April 2, 2019
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Trump won't let Feds control credit agencies
U.S. regulators need authority to ensure credit agencies keep data secure - report

WASHINGTON, March 26 (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers should empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to impose civil penalties on consumer credit reporting agencies that fail to secure customers' records, congressional auditors recommended in a report released on Tuesday.

The Government Accountability Office also urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to improve its oversight and supervision of such credit reporting agencies (CRAs).

Concerns over the security of consumer data, particularly with credit reporting companies, have loomed large since Equifax Inc's massive data breach in 2017 that exposed the personal information of more than 143 million Americans in one of the largest hacks ever.

If the FTC had the power to fine such companies for violating data security provisions, that would boost consumer data security, given customers have few avenues to protect such sensitive information even after major data breaches, the GAO said.

Giving federal agencies greater oversight power, however, would run counter to the Republican Trump administration's vows to reduce and curb federal regulations.
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Democrats push financial inclusion as 2020 election race heats up

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Boosting access to the U.S. banking system is emerging as a prominent theme as Democrats tap discontent over income inequality ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Following the 2008 financial crisis, many banks pulled back from their poorest customers. The shift has had lasting costs for millions of Americans now struggling to access mainstream financial services such as checking accounts and credit cards.

Ten years later, Democrats, driven by progressive firebrands like Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, see financial inclusion as a draw for voters.

The three Democrats, along with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, have advocated for the U.S. Postal Service to provide banking services. Senator Cory Booker has said he wants to ban overdraft fees and Senator Kamala Harris has called for a crackdown on payday lenders.
Read more at REUTERS

Alternative Credit Reporting

People Are Plenty Willing To Share Personal Data To Get A Better Loan

The mass collection and sale of personal data is an increasingly sensitive topic for consumers and business leaders. Promising technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning depend on gathering lots of data. But as people have seen their data misused by some tech firms everyone within the industry is struggling to locate the line between reasonable data collection and invasion of privacy.

The whereabouts of that dividing line depend on what's at stake. New research suggests that people are surprisingly comfortable sharing their data as long as it's being put to good use, especially in the world of lending. A recent Harris Poll found a surprising consensus among American adults - 71% of those surveyed said they would be willing to share more personal data with a lender if it led to a fairer loan decision. (The survey was commissioned by my company, ZestFinance.)

More significantly, the Harris Poll shows that the majority of consumers feel unfairly treated by the current system. More than 80% of African-Americans and Hispanics - and 7 in 10 of all adults - say they wish there were a better way to prove themselves to lenders. Why is this? Broadly speaking people seeking a credit card, auto loan, mortgage, or any number of products are judged by one simple number: their credit score. Read more at FORBES

Lending as a Service

Book More Auto Loans by Meeting Customers Where They Are - Online

It's no secret that more consumers are going online to research products before they make a purchase - and auto purchases are no different. In fact, 80% of consumers use digital technology to research vehicles before they ever step foot on a car lot.1

However, it doesn't stop with comparing makes, models and deals. Sixty-two percent of consumers actually initiate the car buying process online, and even more (75%) would consider buying a vehicle online - and that means completing more steps of the loan process online.2

The traditional auto shopping experience is getting in consumers' way
A considerable percentage of consumers want to initiate car and loan shopping online, but not enough auto lenders or dealers are making the process easy. Consider that in the traditional process to buy a vehicle, consumers must: Read more at TRANSUNION


Why banks are suddenly so interested in pitching ways to improve your wealth

Ashleigh Koval is on a mission to build what many of us find elusive: a $1,000 emergency fund. Instead of settling on when and how much to move into her savings account, the retail banker decided to try something fresher earlier this year to hit her goal-a savings app offered by her employer that settles the matter for her.

In a little more than two months, Koval saved $800 through Dobot, an app that plugs into her checking account to identify - and move - small amounts of money that its algorithm believes she can safely save every few days.

She credits the early results to the encouraging touches, like how the app visualizes her progress, and how she doesn't have to think about the chore.

"You go to Dobot and you're like 'oh my gosh. I have all of this money. Where did this come from? Oh, that's right, it just automatically transfers,'" says Koval, a retail personal banker at Fifth Third Bank in West Chester, Ohio.

Koval, who is now recommending the goal-focused savings app to bank customers, was one of the early testers of the app that Fifth Third Bank acquired last year from a startup.
Read more at BANKRATE

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Tax season: Pros and cons of refund advances

While filing taxes each year can be a daunting task, a majority of Americans look forward to receiving a refund check from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year.

This year, the average refund as of March 15 was $2,957, essentially in line with last year.

Many households rely on their annual tax refunds. More than 70 percent of Americans receive money back from the IRS during tax season. The majority of Americans plan to spend this year's refund on debt, according to a recent study.

Some who want that cash quicker might consider a refund advance product.

These advance products allow a qualifying taxpayer to get her money as soon as the day that she files a return. It is essentially a loan that you will pay back once the IRS sends your refund.

About 1.7 million refund anticipation loans were taken out in 2017, according to a report from the National Consumer Law Center. Read more at FOX BUSINESS

National Debt Holdings is a professional Receivables Management Company that partners with creditors to purchase and/or manage receivables at all stages of the account life cycle.

How to save and pay off credit card debt. with David Kilby

Not only are Americans swimming in debt; they are also doing a poor job of saving for emergencies. Opens a New Window. surveyed more than 1,000 households and found that 3 in 10 Americans have more credit card debt than emergency savings, the highest in nine years of surveys. So what should take precedence: saving for emergencies or paying off credit card debt? David Kilby, president of FinFit says the answer is not one size fits all.

"There is no common formula that could be applied to everyone," he says. "The first step is to understand your unique circumstances. What is the cost of your credit? How much credit do you have outstanding? What is your cash flow today? What is your disposable income? How much savings do you have and what is the cost of living expenses you can reasonably anticipate relative to a safety net account?"

Kilby says saving for emergencies and paying off credit card debt simultaneously is the key to achieving long-term financial security Opens a New Window. .

"It's not just about the economics," he says. "What we coach is behavioral change. Savings is a behavior. It's not important just because you are putting a safety net in place as you are paying off your credit card debt. You are establishing a behavior that will go on for years and years and years." Read more at FOX BUSINESS

Merchant Boost Announces Name Change to ValidiFI
Redefining how financial service businesses measure risk and process payments.

Making cash easier for consumers and small businesses

Cash is the original real-time payment. In fact, more than 27 percent of all payments are still made in cash, according to the most recent study from the Federal Reserve. That stat may surprise digital enthusiasts but for millions of consumers and small businesses, cash is critical to their day-to-day life.

Who uses cash these days?
More people than you think. Even as digital and mobile payment technologies evolve, cash hasn't gone the way of the dinosaur and remains very much healthy: 56 percent of consumers choose cash for purchases of less than $30, based on a Health of Cash 2018 Study. And when it comes to speed and convenience, cash is the most cited payment method over credit, debit and digital at fast food restaurants, convenience stores, and small and local businesses.

Even as the highest adopters of mobile payments, millennials use cash at retail stores just as frequently as other U.S. consumers at 89 percent, the Health of Cash Study reveals.

Serving the underserved
Some cash users belong to the 8.4 million unbanked households without a checking or savings account. They represent about 6.5 percent of the U.S. population, according to the 2017 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households. Another 18.7 percent of U.S. households (24.2 million) were underbanked, meaning that the household had a checking or savings account but also obtained financial products and services outside the banking system.

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Move Payments Faster: Understanding ACH Payment Processing for Businesses

ACH payments are electronic transactions from one bank to another that are processed through the Automated Clearing House network. ACH payments are commonly used for direct deposit of payroll, and online recurring payments of bills, mortgages, and loans.According to the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), 23 billion payments were processed over the ACH network, moving over $51.2 trillion. This represents the sixth consecutive year that ACH payments value has risen by $1 trillion or more, year-over-year. The popularity of ACH transfers has to do with customer comfort level; as electronic payments become more common, more people choose ACH over other payment options. ACH payments also offer several benefits over different types of payment including paper checks, wire transfer, or EFT.

Here are four benefits to ACH payment processing solutions:

1. Lower Processing Costs
ACH transfers usually cost less than alternate forms of payment and are often the cheapest alternative to a cash transaction. Costs may vary depending on the ACH processor; some charge a flat fee per transaction, ranging from $0.25 to $0.; others charge .75 - 5 percent of the transaction value; some use a combination of per transaction and percent of transaction value.For comparison, there Read more at PAYLIANCE

Dreher Tomkies LLP
Dreher Tomkies LLP is a law firm concentrating in the areas of Banking and Financial Services law.

Creating Value Through the Sale of Accounts Receivable Portfolios

When businesses need to create immediate cash flow, liquidating accounts receivable can meet the urgent requirement of funds. National Debt Holdings helps our creditor clients by offering a quick, compliant, and professional transaction for the sale of your receivables portfolios.

Liquidating your accounts receivable creates an immediate source of funds for your company. Unlike obtaining a line of credit, which can be a lengthy process that involves underwriting and is not flexible should your needs change, selling your receivables portfolios ensures you instant capital to grow your business. Access to cash allows businesses to avoid financing and take advantage of opportunities as they arise, which can provide your business with an advantage over competitors.

National Debt Holdings is a compliant and professional partner for the sale of your performing and non-performing accounts receivable. We are certified by Receivables Management Association International (RMAI) as a Certified Professional Receivables Company (CPRC) and deliver a balance of compliance and performance to turn your accounts receivable portfolios into liquid capital. We offer creditors a no-obligation portfolio review and valuation use the latest technology to make data-driven decisions that benefit your bottom line. Our leadership team has deep knowledge of how to create success by partnering with you and leveraging our experience to maximize the value of your assets and ensure a seamless transaction through every stage of the sale. National Debt Holdings maintains the integrity of your brand by implementing proactive measures during the execution of the sale that protect our clients, partners, and service providers. Read more at NDH

We are a revolutionary merchant service and technology firm servicing the debt repayment industry.

Half of Older Americans Have Nothing in Retirement Savings

(Bloomberg) -- The bad news is that almost half of Americans approaching retirement have nothing saved in a 401(k) or other individual account. The good news is that the new estimate, from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is slightly better than a few years earlier.

Of those 55 and older, 48 percent had nothing put away in a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan or an individual retirement account, according to a GAO estimate for 2016 that was released Tuesday. That's an improvement from the 52 percent without retirement money in 2013.

Two in five of such households did have access to a traditional pension, also known as a defined benefit plan. However, 29 percent of older Americans had neither a pension nor any assets in a 401(k) or IRA account.

The estimate from the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, is a brief update to a more comprehensive 2015 report on retirement savings in the U.S. Both are based on the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances.

The previous report found the median household of those age 65 to 74 had about $148,000 saved, the equivalent of an inflation-protected annuity of $649 a month
Read more at YAHOO FINANCE

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More Employees Expect to Postpone Retirement Due to Financial Stress

While today's employees feel confident in their finances, the reality of their situations is not aligned with this confidence, a new report shows.

According to MetLife's 17th annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, nearly two out of three people say they are confident in their finances, but half say they are living paycheck to paycheck, many have tapped their retirement savings, and an increasingly large group says they will have to delay their retirement because of their finances. In fact, the level of respondents who say they expect to postpone retirement due to their financial situation has actually gone up over the last four years, from 37% in 2015 to 52% in 2019.

This is especially true for Generation X, which is the most likely generation to say they will never retire and may remain in the workforce for the next 30 or more years. Nearly one in five (18%) Gen X employees do not plan to retire at all, compared with 14% of Millennials and 12% of Boomers. One reason, according to MetLife, could be that more Gen X workers (55%) are further behind on their retirement savings than Millennials (49%).

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