Archive for September, 2016

Halting Online Fraud with Selfies?

Posted on September 30, 2016 by Laura Lam

MasterCard plans to launch new biometric technology for verifying customer identities during online shopping transactions in the coming weeks with merchants and banks. The company has been testing facial and fingerprint recognition software, called Identity Check, in the Netherlands, Canada and the U.S., as a way to combat growing online fraud. As Visa and MasterCard have pushed merchants and consumers to switch from credit cards that use magnetic strips to cards embedded with a computer chip that creates a unique code for each transaction, retail fraud patterns have shifted. For the 33% of MasterCard merchants that have adopted chip technology, fraud from counterfeit cards…

Labor Day Week Sees Uptick in Mortgage Applications

Posted on September 29, 2016 by Laura Lam

Homebuyers jumped back into the market after Labor Day, filing applications for mortgages at a far faster pace than in previous weeks.  Total mortgage application volume rose 4.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The results were adjusted to account for the Labor Day holiday. Unlike during much of the summer, application volume last week was fueled more by buyers than refinancers. Mortgage applications to purchase a home jumped 9% from the previous week. Purchase volume is down nearly 19% in the past four weeks, but August is not usually a strong month for homebuying….

Seniors Prefer Non-Digital Communication from Banks

Posted on September 28, 2016 by Laura Lam

According to the Pew Research Center, 4 in 10 U.S. adults over the age of 65 don’t use the internet at all.  Some older customers may simply prefer not to divulge their email addresses because they don’t intend to conduct bank transactions online or because they are afraid of a security breach. Indeed, when PeopleMetrics asked consumers of all ages what topics they want to know more about, the only major issue popping up for seniors was how to protect their online identities. Regardless of why, an inability to communicate with customers digitally is compounded by a broad decline in lobby traffic….

Housing Debt is a Growing Concern for Retirees

Posted on September 27, 2016 by Laura Lam

Americans are carrying higher levels of debt as they head into retirement, raising the specter of financial headaches in their old age, according to a new report from Prudential Financial. Much of that debt Americans are taking with them into retirement is housing debt, Prudential noted in a white paper based on data from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Citing Federal Reserve data, Prudential reported that median-home values for those aged 65 to 74 rose 76%, while housing debt skyrocketed 393%. This trend is the byproduct of low interest rates and high access to home equity lines…

What to Buy in September

Posted on September 26, 2016 by Laura Lam

Put big-ticket items on your list of things to buy in September. With the first cool winds of fall come sales on major consumer products. Retailers are looking to clear shelf space ahead of the holiday season and juice spending in the lull after kids return to school. Labor Day presents the best discounts on many items until Black Friday rolls around. Here are the best September deals to seek out, according to Cheapism. Mattresses and Linens – Labor Day sales kick off the action early in September. This is one of two times a year when mattress retailers offer deep…

Digital Banking Ushers in New Loyalty Rewards Programs

Posted on September 22, 2016 by Laura Lam

Credit card rewards programs were born in the heyday of plastic and paper. As payments go digital, banks will have to make sure their loyalty programs keep pace.  While the move may seem small in the scheme of mobile banking, the digitization of loyalty rewards programs may play a key role in the adoption of mobile payments. “The way people shop and the way they interact with loyalty programs has changed,” said Lars Holmquist, senior vice president at Collinson Group.  Financial service firms have “a clear opportunity to deliver highly engaging, digitally driven loyalty initiatives due to the wealth of…

Some Cities Still Drowning in Underwater Mortgages

Posted on September 21, 2016 by Laura Lam

More than 1 in 10 U.S. homeowners remain underwater on their mortgages.  This number is much less than a year ago and far lower than when the housing bubble burst in 2008 which left nearly a third in negative equity. But in some metros, the share of underwater homes is far higher in urban than suburban areas, reports Zillow. Even as the number of underwater homes keeps plunging nationwide, pockets of negative equity persist in some of the country’s largest metropolitan areas – primarily in the East and Midwest. Places like Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia remain freighted with underwater homes…

Mortgage Origination Demand Hits Pre-Crisis High

Posted on September 20, 2016 by Laura Lam

Home purchase lending hit a post-2007 high in the second quarter as low interest rates and growing consumer confidence continue to support the housing market.  “You are seeing the employment picture brighten,” said Bob Walters, the chief economist for Quicken Loans. He said consumers are more secure in their jobs and feel more comfortable because home prices are again on the rise.  “You go back a few years, people were still afraid home prices could fall again,” he said. “So there is a psychological component that is making this home buying season more robust than in the past. Since the…