Banks Bury Fees in the Fine Print
Pew's annual Safe Checking study has uncovered a number of items and fees that most consumers wouldn't have a clue about until they got hit with them. From mandatory arbitration clauses that waive jury trials to fees on empty envelopes and cash deposits, your bank is keeping disclosures tied to your checking accounts heavily cloaked in fine print and sometimes not in any print at all. Story by Jennifer Waters for Marketwatch.
Older Americans Running Up Large Credit Card Debt
A troubling survey shows that older Americans are now carrying more credit card debt than younger people, mainly due to job loss and medical bills, not because of a lack of financial responsibility. The study looked at 997 middle-income households that were carrying credit card debt for at least three months. Of the respondents, households age 50 and older had an average credit card balance of $8,278 compared to an average debt of $6,258 for households under age 50. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.
2013: The Year Payments Finally Emerge from the Dark Ages?
People often wonder what it takes to win the so-called payment wars. Merchants will be the ones who decide which apps will emerge victorious from the mobile payments battles. Benefits to the consumer and the merchant are the number one determining factor. When both parties get something great out of mobile payments that they never had before, then the revolution will prevail; it will be win-win for everyone. Story by Henry Hegleson for All Things D.
Life in the Red
Recent research has shown that scarcity by itself is enough to cause financial self-sabotage. The psychological burden of debt not only saps intellectual resources, it also reinforces the reckless behavior, and quickly. Millions of Americans have been keeping the lights on through hard times with borrowed money, running a kind of shell game to keep bill collectors away. The average debt for households earning $20,000 a year or less more than doubled to $26,000 between 2001 and 2010. Experts say a combination of self-confidence, with a history of paying bills on time--sets many people up for a steep fall. Story by Benedict Carey for the New York Times.
Green Dot Aims to Take on Banks with Mobile-Based Account
Green Dot is aiming to take on big banks with a new checking account that consumers can open and manage through a smartphone application. The GoBank account is trying to branch out beyond so-called underbanked consumers. Green Dot is going after consumers who are dissatisfied with their traditional bank accounts as well as younger, tech-savvy consumers who constantly use mobile phones, thanks largely to social-networking apps. It will include a main deposit account linked to a Visa branded debit card that can be used to make purchases online and in stores. Story by Andrew Johnson for the Wall Street Journal.
New Mortgage Rules Aim to Protect Homeowners From Foreclosure
Federal officials issued new rules for mortgage servicers aimed at protecting homeowners facing foreclosure. Since the housing crisis began, many mortgage servicers--which collect payments for the owner of the loan and handle things like loan modifications and foreclosures--have been ill equipped to handle the flood of delinquent loans. Rules include restrictions that prohibit servicers from foreclosing on borrowers who are seeking loan modifications and rules that require them to explore all alternatives to foreclosure. Story by Les Christie for CNNMoney.
Regulators Order JPMorgan Chase to Improve Controls
JPMorgan Chase received two enforcement actions from federal regulators on Monday. One was for failures in risk management that led to a multi-billion dollar trading loss. The loss on a derivatives trade was first discovered in May and could be as high as $6 billion. Regulators found problems in assessing potential losses due to complex trades and also lack of communication to tell the board about the increasingly risky wagers. Chase must present a plan for tightening its risk management. In addition, the regulators cited Chase for breakdowns in money-laundering controls. The bank must improve the way it monitors cash transactions in order to diminish the chances of tainted money moving through the bank's system.
Story by Lynn Oldshue for LowCards.com
LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report
Based on the 1000+ cards in the LowCards.com Complete Credit Card Index, the average advertised APR for credit cards is 14.32 percent, slightly below last week’s average of 14.34 percent. Six months ago, the average was 14.35 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.05 percent.