Money in a Minute: Headlines For Feb. 2, 2011

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In today's roundup: Chevy's Volt shocks Nissan's Leaf, Dow tops 12,000, mortgage fees increase, AT&T is accused of overcharging, and the unbanked are finding financial services at an unlikely place.

TECH: iPhone users systematically overcharged?

The last time irate iPhone users were threatening to sue, the target was Apple and the issue was “antennagate.” Now iPhone users have filed a class action suit against AT&T for being overcharged while using their iPhones. The claim? “AT&T sometimes charges consumers for entirely phantom downloads, ringing up charges even when the phone’s Internet connection is off.”

HOUSING: Fees for home mortgages going higher?

Mortgage rates aren’t the only home-buying cost going up. So are those pesky fees – even if you have good credit. Reports USA Today this morning: “For the first time since 2009, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are raising risk fees they charge lenders on loans they buy for resale to investors.”

INVESTING: Strong profits help Dow top 12,000

“The market continues to crank,” one investment firm tells USA Today, as the Dow finished above 12,000 for the first time since June 2008. Other good news: “The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 21 points to 1308, finishing above 1300 for the first time since Aug. 28, 2008.”

CARS: Volt sales are shockingly higher than Leaf’s

In the battle of the electric cars, America is winning. Reports CNN: “In January, General Motors sold 321 Chevrolet Volt cars. Meanwhile, Nissan, its fiercest electric car competitor, has sold just 87 Leaf cars in the U.S.” More good news for American automakers: “Sales at GM, Chrysler up 23 percent in January.”

BANKING: Retailers offer financial services to “unbanked”

If you can’t afford all those new bank fees, The Washington Post reports where many people are heading instead: “Millions of low-income Americans who don’t have bank accounts are finding an alternative to check-cashing stores at an unusual place: their local big-box retailer.”

Stacy Johnson

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