After a longer holiday break for many Americans, let’s take a look at what’s in store for the week that ushers in the month of December.

  • Black Friday has triggered the shopping bug in many consumers as it normally does every year. An annual study by National Retail Federation found that consumers spent a record-breaking $52 billion during the 2011 Black Friday weekend. With the high adoption of mobile shopping Cyber Monday is likely to result in a similar feat. It begs to question whether consumers are loosening the grip on their wallets or are they now more inclined to hold out for bargains and deals.
  • Last year’s already-extended payroll tax cuts are due to expire at the end of the year, which mean lawmakers have just a few weeks to push the tax holiday into next year. This week, Senate Democrats will propose a plan to extend payroll tax cuts into 2012. They will come at the cost of a surtax that hits Americans making more than $1 million per year, said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
  • American Express Bank dropped its online savings rate from 1.00% APY to 0.90% over the weekend. As historical trends have shown, online banks tend to cut their savings rates in tandem. Recent entrants in the online banking market such as Sallie Mae Bank and Discover Bank continue to offer 1.00% APY on savings, but they’re likely to follow in the footsteps of American Express Bank.
  • Last week, the Federal Reserve allowed Green Dot, a prepaid card company, to acquire a Utah bank. Largely serving the unbanked and underbanked population, prepaid cards may see an increase in market share, especially if other prepaid card companies move to also purchase banks. In the end, this move would alter the dynamics of the position held by prepaid cards and cardholders.
  • On this upcoming Saturday, TD Bank will enforce higher fees for certain checking account services and a new $9 excess savings withdrawal fee. The changes are a less intrusive approach to increasing revenue after being hit with debit card swipe fees that took effect on October 1.
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