Report Says You Need $250 to Avoid a Payday Loan

Financial CrisisA small nest egg of $250 can help guide you through a financial crisis and avoid taking out a payday loan. On the flip side of that, when you do not have as little as $250 to help pay for an unforeseen event, you will likely need to take out a payday loan as your last pecuniary option.

That’s according to a new report from the think-tank Urban Institute. The report takes a look at the financial health of both the cities and their citizens. The authors suggest that just a few hundred dollars can prevent you from entering “into a spiral of debt” when taking out an auto title loan or a payday loan.

Detroit citizens, for example, are prime examples of consumers suffering from financial destitute. Twenty percent of Detroit residents do not have a bank account, which makes it hard to save. When the light bill is due, consumers may then have to turn to a payday loan business.

On the other hand, the organization states that more saving doesn’t necessarily equate to lower hardship levels.

“That doesn’t mean that more savings isn’t better…because we are finding that higher savings are associated with even lower hardship levels,” said Signe-Mary McKernan, senior fellow at the Urban Institute, in a statement. “So having more than $750 is going to get you even further. But don’t let that wanting-to-get-further keep you from getting started.”

In addition to providing sage advice, the report takes a look at some very interesting statistics. For instance, nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of Americans have zero cash savings, while close to two-thirds (62 percent) of households have less than $5,000 in non-retirement savings account.

Ultimately, the researchers opine, there is a reason why one-in-four households suffer from income disruption – layoffs, health issues or a massive financial event. This is why as little as $250 can play a huge role for many Americans who miss their bills or have rent to pay.

The study noted that many municipalities are testing out some creative solutions to ensure its populace doesn’t use payday loans for bad credit or utilize any alternative financial solution. In New York, the government maintains a program that allocates a part of your tax refund and matches it by as much as 50 percent if you don’t use it for one year – this is eligible for certain households that meet certain income requirements.

Overall, according to the organization, the $250 cushion allows consumers to avoid relying on their governments for aid, which results in local savings for tight public budgets. Moreover, cities do not have to shut down residents’ services when they can’t pay their bills. Financial security allows citizens to purchase property and contribute to the local economy.

It’s information like this that is fueling public officials’ appetites to rein in the payday loan industry. Critics usually say that payday loans charge customers high interest rates and fees, which leaves them in a tough predicament. Proponents say it gives poor consumers a financial option to cover their bills, especially when they don’t have access to credit.

American Retailers Struggling with Credit Card Chips

credit card chipWhen it comes to credit card use in America and other countries around the world, one of the things that can make people very nervous is the risk of fraud. While credit cards are able to provide ease, convenience and flexibility to consumers there are also high levels of credit card fraud committed each year. A number of steps have been taken to try and reduce the level of fraud committed when it comes to credit cards, one of which includes the implementation of chip cards.

While chip cards have been used in some other countries for some time, credit card networks in the United States began to introduce them last year in a bid to try and enhance security and reduce credit card fraud. However, a recent report has showed that many retailers in the United States are struggling when it comes to the use of these chipped cards, which is creating problems for both the retailers themselves and for those trying to use the cards.

Problems reading the new technology

Experts have said that the problems have arisen because payment terminals that are used by many retailers simply cannot read the new technology. Despite the fact that credit card providers are keen to get merchants to sign up to this technology, by the end of last year only 20 percent of retailer terminals have been activated to enable them to process the chipped cards. This is despite the fact that 60 percent of credit cards that are issued by banks now have chips in them.

Many retailers have been unable to update their terminals and equipment because of the costs that are involved and due to longer transaction times. This has further impacted on the ability of retailers to accept payments from those with chipped credit cards. According to recent data, retailers will collectively pay up to $35 billion to join the new system that will enable them to take these payments.

Time is also an issue for many retailers when it comes to making the switch, with all participants not only having to switch their systems but also go through testing periods and certification. Officials said that the whole process is a complex and time consuming one, which is causing headaches for retailers. However, retailers have also been warned that they could face liability for fraudulent transactions carried out at their stores if the system is not in place. 

Why Consumers Need to Monitor their Budget

BudgetOne thing that many people fail to do these days is to keep a close eye on their household budget and outgoings, and this is something that is causing numerous problems for American households. Many people in the United States are struggling these days due to their outgoings being equal to or in some cases more than their income, which leaves them with no disposable income or leads them into debt. Some end up making late payments and missing payments, which not only affects their credit but also results in charges being incurred.

Officials have said that it is increasingly important for households to not only log their income and outgoings down to the smallest detail but also to monitor it throughout the month and log down anything that is not already in the budget. This will help people to avoid exceeding overdraft and credit limits and will mean that they can avoid charges. It also means that they can take action if they realize that they will be unable to pay something or they will be late with a payment.

Using software to help

Experts have said that there are various software packages and apps that can help those who want to more effectively monitor what is going into and coming out of their accounts each month. These will make budgeting and tracking far easier and can make a big difference when it comes to reining in spending and controlling money.

One official said that consumers who made the effort to be vigilant with their budgeting would be able to benefit in a number of ways and could really ease the financial strain for the whole household. A lot of costly financial mistakes can be avoided by monitoring and tracking expenditure and it also makes it easier to determine where and whether cutbacks can be made in order to reduce monthly outgoings.

By going through the budget with a fine tooth comb, consumers can quickly see where it might be possible to reduce costs such as switching to cheaper providers for things such as utilities and insurance coverage. This means that households stand a better chance of being able to save some money or have more money available for essential spending each month.
Many of the apps that are available to those who want to create a household budget are free to download so those who want to benefit from more effective budgeting won’t find themselves out of budget.