As we are about to close the book on 2012, the country is days from staring into an abyss that is filled with financial turmoil and uncertainty. President Obama is expected to return to Washington D.C. from his holiday vacation (possibly cut short) to resume talks regarding a budget deal that will help the U.S. avoid the dreaded fiscal cliff.
- The end of the year is near. If you haven’t taken the time to meet any financial deadlines, you are cutting it close. Remember that there are a few tasks to complete before 2013 so that you can start the new year on the right foot and probably save a little money while you’re at it.
- The Transaction Account Guarantee program, which grants unlimited deposit insurance on non-interest-bearing transaction accounts, is set to end on Dec. 31, 2012. Savers who have more than $250,000 (the typical deposit insurance limit) in such accounts may considering moving their money to protect these funds. Since transfers tend to take several days, transfers should be initiated this week to ensure deposit insurance coverage before the new year.
- U.S. Bank has launched a new mobile application that offers NFC capabilities to a select group of credit card customers. Called U.S. Bank Go Mobile, the app allows U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature cardmembers to make tap-to-pay purchases through a special add-on case. It’s one of the banks first forays into mobile payments.
- On Wednesday, President Obama will end his vacation in Hawaii to reconvene with House and Senate members and hold last-minute discussions to come to a budget agreement that will avoid the fiscal cliff. The talks are expected to continue on Thursday.
- Starting January 2013, due to a major settlement between payment networks and merchants, retailers in 40 of the 50 U.S. states can add a surcharge when you use a credit card to make purchases. In California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas, such surcharges are prohibited and merchants cannot impose them. You may have to change up the cards in your wallet to avoid paying these fees.