July 12, 2022
Paving the Payments Future
CFPB Issues Advisory to Protect Privacy When Companies Compile Personal Data: CFPB

Advisory affirms that “permissible purposes” are required to use and share credit reports and background reports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a legal interpretation to ensure that companies that use and share credit reports and background reports have a permissible purpose under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The CFPB’s new advisory opinion makes clear that credit reporting companies and users of credit reports have specific obligations to protect the public’s data privacy. The advisory also reminds covered entities of potential criminal liability for certain misconduct.

“Americans are now subject to round-the-clock surveillance by large commercial firms seeking to monetize their personal data,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “While Congress and regulators must do more to protect our privacy, the CFPB will be taking steps to use the Fair Credit Reporting Act to combat misuse and abuse of personal data on background screening and credit reports.”

Have a tax law question?
Our #IRS Interactive Tax Assistant has answers.
Watch this short video to learn more:

Taxpayers who want to check their account information including balance, payments, tax records and more, can log into their IRS online account. It's a simple and secure way to get information fast.

Taxpayers can view:
  • Their payoff amount, which is updated for the current day
  • The balance for each tax year for which they owe taxes
  • Their payment history
  • Key information from their most current tax return as originally filed
  • Payment plan details if they have one
  • Digital copies of select IRS notices
  • Economic Impact Payments if they received any
  • Their address on file
Cryptocurrency: Why some see it as a way to financially uplift people of color

After a market crash, is crypto a savior for the traditionally “underbanked?”

Can cryptocurrency become an alternative financial system for people of color who have historically faced discriminatory banking practices? Some crypto enthusiasts of color who spoke with ABC News say they believe so, even despite the crash in the price of digital currencies.

Worries about the volatile cryptocurrency market also leave some wondering whether turning to digital currency could financially hurt people of color, who generally have less net worth and generational wealth than white people, rather than help them.

Prejudice in banking

Black and brown people have a history of being "underbanked" and discriminated against by traditional financial institutions.

Faster Payments Take Sole Proprietors From Survival to Success

Consumers are struggling under growing economic burdens exacerbated by such problems as inflation rising more than 8% in the past year. As the digital transformation accelerated and those consumers gained experience with faster digital payments, combining that knowledge with the need to handle tighter financial constraints has spurred increased demand for true real-time payments. Consumers want to know that when they pay a bill the day it is due, the funds will arrive on time and they will not face late fees.

Even sole proprietors, many of whom have started a business in recent years in an effort to take greater control over their own financial destinies, face the same tight budgets and sense of living paycheck to paycheck as consumers. While faster payment options are helpful as they reduce the time between making a sale or completing a contract and getting paid from a week to a day, real-time payments add greater certainty and reliability. With true real-time payments, there is no broad range during which the payment is in process or uncertainty whether a payment will arrive on time.

Medical Debt Plagues 41% of Americans, KFF Survey Finds

Medical debt was more common among Americans with low income and education, women, and Black and Hispanic adults.

June 20, 2022 - Four in ten adults have medical debt, with nearly half owing $2,500 or more, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

The KFF Health Care Debt Survey reflects responses from 2,375 adults across the country.

The survey found that 41 percent of adults currently have debt caused by medical or dental bills. Specifically, 24 percent of respondents said they have past-due medical bills or bills they cannot pay and 21 percent reported medical debt they are paying off over time directly to a provider.

Meanwhile, 17 percent of adults have medical debt owed to a bank, collection agency, or another lender, while another 17 percent said they have medical bills they put on a credit card and are paying off over time.

Banking regulation may have been well-intentioned but it hurt Black Americans

In Las Vegas and across the country, it is hard to stress the importance of banking and credit access to all families, especially those in the African American community. This access allows us to build wealth, take out loans to start small businesses, and save for the future.

For African Americans in particular, this banking and credit access is essential to overcoming the systemic barriers to financial inequality that we face. Data from the Board of Governors Federal Reserve system in 2019 show that 32% of us are underbanked and 14% are totally unbanked, meaning only 54% of us are sufficiently banked. A recent analysis from the Brookings Institution discovered that African Americans on average pay more than twice as much in monthly bank fee costs compared with their white peers. This is unacceptable.

It is clear that federal legislators need to focus on fixing these inequities in our nation’s banking system and work on expanding banking and credit access. Yet some are doing just the opposite. Big retailers and their Washington, D.C. lobbyists are currently trying to shove through financial policies that will take our hard-earned money straight from our pockets and into theirs.

POSTAGE RATE INCREASE as of July 10, 2022

The U.S. Postal Service will implement new postage rates for most mailing (market dominant) products on Sunday, July 10, 2022.

  • Mailing Letters, Postcards and Flats/Large Envelopes:
  • The First Class Mail (1 oz.) letter rate for postage purchased at the Post Office will increase two cents to $0.60 from $0.58.
  • The “Metered Mail” rate for First Class Mail (1 oz.) letters which includes online postage and postage meters, will increase 4 cents to $0.57 from $0.53. “Metered Mail” for a First Class Mail (1 oz.) letter will be three cents cheaper which than the Post Office rate, a savings of 5%.
  • Additional ounces (Post Office and Metered Mail) for a First Class Mail letters are increasing by four cents to $0.24 from $0.20.
  • First Class Mail Flats/Large Envelopes (1 oz.) rates will increase four cents to $1.20 from $1.16. Each additional ounce will cost $0.24.
  • First Class Mail International (1 oz.) letter rates for postage purchased at the Post Office or online will increase ten cents to $1.40 from $1.30.
  • Postcards will increase by four cents to $0.44 from $0.40.
  • Certified Mail will increase by twenty-five cents to $4.00 from $3.75.
  • Special services such as Registered Mail, Signature Confirmation and Return Receipt will also increase in July 2022.

Advance Financial Donates $100k to National Museum of African American Music

NASHVILLE, TN — The Advance Financial Foundation, the charitable arm of fintech company Advance Financial, recently committed to a four-year, $100,000 sponsorship to the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) for the “From Nothing to Something” Program.

The From Nothing to Something Program is a series of one-hour workshops consisting of one of six musical presentations: Spoons, Harmonica, Cigar Box Guitars, Banjo and Washtub Bass. The program is led by artists and each presentation focuses on a singular instrument. Students will learn and explore the musical history, techniques, and other exciting stories and facts throughout each lesson.

“The Advance Financial Foundation’s four-year commitment of support for our From Nothing to Something program will allow us to expand our reach through both in person and digital versions of the program,” said Tamar Smithers, NMAAM Director of Education. “We very grateful for this support.” 

The 3 Worst Types of Debt to Take With You Into Retirement

Retiring debt-free is obviously ideal, but taking a little debt into retirement isn't the end of the world. A mortgage payment you've budgeted for in your retirement plan probably isn't going to threaten your financial security. But the same can't be said of the three types of debt listed below. If you have any of these, come up with a debt repayment plan ASAP so you can ditch these bills before retirement.

1. Tax debt
Your retirement savings is generally safe from creditors -- except the IRS. If you owe back taxes, the federal government could take the money from your 401(k), IRA, or other retirement account and you'll have no recourse to stop it. That's a huge problem for seniors who rely on their retirement savings to cover their monthly bills.

Instead of waiting for this to happen, reach out to the IRS directly to discuss your options. You may be able to set up a payment plan that allows you to pay your debt off slowly over time, rather than in a large lump sum.

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