MONEY!

Google Bans Payday Lending Ads

MONEY!

MONEY!

In an interesting turn of events, Google announced on May 11 that it will no longer service online advertisements from Payday Lending companies starting July 13. This decision came due to increasing pressure (from civil liberties, consumer protection and consumer privacy groups) to make a change in advertising policy.

Many of these advocacy groups feel that Payday Lending services often target weaker consumers that are in poverty, forcing them to pay extremely high interest rates for short term money loans. Consumers frequently use these loans to cover expenses that they are unable to afford before their next paycheck comes. According to a report by Yahoo! Finance, a 2012 Pew study stated that “the average payday borrower is in debt for five months, spending $520 in fees and interest to repeatedly borrow $375.” Interest rates easily reach triple digit values, averaging around 391%. These high rates can generate billions of dollars in revenue for many of the larger Payday Lenders, which many feel is an unethical business practice.

Although many consumers are happy that Google is stepping in to combat these issues, a number of Payday Lending advocates, believe that this mandate is discriminatory, undermining the integrity of honest Payday Lending companies. In a statement recently obtained by the Washington Post, the Community Financial Services Association of America has stated “Facebook and others are making a blanket assessment about the payday lending industry rather than discerning the good actors from the bad actors. This is unfair toward those that are legal, licensed lenders.”

The Washington Post article also states that one of the more dangerous aspects of using the Google search to find a lender is the fact that extremely sensitive financial information can be gleaned by the search engine. Once a desperate consumer enters their personal information, consumers can be taken advantage of by ads designed to target their financial profile. The companies they find may not end up just being unethical — they are likely to be more expensive than using a brick and mortar lender due to online fees.

Despite Google blocking Payday Lender’s advertisements, consumers are still able to use the engine to search for lenders and investigate their websites. Although Google’s aggressive action will not completely mitigate the risks of using Payday Lenders, it will at least curtail the efforts of the less ethical ones.

 

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Where Do You Stand?

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How do you react when you are outside of your comfort zone? Are you a natural at mingling and an ace at taking the stage? Or do you cringe just thinking about the  prospect?

Whether you’re a social butterfly or have a proclivity toward being shy, social psychologist Amy Cuddy claims you can influence how people perceive you—confidence levels, leadership skills, friendliness, and competence based solely on your  body language.

Here, a few interesting takeaways from Cuddy’s 2012 TED Talk: 

1. Others judge us based on our body language. Closed and withdrawn positions are  often associated with inferiority or passivity, while triumphant, confident poses are linked with power.

2. How we see ourselves can be influenced by our own body language.

3. Pretending to feel certain emotions by posturing (forcing a smile or placing hands confidently on the hips) can lead us to actually feel said emotions.

4. Adopting powerful body language can change us on a physiological level (triggering testosterone and cortisol levels).

5. Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes. Cuddy suggests holding a strong, dominant posture for two minutes before heading into a potentially stressful situation, like a job interview.

To view Cuddy’s presentation in full, click here.

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Back-to-School-Shopping

Back to School Trends

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You loaded up the kids on school supplies weeks ago… but don’t think you’re finished with back-to-school prep just yet. You’ve still got the season’s fashion trends to consider for your teen or tween. As is the case with every school year, last year’s looks have hibernated after the long summer and have ushered in a fresh new palette of colors, textures and themes.

According to Teen Vogue, fall girls’ fashion will incorporate plenty of plaids, wools, oversized cardigans, fringe, pastels, layered looks, ’90s throwback (including lots of denim on denim) and ’60s Chelsea girl mod (shift dresses, cat-eye makeup). High-waisted jeans are in for girls too (previously dubbed “mom jeans”). Guys meanwhile are leaning more fashionable than past years, sporting preppy-meets-bad-boy apparel.

Blazers, denim jackets and leather jackets are back in, as are skinny khakis, bright-hued denim and patterned slip-on sneakers. Backpacks will likely need replacing, and this year’s stock is all about colorful prints and patterns. Don’t be surprised if your student asks for a new iPhone cover too (even though his old one is perfectly fine); smartphone cases are big venues for personalization.  

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Cocard: Proud Sponsor of the AJC Decatur Book Festival!

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The 2014 AJC Decatur Book Festival is finally upon us…

…and for the third year in a row, Cocard is a proud sponsor. We love our city, and we support local businesses and events to the fullest of our abilities. We are proud to call Decatur, GA our home and the AJC Decatur Book Festival is the largest and best festival of its kind!

This year, We will be providing an Information Booth near the bandstand on Decatur Square. Please stop by and introduce yourself. Feel free to ask us questions about the Festival or our services. See what Cocard can do for your business — we might even have a little something special to give you!

More about the Decatur Book Festival:

Over Labor Day weekend, tens of thousands from metro Atlanta and beyond will share the historic downtown Decatur square with world-class authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, booksellers, and artists for a weekend filled with literature, music, food, art, and fun.

Stay tuned for the online schedule of author events. It’s going to be the biggest celebration of the written word yet. Welcome to Decatur, friends—we’re glad you’re here for the party.

  • Check out the Decatur Book Festival blog!
  • Follow the Decatur Book Festival Twitter !
  • Friend the Decatur Book Festival Facebook!
  • Sign up for the Decatur Book Festival newsletter!
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Back to School

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The fall is fast approaching, and that means several things; everyone’s favorite sports are back, the weather becomes more bearable, and students are returning to school. As the semester begins, merchants may see a marked change in their merchants’ business sales; retail merchants may see a slight spike in back to school product purchases, while late night restaurants and college hangouts may notice a subtle decrease in revenue. Regardless of the market, the annual change of pace that comes with the fall semester can still be used to a merchant’s benefit. Here’s a few tips to tackle the return of school correctly:

Take advantage of the opportunities presented with college students returning to class; sign your business up for display at a few job fairs to scout local talent, and potentially find a hidden gem. With so many bright young minds currently attending college, there’s no limit to the potential at your fingertips.

As a business owner, consider whether or not taking a few courses in the fall could benefit you. Are you seeking another degree? Or are you simply just interested in learning more about economics or marketing strategy? It’s not too late to register for a few courses, and you just might learn a bit more than you expect. As you get more educated in the classroom, take some time to learn a bit more about CoCard as well. As a cutting-edge merchant services provider, many of CoCard’s current marketing strategies align directly with the same materials covered in college classrooms. CoCard even has an education center, just for merchants like you!

Stay on top of your kids! With all of the changes that come with the fall semester, it can be easy to lose track of your own child’s schoolwork and activities. Stay in tune with their daily schedules, and be sure to keep track of their grades from beginning to end. Managing a business and a family is never an easy task, but making small strides each day significantly reduces the difficulty.

Welcome the new school year with open arms, and have a plan for the coming months. Although school can be a difficult thing to handle at times, don’t forget to stay positive and look for the potential benefits involved with it. Take some time to get a little more educated with CoCard’s education center, and think about whether or not it’s time for you to make a change. If you have any questions or concerns about how CoCard can assist you in the coming months, call us today!

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Popcorn Report

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You know the drill: Summer is synonymous with major movie releases. Cue the action-hero flick and the anticipated all-star rom-com. Now that the first day of summer has officially come and gone, here’s what’s on our film-viewing radar for the next couple of months:
 
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11)
Starring Gary Oldman, Andy Serkis and Keri Russell, this ape-driven action flick chronicles the battle between a nation of genetically evolved apes and a tribe of human survivors.
 
Boyhood(July 18)
We’re interested to see how Director Richard Linklater’s (the guy behind Dazed and Confused) 12-year project pans out in a story that captures a boy’s childhood from ages 5 to 18. The indie flick stars Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke.
 
Sex Tape (July 18)
Funny leading actors, Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz, portray a frantic couple who discover their sex tape has gone missing.
 
Planes: Fire & Rescue (July 18)
Disney returns with a sequel to Planes in this family-friendly animated feature. Starring voices from Dane Cook, Ed Harris, Julie Bowen and a host of others, this flick follows crop-duster plane, Dusty, as he joins a crew of aerial firefighters.
 
Wish I Was Here (July 18)
Scrubs alum Zach Braff is pushing out his anticipated second directorial effort after his surprise 2004 indie hit Garden State. FeaturingBraff, Kate Hudson, Ashley Greene and Josh Gad.
 
Hercules (July 25)
Dwayne Johnson rocks armor and sandals in his portrayal of the famed demigod alongside John Hurt and Joseph Fiennes. Expect lots of battles, blood and sword wielding.
 
Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1)
Comic book aficionados, your Marvel hit for the summer follows a manhunt by the “guardians of the galaxy” as they join half human/half alien Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) in stopping a master villain from destroying the universe. Starring Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Josh Brolin, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro and John C. Riley, among others.
 
A Most Wanted Man (September 5)
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s posthumous spy thriller surrounds a Chechen Muslim’s escape and capture in Hamburg, Germany during the international war on terror, and boasts an all-star cast of Hoffman, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe and Rachel McAdams.
 
Watch trailers for these and other films here.
 
Orange is the New Black, Scandal, Mad Men or Sherlock? Share your latest Netflix binge with us on Facebook.  

 

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