The number of households that use prepaid cards in the United States has increased to 12% as of last year, according to an article published by Money. Most of this group are millennials and low income households. The use of prepaid cards are popular among these segments of consumers because their an alternative solution to checking accounts and credit cards. In addition to not qualifying for a traditional checking accounts, distrust in financial institutions is one of the top reasons these cards are appealing. In 2011 after the financial crisis, the government created an independent agency, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to basically protect consumers against various divisions within the financial sector (e.g., banks, debt collectors, mortgage-servicing companies, etc.).
With the increasing use of prepaid debit cards, the CFPB is now seeking to implement protective regulations for prepaid card holders. Since these cards are being used as primary checking accounts that holders use make major purchases, pay bills and receive pay checks, the CFPB is fighting to protect these cards from fraudulent charges, similar to how credit cards are protected. In addition, they’re also pushing these prepaid companies to do a better job of exposing fees and communicating balances through monthly statements.
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According to this New York Times article, there are billions of dollars in unclaimed property funds that states oversee. This includes stock dividends, tax refunds, bank accounts and other funds that property owners have forgotten about. Most states in the U.S. don’t do a great job of letting people know about their unclaimed money, but there are sites like missingmoney.org and unclaimed.org that can help you search for forgotten funds.
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Research shows that while most American’s aren’t likely to switch banks all that frequently, there are lots of checking account options that are worth looking at more closely. Money ranked six “best banks” in America and scored them by a number of factors including: monthly fees, interest earned on balances, ATM fees. Read the full article below to see which banks made the list!
Full article: Best Banks in America
As a result of the recent credit card data breaches, many Americans have become more concerned with protecting themselves against fraud, but many fail to consider a more serious threat when using credit cards. According to this New York Times article, research has shown that credit card usage over cash increases the likelihood of overspending because consumers tend focus less on price and more on product features when shopping and buying goods with their piece of plastic. Read the full article to understand how credit card usage affects our spending patterns.
The Most Serious Threat When Using Credit: You
According to this New York Times article, more and more consumers are getting denied access when trying to open up a new checking account. ChexSystems, a data service that financial institutions use to screen checking account applicants, once again comes under fire for unfairly denying consumers the right to open a new checking account. As a result, the system’s alleged screening inaccuracy is forcing many checking account applicants to rely on checking account alternatives like expensive cash-checking services.
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By the end of October, Walmart will be offering a new “low-fee” checking account to consumers across the country. Although the account is marketed as an alternative to traditional banks’ high-fee accounts (no minimum balance requirements and no overdraft fees), there’s fine print that should be looked at more closely. The account has a purchase fee of of $2.95 and like traditional accounts, a foreign ATM fee and monthly fee still exist (if the account holder doesn’t enroll in a monthly Direct Deposit).
Some alternatives low-fee checking options to consider are:
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The median household income in the United States is around $50,000. While this number is considered the top 50% in some geographic locations, it’s ranking isn’t considered as high in other areas of the United States where economic conditions vary (e.g., New York Metro). Click the link below to see how your income is ranked across over 300 zones in the United States!
What Percent Are You?
While many employers perceive the Millennial Generation as inexperienced and unprepared for the workplace, they’re attitude and work performance might not be too far off from those of previous generations. This New York Times article discusses how technology, the Great Recession, and observations of working parents have all had an influence on this generation of young Americans.
Click this link to read the full article Millennials at Work: Young and Callow, Like Their Parents
Your twenties can be the most expensive years of your life. Many of us have taken out student loans and upon graduating, have found it difficult to land an entry-level job that pays well. Written from firsthand experience, the author of this article provides some insight on how her parents prepped her financially during her early twenties. Click the link below to read more!
5 Ways My Parents Saved Me from Spending My 20s in Debt
As the summer winds down, a lot of us are focusing on how we can start rebuilding our savings after all our summer fun. Some great ways to save without cutting back on things you love include signing up for reward travel credit cards, enlisting in an Internet research panel and claiming rebates when dining out. Read the full article below to learn more!
7 Weird Ways to Save $4000 a Year