Credit News

Credit News

Richard Cordray is In: Watch Out Payday Lenders!

Richard Cordray President Obama took the opportunity yesterday, while lawmakers were on recess, to appoint Richard Cordray as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) first director.  The move is sure to ruffle a lot of feathers among Republicans in Washington D.C., but apparently Obama was sick and tired of watching the CFPB sit on the sidelines making suggestions that no one was obligated to listen to. They'll be a lot of partisan bickering regarding Obama's actions over the next few weeks, but I don't think most Americans really care about that.  The fact is Cordray is in, and he's probably not going anywhere for awhile.

Americans Are Spending Smarter

credit cards

While economists tend to focus their attention on the latest stock market trends and fiscal policy, there are new consumer trends developing that hit much closer to home.  For example, the decisions Americans have been making about how often they reach for their credit cards has changed dramatically over the past few years. Indeed, consumers have adopted new spending habits that speak volumes about the lasting impact of the economic recession.

Here’s a quick glance at an interesting trend we've noticed and what it might say about the rest of the economy as a whole.

Bobber Users Gamification to Promote Saving

A new Seattle-based company is using gamification via Facebook to help encourage young people to save and practice proper financial management skills. The company, BobberInteractive, allows users to set goals, measure their progress and engage/interact with friends via a Facebook app that uses the social media site as a gaming and goal-sharing platform. The hope is that those using the social platform will use gaming to solidify and enhance their ability to save and invest. Sounds just like Farmville, right? This game actually teaches something of value.

Small Business Saturday is Back: Get $25 or More on Nov. 26th!

Amex Small Business Saturday My favorite Saturday of the year is back! For the 2nd year in a row, American Express is sponsoring Small Business Saturday on November 26th, the day after Black Friday.  If you missed out in 2010, don't make the same mistake again.  This promotion is just too easy for Amex cardholders to pass up, and it's for a great cause too!

Prepaid Debit Cards: Fast, Easy to Use, and a Threat to Homeland Security?

While the past few years have been treacherous for the credit card industry, there is one area of the business that has grown dramatically: prepaid debit cards. Consumers have increasingly turned to prepaid debit cards as an easy way to have access to their cash without having to worry about keeping cash on hand.  From parents using it to distribute allowance to their kids, to consumers simply trying to stick to a budget, prepaid debit cards have been a big hit.

Credit Scores: Does Your State Have Good Credit?

Check out this infographic to see how your state stacks up against others in terms of average credit score.

Fed's Operation Twist Won't Affect Credit Card Rates

Federal Reserve The Fed didn't raise interest rates yesterday, but it did announce its next attempt to give our lumbering economy a much-needed kick in the butt. Dubbed "Operation Twist", the Fed aims to lower long-term interest rates by selling about $400 billion in short-term government bonds and then using that money to purchase longer-duration bonds like mortgage-backed securities.  The name stems from a similar Fed effort back in 1961 when Chubby Checker's song "The Twist" was at the top of the charts.  It kind of worked back then, so the Fed is hoping for the best this time around.

Debit Card Fees: Coming to a Wallet Near You

Fees. It’s a word that no one ever wants to hear, but it’s especially shocking to long-time debit card users. Unfortunately for them, it’s also a word they’re hearing more and more often these days, with a budding trend within the banking industry that looks to add monthly fees for debit cards. Wells Fargo has recently joined a growing list of banks that now charge monthly fees for debit card users. And while the fees are usually only between $3-$5 per month, many consumers are outraged at the prospect of paying for their ATM cards.

CFPB's Credit Card Complaint System Struggling

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The CFPB is off to a rough start.  Still without a Director and lacking the day-to-day guidance of its mastermind Elizabeth Warren, I can't say this comes as a huge surprise.

The bureau did manage to get its much-anticipated credit card complaint system up and running by the time doors officially opened for business in late July.  Unfortunately, it wasn't running well.  Complaints logged by consumers weren't even getting forwarded to credit card companies for investigation due to technical glitches in the CFPB's system. Oops!

US Mint Closes Airline Rewards Card Loophole

The U.S. Mint has closed a loophole that allowed owners of credit cards with airline miles to rack up free fares— without spending any money. Credit card users across the country are smacking their heads and asking themselves why they didn’t think of that earlier. In an effort to spread $1 coins into circulation, the U.S. Mint had been offering what it thought was a zero-sum deal to consumers: the ability for citizens to purchase large quantities of $1 coins at face value.  In other words, you charge $5,000 on your credit card, and a few days later $5,000-worth of $1 coins would arrive on your doorstep.


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