Fed Close to Ending Overdraft-Fee Traps on Debit Cards, ATM

In the coming months, financial institutions will start providing consumers with notices on overdraft services, primarily the choice to “opt-in” before you can be hit with overdraft fees for ATM and one-time debit card transactions. If they don’t for new customers starting July 1, 2010, they will be in trouble with the Federal Reserve. The regulator and rule-making authority on protecting consumers from unreasonable bank fees is putting out the word through a new web page. Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions will be prohibited from charging overdraft fees for ATM and one-time debit card transactions, unless a customer consents. For existing customers, the institutions have until August 15 to comply.

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MasterCard Rings Up 23% Profit, But Below Forecasts

A day after its dominant rival posted higher-than-expected earnings, MasterCard came in below analysts’ estimates with a 23 percent profit increase for the fourth quarter. The No. 2 card payments network saw single-digit growth in both dollar volume and processed transactions, compared to double-digit increases in transactions reported this week from rival Visa.

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Debit Card Use Helps Boost Visa Profits 33%

Visa, the world’s largest electronic payment network, beat forecasts and reported a fiscal first quarter profit jump of 33 percent, with its growth in debit card payment transactions outpacing credit cards by 72 percent. Visa’s numbers shows that consumers continue to rely more on debit cards and are holding off on reviving credit card revolving debt as the economy continues to struggle.

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Blippy: Twitter for Credit Card Users Goes Public

Blippy, the Twitter-like social media site that displays how much you’ve spent and what you’ve purchased with your credit or debit card is now live to the general public. Blippy has been tried by about 5,000 people in invite-only beta testing, but this week Blippy started scrolling live its users’ purchases. When you sign up, you can attach a credit or debit card to the service and let your followers know the song you picked up on iTunes or movie on Netflix — well, you get the idea.

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Cyber Monday Deals Loom Larger This Year for Shoppers

Surveys are finding that 2009 will see more folks than ever returning to work on Cyber Monday and looking for Christmas shopping deals from their desks, a practice unwelcome by their employers but much anticipated by online retailers. The majority of online retailers will feature special promotions for Cyber Monday, with 72.2 percent planning a special promotion, up from 42.7 percent just two years ago. A quarter of retailers will offer free shipping on all purchases.

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