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The Future of Banking - Part 2

Ross Wolfe on Nov 30, 2012

Last week we gave you a peek at the upside of mobile banking moving forward.  This week, by contrast, we’ll show you the downside.

It’s important to bear in mind, however.  The downside of mobile banking isn’t anything intentional on the part of the software programmers and designers.  Nor is it the fault of the companies that distribute the finished product.  If it were, we wouldn’t be doing what we do! So don’t get us wrong: mobile banking is — or at least should be — GREAT.  Mobile banking makes paying easier, more convenient, and can offer all sorts of cool features to boot.  Junk fees can be a headache, of course, but you don’t have to worry about that if you’ve got Refundo.  All in all, mobile banking is pretty awesome.

Rather, the negative effects of mobile banking result from the unintended consequences that come with any new invention.  Let us explain.  As soon as something new comes on the scene and becomes widely available, it renders old technologies obsolete.  That is, if it serves some kind of function better than the products that came before it.  This is what was illustrated last week with the example of the telegram and the telephone, but it holds just as well in the case of automobiles replacing the horse-and-buggy.

Obsolescence can mean hard times for those companies that haven’t managed to keep up with the times.  Hence Schumpeter’s old law of “creative destruction.”  New possibilities are opened, but the future for some of the old realities is closed.  Just as the old saying goes, this is “the price we sometimes have to pay for progress.”

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The Underserved — the Unbanked and Underbanked

Ross Wolfe on Sep 29, 2012

What does it mean to be “underserved” when it comes to banking? Let’s break it down.

Surfing the Internet on the topic of banking, you’ll come across the terms “underbanked” and “unbanked.”  For those of you who aren’t versed in the latest industry lingo, this may all seem a bit confusing.  What do these terms mean? And how do they relate to broader, catchall terms like the “underserved”?

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Financing in the Cloud: A "Revolution" in Tax Preparation?

Ross Wolfe on Aug 31, 2012


Cloud-computing in finance and accounting: Though previous innovations may have made your office run more efficiently, the Cloud positively revolutionizes the way you do business, leaving everything that came before it in the dust.

The word “revolution” gets thrown around a lot these days.

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Report From the IRS Tax Forums: An Update

Ross Wolfe on Jul 20, 2012


Just a friendly update from the folks at Refundo on the IRS Tax Forums, conveyed via carrier pigeon (still the safest and most reliable mode of communication)


Refundo visits trade show conventions in Orlando, Atlanta, and San Diego

Three down, three to go.

The IRS Nationwide Tax Forums in Orlando, San Diego, and Atlanta have come and gone.  You may remember the preview of the conferences we provided a few weeks ago, which went over the different venues that were planning to host them and the various programs they would feature for tax specialists.  Now that a few of them have actually taken place, though, we thought it might be time for an update on how they went and what the Refundo team was up to while we were out there.

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Recent Changes to the ITIN Application Process

Ross Wolfe on Jun 29, 2012

You had your day in the sun, notaries, but you’re a thing of the past. Today’s ITINs require official certification — notarization alone won’t cut it. (“Portrait of F. De Pisia, a Papal Notary”)


Depending on where you’re located — in an urban center or anywhere there’s a military base or large immigrant community — if you’re a tax preparer or Electronic Return Originator (ERO), it’s more than likely that you’ve helped a client apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).  In lieu of having a Social Security Number (SSN) with which to identify oneself, anyone who’s required to pay taxes to the U.S. government needs to obtain an ITIN in order to fill in the necessary paperwork.  Seeing as you’re probably quite familiar with all that’s involved in this process already, however, it’s safe to say that we can skip the basics.

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Allow Us to Introduce Ourselves - Refundo

Ross Wolfe on Jun 22, 2012


The dark ages of tax preparation: The tax refund process before Refundo.

The income tax industry often gets a bad rap, especially when it comes to the refunding process.  To ordinary taxpayers — especially those hailing from grossly unbanked and underbanked communities — the prices they get charged seem completely arbitrary.  Most have no idea where their money goes.  Junk fees and exorbitant rates for routine tax preparations tend to needlessly penalize those who are just trying to make ends meet.  To make matters worse, the ones hardest hit by these unnecessary charges are often those who can least afford it.

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