Manage Your Benjamins

Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to each post author and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that WiseWage, or the post author, may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated.
consumer using search engine to purchase from a small business
Piggy bank sinking into the ocean when branch closes
Image of a check cashing store
prisoner being released from handcuffs
NetSpend Ace Flare Account Overdraft Terms
man paying money to support a child
comparison shopping
2019 Cost Comparison of the Most Popular Prepaid Debit Cards

A detailed review of the costs associated with using some of the most well-known prepaid debit cards. We frame the question for a person who might use a prepaid debit card to do most of his or her banking. When necessary, our customer uses check cashers and money loading services. We also provide a few alternatives that offer more value.

by
Adam Rust
person paying a lot to use a prepaid debit card
Varo Money bank account debit card
two people who are receiving a bonus to signup for a checking account
How To Use a Debit Card
Banks with Early Direct Deposit of Pay in 2019

We have a list of ten banks that will let you access your pay up to days before payday. Additionally, we discuss how much you will spend to have one of these choices.

by
Adam Rust
calendar for payday with early direct deposit
banking
National Banks Closing More than One Thousand Branches in US in 2019

Banks continue to reduce the size of their branch footprints. I've collected data from 2019 that shows that more than one thousand branch locations will be shuttered. Interestingly enough, many of the casualities will be the branches inside the local grocery store. I list the number of closings and openings for each state.

by
Adam Rust
grocery cart at a bank branch with cash
comparison shopping
The Best Smartphone Banking Apps

We're seeing bank branches disappear at the same time that a number of new financial institutions have brought some wonderful bank accounts to the AppStore.

by
Adam Rust
smartphone banking
Personal Finance
Daily ATM Withdrawal Limits at Twenty-Two Banks

We have assembled a list of the daily limits on the amount of money that can be withdrawn from a bank account at twenty-two different banks. We have included some of the largest retail banks as well as an assortment of online banks.

by
Adam Rust
Man making an ATM withdrawal
public policy
Ferguson Relied on Fines and Fees: It Hurt Its Finances

Wall Street didn't trust Ferguson's use of fines and fees to pay its debts. Ferguson's poor thinking underscores an inescapable truth – you can run, but you can’t hide. Racism is not based on logic. It is rooted in poor reasoning by people who let fear cloud their thinking.

by
Adam Rust
Hands Up Ferguson
Rainy Day Saving
Five Steps to Start Saving Money

In this video blog, we can discuss some of the lessons learned by top economists on how to start saving money.

by
Adam Rust
saving money tips
poor person using lifeline smartphone
unbanked
Will Facebook’s Libra Help the Unbanked?

Facebook claims that its new Libra cryptocurrency will empower more people into the banking system. Perhaps that is true overseas, but it's not likely in the United States.

by
Adam Rust
Facebook Libra
Person using mobile app instead of branch bank
comparison shopping
The Best Cash Back Debit Cards for Summer 2019

Although there used to be more debit cards with real cash back rewards programs, there are still a few out there. Check out our ratings for seven well-known cash back debit cards.

by
Adam Rust
Man carrying bag of cash earned from debit card cashback rewards
person opening a bank safe deposit box
Person holding cash and a debit card
Person managing payroll, asking whether to use a payroll card but wondering about mandating use of direct deposit
Saving
The Right Bank Account for Mom-and-Pop Landlords

If you are side-hustling as a landlord, you need to make sure you get a bank account that lets you manage your money as easily as possible. I will review what things you need to be able to do and then show you why a digital smartphone-first account is probably the right choice.

by
landlord managing money for rental units
best debit cards video blog
chexsystems bank account
best payroll software for small businesses
Saving
The Best High-Yield Savings Accounts November 2019

Our list of the best online savings accounts available to consumers as of October 31th, 2019. We are publishing the day after the Federal Reserve lowered its funds rate to 1.5 percent.

by
Adam Rust
person choosing high yield savings account
couple switching to a debit card from a NetSpend Prepaid Card
faster payments challenges opportunities
credit scoring
Alternative Credit Scoring Models: Pros and Cons

The next frontier in underwriting is here. Companies are collecting all kinds of data to improve the value of their credit scoring algorithms. The promise is great, but there are reasons for concern as well.

by
Adam Rust
credit scoring with alternative data sharing
child support being taken from a bank account
worker seeking early access to his paycheck
public policy
Finding the Right Balance with Fintech Innovation

The virtue of fintech starts with its ability to reduce friction. The best innovations solve problems that needed to be fixed. Nonetheless, we need to be very mindful about getting it right.

by
Adam Rust
fintech data privacy
saving money for retirement
tax filer fills out 1040
money tree from automatic savings
purchase cushion on netspend cards
people surprised by overdraft fees
map of connecticut for payroll card law blog
Bank approves person with bad credit for bank account
credit score factors for bank accounts
public policy
Finding the Credit Invisibles

When our system for evaluating the creditworthiness of consumers fails to account for the payment histories of 26 million Americans, we have a systemic problem. It’s time to utilize payment of utility bills and telephone records to bring the credit invisibles into the financial marketplace.

by
Adam Rust
Credit invisible person who wants to establish a credit score
A comparison of fees and conditions of Direct Express to Varo Money and Axos Essentials
Young person traveling who needs a US bank account
Clock ticking on early pay without overdraft fees
Employer with no money needs early pay of wages
Immigrant Bank Account SSN or ITIN
lost debit card to receive tax refund by direct deposit
fintech data consumer protections
Find a Surcharge-Free ATM
chart of count of tax refunds issued by IRS per week
Cost to Send Money to Mexico from US bank account
overdraft fee amounts
banking
Legal Process Fees at the Big Banks

You need to pick the right bank account when you leave prison. Make sure your bank won't take advantage of you with lots of fees.

by
Adam Rust
Probation-related fees
hands holding smartphones to send money with their mobile bank accounts
tax refund loans
Lowe's Promoting Block Tax Refund Advance Loan

True, a Refund Advance Loan is marketed as free, and technically, it is free. But most people will still pay a fee to access their money. Why is Lowe's involved with RALs in the first place?

by
Adam Rust
Tax Loan RAL Coupon Lowes
Paying Taxi Cab Driver
Big Data Lending
Financial Stress Under Water
Broke person emptying pockets looking for spare change
Personal Finance
How to Prevent an Internet Payday Lender from Debiting Your Checking Account

Internet payday loan lenders will ask you to grant them access to your checking account. It is the only way they can collect. If you believe that the lender intends to withdraw funds that you do not owe, then your only option is to close your checking account. Here's what you must do.

by
Adam Rust
Close checking account from payday lenders
Compliance
The Day the CFPB Turned its Back on Veterans

In its consent order against Mark Corbett, the CFPB demonstrated how someone could create real harm to our veterans. But when it only applied a penalty of $1, the CFPB failed to do its duty.

by
Adam Rust
Veteran Saluting Flag
overdraft fees
NetSpend to Cease its Overdraft Protection Service

The CFPB's new rule on prepaid debit cards has compelled NetSpend to terminate its overdraft protection service. Relax - because there is a card out there that will let you overspend for free.

by
Adam Rust
NetSpend Announcement to end overdraft
photo check deposit
How To Use a Debit Card
What Is FDIC Pass-Through Insurance

Explaining the meaning of the pass-through deposit insurance - the primary backstop used for prepaid debit cards.

by
Adam Rust
FDIC Insurance
bank accounts for re-entry from incarceration
Mental health financial stress
About WiseWage and this blog:
This blog is authored by Adam Rust. He has worked to defend consumers against harmful financial practices since 2005. He has written extensively about overdraft fees, payday lending, credit insurance, student loans, prepaid debit cards, high-cost installment loans, and subprime mortgage lending. He serves on the Board of the US Faster Payments Council.
Rust is Director of Research at Reinvestment Partners in Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of BankTalk. He is the author of "This is My Home: Challenges and Opportunities of Manufactured Housing" and has testified to Congress on how to redress some of the problems with manufactured housing. See more on his LinkedIn profile.