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Emergency Broadband Relief Starts Today
Plus, stories on crazy loan interest rates
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a temporary FCC program to help families and households struggling to afford broadband internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program opens on May 12th and provides eligible households:
§ Up to $50/month discount for broadband service;
§ Up to $75/month discount for households on qualifying Tribal lands; and
§ A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchased through a participating provider if the household contributes more than $10 but less than $50 toward the purchase price.
Debt Trap Lenders in Disguise
A new graphic provided by the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) demonstrates how online lender OppLoans violates state interest rate caps and charges 160% interest rates by using a “rent-a-bank” scheme. Such schemes are allowable under a Trump-era rule authorized by the Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury.
Under the guise of helping consumers with low balance bank accounts avoid fees, Fifth Third Bank is now offering a new product based on a current account feature called Early Access.
The new product, MyAdvance, allows customers to take out an advance of between $50 and $1000 against their next direct deposit. Based on the fees or rates charged for Early Access, customers would pay a 5% fee for advances taken out in the first 18 months of using the product and 3% thereafter. These numbers represent an effective APR of 260% if an advance is taken one week before payday.