September 23, 2021
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How buy now, pay later became a $100 billion industry

  • Millions of shoppers now use a buy now, pay later, or BNPL, service to finance their purchases. And the options are more varied than ever.
  • BNPL plans, also known as point-of-sale loans, let shoppers pay for their items over a period of installments.
  • BNPL accounted for 2.1% — or about $97 billion — of all global e-commerce transactions in 2020, according to Worldpay.

Buy now, pay later is having a moment.

Millions of shoppers now use a buy now, pay later, or BNPL, service to finance their purchases. And the options are more varied than ever — Klarna, Affirm and Afterpay are just a few of the many providers in the space.

Meanwhile, big companies are jumping on the bandwagon, with PayPal launching its own product, Amazon and Apple partnering up with Affirm, and Square agreeing to buy Afterpay in a $29 billion deal.

How the Pandemic Affected Wage Growth

Despite the pandemic, wage growth held firm for most U.S. workers, with little effect on inequality

Despite the severity of the shock to the U.S. labor market from the coronavirus pandemic, the earnings of employed workers overall were largely unaffected by the pandemic. Inequality in earnings did rise during last year’s recession, if the unemployed are assumed to have had no compensation. Even so, the spike was relatively short-lived, in keeping with the record low duration of the recession, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.

Earnings overall have held steady through the pandemic in part because lower-wage workers experienced steeper job losses. Thus, the typical employed worker in 2020 earned more than the typical employed worker in 2019. A slowdown in inflation in 2020 benefited all workers, boosting the purchasing power of their earnings. While unemployed workers lost their earnings, at least some relief came through unemployment insurance, a federal package known as the CARES Act and a moratorium on residential evictions.  

Long-term unemployed workers still have access to federal jobless aid in these states

Millions of Americans and their families lost their access to pandemic unemployment insurance as several key programs expired over the weekend.

Moving forward, the 2.8 million people collecting traditional UI as of August 14 will no longer see a $300 weekly enhancement. Some 5.4 million people drawing from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which supports those not traditionally eligible for aid including freelancers and gig workers, will lose jobless benefits altogether.

A third program, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, will no longer support the long-term unemployed who’ve exhausted their state’s benefit window, which is generally 26 weeks but varies by state. Roughly 3.8 million people were collecting PEUC as of mid-August.

Who Is Eligible for Advance Child Tax Credit Payments?

Who is eligible for #IRS advance #ChildTaxCredit payments?

If you want to know whether you’re eligible for advance #ChildTaxCredit payments, a short #IRS video may help.

Are you wondering if you’re eligible for #IRS advance #ChildTaxCredit payments?
Yellen, IRS chief push House panel for bank data reporting boost

Details, including the account threshold, are still up for debate. But trade groups and Republican lawmakers say the compliance costs and security and privacy risks outweigh the windfall.

A legislative battle appears to be coming to a head over a move to force banks to report to the IRS inflows and outflows on accounts holding more than $600.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig each wrote letters Tuesday to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-MA, touting the measure as a means to close the gap between taxes paid and taxes owed. 

The Biden administration has pushed for increased bank data sharing since at least April, estimating it would generate nearly $463 billion in revenue over 10 years, according to Bloomberg. That money, in turn, could be put toward expanded social safety net and climate-change policies, The Wall Street Journal reported.

FDIC Launches Fund to Support Underserved Communities

$120 million pledged by anchor investors including Microsoft, Truist Financial and Discovery to support low- and moderate-income minorities and rural communities

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has launched a “Mission-Driven Bank Fund” to support minority depository institutions and community development financial institutions.

The investment vehicle is backed by Microsoft and Truist Financial Corporation, alongside Discovery – owner of TV networks including Discovery and Eurosport – as a founding investor, bringing the initial commitment to $120 million.

The fund will provide capital and financial services to minority, lower income, and rural communities as part of a wider effort across the US banking sector to provide affordable financial products and services to individuals and businesses. It is also aimed at stimulating economic and community development.

Visa targets the unbanked and underbanked

FINANCIAL services company Visa has embarked on a new campaign to focus on the unbanked and underbanked and to give them easier access to the formal economy.

Sharing Visa’s new brand identity being introduced across the region and explaining how it expressed Visa’s purpose and embraces themes of access, equality and inclusion, Mohammed Ismaeel, the senior vice-president for marketing Visa Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, said Visa was co-creating innovative solutions to make it easier to access seamless movement of money to potentially billions of people across the globe.

Visa aims to enable the movement of money and financial access to everyone everywhere.

“We are enabling faster access to payments whether you are a gig worker, SMMEs and all consumers. We build digital access capabilities for SMEs (small medium enterprises) for the very first time.

“Our brand and our network is providing access to a range of consumers and audiences that we have not been able to engage with historically,” said Ismaeel.

New England States Slowest to Recover Jobs

In-Person Workers Are Slow to Return to Jobs, Data Shows

Donald Trinks is seeing both sides of the labor problem in his restaurant: less business from travelers and not enough workers to capitalize on the business he has left.

More people want to eat in his restaurant, Bart’s Drive-In in Windsor, Connecticut, but Trinks has to close on Wednesday and Thursday nights because he can’t find enough workers. At the same time, his catering business is down because business travel has evaporated with the surge of the coronavirus delta variant.

“We do a lot of business catering, and there’s a lot less business meetings and people coming in from out of state,” said Trinks, who is also Windsor’s mayor.

How Startups Are Solving the Unbanking Crisis

Slowly but surely, the world is moving away from cash toward electronic payments. This is a relatively easy transition … if you have a bank account.

But for the roughly 22% of Americans who are unbanked or underbanked – that’s 55 million people – the path to electronic payments is challenging, and tasks such as obtaining cash, storing value and making remittances, often are unattainable.

Many unbanked or underbanked people who live in rural and urban areas will often fall victim to predatory payday lenders and check cashing storefronts. Rollbacks in consumer protections have made this situation even more precarious, as an estimated $8 billion in fees and other charges are targeted against this community each year. And that’s just in the United States, not even taking into account citizens in developing countries who are feeling the effects of an increasingly cashless world.

From student loans to Covid layoffs, here’s how to deal with the money stress keeping you up at night

Money and mental health are connected.

Financial problems can make you stressed, anxious or depressed, and those feelings, in turn, can have a big impact on your finances.

In fact, anxious or stressed adults are more likely to engage in costly financial behaviors, including withdrawing cash from retirement accounts and borrowing from high-cost financial services firms, according to a report from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center.

To help combat these emotions, start talking to yourself, your partner and your family members, suggests licensed marriage and family therapist Dr. George James, chief innovation officer and senior staff therapist at the non-profit Council for Relationships.

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