April 6 2021
The Gateway For Payroll Data
COVID-19 pushed real-time payments to jump 41% in 2020, study finds

  • Nearly 70.3 billion real-time payment transactions were processed globally in 2020, a 41% surge compared to the previous year, because of the pandemic, a recent report by ACI Worldwide found. Mobile wallet adoption also rose as consumers pivoted to contactless payment channels to avoid contracting the virus. 
  • The report projects a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for real-time payments of 23.6% from 2020 to 2025, across 48 surveyed markets.
  • “The pandemic has cast the spotlight on the importance of digital payments and robust payment infrastructures, condensing a decade of anticipated innovation into one year and creating human behavioral changes that will not reverse as we emerge from the crisis,” Jeremy Wilmot, chief product officer at ACI Worldwide, said in a press release Monday.

Paving the Payments Future
Unbanked Segments Become Valuable Focus For Payments Companies

The pandemic was miserable for everyone by its very nature, but the hardship did not exactly fall evenly across the population. For the unbanked and underbanked, according to reports, the sledding was more than a little rough as they often lacked access to the digital economy that has kept so many other consumers afloat for the last year or so.

“To be unbanked in America today means that families are unable to fully participate in our financial system,” Signe-Mary McKernan of the Urban Institute told News 4 New York of the unbanked population in the city. “If you don’t have access to credit when you need it you’re going to end up turning to payday lenders where you’re going to end up paying a lot more and end up in a spiral of debt.”

It has also meant that as stimulus checks have rolled out these consumers have often had to wait the longest for relief funds, since they have no accounts into which the IRS can directly deposit their funds, leaving them waiting on the perennially delayed USPS.

Tax Tips:

  • People should check Get My Payment for status of third EIP and watch their mail 

U.S. Consumer Optimism Jumps in March Amid Recovery: 5 Picks

U.S. consumers have been more optimistic in March regarding the next six to nine months than they were at the beginning of this year. Two recently released studies — University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index and the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index — climbed in March.

The ramp up of nationwide deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, a strong recovery of the U.S. economy, injection of a massive $1.9 trillion coronavirus-aid package, muted inflation and President Joe Biden's plan to overhaul U.S. infrastructure and manufacturing are the primary reasons for a surge in consumers' optimism.

On Mar 30, the Conference Board reported that Consumer Confidence in March jumped to a one-year high of 109.7 from the downwardly revised 90.4 in February.

Why Banks Should Maintain Their Digital Initiatives After The Pandemic

The pandemic has served as the biggest financial industry crisis since the 2008 recession, with social distancing guidelines, stay-at-home orders and the economic fallout, forming a triple threat that has rocked the sector. Thousands of bank branches across the U.S. have closed temporarily or permanently while others have limited their hours or switched to appointment-only models to reduce the risk of infection.

Greater shares of bank customers have applied for government-backed loans or set up new accounts to receive stimulus money than ever before, however. Financial institutions (FIs) have responded by pulling out all of the stops with their digital banking systems to close the demand gap, testing the digital networks they have spent the past decade developing and improving. Larger banks with more sophisticated in-house digital operations have experienced greater success than their smaller counterparts, but staying on top of customers’ demands for digital services has been challenging for every FI.

Lawmakers announce plan to offer zero-cost, zero-penalty bank account to all Californians

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A coalition of lawmakers and financial services advocates joined together to announce landmark legislation that would offer zero-cost, zero-penalty bank accounts to all Californians, it was announced in a statement Tuesday.

The California Public Banking Option Act (AB 1177), also known as BankCal, creates public banking legislation with existing financial institutions to close the widening racial wealth gap fueled by the exclusion of low-wage communities of color from basic banking services.

BankCal would be the first statewide program in the nation that offers residents access to a no-fee, no-penalty bank account that includes debit cards, automatic bill pay, direct deposit capacity and a platform for account holders to build credit.

Biden administration expanding pause on student loan interest and collections

(CNN)The Biden administration is expanding the pause on student loan interest and collections to the more than a million borrowers who are in default on loans made by private lenders, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

"This step particularly protects 800,000 borrowers who are at risk of having their tax refunds seized," Psaki said at a White House briefing.
The pause on collections covers loans made as part of the Federal Family Education Loan Program. It does not apply to borrowers who are not in default.

Biden has resisted calls from top congressional Democrats -- including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren -- to use his executive authority to forgive $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

Fed to lift dividend, buyback limits June 30 for banks that pass stress tests

  • The Federal Reserve said Thursday it will lift its temporary cap on dividend payments and stock buybacks June 30 for banks that pass this year's stress tests. Results of those tests are expected by July 1.
  • Banks that fail the stress tests will be subject to current restrictions through Sept. 30, the central bank said.
  • Temporary restrictions will lift June 30 for banks that are on a two-year cycle and are not subject to this year's stress tests, the Fed said.

SBA more than triples EIDL cap to $500K

  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) is more than tripling — to $500,000 or 24 months' worth of economic injury — the cap on Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). The change applies to loans approved beginning the week of April 6, the agency said Wednesday.
  • Borrowers who have already received loans but would qualify for more do not need to request an increase, the SBA said, adding it will email eligible borrowers directly with more details closer to the implementation date.
  • The SBA in May 2020 limited EIDLs to $150,000 or six months' worth of economic injury — from an initial cap of $2 million — after overwhelming demand left officials concerned that approved funding for the program would run out quickly. James Rivera, the head of the SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance, told senators at a Wednesday hearing the agency has $270 billion left to lend through the EIDL program, The New York Times reported.

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