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How your credit cards are going to change in 2015

Thursday,01st January, 2015
This year looks set to see bigger changes in how we use our credit cards than any before. Most of these are innovations resulting from new (at least to us) technologies. Some may be invisible yet important to users, while others may change for ever the ways in which we use our cards -- and the ways in which we benefit from them. EMV chip cards go mainstream This year, 600 million EMV chip cards are due to be issued in the U.S. That's more than four times as many as are currently in circulation, though fewer than the 900 million expected .......

Studies: Gender may influence how well you manage money

Monday,08th December, 2014
Decades ago, this writer was marketing director of a small start-up company that needed to raise its profile both cheaply and in a hurry. Its PR people came up with a great idea: Devise some carefully drafted questions that are likely to provoke controversial responses, and have them included in an omnibus survey by a credible polling organization. Once the data are back, and a suitably sensationalist press release is issued, the mainstream media are going to give the company acres and hours of free coverage. It worked -- really well. Of course, there's no chance of there being the .......

Surge in credit cards as banks gouge customers

Monday,24th November, 2014
New evidence has emerged recently of a continuing resurgence in the popularity of credit cards. A study, published by Equifax on Nov. 10, shows both these and store cards being issued and used at the highest levels for many years. It seems likely that the biggest reason for this is consumers and lenders growing more comfortable again with debt. But a secondary one may the the growing recognition of the fee gouging practiced by many banks on checking accounts. During the Great Recession, many saw debit cards as the safer and smarter way to pay, and shunned credit cards. Are .......

Cash or cards this Christmas?

Monday,27th October, 2014
Does plastic rot your brain? No, this isn't another of those food packaging scares that regularly make the rounds on social media. The plastic in this case is of the credit card variety, and the question relates to whether using a card rather than cash affects how much you spend. Some believe that simply using plastic for transactions makes us spend more, because it changes how our brains work -- or, at least, how we think -- when we're making purchases. However, their case is far from conclusive. Credit cards and spending A couple of years ago, IndexCreditCards.com reviewed some of the .......

Credit card complaints set to appear on regulator's website

Monday,25th August, 2014
A couple of years ago, this writer penned a paean praising American Express, "Real people tout AmEx's stellar customer service." He did so because Miranda, a friend of his, who'd been a loyal cardmember since the 1950s, had suggested he should: Her experience had been extraordinarily good, and excellence should be recognized. Recently, he met Miranda again, and she couldn't find terms strong enough to express her contempt for the company. After five or six decades during which she'd never once missed a payment, she needed to spend more on her card than she usually does, but was told that .......

More credit cards, more offers, higher limits. Plastic's back!

Monday,14th July, 2014
When it comes to plastic, Americans are partying again -- like it's 2008. The number of new credit cards issued in the first quarter of this year topped 11.3 million, according to the latest Equifax National Consumer Credit Trends Report, published early in July. That's the highest number for six years, and represents an increase of 17.2 percent over the same three months in 2013. Meanwhile, the amount of credit originated on cards shot up too, by $57.1 billion in the first quarter of 2014, also a six-year high and an increase of 24.4 percent over the rise during the .......

Millennials, money management and credit cards

Monday,19th May, 2014
If you don't know what a "millennial" is, you probably aren't one. But you're almost certain to know -- and quite probably love -- one. The word is simply shorthand for someone in the age group 18-34 years. Confusingly, some use the word to describe slightly different age ranges, but if you think of millennials as young adults you won't go too far wrong. The world changes, and each generation faces its own unique problems, but the financial ones facing young people today are exceptionally challenging. A financial education deficit Unfortunately, many younger millennials are facing those challenges without the knowledge necessary .......

Are Americans relying less on credit cards -- or more?

Monday,12th May, 2014
Back in the 1970s, when credit cards were still a novelty there, one British issuer ran an advertising campaign that featured a cartoon bendy card, complete with smiling face. The slogan for the ads was "Your flexible friend." For decades, many on this side of the Atlantic had a similar view of their plastic: it was helpful, easy to get along with and always willing to help out when you were in a tight spot. Then the Great Recession came along, and suddenly a whole lot of Americans discovered that their cards were actually fair-weather friends. In fact, all too .......