Weekly Wrap: August Is Here, and Life Goes On

Willy Staley

By Willy Staley
Updated on Mon Jul 21, 2014

As the nation slips lazily into August, the news cycle has become dominated by silliness: a fried chicken restaurants’ stance on same-sex marriage, a presidential candidate’s misread of a nonfiction book. And even if the news cycle languishes in the late summer, things do still happen, just a bit more slowly. Let’s take a look back at the week’s news here at MyBankTracker.

This was a big week for fintech news. First we learned the Google Wallet now supports any debit or credit card — from any issuer. Previously only Citi MasterCard users could load their cards onto the app. Now you and everyone you love can do it no matter what sort of card they use or who they bank with. That will be big for converting users. Even better, Google rolled out a remote lock that will allow people who lose their phone-wallets to deactivate them. It’s sort of surprising they didn’t think of that sooner.

Apple, which has been cautious about entering the mobile wallet fray, quietly scooped up a company called AuthenTec. AuthenTec has a patented sensor technology that allows  smartphones and tablets to read fingerprints from users as they swipe. Many have speculated that this will be the key security element to any mobile wallet Apple may or may not release. It would be wise to boost security on these phone-wallets — we also learned that hackers are trying to figure them out.

Twitter also made headlines this week, by adding a new functionality: clickable ‘cashtags’. Day traders have been tagging stock tickers with dollar signs for years now on Twitter, but Twitter has finally built it into the system, much in the same way they made @ and # ‘official’ after its users began employing them. Think of it like a crowdsourced Bloomberg Terminal, but with potentially inaccurate and/or useless information tossed in the mix.

We also met the first “PTM” this week — that’s a personal teller machine, for readers not from Pittsburgh. Dollar Bank, based in Steel City, has launched a fleet of ATMs that can connect its customers to actual real-life bank employees for a video chat.

On Wall Street, we learned that GreenDot’s stock has tanked due to increased competition from big banks in the prepaid market. Good news for consumers — bad news for GreenDot, unless it changes its pricing to be more competitive.

We also offered some personal finance advice for those seeking it. For instance, if you have a PayPal account, is it wise to keep your money stashed there? Or should you put it in your bank account? Turns out it all depends on how much you can take advantage of the PayPal Debit Card. We also advised that you be cautious when considering cashing out your 401(k) for starting a business of your own — it’s an option, but one you should take very seriously. We also gave you five tips on what to do after declaring bankruptcy — how does one become a “sur-thriver”? Read it here.

Finally, in keeping with the the-things-happen-more slowly theme, Bank of America was supposed to launch the highly-anticipated mobile check deposit feature for iPhone and Windows Phone on Thursday. But the mobile-app updates didn’t come. BofA noted that the launch timeline was an estimate and that the updates take time to go live on app stores.




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