• September 26, 2022

BaseNote Lets Fans Invest In Their Favorite Music Artists

A countless number of music artists struggle to fund the creation and promotion of their songs. For those that do, their ability exercise control over their work is limited by their …

Your State Pension Hates You

State laws mandate that pension fiduciaries have a duty of loyalty to manage retirement plan assets for the exclusive benefit of beneficiaries, i.e., state workers and retirees. Yet all-too-often public pension …

The Commercial Real Estate Market: Crash, Train Wreck, Or Apocalypse?

Dire warnings about commercial real estate appear almost daily these days. While office markets are stressed due to increased working from home, some real estate professionals see an increasingly bifurcated market, …

To Cope with Record Inflation, Americans Have Opened Up a Record Number of Credit Cards

As Americans grapple with the highest inflation in 40 years, the number of new credit cards have surged as more Americans rely on them to keep up with high prices. According to a recent report from the Federal Reserve, revolving credit (credit cards and lines of credit) increased by 19.6% from the previous year to $1.103 trillion. According to a survey by Equifax, Americans received 11.5 million new bank credit cards through February 2022. This is a 31.4% increase from the previous year. The total limits for these credit cards were $55.5 billion, a 59.2% increase from the previous year. Total credit limits now stand at $4.12 trillion, $224 billion above the pre-pandemic level. [USA Today]

Don’t Get Dinged at the Gas Pump by New Visa and Mastercard Policies

Gas prices aren’t the only thing going up when you pay at the pump in the summer of 2022. Thanks to new policies from Visa and Mastercard, the temporary financial holds on the debit or credit cards you use to pay for gas also are on the rise, by as much as 40%. The new limit is $175. Though those funds don’t actually leave your account, the hold could cause you to have trouble with overdraft fees on a debit card or impact spending limits on a credit card. [Clark.com]

Lawmakers Are Pushing Visa And Mastercard To Do More To Clamp Down On Consumer Fraud

Lawmakers are slamming Visa and Mastercard for their hands-off approach to shutting down consumer fraud on their networks and have raised the possibility of legislative action. The investigation found, that though Mastercard and Visa closely track businesses that have been flagged for lying to customers, lying to banks, and breaking the law, they rarely cut those businesses off. Instead, the card networks continue to facilitate the businesses’ transactions and to collect a percentage of every sale. Visa and Mastercard say that it is the responsibility of banks to take direct action against fraudsters, rarely using the tools they have at their disposal to prevent consumer harm. But lawmakers say this isn’t good enough. [Buzz Feed News]

Here’s Why the CFPB is Concerned about Credit Card Late Fees

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it’s looking into the fees that credit card companies charge consumers for late payments, specifically, whether those late fees are “reasonable and proportional” to the amount people owe. The CFPB is looking at this now because credit card companies can change their late fees based on inflation, and given how high inflation has been lately, they have some concerns.

The current rules governing credit card late fees date back to 2009. In the wake of the financial crisis, Congress was looking for ways to protect people from getting too deep into debt. In 2010, the Federal Reserve put a $25 limit on late fees. But it also allowed credit card companies to adjust those fees annually, based on the consumer price index. [Marketplace]

Why This Crypto Crash Is Different

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Driven by war and pandemic, a new macroeconomic paradigm is forming. High inflation is back after a 30-year absence, and with it, much tighter monetary policy. Interest rates are rising, and central banks around the world are burning money. The era of plentiful dollars is coming to an end. And that will mean persistently lower prices for cryptocurrencies. Crypto markets have never known anything but easy money. Bitcoin was born in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, when many people feared that central banks’ experiment with ultra-low interest rates and quantitative easing would cause runaway inflation. Ten years later, interest rates were still far below pre-financial crisis levels, and central bank balance sheets were still massively inflated. And the runaway inflation predicted by bitcoiners had failed to appear. Instead, asset prices had risen massively, including cryptocurrency prices, as investors desperate for yield piled into bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. [Coin Desk]

Meta Launches Meta Pay, a Metaverse Dedicated Digital Wallet

Meta is trying to solve the problem of transaction and value interactions in the metaverse. The company announced the launch of a new digital wallet that will support the economy of users in the upcoming iteration of Meta’s metaverse. The wallet, dubbed Meta Pay, will be an evolution of what’s known today as Facebook Pay, still supporting the array of payments it handles currently, but with a new focus on digital identity and proof of ownership. According to Meta (formerly Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Meta Pay will be a solution to two issues in the metaverse: accessibility to digital goods and proof of ownership. [Bitcoin.com]

As Klarna and Affirm Falter, A New Breed of ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Startups Are Stealing the Spotlight

With hype over the “buy now, pay later” trend fading, some investors are betting they’ve found the next big thing. Buy now, pay later companies like Klarna and Affirm, which let shoppers defer payments to a later date or break up purchases into interest-free installments, are under immense strain as consumers become more wary about spending due to the rising cost of living, and as higher interest rates push up borrowing costs. They’re also facing increased competition, with tech gian Apple entering the ring with its own BNPL offering. But venture capitalists are betting a new breed of startups from Europe will be the real winners in the space. Companies like Mondu, Hokodo and Billie have raked in heaps of cash from investors with a simple pitch: businesses, not consumers, are a more lucrative clientele for the buy now, pay later trend. [CNBC]

Wells Fargo Introduces New Rewards Credit Card

Wells Fargo has announced a new rewards credit card, the Autograph Credit Card. The new card will offer 3 points per dollar on six different everyday spending categories, similar to what the discontinued Wells Fargo Propel Credit Card offered before being shut down last year. The card is set to be available for new applications on July 13. New cardholders will also be able to take advantage of a welcome bonus and an introductory 0% APR promotion. [Investopedia]

Grubhub, Amazon and Other Gift Cards Will Get a 25% Bonus on Prime Day

There are going to be a ton of deals to shop during Amazon Prime Days, from electronics and beauty to Amazon’s own devices, some of which are already discounted. A ton of gift cards that’ll be reduced up to 25% off. There’s a sweet deal in there for Prime members buying Amazon gift cards too. Prime members will get $12.50 in promotional credit with a $50 Amazon Gift Card purchase, meaning you’ll be stacking up some savings on your next quick-shipping order. Only one promotional credit is allowed per primary Prime email address. [SF Gate]

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