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This Week In Credit Card News: Testing New Payment Methods By Palm, And With A Chip Implanted In Hand


Whole Foods Market Customers in Texas to Pay by Palm

Austin has become the first region outside the Seattle area where Whole Foods Market is offering the palm recognition service Amazon One as a payment option. The Arbor Trails Whole Foods store is the initial location in the Austin area to allow shoppers to pay with just a scan of their palm. Customer enrollment in the Amazon One service takes less than a minute, which involves linking credit/debit card info and creating palm signatures for one or both palms. A palm signature is created when a customer holds their palm over the Amazon One device, allowing the technology to evaluate multiple aspects of the palm. With no two palms alike, vision technology analyzes all aspects to select the most distinct identifiers on a palm to create a unique palm signature. [Progressive Grocer]

Tests are underway where consumers can pay with a chip inserted into their hand.

© 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

Hand Implant Allows People to Pay with Chip

Those tired of taking out their wallet or phone to pay for things could soon skip that step entirely, thanks to a new implantable payment chip. The British-Polish company Walletmor has created a microchip that can be implanted inside a person’s hand and used as one would tap a credit card for payment. The technology is only currently allowed to be sold in the European Union and the U.K. The company said it’s the first to sell these kinds of chips to willing customers, unleashing its biopolymer technology about the size of a small safety pin on the world last year. The cost is around $300. The chips use near-field communication or NFC, the same system smartphones use for contactless payments, and that they cannot be read until they’re in close contact with a payment reader device. [Nextstar Media]

Credit Card Spending Belies Consumers’ Glum View of the Economy

U.S. consumers say they aren’t feeling great about the economy. But they have a curious way of showing it. Pessimism about the economy has been on the rise due to surging inflation and falling household income since pandemic-related stimulus programs expired. But the latest round of bank earnings shows that apprehension hasn’t kept Americans from reaching for their credit cards. [The Wall Street Journal]

Five Reasons Bitcoin Will Replace Credit Cards

Bitcoin isn’t a useless virtual currency as critics love to claim, but it also represents something more fundamental: Bitcoin’s potential to replace legacy payment processing systems like Visa and MasterCard. Perhaps this may sound far-fetched, but there are plenty of advantages that Bitcoin offers both consumers and merchants. And if you know anything about the creative destruction inherent in capitalist societies, Bitcoin replacing credit cards is only a matter of time. Why should Bitcoin replace credit cards? Here are five reasons: speed, security, lower transaction fees, reduced paperwork, and privacy and anonymity. [Bitcoin Magazine]

Russian-Built Payment System Capitalizes on Visa, Mastercard Exit

Russian and Chinese entities that provide alternatives to the dominant Visa and Mastercard payment networks may reap significant benefits from sanctions the West imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Use of Visa and Mastercard was widespread in Russia—the two companies held 70% of the debit card market there—when the two card powerhouses halted some transactions in early March. Many would-be card users in Russia are rapidly embracing other options, including China-based UnionPay. While few major banks in Russia were using UnionPay before the invasion, some of the biggest have expressed interest over the past two months. [PYMNTS]

Legislators Urge Visa, Mastercard to Cancel Swipe-Fee Increases

A group of U.S. lawmakers sent a bipartisan letter to Visa and Mastercard urging them to halt their planned credit card swipe fee increases set to take effect this month. Higher costs are “the last thing American families deserve right now,” states the letter signed by Sen. Dick Durbin, (D-Illinois), Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas); Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) and Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas). [NACS]

Citi, Bank of America to Issue Recycled Plastic Credit Cards

Citi and Bank of America said separately on Thursday they plan to issue credit cards made with recycled plastic made from old credit cards. Citi said the rollout of its recycled PVC plastic (rPVC) cards will start in Europe, Middle East, and Africa region, before being distributed globally. Citi said its rPVC cards will be made with 85% recycled industrial waste per finished card in a process that will reduce CO2 emissions by 36% compared to a standard PVC card. Bank of America said it would transition all plastic credit and debit cards to be made from at least 80% recycled plastic starting in 2023. Bank of America has also been issuing digital cards since 2019. Bank of America issues 54 million consumer and commercial cards every year. It said the recycled plastic card effort will help reduce more than 235 tons of single-use plastics. [MarketWatch]

CFPB Focuses on Rural Banking Access

Rural Americans visit bank branches at nearly double the rate of urban and suburban customers, the CFPB found in a new report. In 2019, nearly nine in 10 rural households visited a branch, and about four in 10 rural households visited 10 or more times each year, “far more than their urban and suburban counterparts.” Rural consumers’ reliance on physical bank branches creates a financial disparity among rural communities affected by branch consolidation, creating an environment where rural Americans are also less likely to have a credit history and are more likely to use nonbank credit. [Banking Dive]

Apple Adding New Fraud Prevention Features to Apple Pay, Apple Wallet

Apple is upgrading its Apple Pay fraud prevention features for cards stored in the Wallet app on iPhone and Apple Watch, though only for Visa cards initially. For cards with certain enhanced fraud prevention, when you attempt an online or in-app transaction, your device will evaluate information about your Apple ID, device, and location (if you have enabled Location Services), to develop fraud prevention assessments, which are used by Apple to identify and prevent fraud. In addition, Apple says that it will share “fraud prevention assessments as well as information about your transaction” with card networks to further prevent fraud. That includes purchase amount, currency, and date. [Apple Insider]

AMC Theatres Allows Payments in Dogecoin and Shiba Inu on Mobile App

AMC Theatres, which has increasingly courted cryptocurrencies to appeal to a younger, more crypto-friendly customer base it gained during the 2021 meme stock craze, announced that it had begun enabling cryptocurrency payments on its mobile app. The company is using the Bitpay platform to launch mobile payment options in multiple meme cryptocurrencies, including Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, which have enjoyed substantial popularity among its customers. Customers can purchase tickets, concessions, and gift cards in Dogecoin and Shiba Inu. Tickets and merchandise can also still be purchased via traditional and alternative digital routes like a credit card or Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal. [The Street]

Here’s What It Means that Buy Now, Pay Later Loans Are On Your Credit Report Now

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who used a buy now, pay later loan for a purchase, your payments will now be recorded on your credit report. In February, Equifax became the first major credit bureau to record buy now, pay later loans on consumer credit files. TransUnion quickly followed suit, and introduced a new tool that allows users to add their BNPL payments to their credit history. Experian, meanwhile, confirmed plans to track BNPL payments as soon as this spring. Recording on-time payments could potentially help consumers build or rebuild credit, but, on the flip side, missing payments could hurt a person’s credit score. [Yahoo Money]

Fyle Launches Real-Time Spend Management on Visa Credit Cards

Fyle announced the launch of a real-time spend management solution for customers using corporate and small business cards in the US, starting with Visa. Fyle will be one of the first spend management platforms to offer direct and real-time transaction feeds to any Visa-powered credit card users, with direct secure enrollment from the cardholder. Instead of asking customers to switch to another business card, Fyle integrates with their existing business credit cards to give them a real-time spend management experience. The instantaneous data from card feeds and receipts are combined and made ready for accounting, vastly reducing manual work for spenders, Finance teams and accounting firms. [IBS Intelligence]

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