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Economy Briefs

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 6, 2011

NEW YORK

Verizon Wireless nixes Google Wallet in phone

NEW YORK | Verizon Wireless is blocking Google's new flagship phone from supporting Google's attempt to make the smartphone the credit card of the future.

In blocking the Google Wallet software from running on the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Verizon Wireless said Tuesday that it was waiting to provide a wallet application that offers "the best security and user experience." Verizon and rivals AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA are part of a consortium called ISIS that is planning its own payment system.

Google confirmed that Verizon had asked it not to include the wallet function in the Galaxy Nexus phone, due out soon.

The new smartphone is the latest iteration of the Nexus line, which showcases new features and capabilities for phones running Google's Android software. In this case, the phone is the first to run a new version of Android, dubbed "Ice Cream Sandwich."

The previous Nexus phone, sold by Sprint Nextel Corp., is the only phone yet to work with the Google Wallet application. That means the phone can be used to pay for purchases in some stores, by tapping it to payment terminals. Sprint is not part of ISIS.

MASSACHUSETTS

State requests hearing

into GMAC Mortgage

Massachusetts is calling for a congressional hearing on GMAC Mortgage, a division of Ally Financial, claiming that the taxpayer-owned bank is illegally foreclosing on people's homes in the state.

Massachusetts sued GMAC Mortgage and four other banks last week, saying they engaged in deceptive foreclosure practices. A day after the lawsuit was filed, GMAC Mortgage said it would stop much of its mortgage lending business in the state.

Ally Financial is 74 percent owned by American taxpayers after being bailed out by the government during the 2008 financial crisis.

In a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said Ally Financial's subsidiary GMAC had broken laws by cutting corners while foreclosing on homes, which has exacerbated the nation's foreclosure crisis.

MICHIGAN

Chrysler to call Fiat-based compact the Dodge Dart

DETROIT | The Dodge Dart, a 1960s compact car that gearheads turned into street racers, is making a comeback.

Chrysler said Tuesday it will use the Dart name for a new compact car based on Italian technology that it will introduce in the U.S. next year.

The Dart, which is expected to get 40 miles per gallon of gas on the highway, is an extremely important car for Chrysler Group LLC, which currently has outdated offerings in the fast-growing compact car market. Young buyers in the U.S. generally pick compacts as their first new cars, and research shows they'll stick with a brand if they like their first vehicle.

The new car is based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, a compact sold in Europe, but will be wider and longer to handle Americans' need for more space. Chrysler said in a statement that the four-door sedan will handle and perform well, yet be efficient. It's the first car sold by Chrysler dealers that is based on Fiat underpinnings.

The Dart, due in showrooms during the first half of next year, will replace the Dodge Caliber, a slow-selling compact SUV that is based on a Spartan design from Chrysler's lean years before bankruptcy protection. Two other compact SUVs, the Jeep Compass and Patriot, will continue to be sold.

CALIFORNIA

ID thieves hit self-checkout lines

MODESTO | At least 80 employees and customers at nearly two dozen Lucky Supermarkets' stores in the San Francisco Bay area have had their bank accounts compromised after thieves tampered with the credit and debit card readers in self-checkout lines.

The chain announced the breach on Monday and said many of those people had money stolen from their accounts.

The crooks apparently managed to place skimmers into the readers at 23 stores that captured the customers' bank numbers.

The chain is part of Modesto-based Save Mart Supermarkets and recommends that anyone who used self-checkout terminals in the affected stores in the past few months should close their accounts immediately.

Lucky store customers who believe they were affected by fraudulent use of their credit or debit cards should contact the chain's customer support center.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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