What We’re Reading This Week

Below are interesting stories the Banking.com staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below.

  • Security Watch

American Banker

Active military personnel had their accounts hacked at Pentagon Federal Credit Union in Alexandria, Va., according to a Jan. 17 story in The Washington Post. The source of the leak was allegedly an unguarded laptop that had stored an undisclosed number of accounts. The hacking incident was discovered Dec. 12, according to the Post, but not reported to customers until January. The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, however, reported Social Security, debit card and credit card numbers of 514 residents had been hacked in the incident.

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  • New breed of credit cards could offer savings — for the sharp-eyed, that is


A new breed of credit cards is on the way for 2011. Tighter regulations, cutting-edge technologies, and a growing willingness by banks to lend again are just some of the factors reshaping the credit card industry. For sharp-eyed consumers, the changes could present an opportunity to significantly lower monthly expenses. Here are the key trends to watch: Cards come knocking: Card offers are cluttering mailboxes again. Mailings almost doubled to 2.7 billion last year, according to market researcher Synovate.

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  • Android Users More Interested in Mobile Financial Services, Report Shows

Digital Transactions

While the news in smart phones this week has been all about Verizon Wireless’s announcement that it will start marketing the iPhone next month, the news that may well be of more importance to mobile payments and mobile banking is the hot streak that Google Inc.’s Android operating system is on. “If you don’t have an Android plan in place, you’re already behind,” Mark Schwanhausser, a senior analyst at Javelin Strategy & Research, tells Digital Transactions News.

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  • Now at Starbucks: Buy a Latte by Waving Your Phone

New York Times

Futurists have long predicted that one day, shoppers will swipe cellphones instead of credit cards to make purchases. At Starbucks stores nationwide, that is about to become a reality. On Wednesday, Starbucks plans to announce that customers of the 6,800 stores the company operates in the United States and the 1,000 that are in Target stores will be able to pay for their lattes with their cellphones instead of pulling out cash or a credit card. Various technology and payments companies, including PayPal, Bling Nation, Square, Venmo and now-deceased dot-com start-ups have been experimenting with ways to wean Americans off cash, credit cards or both.

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  • Asset Managers Choose Plastic over Paper

Milwaulkee Journal Sentinel

Plastic is still gaining ground on paper. The number of credit card transactions is projected to rise to about 162 billion in 2013 from 110 billion in 2009, according to the Nilson Report. The United States accounted for about 48% of credit card transactions in 2009, compared with 23% for Europe and 16% for Asia, the Nilson Report said. The average U.S. consumer has four credit and debit payment cards, compared with an average of one per person in Europe, it said.

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  • Banks tucking targeted ads onto online debit statements

Washington Post

As banks test new ways to make money and attract customers, they are tucking ads onto the list of recent purchases on consumers’ online bank statements. The charge for your breakfast at McDonald’s, for example, might be followed with an offer for 10 percent cash back on your next meal at the Golden Arches. There’s no need to print a coupon – just click the link, and the chain will recognize your debit card the next time it is swiped. “The one thing these debit programs have is a significant amount of transaction and behavioral data,” said Mark Johnson, president and chief executive of Loyalty 360, a trade group for marketers.

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Written by Banking.com Staff