Nov. 23, 2012 weekly credit card news review

By , CardRatings contributor
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Swipe fees, digital wallets, delinquencies and data breaches are the topics of this week's email. Have a great Thanksgiving and spend responsibly on Black Friday.

How will interchange settlement affect consumers?

On CardRatings.com, Jennifer Gregory reports on how the still-debated swipe fee settlement between merchants and Visa and MasterCard will affect consumers. Despite the matter being "settled," several merchant organizations are refusing it and the payment networks are willing to accept it. But experts say the consumer will not benefit at all and those who pay cash or use debit cards will still be paying for the interchange fee, whether or not they know it.

Digital wallets not necessarily the end of plastic

Last week The Economist looked at how the traditional payment networks are allaying themselves with upstart payment systems such as Square and Isis. The article also considers the retailers that are creating digital wallets with incentives such as coupons, encouraging consumers to use what should be the cheapest payment method for the stores.

TransUnion quarterly delinquency and debt report: Up and up

TransUnion reported on Nov. 19 that credit card delinquencies and borrower debt increased in the third quarter. Debt per borrower rose nearly 5 percent to $4,996, while payments 90 days overdue jumped to 0.75 percent from 0.71 percent in the same quarter in 2011. In a statement, TransUnion spokesman Ezra Becker noted: "Credit card delinquencies are following a pattern similar to what we observed in 2011, with declines in the first two quarters of the year followed by an increase in the third." And with holiday spending kicking off this month, fourth quarter debt may be up again. Stay tuned.

Top 5 consumer data breaches of 2012: Javelin

Al Pascual at Javelin Strategy & Research wrote a blog post this week on the five largest data breaches this year. These were eHarmony, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Zappos and the government of South Carolina. What did 3.6 million South Carolina residents lose: their Social Security numbers, "the master keys… or ultimate consumer passwords," as Mr. Pascual calls them. He notes that changing a Social Security number is not easy to do. He recommends all businesses - and governments - strengthen authentication in line with the Federal Financial Institution Examinations Council (FFIEC) guidelines.

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