edition: January 16, 2024

4,056 members

Paving the Payments Future
Proven payment technology helps businesses pay and
get paid so they can focus on what matters most.

CFPB Addresses Inaccurate Background Check Reports and Sloppy Credit File Sharing Practices: CFPB

False, incomplete, and old information must not appear in background check reports, and a person’s complete consumer file must be provided to them upon request

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued guidance to consumer reporting companies to address inaccurate background check reports, as well as sloppy credit file sharing practices. The two advisory opinions seek to ensure that the consumer reporting system produces accurate and reliable information and does not keep people from accessing their personal data. First, an advisory opinion on background check reports highlights that those reports must be complete, accurate, and free of information that is duplicative, outdated, expunged, sealed, or otherwise legally restricted from public access. Second, an advisory opinion on file disclosure highlights that people are entitled to receive all information contained in their consumer file at the time they request it, along with the source or sources of the information contained within, including both the original and any intermediary or vendor source.

“Background check and other consumer reporting companies do not get to create flawed reputational dossiers that are then hidden from consumer view,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “Background check reports, and all other consumer reports, must be accurate, up to date, and available to the people that the reports are about.”

Read more at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Have a tax law question?

Our #IRS Interactive Tax Assistant has answers.

Watch this short video to learn more:

The Internal Revenue Service today announced Monday, Jan. 29, 2024,

as the official start date of the nation’s 2024 tax season when the

agency will begin accepting and processing 2023 tax returns. This year

the IRS expects more than 128.7 million individual tax returns to be filed by

the April 15, 2024, tax deadline.

Jose L. Santiago

Public Affairs Specialist

Tax Outreach, Partnership and Education

Email[email protected]

Black wealth is increasing, but so is the racial wealth gap: BROOKINGS

According to the latest data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, the nation’s racial wealth gap increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2019 and 2022, median wealth increased by $51,800, but the racial wealth gap increased by $49,950—adding up to a total difference of $240,120 in wealth between the median white household and the median Black household.

The Survey of Consumer Finances is the most comprehensive survey on household wealth in the United States. Updated every three years, this data provides a representative outlook of our current and past economic landscapes, which is particularly helpful in capturing the economic realities of households during the onset, peak, and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though wealth increased across the board, the data discussed here shows that not all people are reaping the benefits. While housing equity increased for Black households, other components to wealth-building such as corporate and business equity did not, exacerbating the racial wealth gap. Centuries of discrimination in public policy, financial practices, and societal norms that limited Black wealth accumulation have not been overcome, and will require broad structural changes to rectify the long-lasting impact of inequality.

Read more at The Brookings Institution

Accelerate Payments & Lower Processing Costs

Engaging Existing Customers Drives Banks’ Cross-Sell Success

When established bank customers say they’re satisfied, that doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship is robust and growing. To win a larger share of customers’ financial business, banks and credit unions must increase engagement. They can win at cross-selling if they focus on reviving sputtering relationship growth with existing customers.

Happy customers come back for their future banking needs, and they refer friends and family to their financial institution — right?

Time-honored banking wisdom as well as consumer surveys support this belief, in part. But consumers have shared one more thing when polled by Gallup: Banks and credit unions miss nearly 40% of opportunities in their relationship with customers when they focus only on satisfaction.

How do banks overlook so many chances to strengthen relationships and bring in more business?

By using the powerful combination of satisfaction plus engagement. Perhaps they do so because increasing customer engagement is riddled with risks, and practical barriers hamper success in channels that offer high returns on investment. Each of these challenges is surmountable once leaders understand what they can do about them.

Read more at The Financial Brand

Customized Payment Processing and
Merchant Service Provider for Your Business

Rent is so expensive for Gen Zers that almost one-third are living with their parents, new report finds

America has long struggled to provide adequate affordable housing, an issue that's become increasingly dire over the past few decades and supercharged since the pandemic. Now, new data is showing that things aren't improving much for the next generation.

In fact, 31% of Gen Z live with a parent or family member because they can't afford to rent or buy their own place, a new survey of 1,249 U.S. adults from Intuit Credit Karma finds.

First, some context: Gen Z spans those born between 1997 and 2012, currently aged 11 to 26. While it isn't exactly newsworthy that 11 and 12-year-olds would live with a family member, Credit Karma's survey includes responses from those 18 and older.

For the members of the generation old enough to live on their own, Credit Karma's survey and other data are starting to paint a picture that Gen Z is be particularly unlucky when it comes to housing costs. Gone are the days of low interest rates that helped millennials finally break into the market, particularly at the start of the 2020s; now, as more and more members of Gen Z graduate from school, kick off their careers, and consider a starter home, they are facing higher rates and higher housing prices, all with limited supply.

Read more at FORTUNE

The Most Advanced Self-Service Check Cashing ATM
Check Cashing, Money Transfer, Bill Payment, Mobile Reload, ATM and more.

Digging Deep into Consumer Preferences for Disbursements

Disbursing funds in an efficient and accessible way is critical to a good customer experience. But new economic realities and mobile adoption have challenged organizations to evolve how they pay to meet consumer demands.

In a recent PaymentsJournal podcast, two experts from Blackhawk Network, Sarah Kositzke, Director of Research, and Scott Lapp, Director of Product Marketing and Incentives, along with Jordan Hirschfield, Director of Prepaid at Javelin Strategy & Research, discussed the latest research on consumer payments preferences. The conversation focused on Blackhawk’s research into business-to-consumer disbursements.  

Defining the Terms

Disbursements are typically issued when a customer is owed a credit or refund. Examples include a property management company returning a security deposit, or an airline handing out compensation because a flight was canceled. Blackhawk wanted to better understand customers’ payment preferences, specifically in terms of their banking classification —whether unbanked, underbanked, or fully banked.

Read more at PaymentsJournal

Dreher Tomkies LLP

Michigan Mayor partners with Financial Plus to help Flint kids access bank accounts

FLINT, MI (January 9, 2024) — Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley is launching a new partnership with Financial Plus Credit Union to expand a youth financial literacy program for Flint kids. 

The Building the Dream program began with Mayor Neeley challenging Flint schoolchildren to fill up piggy banks with the promise to help them open a bank account and contribute $5 to their accounts.  

Financial Plus Credit Union is building on that promise by offering a $10 deposit for every new Kids Club membership, with an additional $5 for students who bring in their full piggy bank. 

Mayor Neeley hopes the program will help children develop early habits of saving money and building financial literacy, with a larger goal in mind of helping close the racial wealth gap in Flint. 

Read more at CUInsight


The Rise of Contactless Payments: How Businesses Can Adapt to the Cashless Trend

The prevalence of contactless payments is on the rise, driven by convenience. A growing number of consumers prefer the ease of transactions without the need for physical cash or the potential risks associated with carrying credit cards. Cashless payments provide a practical solution for those who may have forgotten alternate payment methods and need to make a purchase on the go.

The surge in contactless payments gained even more momentum during the pandemic, where they were seen as a safer and more hygienic way to conduct transactions. The tap-to-pay method emerged as a preferred choice, contributing to a healthier environment for businesses, reducing the risk of spreading germs.

For businesses looking to prioritize safety and adapt to evolving consumer preferences, embracing the cashless trend is key. The benefits extend beyond quick-service establishments, with cashless transactions playing a significant role in sectors including healthcare, especially in streamlined payment processing. As we delve into this evolving financial landscape, it becomes clear that the shift towards contactless payments is not just a fleeting trend—it’s a transformative force shaping the way businesses operate and cater to evolving consumer needs.

Read more at PaymentsJournal

Alternative Financial Service Providers Association
315 Tuscarora St., Lewiston, NY 14092

Copyright © AFSPA 2007-2024