According to Bankrate’s latest survey, 60% of Americans have helped out a friend or family member by lending cash with the expectation of being paid back, while 17% have lent their credit card and 21% have co-signed for a financial product like a loan or rental. But more than a third who participated in at least one of these activities were negatively impacted, resulting in lost money, a damaged credit score or harmed relationship.
Libra isn’t simply digital currency. Facebook and its 20-plus partners are building a payment platform to integrate with our daily lives. Soon I expect its authentication to be biometric–we’d have our faces scanned rather than sign our names. And what matters isn’t currency but data. A payment platform that connects purchases with locations, behaviors, relationships, employment, dining habits, and favorite memes? Libra could wield extraordinary predictive powers about its every customer. This, to me, sounds uncomfortably like China.
Here are six uplifting signs that Americans are actually using credit cards wisely. Almost 65% of Americans use credit cards as a credit-building tool. The majority of Americans recognize the key dangers of credit card debt. Average credit scores are pretty good. 58% of people with credit card debt are making more than the minimum payment. Close to half of all Americans have never maxed out a credit card. 38% of people with credit card debt have used a balance transfer to consolidate it.
Starting in 2020, Amex is adding trip cancellation and interruption insurance and trip delay insurance to the Amex Platinum and a handful of other premium Amex cards. If you book a round-trip flight entirely with an eligible Amex card and your flight is canceled for a covered reason, you’ll be eligible for up to $10,000 in reimbursement for non-refundable travel expenses. And if your flight is delayed by more than six hours for a covered reason, you’ll be eligible for up to $500 in reimbursement for unexpected expenses like meals and a hotel room.
Wells Fargo Tests Digital Currency for Internal Transfers
Wells Fargo plans to enter the world of cryptocurrency. The bank is testing a new service called Wells Fargo Digital Cash to conduct internal transactions. Digital Cash, linked to the US dollar, uses blockchain technology, and payments are tracked using the bank’s distributed ledger. Currently, it is designed to make cross-border money transfers faster and less expensive. It is not designed for consumer use.
7 in 10 Hospital Data Breaches Compromise This Sensitive Information
Some 71% of 1,461 private health information breaches spanning the past decade “compromised sensitive demographic or financial information that could be exploited for identity or financial fraud,” according to a new research report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Those breaches affected nearly 159 million patients. All breaches included at least one piece of demographic information, and two in three breaches involved sensitive personal details such as Social Security numbers.
200K Sign Petition Against Equifax Data Breach Settlement
Consumers are furious over what they view as an unfair settlement between the U.S. government and Equifax over the latter’s now-infamous 2017 data leak—so much so that more than 200,000 of them so far have signed a petition against the deal. The petition argues that even though Equifax made a hefty financial settlement with government officials over that breach, very little of that cash will trickle down to those who actually suffered because of it.
Mastercard Launches Digital Sales Platform For Farmers
Mastercard and Rabobank are partnering to offer a digital platform to 1 million farmers in emerging markets. The product will make it easier for farmers to sell produce and builds on the Mastercard Farmer Network. Rabobank’s Banking for Food vision reaches agricultural regions in Europe, Africa and Asia. The partnership will grow across Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Egypt and India. Farmers in these countries have limited finance options. The solution connects farmers with buyers through a common digital infrastructure.
Survey Shows Consumer’s Economic Optimism Will Increase Holiday Spending
A new survey by OpenX and The Harris Poll reports that 50% of shoppers are already contemplating holiday gifts with 37% responding purchasing has already begun. Consumer optimism seems to be fueling holiday spending. When asked about confidence in the economy improving next year, 77% of Millennials responded positively. One-third planned on spending more than they did last year.
Mastercard Announces New Blockchain Payment System, Square Hires More Bitcoin Developers
Mastercard is partnering with enterprise blockchain technology company R3 to develop a new cross-border payment system. The blockchain-based solution will connect faster payment infrastructure with banks supported by Mastercard’s clearing and settlement network. Mastercard will process, clear, and settle the international payments conducted on the network. R3, meanwhile, will connect its Corda Enterprise blockchain platform to Mastercard’s payment infrastructure. Square wants to help build Bitcoin’s ecosystem. To do so, the financial services company created Square Crypto, a small, elite team of crypto developers tasked with completing projects that help to improve Bitcoin’s software and strengthen its network.
As Thomas Cook Tanks, Credit Cards Can Save The Day
An estimated 600,000 travelers on vacation around the world got some bad news today: Their travel company was bankrupt and they were stranded. Thomas Cook, the 178-year-old British travel company specializing in packaged vacations, ceased operations in the early hours on Monday. Many credit cards automatically carry travel insurance and protections to provide compensation if your trip is disrupted, as long as you used that credit card to purchase your airfare. Credit card purchases are protected under the federal Fair Credit Billing Act, which grants consumers the right to dispute a charge when service is not provided. If the travel company that went out of business, such as an airline, isn’t being cooperative with refunding your ticket or providing alternate transport, you can contest the charge directly with your credit card company.
How to Keep Your Mobile Banking Safe
As people increasingly do their banking on mobile devices, concerns about digital security have come to the forefront. While many security issues are in the hands of your bank, experts say there are several measures you can take on your own to keep things safe. Here are some tips to help ensure your mobile banking is as secure as possible. [The Wall Street Journal]