Credit Card Chips

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Did you ever wonder why so many retailers have chip-readable machines for credit cards, but tell you to swipe your card anyway? This article explains this frustrating issue for retailers. Questions: 1. Merchants have spent incredible amounts of money to get new chip-reading machines, so what is the reason for not using them? 2. Since… Read more »

Lock Down that Debit Card

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Have you ever lost or misplaced your debit card? Now some banks are offering a simple app for your cellphone that will allow you to protect bank accounts quickly while you figures out whether you lost or misplaced your card. Questions: 1. How does Bank of America’s version of the debit card lock work? 2…. Read more »

Security Chips and Bearing the Cost of Fraud

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New payment cards, issued over the last year, come with a small square security chip that can help make in-person transactions more secure. However, retailers complain that they have spent billions of dollars upgrading their payment terminals to accommodate a system that cuts down on the fraud shouldered by banks, but not merchants. Questions: 1…. Read more »

To PIN or not to PIN?

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Some big U.S. retailers are stepping up efforts to use personal identification numbers, or PINs, with new credit cards embedded with computer chips in a bid to prevent counterfeit card fraud. Questions: 1. Why is this being resisted by banks? 2. Which retailers are leading the movement? 3. Discuss the costs and benefits of the… Read more »

The Clock is Ticking!

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A new legal quirk could bring a surreal ending to foreclosure casess around the country; the debtors may get to keep their homes without ever having to pay another dime. Questions: 1. Why might tens of thousands of homeowners who have missed more than five years of mortgage payments get to keep their homes without… Read more »

Ouch! This may sting a little.

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According to the New York Times, officials are saying that short-term pain is necessary to put the European economy back on track. Regulators in the United States forced a similar catharsis on American banks in 2009, helping set the stage for the current recovery. Questions: 1. What was the result of the timid approach taken… Read more »

Catch 22: Money from Legalized Marijuana

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Banks, including state-chartered ones, are reluctant to provide traditional services to legal marijuana businesses in Washington state and Colorado. Since the marijuana businesses are conducted almost entirely in cash, it is exceedingly difficult for these shop owners to open and maintain bank accounts, and ultimately accept credit cards. Questions: 1. Why won’t the banks open… Read more »

The Reinvention of Pawn Shops

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The pawnshop industry is growing. In 2007, there were approximately 6,400 pawn shops nation-wide. Now there are over 10,000. The expansion in pawnshops is fed, in part, by the increased number of Americans with tarnished credit which often bars them from the mainstream financial system. This article explains some of the niche services now offered… Read more »

Another Slap in the Face!

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The first round of payments covered under the foreclosure settlement against the nation’s largest banks, who were accused of wrongful evictions and other abuses, bounced due to insufficient funds this week. Questions: 1. How long did it take to resolve the federal investigation into the foreclosure abuses? 2. Approximately how many people either delayed cashing… Read more »

The Unbanked

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According to a new Federal report, more Americans are limiting or have no interaction with banks. Instead they rely on check cashers and payday lenders to manage their finances. Questions: 1. What are the costs and benefit of avoiding banks? 2. What percentage of U.S. households are “unbanked”? What are the demographics of this group?… Read more »