Two and a Half Inflation Myths

Inflation lately has been pretty tame. Still, the possibility that it could raise its ugly head again, eating away at our spending power and standard of living, is always in the back of our minds. That’s why it’s important to understand inflation to better protect ourselves from its potential impact. Knowing these myths about inflation is a good place to start. Myth one: Inflation is easy to predict. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) measures inflation and reports consumer …

Prepaid Cards May Get Added Fraud Protections

Swipe a debit or credit card and all sorts of consumer protections are in place in case something goes awry. With a prepaid card, not so much. That may soon end. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing to extend many of the consumer rights that exist for credit and debit cards to prepaid products, such as limiting customers’ losses if their prepaid cards are lost or stolen. >> 10 Consumer Spending Regrets “People use prepaid accounts as a convenient way …

Your Biggest Gripe: Debt Collectors!

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gets more complaints from older Americans about debt collectors than any other issue. According to a report released Wednesday by the CFPB’s Office of Older Americans, the agency received 8,700 debt collection complaints in the past 15 months. Consumers complained that debt collectors: – Try to collect the debts of dead relatives — even years after the estate has been settled. – Threaten to garnish Social Security and other federal benefits, which they can’t legally do. – Attempt …

U.S. Bank Ordered to Refund $48 Million to Customers

U.S. Bank is the latest institution to come under fire from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for charging consumers for credit-monitoring services that they never received. The CFPB announced today that it ordered the Minnesota-based bank to refund about $48 million to more than 420,000 customers. The bank also must pay penalties totaling $9 million to the CFPB and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. According to regulators, for several years some consumers paid for credit monitoring that …

Overall, Obamacare Premiums to Fall in 2015

By Jay Hancock, Kaiser Health News In preliminary but encouraging news for consumers and taxpayers, insurance filings show that average premiums will decline slightly next year in 16 major cities for a benchmark Obamacare plan. Prices for a benchmark “silver” or mid-priced plan sold through the health law’s online marketplaces aren’t all moving in the same direction, however, a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) shows. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) In Nashville, the premium …

FICO Eases Pain of Medical Debt on Credit Scores

FICO, the nation’s leading credit-scoring company, is making two changes that could benefit consumers with debt that has gone into collection. In its newest scoring model, FICO will no longer count debt in collection that has been repaid or settled. The company will also discount medical debt in collection, so it has less of a negative impact on consumers’ scores. More than half of unpaid collections involve medical bills. The medical changes alone could boost a consumer’s score by 25 points, FICO said when announcing …