This week marks the beginning of the tax season — a time that is dreaded by nearly every taxpayer. Other things to look forward to this week are the Federal Reserve’s board meeting (to see where interest rates are headed) and the major changes to the largest online bank.
- Over the weekend, retailers in 40 U.S. states were allowed to impose a surcharge when customers uses their credit cards during checkout. If a store near you is going to charge this fee, you’ll see a fee notice — so you’ll know not to use a credit card or you can visit another store.
- On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve will hold its first board meeting of the year. In the last board meeting, the central bank said that interest rates will rise when unemployment reaches 6.5 percent. With improved numbers on recent jobless claims and stock market performance, let’s see if the Fed’s outlook is more optimistic.
- On Wednesday, the IRS will begin accepting tax returns, after postponing the acceptance date due to last-minutes changes to the tax code. With electronic filing and direct deposit, taxpayers could expect their tax refunds as early as mid-February. Additionally, employers have until Friday to mail out your tax documents to you.
- We say goodbye to ING Direct on Friday, when the legend of online banking will become Capital One 360. Customers should have been receiving regular updates regarding the changes that will happen to their accounts (mainly branding and account names).
- Another big bank is turning to higher fees, and new fees. On Friday, Sovereign Bank is hiking the monthly fee for one of its basic checking accounts. Additionally, the bank will charge various ATM fees that previously did not exist. Sovereign Bank, with more than $77 billion in assets, is one of the largest banks in the Northeast.