What your credit-card offers say about you–Antoinette Schoar

MIT Sloan Professor Antoinette Schoar

From The Wall Street Journal 

Do the credit-card offers you receive in the mail have photos of enticing holiday destinations and reward miles? If so, you should be flattered, since this means that credit-

card issuers believe you to be highly educated and financially sophisticated. But if you are receiving card offers with low teaser rates for introductory APR, you might take offense, since card issuers most likely do not view you as savvy.

As more and more personal data becomes available, businesses are now able to target customers in a personalized and sophisticated way.  On the bright side, that means you can get products and services that are tailored to your needs. As a result, you are much less likely to get catalogs featuring dresses your grandmother might wear. But, according to our research, the downside is that companies can also more effectively target your behavioral weaknesses, self-control issues or lack of attention to the fine print. We find that credit-card companies tend to offer those customers who are least able to manage the complexity of credit-card contracts, the most complex features and hidden charges.

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Why tech firms can’t ignore seniors–Dennis Lally

From Fortune Insiders

When it comes to technology, the mass market for the most part ignores senior citizens. This is a mistake. Despite the common misconception, today’s senior citizens have a greater familiarity with technology and own more devices than ever before.

With over 46 million people aged 65 or older in the U.S. as of 2014, seniors comprise nearly 15% of the total population. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, as of 2013, 59% of seniors reported using the Internet, while 47% had broadband access in their homes. And the senior technology market is expected to exceed $42 billion by 2020.

Despite this rapidly growing and untapped market opportunity, building technology products for older adults isn’t easy. Companies face design and monetization challenges. But if they can overcome these obstacles and start targeting tech products and services to seniors, it will be worth the effort.

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US money market reforms: the gain isn’t worth the pain – Robert Pozen

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Robert Pozen

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Robert Pozen

From Financial Times

Next month the new rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will become effective for money market funds (MM funds).

Most importantly, MM funds with any assets from institutional shareholders – e.g., corporations, pension plans and insurance companies – will no longer maintain a constant net asset value per share of $1. Instead, the net asset value of institutional MM funds will fluctuate on a daily basis – for example, 99.8 cents per share on one day, and $1.01 per share on the next.

The new SEC rules apply to institutional MM funds investing in short-term debt of cities and states – called “municipal” MM funds. The new rules also apply to institutional MM funds investing primarily in short-term debt of banks and top-rated companies – called “prime” MM funds.

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A deep look inside Apple Pay’s matchmaker economics – Richard Schmalensee and David S. Evans

MIT Sloan Professor Richard Schmalensee

MIT Sloan Professor Richard Schmalensee

From Harvard Business Review

Standing on stage on September 9, 2014 at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), Tim Cook announced, “We’ve created an entirely new payment process, and we called it Apple Pay.” Cook displayed a video of a woman who held her iPhone 6, the company’s upcoming upgrade, near a payment terminal.  She paid in the blink of any eye. “That’s it,” Cook said, exclaiming twice over “just how fast and just how easy” the new payment method was. An Apple press release claimed the new service would “transform mobile payments.”

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A new era for crowdfunding? – Christian Catalini

MIT Sloan Professor Christian Catalini

MIT Sloan Professor Christian Catalini

From Crowdfund Insider

Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have long allowed individuals to support start-ups in exchange for pre-buying a ticket or early prototype of a product, but not for equity.  Accredited investors—with a net worth of over $1 million or who earn over $200,000 a year—have their own platforms and can invest in companies through sites like AngelList.

However, new rules enacted last May allow average people to invest in start-ups through crowdfunding sites that reward investors with equity. The rules usher in a new era of crowdfunding that is accessible to individuals of all economic backgrounds.

As part of the federal JOBS Act,Title III rules allow everyday investors the opportunity to share in the returns of the “next big idea.” This week, (Monday, July 18) for example, a new equity crowdfunding site, Republic, launched with a curated set of projects and companies that include women-founded startups such as Farm from a Box and minority-owned companies like Youngry.

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