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News Tips & Updates on Finance

Best credit card sign-up bonuses

Wednesday,14th January, 2015
Are you thinking of applying for a credit card? If so, it's well worth exploring some of the sign-up bonuses and other introductory offers that card issuers are currently providing. At the time of writing, these include a $400 travel statement credit if you meet a spending threshold, a year's zero-percent introductory APR balance-transfer deal, and an ultra-low introductory APR on new purchases that lasts for a full three years. Before you get too excited about these enticing goodies, you should be aware that most are available only to those with good or great credit scores. IndexCreditCards.com publishes separately each year .......

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 .......

Regulation backfires for student credit cards

Monday,22nd December, 2014
Most people have done well out of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (the "CARD Act"). Consumers face fewer "gotchas," shorter impositions of penalty interest rates, and lower and less frequent fees. Credit card companies are thriving financially and have better relationships with their customers, according to the record satisfaction levels across the industry recorded in the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. As discussed in "Are federal regulators up to protecting us?," the law has generally worked well. But recent news suggests one group may have been disadvantaged by it: those who use .......

Can a credit freeze protect you from identity theft?

Monday,15th December, 2014
Did you see "Identity Thief?" It was a 2013 movie in which an inoffensive businessman (played by Jason Bateman) sets about confronting wolf-in-sheep's-clothing criminal Diana (Melissa McCarthy). It really was very funny. Unfortunately, real-life identity thefts rarely raise a smile, which is a pity, considering how many there are. In 2012, 16.6 million people -- 7 percent of adult Americans -- were victims of this crime in one form or another, and 1.1 million of those saw fraudsters open new credit accounts in their names, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Unsurprisingly, it was those 1.1 million who .......

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 .......

Don't forget the misery of debt

Monday,01st December, 2014
Do you remember the credit crunch and the Great Recession that came in its wake? It's a question worth asking because many Americans seem not to. They appear to have forgotten the pain, fear and stress of unmanageable debt, and are borrowing again at unprecedented levels. True, credit card debt is still well down from its trillion-dollar high, but it's rising: In September it stood at $881.8 billion, according to the Federal Reserve, up $30-plus billion on the same month last year. But the really scary numbers concern "non-revolving" credit, which comprises installment loans with monthly payments and fixed end .......

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 .......

The best balance transfer cards

Tuesday,18th November, 2014
Credit card rates are rarely low. Right now, according to the IndexCreditCards.com rates monitor, the average for all consumer plastic is 17.20 percent APR, and 17.91 percent for rewards credit cards. Someone with balances totaling $15,000 is likely to be paying well over $2,000 a year in interest alone. Imagine such a person being offered a deal that allowed her to pay zero interest on those balances for anything between six and 18 months. She'd be mad, you might think, not to say "Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!" And you might be tempted to say, "I'll have what she's having." Some caveats Balance-transfer credit .......