Category Archives: Finance


Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, Twitter, Github, Etsy down in DDoS attack 

Internet users around the world, but mostly in the US, reported that some top websites were not loading on Friday morning.

The affected sites include Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Etsy, Github, and Spotify.

It was mostly resolved at 9:20 a.m. ET, but at 12:07 p.m. ET, the issue started to crop up again, according to one of the companies at the center of the apparent cyber attack.

At 4:16 p.m. ET, Dyn said that it was facing a third wave of attacks,CNBC reported.

Around 6:20 p.m. ET, Dyn said that the incident had been resolved,according to a status update on its website.

The issue appears to have something to do with DNS hosts — in particular, Dyn, one of the biggest DNS companies.

Domain Name Servers are a core part of the internet’s backbone. They translate what you type into your browser —, for example — into IP addresses that computers can understand.

Dyn said on Friday that it suffered a DDoS attack, or a distributed denial of service. That basically means hackers are overwhelming Dyn’s servers with useless data and repeated load requests, preventing useful data — the Twitter IP address, for example — from getting through.

“The purpose of this attack is to overload the service in any way possible and make it stop working or be unreachable. In this case it was not Twitter or Github that got overloaded, those services work totally fine, but a service allowing you to reach them got overloaded,” Adam Surak, site reliability engineer at told Business Insider.

Who is responsible?

No group has taken credit for the DDoS attack yet, and Dyn says no attacker has contacted it.

The Department of Homeland Security is monitoring the attack, Politico’s Eric Geller reports. The FBI is also investigating, according to Reuters.

The attack does not seem to be state-sponsored or directed, a senior US intelligence official told NBC News.

Dyn says that the attacks are “well planned and executed, coming from tens of millions of IP addresses at the same time.” One of the sources of the attack is internet-connected products like printers, DVRs, and appliances, often called the “internet of things.”

Code to wage DDoS attacks by hacking the internet of things was released earlier this month.

WikiLeaks says the attack is being done in support of its founder Julian Assange. Brian Krebs, a writer who was the first person to be hit with a internet of things DDoS, believes that criminals are extorting internet infrastructure companies and threatening them with DDoS.

He says that a trusted source tells him that there was “chatter in the cybercrime underground” discussing a plan to attack Dyn.

“Mr. Assange is still alive and WikiLeaks is still publishing. We ask supporters to stop taking down the US internet. You proved your point,” Wikileaks tweeted.

If you’re having issues:

Some people online seem to think this walkthrough and Apple’s support page to use OpenDNS can help mitigate the problems.

Timeline of the attacks:

Here’s how the day unfolded, according to Dyn, the company being attacked.

7:10 a.m. ET:

“Starting at 11:10 UTC on October 21th-Friday 2016 we began monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure. Some customers may experience increased DNS query latency and delayed zone propagation during this time. Updates will be posted as information becomes available.”

8:45 a.m. ET:

“This attack is mainly impacting US East and is impacting Managed DNS customer in this region. Our Engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue.”

9:36 a.m. ET:

“Services have been restored to normal as of 13:20 UTC.”

As of 12:06 p.m. ET, the attack had returned:

“As of 15:52 UTC, we have begun monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure. Our Engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue.”

12:48 p.m. ET: 

“This DDoS attack may also be impacting Dyn Managed DNS advanced services with possible delays in monitoring. Our Engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue.”

1:53 p.m. ET: 

“Our engineers continue to investigate and mitigate several attacks aimed against the Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure.”

2:23 p.m. ET: 

“Dyn Managed DNS advanced service monitoring is currently experiencing issues. Customers may notice incorrect probe alerts on their advanced DNS services. Our engineers continue to monitor and investigate the issue.” 

2:52 p.m. ET: 

“At this time, the advanced service monitoring issue has been resolved. Our engineers are still investigating and mitigating the attacks on our infrastructure.”

3:44 p.m. ET: 

“Our engineers are continuing to investigate and mitigate several attacks aimed against the Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure.”

4:37 p.m. ET: 

“Our engineers continue to investigate and mitigate several attacks aimed against the Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure.”

4:59 p.m. ET: 

“Our engineers are continuing to investigate and mitigate several attacks aimed against the Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure.”

6:20 p.m. ET:

“The incident has been resolved.”

CNBC reported that Amazon investigated the issue as well, although it eventually found the issue to be with the Dyn attack. “Amazon & DynDNS investigating internet outage reports on east coast of U.S. amid reports of major websites not working properly,” it tweeted.

Earlier this month, the United States transferred its oversight of DNS to an international non-profit group, a move that had been more than 20 years in the making.

Here’s a map of reported outages as of 9:20 a.m. ET, via Down Detector:

DNS issuesLevel3/Down Detector

Here’s a map of reported outages as of 2:16 p.m. ET:

DDoSDown Detector

Here’s a map of reported outages as of 4:58 p.m. ET:

Down DetectorDown Detector

According to Hacker News and reports, some of the sites affected include:


– Twitter

– Etsy

– Github

– Soundcloud

– Spotify

– Heroku

– Pagerduty

– Shopify

– Okta

– Zendesk

– Business Insider

Source: Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, Twitter, Github, Etsy down in DDoS attack

Shiny and fast: $1.5 million plane for sale

bY; Hayley FitzPatrick Neiman Marcus plaque on the side of a building

Source: Shiny and fast: $1.5 million plane for sale

How much a 20-something needs to save every month to retire with $5 million 

By; John Rampton

How much will you need to retire?

Well, in 2014, Matthew Illian, a member of the Investment Committee at Marotta Wealth Management, Inc., wrotethat “Someone retiring now in 2014 with $1 million at age 65 can safely withdraw $43,600

a year. However, [because of inflation], today’s 20-year-olds will need over $7 million to have that same lifestyle when they retire. In 1970, they would only have needed $166,000 in retirement to have a similar purchasing power for the rest of their life.”

If that’s the the case, then a 25-year-old with a starting salary of $50,000 would have to save around 14.65% of their salary throughout their career. The problem with that scenario is that Illian determined this retirement figure if the average inflation rate over the next 45 years will be 4.5%. Currently, the inflation is around 1.4% and hasn’t been close to 4.5% since 2008.

That still doesn’t mean that millennials should only plan to retire with a million. As Robert Powell reports in USA Today, “Older Millennials — those born in the early 1980s — will need about $1.8 million salted away to maintain their standard of living in retirement while younger millennials — those born in the late 1990s — will need upwards of $2.5 million.”

There are several reasons why millennials need this much money set aside. For starters, they don’t have a pension plan like their grandparents. Also, Social Security benefits will “be less generous than today’s.” Millennials are also expected to live longer than current retirees.

Powell suggests that the “oldest millennials, assuming they have no money set aside today and that they earn 5% on their investments, will need to sock away $2,000 a month for 32 years to accumulate a $1.8 million nest egg.” While “the youngest Millennials would need to save $1,000 a month for 48 years to accumulate $2.4 million.”

How much do you need to save each month to retire with $5 million?

Let’s say that you want to play it safe and go somewhere between the two scenarios listed above. That would come out to about $5 million for your retirement. Sound impossible? It’s not if you determine what you want your retirement to look like and set goals to achieve that reality. And, you can start by following these four steps.

1. Estimate your future spending.

If you’ve already created a budget and understand your current cash flow and expenses, then you’re off to a good start. Estimating your future spending is based on what you’re currently spending each month and how much money you’re spending in expenses each month. This includes everything from your mortgage, insurance, and utilities.

Keep in mind that some expenses will disappear, while new expenses will appear. For example, your mortgage will be paid off, so that expense will no longer be a factor. You may even decide to downsize your home, so utilities and property taxes may decrease. However, you want to consider new expenses like travel and long-term care.

Deduct or add these future expenses into your monthly budget, and that should give you a ballpark estimate of how much you’ll need for retirement. If you can swing this, then you can start putting more money aside for your retirement now.

There’s actually a handy calculator that can do this for you.

2. Use a retirement calculator.

You also want to find a retirement calculator that will calculate your retirement needs, monthly savings goal, and estimate your retirement age. The calculator determines this information based on the information that you enter, so make sure that it’s accurate.

NerdWallet has a pretty solid retirement calculator.

3. Write down your retirement plan.

This doesn’t have to be a formal and complex document. It can simply be a single piece of paper that put on your fridge in order to keep you focused on the retirement goals that you’ve established.

4. Revisit your plan.

Things can change rapidly and frequently. That’s why you need to revisit your retirement plan often and make the appropriate changes, such as a new change in your lifestyle like having a child or a spike in inflation rates.

Using those steps can give you a ballpark figure on what you need to enjoy your golden years, along with a plan to keep you on-track. Once you know how much money you need to each month and how much to save, and you’re able to handle that financially, you can start setting more money aside into your retirement savings to help you reach your $5 million goal.

Tips on becoming a millionaire

Determining your future expenses and writing a retirement plan is a great starting point. But, there are a handful of other tricks that you can start doing to help you save enough money each month to become a millionaire.

Start as soon as possible.

This should be pretty obvious. The earlier you start saving the more money you’ll have in your retirement savings. For example, if you initially put aside $20,000 you would need to save $1,598 indexed at 7% annually in order to become a millionaire by age 65. That amount, when adjusted at 3% inflation, would turn out to be $3,262,038 in 40 years. Imagine if you were able to put aside $2,000 annually? You’d shatter that $5 million goal.

Keep out of debt by being smart.

Avoid student loans, credit cards, and poorly managing your finances. These prohibit you from being able to save for your retirement. If you can’t avoid these debts, then make sure that you pay them off as quickly as you can. This saves a ton of money in the long run since you’re not paying for those interest rates.

Also, consider the costs involved with major life decisions like moving or getting married. Moving can be great but it’s costly if you’re constantly on the move. And, not trying to be a downer here, but rushing into a relationship that ends in divorce is another costly experience that can impact your retirement savings. I’ve learned from that in the past, not worth it as it killed my bank account.

Invest slowly.

Don’t look for high risk/reward opportunities. Invest in a 401(k) plan if you’re employed. The reason? Your employer matches a portion of your contribution. That’s pretty much free money!

Have multiple streams of income.

The people who have been able to save millions of dollars have done so because they didn’t just rely on one source of income. They had several sources of income, such as driving for Uber on the weekends or running an online business. This allows them to pay down their debts or contribute more into their retirement savings.

Live frugally.

A recent acquaintance of mine, Mike Molinet, was able to start and grow his startup Branch to be a 90-person company while living frugally. When he started his company, he spent the first three months sleeping on friends’ couches and showering at the incubator where they were working.

Eventually, he moved into his co-founder’s garage in Palo Alto to save money after they started paying themselves a minimal salary. The garage isn’t a converted living space, but rather just a regular garage with no ceiling or insulation and with a concrete floor, water heater, and washer/dryer. Even after raising $53 million dollars, he still lives in the same garage.

I’m not saying you have to live in a garage, but the wealthy are actually known for living far below their means. Instead of owning 20 luxury cars, they have a reliable car that gets them from Point A to Point B that they can drive for years. They also never pay full price for items, they either wait for sales or use coupons.

Again, when you’re frugal you’re able to invest more money for your future.

Source: How much a 20-something needs to save every month to retire with $5 million 

The sharing economy is creating a Dickensian world 

By Satyajit Das
Uber and others are transferring the risk of economic uncertainty from employer to employee
Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection


The sharing economy benefits its creators, but this may be at the expense of those who do the work or provide the service — as well as the broader economy.

The real reasons for the sharing economy are simple.

The existing industries targeted by these platforms are frequently inefficient. Over time, regulations have accreted, evolving to serve narrow interests rather than to maintain service standards and protect users. Competition has fallen, and development has been impeded.
Proponents argue, with justification, that sharing-economy competitors frequently provide a superior product. This highlights the need to reform existing regulatory frameworks. It is not self-evident that replacing the existing system with non-professional service providers and substituting a new monopoly for an existing one is the optimal response.
The sharing economy has developed in response to weak economic growth and a depressed labor market. Workers unable to find work or needing supplemental income use these platforms to earn additional income.

Taxi drivers protest against Uber in Mexico City on Oct. 12.
The arrangements are intended to avoid labor laws that cover minimum wages, working conditions and benefits. Technically, the worker isn’t “employed” but a “contractor” not subject to these regulations, though there is debate in some jurisdictions about the exact legal status and rights of sharing-economy workers.

The sharing economy is part of the trend to contractual and temporary work, which masks the real health of the employment markets. It is also part of a global process of reducing overall labor costs.

The development affects both unskilled and skilled work. Professionals, such as engineers, radiologists and designers from Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, are undercutting peers in advanced economies. It is what financier Jay Gould once envisaged: “hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.”

Sharing-economy platforms exploit these factors. In the latest gold rush, venture-capital investors are betting that low prices — due to paying providers less and avoiding expensive regulations — will create mass markets for services once reserved for the wealthy. Uber has raised more than $15 billion in equity and debt, valuing the business at around $70 billion despite the fact that the company’s car-sharing business isn’t currently profitable.

Cheerleaders frame the sharing economy in lofty utopian terms: The sharing economy isn’t business but a social movement, transforming relationships between people in a new form of internet intimacy and humanitarianism.

Exchanges are economic. Buyers are primarily concerned about access to services at low costs rather than social objectives. Providers are motivated by money, using their assets and labor to get by in an unforgiving and poor economic environment.

The major financial backers of the sharing economy aren’t philanthropists. They are Wall Street and Silicon Valley’s 1%, related venture-capital firms and a few institutional investors, such as sovereign-wealth funds. The amount of capital provided is substantial. Given the normal five-to-seven-year cycle for such investments, the pressure to deliver results will increase, bringing it into conflict with the social or altruistic objectives espoused.

Ultimately, the sharing economy will influence how traditional businesses operate. Traditional automobile makers could offer a car-sharing service, such as BMW’s Drive Now. Users can access a car as needed, paying only for usage. These types of changes may decrease rather than increase revenue as it substitutes hiring arrangements for outright purchases.

But perhaps the real issue is that the sharing economy reverses progress in labor markets. Whatever the gains from increased efficiency, it recreates a Dickensian world for a part of the population. Formal employment protects labor from exploitation and deprivation to varying degrees. The sharing economy transfers the risk of economic uncertainty from the employer to the employee with potentially tragic consequences.

Most important, the underlying economic premise is false. Consumption constitutes 60%-70% of activity in advanced economies. In 1914, Henry Ford doubled his workers’ pay from $2.34 to $5 a day, recognizing that paying people more would enable them to afford the cars they were producing. Reduction of income levels and employment security ultimately reduces consumption and economic activity, impoverishing most within societies.

Source: The sharing economy is creating a Dickensian world

How people judge your personality 

Psychologists call it the “spotlight effect“: People generally don’t pay nearly as much attention to you as you think they do.


But when they are motivated to pay attention, they reallypay attention. Not just to your outfit and your haircut, but to seemingly trivial things, like your handwriting and how fast you walk.

That’s according to the dozens of people who posted responses to a question on Quora, “What are the really small things that tell a lot about a person’s psychology and personality?

We checked out the thread and highlighted some of the most surprising ways people may judge you, whether you’re on a first date or a job interview.

Our goal here isn’t to make you feel self-conscious — rather, we hope to empower you by giving you insight into what behaviors people are really looking at. And of course, it’s up to you to determine whether their conclusions about what those behaviors mean are bogus.

1. Your handshake

Several Quora users admitted they judge people based on their handshake.

“Strong handshakes usually reflect a strong and confident character, whereas weak handshakes usually indicate a lack of confidence and are almost always a characteristic of people who would look for an easy way to do things,” writes Julian Parge.

Research backs up the idea that your handshake can reveal certain aspects of your personality, but doesn’t quite agree with Parge. One study found that people with firm handshakes were more likely to be extroverted and emotionally expressive and less likely to be shy and neurotic.

2. Whether you show up on time

Late for a very important date? The person who’s waiting may be forming a negative impression of your personality.

“A proactive person will be there on time, because he is self-motivated, mentally organized, and values time whereas a procrastinator will be running here and there at the last hour,” says Humaira Siddiqui.

According to science, those who are chronically late aren’t necessarily inconsiderate people — but they’re probably more laid-back, “Type B” individuals.

3. How you treat restaurant staff

Multiple users said they pay close attention to how other people interact with waiters.

“I will never, EVER date a man who is rude to restaurant staff,” says Sati Marie Frost.

Even top execs say you can learn a lot about someone based on the way he or she treats waiters, hotel maids, and security guards. Ron Shaich, CEO of Panera Bread, told USA Today he once declined to give someone a job partly because she was nice to him but rude to someone cleaning the tables nearby.

4. Where you look when you drink out of a cup

Writes David Junto: “A person that looks into the cup when drinking tends to be more introspective, self-aware, idealistic, and focused. A person who looks over the rim of the cup when drinking tends to be more influenced by others, more environmentally aware, carefree, extroverted, and trusting. A person who closes their eyes when they drink is in some sort of pain or discomfort and is preoccupied with pleasure and relief.”

And let’s not even get started on what people think your drink choicesignifies.

biting nailsNail-biters tend to be perfectionists.Flickr/Maxwell GS

5. Whether you bite your nails

Sushrut Munje has strong views on people with bitten nails, saying that it’s a sign “the person eats away at himself.”

Meanwhile, research suggests that those who bite their nails (or pull their hair, or pick their skin) tend to be perfectionists, unable to fully relax.

6. Your handwriting

Whether you’re writing a to-do list or a love note, your handwriting can say a lot about you.

Ramesh Nagaraj believes that “people who put a lot of pressure on pen and paper to write something are usually stubborn in attitude. They have a lot of confidence.”

Professional graphologist Kathi McKnight says large letters indicate that you’re people-oriented, while small letters suggest you’re introverted. Letters that slant to the right can mean you’re friendly and sentimental; those that don’t slant at all might mean you’re pragmatic; letters that slant to the left suggest you’re introspective.

7. How often you check your phone

An anonymous Quora user writes about noticing “where and when [people] pull their phones out (waiting in a short line, talking to their parents, being out with friends, when they’re alone in public).”

As for what it might mean if you’re constantly refreshing your email or Facebook feed, one study found you may be less emotionally stable and trying to boost your mood.

8. Whether you make eye contact

Munje says a limp handshake and a lack of steady eye contact “shows lack of self-control, required drive to follow through, and a weak will.”

Alternatively, psychologist Adrian Furnham, Ph.D., writes in Psychology Today that extroverts tend to look more often and for longer at their conversation partners than introverts do. And in general, people who look at their partners more often are more confident and socially dominant.

drivingMen who engage in risky driving behaviors tend to be impulsive sensation-seekers.Flickr/Marvin Kuo

9. How you drive

Michael Price pays special attention to people’s driving styles, in particular “how courteous they are towards other drivers.”

Interestingly, one studyfound that men who engaged in risky driving behaviors tended to be impulsive sensation-seekers and relatively aggressive and hostile; women in this category were more neurotic and anxious.

On the other hand, careful drivers of both genders tended to score low on measures of impulsive sensation-seeking and aggression and hostility.

10. How quickly or slowly you walk

“People who patter by quickly are usually more high strung,” writes Leena Pathma.

Research has found that people generally agree with this assumption, associating looser walks with extroversion and adventurousness and clipped gaits with neuroticism. Yet these perceptions don’t usually line up with how the walkers see themselves.

Source: How people judge your personality –

Majority of College Kids Go Hungry—Even With Jobs and Financial Aid 

By; Sophia Lepore

Between balancing school, work, and a social life, students have more than enough to think about without worrying where their next meal is coming from. However, a new, expansive study on student food insecurity published Wednesday found that despite receiving student loans and maintaining paying jobs, nearly half of all college students lack a sufficient food resource.

The report, Hunger on Campus, released by a coalition of student groups including the University Food Bank Alliance and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, found food insecurity to be especially prevalent among students of color. Fully 57 percent of African American students reported food insecurity, compared with 40 percent of non-Hispanic white students. The report surveyed 3,765 students in 12 states, including 26 four-year universities and eight community colleges. The study authors define food insecurity as “the lack of reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food,” and they found the analysis remained consistent with prior studies that revealed 48 percent of students were food insecure.

“We have all these students who work, who get financial aid, they’re applying for food stamps, they’re doing all the things they need to do to get by, and they’re still struggling,” James Dubick of the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness told TakePart. “The most important thing we can do in the short term is to help expand student benefits that already exist.”

Despite more than half of students using assistance programs such as campus meal plans, financial aid, and food stamps, 75 percent of students receiving financial aid still qualified as food insecure. The report’s authors also found that more than half of food-insecure students were employed while enrolled in a full course load.

“Food insecurity really is a reflection of other financial problems,” Dubick said. “I think it reflects the overall demographics of the country.”

In a closer look at some of the students surveyed, 64 percent of food-insecure students also suffered from housing insecurity. Empty stomachs also led to empty seats, as over half of students reported additional financial issues that led them to miss classes, or that they were unable to purchase needed textbooks. At the University of Massachusetts Boston, more than three-quarters of students surveyed reported that food insecurity was having an impact on their academic performance.

Experts are advising campuses to bring in antihunger services such as food pantries—advice campuses such as California State University, Long Beach, have heeded. The university opened a campus pantry this fall in partnership with a local charity.
“When we looked around, we found colleges and universities are coming up with very creative ways to address the problem,” said Dubick. Oregon State University and Humboldt State University have made efforts to lessen food insecurity by accepting food stamps at on-campus stores, and new smartphone apps such as Catered Cupboard have been developed to increase students’ awareness of food access on campuses.

“When you have all these students who are doing the right thing but still can’t afford basic things like food, clearly something is broken,” Dubick said.

Source: Majority of College Kids Go Hungry—Even With Jobs and Financial Aid

Why it still takes so long for checks to clear — and what you can do about it – 

By Alessandra Malito

Sometimes a good old-fashioned paper check can feel like it takes an eternity to clear
Getty Images
“This money will be available to you in 10 days.”
It’s easier than ever to transfer funds seemingly instantly with your smartphone, but in reality it may take days for the money to become available, just like with a check.

And sometimes a good old-fashioned paper check can feel like it takes an eternity to clear.

The good news is, that may be changing. The bad news is, it’s happening at the speed of checks.

The Federal Reserve is looking to speed up the process of sending money. It sent 19 proposals, including those for using credit cards and cryptocurrencies for payments, to the Faster Payments Task Force, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The group, along with the Secure Payments Task Force, both of which are made up of more than 500 members including banks, financial technology companies, consumer groups and well-known retailers, will review and rate these suggestions.
Proposal details won’t be made public until next year, a spokesman at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said.

Though the proposals weren’t disclosed, there are a few financial tasks that could use revamping. In an era where companies are capitalizing on smartphone apps to link users and their money with other users or retailers — think buying flowers from 1-800-Flowers FLWS, -0.76% on Facebook Messenger FB, +0.23% — and an entire digital currency is developing, it still takes days, sometimes more than a week, for a check to clear.
What gives?

For all of their seeming simplicity, checks can get complicated — there are numerous ways they can be processed, and even if a check clears quickly through electronic processing that doesn’t necessarily mean the funds are immediately available. Regulation CC is a federal law that determines how long it takes for funds to be made available based on the type of transaction (cash, type of check, wire transfer, for example), and amount of the deposit. Sometimes these deposits are made sooner, but a bank has until the next business day to deposit at least a portion of the funds.

Banks will also hold checks to determine the legitimacy of the deposit, to thwart potential fraud and prevent potential losses from risky deposits. For a new account, the first $5,000 of a check will be available the next day but the remainder can be put on hold for as long as nine business days. (That’s nearly two weeks, for those of you keeping track at home.)

“If a customer has a high risk score, it gets a longer hold on the deposit to make sure the bank doesn’t lose money,” said Paul Rupple, director of marketing and project management at Digital Check, a check technology provider. A client with a low risk score and a long tenure with the bank could be rewarded with faster clearing and availability of funds, he said.

Under the Expedited Funds Availability Act of 1987, the first $200 of a check must be available the next day. Large deposits (those greater than $5,000) can be held for a “reasonable period of time,” between two and seven business days, depending on the type of check. Delays can also be the result of banks’ suspicion of the check’s credibility — such as those dated six months earlier — or if it is being deposited into an account open less than 30 days. Accounts with repeated overdrafts, and checks that were redeposited or never collected could take seven business days or longer to become available.

There’s hope for the check though, even if fewer people are using them. Credit cards are replacing checks in some cases, and the increase in the number of credit card payments exceeded the decline in check payments between 2009 and 2012, a 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study found.

Checks are moving along quicker than they did more than a decade ago, Digital Check’s Rupple said. The Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act, also known as Check 21, was enacted in 2003 and enforces that banks must handle checks electronically for a smoother process. In the past, checks were physically delivered across the country. After the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, when grounded air traffic stopped the delivery of checks, regulators determined there needed to be a better way, Rupple said.

Still, funds becoming available before a few days pass is possible. Exchanges between two people at the same bank can be done the same day, and mobile payments app Square can deposit funds in one to two business days for free — or instantly on weekdays, weekends and holidays for a 1% fee. Other newer options, such as Facebook Messenger and PayPal PYPL, -0.61% , can take days depending on the bank.

Governments have taken this initiative seriously. The United Kingdom passed legislation cutting the time of check clearing to two days by using photographs of checks and sending images electronically, according to a 2014 Telegraph article. Check clearing in the Philippines will be reduced to one day beginning in January 2017, its central bank stated in July.

For people living paycheck to paycheck, waiting for funds to be available can have severe consequences. They could end up being late with rent, car and bill payments, said Jay Fleischman, a consumer protection lawyer at law firm Shaev & Fleischman. Banks offer overdraft protection, which depends on their credit worthiness, but that could incur interest and additional costs if not balanced appropriately. Those who need to stay on a strict payment schedule should budget so they have the money necessary to meet their deadlines while they’re waiting for other funds to become available.

Don’t expect changes too soon, as they won’t be made until at least 2018, the Journal reported.

In the meantime, it’s also a good idea to deposit checks as soon as they are received, Fleischman said. Banks, usually known for their archaic technology, are starting to make it easier with smartphone apps that snap pictures of and then deposits checks.

“You can do it 24/7 so that you get that clearing process started more quickly,” he said. “A lot of people still think they have to go to a bank to deposit a check and they may not have time that day or can’t get off work when the bank is open. You can even do it from an ATM.”

The Faster Payments Task Force expects to release a two-part report about the proposals next year. The first section, to come in January, will include the group’s background, outline the inefficiencies of the current payments system and explain how a revised process could benefit everyone. The second portion, planned for mid-2017, will detail the proposals and offer strategies to develop these ideas.

Source: Why it still takes so long for checks to clear — and what you can do about it – 

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