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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 .......

Are federal regulators up to protecting us?

Monday,20th October, 2014
Have you heard of Carmen Segarra? She was an employee of the New York Federal Reserve until she was fired for doing her job. She had refused to tone down a report that criticized her bosses and colleagues. She had witnessed -- and had the secret recordings to prove it -- timidity and servility on their part when dealing with the major banks they were supposed to regulate. This wasn't just a toothless watchdog: it was one that saw its role as licking the faces of the very people it was supposed to deter. You can see why some who work .......

Credit cards, mortgages, student loans … How our borrowing's changed in a decade

Monday,13th October, 2014
The credit crunch and recession caused financial fear -- or much worse -- for almost all Americans. So it's no great shock that our borrowing habits have changed. However, you might be surprised by a new report from TransUnion, one of the Big Three credit bureaus, that reveals just how different things are now from less than a decade ago. Debt shifting onto older shoulders One of the biggest and most significant shifts is in the age distribution of borrowers. Imagine everyone in the country (age 20 and older) who has one or more open loans of any of the types reported .......

Are you losing out on your credit cards' hidden benefits?

Monday,06th October, 2014
Does one or more of your credit cards offer special consumer benefits, such as extended warranties, or price or purchase protection? You don't know? You don't even know what those phrases mean? Don't be embarrassed. Plenty of people are in your position. But you really should find out by checking your card agreements or issuers' websites, because you could be missing out on thousands of dollars in savings. While you're reading up on these, try to get your head around the relevant terms and conditions, because these can vary between both companies and individual cards. Even if your plastic does .......

With EMV, benefits far outweigh minor risks

Monday,29th September, 2014
One of the hardest parts of using the World Wide Web is deciding whom you should believe -- and whose information you should dismiss. There are times when being able to discriminate between these is critical. If you insist on running your symptoms past MedicalSchoolDropout.com, you could easily have sleepless nights worrying about nothing. Or, worse, you might be falsely reassured, and put off visiting your family doctor at a time when it's urgent you do so. Incidentally, this writer recently asked a senior attending surgeon at a major hospital how she felt about patients turning up with their own .......

Our pick of the best low-APR credit cards

Wednesday,24th September, 2014
How much would you pay to borrow money? The answer you give is likely to depend on two factors. First, how desperate you are to get your hands on the cash. And, secondly, how much time you're prepared to invest in shopping around for the best rates and then making credit applications. Financial poverty and time poverty are the enemies of smart money management. Way too many Americans are carrying debt on cards that charge rates that are unnecessarily high. While other factors apply, it's fair to say that the better your credit, the better your chances are of paying significantly .......

Is Apple Pay going to kill your credit card?

Tuesday,16th September, 2014
For some time now, The Motley Fool has been talking about an innovation that it thinks could "spell disaster for credit card companies" and their grip on their "$21.6 trillion" global market. The innovation? Near-field communication, more commonly abbreviated to NFC, which is the technology that allows you to make in-store payments using a smart device. It's actually a low-power wireless link, which is used to transfer small quantities of data between two devices positioned a few inches apart. In this case, one of them is your smartphone or tablet and the other is an enabled point-of-sale (POS) terminal. Obviously, you .......

Are too many seniors losing control of their credit cards?

Monday,08th September, 2014
TransUnion is one of the nation's biggest credit bureaus, and its Aug. 26 press release had a headline that could cheer up the most morose individual: "National credit card delinquency hits lowest level in at least seven years." In other words, the number of people getting into trouble with credit card debt is lower now than it has been since before the credit crunch and recession. And that fall in delinquencies applies across all age groups, with those over 50 years the least likely to have such problems. Swiping elders So far, so good. However, the press release went on to reveal .......

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