Financial News

Latest News in Personal Finance May 2019

EPF Last Update: June 3, 2020

In the last few weeks, there have been several major announcements in the world of personal finance. We consolidated the most important ones to help keep you up-to-date.

Earn up to 4% Interest with T-Mobile Money No Fee Checking Account

Taking the plunge into online banking, T-Mobile is offering a 4% annual percentage yield (APY) on checking account balances up to $3,000.

So how do you qualify?

  • Enroll in a qualifying T-Mobile wireless plan.
  • Register for perks with your T-Mobile ID.
  • Deposit at least $200 each month into your MONEY checking account.

Keep in mind though, for balances greater than $3,000 – as well as those that don’t meet the requirements above – you earn a 1% APY. As an added benefit, there are also zero fees. That means no account, overdraft, maintenance, minimum balance or ATM fees.

Barclays Increases Credit Card Features within its Mobile App

Designed to help customers stay on top of their credit card spending, Barclays U.S. Consumer Bank just added new digital features to its mobile app that allows card members to control how, when and where their Barclays credit card is used.

The new update also allows you to customize card features – such as applying spending limits to specific merchants and transactions as well as offering real-time push notifications. The new suite also offers enhanced fraud protection and security.

Its main features include:

  • SecurHold, which allows you to temporarily lock lost or stolen credit cards.
  • Spend alerts, which provide real-time alerts every time your credit card is used.
  • The ability to customize spending limits across merchants, including restaurants.
  • The ability to set per-transaction spending limits to help you stay within your budget.

MasterCard Acquires Cloud-Based Online Lender Vyze

With its ability to disrupt traditional lending platforms, Vyze helps provide financing solutions by connecting borrowers with multiple lenders. By increasing the lending pool, Vyze provides increased access to credit both online and in-store. For MasterCard, the acquisition also creates payment synergies as Vyze complements its current ARCH-based solutions.

By adding the cutting-edge technology, MasterCard estimates the acquisition will deliver a better lending experience and help facilitate lending approval rates of up to 90% — well above the industry average.

Coinbase is Launching a Visa Debit Card That Allows Users to Pay with Cryptocurrency

While only available to UK customers, the Coinbase Card is the first of its kind. Through its partnership with Visa, the debit card allows you to use cryptocurrency as effortlessly as cash in your bank account. Accepted at millions of locations around the world as well as ATMs, the new card allows you to make purchases online or in-store using bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and many other cryptocurrencies.

It works like this: when you make a purchase, Coinbase automatically converts the cryptocurrency in your account to GPB. The fiat currency is then used to pay the retailer and complete the purchase.

As an added feature, you can also track your spending using the Coinbase Card App. Here, you can customize your crypto assets and also receive instant receipts, transaction summaries and spending data by category.

More Credit Cards are Adopting Virtual Account Numbers

As a way to combat identity theft and fraud, credit card issuers are turning to virtual account numbers that eliminate all figures on the physical card itself. Like the new Apple Card – which uses Face ID, Touch ID and virtual numbers for added security – Capital One Eno also removes numbers from its physical card. The program is free to enroll and it’s built upon using merchant-specific credit card numbers – which are then used to complete the transaction. By allocating a different card number to each merchant, it makes it much more difficult for scammers to steal your information.

Through its ShopSafe Program, Bank of America also allows you to create your own credit card numbers. The program is free as well, but it’s only available to Visa and MasterCard customers who use its online banking platform.

44% of Credit Card Applications Now are Using a Mobile Device

From an advertising perspective, while direct mail accounts for just over half of all credit card ads, 73% of actual applications are made using smartphones, tablets or computers. So while customers often receive a card offer in the mail, they choose to actually apply through a digital channel. Breaking down the digital half of the advertising numbers, nearly 23% of credit card advertisements come from the issuer or third-party websites, while 11% come through emails from the card issuer, 6% through social media, 6% through mobile apps and 3% through text message.

Credit Card Usage Rising Among College Students

According to a recent Sallie Mae Report, 57% of college students and 83% of college graduates own at least one credit card. In 2016, students reported owning an average of three cards and carrying an average balance of $903. In 2019, students now own an average of five cards and carry an average balance of $1,183.

As well, 35% of students chose their first card because a parent or guardian recommended it. Rewards points – at 34% – was cited as the number one reason for choosing a particular card, while ease of approval – at 42% – was the number one reason for choosing a card among respondents who didn’t complete their degree.

Nearly 1 in 4 Americans Don’t Save any Money from Their Monthly Paycheck

Through its 2019 Savings Survey, First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) found that 74% of Americans allocate 10% or less of their monthly paycheck towards savings, while 23% of Americans don’t save any money at all. Moreover, 63% of Americans don’t have an annual savings goal, while 53% are living paycheck to paycheck. Citing the increased cost of living, 26% of respondents attributed day-to-day expenses as the main reason they’re falling behind on their savings. Another 13% cited credit card debt as the main catalyst, while another 13% cited the high cost of education.

Interestingly enough, the study found that 25% of Americans never had to make a withdrawal from their savings account for emergency spending, while 24% had to do so once a month and 21% had to do so once per year.

As it relates to retirement, only 27% of respondents cited saving for retirement as their top priority. However, 60% reported they were somewhat on track to retiring by age-65.

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