How Do Credit Rating Agencies, Like Standard And Poors, Work?

How Do Credit Rating Agencies, Like Standard And Poors, Work?

We’ve been hearing a lot about rating agencies, and Standard and Poors in particular. You might have the general idea that the ratings they give bonds are a lot like your credit score. The lower the bond rating, the lower the credit score, the harder and more expensive it is to borrow money. But how exactly do these places work? And how might their judgment be corrupted? Marketplace’s Paddy Hirsch explains in this video using his trusty whiteboard and dry-erase marker. [More]

Interactive Graph Of Bank Failures Like Watching Nuclear Impact Zones

Interactive Graph Of Bank Failures Like Watching Nuclear Impact Zones

The one joy of WSJ’s otherwise mirthless interactive graph showing bank failures across the country from Jan ’08 to present is that when you slide the time scroller back and forth, it looks like, as Marketplace’s Paddy Hirsch just tweeted, looks like a series of nuclear impact zones. [More]

Xbox Live Marketplace Card Already Used, Even Though It Was Opened Only Moments Ago

Xbox Live Marketplace Card Already Used, Even Though It Was Opened Only Moments Ago

Tyler says that on four different occasions now, the Xbox Live points and subscription cards he’s bought have been invalid when he redeems them. He had a friend at Gamestop help him out with the invalid subscription card, but he’s stuck with useless paper when it comes to the points cards. [More]

Consumerist On Marketplace: Bank Gives You 24 Hours To Fix Overdrafts

Consumerist On Marketplace: Bank Gives You 24 Hours To Fix Overdrafts

I was on Marketplace on public radio this morning, chiming in about Huntington Bank’s new 24-hour grace period they’re giving customers who overdraft. If you deposit the funds you’re lacking within a day, no fee, but if you don’t, you’ll get a $23 charge. This program is automatic, you don’t need to be enrolled in overdraft protection. Sounds nice and innovative, but I’d rather the bank deny the charge and get no fee instead. Here’s the audio: [More]

Everything Is Five Bucks, And Completely Random, On Fiverr

Everything Is Five Bucks, And Completely Random, On Fiverr

Fiverr is a website where people post gigs they’re willing to do for five dollars. Does it work? I dunno, but it’s a lot of fun to read through the offers: someone will burn a small paper effigy of your enemy, or send you a sock puppet, or turn a photo into a cross-stitch pattern for you. My favorite is, “I will give you $10 if you find two people to give me $5 for $5.” [More]

Don't Trade Your Toddler For A Gun

Don't Trade Your Toddler For A Gun

Owning guns is fun! Bartering is fun! Trading your two-year-old for a gun, however, is just gonna land you in jail. And if that kid ever finds out what you did, she’s gonna be pretty angry with you when she grows up. And really, lady, a toddler can cause just as much damage if you just give it time.
 
“Woman allegedly tries to trade 2-year-old daughter for gun”

What Does "Hostile Takeover" Mean?

What Does "Hostile Takeover" Mean?

Does the phrase “hostile takeover” give you a mental picture of Vikings swarming into an office building and taking over by brute force? The term is in the news due to proposed takeovers of Cadbury and Barnes & Noble, but that’s not quite what the term means. Marketplace’s Paddy Hirsch and his trusty whiteboard explain.

VIDEO: Derivatives Are Sort Of Like A Pre-Ordered Turkey

VIDEO: Derivatives Are Sort Of Like A Pre-Ordered Turkey

The business and financial news are full of something called “derivatives.” But, okay, what is that? You’re not the only one who’s wondering. That’s why Paddy Hirsch from the public radio program Marketplace put together a whiteboard, some stick figures, and a bunch of metaphorical turkeys to explain it all to us.

Should Kids Have Credit Cards?

Should Kids Have Credit Cards?

Should children have credit cards? Let’s ask ‘em!

VIDEO: What Happened To All Of Those Toxic Assets?

VIDEO: What Happened To All Of Those Toxic Assets?

Hey, remember the TARP program? If banks are now paying back TARP funds, then what happened to those toxic assets? Are they sitting in a canyon in Wyoming for the next 10,000 years? Not exactly.

Don't Put These Items On Your Credit Card If You Can Help It

Don't Put These Items On Your Credit Card If You Can Help It

A few months ago, we reminded you that your credit card company is building a psychological profile of you. But what about a short, convenient list of things that get credit card companies‘ notice? Marketplace has you covered.

Are Cellphone Exclusivity Deals Bad For Consumers?

Are Cellphone Exclusivity Deals Bad For Consumers?

Yesterday, four U.S. Senators sent a letter to FCC acting chairman Michael Copps requesting an investigation into whether exclusivity deals between handset makers and national carriers are ultimately good for consumers, and they plan to hold a hearing on the issue on Wednesday, June 16th. They join a growing number of people and organizations, including the Rural Cellular Association (RCA), who say exclusivity deals benefit no one but the carriers and manufacturers.

Oh Noes It's The "Shadow" Banking System

Oh Noes It's The "Shadow" Banking System

It doesn’t involve ninjas, but the “shadow” banking system is an important part of the US economy, it’s the companies that loan money but aren’t themselves banks. The loans they make aren’t kept on the companies books, they’re securitized and resold as bonds. White whiteboard and magic marker, Marketplace Senior Editor Paddy Hirsch argues this shadow banking system deserves it own bailout.

What's This "Public-Private Partnership" Mean?

What's This "Public-Private Partnership" Mean?

So the latest solution to the problem of these toxic assets on the banks’ books is a “public-private partnership” between the government and the private sector…yawn what is he going on about, I wish I had a pancake…oh wait! Here’s Paddy Hirsch from marketplace drawing stick figures on a whiteboard and explaining it all. Now we’re talking.

What Is Mark To Market?

What Is Mark To Market?

One buzzphrase going around about the financial crisis is “mark to market.” Some think banks are being overly punished by being forced to “mark to market” the investments they own, or price them according to current market value. As you can probably figure out, those assets have plummeted. Marketplace’s Paddy Hirsch explains with his trusty whiteboard and stick figures what “mark to market” means, and what it means for the economy.

Why The Fed Is Making "Bad Banks," And Why That Could Be Good

Why The Fed Is Making "Bad Banks," And Why That Could Be Good

Marketplace’s Paddy “Sexycakes” Hirsch whips out the whiteboard to explain the how and why of the latest gimmick the Fed is deploying to ease the financial crisis. Now they’re making “bad banks” which will go buy the toxic assets from the banks so they can clean up their books. Hopefully over time these assets will mature past their heavily discounted value and the taxpayers can make money on the deal. But if the situation deteriorates and too many of the assets go to zero, as some indeed may, then we’ll be sitting on a big fat goose egg, again. Video inside.

What Is Quantitative Easing?

What Is Quantitative Easing?

Want to know a fancy word for printing new money? Meet “Quantitative easing,” the Fed’s weapon of last resort to try to prod banks to lend to each other and to companies. Marketplace’s Paddy Hirsch is back with his whiteboard to explain how it all goes down. Video inside.

Help! I Bought A Pirated Copy Of Windows!

Help! I Bought A Pirated Copy Of Windows!

Emily bought a very “high quality” pirated copy of Windows from an Amazon seller and didn’t realize that anything was amiss for an entire year.