Regulator Seeks Greater Oversight of Auto Financing

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to extend its oversight to large nonbank auto-finance companies to make sure they are not discriminating against consumers. The CFPB announced today its proposed rule to expand its supervision to these companies, which would include the finance arms of auto manufacturers. “Nonbank auto-finance companies extend hundreds of billions of dollars in credit to American consumers, yet they have never been supervised at the federal level,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a statement. “Today’s proposal …

Don’t Become a Credit ‘Mule’

Cash-desperate consumers are being lured into becoming unwitting “credit mules” via a cellphone scam, the Federal Trade Commission warns. Con artists pay targets a couple hundred dollars to sign up for wireless contracts for iPhones and other mobile devices, the FTC says. The consumers then turn over the smartphones to the scammers, who “unlock” the phones so they can be used by others. The phones then are often sold overseas, where they can fetch from $500 to $1,000 apiece, says Nat …

6 Places Never to Use a Debit Card

Credit or debit? Although both cards look the same, they offer different protections. Under federal law, if your credit card is used to make unauthorized charges after it is lost or stolen, you’re liable for only $50 - no matter the amount and with no time restrictions to report the fraud. And many issuers won’t even charge the $50 for valued customers. But with a debit card, you have just two business days to report an unauthorized loss or money transfer, or …

Your Most Embarrassing Number, and It’s Not Weight

Which number is your most embarrassing –  age, weight or credit-card debt? Surprise, it’s debt, according to a poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Thirty-seven percent of nearly 2,200 respondents say they would be the most red-faced to admit their credit-card balances. Credit scores came in second on the shame scale, with 30 percent saying they would not be comfortable disclosing their number. Consumers have fewer qualms about divulging weight and bank balances, according to the foundation. (Twelve …

Some Student Borrowers Face Default if Cosigner Dies

Many parents and grandparents are aware of the hazards of cosigning an education loan, putting themselves on the hook to repay if the student doesn’t. Now another wrinkle has emerged that can end up hurting student borrowers: Under the terms offered by most private lenders, institutions can demand that borrowers immediately repay a loan in full if the cosigner dies or files for bankruptcy. These so-called auto-defaults can occur even if the borrower has been keeping up with payments. And …