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February 21, 2019

Apple is looking for another route into your wallet.

After facing pretty slow adoption of its Apple Pay system, Apple has teamed up with Goldman Sachs to create an iPhone-linked credit card, The Wall Street Journal reports. Employees will test the cards within the next few weeks, and it'll be available to the public later this year, the Journal says.

iPhone sales have slowed recently, possibly as customers start to realize Apple is charging more and more for a barely changed product. So along with its forays into Hollywood, news curation, and music streaming, Apple is "turning to fee-generating services" to hopefully make an additional $50 billion by 2020, the Journal says.

Meanwhile, mega-bank Goldman Sachs is trying to recoup losses in securities trading with its new online consumer bank Marcus, the Journal says. Still, it hasn't exactly caught on with average consumers — something the bank is seemingly trying to correct with this reported Apple collaboration. Goldman Sachs has never issued a credit card before, so it's reportedly designated $200 million to build its own payment system. It's also building "customer-support call centers around the country," sources tell the Journal.

The so-called Apple Pay card will be on MasterCard's payment network, and customers will reportedly earn about 2 percent cash back, per the Journal. That percentage could be higher on Apple product purchases, some sources said. It'll all reportedly be integrated with the iPhone's Wallet app, allowing users to "set spending goals, track their rewards, and manage their balances," the Journal continues. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Kathryn Krawczyk

July 12, 2018

Consumer prices have been creeping upwards over the past year, pushing inflation to its highest point in more than six years, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

The Labor Department said that inflation is up 2.9 percent compared to a year ago, even though the consumer price index only jumped a modest 0.1 percent since last month. That's the largest annual gain since 2012, which for some products has offset one-third of the benefit of last year's GOP tax cut bill.

Officials indicated last month that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates two more times this year, which economists expect could curb inflation without undercutting growth too much. The changes could affect wages, which, adjusted for inflation, have declined slightly this year.

Housing costs jumped 3.4 percent over the last year, reports AP, while auto insurance prices have increased 7.6 percent since last year. Medical expenses, cars, lumber, some appliances, and shipping prices have also gone up, but none quite so much as gas, which has skyrocketed 24.3 percent. The good news is that at least furniture, clothes, and air travel prices have stayed steady, and it looks like gas prices are coming back down slightly. Read more at The Associated Press. Summer Meza

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