Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:
Locked out of a bank account
The popular banking app Chime has been locking customers out of their accounts without explanation, said Carson Kessler at ProPublica. Chime, a branchless "neobank" with more than 12 million customers, has received 920 complaints filed at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since last April, a very high number compared with other banks. Most of the complaints involve "accounts that were closed against customers' will." The company says it is trying to crack down on unemployment fraud, and "many account closures occurred directly after a government deposit." But Chime confirmed it has made mistakes. In several instances, "the evidence of misbehavior that Chime cited consisted of the same act its marketing encouraged: opening a new account using a federal stimulus check or payment from unemployment insurance."
IRS wants more ways to track income
The Biden administration is calling for the Internal Revenue Service to keep a closer eye on individual bank accounts, said Andrew Keshner at MarketWatch. According to the proposal, financial institutions would be required to "tell the IRS about aggregated 'inflow' and 'outflow' from bank, loan, and investment accounts," with a starting threshold of just $600. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has defended the idea as an enforcement tool. Officials say there is "nearly perfect" compliance with income taxes based strictly on wages and salaries. But the IRS "wants more eyes in more places" to be able to spot alternative income streams that "might not get reflected on a tax return." Though the IRS would not receive "transaction-level details," critics still say the plan amounts to "a dragnet for regular taxpayers."
A 24/7 stock-trading startup
A startup trading platform is seeking approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to operate a stock exchange 24/7, said Alexander Osipovich at The Wall Street Journal. The company, 24 Exchange, said that "there is growing demand for round-the-clock stock trading," particularly from surging numbers of individual and overseas investors who "want to buy or sell stocks outside of standing trading hours." The U.S. stock market has for decades operated between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. An always-open alternative is likely to draw opposition from some on Wall Street, who "like the ability to relax and go home after the market closes."
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