Interesting / relevant article on CNN.com

Another twist for the unemployed: Debit card fees

How Do You Stack Up?

While roughly half of consumers plan on having money left over after paying their bills in February, likely a result, at least in part to mitigated fuel prices, the increase in money left over has not resulted in a buildup in reserves.

In fact, over 43 percent said they can only last a month or less maintaining their current lifestyle if they suddenly lost their income and only 21 percent said they had enough reserves to last six months or more.

Forward Thinking

Citibank has introduced a new card “Citi Forward” that:

  • lowers the purchase interest rate by a quarter percent when cardholders use credit wisely
  • rewards points for paying on time and staying under the credit line
  • Spend Tracker: online resource that lets you know how your spending compares to others like you
  • “ThankYou Points” for completing socially responsible acts, such as donating to a local food drive, going paperless, switching to energy efficient light bulbs and volunteering

Continued Savings

After a slight uptick in January, the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor reached an all-time low in February, falling more than two points to 75.7. perhaps the January spike was a result of holiday hangover, and now we are back to our savings ways. While this obviously reflects limited confidence in the economic outlook, it is also a positive sign that we are spending less and concurrently, saving more than any time in the past couple of years.

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“Until consumers can see some light at the end of the tunnel concerning the economy, I don’t expect their spending intentions to change much,” said Julie Loeger, senior vice president of brand and product management for Discover Financial Services. “The economy is giving them an incentive to save right now which unfortunately is coming at the expense of the nation’s retailers.”

iCharge It

A new App called ProcessAway allows you to accept credit cards anywhere, anyplace, anytime on your internet connected iPhone. Never pass on a charge only opportunity or sale again!

ProcessAway is your complete mobile processing solution for accepting credit card payments both in and out of the office. Swap meets, street fairs, antique shows, mobile detailing, on-site consultants, taxi cab drivers, tour guides, the list is endless on who could benefit by offering the convenience of accepting credit cards on the spot and the peace of mind getting immediate authorization for the charges.

Teen Card

On the pro-side, I understand parents want a sense of security, that in emergency situations their kids have access to money. On the con-side, obviously a credit card engineered for teens, is starting our youth down a slippery slope. Exposure to ‘buy now, pay later’ behavior at such a young age, can have detrimental repercussions as they age and realize increased leverage.

I guess the key here, like always, is responsible parenting. But I ask, why is it necessary to offer 7 different designs? This just seems like an underhanded tactic to hook kids at younger and younger ages.

Discover Financial Services has introduced the “Current” card for teens in seven designs. Parents deposit funds directly at no cost from their credit card, bank account or through recurring deposits. This eliminates the risk of overdraft fees. Spending activity can be tracked online at the “Current Account Center” and through e-mail and text message alerts. There is a nominal monthly charge of $5 per card.

Contact-less Purchases

With the release of the Blaze Mobile Wallet, iPhone and iPod touch users will be able to purchase movie and event tickets, manage bank accounts at more than 8,000 supported financial institutions, view electronic receipts, and quickly and easily create expense reports all from the palm of their hand.

Get it at the AppStore: www.itunes.com/appstore/