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Top Credit Card Stories of 2012

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8. Spending on mobile devices
Consumers are changing the way they spend their money. A greater number of people are feeling more comfortable with spending via their mobile devices, and the rapid growth underscores how retailers need to adjust to this booming mobile commerce. A study by Javelin Strategy & Research reveals that more than $20.7 billion in sales took place on mobile devices in 2011. Another report from IDC Financial Insights predicts that purchase volume on mobile devices throughout the world by consumers and businesses will exceed $1 trillion by 2017. The majority of this volume will come from mobile commerce, which includes e-commerce through a mobile Web browser and the purchase of digital media.

9. Discontinuation of payment protection
After a series of consumer lawsuits and new fines from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, some credit card issuers got out of the payment protection business. The payment protection plans were marketed as a way to help consumers through difficult times, but the protection plans had restrictions and were criticized as misleading consumers. The Government Accountability Office found that cardholders got just 21 cents in tangible financial benefits for every dollar spent in debt protection product fees from the nine largest credit card issuers.

Bank of America stopped promoting its Credit Protection program in August and no longer offers the program to new customers. It plans to drop the payment protection business next year. American Express dropped its Account Protector program Dec. 31.

10. Elizabeth Warren
In November, Elizabeth Warren was elected to be a senator from Massachusetts. Warren helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the possibility of her leading the CFPB alarmed Republicans. She did not get the post and instead entered politics. After her victory over Scott Brown, Warren was picked to have a seat on the Senate Banking Committee where, ironically, she will be a watchdog over banks and financial institutions.