-signature cards, which arent all that different from how credit cards work now.

As with a magnetic-stripe credit card, you sign on the point-of-sale terminal to take responsibility for the payment when making a chip-and-signature card transaction.

Once the transition to EMV is under way in the US, chip-and-PIN cards will be transitioned in. Again, it is one step at a time, according to Ferenczi.

I predict we will start seeing some chip-and-PIN cards in 2015, and then it will probably take two to three years to fully convert to chip-and-PIN, he says.

Despite a slow transition overall, those who get chip-and-PIN cards will be able to use them right away.

If a terminal doesnt have the ability to accept a PIN, it will then step down to accepting a signature, says Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance. There will always be a secondary option.

5. If fraud occurs after EMV cards are issued, who will be liable for the costs?

Today, if an in-store transaction is conducted using a counterfeit, stolen or otherwise compromised card, consumer losses from that transaction fall back on the payment processor or issuing bank, depending on the cards terms and conditions.

Following an Oct. 1, 2015, deadline created by major US credit card issuers MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express, card-present fraud liability will shift to whoever is the least EMV-compliant party in a fraudulent transaction.

Consider the example of a financial institution that issues a chip card used at a merchant that has not changed its system to accept chip technology. This allows a counterfeit card to be successfully used.

The cost of the fraud will fall back on the merchant, Ferenczi says.

The major credit card issuers each have published detailed schedules about the upcoming shift in liability. The change is intended to help bring the entire payment industry on board with EMV by encouraging compliance to avoid liability costs.

Any parties not EMV-ready by October 2015 could face much higher costs in the event of a large data breach.

Automated fuel dispensers will have until 2017 to make the shift to EMV. Until then, they will follow existing fraud liability rulings.

6. So by Oct. 1, 2015, the transition to EMV technology will be complete?

Not exactly.

Although the upcoming deadline is strong encouragement for all payment processing parties to become EMV-compliant as soon as possible, experts do not believe everyone will comply by that date.

Dont expect a big bang in October of 2015, says Doug Johnson, vice president of risk management policy for the American Bankers Association. In terms of rollout, we expect about 50 percent of banks and retailers to be completely transitioned over. Its going to take a little time to adapt.

Aite Group estimates that by the end of 2015, approximately 70 percent of credit cards and 40 percent of debit cards in the US –1.1 billion cards total — will support EMV.

We are the most fragmented and the largest market that has ever gone to the EMV standard, Conroy says. Theres going to be varied customer experiences over the first year, year-and-a-half of this transition.

7. If I want to use my chip-card at a retailer that doesnt support EMV technology yet, will it work?

Yes. The first round of EMV cards — many of which are already in consumers hands — will be equipped with both chip and magnetic-stripe functions so consumer spending is not disrupted and merchants can adjust.

If you find yourself at a point-of-sale terminal and are not sure whether to dip or swipe your card, have no fear. The terminal will walk you through the process.

For example, if you enter a card into the chip reader slot but the reader isnt activated yet, it will come up with an error and youll be prompted to swipe the card in order to use it, Vanderhoof says.

And vice-versa.

If a consumer tries to swipe a chip card instead of inserting it, an error will appear and they will be prompted to insert the card for chip processing instead, Vanderhoof says.

If chip-card readers are not in place at a merchant at all, your EMV card can be read with a swipe, just like a traditional magnetic-stripe card.

You can still conduct transactions, you just lose that extra level of chip security, Johnson says.

8. Will I be able to use my EMV card when I travel outside the country?

Yes and no.

The US is the last major market still using the magnetic-stripe card system. Many European countries moved to EMV technology years ago to combat high fraud rates. That shift has left many US consumers who have magnetic-stripe cards looking for other forms of payment when they travel.

Since many foreign merchants are wary of magnetic-stripe cards, consumers who hold some type of chip card may run into fewer issues than those without one, according to Ferenczni.

Just the existence of the chip will likely make European merchants more willing to accept transactions that they wouldnt have likely accepted if a customer presented a mag-stripe card, he says.

However, chip-and-PIN cards are the norm in most other countries that support EMV technology. So consumers with chip-and-signature cards may still find merchants who are unwilling or unable to process their card, even though it does have an embedded chip.

Unmanned payment kiosks in Europe — such as bike rental stations, train ticket stations and parking permit dispensers — may give US travelers the most difficulty since most are set up to strictly accept chip-and-PIN card only, according to Ferenczi.

But despite any difficulties in the transition, Ferenczi says the change is a step in the right direction.

Nobody likes to think that his or her card is being secretly used for other purposes, he says. So I think regardless, there is a level of comfort knowing that it will be far more difficult to counterfeit EMV cards.

See related: How soon should retailers switch to EMV?, Data breaches turn spotlight on EMV cards

2014
07/26

Category:
Credit Cards

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Credit Cards Help U.S. Banks as Trading, Mortgages Slump

The biggest US banks, led by
JPMorgan Chase amp; Co. (JPM), are benefiting from credit cards amid a
decline in mortgage lending and a trading slump.

Card revenue rose 3.1 percent to $1.55 billion in the
second quarter from a year earlier, New York-based JPMorgan said
today in a statement. Growth in card fees outpaced revenue gains
in investment banking, lending and deposits and mortgages for
the fourth consecutive quarter, the firm said.

“Consumers are spending very strongly,” Chief Financial
Officer Marianne Lake said today on a conference call with
analysts. “It’s travel, it’s restaurants, it’s retail — it’s
across the board.”

Banks are profiting as consumers globally replace cash and
checks with electronic forms of payment. Credit- and debit-card
transactions worldwide could jump 74 percent to 288.6 billion in
2018 from six years earlier, according to the Nilson Report, an
industry newsletter. Card spending in the US totaled $4.08
trillion last year, the data show.

Citigroup Inc. (C) said yesterday that card revenue rose 2.6
percent to $5.31 billion in the second quarter from a year
earlier. At Wells Fargo amp; Co., fees from cards rose 4.2 percent
to $847 million, the San Francisco-based bank said July 11.

US retail sales increased 0.2 percent in June, the
Commerce Department said today, as more Americans returned to
work. The US unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, the lowest
level in more than five years, as payrolls surged in June by
288,000 workers, the government reported July 3.

Bank of America Corp., the biggest debit-card issuer in the
US by purchases, and Minneapolis-based US Bancorp, which
generates about 28 percent of its revenue from cards, report
second-quarter earnings tomorrow.

JPMorgan is the largest credit-card issuer in the US,
while Citigroup ranks third.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Elizabeth Dexheimer in New York at
edexheimer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Peter Eichenbaum at
peichenbaum@bloomberg.net
Steven Crabill

2014
07/25

Category:
Credit Cards

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US credit cards aren’t keeping up with international technology

If you happen to drive down the Brenner Autobahn between Austria and Italy this summer, here’s a little advice for crossing the wind-whipped Europabr├╝cke, or Europe Bridge: keep a little cash on hand to pay the toll.

When I motored south from Alsace, France, to the Italian Alps not long ago, I failed to do that. It resulted in one of the scariest moments of my life. I steered our Hertz rental van into the credit card lane, assuming that my Wells Fargo Visa would be accepted, as it had been on the French highways.

But it wasn’t.

Three futile swipes later, I nervously switched to my debit card. Cars started to line up behind me. Nothing. I fumbled for my Navy Federal Visa card. It, too, was rejected. In the resulting confusion, with the automated toll gate calmly issuing instructions in Italian, I dropped the plastic, and it blew into a busy lane.

Don’t let this be you. The truth is, your American Visa or MasterCard works abroad, except when it doesn’t. When you absolutely have to pay for something, no matter where you are, carry a little local currency.

The problem is mostly chip-and-PIN technology. They use it, we don’t. Chip-and-PIN, for the uninitiated, is the common name for the EMV smart card payment system used by credit, debit and ATM cards in Europe and most of the rest of the world. The systems authenticate your identity by means of a computer chip embedded in the card and a personal identification number, or PIN.

Most American credit cards use an older credit card technology that relies on a magnetic strip to verify the customer, also referred to as swipe-and-sign. They’ve been slower to adopt the technology primarily because of price. It’s cheaper to write off the cost of the fraud resulting from the less secure credit card technology than to invest in the more secure chip-and-PIN systems. The United States is scheduled to begin broadly adopting chip technology next year.

Until then, here’s what you need to know: Credit card problems are more frequent than your bank wants you to think. While an increasing number of banks offer chipped cards, only a few are actually worth carrying. And by the way, if you’re reading this story, you probably need one.

I won’t make you read to the bottom to find out what happened to my family’s chip-and-PINless misadventure. I couldn’t open the van door because the toll booth blocked it, but my 11-year-old son, Aren, bravely slid the back door open and retrieved the card. And after I pushed a button to talk to a person, the gate simply went up and let us through.

Turns out plenty of other travelers have plastic problems like mine. Matthew Reames, a doctoral student in Charlottesville, Va., recently tried to use his American credit card to pay for his train fare in Copenhagen. The automated kiosks rejected the card because it didn’t have the chip-and-PIN feature.

“I suppose my work-around would have been to go to an ATM and withdraw money,” he says. But he had a better solution: He tried his British ATM card, which worked.

No one knows precisely how many American credit cards use chip-and-PIN technology, or how many of the cards are in circulation, but the number of US cards that use the technology and are worth applying for can be counted on one hand — literally. Many chip cards carry foreign transaction fees of between 1 and 3 percent, “which really isn’t a worthwhile price to pay for convenience,” says Brian Karimzad, director of MileCards.com, a site that helps customers compare credit cards.

Only five cards are widely available with chips, PIN functionality and no currency fees, according to Karimzad: State Department Federal Credit Union EMV Visa Platinum, Andrews Federal Credit Union GlobeTrek Visa, PenFed’s Platinum Rewards, Promise amp; Gold Visa, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard and the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that your magnetic strip card won’t work on your summer vacation. It will be accepted in big cities, with exceptions for certain transactions such as toll booths and automated ticket dispensers at train stations. “Once you’re off the beaten path a bit, however, things may get a little tougher,” says Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. He tried to pay for dinner at an Italian restaurant in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, with his American card recently, but his server said, “Nein, danke.” He settled up with cash.

So do you need a chip-and-PIN card? If you’re headed overseas, and particularly to Europe, you probably do.

“People who frequently travel across the pond should invest in a chip-and-PIN card so they do not risk being cardless while overseas,” says Eric Adamowsky, the co-founder of CreditCardInsider.com. He also likes the Andrews Federal Credit Union card mentioned by MileCards.com’s Karimzad, noting that you can apply for the card as early as a week before your trip and still get it in time for your vacation.

Having the right card would have prevented a monkey wrench from being thrown into the wheels of Shawn Cohen’s recent vacation to Paris. His American credit card was readily accepted at restaurants and even for the Eurostar high-speed train. But when he tried to rent bikes to tour the city, the machines spat his card back without approving it.

“We couldn’t figure out why it didn’t work,” says Cohen, who works for an interactive marketing agency in Dallas.

I’m a little envious. Cohen learned his lesson about chip-and-PIN cards without much drama. I still have nightmares about my son jumping onto a busy Autobahn to fetch my credit card. Note to Dad: don’t be a chip-and-PINhead.

2014
07/25

Category:
Filing Bankruptcy

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National Debt Relief Explains Bankruptcy Filing Costs

National Debt Relief explained in a recent article published last July 15, 2014 that filing for bankruptcy carries a substantial cost to consumers. It lists down the cost items to look out for when planning to file for bankruptcy.

New York, NY (PRWEB) July 17, 2014

National Debt Relief shared in a recent article published last July 15, 2014 that filing for bankruptcy carries a substantial cost to consumers. The article titled “Before Filing For Bankruptcy, Make Sure You Can Afford It!” explains the possible expense items in case a debtor decides to file for bankruptcy.

The article starts off by citing that the cost of filing for bankruptcy may have contributed to the recent housing crash. This is because as consumers were unable to discharge their debts through bankruptcy because of the cost involved, they were forced to just default on their mortgage loans.

When filing for bankruptcy, the article shares that the primary expense would be attorney fees. This can make up majority of the cost involved as it can range anywhere from $600 to $5,000. Exact figures are dependent on the type of bankruptcy case you will file and the start where the case will be filed. But there are pro bono lawyers who can help with the case without asking for a single cent.

Attorney fees can really take its toll on the overall expense of bankruptcy filing costs. When a debtor wants to forego this expense, the next logical step is to pay for the services of a bankruptcy petition preparer. They will assist in preparing the petition and would cost anywhere between $100 to as high as $300. The final cost would depend again on the type case being filed in court.

The article explains as well how the US bankruptcy court mandated a debtor filing for bankruptcy to undergo credit counseling. Usually given to a debtor by an accredited agency, this counseling can also cost around $50 from your own pocket.

Filing fees will also have to be considered when filing for bankruptcy and can cost about $280 to $310. But if it is a Chapter 7 case, there is a possibility to get the filing fee waived provided there is proof that the income of the debtor is less than the 150% of the poverty line.

Another cost item in filing for bankruptcy is the trustee fee. This is specific for a Chapter 13 case where the court appoints a trustee to oversee the repayment plan of the debtor. The fee is usually a percentage of the repayments and not a specific dollar amount.

To read the rest of the article, click on this link: [http://www.nationaldebtrelief.com/filing-bankruptcy-make-sure-can-afford/

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/bankruptcy_cost/for_debtors/prweb12022967.htm

2014
07/24

Category:
Credit Cards

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East Texan charged with using 47 stolen credit cards to pump more than $5000 …

LUFKIN (AP) – An East Texas man has been accused of using dozens of stolen credit and debit card numbers to pump more than $5,000 worth of fuel during one stop.

Lufkin police say a clerk became suspicious July 10 when a man took an hour to fuel his Ford F-350 pickup truck and paid with 47 different cards. Police later determined the truck bed was converted into a 600-gallon diesel tank.

Jail records show Carlos Miranda of Cleveland was being held Wednesday on charges of credit or debit card abuse and driving with an invalid license. No attorney was listed for Miranda, whose bond was set at $55,000 after his arrest Tuesday refueling at the same store.

Sgt. David Casper says information on the credit and debit cards Miranda used was stolen.

2014
07/24

Category:
Credit Cards

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These are nationally available credit cards offering the lowest interest rates …

pay off the entire balance monthly, look for a zero-annual fee card that allows the most interest-free or grace days. Some cards listed below feature special introductory or teaser rates for a

specified time before regular rates apply. Additional fees and residency restrictions may apply. Rates are subject to change. Rebates and other benefits may be available.
National avg. APRs as of Jul. 16 Standard Gold Platinum
7.20 8.20 12.46

2014
07/23

Category:
Credit Cards

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Stolen credit cards used in the Rochester area

AMHERST, NY (WIVB) Detectives say a suspect who stole credit cards from a vehicle in May used those cards in the Rochester area.

The theft occurred in a parking lot at the athletic fields near Erie Community College in Amherst. Police released photos of the woman suspected of using the stolen credit cards on Tuesday and are working to identify her.

If you have any information, call 689-1339.

2014
07/23

Category:
Credit Cards

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2014
07/22

Category:
Credit Cards

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Dozens of stolen credit cards found during traffic stop

A routine traffic stop for an improper lane change led to the discovery of dozens of stolen credit cards, debit cards and fake IDs, according to the Miami County Sheriffs office.

A deputy patrolling on southbound I-75 Monday morning made the traffic stop near Tipp City. According to records, the deputy smelled marijuana right away. He questioned three people in the car and discovered the stolen cards and thousands of dollars in cash.

The deputy arrested Demarko Williams, 25, on nearly a dozen charges, including receiving stolen property, possession of criminal tools and forgery.

A woman in the car, Darnice Estell, 31, was also arrested on forgery and criminal tool charges.

A third person in the car was not arrested.

All three people were from the Detroit area, according to deputies, and were headed to Mississippi.

Both Williams and Estell are being held in the Montgomery County jail.

A judge set Williams bond at $30,000 during his arraignment in Miami County Municipal Court Tuesday morning. Estells bond was set at $36,000.

Secret Service agents have joined the sheriffs office investigation.

2014
07/22

Category:
Filing Bankruptcy

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Should you file bankruptcy? Part 4

Many people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code to seek protection from their creditors and to deal with debts that have become unmanageable. Sometimes, a Chapter 7 is not the best option to protect property. Another option for individuals seeking bankruptcy relief is to file under chapter 13.

In a chapter 13, the automatic stay prohibits collectors from continuing collection activities just like in chapter 7; however, the debts are resolved in a different fashion.

The chapter 13 debtor files and makes regular payments according to a plan that addresses the treatment of the debts. They make payments into a trust fund managed by a chapter 13 trustee. The trustee then distributes the payments according to the plan. Some creditors may be paid in full; others may be paid in part, and the debtor may be relieved of personal liability for some of the debt.

Creditors have the opportunity to object to the proposed plan, and any objections must be resolved before the court will confirm the plan. Finally, the debtor must complete the plan in order to receive most of the benefits of a chapter 13. A successful chapter 13 plan is usually completed in 3 to 5 years (the length of the plan is determined by a number of factors and requirements). Some debtors choose chapter 13 in order to protect property that would otherwise be vulnerable in a chapter 7.

I have worked with numerous people over the years who have told me that they would not have been able to save their home, for example, if they had not filed for bankruptcy protection. So, the claims made in some bankruptcy advertising to stop foreclosure may be true, but completing a successful chapter 13 takes time and effort. Therefore, should you file bankruptcy? For some people with money problems, bankruptcy may be the best option to protect their property and deal with the debts that have become unmanageable. I urge anyone considering filing bankruptcy to seek the advice of an experienced attorney who regularly practices in the bankruptcy court.

For those of you with money problems, Michigan State University Extension offers a variety of money management programs throughout the state of Michigan, check out MI Money Health for more information.

Other articles in this series:

  • Should you file bankruptcy? Part 1
  • Should you file bankruptcy? Part 2
  • Should you file bankruptcy? Part 3

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).