Chase Cards Get Chip Technology; Big Banks Just Say No to Marijuana -- Finance Winners & Losers

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- JPMorgan Chase (JPM) said it would convert 70% of its credit and debit cards to chip technology, an upgrade from the the magnetic strips that currently dominate the U.S. market, by the end of 2015.

Chip technology is a common feature in Europe, and there has been growing demand for it in the U.S., with Bank of America (BAC) among the companies that have already begun to add it. Citigroup (C) plans to start converting its debit cards this summer, the Associated Press reported.

Chip cards have an added layer of encryption technology, which makes them less susceptible to hackers, but using them requires upgrades of point-of-sale swipe terminals and ATMs. According to a recent survey commissioned by Chase, 80% of consumers worry about the security of their card transactions but 65% haven't even heard of chip technology.

"Fraud and security threats facing consumer payments today is a complex issue," Gordon Smith, CEO of Chase's consumer and community banking unit, said in a statement. "We're working to employ a variety of approaches to protect our customers -- adopting chip technology is a critical step on this journey."

JPMorgan fell 0.14% on Tuesday to $65.36.



After three attempts, Morgan Stanley (MS) announced the sale of its oil storage unit today, as regulatory pressures make a bank's operation of a commodities business more challenging.

Terms of the sale to Castleton Commodities International, based in Stamford, Conn., and backed by Paul Tudor Jones, were not disclosed. Sources told The Wall Street Journal, however, that the estimated price tag was as much as $1.5 billion.

The sale includes Morgan Stanley's international network of oil-terminal storage agreements; inventory; physical oil purchase, sale and supply agreements; and freight-shipping contracts, the bank said in a statement. It doesn't involve Morgan Stanley's client-facilitation oil trading business or any other commodities operations, the bank said.

Morgan Stanley ended the day down 1.39% at $37.72. The shares previously dropped less than 1% this year.

 



Shareholders of big banks may be missing out on a $3 billion dollar industry -- marijuana -- that the businesses refuse to touch because it's still illegal under federal law even though some states are permitting sales.

Bloomberg reported that the budding legal marijuana industry is having difficulty securing banking services because banks are federally regulated, and marijuana is only legal in 23 states.

For now, marijuana businesses have had to resort to storing their large cash reserves in vaults, Bloomberg said.

The Treasury Department wants banks to accept the money because it would make taxation easier and curb some of the risks of operating a cash-only business that until recently was completely illegal.

Support of the Treasury Department isn't sufficient for the banks, however, as the Treasury operates in an advisory capacity while the banks ultimately report to the Federal Reserve and FDIC. Meanwhile, banks have been lagging the S&P 500 and many investors would be unlikely to object to new highs for their stock.

The S&P 500 Financials Index dropped 0.4%.

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