• October 7, 2022

This Inflation Will Soon Dwarf The 1970s Breakout

The 1970s is the ultimate American allegory of inflation. By official measures, it was the worst inflation rout in America’s post-war history, with inflation peaking at 14.6%. It was also a …

The Spherical OEPLAY Music Star 5 Bluetooth Speaker Could Be A Design Classic

As a longtime Bang & Olufsen fan, I love beautifully designed audio equipment, especially if they sound great. The new OEPLAY Music Star 5 Bluetooth speaker looks like a cool piece …

If You Want The Largest Possible HECM Credit Line In The Years Ahead, Do You Take It Now Or Wait Until You Are Older?

I will assess this question for a homeowner of 62 with a house now worth $400,000 who has no current need to draw funds from a HECM but wants the largest …

Red Flag: Consumers Are Using Buy Now, Pay Later to Cover Everyday Expenses

Buy Now, Pay Later installment plans have become popular among consumers seeking to spread out the cost of big-ticket purchases. But now, rising prices have some cash-strapped shoppers reaching for these alternative payment methods for everyday purchases, such as their daily coffee, gas station fill-up or grocery run, as well. That’s a concern for economists and consumer advocates, who say the surge in the use of these services, coupled with a lack of transparency and little regulatory oversight, leaves them wondering just how much debt Americans are actually getting into. While other household debt, such as credit card spending and auto loans, is gathered and tracked by the Federal Reserve, Buy Now, Pay Later data is not included because the financing is typically provided by non-bank sources and not yet reported in a comprehensive manner to credit bureaus. [CNN]

Is Voice Payment Going To Be The Next Big Thing?

In India, the current winds of change appear to be in favor of the adoption of voice-based payment technology. The voice-based smart assistant revolution, which started with Siri and Alexa, is now being lauded as the key enabler for a large percentage of the population to go on board with digital payments. Traditional digital payment is a reliable method, but it necessitates constant checking of account numbers, cross-checking among applications, among other things. As a result, voice technology ushers in a new era of digital payments that is far too quick and handy. [Mint]

Consumer Finance Bureau ‘Out of Control’ under Biden’s Director, Critics Say

After one of the federal government’s most powerful bureaucrats warned he would be “reining in repeat offenders,” the nation’s largest business group wants to rein in his powers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched a six-figure digital ad campaign in late June targeting Rohit Chopra, director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, appointed by President Biden in 2021 and confirmed without a single Republican vote. [Fox Business]

J.D. Power: Debit, Credit Card Use Still Outpacing Alternative Payment Methods

Debit and credit card transactions continue to lead the way in payments transactions over digital payments alternatives, according to recent research published by J.D. Power. Across all age groups of U.S. consumers in the last three months, 32% turned to their debit card most frequently to pay and 28% used their credit card. Trailing behind cards were ATM withdrawals (12%), cash (11%), check (6%), a mobile wallet (2%). Other alternatives, such as P2P payment apps, prepaid or gift cards, “buy now pay later” or cryptocurrencies were each used by only 1% of consumers in that same three-month period, according to the survey. [ABA Banking Journal]

Bank of America Says Consumer Spending Remains Resilient Despite Inflation

Bank of America said customer spending continues to show signs of resilience despite surging inflation, with pent-up demand for travel and leisure countering rising gas prices and other increased costs. Spending on credit and debit cards was up 11% from a year earlier in June, compared with a 13% increase in April and 9% gain in May, the bank said Thursday. The higher spending comes amid rising prices and fears that the US is poised to slide into recession. [Bloomberg]

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Microsoft Backs Off Facial Recognition Analysis, But Big Questions Remain

Microsoft is backing away from its public support for some AI-driven features, including facial recognition, and acknowledging the discrimination and accuracy issues these offerings create. But the company had years to fix the problems and didn’t. That’s akin to a car manufacturer recalling a vehicle rather than fixing it. Despite concerns that facial recognition technology can be discriminatory, the real issue is that results are inaccurate. [ComputerWorld]

CFPB Warns Debt Collectors About Fees

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an advisory opinion warning debt collectors that most “pay-to-pay” fees that they often charge violate federal law. These charges, commonly described by debt collectors as “convenience fees,” are imposed on consumers who want to make a payment in a particular way, such as online or by phone. This new advisory opinion is another step in the CFPB’s crusade against “junk fees,” but it adds a new approach that may save resources for the agency, while being as equally effective as a new rule. [PYMNTS]

How Retailers Are Approaching Cryptocurrency Payments

Deloitte recently released a report on its survey of 2,000 senior executives at U.S. retail companies to examine interest and investment into crypto as a form of payment. The report found that 64% of merchants surveyed indicated that their customers have a significant interest in crypto payment options, and 83% expect that interest to grow over the next year. Based on this data, many companies are looking at the long-term role of crypto in retail transactions, perhaps expecting the current user demographic to grow and change over time. Crypto users aren’t too swayed by market fluctuations, according to a study by Gartner’s Software Advice. [Retail Dive]

Apple Eyes Fuel Purchases from Dashboard as it Revs Up Car Software

Apple wants you to start buying gas directly from your car dashboard as early as this fall, when the newest version of its CarPlay software rolls out, accelerating the company’s push to turn your vehicle into a store for goods and services. A new feature quietly unveiled at Apple’s developer conference this month will allow CarPlay users to tap an app to navigate to a pump and buy gas straight from a screen in the car, skipping the usual process of inserting or tapping a credit card. [Reuters]

Understanding 3D Credit Card Security and How It Could Affect Your Trips to Other Countries

The credit card security technology 3D Secure, or 3DS, as it’s sometimes called, helps verify whether online transactions are authentic. It checks a number of factors to authenticate a purchase, including the location of the user, the history of purchases on that credit card and even whether the personal data provided during the transaction matches what the bank has on file. If the technology identifies any abnormalities during this verification process, it may institute an additional security check via text message, email or phone call before completing the purchase. Users benefit from an improved experience with a simpler transaction. Banks benefit from reduced fraud and chargebacks. And merchants benefit by having an easier process for consumers so that they actually complete the transaction and spend money with the merchant. [The Points Guy]

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