Dell tablet computers
Star news services
Dell has been playing around with mobile devices for more than three years now, but now it finally looks to be making a serious entry into that market. The Round Rock, Texas, company unveiled its latest generation of tablet computers in New York on Wednesday. The new generation features two Windows-based tablets with 11-inch and 8-inch screens and two Android-based tablets with 7-inch and 8-inch screens. The new tablets are expected to be available online and with retailers in the next few weeks.
Best Buy, which unveiled its new online rewards program last month, continues to upgrade its My Best Buy website. My Best Buy, which has 41 million active members, now lets shoppers redeem reward points and shop on a single site. In addition, mobile phone users earn points by clicking on an application while they are in stores. The program has three membership tiers, and shoppers who make the top level by spending $3,500 or more a year get free expedited shipping on purchases and 45 days to make returns and exchanges. By the holidays, Best Buy plans to expand its store-to-home delivery service to more than 200 stores from 50.
GM family plans
General Motors, which operates the Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas City, Kan., has extended rebates to more employee family members on purchases of its vehicles and boosted the discounts. GMs Employee Discount Program now extends to employees aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, the company said. The average rebate increased by $787 to $3,355 per vehicle.
Credit card improvements
Shopping for a credit card and comparing costs is more straightforward for consumers and the dollar amount they pay in late fees has been reduced since a federal law took effect in 2009, according to a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The government agency found a 2 percentage point drop from 2008 through 2012 in the total cost of credit, including all fees, interest and finance charges. In addition, the average late fee dropped from $33.08 to $26.24.
Mortgage applications decline
Mortgage applications fell for the first time in three weeks, led by a decline in home purchases. The Mortgage Bankers Associations index declined 0.4 percent in the week ending Sept. 27 after rising 5.5 percent in the prior period. A measure of purchases tumbled 5.6 percent, the most in almost two months. The refinancing index climbed for the third consecutive week, increasing 3.1 percent and reaching its highest level in more than a month.
Mortgage servicing scrutiny
Bank of America and Wells Fargo are still being criticized for their mortgage servicing practices more than a year and a half after a national settlement intended to force big banks to clean up their act. Two watchdogs took separate actions Wednesday to try to eliminate issues with missing paperwork and delayed responses during mortgage modifications that have spurred thousands of complaints to federal regulators.