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Retailers, consumers and prices

Back to School with the Walking ATM

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paypal-copyParents — ever feel like a walking ATM? Want to teach your kids about responsible financial management (and get them to stop pestering you for their allowance every week in the bargain?)

Check out PayPal‘s new program for students, launching today, in which a sub-account for your child is linked to your own PayPal account.

The program, Student Account, is designed to balance convenience for parents and their kids with financial responsibility, said Don Fotsch, vice president of customer experience and design at PayPal.
    
It’s also a push by the fast-growing online payments company, which is eBay Inc’s growth engine, to expand in new directions. The program addresses a “clearly underserved” market of the estimated 17 million students headed to college in the United States this year, Fotsch said. 
    
PayPal currently has about 75 million active account holders across the globe. 

Fotsch said the question asked by the program’s designers was: “How do we deliver for the kids financial independence and optimize financial learnings … and for the parents to support financial responsibility?” 
    
Parents can transfer money to their kids’ accounts in “allowance mode” or “on-demand.” Requests for money from kids can be sent by text on cellphones and transfers are automatic performed once mom or dad approves.                         
    
Students also get a debit MasterCard to use in stores or use to take out cash.
According to Fotsch, what parents like best about the program, which has been in test mode for half a year, is the ability to track expenditures since the account details each transaction.

Sorting through Black Friday data

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Black Friday has come and gone but what on earth happened at the cash registers over the Thanksgiving weekend? The data is trickling in, and so are the early critiques. (See our previous blogs: Treat Black Friday reports cautiously and Black Friday data spurs more questions than answers)

Here is a break down of the latest reports and what data is still to come:

National Retail Federation:

According its 2008 Black Friday Weekend survey, conducted by BIGresearch and published on Sunday, the NRF said more than 172 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend (which includes Thursday, Friday, Saturday and projections for Sunday), up from 147 million shoppers last year. 

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