An Unpleasant Surprise at the Grocery and a Bad Bank Acting Bad

A week of consumer finance news

Andy Spears

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Photo by Shubham Dhage on Unsplash

While some surprises can be welcome, the type of surprise that leaves you with a negative mark on your credit report and an overdraft fee in your bank account is not one of them.

However, more and more consumers are using short-term, installment loans to pay for basics like groceries.

While this may provide the ability to stretch dollars further in difficult times, there are also problems with frequent use of Buy Now, Pay Later products:

In fact, U.S. PIRG offers a warning on BNPL:

However, BNPL products do not underwrite for a consumer’s ability to repay, can rely on the expectation of late fees, can be difficult to manage, and can trigger punitive overdraft or non-sufficient fund fees if linked to a bank account. Further, these products can lead consumers into taking on unmanageable amounts of debt and lack the same dispute or refund rights that credit cards have should a consumer be unsatisfied with their purchase.

Bottom line: Beware of the ease and ubiquity of Buy Now, Pay Later and use these products sparingly.

When a Bad Bank Keeps Acting Bad

Nothing bad happens to them.

Bank of America has paid more than $1 billion in fines and penalties for malfeasance that harmed customers since 2014. Still, the bank continues to operate, fails to admit wrongdoing, and remains one of the five largest banks in the country.

Here’s the latest:

Turns Out, It’s Not So Easy

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Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .