February 1, 2022
Paving the Payments Future
CFPB blasts 'junk fees' in new salvo against overdraft, other charges

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced an initiative Wednesday to save U.S. households billions in hidden “exploitative junk fees” charged by banks and financial companies.
  • The bureau issued a request for information to solicit input from consumers on a wide variety of inflated or obfuscated fees, including overdraft fees, card-replacement fees, out-of-network ATM fees, wire transfer fees, inactivity fees, and fees to investigate fraudulent activity.
  • The American Bankers Association (ABA), Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) and others published a joint statement decrying the announcement.

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Walmart fintech buys earned wage access firm Even in 'super app' pursuit

Former Goldman Sachs exec Omer Ismail will serve as CEO of the combined business, which includes One Finance, a digital financial services company the retailer also bought Wednesday.

Ever since two top Goldman Sachs executives left its consumer bank, Marcus, last year to join retail titan Walmart, financial and payments circles have been abuzz wondering what they were up to. Now we know.

Walmart on Wednesday announced the Hazel venture they joined is launching a financial services app business, targeting workers and consumers alike. To make it happen, the venture with Ribbit Capital launched last year is buying two California fintechs, the release said.

A growing share of Americans say affordable housing is a major problem where they live

Prospective homebuyers and renters across the United States have seen prices surge and supply plummet during the coronavirus pandemic. Amid these circumstances, about half of Americans (49%) say the availability of affordable housing in their local community is a major problem, up 10 percentage points from early 2018, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in October 2021.

Another 36% of U.S. adults said in the fall that affordable housing availability is a minor problem in their community, while just 14% said it is not a problem.

Americans’ concerns about the availability of affordable housing have outpaced worries about other local issues. The percentage of adults who say this is a major problem where they live is larger than the shares who say the same about drug addiction (35%), the economic and health impacts of COVID-19 (34% and 26%, respectively) and crime (22%).

Cities and States Find New Ways to Tax Streaming Services

More than half the states and dozens of cities now levy taxes or fees on digital streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, aiming to recoup the revenue they lose when people cut the cable cord.

Cable customers pay sales taxes and a variety of other taxes and fees imposed by state and local governments. For example, states and localities require cable companies to pay franchise fees—up to 5% of gross receipts, under federal law—for the easements allowing them to run cable in public rights-of-way. Cable companies recover these costs by adding charges to customers’ bills.

But as more consumers drop their cable and satellite television subscriptions, the amount of money that governments can collect from these companies and their customers is shrinking. States and cities argue that they shouldn’t be deprived of taxes on video services just because people have changed how they watch video. But some of their new taxing strategies have landed them in court.

The Social Security Retirement Age Increases in 2022

While you can start Social Security payments at age 62, your monthly checks are reduced if you begin collecting benefits at this age. To claim your full benefit, you need to sign up for Social Security at your full retirement age, which varies by birth year.

Here's a look at how the Social Security retirement age is changing, and what this means for your retirement payments:

-- An older Social Security full retirement age.

-- A bigger reduction if you claim Social Security early.

-- Less of a benefit for delaying claiming Social Security.

How much can a retired person earn without paying taxes?

Whether retirees withdraw funds from a private retirement account like a 401(k) or a Roth IRA, or receive social security benefits, or bot, the income caps for taxes are the same.

To determine whether or not one will need to pay taxes, a retiree will need to calculate their combined total income. In most cases, according to the Social Security Administration, those who may under $25,000 a year, will not see their social security benefits taxed.

As one increases along the combined income later, various rates rates on the benefits begin to kick in. For example, anyone with a combined income between $25,000 and $34,000 ($32,000 to $44,000 for married couples) could see up to fifty percent of their benefits taxed. At the highest end of the spectrum, those who earn more than $34,000 ($44,000 for married couples), could see as high as eight-five percent of their social security checks taxed.

Big banks gear up to return to office despite omicron variant

As new COVID-19 cases decline from the towering heights reached earlier this month, big banks are now setting definitive return dates in their quest to bring employees back into the physical workplace.

Throughout 2021, COVID-19 variants posed major headwinds to banks hoping to bring workers back to the office.

The spiraling caseload brought on by the delta variant last summer forced many banks to alter their game plans and shutter offices.

Afterward, banks across the country adopted widely varying stances on working from home.

What are credit union loans and how do you get one?

You’ll have to be a member of a credit union to qualify for credit union loans, but they may come with low rates and fees.

If you’re in the market for a personal loan, you might consider a credit union, a not-for-profit financial institution owned by its members. 

Credit unions offer an alternative to banks, which are for-profit institutions. Unlike banks, you need to be a member of a credit union to use its services — but credit union loans can come with lower interest rates and flexible terms. Keep reading to learn how credit union loans work and how to get one. 

What are credit union loans?
Credit union loans work the same way bank loans do: You borrow money from a financial institution that you must repay, with interest, according to the terms of the loan. You’ll need to join a credit union in order to qualify for a credit union loan, which may come with a lower rate and lower (or no) fees. It may be possible to qualify for a credit union loan even if you get turned down at a bank.

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