Leasing an electric vehicle

Here are three of the week’s top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

Leasing an electric vehicle

A loophole enables you to get the EV you want and still qualify for a full $7,500 tax credit, said Keith Naughton in Bloomberg. All you have to do is lease instead of buy. “Fewer than a dozen electric vehicles qualify for the credit if purchased by the consumer,” thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill significantly cut down the number of credit-qualifying vehicles because it imposed restrictions on where parts are made, in order to boost American manufacturing. Most EV companies, including Tesla, source parts from overseas. But worry not: After lobbying by international automakers, “all battery-powered models” will qualify for full credit “if they’re leased, because in that case the IRA categorizes them as commercial vehicles.”

Rocky road for small-cap stocks

Small-cap stocks face more challenges than their large-cap peers, said Rebecca Patterson in the Financial Times. “History suggests it
is best to consider indices such as the Russell 2000 when the market bottoms, as smaller companies often lead the way when an economic cycle turns.” But this time may be different. The Federal Reserve seems unlikely to aggressively ease interest rates with inflation data still muddled. This puts more “small companies at risk — they will need to refinance sooner and at higher rates.” Small companies also rely more on small banks, which have drastically reduced their capital lending following recent bank shocks. The Russell 2000 is down 26 percent off its latest peak, “twice as much as the S&P 500.” Don’t bet on a comeback anytime soon.

Reverse ATMs trade cash for plastic

Businesses are installing “reverse ATMs” to help customers go cashless, said Jennifer A. Kingson in Axios. Card-dispensing kiosks “have been installed at most Major League Baseball and National Football League stadiums,” as well as “cashless attractions like Hersheypark, Six Flags, and many water parks.” You’ll even find them in some small businesses in New York; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; and Philadelphia, where some stores that only want to deal with plastic use them to comply with laws requiring them to take cash. To use a reverse ATM, a customer feeds cash into the machine and receives a prepaid plastic card in return. Some machines charge a fee to buy the card, and some cards carry a “dormancy fee,” meaning you’ll be charged if you don’t use it. 

This article was first published in the latest issue of The Week magazine. If you want to read more like it, you can try six risk-free issues of the magazine here.