You Could Get a TurboTax Refund if you Make Under $34,000

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If you make less than US$34,000 per year, you could get a TurboTax refund if the company made you pay them when you filed your taxes.

If you are one of the millions of Americans who made under $34,000 last year, you should have been able to use a free version of TurboTax. If TurboTax directed you to a paid version, it’s worth giving the company a call.

“I called today and they are issuing a refund on my credit card,” one reader said. “I just had to mention ProPublica.”

Thanks to lobbying by corporations like TurboTax, the IRS doesn’t do our taxes for us like other countries.

Backlash Against Cashless Stores

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There is no federal law that requires stores to accept cash, which was something that surprised me. So some stores are going cashless, but some argue this discriminates against poor people who don’t have a bank account and/or a fancy smartphone.

Advocates for cashless bans worry technology is moving too fast for the 6.5% of American households — 8.4 million — that do not have a bank account, according to figures from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Cashless is hard enough, but imagine if you walked into a store only to find out that it only accepts Google Pay. That might bring the reality a bit closer to home.

 

Apple Offers $9.7 Million to Cupertino for Transportation

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After the city of Cupertino agreed to hold changes to a business tax that would have cost Apple over US$9 million, the company has offered US$9.7 million on five transportation projects for cyclers and pedestrians.

[Last year’s proposal] would have generated $10 million in annual revenue, most which would have come from Apple, the city’s largest employer with 24,000 workers…The city decided to postpone a ballot measure to change the business tax until 2020, giving them time to work with Apple and other businesses on private funding to relieve commuter traffic. City staff have been meeting with Apple representatives once every two weeks since October.

Pay Bills With Apple Pay Using Doxo

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A bill payment app called doxo is adding the ability to pay bills with Apple Pay. With doxo you already have a single account from which to pay your bills. With Apple Pay you now have a safe, secure way to pay them. Steve Shivers, doxo CEO, said:

This is just one of many steps we’re taking on our mission to greatly simplify and reduce the hassle of bill pay for our millions of users, and thereby bring new benefits to the billers on doxo.

doxo currently serves over 2.5 million users who make payments to over 45,000 local and national businesses, making doxo the largest bill pay directory in the nation. I looked at doxo’s privacy policy and it sounds legit, too. I’m not sure how this free app makes them money but it doesn’t sound like it’s from selling customer data. App Store: Free

Pay Bills With Apple Pay Using Doxo

Poor People Need Privacy As Much as Everyone Else

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Elizabeth Brico writes how privacy might be turning into a luxury, and how poor people can’t afford the legal costs if their identity is stolen because of all the data breaches.

For her part, Gilman argued that many times, names and addresses can be enough to commit the types of identity fraud she has helped her low-income clients battle. “It can cost time and money to clean up the effects of identity theft because low income people are already living on the economic margins, any loss of funds can be catastrophic,” she said. “You have less privacy as a poor person,” Muentz added. “Privacy is becoming a luxury.”

In 2023 Apple Wants to Have Zero Net Cash

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Apple has US$245 of gross cash and other things like long-term securities. It has US$115 billion in long-term debt. This makes its net cash position US$130 billion, and Apple CFO Luca Maestri has said eventually the company wants to have a net cash neutral position. Tiernan Ray writes about issues that may arise because of this.

Come 2023, will investors balk at an Apple suddenly less generous with its capital returns? And if Apple puts off that day as much as possible, plodding along with no significant increase in capital returns, will it lose the support of those fickle buyers hungry for shares with meaningful dividend buyback increases every year?

Apple and Goldman are the FinTech Power Couple

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Wall Street was surprised when Apple chose to partner with Goldman Sachs. According to a new article by WSJ, other financial institutions like Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase offered their services to Apple as well.

Goldman can’t do it on its own either. It is new to consumer banking, having spent most of its 150-year history catering to big companies and billionaires. Without branches, it needs other ways to find customers for its online savings and lending business. Apple, too, needs new engines of growth as iPhone sales slow.

Apple Pay Support Comes to Over 20 Banks Worldwide

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Aside from French banks adding support, Apple updated its list to reflect the addition of over 20 more banks.

The U.S. bank list is now so long that Apple has introduced alphabetical sub-sections to make it easier to find your bank on the list. Other new entries added to the most recently updated list include Qpay in Australia; HSBC in France; Surgutneftegasbank in Russia; Banco Mediolanum in Spain; Concord bank and UkrSibbank in Ukraine; and N26 in the UK.

Should Apple Have its own Debit Card?

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John Detrixhe argues that Apple should release its own debit card to prepare for the wave of contactless cards.

But consumers typically avoid moving their financial accounts and tend to be faithful, even when they dislike the service. An Apple debit card is a chance for the Silicon Valley-based company to give customers what they want—for God’s sake—before someone else does.

I’m not sure I’m sold on this idea. For a debit card maybe Apple could work with the bank it uses for device financing. I think what would be nice though is for Apple Pay Cash to work more like its own bank.

Did You Know the IRS Offers Free Tax Filing?

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Private tax companies don’t want you to know this, but if your income is below US$66,000 the IRS offers free tax filing software. If your income is above US$66,000 you can still file for free, but you’ll have to do it manually with fillable forms. However, thanks to the long government shutdown this year, tax returns will end up being late.

5 Ways to Improve Apple Services

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Michael Grothaus writes about five ways to improve Apple services, a drum that Tim Cook has been beating for the past couple years.

The problem for Apple is that the iPhone is such a large part of its business. If the company is going to continue to grow, what product could step up to take the place of lagging smartphone sales?

I’ll paraphrase Kelly Guimont’s comment on a recent episode of Daily Observations. If Apple truly wanted to be a services company, it should have been improving services all along. Don’t wait until the last minute when the iPhone puts you into panic mode.

Chronicle is a Beautiful App That Gives You Bill Reminders

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I recently started using Chronicle for bill reminders and I’m glad I found it. The app gives you a calendar view, along with a list of bills that you enter. Name the bill, add a category, amount, and due date, and forget about it. Plus, Chronicle syncs with the available Mac version via iCloud, so you can view and pay your bills everywhere. In addition to reminding you to pay your bills, Chronicle keeps track of all your payment history, including confirmation numbers, so you always have proof of payments. New to Chronicle is the Pro version. Available as an in-app purchase, Chronicle Pro gives you access to all new features of Chronicle as they are updated. Chronicle Pro is US$3.99/year and gives you features like Amount to Save, Intelligent Estimated Amount Due, and Forecast View. App Store: Free (Offers In-App Purchases)

Chronicle is a Beautiful App That Gives You Bill Reminders

Security Week: Privacy.com Gives You Unlimited Virtual Cards

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I’ve talked a lot about Privacy.com lately, but that’s because I think it’s such a good service. I’ve been using it for about two years. When you link your bank account to the app, you can generate unlimited virtual cards to use. You won’t have to worry about your credit card number getting leaked in a data breach anymore. When you create a card there are several configurations to use. You can create a one-time use burner card. You can lock a card to a specific merchant, and it can’t be used anywhere else. You can pause or cancel cards at any time. You can set a maximum charge for cards as well. Privacy.com is free too, because the company makes money from merchants just like traditional debit/credit cards.

Security Week: Privacy.com Gives You Unlimited Virtual Cards