Nearly a decade after the housing bubble burst and the government created programs to provide relief for homeowners facing foreclosure, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is working to ensure that consumers continue to receive needed assistance tailored to changing home retention needs. Today, the Bureau has released new a new outline to guide the creation of new solutions for foreclosure relief. [More]
Saving money at Walmart is as easy as 1-2-3 — or 3-2-1? Either way, that’s the point the mega-retailer appears to be trying to get across with its newly launched Walmart Credit Card and Walmart MoneyCard cash-back rewards program. [More]
Are Student Loan Forgiveness Programs Just A Free Pass For Grad Students With More Than $100K In Debt?
Just two years ago, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimated that nearly 33 million American workers eligible for student loan forgiveness weren’t taking advantage of the programs. Times have certainly changed, as the federal government earlier this year revealed that these program were now so popular they cost nearly $22 billion more than they anticipated. But it doesn’t appear the increase in use for such plans is by those who might benefit the most. [More]
One of the cool things about the iPhone ecosystem is there are nearly 17 quintillion apps available for it, and although many of these are crap, the good ones frequently cost only a dollar or two. Even the premium-priced “productivity” apps–things like note pads and to-do lists–rarely cross the $10 threshhold, which means you can load up your iPhone or Touch with a lot of cool stuff on a modest software budget. But if a leaked video of the iPad app store is accurate, you can expect to pay 200-500% more for simple things like 99-cent games, and PC-level prices for more robust apps, on your fancy new iPad.
If you have to take meds, you know that one of the big issues is watching out for potential drug interactions—the last thing you want is to pass out at the supermarket from uncontrollable flatulence and a sudden onset of glaucoma. Consumer Reports has developed My Medication Tracker, a free desktop app that lets you privately keep a record of your medication history (and related costs), as well as watch out for potential interactions.
There is currently a $75 billion program called MHA or Making Home Affordable, which aims to modify mortgages so home owners can stay in their homes. According to a new report by the Treasury Department, some banks are starting off so slowly that they’ve yet to modify a single mortgage. Others, like Bank of America, have modified only 4% of the eligible mortgages in its portfolio that are 60 or more days delinquent.
Reader IfThenElvis forwarded us the following email he received alerting him to changes in the Reward Zone program from Best Buy. He adds, “I can’t tell if this is good new or not. I suspect not.” It’s not the end of the world or anything, but it definitely marks a slight constriction in the program.
If you have a large number of points you better use them in the next few weeks, or be content with getting a large amount of Coke-branded clothing.
Reader Andrew forwarded an email he just got from Best Buy letting him know that he now qualified for an even more special fantastic elite reward zone level. One in which he would be granted access to something called a “Premier Black Concierge.” We’re assuming this is like Reward Zone Silver but, more so.
Eight people bought the $999.99 “I Am Rich” iPhone app before Apple pulled it from their store this week, reports the Los Angeles Times. “Six people from the U.S., one from Germany and one from France dropped a grand for the gem in the first 24 hours it was available.” The developer, Armin Heinrich, made $5,600 from those sales, while Apple made $2,400. I am currently developing an “I Am Now Richer” app to try to sell to Heinrich, since he’s got some extra spending money. [Los Angeles Times]
Jay wanted to update his copy of Adobe Creative Suite 2 to CS3 and simultaneously switch the license over to the Mac platform. The first sales rep he spoke with did everything right and Jay was very happy. Then that sales rep disappeared forever, only to be replaced by a comically inept parade of CSRs who can’t figure out Adobe’s own systems, who make up their job titles, give out fax numbers to call, and who—in one case—claim to be on a phone system that doesn’t connect to the outside world.
Citibank and Bank of America both offer special credit card programs based on health and medical expenses. If you’re disciplined about not carrying revolving debt, and you have recurring medical expenses, they can help reduce your total cost over a year. Bank of America’s cards are point-based programs—if you’ve got Aetna insurance, you can accumulate points that you can turn into “cash direct deposits to a health savings account, or other standard rewards.” Caremark members can redeem points for awards only, although BoA’s standard awards catalogue “includes health and wellness products like fitness equipment and blood pressure monitors.”
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wants to give you 100 gallons of free heating oil to help survive the cold cruel capitalist winter. The hogshead of liquid warmth is available to anyone enduring a financial hardship who fills out a handy online form.
If you’ve ever wanted the professional version of DivX for free, now’s your chance: for a limited time, DivX is giving it away (it’s usually $10). (Thanks to Andy!)
A reader has forwarded us an obnoxious notice from US Airways that explains how they “reward” their frequent flyer program members: by charging them $25 if they’re not active enough. So what are the best ways to remain active without spending $25 or making an unnecessary ticket purchase?