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Barclays Online Savings Review

by Luke Landes
Barclay's Online Savings Account Review

Barclays has enjoyed a long and storied history as a financial industry leader in the United Kingdom. While those of us in the United States often consider a financial company to be historied once it passes its centennial, Barclays was founded in 1690. As an organization, the bank is older than our country. The brand ... Continue reading this article…

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Capital One 360 Savings Account Review

by Luke Landes
Capital One 360 Logo

Capital One’s decision to acquire ING Direct was a great strategic move, but the deal had a few problems. Because ING Direct’s parent company, as part of a European bail-out agreement, was required to sell ING Direct in the United States and in other global locations, and to cease using the ING Direct name, Capital ... Continue reading this article…

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What Happens If Your Bank Account Is Hacked?

by Luke Landes

McAfee Labs, a company that deals with internet security from malware and hackers, has announced that a ring of criminals intend to steal money from customers with accounts at major American banks. The operation even has a codename, “Project Blitzkreig,” and is rumored to go into effect this coming spring. The fact that this plan ... Continue reading this article…

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Citigroup Laying Off 11,000 Employees

by Luke Landes

As part of a measure to cut ongoing expenses for the benefit of major shareholders, Citigroup has announced a massive reduction of employment, affecting over four percent of the company’s workforce across the world. The new CEO, Michael Corbat, has determined the best course of action to increase the value of the company for investors ... Continue reading this article…

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Bank of America Settlement Postcard Checks

by Luke Landes

Bank of America’s journey with its overdraft fee class-action lawsuit is coming to an end. Earlier this month, the bank began processing its “refunds” to customers who were affected by a debit processing priority policy that greatly benefited the bank at the expense of its customers. In short, a customer with $500 in the bank ... Continue reading this article…

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ING Direct Becoming Capital One 360

by Luke Landes

Earlier this year, Capital One’s acquisition of ING Direct was approved and finalized. Consumerism Commentary readers responded, for the most part, by stating they plan on closing their ING Direct accounts in protest. I preferred to wait and see. The conflict and attitude arises from ING Direct’s history of being consumer friendly and on the ... Continue reading this article…

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Are Consumers Really Concerned About Savings?

by Luke Landes
Savings piggy bank

A survey released by Chase today concluded that 74 percent of Americans are concerned about having enough money in savings, but only 34 percent have increased their savings since the economic downturn. There’s more to the survey, but this fact alone raises more than enough questions to consider for an entire day. What does it ... Continue reading this article…

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Banks Raise Interest Rates, Savers Give Up Hope

by Luke Landes

This week, several banks raised interest rates for diligent savers taking advantage of so-called high-yield savings accounts. American Express Bank, a cousin of a credit card company you’ve probably heard of that reorganized as a bank holding company to better position itself for government protection and balance sheet building, raised its interest rate. Ally Bank, ... Continue reading this article…

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Simple Debit Card and Mint.com Debit Card: What’s the Fuss?

by Luke Landes
Piggy bank

I suppose I don’t understand Silicon Valley hype. I do, however, understand frustrations with the traditional banking system, and one techie start-up and one former start-up engulfed by one of the largest companies in personal finance management are taking the opportunity to see if they can replace some aspects of the financial industry. SmartyPig started ... Continue reading this article…

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HSBC Direct Confuses Account Holders With Fee Notice

by Luke Landes

Millions of HSBC Direct customers received a strange email yesterday or the day before indicating a few changes to the bank’s fee structure. (HSBC’s former name for its Online Savings Account service is HSBC Direct; the new name will be HSBC Advance.) The statement seemed to indicate HSBC would be instituting a new, high fee ... Continue reading this article…

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The Poor Are Priced Out of Checking Accounts

by Luke Landes

Reminder: This is the last week to vote for Consumerism Commentary and your favorite financial blogs in this year’s Plutus Awards. Take a moment — after reading this article, naturally — to show your appreciation for the best writing about money management and personal finance outside of mainstream media. It’s no surprise that low income ... Continue reading this article…

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ING to Consider Selling ING Direct Canada and ING Direct UK

by Luke Landes
ING Direct

To satisfy European regulators, ING Group, the Dutch former parent company of popular online bank ING Direct in the United States, is “reviewing strategic options” for its other online banking divisions, ING Direct Canada and ING Direct UK. Those “strategic options” could include a sale of those branches. Earlier this year, Capital One completed its ... Continue reading this article…

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How Many Savings Accounts Do You Need?

by Luke Landes

Over the past year, I’ve been simplifying my finances. I’ve collected a number of savings accounts and checking accounts, mostly as a way of auditioning and reviewing various banks for the benefit of Consumerism Commentary readers. There’s little sense in me holding onto so many accounts across dozens of banks, so I’ve been taking some ... Continue reading this article…

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Banks Could Make It Easier to Close Accounts

by Luke Landes
Dollar bill

Closing a bank account in the twenty-first century, when a good portion of your banking is handled electronically, can be a cumbersome task. I created a bank switch kit earlier this year to help consumers organize their actions and take the correct steps to move your money from one bank to another without encountering any ... Continue reading this article…

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Young Americans Likely to Be Unbanked Regardless of Income Level

by Luke Landes
Check Cashing

In discussing unbanked and underbanked American consumers, we tend to focus on low socioeconomic status communities. The mainstream opinion is that building wealth and long-term financial stability relies on the use of traditional banking and investing products and the knowledge to use these products effectively. The financial industry tends to avoid low socioeconomic status communities ... Continue reading this article…

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New York Community Bank Adding Fees For Former Aurora Customers

by Luke Landes
Central Park New York

Last month, I received the news that Aurora Bank deposits would be assumed by New York Community Bank. Aurora Bank is yet another online bank that increased its marketing efforts leading up to a sale. For a while, Aurora Bank was a branch of Lehman Brothers, and part of that company’s bankruptcy proceedings required the ... Continue reading this article…

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Citizens Bank Settles Overdraft Fee Class Action Lawsuit

by Luke Landes

Banks are still struggling with the decisions executives made to maximize profit from overdrafts by rearranging the order of withdrawals to customers’ detriment. By December last year, Bank of America settled a class-action lawsuit related to overdrafts and was expected to pay $410 million. That decision is being appealed by a plaintiff, so it will ... Continue reading this article…

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Review of Capital One 360′s Remote Deposit

by Luke Landes
ING Direct

Several readers contacted me yesterday with this piece of good news. After months of promising its customers to launch the new feature soon, Capital One 360, formerly ING Direct, now offers remote check deposit. The delay was likely caused by the efforts that resulted in Capital One purchasing ING Direct USA. Previously, in order to ... Continue reading this article…

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Your B of A Satire Website Targets Bank of America

by Luke Landes

The Rainforest Action Network is an environmental non-violent activist organization, working to influence corporations to consider the environment during the course of business. They’ve had Bank of America in their sights in the past, bringing attention to the way the bank puts profits ahead of the health of the communities in which it exists. The ... Continue reading this article…

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Aurora Bank’s Deposits to Be Acquired By New York Community Bank

by Luke Landes

Last year, I opened a money market account with Aurora Bank, a division of Lehman Brothers. If it seemed like an odd thing to do, it probably was. Lehman Brothers had filed for bankruptcy in 2008, yet in 2011, they were promoting their online retail bank and looking for new customers. Not wanting to associate ... Continue reading this article…

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