Archive for July, 2016

Back to School: Get Schooled in Savings

Posted on July 29, 2016 by Laura Lam

The National Retail Federation’s 2015 Back-to-School Spending Survey found that families are planning to spend an average of $673.57 this year on clothing, electronics and school supplies for students grades K-12.  Parents will spend an average $107.76 solely on school supplies like notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes. Thanks to the powers of the internet, we’ve found numerous tips to help you become a savvy back to school shopper this year. Where to Shop?  The Passionate Penny Pincher blog has created this very handy Back to School Shopping cheat sheet to help families looking to cut down on their costs.  The guide compares…

Back to School: Bigger Kids Bring Bigger Bills

Posted on July 28, 2016 by Laura Lam

Yesterday, we learned what parents of K-12 students will be spending this fall.  Today, we’ll focus on higher education costs.  College students and families with children in college plan to spend an average of $888.71, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey.  That’s down slightly from $899.18 last year, but total spending is expected to be up at $48.5 billion compared with $43.1 billion last year due to an increase of consumers shopping for back-to-college. “Whether it’s laptops for class or mini-fridges for the dorm, college simply costs more than the lower grades,” Shay said. “Some of these big-ticket…

Back to School: Families to Spend Billions More in 2016

Posted on July 27, 2016 by Laura Lam

For many families, getting ready to go back to school is not only a time-consuming process – it’s an expensive one.  The average family is expected to spend more freely on school and college supplies this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. Total spending for K-12 and college is expected to reach $75.8 billion, up from last year’s $68 billion. Families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 on apparel and accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies, up from last year’s $630.36 for a total of $27.3…

Banks Design Apps for Non-Customers

Posted on July 26, 2016 by Laura Lam

A couple of financial institutions have recently created mobile apps available to anyone as a way of engaging with people through their phones. The institutions are hoping that the apps will build trust with their users and those users will eventually become customers. Assuming they have credit scores, any consumer can get their 3-digit numbers using the CreditWise app from Capital One.  Ally Bank has been testing a financial health app called Splurge Alert that anyone could sign up to try. The general apps follow a slew of fintech apps that have entered the market to crunch financial data and…

July Consumer Sentiment Slides

Posted on July 25, 2016 by Laura Lam

A key measure of consumers’ attitudes was lower so far this month, as high-income consumers digested Britain’s surprise vote to leave the European Union.  The Index of Consumer Sentiment hit 89.5 in July’s preliminary reading, the University of Michigan said Friday.  Economists expected the preliminary July consumer sentiment index to hit 93, down slightly from 93.5 in June’s final reading, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate. “Prior to the Brexit vote, virtually no consumer thought the issue would have the slightest impact on the U.S. economy,” said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist. “Following the Brexit vote, it was…

4 Tips to Beat Elderly Financial Fraud

Posted on July 22, 2016 by Laura Lam

It’s not hard to sniff out how swindlers prey upon the elderly. They know they respond to mail, phone and front-door solicitations. Older people like to talk to people they don’t know.  Swindlers prey upon fear and insecurity. They blanket a neighborhood after a storm, offering to do “free storm damage asssessment.” They’ll pose as IRS agents or bill collectors to collect fake debts.  There’s an art to elder financial fraud and it’s practiced every day. If you know the danger signals, you can ward off these scamsters. When people get into their eighth decades and beyond, they process information…

The Biggest Threat to Data Security?

Posted on July 21, 2016 by Laura Lam

Chief information security officers at U.S. banks say their top priority is keeping data of all kinds (customer, employee, credit, performance, you name it) safe from attacks. Recently, banking officials weighed in when American Banker asked what the greatest risks are. Too Much Data Everywhere – There’s a huge pool of data out there that is hard to protect, and it also provides attackers with lots of ammunition.  “The more data out there, the higher the risk,” says Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer at U.S. Bank.  “We’ve also got this old system of user ID and password and the fact…

Homeownership Obstacles Vary by Ethnicity

Posted on July 20, 2016 by Laura Lam

While all prospective homebuyers may face challenges to buying a home, the perception of what those obstacles are can take different forms based one’s race or ethnicity, according to the results of a survey by the Futures Company in partnership with the California Association of Realtors Center (CAR) for California Real Estate. The obstacle cited most among all respondents was saving enough for a down payment at 29%. Next was housing supply constraints at 27%, followed by access to credit and financing at 22% and personal debt at 19%. Among African-Americans and Asians a similar trend played out. The highest…

U.S. Top 3 in Global Credit Card Fraud

Posted on July 19, 2016 by Laura Lam

According to a new data from ACI Worldwide and Aite Group, 30% of global consumers have experienced card fraud in the past 5 years.  The global fraud study revealed that, compared to ACI’s 2014 benchmark study, card fraud rates – unauthorized activity on 3 types of payment cards (debit, credit and prepaid) – is on the rise worldwide. Of those surveyed, 14 out of the 17 countries reported an increase in card fraud between 2014 and 2016. Risky behaviors, such as leaving a smartphone unlocked when not in use, have a direct correlation to fraud – and the overall risk for fraud is…

Branches Still Integral to Banking’s Future

Posted on July 18, 2016 by Laura Lam

A few decades ago, the branch of the future was going to be an ATM and a telephone. ATMs and telephone banking were going to transform our industry significantly. In fact, they did.  Later, some believed our home computers and online banking would forever alter the way customers interact with banks. Sure enough, they did.  More recently, smartphones, cloud computing and apps were going to make banking anywhere and anytime a reality for customers, and therefore, reduce foot traffic at our branches. They certainly have. Evolving technology continues to influence customer preferences and behaviors. From big bank to community bank,…