All Articles Tagged "fees"
As if our money doesn’t get stretched to its limit enough, why is it there is always something else to zap our wallets? Is the man out to get us, or are we just that naive when it comes to hidden money traps?
While there are many things in life we can’t predict or control, there are some things we can try to avoid to make things easier. One of those things are hidden fees. We have seen them pop up at random, out of no where, most times without our knowledge. Be it the bank, credit card companies, or others we rely on for services, it’s quite evident that some really try to get over on us.
Well the time has come to fight back by identifying some of these crazy fees and ways to avoid them.
With so many people struggling to make ends meet, prepaid debit cards have risen in popularity. The problem is, these cards have big fees.
“There are initiation fees, maintenance fees, and paper statement fees along with payment inquiry fees and don’t forget the fees on theses cards to reload with your own money range from $3.95 to $5.00 every time…” Black Enterprise reports.
However, these cards have become one of the fastest growing forms of electronic payment, up 20 percent with more growth expected in the int he next year.
Besides the fees, there are other reasons why these cards aren’t good for consumers. Click through to BlackEnterprise.com to learn more about prepaid debit cards and some of the pitfalls of their use.
Hopefully Allen Iverson has his umbrella because when it rains, it pours.
Jonathan Levine, Iverson’s former attorney in his divorce case, says the former NBA star owes him money for his services. He filed a lien against him in a Georgia court for all the money Iverson allegedly owes, according to TMZ.
Levine says the total is $61,098.86. Ouch.
Iverson was Levine’s client in 2012 when the divorce proceedings between he and his now ex-wife Tawanna first got started. However, by the end of the year, Levine quit as his attorney stating that it was very difficult to communicate with Iverson. The divorced was just finalized last month by a new attorney who handled the settlement.
Levine says if he doesn’t get paid, he will go after Iverson’s assets.
This allegation only seems to lend to the rumors that Iverson is broke. According to various reports, he spends a lot of money gambling and drinking. Most recently, he lost his mansion in Atlanta in a foreclosure auction after defaulting on his mortgage. However, A.I. has always maintained that even though he’s led a lavish lifestyle since becoming an NBA star. He might actually be right: he still has plenty of money – he just won’t see any of it until he’s 45 years old and his NBA pension kicks in. He also allegedly has an account he doesn’t gain full access to until he’s 55 years old.
He also recently agreed to $3 million to his ex-wife in their divorce settlement.
Perhaps he’ll pay the lawyer what he allegedly owes and at least get one thing off his financial plate.
True fact: I love zombies. So it is with much joy that we have actual business news to report about the best zombie show in the history of TV, The Walking Dead.
AMC, the network that broadcasts this and other popular shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad, had been in a legal dispute over carriage fees with Dish Network, depriving the 14 million Dish subscribers of all AMC programming since July. In the new deal, Dish will pay $700 million to AMC to air their shows. The deal was reached right before this week’s unbelievable episode of The Walking Dead. Last week, Dish customers were given the chance to watch the show through free streaming.
According to Mashable, programming for IFC, Sundance Channel, WE and Fuse will be back November 1.
In case you’re unfamiliar, The Walking Dead, based on a series of illustrated books, is about a group from Georgia trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. Aside from being generally fantastic, the end of last season gave us a glimpse of Michonne, a katana-wielding zombie slayer who walks around with two of the undead on chains. Woop woop!
Michonne is portrayed by Danai Gurira, who you may recognize from Treme and her incredible appearance on the red carpet for Elle‘s 19th Annual Women In Hollywood Celebration last week. You can learn more about her here.
Below, we’ve got a sneak peek of next week’s episode, featuring Michonne and her zombie pets. Off the chain!
American Express and Wal-Mart have partnered to create Bluebird, a prepaid card that, the AP says, “acts like a checking account but without the fees that have increasingly frustrated shoppers.” Those fees include overdraft charges and monthly fees.
In addition, the card will have some of the features and benefits that one would find with one of today’s digital accounts, like the ability to deposit a check into your account using a photo of the check and direct deposit capabilities. Banking can be done at the Wal-Mart checkout, which Amex’s group president of Enterprise Growth, Dan Schulman, called the “moral equivalent of a bank branch at retail.”
According to a Citi Research analyst, only about 15 percent of Walmart purchases are paid with a credit card, a small portion of the many people shopping at the “world’s largest retailer.” Moreover, about eight percent of Americans (17 million people) don’t have a bank account, with another 18 percent (43 million people) classified as “under-banked.” The FDIC recently found that more than one-fifth of blacks don’t have a bank account. With its emphasis on low and no fees, Bluebird provides an alternative for those people who may otherwise be paying a fortune for alternative financial services like payday loans.
Even a checking account comes with a cost. A press statement about Bluebird includes this startling stat: a basic checking account costs customers, on average, $259. (The Huffington Post puts it at $144.) Overdraft fees can take costs into the hundreds or thousands. Bluebird doesn’t offer overdraft.
For American Express, this is a turn towards a new market of less affluent customers. By targeting this new consumer, some suspect that the two companies are trying to take on big banks. But HuffPo points out that those customers who have turned away from banks have gone to credit unions. And people who bank with traditional banking institutions are unlikely to leave them for this sort of an option. More than anything, it will likely act as a gateway for many to reliable financial services.
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The research released this week finding that nearly half of Americans die with less than $10,000 in assets should be enough to scare us all straight. We need to get our personal finances in shape.
So we asked the folks at Mint.com for their help. Mint.com is an online tool that helps you budget and track your personal finances. Below, Janet Al-Saad, editor of the MintLife and Quicken blogs (both Mint and Quicken are Intuit companies that help with financial planning), has outlined three financial issues and their solutions. Are you guilty any of these things?
Mistake #1: Not taking advantage of an employer-matched 401(K). When money’s tight, a smaller paycheck seems too high a price for investing in a 401(K). But some employees don’t realize that companies often offer a match for a percentage of your 401(K) contribution.
That’s right: Many companies will offer you free money just for doing something you already should — saving for retirement. For example, say you make $50,000 per year and you deposit 10 percent of your pre-tax income — $5,000 — into a 401(K). If your employer matches that by 50 percent, it’s an additional free $2,500 in your pocket. And since it’s a 401(K), this free money comes on top of the tax-advantaged nature of your account, meaning it can grow without paying any taxes until you begin withdrawing. Heck, even if your company didn’t offer a match, a 401(K) is almost always of benefit to your bottom line, since it reduces your taxable income.
The solution: Your HR department is there for good reason. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to sign up for your 401(K) or if you’re unsure about your company’s matching policy, just ask them. The sign-up process is usually less difficult than you’d think. Many experts recommend saving between 10 and 15 percent of your income toward retirement, but if this sounds too big a number, start with a lower percentage, aiming for at least the amount that your company will match. Remember, it’s free money, and saving for retirement isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity.
Pay it in full. Most insurance companies offer you two options for payments: monthly installments or paying the policy in one lump sum. If you choose to make monthly payments, the company adds a convenience fee to each payment that can range from one to five dollars. Over the years, those fees add up. Consider paying in full each policy period to avoid unnecessary charges. If that’s not possible, ask your insurance company about automatic payments from your checking account because they often waive the fees if you sign up.
Invest in your safety. Many insurance companies also offer discounts for safety features on your car. Anti-lock brakes, multiple air bags and other safety equipment can lower your bills. If you also take a driver improvement or safety class approved by your company, you can see a substantial discount. Be prepared to show verification of these things if the company requests it.
Go to liability only coverage when you can. Liability coverage is coverage for damage you and your car cause to other people or property. If your state requires automobile insurance, this is the coverage it’s looking for you to carry. Physical damage coverage covers your car in the event of claim and is generally only required if you have a loan on the car. Once your car gets old enough that the cost of insuring it for physical damage outweighs its value, it’s time to drop to liability only, bringing your policy cost down with it.
Stop switching insurance companies every year. Although it’s possible to change insurance companies as much as you’d like, you should think twice before you do. Most companies offer some sort of discount for long term customers. If you can’t stay with your company, just make sure your switch doesn’t cause any gaps in your coverage. If you have continuous insurance, you often qualify for a discount when you switch to your new insurer.
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Yesterday, Bank of America’s Countrywide Financial unit agreed to pay a record $335 million to settle civil charges that it discriminated against minority home buyers.
Countrywide Financial was accused of charging African Americans and Hispanics higher interest rates and fees and directing some to more expensive subprime mortgages between 2004 and 2008– before they were acquired by Bank of America. An investigation found a widespread pattern of discrimination against more than 200,000 people in more than 180 geographic markets across 41 states and the District of Columbia.
“These allegations represent alarming conduct – by one of the largest mortgage lenders in this country, during the height of the housing market boom,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
The Justice Department said the money will be used to compensate victims of Countrywide’s discriminatory mortgage loans from 2004 through 2007. Their civil rights division also has about 20 other open investigations into financial institutions accused of discriminatory practices against minorities buying homes.
What do you think about the settlement?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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(AJC) — The state collected more than $30 million in fees from Georgians last year for programs designed to clean up landfills, tire dumps and hazardous sites and to improve 911 services. The governor and state lawmakers put less than $2 million of the fee revenue toward those programs. Instead, the money went into the state’s general kitty, where it could be spent on everything from education and prisons to hometown projects, economic development and farm programs.
(Wall Street Journal) —Bank of America Corp. and other banks are preparing new fees on basic banking services as they try to replace revenue lost to regulatory rules, in a push that is expected to spell an end to free checking accounts for many Americans. Free checking accounts, which have been widely available for more than a decade, have been a boon to middle-class consumers and attracted low-income customers to the banking system for the first time.