Monthly Archives: May 2013

Women Better At Handling Credit, Survey Finds

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Women may earn less than men but they are better managers of credit.

According to a new report from Experian , women earn 23% less than men, but men have 4.3% more debt than women. Women also have a slightly higher average credit score of 675 compared to the men’s average of 674.

The study found that men use more of their available credit (31%) than women (30%).

The average man carried $26,227 in debt from credit cards, personal loans and auto loans compared to a $25,095 average for a woman.

Men are also taking out larger mortgages–an average of $187,245 for a man versus $178,140 for a woman. Men also have a higher incidence of late payments on their mortgages (5.7%) than women (5.3%). Continue reading

Facebook Posts Help Credit Bureaus Sniff Out Fraudsters

Credit bureaus and payment companies are testing ways to use social media — say, a Facebook Inc. (FB) post about a recently purchased Corvette — to verify a person’s identity and even assess consumer creditworthiness.

Equifax Inc. (EFX), EBay Inc. (EBAY)’s PayPal and Intuit Inc. (INTU) have begun trials to see whether social posts can help prove identities, and, in some cases, detect whether customers are lying about their finances.

Users of Facebook, Pinterest Inc. and Twitter Inc. share personal details every day through public postings, status updates and location check-ins. That information is proving useful in validating identity, evaluating whether to make a loan and sniffing out fraud that cost U.S. online retailers $3.5 billion last year, according to CyberSource Corp. EBay set aside $580 million, or 4.1 percent of net revenue, to cover transaction and loan losses last year. Continue reading

Chase Tops Keynote’s Mobile Banking Ranking a Third Time

JPMorgan Chase has yet again won a ranking of mobile banking apps. In this one, Keynote’s semiannual mobile banking scorecard, Chase came in first for the third time in a row. Wells Fargo came in second and Bank of America third.

In late April, Forrester dubbed Chase the best in mobile banking out of 15 large multinational banks, for the second time in a row.

What does Chase do right to get the top nod so often?

In Keynote’s tests, the bank was found to provide the most across-the board functionality of the 15 banks examined, according to Susan Foulds, manager of the Keynote Mobile Banking Scorecard. Keynote maintains live accounts at all the banks it evaluates; its analysts score the apps according to 120 criteria in four categories — functionality, ease of use, privacy and security, and quality and availability. Banks evaluated for the Spring 2013 Keynote Mobile Banking Scorecard include Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Citizens, Fifth Third Bank, KeyBank, PNC, Regions Bank, SunTrust, TD Bank, USAA, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. Continue reading

Why Prepaid Cards Appeal to Hackers

Prepaid cards have been at the heart of several data breaches in recent years because their traits can make them easier for fraudsters to exploit.

But overall, prepaid cards are as safe as any other payment instrument available to consumers, industry experts say.

Last week’s arrests in a $45 million ATM cash-out scheme involved prepaid card accounts handled by two processors later identified as enStage and ElectraCard. A breach at Fidelity National Information Services in 2011 and one at WorldPay in 2009 also involved prepaid cards.

“The difference with prepaid cards [from other payment cards] is they can be bought anonymously, and are not necessarily registered with a bank,” says Madeline K. Aufseeser, senior analyst with Boston-based Aite Group.

A consumer can buy a prepaid card, load money onto it and then use it for a short period of time to take money from it, all before being required to register the card, Aufseeser says.

“So, it’s not the card itself, but the way it can be used as a tool to get money,” she says. Continue reading

Community Banks Brace for Cyberattacks

Community banks, which have largely dodged a recent wave of cyberattacks, must prepare for the next major online assault.

Big banks are getting the most attention from hackers, but smaller institutions could also be susceptible, industry experts warn.

“Smaller and midsize banks believe it won’t happen to them,” says Cara Camping, director of managed security services at SunGard Availability Services. “But attackers will go after them. Everyone’s vulnerable.”

U.S. intelligence officials have also issued warnings about cyberattacks as assaults have crippled the online and mobile banking platforms at banks such as Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Regions Financial.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has reached out to its banks to reinforce the need to stay vigilant, a spokeswoman says. At a recent meeting hosted by the Federal Reserve Board, a speaker told the audience that cyberattacks against smaller banks are inevitable, says Lowell Dansker, chairman and chief executive at Intervest Bancshares in New York.

Many of the recent attacks have involved distributed denial of service, or DDoS, which flood a website with so much information that the bank can’t respond to legitimate requests. A study issued in December found that nearly two-thirds of respondents had experienced a DDoS attack in the last year. Continue reading

Merchant Hub To Sponser The HPA Gaucho International Polo

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The HPA Gaucho International Polo kicks off in London on May 2 – 21, 2013 with a festival of music, complimentary wine tastings and the highest quality international polo.

Merchant Hub is proud to be sponsoring the HPA Guacho International polo.  Ranked as one of the top 100 polo players in the world, Nacho Figueras, sometimes called the “David Becham of Polo” will be joining the Merchant Hub team in London. The HPA Gaucho International Polo (www.gauchopolo.com) brings together the world’s greatest polo players for three matches of exciting arena polo, culminating with the anticipated IG England v Cheval des Andes Argentina match where British Captain Jamie Morrison will go mallet-to-mallet with Argentinian rival Nacho Figueras.

The evening kicks off at 5.30pm with a festival of music, complimentary wine tastings, and international polo with the headline match at 8pm. A Gaucho Hospitality Experience package offers a full day of sport and festivities with backstage tours, a ‘Meet The Polo Player’ three-course lunch and an exclusive private tour of the Wine Tasting Village and VIP Grandstand seating.

Tickets for Gaucho Polo are available now, starting at £20 by visiting gauchopolo.com/tickets/.

To book the Gaucho Polo Player Menu, please visit www.toptable.co.uk.

For more information about the event, please visit www.gauchopolo.com.