Walmart gives cardholders gas discount through Dec. 24

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Wed Aug 29, 2012 – Walmart will soon cut gasoline prices by up to 15 cents per gallon for drivers in 20 U.S. states who pay with its cards in a bid to appeal to loyal shoppers hit by big price increases at the pump.

Patrons paying with a Walmart MoneyCard or Walmart credit card will save 15 cents per gallon from Aug. 31 through Dec. 24, while others who use a Walmart gift card will get 10 cents off, `Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Wednesday.

The promotion comes as Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, tries to attract shoppers heading into the holiday season. Last week, Walmart said it would bring back layaway a month early, giving U.S. shoppers under economic pressure more time to pay for holiday gifts.

The latest “gas rollback,” at more than 1,000 gas stations, follows a similar 2011 program that ran for a longer period of time.

Last year’s promotion ran from June 29 through Christmas Eve.

Gasoline prices are not at record highs but have been rising in recent months and jumped this week as Hurricane Isaac threatened to batter the U.S. oil refining belt. Any significant damage to refineries or extended outages could push gas prices higher.

After Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 storm, battered the Gulf coast in 2005, U.S. gas prices jumped more than 45 cents in a single week.

The average price for regular gasoline was $3.80 on Wednesday morning, up from nearly $3.49 a month ago and $3.61 a year earlier, according to AAA data. In July 2008, the average price hit an all-time high of $4.11.

Walmart is not alone in trying to woo shoppers with lower-priced gasoline.

Grocery chain Kroger Co. often offers gasoline discounts to loyal patrons. Warehouse clubs Costco Wholesale Corp, Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club monitor prices at nearby stations and try to match or undercut them to lure drivers.

Walmart’s 2011 “gas rollback” plan offered 10 cents off per gallon for patrons using a Walmart gift, money or credit card at participating gas stations. The offer was originally set to run through September, then extended through Dec. 24.

JPMorgan in $100 million credit card settlement

NEW YORK, Tue Jul 24, 2012 – JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay $100 million to settle litigation by credit card customers who accused the largest U.S. bank of improperly boosting their minimum payments as a means to generate higher fees.
The class-action settlement resolves a three-year-old case stemming from Chase’s decision in late 2008 and 2009 to boost minimum monthly payments for thousands of cardholders to 5 percent of account balances from 2 percent.
It comes as JPMorgan, like many of its main rivals, addresses a wide range of litigation over its banking practices, such as whether it conspired to overcharge retailers on card transactions, or manipulated benchmark interest rates.
Cardholders claimed that JPMorgan had induced them to transfer balances from other lenders to Chase card accounts, where the bank would consolidate their debt into loans with “fixed” interest rates until balances were paid off.
But according to the cardholders, JPMorgan boosted minimum payments to force them either to accept higher rates to preserve the lower payment requirement, to make more late payments and trigger more fees or a 29.99 percent penalty interest rate, or to close underperforming accounts.
In a Monday filing with the federal court in San Francisco, lawyers for the cardholders said the $100 million is 45 percent of the $220 million in up-front transaction fees that their clients paid for the promotional loans.
They called the settlement an “excellent result” for cardholders, who would recover “a substantial portion of the transaction fees they paid.”
Legal fees would not exceed 27 percent of the settlement fund, the filing said.