ALTERNATIVE FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION
June 10, 2021
The Gateway For Payroll Data
Bank fraud is on the rise — here are 4 ways to protect your account

One of the scariest things about internet fraud is knowing that someone could hack your bank account if they happen to get a hold of certain personal information. It's only natural, then, to wonder about how to protect your bank account from fraud.

Bank account fraud happens, and it can mean the difference between you keeping your hard-earned money and seeing it vanish. Bank fraud attacks increased 159 percent over the past year, according to an analysis of 12 billion global transactions over the past year by risk management platform Feedzai, making this a very real risk.

Luckily, you don't have to just hope you'll avoid getting scammed. Signing up for a password manager like LastPass Premium can help ensure that you create a strong enough password — and remember it — so that bank account fraud won't be an issue (but more on that later). Here's what you need to know about bank account scams and how to protect your account.

Paving the Payments Future
Why some lenders are going all-in on video banking

OceanFirst Financial plans to extend its video banking services to mobile devices, while U.S. Bank recently added video to its co-browsing service.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced banks to adjust the way they interact with their customers, and many have boosted their digital platforms to better serve their clients at a distance.

Several banks have found success in their video banking platforms. The technology, they say, allows them to serve customers in a safe and convenient way, while still providing a personal touch.

Toms River, New Jersey-based OceanFirst Financial has been using video banking to connect with its customers for the last five years — an investment the bank says has paid off amid 15 months of social distancing and lockdowns.

IRS sending letters to more than 36 million families who may qualify for monthly Child Tax Credits; payments start July 15

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service has started sending letters to more than 36 million American families who, based on tax returns filed with the agency, may be eligible to receive monthly Child Tax Credit payments starting in July.

The expanded and newly-advanceable Child Tax Credit was authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act, enacted in March. The letters are going to families who may be eligible based on information they included in either their 2019 or 2020 federal income tax return or who used the Non-Filers tool on IRS.gov last year to register for an Economic Impact Payment.

Eligible families should file tax returns soon

Walmart partners with PayNearMe, Green Dot to launch faster cash bill-pay in August

  • Mega retailer Walmart has partnered with bill payment fintech PayNearMe and bank technology company Green Dot to provide its customers a new way to pay their bills in cash at its stores starting in August, the companies said in a Tuesday press release.
  • With the new PayNearMe/Green Dot service, Walmart customers can make the cash payments at 4,000 Walmart locations by scanning a biller code, the two payment companies said in the release. The service will typically cost about $2.99 per bill, but will vary depending on the biller, PayNearMe executives said.
  • Walmart customers already can make cash payments to their billers in-store, but the retailer typically needs account and biller information. “With us, they scan, pay and go,” Laura Rummel, PayNearMe’s senior director for account management and retail partnerships, said in an interview. “That is a much shorter transaction for Walmart.”
These countries have the highest and lowest corporate tax rates

G-7 leaders endorsed a 15% global minimum tax rate this weekend

Top economic officials from some of the world's wealthiest nations reached a broad agreement on Saturday to support a global minimum tax rate of at least 15% in order to crack down on multinational corporations that use low-tax countries to conceal their profits.

Finance leaders from the Group of 7 countries endorsed the global minimum tax rate, along with a proposal to make the world's biggest companies – including U.S.-based tech giants – pay taxes in countries where they conduct business but have no physical presence during a meeting in London.

"That global minimum tax would end the race-to-the-bottom in corporate taxation, and ensure fairness for the middle class and working people in the U.S. and around the world," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen tweeted after the meeting.

Internet Ads Are a Popular Tax Target for Both Parties

Last month, Robert Reeve, a digital tech worker from Washington, D.C., went to visit his mom in Michigan for a week. Shortly after, ads for a brand of toothpaste his mom uses—and that he also used during his stay at her house—popped up in his Twitter feed.

Outraged, Reeve posted a Twitter thread explaining how tech companies can determine whether your phone was in an unusual location, then mine nearby phones for data and use the information to send you targeted ads.

“We never talked about this brand [of toothpaste] or Googled it or anything like that,” he posted.

Reeve hit a nerve: His modest Twitter account ballooned from about 500 followers to 39,000 and his thread has earned more than 116,000 retweets.

HOUSEHOLD DEBT AND CREDIT REPORT (Q1 2021)

Household Debt Edges Higher, but Credit Card Balances Fall

According to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, total household debt rose by $85 billion (0.6 percent) to reach $14.64 trillion in the first quarter of 2021. Mortgage balances—the largest component of household debt—rose by $117 billion, while auto and student loan balances increased by $8 billion and $29 billion, respectively. Credit card balances declined by $49 billion—the second largest quarterly decline in the history of the series (which dates back to 1999). Credit card balances are $157 billion lower than they had been at the end of 2019, consistent with both paydowns among borrowers and constrained consumption opportunities.

For more details:
Report: Q1 2021
Blog: Credit Card Balance Declines Are Largest Among Older, Wealthier Borrowers
Press Release: Credit Card Balances See Second Largest Quarterly Decline in Series’ History

America’s largest cities saw the sharpest population losses during the pandemic, new census data shows

Much attention has been given to COVID-19’s impact on population losses in the nation’s largest cities, raising questions about a potential urban “exodus” and the shape of the post-pandemic city.

This analysis sheds light on the issue by examining the Census Bureau’s recently released estimates of annual city population changes for the 2010s decade through the year July 2019 to July 2020.[1] They indicate that most big cities with populations exceeding 250,000 showed lower population growth in the year the pandemic began than in the previous year, and nearly one-third of them registered their lowest annual growth in the decade. Still, only a few of these cities—mostly the nation’s largest—showed sharp population losses during the year COVID-19 began. Many of the others either continued population losses or slower gains that emerged earlier in the 2010s decade—or registered growth rises.

States tap federal aid to shore up empty unemployment funds

Businesses could be spared billions of dollars of higher taxes in coming years as a result of federal coronavirus funds flowing to the states

Businesses could be spared billions of dollars of higher taxes in coming years — potentially freeing up money to spend on employees or invest in their operations — as a result of federal coronavirus aid flowing to the states.

Governors and lawmakers in more than half the states are planning to use at least part of their federal pandemic relief money to bail out unemployment insurance trust funds that were drained by a surge in jobless claims caused by business closures and restrictions, according to an Associated Press review.

By tapping into the federal aid, states could avoid automatic tax hikes that otherwise would be imposed on businesses to repay federal loans that have kept state unemployment systems afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. That means state jobless funds could recover much faster than they did after the Great Recession, when it took some states five to 10 years to replenish their funds.

ALTERNATIVE FINANCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION
Alternative Financial Service Providers Association
757.737.4088
315 Tuscarora St., Lewiston, NY 14092