Your American Express Credit Card Can Now Message You on Facebook

Amex-facebook

Credit cards can already technically text or email you via spending alerts, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that one issuer is now able to message its cardholders on Facebook.

American Express officially launched its Facebook Messenger bot late last week. The bot, previewed at the Cannes Film Festival back in June, is designed to monitor an enrolled cardholder’s credit card purchases and then message them about relevant benefits, reminders and services.

What might the bot say exactly? Well, that depends on what card you happen to have and what you’re using it for, but here are some examples to help you get the gist.

  • Someone purchasing an airline ticket out of New York with their American Express Platinum credit card (see full review here) would receive a reminder about the Centurion Lounge to which their card grants them access.
  • An American Express Gold credit cardholder booking a visit to Los Angeles could receive restaurant recommendations for their upcoming trip.
  • After buying a certain product, cardholders may receive a reminder about the purchase protection their card carries — which can potentially secure refunds for items stolen or accidentally damaged within a specified timeframe.

Of course, this current incarnation does it have its limitations; the Amex bot is not designed to handle customer service inquiries. You’ll have to call the issuer directly for that. And it won’t respond to messages that it’s unfamiliar with.

The service isn’t automatic —interested cardholders will have to connect their eligible American Express credit card using their account login and password. (You can find information on how to do so on American Express’ website and Messenger’s Facebook page.) Once you’re connected, messages will show up in your Messenger conversation on all devices logged into the Messenger account. Cardholders can also elect to receive push notifications.

Vetting Your Bots

Getting hit up by your credit card on social media may feel a little iRobot to some folks, but new wave notifications like this do have their upsides. Transaction alerts can help you avoid over-spending or quickly spot fraud. And they can also prove useful to people who are unfamiliar with the specific perks their credit cards carry. Of course, you’ll want to read the fine print associated with any of these services carefully before signing up to make sure you understand how it works, what data you may be sharing with your issuers and others, and how it’s protected.

Per its website, American Express and Facebook both collect certain data in accordance with their existing privacy policies. And the credit card company may share information with Facebook regarding the types of industries where you have recently made purchases (such as travel, dining or retail) and how much you spent on them using your connected card, but the social media company does have limits regarding how it can use this data. Information is not shared with non-affiliated third parties, and cardholders can disconnect the bot at any time. (Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding data sharing and the bot.)

Doing Your Due Diligence 

Whenever you’re utilizing newfangled technology, it’s important to maintain good internet safety practices. That means protecting accounts with long and strong passwords, regularly monitoring accounts for signs of fraud and notifying your issuer immediately to have a card replaced if you have reason to believe that it or a linked account was compromised. (American Express recommends disconnecting the card if you think your Facebook account has been hacked. It also recommends deleting your conversations with the bot and changing your compromised credentials right away.)

You can also monitor your credit if you ever have reason to worry about identity theft. (You can do so by pulling your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and viewing two of your credit scores for free every 14 days on Credit.com.) Signs of identity theft include a sudden drop in scores, unfamiliar addresses and mysterious credit accounts you don’t remember opening.

At publishing time, the American Express Platinum credit card is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: AntonioGuillem

The post Your American Express Credit Card Can Now Message You on Facebook appeared first on Credit.com.

Your American Express Credit Card Can Now Message You on Facebook

Amex-facebook

Credit cards can already technically text or email you via spending alerts, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that one issuer is now able to message its cardholders on Facebook.

American Express officially launched its Facebook Messenger bot late last week. The bot, previewed at the Cannes Film Festival back in June, is designed to monitor an enrolled cardholder’s credit card purchases and then message them about relevant benefits, reminders and services.

What might the bot say exactly? Well, that depends on what card you happen to have and what you’re using it for, but here are some examples to help you get the gist.

  • Someone purchasing an airline ticket out of New York with their American Express Platinum credit card (see full review here) would receive a reminder about the Centurion Lounge to which their card grants them access.
  • An American Express Gold credit cardholder booking a visit to Los Angeles could receive restaurant recommendations for their upcoming trip.
  • After buying a certain product, cardholders may receive a reminder about the purchase protection their card carries — which can potentially secure refunds for items stolen or accidentally damaged within a specified timeframe.

Of course, this current incarnation does it have its limitations; the Amex bot is not designed to handle customer service inquiries. You’ll have to call the issuer directly for that. And it won’t respond to messages that it’s unfamiliar with.

The service isn’t automatic —interested cardholders will have to connect their eligible American Express credit card using their account login and password. (You can find information on how to do so on American Express’ website and Messenger’s Facebook page.) Once you’re connected, messages will show up in your Messenger conversation on all devices logged into the Messenger account. Cardholders can also elect to receive push notifications.

Vetting Your Bots

Getting hit up by your credit card on social media may feel a little iRobot to some folks, but new wave notifications like this do have their upsides. Transaction alerts can help you avoid over-spending or quickly spot fraud. And they can also prove useful to people who are unfamiliar with the specific perks their credit cards carry. Of course, you’ll want to read the fine print associated with any of these services carefully before signing up to make sure you understand how it works, what data you may be sharing with your issuers and others, and how it’s protected.

Per its website, American Express and Facebook both collect certain data in accordance with their existing privacy policies. And the credit card company may share information with Facebook regarding the types of industries where you have recently made purchases (such as travel, dining or retail) and how much you spent on them using your connected card, but the social media company does have limits regarding how it can use this data. Information is not shared with non-affiliated third parties, and cardholders can disconnect the bot at any time. (Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding data sharing and the bot.)

Doing Your Due Diligence 

Whenever you’re utilizing newfangled technology, it’s important to maintain good internet safety practices. That means protecting accounts with long and strong passwords, regularly monitoring accounts for signs of fraud and notifying your issuer immediately to have a card replaced if you have reason to believe that it or a linked account was compromised. (American Express recommends disconnecting the card if you think your Facebook account has been hacked. It also recommends deleting your conversations with the bot and changing your compromised credentials right away.)

You can also monitor your credit if you ever have reason to worry about identity theft. (You can do so by pulling your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and viewing two of your credit scores for free every 14 days on Credit.com.) Signs of identity theft include a sudden drop in scores, unfamiliar addresses and mysterious credit accounts you don’t remember opening.

At publishing time, the American Express Platinum credit card is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: AntonioGuillem

The post Your American Express Credit Card Can Now Message You on Facebook appeared first on Credit.com.

The Lesson Mark Zuckerberg Just Taught Everyone About Reusing Passwords

zuckerberg_hacked

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apparently didn’t read the warning about using different passwords to protect online accounts.

Sources told The Wall Street Journal that Zuckerberg’s Twitter and Pinterest accounts were hacked over the weekend. Per the paper, Zuckerberg utilized the same password — “dadada” — to protect each account. That password had appeared last month in a database of more than 100 million usernames and passwords that was stolen from LinkedIn back in 2012, it said.

Screenshots taken by Engadget show hacker group OurMine, using their now-suspended Twitter account, to alert Zuckerberg (@finkd) of their takeover on Sunday, saying “Hey @finkd we got access to your Twitter & Instagram & Pinterest, we are just testing your security, please dm us.”

Representatives from Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter did not immediately respond to Credit.com’s request for comment. Facebook did tell Engadget that the hackers didn’t get access to any of its accounts or systems.

Why Strong Passwords Are Important

Zuckerberg’s reported hack serves as a strong reminder not to skimp on password security. “Dadada” may not be on the list of 25 passwords you should never use, but it certainly wasn’t the most secure one out there, given that it’s short, repeats characters and doesn’t vary the types of characters used with numbers or symbols (all generally considered good password rules of thumb.)

And, while it may not seem like that big a deal to have a social media account compromised, using the same passwords across accounts, could open you up to other vulnerabilities, including card fraud or deeper identity theft. A thief, for instance, could potentially gain access to your bank account if it’s protected by the same password as a social media account that got compromised.

It’s generally a good idea to go through your passwords and update them regularly, making sure you are using secure passwords, unique to each site. And, if you ever think your personal information has been compromised, you may want to monitor your credit accounts or even freeze your credit reports. Sudden changes in your credit scores can be a sign your identity has been stolen. You can get two of your credit scores for free, updated each month, on Credit.com.

More on Identity Theft:

Image: FLDphotos

The post The Lesson Mark Zuckerberg Just Taught Everyone About Reusing Passwords appeared first on Credit.com.

Apartment Complex Orders Tenants to Like Its Facebook Page, Or Else…

facebook addendum

Leases can be chockful of fine print, but a move by one Salt Lake City apartment complex may have apartment dwellers reading their next one very carefully before signing on the dotted line.

City Park Apartments presented tenants with a “Facebook Addendum” late last week that requires them to like the building on the popular social media site within five days or otherwise be considered in breach of their lease, KSL-TV reports.

The addendum, which was taped to residents’ doors, also reportedly includes a release that would allow the complex to post pictures of tenants and their visitors on their page — and a clause that prevents residents from posting anything negative about the community on any public forums or pages.

It was brought to KSL’s attention by a tenant who considered the addendum “outrageous” and a “violation of my privacy.”

City Park Apartments did not immediately respond to Credit.com’s requests for comment. Its Facebook page, which boosts a 1.1. star rating, is currently riddled with reviews from people calling the complex out on the new policy.

“This is one of the most absurd requirements I have EVER heard,” one Facebook user wrote.

Facebook did not immediately respond to questions about whether it had any policies pertaining to this type of situation.

Attorney Zachary Myers told KSL, however, that the City Park Apartments’ addendum had a few potential broader issues.

“The biggest issue that I have with it is that it seems to be discriminatory against elderly individuals and disabled individuals who are unable to utilize an online presence such as Facebook,” he said.

Attention, Apartment Shoppers

Myers also told KSL that the complex may not be able to require tenants who already signed a lease to put their John Hancock on the add-on. Once you do sign the addendum, however, you could be legally beholden the terms, he said — a comment that underscores the importance of not blindly signing anything your landlord — or companies in general — put in front of you. You’ll want to be aware of any clauses that you may not agree with.

And, of course, if you’re in the market for a new apartment, you should check your credit. Most landlords pull a version of your credit report when deciding who to rent you and you don’t want any errors or surprises to cause you to miss out on a lease that aligns with what you’re looking for in an apartment. (You see where your credit currently stands by pulling your reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and viewing your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.)

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: lechatnoir

The post Apartment Complex Orders Tenants to Like Its Facebook Page, Or Else… appeared first on Credit.com.

Google Bans Ads for Payday Loans

money_habits

Effective July 13, Google is banning ads for payday loans and related products, the company said Wednesday in a statement. With this, Google will not display ads for loans that require payment within 60 days of the date of issue. In the U.S., ads for loans with an APR of 36% or higher will also not be shown.

Google disclosed this measure is “designed to protect our users from deceptive or harmful products.” The policy will not impact mortgage, car loan, student loan, commercial loan or credit card issuers.

“I think this action is as unprecedented as it is significant,” Keith Corbett, Center for Responsible Lending Executive Vice President, said in a statement. “By example, Google is demonstrating how profitable enterprises can also be ethical and supportive of financial fairness.”

According to the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), a trade organization for companies that offer small dollar, short-term loans or payday advances, “These policies are discriminatory and a form of censorship. The internet is meant to express the free flow of ideas and enhance commerce. Google is making a blanket assessment about the payday lending industry rather than discerning the good actors from the bad actors.

“This is unfair towards those that are legal, licensed lenders and uphold best business practices, including members of CFSA. Companies that restrict advertising of payday loans also do their users a disservice because consumers may need access to short-term credit that they cannot get from traditional banks. According to the FDIC, 24 million households are underbanked. Thirty-five states and the CFPB have recognized the need for short-term credit products like payday loans.”

The news comes on the heels of a recent study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) indicating online payday lenders have created hazards for borrowers that lead to overdraft fees and loss of access to checking accounts. When borrowers don’t have enough funds in their accounts to pay the lenders, repeated withdrawal attempts can result in several non-sufficient funds charges averaging $185.

“In one extreme case, we saw a lender that made 11 payment requests on an account in a single day,” noted CFPB director Richard Cordray.

Last year, Facebook unveiled a similar policy to this, banning ads for “paycheck advances or any other short-term loan designed to cover someone’s expenses until their next payday.”

Payday loans can be costly and leave lasting damage on your credit report. Their short terms make the cost of borrowing high, and if not followed you can be charged expensive additional fees. In most cases, the average percentage rate (APR) on a payday loan averages about 400%, with some even as high as 5,000%.

Before you consider applying for one, know your alternative options. (You can view your free credit report once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com and see two of your credit scores for free, updated monthly, on Credit.com.)

More on Managing Debt:

Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd

The post Google Bans Ads for Payday Loans appeared first on Credit.com.

Want a Better Job? Make Better Facebook Friends

Why Facebook Shouldn't Let The World See Your Teens' Pictures

The strength of your relationships on Facebook could be important when it comes to your ability to find a job, a recent study published in the Journal of Labor Economics suggests, though the relationship is somewhat nuanced.

The study, published in January, looked at whether “strong” or “weak” personal ties on Facebook were the most useful when it comes to finding a job. Researchers used photo tags and walls posts to measure tie strength, or how close the relationships actually were.

So, the better friends you are with someone in real life, the more likely they are to help you out in your job search.

Here’s where the data from this Journal of Labor Economics study gets tricky. Researchers noted that a person’s Facebook network is not an exact representation of their real life network, and that a large amount of unobservable contact takes place outside of Facebook. However, despite these shortcomings, Facebook interaction is a good predictor of real-world tie strength. And while good friends are powerful, the “weaker” friends can be as well.

“When looking at the collective power of weak ties, we find weak ties matter most,” researchers said. “But, when we look individually at all a person’s social connections, we find that a single strong tie is more influential than a single weak tie.”

How does that work?

The study concluded that there are actually very few strong ties on Facebook, but when they exist, they are “associated with a higher probability of job help.”

“Weak ties are important in aggregate because they are numerous,” researchers reported, “while single strong ties are scarce but associated with a higher probability of job help.”

Researchers suggested there’s an easy way to take advantage of this when looking for your next job.

“A person is more likely to work with a weaker tie because weaker ties collectively make up most of a person’s social network,” researchers said. “But, strengthening an existing tie should increase the probability that you will work with that specific friend.”

If you are looking for a better job, it can be helpful to keep an eye on your credit reports as they may end up being part of your evaluation during the hiring process. It’s a hotly contested subject, but employers are allowed to check your credit reports before they hire you. You can get started by checking out your free credit report summary every month on Credit.com. And you can get copies of your credit reports for free once a year from each of the major credit reporting agencies.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: Catherine Yeulet

The post Want a Better Job? Make Better Facebook Friends appeared first on Credit.com.