Fed: banks need customer consent on overdraft fees
Banks will have to secure their customers’ consent before charging large overdraft fees on ATM and debit card transactions, according to a new rule announced Thursday by the Federal Reserve. The rule responds to complaints from consumer groups, members of Congress and other regulators that the overdraft fees are unfair because many people assume they can’t spend more on a debit card than is available in their account. Instead, many banks allow the transactions to go through, then charge fees of up to $25 to $35. (Continue Reading…)
Pumped-up prices: $4 per gallon gasoline may be coming in 2010
Has this been a trying decade for the average American, or what? It’s bad enough that we’ve have had to cope with stagnant wages and tax increases at just about every level. But in the months ahead, we may have to deal with yet another nightmare: surging gasoline prices. Factors are lining up that could end up pushing gas prices back over $4 per gallon sometime next year. If you’re already exasperated about prices at the pump, you’re not the only one. Gasoline demand in 2009 has been comparatively low — take 7.6 million Americans out of the workforce through layoffs — yet gasoline’s price has gone up, not down. (Continue Reading…)
E-filing tips that should save time, if not money
If the trend in e-filing continues, the IRS expects more than 100 million individual taxpayers to file their tax returns electronically for the 2009 tax year. More than one-third of those taxpayers will file by personal computer; the remainder will use a professional tax preparer or free file at an IRS site. No matter how you choose to e-file this year, following are some tips to make it as easy as possible. (Continue Reading…)
How to Establish a Credit History Without Losing Your Shirt
Among recently-passed credit card regulations is a command that issuers stop giving credit cards to adults under age 21 unless these young people can show proof of income or have a co-signer who will vouch for them financially (usually a parent). The intent is to stop credit card companies from heavily marketing credit cards to college students — young people away from home for the first time who have been known to run up big debts that haunt them later. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with this regulation, it will no doubt mean more young people entering their early to mid-20s with no credit history. Because you need a credit history if you ever plan on financing a car or a home at a reasonable interest rate, this is an important issue. So, what should they — and anyone else with no credit history — do? (Continue Reading…)
Dollar cost averaging: An investment process where you commit to making periodic payments – monthly or quarterly – into an investment account.
Save Your Paper Tip:
Combine your cable, internet and telephone service. Companies now offer combined services that not only cost less, but offer the convenience of a single bill.