February 2015

US Slowly Moving Towards Chip Embedded Credit Cards

The US government passed a law that said payment terminals must be able to accept chip credit cards by the fourth quarter of 2015.  The law was passed to jumpstart efforts meant to improve credit card security in the country as new data breaches remind Americans they have fallen behind on the times.


Target And TD Bank Extend Exclusive Credit Card Agreement

Target is restructuring its core business after announcing a plan to cut back on international expansion and focus on the US market.  In the giant retailer’s corner is a valuable partner that agreed to continue their relationship for the next 10 years.

TD Bank Group acquired Target’s store branded credit card portfolio in 2013 to become the exclusive provider of Target credit cards.  Over the last two years, the two companies developed cobranded credit cards that provide users with benefits through both companies.


Amex Raising Credit Card Interest Rates For 1 Million Customers

Are you a loyal American Express credit card user?  You may want to explore new options as interest rates on existing accounts will rise later this year, according to an official release from the credit card company.

Amex sent notices out to over one million of the company’s existing clientele earlier this month.  Annual credit card interest rates will rise by an average of 2.5 percent on existing credit card accounts, the first such move by the company in over five years.


Federal Reserve Signals Delay In Anticipated Interest Rate Hikes

The Federal Reserve is signaling that 2015 will likely be the end of near zero percent interest rates.  The Federal Open Market Committee, with support from the greater whole of the Federal Reserve, lowered rates to near zero percent in the aftermath of the subprime mortgage crisis to help stimulate the economy back to recovery.

New Jersey Snow Plow Swallowed Into Sinkhole

One of the consequences of heavy snowfall is that the structural integrity of buildings or infrastructure is weakened by the additional weight.  Rooftops across the northeast are collapsing under the weight of heavy snow incurred over recent weeks, but the intense winter weather is also causing roads to collapse under the weight.

If You Want Cheap Home Insurance Move To The Right State

Home insurance costs continue to rise year over year nationally across the US.  According to data from the Insurance Information Institute, the average homeowner paid over $1,000 for coverage in 2013, and more rate hikes are forecasted on the horizon.

Last Day Of Health Insurance Enrollment For 2015

The deadline to enroll in a federal health exchange for 2015 was originally February 15th.  But under pressure from Democrats, the White House extended the enrollment period by a week so that more Americans can acquire affordable health insurance coverage.

When the exchanges close today, the Obama administration is hoping to announce a new landmark for health insurance in the US.  By the time of the original closing date, the White House announced that over 11.4 million Americans successfully acquired health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, many for the first time.

More Fallout From CNN Body Shop Investigation

A few weeks ago, CNN aired a story describing substandard repairs at body shops as recommended by some of the country’s largest car insurance providers.  The investigation revealed that insurers encourage drivers to get repairs at shops that participate in a national scam.

American Express Violated US Law Says New York Judge

American Express was up against US antitrust law in a lawsuit dating back to 2010.  But a ruling by a New York judge determined that the credit card company violated the law, and will no longer hold any influence over retailers.


Bank Of America Begins Mortgage Settlement Repayments

The US Department of Justice spent a significant amount of 2014 negotiating out of court settlements with the country’s largest lenders for their roles in the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008.  According to the DOJ, the banks collectively agreed to a $17 billion settlement that includes a sizeable total towards consumer relief on outstanding loans and interest rates.