January 20, 2014 |
Could the uproar over Target's vast data breach finally force Americans to get serious about consumers' security? Most of the rest of the world - including Canada and Europe - now uses payment cards embedded with microchips, making them far harder to clone. Almost everywhere, payment cards also are secured by customers' secret PIN codes. Meanwhile, America clings to outmoded magnetic-stripe technology, which makes card cloning much easier for the bad guys. And we blithely issue debit cards - yes, cards that take money from your very own bank account - that are usable with just a signature, no PIN required.
October 21, 2011 |
Bank of America and several smaller banks recently announced new monthly fees for customers who use debit cards. The move prompted howls of protest, including from Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), who took to the Senate floor to encourage customers to remove their money from banks that raise fees. That a sitting senator would encourage a bank run, especially in this economy, is remarkable - and an indication of the political heat generated by the fees. So let's see if we can shed some light on how to think about them.
August 5, 2012 |
Big banks are entering the business of prepaid debit cards, as more Americans turn to reloadable plastic as an alternative to checking accounts, check-cashing stores, and other financial options. JPMorgan Chase is especially aggressive. In late June, it launched Liquid, a card that lets users load and withdraw money at Chase's extensive branch and ATM network at no charge. Some analysts call Liquid a "game changer" because most prepaid cards charge for loading, withdrawal and other services that Chase is offering free at its network.
March 1, 2013 |
Any day now, unemployed Pennsylvanians will receive new debit cards to access their unemployment benefits. But there's a wrinkle: The funds on the old blue cards won't transfer onto the new ones. "My fear is that people will think that this transition works the same way as a new ATM card and they'll throw the old one away," said Sharon Dietrich, an employment lawyer who follows unemployment policy as part of her job with Community Legal Services in Philadelphia. "The point is," she said, "use all the money.
June 10, 2010
Dear Harry: I made the mistake of buying a couple of electronic gadgets from a telephone solicitor. The guy was the smoothest talker I ever heard. When I got the things from my mailbox, they were not in any way like what I was told. I could tell this from the pictures on the boxes, so I sent them back completely unopened. The problem is that they hit my debit card for $78, including a shipping charge. I contacted the bank to try to stop the charge, but it was too late. You can probably guess what happened when I called the company.
November 16, 1998 |
For six years, Tanya Barber waited in two-hour lines that snaked around the block to collect welfare and food stamps. But thanks to a computerized welfare benefits system, the waiting days are over for Barber and an estimated 415,000 heads of households statewide. The state Department of Public Welfare this year replaced welfare payment centers with an electronic banking-type system called electronic benefits transfer (EBT). It costs $9 million less than the current system, reduces fraud and is aimed at teaching money management skills - something recipients will need as the government begins weening them from welfare rolls come March.
March 12, 1995 |
Smoking or non? Regular or decaf? Credit or debit? You're probably facing at least two of these weighty conundrums on a regular basis already. And if you haven't been presented the third one yet, you will be before long. Debit, or check cards, which look like credit cards and act like MAC cards, are coming soon to a wallet near you. A slowly growing phenomenon since they were first introduced in the early '80s, the cards have been spreading much faster lately, including here.
April 26, 2001 |
Seven guns, including one stolen from a dead man, allegedly by a city morgue technician, and 66 food-stamp debit cards have a West Oak Lane businessman in trouble with federal lawmen. Spurgeon Link, 68, was a partner of former state Sen. T. Milton Street, Mayor Street's brother, when Link started selling pottery and flowers and other goods in the late 1980s on a lot at the intersection of Ogontz, Chelten and Stenton avenues. Link, who does business under the names Think Link and Link's Concrete World, branched out and opened a pawn shop at the same location, and that's when he got in trouble, according to a federal grand jury indictment handed down yesterday.
February 10, 1998 |
Some people describe it as a quick, sideways glance that silently communicates volumes: disapproval, resentment, disgust, sometimes even pity. Others say it's more like a stare: slow and judgmental. Eyes carefully study the groceries on the conveyor belt, moving from the boxes of cookies to the bottles of soda, vigilant for signs of extravagance. Mumbles rise from the others on line about the extra wait. It's a common experience at the checkout line for someone paying with food stamps.
April 11, 2005 |
A paper chase is nearing an end for hundreds of thousands of child-support recipients in Pennsylvania. This month, recipients of court-ordered support payments in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, and Montgomery Counties will receive notification that the checks will no longer be in the mail but in a debit card. Since August, the state has been phasing in the debit system to replace the support checks that are sent out from Harrisburg, according to officials. The program started in Philadelphia in February.