Credit Card Swipe Fees Cut in Half

October 5, 2011

Consumers will be happy to know that the Federal Reserve has set limits on the rates for credit card swipe fees that the banks have been charging the retailers, effective October 1, 2011.

As a result, credit card processing fees can no longer exceed twenty-one cents per transaction and 0.05% of the purchase price. This is much lower than the previous rate of from 1% – 2% of the transaction. The only drawback to this is that the banks will charge the maximum fee for purchases on small ticket items.

This new ruling is expected to save consumers about $7 billion and to help stimulate the economy. In retaliation, however, the Bank of America is charging a $5.00 monthly fee on debit cards and the other banks may follow suit.

This is one of the last regulations that the Federal Reserve Board is enacting in an attempt to regulate the banking industry. There have been many reforms over the last two years which were enacted to reduce the fees that consumers were paying for banking services. However, the bankss seem to create more fees on other products in an effort to recoup their losses.

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Should Illegal Immigrants be Allowed to Attend College

October 4, 2011

There are so many illegal immigrants in the United States, more than we can imagine, yet so many of them are living their lives as if they were legal residents.

They shop at their own stores and do business with people from their own country whenever possible. They come around the Americans, only when they have to acquire something which they cannot acquire from their own people. This is not unusual because many of the immigrants from other countries did the same thing.

The state of Rhode Island attracts so many immigrants because of the many factories that are still operating in the state. There are over two thousand eight hundred factories that employ immigrants, and some may be illegal immigrants. When they are discovered, the illegal immigrants are sent back to their country.

Many of the immigrants also seek jobs in the southern part of Rhode Island, whose history attracts tourists who want to know more about the early settlers of this country. Because of that, there are summer jobs which are available. The immigrants take these jobs low paying and many sign as independent contractors, which eliminates the tax burden for the business owner.

They are required to show documentation that they are working and living legally in the United States, but the paperwork may be false or erroneous. Immigration officials are assigned to investigate them and when the immigrants discover that they are being investigated, they flee to another state. Disagreements and arguments with spouses is usually the cause of the investigations.

Now, the State of Rhode Island has granted permission for illegal immigrants to attend college at a reduced rate in an attempt to collect much needed revenue for the state. The parents of students who attended high school for three years in Rhode Island and received a degree are eligible for this opportunity. There is a stipulation, however, the immigrants must apply for legal status as soon as they are able or face losing the tuition.

Although the lawmakers argue that allowing illegal immigrants to attend college would contribute new to a stronger work force and improve the quality of life in Rhode Island, many legal residents who are struggling to pay tuitions oppose this new ruling.

It will be interesting to see how many of the illegal residents attending colleges actually complete their studies and how many of them secure jobs after they graduate.


Are Coupons a Good Marketing Tool?

October 2, 2011

If you are considering offering a coupon to you customers to increase your sales, think again. Internet coupons are not as profitable and popular as they used to be.

Business owners are reporting that people are calling in to ask if the company would match a coupon from another company. Because of the many deals available, there is no loyalty among the customers. If a customer took advantage of a price discount, they often would find a similar offer with another company and buy the same product or service again. Business owners have found that the people who use coupons are hard to please and complain about their purchases on the review sites on the Internet.

Groupon, which is the largest coupon site on the Internet, is now facing financial woes, because their business is no longer profitable. Eighty percent of the people who subscribed to the site never made a purchase. At one time, Google offered Groupon $6 billion dollars to purchase the company, but they turned it down, believing the company is worth more.

Compounding its troubles is the appearance of copycat coupon sites which have saturated the coupon market making it difficult for Groupon to make a profit. These copycat sites have closed, reformulated, or merged and Facebook and Yelp are no longer interested in entering the market.

Although the daily deal coupons do create brand awareness, they are not cost-effective, because the coupon site has to share the profits with the merchant. The future of Groupon is uncertain as they struggle to make profits.


Business Ideas for Start-ups

October 1, 2011

Financial stability and independence are two of the main reasons that people go into business. However, having the right idea which could net you enough income to live on is important.

There are many reasons why businesses fail and one of the reasons is that it may take time for the business idea to produce income. Meanwhile the bills need to be paid. That is why business owners must investigate having multiple streams of income in the early stages of the business to ensure that they do not end up homeless or divorced because they are not bringing in enough income.

Therefore, starting a business while you are still employed is an important consideration. Once the business starts producing enough income to consistently pay the bills, then the business owner might consider quitting the full-time job. The other option is to secure a part-time job and work the business part-time.

Now that you have decided that you want to start a business, it is important to consider the type of business you would want to have. Some people, after having worked many years in corporate America decide to quit or find that the company is downsizing them. Depending on the type of job they may have had, they can decide to go out on their own.

For example, a computer technician may decide to find his own accounts with some local companies that may have a need for his services. A bookkeeper for a major corporation may decide to secure several local accounts with lawyers or computer companies in her area. A web designer for a major corporation may decide to help start-up businesses establish themselves on the Internet. The possibilities are endless.

People who have other talents or hobbies may decide to market their talent and earn some money. The things that we do best are referred to as core competencies in the business world. Each person has their own set of skills or talents which they can do exceptionally well. For example, a painter may decide to network with a real estate agency and paint homes which are going on sale in the real estate market. A furniture builder may decide to build furniture in his basement and advertise the pieces for sale or take orders for custom designed furniture.

Whatever they decide, they will have to keep their options open for making money in another way, such as marketing another talent, or doing work for another company as an independent. When they take on another stream of income, it will be important to organize their time so that the work is completed and to keep accurate records.

At times, business owners may discover that they need more training or education to pursue a business. In that case, they must acquire the new skills or education as quickly as possible so as to capitalize on the business as soon as possible.

In conclusion, if a person wants to start his or her own business, they must consider ways of earning more than one income stream.