Credit account management

It's not your father's credit card any more. Credit card companies have become more wily about how they make money off of you. Stay a step ahead of them by understanding the increasingly complex topic of credit.

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 Credit account management

Autopayments, though convenient, can backfire -- Autopay may be convenient, but sometimes it's best to make payments manually ... (See Autopay)

At festivals, wristbands are the new credit cards -- Wristbands are becoming more popular at major festivals as a form of payment, allowing attendees to leave their wallets at home. ... (See Wristbands)

Small-business owners are more credit savvy than consumers -- Small-business owners beat consumers in managing credit ... (See Business )

Get bankruptcy trustee approval prior to applying for credit -- If still in Chapter 13, you need approval before you can apply for a new credit card ... (See Credit)

CFPB orders halt to 'security interest' debt collection practice -- Navy Federal ordered to stop freezing customer accounts after fine issued ... (See CFPB)

Can you use US credit cards in Cuba? -- Card transactions require internet service, and Cuba’s internet access is spotty. ... (See Cuba)

What to do if you suspect card fraud by a customer -- How to prevent a purchase being made with a fraudulent card. ... (See Fraud)

Keep credit utilization low when refinancing mortgage -- Even if you don't carry a balance, high card use can hurt ... (See Refinance)

Help! I maxed out 5 cards to 'help' online boyfriend -- Retired woman falls for scam, racks up $35,000 she can't pay back ... (See Scam)

Video: Inside the dark web -- Welcome to the dark web, where criminals can steal your identity anonymously. ... (See Dark web)

Yes, worry about a 30-point discrepancy in your credit scores -- Some variation is expected, but big differences merit investigation ... (See Scores)

Chart: 2016 Retail Card Survey data -- Interested in opening a store card? Our 2016 survey data offers store-by-store details to help you find the right one for you ... (See Chart)

2016 Retail Card Survey: APRs climbing, sign-up deals fading -- We surveyed all the cards from the top 100 retailers, and nearly half carry rates higher than 25 percent ... (See Retail card survey)

Survey: Average card APR remains at 15.18 percent for second week -- October 19, 2016: The average APR on new credit card offers remained at 15.18 percent Wednesday for a second week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rates)

Turning to credit to fund pricey addiction rehab -- As a last resort, your credit cards can provide a lifeline to recovery ... (See Rehab)

How to access elderly parent's credit reports -- If you suspect card fraud, the best way to find out is through a credit report ... (See Fraud)

Bobbi Rebell's money moguls' 'Financial Grownup' moments -- ShreShrewd money managers reveal their financial 'aha' moments in Rebell's new book ... (See Rebell)

8-credit-mistakes-made-by-the-credit-experts -- Everyday cardholders can learn from gaffes made by gurus ... (See Mistakes)

Don't fall into the deferred-interest trap -- Pay late by a day and you face a huge penalty ... (See Deferred)

Robo-comments on payday loans clog regulation-making machinery -- A record 1 million comments on a federal payday loan rule will prolong its review, but thousands of pro-payday comments are suspiciously alike ... (See Payday)

Micropayments help debt management, credit scores -- Typically, lenders will allow multiple payments, but if not, find out why ... (See Payments)

Infographic: 'Us' cards versus 'me' cards -- In a new survey, 47 percent of Americans reported sharing all of their credit cards, while 37 percent indicated they only have separate cards ... (See Sharing cards)

Small balance shows you use credit, helping your score -- Scoring formula quirk rewards you for having tiny balance ... (See Balance)

Video: The psychology of bill avoidance -- Take small steps to deal with that which you dread, a professor says ... (See Bills)

Compare best sign-up bonus rewards cards -- In our survey, 6 cards deliver upfront rewards worth more than $1,000 ... (See Bonus)

Ask for a lower APR; you just might get one -- If your credit's in good standing, the odds of being granted a lower APR are in your favor ... (See APR)

Take control of pesky recurring card charges -- Automatic renewals easy to forget, sometimes hard to turn off ... (See Recurring)

Navy Federal fined $28.5 million for debt collection tactics -- Biggest US credit union strong-armed its members, CFPB says ... (See Collection)

Calculate your rewards card's value: 8-point checklist -- Take count of what you get before paying a big annual fee ... (See Value)

How to cancel a debt settlement contract -- You can escape, but you'll still have to deal with the debt ... (See Cancel)

Social Security benefits protected from garnishment -- As long as your benefits are direct deposited to your bank, creditors can't take them ... (See Debt)

Credit card delinquencies rise but remain near historic lows -- Cardholders have learned their lesson and pay down card debts, says the American Bankers Association ... (See Debt)

Don't close your credit card accounts to win a mortgage -- "Too much credit" is old, bad advice some mortgage lenders cling to ... (See Mortgage)

Video: What is your credit utilization ratio? -- Your credit utilization is how much credit is available to you versus how much of it you actually use. ... (See Utilization)

If mom opens cards in your name, it's family fraud -- Start with a conversation, then get a police report ... (See Fraud)

Unsteady income? Traditional debt-paying advice doesn't apply -- Debt repayment rules differ when you're not getting a steady paycheck ... (See Income)

Take a businesslike approach to improving your credit -- Want to boost your credit score and increase your borrowing power? Ask a small business owner for financial advice ... (See Credit)

How to avoid unwanted purchases on company credit card -- To prohibit employees from purchasing certain items, employers can use MCC codes for help ... (See Company cards)

Rolling card debt into a mortgage? Consider alternatives -- You risk your house when you convert debt from unsecured to secured ... (See Mortgage)

Being added as authorized user can boost credit age, score -- Young to credit? Your parents' well-aged card could help ... (See Age)

Poll: Holiday retail season starts too darn early -- Most are annoyed at ever-earlier store decorations, but millions have begun shopping ... (See Too early)

Credit card debt down across the board -- Regardless of age, education or income, we dropped debt ... (See Debt down)

Once balance is paid off, your credit limit is restored -- New to credit? Here's how charging and repaying affects your credit limit. ... (See Limit)

ACH network unveils same-day bill pay -- Running late on a bill? Same Day ACH enables credit card users to make same-day payments to issuers through their online banking systems ... (See Same day)

9 confusing credit card terms explained -- The lexicon of credit card terms can be confounding. Here's some help ... (See Terms)

Card account keeps getting hacked. Close it? -- Canceling a card can impact credit score, but it may be necessary ... (See Hacked)

85-year-old mom has $25,000 in card debt -- Her adult children's behavior is keeping their mom on the debt hook ... (See Mom)

How to ask the kids to help out in a financial crisis -- When finances are suddenly stretched, is it wrong to solicit help from your children? ... (See Kids)

Credit bureau policies vary when freezing a child's credit -- It is often difficult to place a credit freeze on a child when no ID theft has been committed ... (See Freeze)

When a 'friend' racks up $11,000 on your card -- Your options? Take her to civil court, pay the debt or stop paying and risk being sued yourself ... (See Options)

Study: Rising interest rates will impact 92 million in US -- A study by credit bureau TransUnion finds that 92 million U.S. consumers will face higher monthly payments when interest rates rise, and 9 million will struggle ... (See Rates)

Tips for buying airline tickets with a debit card -- Buying an airline ticket with a debit card involves its own restrictions and requirements ... (See Debit)

Dispute card accounts opened fraudulently by ex-spouse -- You have to take the proper steps to get the issuers to acknowledge the accounts aren't yours ... (See Fraud)

Business charged you via card number on file? Dispute it -- Just because they sold you something once, they can't run your card number on file again without your permission ... (See Dispute)

Supercharge rewards with a business card -- By playing your cards rights, a business card can rack up rewards fast ... (See Rewards)

How to fix credit after dad opens card in son's name -- Son rejects dad's card offer, but finds out dad opened one anyway ... (See Credit)

Infographic: Online banking still tops, but mobile surges -- Nearly 60 percent of Americans used mobile banking at least once per month ... (See Online banking)

Making the most of flexible travel rewards programs -- Several programs allow transfers to airlines and hotels, and there may be more possibilities than you realize ... (See Rewards)

Demystifying 5 common credit misconceptions -- Don't get tripped up by misleading or confusing credit terminology ... (See Terms)

To escape from crummy cards, you need a plan -- Get basic good credit behavior down pat; worry about the nuances later ... (See Crummy)

Premarital debt weighs on new marriage -- Bringing delinquent debt into a new union can strain joint finances ... (See Debt)

If credit score disappears, here's how to get it back -- Inactivity can cause your credit score to vanish ... (See Disappear)

Fed: July card balances rise 3.4 percent -- Consumer card debt continues its steady climb upward ... (See Debt)

Poll: Americans don't read or understand credit card agreements -- Asked to describe the agreements in one word, we use bad ones ... (See Poll)

Study: Credit card agreements unreadable to most Americans -- Despite a U.S. campaign for simplicity, contracts remain indecipherable, written at a grade level beyond the Average American's understanding ... (See Unreadable)

Compare readable, unreadable credit card agreement text -- We dare you to understand the text written at the 28th grade level ... (See Unreadable text)

Video: Unreadable card agreements -- Credit card agreements are said to be written on an 11th grade reading level. We came to a university campus with an excerpt from a credit card agreement to see if college students can make sense of what they are reading ... (See Card agreement video)

Readability battle: card agreements versus Harry Potter -- See how card agreements stack up in readability against familiar documents, from novels to nursery rhymes to the U.S. Constitution ... (See Card agreements versus Harry Potter)

10 business card mistakes that can tank your credit -- A low score can make it difficult to secure loans, retain suppliers and attract customers ... (See Mistakes)

Talking about your debt can help you escape it -- Secrecy and shame can hurt efforts to become debt-free ... (See Debt)

Save money on gas, at Costco and elsewhere -- Using the new Citi Costco card can make sense at the pump, but there are other ways to save on gas ... (See Save)

Make sure loan consolidation improves your credit -- Consolidating your credit card debt into a single loan can help your credit or hurt it. It depends on your actions ... (See Debt)

Living together doesn't create common-law marriage or debt liability -- Keeping accounts separate can protect funds in case partner is sued for repayment ... (See Debt)

6 favors you can ask your card issuer -- Looking for a better deal? It never hurts to ask, and good preparation increases the odds you'll hear a "yes" ... (See Favors)

Infographic: Credit card use among the college set -- Two-thirds of college students have a credit card, and most are using their cards regularly, according to data from Equifax ... (See College cards)

Removing yourself as an authorized user -- Ending the 'piggyback' ride from a person with great credit can impact score ... (See Impact)

Creating a credit history for kids under 10 is too early -- Wait until kids hit their teens to add them as authorized users to your card ... (See Kids)

Don’t fall victim to these 7 credit card timing mistakes -- Paying a bill late, failing to pay off an account and other timing errors can cost you big in terms of credit damage ... (See Timing)

7 ways to track your reward cards like a pro -- Experts give advice on how to juggle various cards and their rewards points programs ... (See Track)

Shady business partner opens up credit in your name -- Straighten out the credit mess, then get a new partner ... (See Business)

Who must pay card debt of deceased husband? -- The state where you live determines who has to pay. ... (See Widow)

Tips, tools for setting up a side gig to get out of debt -- A part-time job on the side can help increase income to pay off debt ... (See Gig)

Infographic: Most Americans OK with going cashless -- Millennials are cool with leaving the house sans bills or coins, a Gallup Poll says ... (See Cashless)

Be wary of whose card you piggyback on -- If the credit bureau deems the account illegitimate, you'll be out of luck ... (See Piggyback)

New credit card has so-so terms? You have choices -- If the rate is too high or the credit limit too low, you have more options than just sitting and fuming ... (See Meh)

How becoming a widow affects credit -- Becoming suddenly single won't hurt credit if you have your own ... (See Widow)

Deceased father's accounts dragging down son's scores -- Knowing exactly how dad's accounts got on son's credit is first step ... (See Scores)

Survey: Card acceptance for tuition rises, but so do fees -- U.S. colleges and universities are more card-friendly, but fees for charging tuition are rising, according to a new survey. ... (See Survey)

2016 Credit Card Tuition Payment Survey data -- Find out if the college you're attending will let you pay tuition with a credit card -- and at what cost ... (See Tuition card payment data)

How cohabitating couples can protect themselves financially -- Taking these three steps before moving in could help avoid a money mess down the road. ... (See Finances)

Businesses must beware unauthorized card use -- Fraud liability, loss of ability to accept cards may follow if you don't follow merchant rules ... (See Unauthorized)

Compare elite credit cards -- Table summarizes the high-cost, high-reward cards ... (See Compare elite rewards)

Card issuers can reduce your credit limit -- Banks monitor credit reports, and make adjustments if it sees signs of risk ... (See Limit)

Deceased mom's debts take priority over inheritance -- After debts are paid, then what's left over can be disbursed among any heirs ... (See Heirs)

How preapproved offers affect credit -- You don't have a lot to worry about, but there are exceptions ... (See Preapprove)

Satisfaction rises for most cardholders -- Discover comes out on top in J.D. Power's annual satisfaction survey ... (See Satisfaction)

Recession foreclosures disappearing from credit reports -- Those who lost homes in 2009 could soon see a return to homeownership ... (See Home)

Video: How payment history affects your credit score -- Financial mistakes can haunt you and your FICO score ... (See Payment history)

Is secured card best for rebuilding credit post-bankruptcy? -- If your score is high enough, you may qualify for a regular, unsecured card ... (See Credit)

As hotel data breaches mount, be alert for card fraud -- Regularly change passwords, watch accounts for suspicious activity ... (See Hotel)

Keep medical debt from being reported to credit bureaus -- Prevent the credit score damage before it happens ... (See Lucky break)

When your card's big data collection goes from cool to creepy -- Some actions from credit card companies might be convenient for some customers and unnerving for others ... (See Data)

Pay medical bill before debt goes into collections -- Complex medical billing makes it common for debts to slip past due ... (See Medical debt)

5 dream vacations funded with rewards -- Find out how you can turn that wish-list vacation into reality ... (See Rewards)

Teen falsifies birth date, gets card, charges $500 -- Her mom will pay off debt, but asks if her teen will come under fire from the issuer ... (See Teens)

4 wrong money messages for kids (and 4 right ones) -- Parents unknowingly teach their kids unhealthy money habits, but they're fixable ... (See Kids)

How delinquent child support affects credit scores -- States vary in how they report it, so impact varies, too ... (See Scores)

Video: Building credit as a new US resident -- Here are five tips for building credit from scratch ... (See Build)

Card options expand when bankruptcy falls off credit report -- At last, 10 years have passed since bankruptcy. Which card should you try for? We'll help you come up with a plan ... (See Post-bankruptcy)

Credit card ownership lags for those with low scores -- Credit card ownership is rebounding, but remains far behind levels seen before the recession, and consumers with bad credit are the ones doing without plastic ... (See Ownership)

Purging seldom-used reward cards -- If you have cards you rarely use, consider canceling them for peace of mind ... (See Gas rewards)

Best balance transfer credit cards: Summer 2016 -- Our panel of judges names the Citi Simplicity Card as the top balance transfer card for summer 2016 ... (See The top balance transfer card for summer 2016)

Rewards bubble hasn't popped ... yet -- Points, miles and cash back gush at unprecedented levels, but what goes up must come down ... (See Bubble)

Don't try to fix and flip houses with 0-percent cards -- Risky investments require cash reserves, not plastic ... (See Flipping)

Stop soon-to-be ex from sticking you with joint debt -- Take steps now to protect your finances before you get in front of a judge ... (See Divorce)

New card accounts continue to rise sharply -- Subprime cards are up 160 percent in the past five years ... (See New card accounts)

Use rewards to boost back-to-school savings -- Stretch your back-to-school shopping budget with credit card rewards ... (See Back to school)

How being denied credit affects your score -- Only the hard inquiry affects the credit score of an applicant when their credit report is pulled ... (See Denied credit)

Survey: 1 in 3 young women don’t know current card balances -- Credit card, student loan debt overwhelming millennials on tight budgets ... (See Millennials)

Safeguard accounts from card-stealing family member -- Keep cards safe and don't store details online to prevent fraudulent charges from happening ... (See Fraud)

5 reasons why you can’t seem to climb out of debt -- Running up credit cards may provide an emotional payoff for some ... (See Debt)

Millennials, now house-hungry, struggle to build credit -- Late to homebuying but eager, millennials look for quick, creative credit score cures ... (See Homebuying)

When medical bills lead to deep debt, tough choices follow -- Cut your costs, get credit counseling and accept that bankruptcy may be in your future ... (See Medical debt)

Best way to allocate lump sum across multiple card debts -- You can pay high-interest debt first or knock off an entire balance for motivation ... (See Debt)

Hard inquiry warning not required -- The impact of that inquiry can range from slightly harmful to positive ... (See Inquiry)

CFPB proposes new limits on debt collectors -- You'd have to be told if debt's too old to legally collect ... (See Debt collectors)

2016 Credit Card Fee Survey: Surprise! Fees drop -- As they seek new customers, some card issuers have done the remarkable: They cut fees, according to a new survey. ... (See Fees)

It's now harder to pay health insurance premiums via credit card -- Citing fees, Humana and some Blue Shield units have dropped the pay-by-credit-card option ... (See Payments)

Understanding how a card's billing cycle works -- Depending on when issuers report to the bureaus will impact credit scores ... (See Billing)

CFPB lists our biggest complaints with credit cards -- Card complaints were up 9 percent in the second quarter as consumers groused about fees, costs, rewards and other issues ... (See CFPB)

How to redeem your card's cash back reward -- Increasingly, it's your choice of check, prepaid card or statement credit ... (See Cash)

Infographic: The face of senior card debt -- Medical bills take up most of the debt of the seinor citizen community, while credit card debt is a close second ... (See Senior debt)

Struggling homeowner reliant on credit looks at raiding 401(k) -- With credit maxed out, car shot, raiding the 401(k) is tempting, but don't do it ... (See Help)

Credit card bill autopayments: tips for getting it right -- Setting up autopayments can prevent slip-ups that can ruin your credit score ... (See Autopay)

Positive card habits up, negative ones down -- Americans pay their credit card bills in full more often, and avoid costly behavior, a six-year survey series finds ... (See Card behavior)

5 credit scoring head-scratchers -- Most of the times, scoring rules make sense. Then there are these ... (See Rules)

LA, Minneapolis best cities for money management skills -- Consumers in Los Angeles and Minneapolis-St. Paul excel at managing their finances, based on credit scores adjusted for income and other factors ... (See Cities)

Video: Credit pitfalls for stay-at-home parents -- Stay-at-home parents can tank their credit by making these common mistakes ... (See Parents)

How unwanted card, hard inquiry impact credit scores -- The inquiry will ding your score, but the new credit line may help ... (See Card)

When paying off debt becomes an addiction -- Obsessing over debt repayment can transition into unhealthy behavior ... (See Debt)

One day late, one dollar short means late fee -- Paying a bit little, a bit late, will trigger a fee ... (See Late fee)

'Plain vanilla' credit cards: 5 reasons to choose one -- Credit cards with no frills, no rewards, no hassles have become popular; here's why one may be right for you ... (See Vanilla )

How to graduate from debit-only to being a credit card holder -- Don't let fear hold you back from opening a credit card. Used properly, they're a useful tool. ... (See Debit)

Authorized user doesn't like the piggyback ride -- Don't jump off too soon; a close look at the entire credit profile may show it's a net positive ... (See Piggyback)

How to remove a 100-word personal statement from your credit report -- Even if you felt the need to dispute an unpaid bill or explain what led to a foreclosure in the past, there are a number of reasons why you might have a change of heart ... (See Remove)

Rate survey: Average card APR sits tight at 15.18 percent -- July 13, 2016: The average APR on new card offers remained unchanged at 15.18 percent this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rates)

Unpaid fees from canceled card can end up in collection -- When a card is canceled, triple-check that no balance remains ... (See Fees)

Video: How to save on a national park vacation -- With rewards credit cards and other budget-saving tips you can have an exciting park adventure for a fraction of the usual cost ... (See Vacation savings)

How do I tell when card debt legally expires? -- The statute of limitations in your state and your card agreement are the starting points, but individual cases can be complex ... (See Debt legally expires)

Why we love that giddy high of a good card splurge -- That rush you feel when you splurge actually has a name: it's called a "buy high." ... (See Splurge)

How to get free stays and perks faster with hotel rewards -- Loyalty programs from hotels, co-branded credit cards and third-party booking sites all can help you earn free nights, but work best when you choose a strategy that fits your needs ... (See Hotel rewards)

What happens after a debt is charged off -- When the original lender gives up, collection efforts continue, with important consequences ... (See Debt)

Infographic: Credit card love from older millennials -- Millennials do, too, like credit cards, research shows. In fact, older millennials covet them more than any other age group ... (See Millennials)

Credit paranoia or credit smart? Which precautions are worth it -- How to make sure that the desire to protect your credit information doesn't turn into an obsession ... (See Theft)

Volunteering for jail isn't the answer to debt -- When debt gets deep, don't despair there's help ... (See Jail)

Fed: May card balances rise 3 percent -- Americans continued to reach for credit cards in May, as card balances rose $2.3 billion (3 percent), according to the Fed's latest consumer credit report. ... (See Debt)

Infographic: Card delinquencies hold near record lows -- At 2.47 percent, late payers are half the number they were during the recession ... (See Delinquency)

9 rewards card sign-up bonus mistakes -- Know the minimum spend required, the fees to avoid and more ... (See Sign-up)

Score damage increases if unpaid debt goes to collections -- Your score likely took one blow when a bill went seriously delinquent. You'll take another if it's sold to a collection agency ... (See Into collections)

A plan now will avoid winter holiday debt -- Summer is the time to start thinking about how to avoid winter holiday debt. Work on budgeting, bargain-hunting and building that savings ... (See Holiday debt)

New card application may renew debt collection -- If you have debt in collections, creditors may come calling once they see you are seeking more credit ... (See Debt)

Replacing lost credit card? Want it fast? Expect to pay -- As banks look for new ways to make money, some have started charging to replace lost credit or debit cards. Want it in a hurry? It'll cost even more ... (See Replace)

‘Loaded’ author Sarah Newcomb: Call them loan cards, not credit cards -- In a new book, the behavioral economist talks about the role credit cards play in the financial tales we tell ourselves ... (See Q&A)

Card issuers impose limits on rewards card churning -- Limits make it tougher to churn through credit cards to milk them for sign-up bonuses while ducking the fees ... (See Churning)

Dealing with aggressive debt collector tactics -- A real debt collector must start by sending a validation of debt notice ... (See Debt)

Credit use by generation: Who's doing the best job? -- The generation you're from likely plays a big role in how you view and use credit products ... (See Credit)

Aging father's big card debt puts his home at risk -- With equity in his home, he risks creditors slapping a lien on it for repayment, or worse, a forced sale. ... (See Home)

Video: Protect your identity in ways chip cards can't -- While EMV chip cards can help prevent some fraud, identity thieves are looking for other ways to find your personal info and you might just be helping them ... (See ID theft)

Why your credit card issuer really wants to text you -- MasterCard and Visa will require that all card issuers provide opt-in alert programs for potentially fraudulent transactions ... (See Mobile alerts)

Lowering credit limit on new card can hurt scores -- The higher the credit line, the better, as long as balances stay low ... (See Scores)

Mastering the side hustle to beat down debt -- Millennials struggling with student debt can take on extra work to get out of the red, blogger turned author David Carlson says. It worked for him. ... (See Q&A)

How to choose a P2P payment service -- Here are the features to be aware of when choosing an app for paying friends ... (See P2P)

Minimum payments won't cut debt on 16 cards -- If all you can afford is the minimum payments on your debt, you need a game-changer ... (See MInimums)

Debt-fighting expats find success abroad -- A rising number of Americans are moving abroad not to dodge debt, but to deal with it. They trim cost of living and save ... (See Saving abroad)

Personal funds generally safe once debt is uncollectible -- Once the statute of limitations has passed, garnishment fears should be allayed ... (See Debt)

Paper versus online statements: 8 FAQs -- Frequently asked questions about switching from paper to online statements for your credit card account, or maybe switching back ... (See Paper statements FAQs)

If you settle debt, expect a credit score drop -- Debt settlement can help get you out of overwhelming debt, but there will be a catch ... (See Settle)

Poll: Paper bank statements remain popular -- More than half of us still get them; younger consumers more likely to go digital with bank statements, a national poll finds ... (See Paper statements)

Generation Debit: Parents dish out plastic instead of cash -- More teens and even preteens are opening checking accounts, using debit cards. It can teach money skills, but has risks ... (See Debit)

Canceling new card won’t offset hard inquiry score impact -- Once you apply, the damage is done. But responsible use over time is the cure ... (See Impact)

Video: Curb emotional spending in 4 steps -- "Retail therapy" can work against you by adding stress on your finances. Here are 4 ways to help stop spending as a way to handle your emotions ... (See Emotional spending)

Risk of lien, garnishment during debt settlement -- If debt negotiations get nasty, you could be sued, so watch out for notices from the court ... (See Garnish)

Settling parent's financial affairs after death -- Locating insurance, paying bills a challenge when a parent dies suddenly ... (See Death)

Credit card statistics -- This is the web's largest and best-documented set of credit card statistics, from industry studies, government and university reports, and's original research ... (See Stats)

How a Canadian can restart credit in the U.S. -- A great score in Canada means little; you need to obtain a U.S. loan from a U.S. lender that reports to U.S. credit bureaus ... (See Canadian)

Credit card fee, rate statistics -- How many of us are paying fees on our credit cards, and what is the average APR on a card with a balance? has compiled statistics to answer those questions and more ... (See Fees and interest)

Student credit, debit and prepaid card statistics -- Credit cards have gotten harder for college students to get, but debit, prepaid cards and campus cards fill in the payment gaps ... (See Student stats)

Fed dials back rate-hike expectations -- In a reprieve for credit card borrowers, the Federal Reserve decided against a rate increase for the fourth time this year and signaled a slower pace of increases ... (See Rates)

Prepaid travel cards pros and cons -- Prepaid travel cards can offer a safe way to get cash in foreign currency ... (See Travel)

Paying down existing balances trumps need for secured card -- Getting rid of current debt will boost score more than getting a new card ... (See Score)

Credit card race, age, gender statistics -- Race, gender and age all play a role in how much credit we're able to access and whether we're able to use that credit to greatest advantage. has compiled statistics on demographic trends in the credit world ... (See Demographic stats)

Many prefer debit for everyday buys, credit for the big ones -- For many, debit cards lead credit cards as a primary payment method, a TD Bank survey finds. But for big-ticket items, nearly all groups prefer credit cards ... (See Debit versus credit)

9 signs you have too much debt -- Your debt might be out of control if one of these nine signs hits home ... (See Debt)

Plan to walk away from card debt? Read this first -- For those who think blowing off their credit card debt is better than paying it. Here are the caveats and what experts have to say ... (See Walk away)

Business credit card statistics -- Many entrepreneurs rely on credit cards to keep their small businesses running. Check out these statistics on their charging and payment habits ... (See Business card statistics)

Which 0-percent card should be paid off first? -- Priority should be given to the card with the closest expiring APR offer ... (See 0-percent)

Tough choice: Sell home to pay off debt -- Your home is your castle, but it could also be your ticket out of debt ... (See Sell)

Card issuers need court judgments to seize debt payments -- Behind on card payments? Issuers can't withdraw debt payments straight from your -- or your spouse's -- bank accounts without legal action ... (See Debt)

Video: Credit card payment due dates explained -- There is more to your credit card payment due date than you may realize. Kristin Wong explains three things to keep in mind ... (See Due date)

Who sees credit report 100-word statements -- Not many lenders bother with them; you may want to remove old ones ... (See 100 words)

Set rules when adding child to your card for foreign travel -- As an authorized user, you can keep track of his charges and know he's covered in case of an emergency ... (See Travel)

4 credit lessons women can learn from men -- Sometimes "thinking like a man" can be the right money move ... (See Lessons)

Fed: April card balances rise 2.1 percent -- Americans continued to favor credit cards in April, as card balances rose $1.7 billion (2.1 percent), according to the Fed's latest consumer credit report. ... (See Balances)

6 credit card rules for newlyweds -- Credit discussions are just as important as divvying up household chores ... (See Newlyweds)

Poll: 4 in 10 co-signers lose money -- Helping out a credit-challenged friend or family member by co-signing can damage to credit and relationships ... (See Co-sign)

How card debt liability changes after final parent dies -- Unless the account is co-owned, card debt is paid by the estate, and is among the last debts in line ... (See Death)

6 ways to overcome the shame of debt -- Get beyond the stigma of maxed-out cards and piles of bills and start turning around your financial life, experts say ... (See Debt shame)

Just 10 credit score points shy of a mortgage -- These strategies will help you get the final points needed to qualify for that home loan ... (See 10 points)

CFPB proposes regulations on payday loans, other 'debt traps' -- Consumer bureau's rules aim to make small-dollar loans safer without cutting off emergency credit for subprime borrowers ... (See Payday)

Minor's co-signed bank account at risk of parents' garnishment -- Even if a minor earns the money, it's a parental asset , and one that would tempt a debt collector ... (See Garnish)

ATMs changing to accept EMV chip cards -- Consumers should expect some ATM changes as the next wave of EMV migration takes place ... (See ATMs)

Removing your name from a joint account after divorce -- You're still responsible if ex doesn't pay. If you're on good terms, and ex has good credit, a balance transfer would work ... (See Divorce)

100-word credit report statement: 6 ways it can hurt you -- Sometimes too much information can come back to haunt you ... (See Report)

Options for escaping penalty rate APRs -- Six months of on-time payments can force a rate review ... (See Penalty rate)

Infographic: The financially happy now outnumber the unhappy -- For the first time since before the Great Recession, the majority of Americans feel cheerful about their finances ... (See Financially happy)

Why an old debt may vanish from credit report -- If a legitimate debt disappeared from your credit report, don't celebrate yet. It might not be gone long. ... (See Credit report)

What types of income qualify on card applications? -- Gross or net? Household income or wages? Breaking down income qualifications when applying for a card ... (See Income)

Fight back against debt by FOMO -- Suffering from the fear of missing out? Focus on your goals and budget to tune out social media pressures to spend ... (See Fighting FOMO)

10 warning signs of ID theft -- Data breach notices and bogus charges on your card are just two red flags. Here’s what to do if you suspect fraud ... (See ID theft)

Selling your home to pay off debt, fund college -- Shedding debt is good, but college costs add up fast and another home won't be cheap ... (See Home)

More parents giving their kids credit cards -- The number of children ages 8-14 with access to their parents' credit cards has quadrupled ... (See Kids with credit cards)

Authorized user kept charging on deceased dad's card -- Five years after her father died, daughter wonders who is liable for the balance ... (See Liability)

Good payment habits will raise score after balance transfers -- Multiple balance transfers led to multiple hard inquiries and a score drop, but you should be able to turn it around ... (See Transfer)

Poll: 8 in 10 Americans pay for summer vacation with savings -- Less than half will take a break at all; 13 percent who do pay with rewards, says a scientific survey by ... (See Vacation poll)

Dispute duplicate student loans entries on credit reports -- When a loan is bought and sold multiple times, it can create credit report havoc ... (See Duplicates)

8 ways to pay down debt when on a fixed income -- When retired, disabled or laid off, shouldering big debt on a limited income can become overwhelming ... (See Debt)

Authorized user not responsible for deceased company president’s debt -- As the authorized user on a small-business credit card, you are not liable for debts on those cards, even if the primary cardholder dies. But if you own the business, there are special considerations ... (See Debt)

Credit card issuer can't garnish your Social Security check -- Contact the company and ask about a hardship program ... (See Garnish)

Confessions of credit card customer service reps -- Current, former reps reveal what they can, can’t do when you call in ... (See Reps)

'Injured spouse allocation' tax form can shield spouse from debt -- Couple's return is seized for repayment of wife's student loan ... (See Loan)

Some states offer exceptions to credit reporting rules -- Negative items can come off your report sooner in New York, California ... (See Exceptions)

Infographic: Mobile payments quickly rising -- Smartphone payments are gaining traction among consumers -- and quickly ... (See Mobile payments rising)

Elder financial abuse: How families can cope -- Besides harming the senior who's been targeted, elder financial abuse often leaves relatives with psychological and financial stress surrounding what's happened to their loved one ... (See Elder abuse)

Low utilization boosts balance transfer deal approval odds -- Zero percent balance transfer deals are often reserved for those with high credit scores ... (See 0% deals)

Video: Secured credit cards, explained -- If your credit score is low, you can build your credit by using a secured credit card ... (See Score)

Money quirks: The weird things we do with money -- Some quirks are useful at soothing financial anxiety. Others can cross over into being harmful ... (See Money quirks)

Infographic: 2016 sees card debt, delinquency uptick -- Though the number of people who fail to pay debt is not as high as it was in the Great Recession, it has started to increase in 2016 ... (See Delinquency rates)

Don't close accounts after paying card debt -- Using a cash-out refi to pay off card debt? Great. Closing the card accounts after? Not great at all ... (See Close)

Fed: March card balances rise 14.2 percent -- Consumers added $11.1 billion to their credit card balances in March, the Federal Reserve said Friday ... (See Balances)

Best travel rewards credit cards: Spring 2016 -- Our panel of judges names the Chase Sapphire Preferred as the top travel rewards card for spring 2016 ... (See Best travel rewards credit cards: Spring 2016)

Credit building tips you thought were wise, but simply aren’t -- What if all that credit climbing wisdom you learned along the way is wrong — or worse, could actually backfire? ... (See Tips)

Is widow obligated to repay husband's debt consolidation program? -- If she co-signed the contract, then she will be required to repay ... (See Debt)

Save money and your score with a DIY debt management plan -- In certain circumstances, it can make sense to tackle debt problems yourself ... (See DIY)

CFPB proposes arbitration limits -- Consumers would get back their right to a day in court under a rule proposed Thursday by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. ... (See Arbitration)

9 tips for renting a car with a debit card -- You can almost always rent a car with a debit card, but expect extra hassles ... (See Debit)

Paying for a rental car with debit card: 9 obstacles -- You can almost always rent a car with a debit card, but expect extra hassles ... (See Rental )

Walmart MoneyCard prepaid card does not build credit -- If you're looking to build up your credit, prepaid cards are the wrong path to take ... (See Prepaid)

If you co-signed, relative's business card debt is now yours -- A family member's refusal to pay a debt that you guaranteed puts you on the hook ... (See Debt)

Using personal credit card for work expenses: 8 tips -- It’s common, but not always fair, for companies to ask employees to pay work expenses upfront and get reimbursed later ... (See Personal )

How to tell if a debt is too old to collect -- Time determines whether a debt can legally be collected, and you have to know the starting and ending dates ... (See Too old)

How to protect your credit when your spouse starts a business -- You can help your entrepreneurial spouse make sure their startup doesn't jeopardize the family's finances ... (See Credit)

Quick fixes for temporary repayment problem -- When life throws a curveball and you can't pay your bills one month, here's what you can do ... (See Bills)

Fed holds interest rates steady for now -- The Federal Reserve decided to keep its influential benchmark rate unchanged, while hinting at a rate increase later this year ... (See Fed)

Infographic: Female college students edge males in credit smarts -- Female students do a bit better in handling credit, says a Sallie Mae study ... (See College student credit smarts)

How to bounce back from debt repayment setbacks -- Stumbling along the way to becoming debt-free is common. Here's how to make sure it doesn't derail your whole plan ... (See Debt)

How to build credit when you're not a US resident -- Getting a U.S. address and Individual Taxpayer Identification Number are the first steps ... (See Credit)

4 credit lessons men can learn from women -- New studies reveal women to be smart, savvy spenders, maybe more so than men ... (See Men)

FAQs on new Costco Citi Visa card -- We answer the most-common reader questions prompted by the warehouse club’s credit card switch from American Express to Citi ... (See Costco Citi Visa FAQ)

No permission needed for card updater services -- Merchants don't need your permission to use these services, but if you don't want to renew, you can always cancel your subscription ... (See Update)

Big balance transfers may run into limits -- Zero-percent loans are great, but you might not be able to transfer all your debt to one ... (See Balance)

Account takeover fraud rising -- As credit card numbers fall in value on the black market, thieves are turning to a much more lucrative form of ID theft ... (See Takeover)

Getting a refund tougher if you buy with debit card -- Late or nondelivery refunds not fully guaranteed with debit purchases ... (See Dispute)

Card account isn't closed if annual fee still charged -- Despite not using the card for years, if you are still getting charged a fee, your card company considers the account open ... (See Closed )

Poll: Women lose more sleep over money worries than men -- When it comes to financial matters, women worry more and sleep less than men, according a new poll. ... (See Poll)

Infographic: How generations view financially 'making it' -- Views across generations of what "making it" financially means to them ... (See Generation finances)

Used right, subprime cards can help rebuild credit -- Subprime or secured cards can pave the way to a better credit score ... (See Subprime)

Study: Payday loans trigger overdraft fees -- Online payday borrowers who miss repayment face average $185 in bank overdraft fees, federal study finds ... (See Payday loans)

4 authors on how better credit can make you happy -- Money can't buy happiness, but some well-known authors say taking steps to improve your credit can ... (See Happiness)

Infographic: Credit card complaint rates -- Some credit lenders manage to lessen the number of complains lodged against them in 2015, compared to 2014 ... (See Complaints)

Frequent flier miles may live on after death -- Airlines often allow transfers of frequent flier miles to beneficiaries when a member dies, even if written policies are vague ... (See Transfer miles)

Video: 3 things to know about credit card minimum payments -- Find out what a minimum payment is, how it's calculated and how it affects your debt -- in about a minute. ... (See Payment)

After divorce, ex dies with card debt; am I responsible? -- It's unlikely, but check divorce decree, credit reports ... (See Debt)

Financial disorganization: 6 ways it costs you -- Chronic financial clutter can have steep financial and emotional consequences. ... (See Clutter)

Don't tap IRA to pay back taxes -- Cashing out IRA may cause you to end up with yet another tax bill ... (See IRS)

Mobile payments laws have gaps but you can still stay safe -- As the use of mobile payments grows, laws offering fraud protections have not caught up. Here's how to stay safe despite gaps in regulations ... (See Mobile)

Positive info not always reported to all 3 credit bureaus -- Big swings in credit scores can result, and that can hurt if you're borrowing ... (See Scores)

How a secured card's security deposit works -- Your deposit acts as your credit line and is refunded once the card is closed and the balance paid off, minus any fees ... (See Secured card)

Infographic: Spigot held tight on subprime credit -- Credit limits for subprime consumers are down from a year ago ... (See Subprime credit)

Split payments: Using two cards for one transaction -- Retail stores often allow you to use two different cards to pay for purchases. But it's a different story when online shopping ... (See Split )

Pay off all card debt? Or leave a small balance? -- If you want to keep the card, use it; inactivity can cause it to be closed ... (See Pay off)

Paper or emailed credit card statements: Which are better? -- Electronic billing is convenient, saves trees -- but you might miss a payment ... (See Statements)

Will debt settlement hurt authorized user's credit? -- A quick call to issuer to remove authorized user will protect guest cardholder ... (See Settlement)

Even with no SSN, unpaid debt can ruin your credit -- Your name, address and amount owed will be reported ... (See SSN)

While in credit recovery, apply for new card with care -- To maximize your score and get the best new card possible, pay off balance on old card first ... (See Score)

Tax refunds: Urges to save it, spend it clash -- Study shows that most who spend it on needed items or paying down debt feel better rather than those who saved it ... (See Tax refund)

Details emerge on new Citi Costco card switch -- Warehouse giant will accept any Visa starting June 20, 2016 ... (See Costco)

5 things to know before requesting a credit-line increase -- Before you request a credit increase, think about how it will affect your credit score and why you need the added amount ... (See Credit line)

Credit card rewards and cardholder satisfaction statistics -- Credit card rewards programs hold the key to cardholder happiness, but there's room for improvement with security ... (See Stats)

Settlement options on an old card debt -- A "paid in full" notation on your credit report will be helpful ... (See Settle)

5 ways women can compensate for the gender wage gap -- Good money habits can minimize the effects of an unequal salary ... (See Gap)

What to do about card debt when on a fixed income -- Paying off card debt doesn't solve problem of not having enough to live on ... (See Debt)

What you need to know about credit card, debit card 'holds' -- Gas stations and hotels use credit card 'holds' and 'blocks' that may limit access to your own credit and cash ... (See Holds)

Pay off revolving card debt first over installment loan -- A revolving debt balance, in lenders eyes, increases the chance that the borrower will default ... (See Debts)

With high credit score, adding new travel card not a problem -- With responsible use, adding another card to your arsenal has advantages ... (See Reward)

Threat of tax fraud, tax ID theft grows -- The year 2016 has already seen a surge in email tax fraud, the IRS warns, and private tax collectors may add to the confusion ... (See Tax ID theft)

7 things you never budget for (but need to) -- There's always that surprise expense that lands on your credit card ... (See Budget)

Getting the most out of multiple rewards cards -- Which to use? Know your spending habits, and look at costs, benefits ... (See Rewards)

8 embarrassing credit and debit card moments -- Times when cardholders wished the ground underneath them would open up and suck them in ... (See Moments)

If buying a home soon, handle old debt with care -- Have a strategy: How you deal with creditors can clean up your credit -- or send up red flags to mortgage lenders ... (See Home buy)

The hard and fast rules of hard inquiries -- A group of experts explain exactly how credit bureaus’ take hard inquiries in account when you apply for credit ... (See Hard inquiry)

Co-signed card leaves mom's credit in ruins -- When her daughter couldn't pay the bill, collectors turn to her mom ... (See Co-sign)

New technologies, analytics to battle online fraud -- With EMV chip cards expected to deter in-store fraud, card companies are turning to other ideas to secure online payments, too ... (See Fraud)

Lenders may remember old charge-off forever -- Nothing requires a lender to grant more credit if you still owe a debt, despite it falling off your credit report ... (See Charge-off)

Banks reject more card applications -- Lenders stamped "reject" on more credit card applications in the New York Fed's latest survey, reversing course ... (See Rejection)

Women edging men in the battle of credit smarts -- A new study found that despite the fact that women have more credit cards open then men, they rack up less debt ... (See Gender and credit)

Secured card, patience needed to boost score -- Improving a credit score requires many cycles of consistently paying debt ... (See Score)

Poll: Pay with cash or card for $5 purchase? -- Millennials are most likely to use cards for small purchases, and they love debit cards, our poll reveals ... (See Poll)

6 ways stay-at-home parents ruin their credit -- Taking care of your kids also means taking care of your credit. Avoid these credit mistakes that parents often make ... (See Credit)

To qualify for business loan, lower your personal credit use -- A careful balance transfer may help lower credit utilization ... (See Credit use)

Millennials most likely to fall prey to scams -- Younger generation comfortable, but not always careful, with technology ... (See Scam)

Don't rush to pay very old debt in collections -- After many years, it may be uncollectible due to its age ... (See Old debt)

Married, single people differ in views on relationships, money -- Everyone cares about money, but married people tend to see more financial red flags, a new survey finds ... (See Money and relationships)

Car lien shouldn't come as a surprise -- People just can't randomly attach liens to your property without notice ... (See Car lien)

More merchants adding credit card surcharges -- Surcharges for paying with cards appear to be on the rise ... (See Surcharges)

Infographic: Millennial money perspectives -- Millennials want to avoid debt and they attribute debt with credit cards according to a new study ... (See Graphic: millennials)

5 times it makes sense to call your card's customer service -- If you’re confused about terms or have problems, just make the call ... (See Phone )

Wrong address in credit report worrisome, but won't hurt score -- Bureaus use formula to decide which address is current ... (See Address)

Average card rates remain at 15.16 percent for 6th week: Weekly Credit Card Rate Report -- The average credit card interest rate remained locked in place this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

5 ways an ex can ruin your credit during breakup, divorce -- Heartbreak is compounded by financial hurt if there's revenge spending or a vacation with a lover on a shared credit card ... (See Divorce)

Wait for bankruptcy discharge before applying for credit -- Only in a few circumstances will new credit be allowed during bankruptcy proceedings ... (See Discharge)

'Buy buttons' everywhere can make debt too easy -- Easier ways to pay can end up hurting consumers ... (See Debt)

Gen Xers: 4 steps for tackling your debt -- Americans born between the mid-1960s and early 1980s have more debt but less wealth than parents did at the same age. Here's what to do if you're one of them ... (See Gen X)

What to do when kids charge $2,500 to your card for iTunes -- When kids use a card to rack up charges without your knowledge, you should dispute the bill ... (See iTunes)

Activation sticker shock: New card may arrive already 'live' -- If you open a credit account, odds are your new card will need to be activated upon arrival. However, issuing bank practices vary. ... (See Activation)

Infographic: Average card balances by age 2003-2015 -- Seniors have more credit card debt, other age groups less ... (See Card debt by age)

High installment loan utilization hurts your credit score -- Owing a lot on installment loans isn't as damaging as maxing out a card, but it still suppresses your credit score ... (See Installment)

Debt collectors prey on soldiers and veterans -- Military personnel move regularly, earn steady paychecks and have to protect their security clearances. That makes them more vulnerable to illegal debt collection practices ... (See Military)

Getting, building credit requires an income -- Issuers want to see that you have the ability to repay what you borrow ... (See New to credit)

Poll: Most cardholders who ask get late fees waived, rates reduced -- Cardholders who ask, receive. Yet only a small number are making those requests, says a poll of 981 cardholders ... (See Poll)

Creating a financial backup plan for singles -- If a crisis keeps you from paying your bills, a financial backup plan can keep creditors at bay ... (See Single)

Paying deceased's bill doesn't imply liability for authorized user -- Authorized users are not responsible for debt incurred on a credit card account, even if they make payments after the primary cardholder dies ... (See Liability)

You may need good credit to get old -- Many seniors stop worrying about their credit scores once they've paid off their homes and cars. That's a mistake: Assisted living facilities and nursing homes often check credit ... (See Seniors)

5 strategies for single parents to tackle credit card debt -- With time short and only one income to stretch, single parents face unique challenges in digging out of debt ... (See Single)

How an unpaid debt affects selling your property -- An unpaid debt isn't a property lien, and shouldn't hamper home sale ... (See Liens)

Promotional inquiries' impact on your credit score -- They crop up on your credit report when a lender has a 'prescreened' offer for you, but don't directly impact your score ... (See Inquiries)

How you type, move your mouse may help catch fraudsters -- Some banks and e-commerce sites are monitoring your unique typing and mouse movements to verify your identity and spot fraud ... (See Security)

9 things to know about secured cards -- They start with a security deposit, and, when done right, end with you getting improved credit ... (See Secured card)

Charging after bankruptcy filing can backfire -- Racking up card chages during a time of repayment can lead to trouble ... (See Chapter 13)

Financial management tips for after a loved one dies -- When a loved one dies, things like paying the bills can fall to the wayside ... (See Tips)

Video: Couples score free honeymoons using rewards points -- Here's how two couples paid for their honeymoon with rewards points earned on wedding expenses ... (See Points)

Yes, merchants can get new card info on recurring charges -- Updater services allow merchants to know when your credit card information changes, and to alter their records accordingly. If you don't want to continue the subscription, you'll need to cancel it directly ... (See Updater)

If health problems strike, ask for hardship rate reduction on debt -- Avoid a settlement if you can; its credit score impact lingers ... (See Health)

Authorized user not covered by service member's APR protections -- The SCRA won't help lower card APR for an active-duty authorized user ... (See Military)

New lenders shun FICO, create their own scores -- Alternative lenders are turning to homegrown scoring algorithms to evaluate 'thin-credit' customers ... (See Score)

Infographic: The life cycle of a credit card -- A Boston Federal Reserve study shows how credit card debts and credit limits rise and then fall over the course of the average consumer's lifetime ... (See Life cycle of a credit card)

Video: Digital fingerprints can be hacked, too -- No system is foolproof, but fingerprint hacking is an unlikely target for identity thieves ... (See Video)

Credit utilization rules for managing your credit score -- General credit utilization rules: Closing a card will never help your score, while keeping a $0 balance will never hurt it ... (See Utilization)

Best card to build credit post-bankruptcy -- A secured card is often your best bet after bankruptcy discharge ... (See Secured card)

Q&A with Patrice Washington: 'Getting real' about money -- When managing money and building wealth, progress starts with believing you can tackle anything life throws at you, according to author Patrice Washington. ... (See Money)

One credit card? Or many? How to decide -- Having one is easier and removes temptation, using many gives rewards ... (See Cards)

Debt consolidation may not cure cash flow problems for business -- A debt consolidation loan may lower overall small-business credit card payments, but you also need to fix cash flow problems ... (See Debt)

Credit gardening: Sow the seeds for a great score -- Fixing bad credit will take time. But following a "credit gardening" plan can make the journey simpler ... (See Gardening)

Don't fall for collector's threats on really old debt -- If the debt is past the statute of limitations, it's too old to collect ... (See Debt)

Allocating card payments on a limited budget -- Use free tools to plan your debt attack, don't close the account after you succeed ... (See Allocating payments)

Survey: Millions stay loyal to a single card forever -- Millions favor one credit card for a decade, and some never switch, passing up potential rewards, according to a new survey ... (See Favorite)

Video: Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 bankruptcy -- If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, knowing the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is essential. ... (See Video)

Do you list gross or net income on card applications? -- Issuers want to see your gross income, among other items ... (See Income)

Financial literacy begins moving into the workplace -- Many Americans lack the knowledge to properly manage their money. Employee education programs are working to change that ... (See Workplace)

Before you charge, have a plan to pay off your debt -- Yes, you can buy now, pay later. But know the consequences ... (See Repayment)

When good credit marries bad, it takes work -- You don't want your betrothed's bad credit history to bring down yours. Take these steps to protect your credit and help your spouse improve theirs ... (See Wedding risks)

Spousal identity theft is fraud, so fight it -- To avoid liability for the debt, you'll need to report the fraud ... (See Spousal ID theft)

6 money clues your date is a financial disaster -- Assessing a date's financial attitudes early on can save you future heartache ... (See Clues)

'Nuisance' debt in collections under $100 may not hurt score -- You'll face late fees, but newer scoring models ignore small debts ... (See Missed payment)

7 ways you are your own worst enemy, financially -- You can keep harming your financial health, or turn it around ... (See Enemy)

Steps to build credit as a permanent resident -- A secured card is an ideal credit-building tool for those new to the U.S. ... (See Permanent resident)

Tax refund: Using it to pay off credit card debt -- Five questions to help you decide where to apply that refund ... (See Tax refund)

Best reward card for cable, cellphone spending? -- Credit cards offer reward bonuses for many spending categories, including unsexy expenses such as utilities ... (See Points)

What happens if you don't sign a credit card payment slip -- You might get away with it, but don't plan on eating at that restaurant again ... (See Bill)

Deciding whether to settle a credit card debt -- Do you have a lump sum, and are you ready for a credit score hit? ... (See Settle)

How top money experts fund their costly passions -- Even financial professionals can be lured into overspending ... (See Passions)

Lost job? Budget, don't stop card payments -- Prepare a bare-bones budget and cut all nonessential spending before you stop paying on cards ... (See Job loss)

Infographic: The demise of over-limit fees -- Credit card customers unanimously opt out of once-common fee ... (See Over-limit fee)

Fed: Card balances up for 10th straight month -- Credit card balances rose 7.5 percent in December, marking the 10th consecutive month of expanding credit card balances, the Federal Reserve said Friday. ... (See Consumer credit)

Primary account holders are responsible for card debt -- If you're told you're not the primary account holder, you can pay bills, but not make changes ... (See Primary)

Don't apply for multiple balance transfer cards -- Multiple hard credit inquiries will ding your credit score ... (See Hard inquiries)

Rate survey: Average card rate jumps to 15.18% -- Feb. 3, 2016: Average rates on new credit card offers rose to a four-year high this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rates)

Poll: 13 million Americans commit financial infidelity -- In a survey, 5 percent of respondents in a committed relationship admit to keeping a secret bank account or credit card ... (See Financial infidelity)

Getting a new cellphone? Expect a credit check -- If you're signing up for a traditional cellphone contract, your credit will probably be checked. But if your credit isn't great, you have more options than before ... (See Credit check)

How to graduate from parents' credit, cut 'authorized user' cord -- Ready for your own card? Don't ditch that guest card too quickly. ... (See Authorized user)

Long after business is sold, old card debt arises -- A small business owner who handed over a credit card account when he sold his business is being hassled by collectors for debt he didn't ring up ... (See Old debt)

Don't close maxed-out card after you pay off debt -- When the card was maxed out, it was hurting your score; now it's helping ... (See Maxed-out)

For tax purposes, card statements aren't detailed receipts -- Don't rely on your card statement if you want a precise record of spending; keep that original paper receipt ... (See Receipts)

FTC adds tools for ID theft victims -- Amid an epidemic of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission launched a website designed to shorten the lengthy recovery process ... (See ID theft)

7 ways to boost your partner's credit score -- An overhaul of your loved one's low credit score could save your finances and your relationship ... (See Partner's score)

Playing hardball in a debt dispute has credit consequences -- If you feel wronged by a creditor, you can fight, but if you withhold payment your credit score will plummet ... (See Debt hardball)

Personal loans surge into mainstream -- Rise of online lenders and a lack of home equity help fuel the growth of this once-small niche of unsecured loans ... (See Personal loans grow )

Use caution when adding a friend as an authorized user -- No matter what your repayment arrangement is, you are ultimately responsible for any debt ... (See Authorized user)

How to fight medical identity theft -- When a thief steals your medical ID, it puts your health at risk as well as your credit. Here's what to do ... (more)

Infographic: Life is financially fragile for millennials -- Young adults tend to carry credit card balances, fret about repaying student loans and don't have an emergency fund ... (See Financial literacy and millennials)

Survey: 5 in 6 Americans admit to impulse buys -- More than half of consumers said they've spent $100 or more on an impulse buy ... (See Impulse buys)

Get through unemployment without borrowing -- There are more options for squeezing money out of your budget while job hunting. Don't be tempted to take out a loan ... (See Unemployment and debt)

Card owner's dementia, death make it hard to prove theft -- The neighbor of a man with dementia went to town with his card. After his death, it's hard to distinguish theft from generosity ... (See Dementia, death and card theft)

Confusion high over credit card late fees -- Despite new protections, 1 in 5 consumers gets tripped up by a late fee. We explain the fine print you need to avoid them ... (See Late fee confusion)

Automated credit score advice may not fit -- Free online score-improving tips can conflict, depending on which credit-scoring formula is used ... (more)

Gas station skimmer theft rising -- Smaller devices, greater security elsewhere make fuel pumps a target ... (See Skimmers)

Got holiday debt? Compare balance transfer, personal loan -- If you overindulged in debt over the holidays, compare a personal loan and credit card balance transfer - either can lighten up your personal balance sheet ... (See Balance transfer versus personal loan)

Stop debt collector's harassing phone calls -- There are laws to protect people from debt collection harassment and abuse ... (See Debt collection)

Marijuana businesses find card processing still elusive -- Some avenues exist for legal pot-based businesses that want to accept credit cards, but details are sketchy and insiders say some are full of risks ... (See Legal pot)

Put big annual vacation on a new 0-percent card -- If you have good credit, and the discipline to pay it off before the promotional period ends, go for it ... (See Paying for big vacation)

Mom has Alzheimer's and $20,000 in card debt -- If Social Security is all she has to live on, she may be judgment-proof ... (See Alzheimer's)

Don't be hasty in closing unused account with $0 balance -- Unused, available credit contributes to your score, so it might be helping your credit score without you knowing it ... (See $0 balance card)

Best, worst states for money management -- A state-by-state look at how well consumers manage their money, based on their average credit scores and household incomes ... (See State money management)

Chart: How states rank for money management -- A state-by-state look at how well consumers manage their money, based on their average credit scores and household incomes ... (See State rankings: money management)

New to credit? Build score with car loan, secured card -- Adding different types of credit accounts helps build your credit score ... (See Credit score)

Guide to the lottery, credit cards and what winning means -- Giant lotto jackpots inspire big dreams of living large. Here's what you need to know about buying that ticket, and the ups and downs of actually winning ... (See Lottery guide)

Don't secretly add an authorized user to boost your rewards -- Some rewards cards dangle the prospect of extra points for adding a friend or relative to your account, but make sure you tell the other person first ... (See Secret authorized user)

5 ways to avoid (or deal with) late fees -- Late fees can quickly add up, and harm your credit. So avoid them if you can, and deal with them smartly if you must ... (See Late fees)

0-percent intro card buys time to pay debt -- Have a plan to use that interest-free intro period wisely ... (See 0-percent card)

Fed: Card balances spike 7.4 percent -- Revolving debt balances increased yet again in November, the Federal Reserve said Friday. ... (more)

Restoring credit after authorized user status goes bad -- When the primary account holder stops paying the bill, all users associated with the account suffer ... (more)

Check credit score before applying for balance transfer -- Inquiries and new accounts both ding your credit score, so choose carefully ... (See Balance transfer credit check)

7 quick tasks to protect your ID -- Got 10 minutes? Then you can take a step to prevent identity theft. Each of these seven steps can be accomplished in 10 minutes or less. ... (See Prevent ID theft)

Infographic: Bad financial habits Americans most want to break -- Saving more and paying down credit card debt are among the more popular New Year's resolutions of 2016 ... (See 2016 money resolutions)

How closed accounts affect credit history, scores -- Closing excess cards will have an impact, but maybe not as bad as you think ... (See Closed accounts)

Video: Dumpster diving can expose your personal information -- One night of dumpster diving shows just how easy it is to become a victim of identity theft ... (See Dumpster diving ID thieves)

Your weight, debt and clutter may be connected -- Clutter, overeating and financial troubles may all be related via subtle emotional factors ... (See Debt and clutter)

EMV changing how we tip? Not so fast -- Even though the adoption of EMV payment technology in the U.S. is changing how we pay with cards, the standard paper receipt tipping method many are accustomed to doesn't need to change -- unless merchants want it to ... (See EMV cards and tipping)

To get a fresh financial start, break bad, old money habits -- If you're sick and tired of falling behind on bills, start by thoroughly tracking your spending and trimming where you can ... (See Fresh start)

Credit score differences: How they occur, why they matter -- The credit files' data may differ, it can contain errors and the formulas used on it vary ... (See Credit score differences)

Product return assistance: a disappearing perk -- Credit card return assistance programs extend the window for refunds on products you've bought with the card. But they're becoming more rare ... (See Return assistance)

Canceling an unactivated card can hurt credit scores -- The lender already checked your credit and the loss of a new credit line could ding score ... (See Canceling card)

Getting the most value for your hotel rewards points -- For the price of a night at a Des Moines airport hotel, you can stay three nights in a magical European property. We've compiled some of the most dramatic hotel rewards comparisons for you ... (See Hotel points value)

Tracking tools and tips for keeping financial resolutions -- Tracking your progress toward New Year's resolutions is crucial to succeeding with them. It helps to know a few tricks and technological tools ... (See Resolutions)

Settling debts for half of what's owed isn't easy -- Banks aren't in the business of paying 100% and only getting 50% back ... (more)

Involuntary authorized user wants to be removed -- A near-stranger adds a woman as an authorized user. Maybe it's ID theft, certainly it's creepy, and it can to be stopped ... (See Authorized user)

Rate survey: Credit card interest rates jump to 15.05 percent -- Dec. 23, 2015: Interest rates on new card offers rose to a one-year high this week after the Federal Reserve increased rates for the first time since 2006, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rate report)

Financial goals report card: Maybe a C+ -- A Capital One survey finds mixed results among those who set money goals for 2015. Some did well, others failed completely ... (See Financial goals report card)

Baby-sitting money counts as income on card application -- If the work is steady and can be counted on in the future, it can be listed as your income ... (See Income)

Credit score obsession: 7 signs you have one -- If easy access to your credit score has you checking it obsessively, it might be time to rethink your relationship with FICO ... (See Credit score obsession)

Costco cardholders need a new strategy -- Warehouse giant switches from AmEx to Citi; key dates, what you need to know ... (See New Costco cards)

Financial problems span generations, so is debt in your DNA? -- Experts have both nature and nurture theories about how families' money problems are passed down through the years ... (See Debt passed down)

Merchant refund can create credit balance -- Yes, you can spend down that cushion, but wait until it's in hand ... (See Refund creates balance)

Forecast: Card delinquency, debt levels to remain healthy -- According to the credit bureau TransUnion's forecast, credit card consumers will continue behaving 'extremely well' ... (See Debt, delinquency forecast)

Measuring average credit card debt -- Measures of average credit card debt range from just over $1,000 to nearly $10,000, depending on the type of card and how it's calculated ... (See Average credit card debt)

Trended data: the new way credit bureaus rate you -- Lenders now see how you pay your bills, not just whether you pay them ... (See Trended data)

How charge cards are different in credit scoring formula -- Credit limits, utilization aren't a factor, but wise use of the card is ... (See Charge cards and credit scores)

Game plans for avoiding bad-credit stereotypes -- Even if you're not borrowing money, you risk being tagged with bad-credit stereotypes at work, at home and in your relationships ... (See Bad credit game plans)

Police report needed to fix credit after mom steals child's ID -- Filing it will allow credit bureaus to repair damage from parental identity theft ... (See ID theft)

'Smart chip' debit cards transition going slowly -- Chips are coming to debit cards, too, but even slower. Here are the seven things you need to know about the transition. ... (See EMV debit cards)

An 'accountability team' can support your debt payoff efforts -- Sharing your debt payoff plan with others can help you stay on track while you tackle that financial goal ... (See Accountability team)

After bankruptcy and depression, reach for financial help -- With debts and worries piled high, it's time to stop trying to handle all the problems and seek financial guidance ... (See Financial help)

Number of new cards soars, but credit limits tight -- An American Bankers Association survey finds subprime borrowers regaining access to credit, but not to a lot of it ... (See New accounts soar)

Rebuilding credit? Go easy on new accounts -- When working to rebuild your credit, open and maintain only two or three new cards. Any more could hurt more than helpp ... (See Credit rebuilding)

Putting a big-ticket item on a card: 7 questions -- Done right, a credit card can be the best tool for an expensive item. You can see whether it's right for you by answering these questions ... (See Big-ticket)

Go from good to excellent credit with first (and only) card -- Employing good credit habits early paves the way for a great credit score ... (See First card)

Poll: 1 in 5 debtors say they'll be in debt forever -- It's a debt dichotomy: More say they'll die in debt, yet an increasing number also say they're debt-free ... (See Debt forever)

EMV chip card tales from cashiers at the front line -- Cashiers and customers express their frustration with EMV chip cards ... (See Cashiers' chip card tales)

Global Entry perk may make big-annual-fee rewards card worthwhile -- Some premium cards have annual fees of $450 or more, but features such as lounge access and Global Entry might make them palatable ... (See Global Entry)

Fed: Card balances rise only 0.2 percent -- The expansion of credit card balances continued in October, marking eight straight months of growth, the Federal Reserve said Monday. ... (See Consumer credit report)

Keeping card accounts open after a balance transfer -- Consolidation can help manage debt, but goal is to pay it off ... (See Debt consolidation)

Credit utilization: How this key scoring factor works -- This credit utilization ratio is the second-most important factor used to calculate a borrower's score. Here's how it works ... (See Credit utilization)

Dividing credit card rewards in a divorce -- If you have accumulated a slew of miles, and you're heading for divorce, they could become an issue in the breakup ... (See Rewards points and divorce)

Can I get away with maxing out my credit, filing for bankruptcy? -- Deliberatly maxing out cards with no intent to pay, then filing for bankruptcy could give a "fresh start." But it's a big risk, and morally dubious ... (See Max out)

How partial debt payments affect your credit, your legal rights -- Old debts fall off your credit reports in 7.5 years no matter what you do, but a partial payment may lengthen your vulnerability to a collections lawsuit ... (See Partial payments)

US report: CARD Act saved consumers $16 billion -- The U.S. Credit CARD Act has cleaned up the worst practices in the business since it was signed in 2009, but tricks and traps remain, consumer bureau report says ... (See CARD Act report)

Rehabilitating student loan won't raise score immediately -- It takes seven years to erase the credit score damage of a default, but don't let that deter you; the benefits begin right away ... (See Rehabilitate)

Magnetic stripe begins its farewell tour -- Like paper maps and clamshell phones, the magnetic stripes on the back of credit cards have started sliding into obsolescence. How soon will they disappear? ... (See Farewell, magstripe)

Immigrant seeks to build good credit faster -- With basics mastered, it's time to make mid-course corrections ... (See Building credit)

Survey: Slower EMV chip card transactions irk shoppers -- Nearly one in five respondents said using the more secure cards takes too long, and frustration is likely to grow during the holiday shopping season. ... (See Slow chip cards)

Parental conservators can block access to finances, credit -- Parents took over legal responsibility for son in credit card debt, filing bankruptcy on his behalf, and preventing him from getting credit on his own ... (See Conservators)

IRS won't care if you buy gift cards with reward points -- Even if you get a "cash back" reward card that you spend like cash, it's not considered income, so shop away! ... (See Rewards not taxable)

Airlines change from miles to price-based rewards -- The three largest U.S. airlines now base rewards points on how much you pay, not how far you fly, a change that devalues airline rewards for all but the most hardcore traveler ... (See Price-based rewards)

Know your risk before giving credit card to a relative -- A sister's request to give her a credit card for three months requires close examination, since you'll be on the hook ... (See Card for a relative)

Making sense of confusing credit card statements -- Spotting fraud is hard when so many businesses put unfamiliar, but legitimate, names on your billing statement ... (See Confusing card statements)

Options for getting a handle on a $37,000 debt -- With a good income but lots of debt, a 72-year old single woman needs to plug the money leak first ... (See Debt options)

Billing disputes lead list of credit complaints -- Billing disputes lead list of credit complaints in latest monthly survey from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ... (See Billing disputes)

Options limited when paying bills for relative in coma -- Trying to do the right thing - pay a comatose relative's card bill - is nearly impossible without legal authority ... (See Pay relative's bills)

Fed: Access to credit cards increasing -- Fewer applicants rejected for new cards, but issuers stingy with credit limit increases ... (See Credit access)

Charging bills can help your score if you pay early, often -- Avoid interest charges and debt by paying in full, and keep your credit utilization low by paying more than once a month ... (See Charging bills)

Card debt is under control for the 2015 holidays -- U.S. consumers show an appetite for borrowing but their balances and late payments are low, a report from the big credit bureau shows ... (See Card debt report)

When you get a windfall, pay debts in full to restore credit -- Use that windfall to pay debts off; a partial settlement will be taxable and bog down your score ... (See Debt and windfall)

2015 Balance Transfer Survey: Shop around for the best deal -- Balance transfer deals are stable this year, a survey revealed, and balance-carrying cardholders should take advantage of offers soon before interest rates rise ... (See Balance transfer survey)

Rating fraud: Not all security breaches are equal -- Different types of fraud have different risks involved. Knowing those risks might save you a headache ... (See Fraud risk)

How hard and soft inquiries affect your credit score -- Credit inquiries can be either soft or hard, and your credit score can suffer damage if you drop too many hard inquiries into it ... (See Credit inquiries)

Combining cards: Rolling 2 credit limits into 1 card -- Have two cards from one issuer? Trying combining credit limits before you close one ... (See Combining cards)

Closing only card means no score, no mortgage -- With no credit activity, no credit score can be generated, which eliminates the possibility of you being approved for a mortgage ... (See No score, no mortgage)

Younger borrowers closing delinquency gap -- Younger people have higher expectations of missing a debt payment, survey finds ... (See Young borrowers' delinquency )

How long to wait to apply for another rewards card -- Don’t apply too aggressively -- for the sake of your credit and budget ... (See Rewards)

7 secrets of extreme credit card owners -- How seekers of big rewards, discounts manage 10, 20, 30 cards ... (See Extreme cardholder secrets)

7 things you need to know about gift cards -- Some things have changed about gift cards over the years. Here's what to know about the No. 1 requested present ... (See Gift cards)

Take care closing card accounts before mortgage application -- If you're not careful with your charging habits, closing card accounts can hurt your chances of getting a mortgage ... (See Closing cards before mortgage)

Mortgage after bankruptcy, divorce: You need time -- Low mortgage rates will not be available immediately after filing for bankruptcy. But patience and credit-building will help in getting a loan at a decent rate ... (See Mortgage after bankruptcy )

Raise credit score 30 points in 6 months? Tough, but doable -- Attention to bill-paying, credit utilization -- plus enough cash to whittle down debt -- can get it done ... (See 30 points )

Watchdog agencies announce debt collection crackdown -- Federal and state regulators announced a coordinated effort to fight a growing tide of debt collection abuses ... (more)

'Coined' author Kabir Sehgal: Credit cards make money abstract -- Kabir Sehgal talks about the history of money and credit, and its relationship to humankind in his new book "Coined, The Rich Life of Money and How Its History Has Shaped Us" ... (See Kabir Sehgal Q&A)

Great credit score means you should reap rewards -- The longer you've used credit successfully, the less harm you'll do by getting some new cards, and big sign-up bonuses make it worthwhile ... (See Reap credit rewards)

Fed: Banks make credit flow a bit easier -- Consumers' appetite for cards grew in the third quarter, while banks were somewhat more willing to serve up new cards ... (See Credit terms ease)

Credit utilization important for businesses, too -- Paying your balance in full every month is ideal but if you can't manage that, keep your balance as low as possible ... (See Business credit)

Card-linked offers: Shopping deals you're not aware of -- Card-linked offers are automatic discounts applied when you use a certain credit card at a participating merchant ... (See Card-linked offers)

With low-limit cards, watch credit utilization closely -- Building your credit with a $300 limit card means if you buy a big-ticket item, don't wait, send in an extra payment ... (See Low limit card utilization)

Withholding a card payment: It's your right, but take care -- Withholding a payment in a billing or product dispute is legal, but you need to take these specific steps if you want it to stick ... (See Withholding payments)

Beyond bankruptcy: What happens when you fail Chapter 13 -- Americans who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy are more likely than not to fail completing the debt repayment plan. Understanding why, and what comes next, can help you avoid common pitfalls ... (See Fail at bankruptcy)

How long negative information stays on a credit report -- Late fees will not affect a credit score, while a late payment history will -- at least, until it drops off a credit report in seven years ... (See Negative credit information)

Lyft, Uber ride-share drivers in a hurry to pay down debt -- Large number of ride-share drivers use spare income to pay down big bills ... (See Ride-share drivers' debt)

Card issuer unlikely to hold a grudge for very old debt -- Once bad payment history falls off a credit report, card issuers are more likely to approve credit ... (See Issuer grudge)

Survey: Many fail at online security basics -- Simple steps, such as closing a Web browser when one is finished using an online account, can reduce the risk of fraud and identity theft, the survey by Experian's ProtectMyID found ... (See Online security survey )

Balancing need to save against urge to earn rewards -- Consider your spending habits and self-discipline to create a plan that you can stick to ... (See Rewards)

Pint-sized super savers -- Kids who prefer saving to spending are rare, and a parenting challenge ... (See Young super savers )

Most banks invisible on federal complaint website -- A gap in consumer protection law exempts thousands of smaller banks from the federal government's public complaint records ... (See Invisible bank complaints )

Autopay clients leave you open to more fraud, not EMV liability -- When customers use automatic payments, it's considered a card-not-present transaction. Those sales are not covered by the EMV liability shift rules instituted in October ... (See Autopay and EMV)

How paying more than the minimum helps build credit -- Paying more than the minimum is good not only for your credit, but for your entire financial well-being ... (See Minimum payment)

8 myths surrounding bankruptcy -- Filing for bankruptcy is a huge financial step, and many jump in with misconceptions of what it will and won't do ... (See Bankruptcy myths)

Maxed-out card blocks entry to 800 credit score 'club' -- One card with a high utiliization is enough to prevent a good credit score from becoming nearly perfect ... (See 800 club)

Which cards are best for renting a car -- Save money by knowing your insurance needs, what your card covers ... (See Best car rental card)

Emancipated 17-year-old rejected for credit -- She can live independently, but banks won't issue her a card ... (See Rejected)

Quick Tip video: What are variable interest rates? -- What are variable interest rates and how will they affect you? Find out in this Quick Tip video ... (See Variable interest)

Mystery bill may signal error, memory failure or fraud -- If an unknown credit card bill shows up in your mailbox, it's time to take a closer look at what is on your credit report ... (See Mystery credit card bill)

Payday lender prepaid cards: the worst plastic in the world? -- Payday lender cards "feature" a slew of gotchas and fees -- even for on-time payments ... (See Payday loan prepaid cards)

Joint card account means sharing gambling charges -- Getting a fraud alert for the gambling you charged on a joint credit card is a sign to come clean ... (See Gambling)

Getting a credit card after bankruptcy can help credit score -- A post-bankruptcy credit card is one step toward restoring your credit score, but there are others, too ... (See Credit after bankruptcy)

Retail card survey 2015: Average APRs inch up -- The average APR on the credit cards from America's largest retailers has risen to 23.43 percent, according a survey ... (See 2015 Retail Card Survey)

Chart: 2015 Retail Card Survey data -- In the market for a retail card? Our 2015 survey data offers store-by-store details to help you find the right one for you ... (See Retail card survey data )

The scariest things on your credit report -- Avoid a credit scare by seeing what lurks in your credit reports ... (See Credit report)

Closing a new card won't undo credit score hit -- Even if you haven't used the card, you've suffered ding to your score already. Why not keep it, since it may be of use? ... (See Credit score)

Luxury reward perks: What you get for paying big annual fee -- Beyond free flights lies a world of exclusive privilege, if you're willing to pay the annual fees ... (See Luxury perks)

Author argues have-nots better served by postal banking -- In "How the Other Half Banks," law professor Mehrsa Baradaran says the best bank for the poor already has branches, and blue boxes, everywhere ... (See Postal banking)

Card rate too high? Negotiate a better one or transfer balance -- If you've been paying on time for a long time, you shouldn't be stuck with a 29 percent APR. Ask for a lower one; if they say no, transfer the balance ... (See Rate's too high)

Roadside assistance, your credit card's little-known benefit -- If your car breaks down by the side of the road, in some cases your credit card company won't leave you stranded ... (See Roadside assistance)

Forgotten card leads to post-divorce strife -- Shared cards during a marriage can create havoc after it's dissolved ... (See Shared cards)

Think you're a joint account holder? Think again -- Sharing a card can backfire when it comes to who's really liable for the bill ... (See Joint accounts)

How late payments get reported to credit bureaus -- First comes the late fee; if you still don't pay your score takes a hit ... (See Late payments)

Fed: Card balances rise for 6th straight month -- The country’s revolving debt balance grew 5.3 percent August, marking the sixth consecutive month of growth this year, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday ... (See Consumer credit )

Once student loans are paid, a second card may be in order -- One option to keep scores climbing is to open another card ... (See Credit score)

Can I earn grocery rewards points at Wal-Mart? -- Merchant category code classifications matter when using rewards cards ... (See Merchant Category Codes)

US card acceptance abroad grows, even at kiosks -- Travelers' woes diminish as new data suggests the vast majority of U.S. Visa cards work abroad, even at previously troublesome payment machines ... (See Card acceptance abroad)

Repeat balance transfers cut debt, but control spending, too -- To really eliminate debt, you have to do more than transfer debt from one 0 percent credit card to another ... (See Repeat balance transfers)

5 things to do now to avoid holiday debt -- It might be incredibly annoying to hear “Jingle Bells” in stores right after Labor Day, but when you think about it, retailers might be doing you a favor. ... (See Holiday debt)

Even paid-off cards usually canceled in bankruptcy -- If a card has no balance, you'll still end up losing it ... (See Credit cards during bankruptcy)

7 merchant tips to understanding EMV fraud liability shift -- Merchants who can't process chip card payments may shoulder consumer fraud costs if an incident occurs and they're not "EMV-ready." Here's what you should know about the EMV fraud liability shift: ... (See EMV )

Survey: Average card rate stuck at 15% for 15th week -- Sept. 30, 2015: Interest rates on new credit card offers remained locked in place again this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rate report)

Card tips for rebuilding credit after bankruptcy -- After bankruptcy, how many cards will it take to rebuild credit scores? ... (See Credit scores)

With chip card switch upon us, who do I call about fraud? -- Retailers will start to shoulder some responsibility for fraudulent charges, but consumers will see few differences starting Oct. 1 ... (See EMV fraud)

Banks making refunds for add-on products -- Fifth Third bank agreed to refund some $3 million to about 24,500 customers for debt protection coverage that regulators say was marketed falsely ... (See Add-on marketing refunds)

Why bankruptcy of the rich and famous is nothing like yours -- How the rich and famous stay wealthy post-bankruptcy while regular folks who file don't ... (See Bankruptcy)

Getting a second balance transfer card harder than the first -- You got a balance transfer card, but for only part of your debt. Your odds of getting a second card are good, but will nip again at your credit score ... (See 2nd balance transfer)

ID thief may pay bills on stolen card, but needs to be turned in -- Police and card issuer need to know about the crime ... (See ID theft)

How to avoid big costs of deferred-interest financing deals -- No-interest financing is tricky, especially if you have more than one balance on the card. Here's how to avoid hefty costs for back interest ... (See Deferred interest)

New subprime accounts power credit card growth -- New subprime accounts, driven by millennials, power growth ... (See New credit accounts)

After 10 years abroad, credit record must be restarted -- Even the most pristine credit record will be erased by a decade of inactivity. Starting over will require patience and work. Here's how. ... (See Rebuilding credit)

Retailers roll out layaway plans early for 2015 holidays -- Holiday layaway programs launched before Labor Day cookouts even started this year, and more retailers are moving layaway online to vie for business ... (See Layaway 2015)

5 ideas to deal with your betrothed's debt before marriage -- If your beloved carries significant credit card debt, it's likely to figure into your marriage in some way. Take steps now to handle the emotional and financial aspects ... (See Engaged, in debt)

9 debt negotiation tips for introverts -- Looking for better card terms? Your aversion to small talk may give you an edge. ... (See Introverts)

Cards have no built-in policies that pay off after death -- You can buy add-on insurance to pay the debt after you die, but it's usually not worth the price ... (See Debt after death)

Money epiphanies: Hearing, heeding the call to change -- People who were deep in debt or just needed to change describe their powerful money moments ... (See Money epiphanies)

Wife has lower score, but gets better prescreened card offers -- Her husband's credit score is over 800, so why are issuers ignoring him? ... (See Scores)

Empty nest, full wallet: How to do it -- The kids are permanently away. Time to pull out the credit cards and play? Not so fast ... (See Empty next, full wallet)

Spouse committed fraud, ran up debt, but we're still together -- With $10,000 debt in collections, an 850 credit score is not on the horizon ... (more)

Authorized users don't have to share credit reports -- Getting added to another's card doesn't mean they are privy to your private information ... (See Authorized user)

Credit card fraud and ID theft statistics -- Credit card fraud and identity theft are big worries these days, and we've got the statistics to back it up ... (See Fraud statistics)

My husband won't let me get an EMV chip card for our European trip! -- Many card issuers have switched to EMV chips, but some still have only magnetic stripes. Does it matter? ... (See EMV card )

Poll: 32 million adults have started shopping for the holidays -- The calendar still says summer, but millions of Americans have already started -- and a few have even finished -- their holiday shopping. ... (See Early holiday shopping poll)

Avoiding fraud in a post-EMV world -- Think you can breathe a sigh of relief as EMV technology takes off? Not so fast. ... (See EMV fraud)

A 29.99% card APR is too high, even with bad credit -- Spurn that really bad offer, try these other credit-building methods first ... (See APR too high)

Halt card spending until after mortgage closes -- Going on a card-spending binge before you close can jeopardize your home loan ... (See Credit cards and mortgages)

4 ways students can build credit -- Building a credit history while in college helps make life afterward a bit easier. Here are four tips to building credit as a student ... (See Student credit)

Minimizing score damage after a charge-off -- Having credit card accounts closed and charged off will cause a huge credit score drop, and it could get worse if you don't take steps ... (See Rebuild score after charge-off)

Debt can be voided if signer was a minor -- Unpaid medical bills can generally be disputed if incurred before the age of 18 ... (See Minors)

Credit balances: what happens if you overpay your card bill -- Your money is protected by federal banking rules, but getting it back requires effort, and a big overpayment can trigger a fraud investigation ... (See Overpay)

Fed consumer credit report: Card balances rise 5.7 percent -- The national revolving debt balance rose 5.7 percent to $914.6 billion in July, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday ... (See Consumer credit report)

Basics of minimum payments -- If your minimum payment is $50 but you owe $25, just pay the $25 ... (more)

Study: We underestimate our credit card debt -- We accurately recall other types of debt, but not card debt, says a newly updated Federal Reserve report ... (See Underestimate card debt)

Don't ignore summons for unpaid card debt -- You may have nothing to fork over, but not responding can cause further damage ... (See Summons)

3 questions to ask before refinancing your student loans -- As the amount of student loan debt continue to rise, borrowers weigh the risks and benefits of refinancing ... (See Student loans)

5 questions every authorized user should ask -- "Piggybacking" -- being added as an authorized user -- is usually a credit-boosting gift, but needs to be looked over carefully first ... (See Authorized user)

You did WHAT to pay off your debt? -- From selling plasma to leaving the country, these debt payoff stories should inspire ... (See Debt payoff)

Credit score impact of store card financing deals -- Financing a big-ticket item short-term shouldn't have long-term credit score impact ... (See Store card)

Smart balance transfer: Do the math, change your spending habits -- Don't throw away the savings a balance transfer offers by continuing to overspend on cards ... (See Smart balance transfer)

Author Carl Richards simplifies financial plans -- With his new book, "The One-Page Financial Plan," Carl Richards expands his Sharpie-and-a-napkin approach to financial management ... (See Financial plans)

Credit card advice for a 'debit card kind of guy' -- Debt and bad money habits are the enemies. Those old store cards? They're your pals ... (See Debit guy)

Steps to remove yourself from mom's card -- It's best to apply for a new card before removing yourself as an authorized user on another ... (See Authorized user)

Student card survey: Offers fewer but more generous -- The Credit CARD Act of 2009 imposed restrictions that thinned the ranks of student-oriented cards, but those that remain are pretty good, our survey finds ... (See Student card survey)

Need a small-business loan? 3 ways to beat the big-bank brush-off -- Small banks tend to have higher approval rates for small-business loans. Here's how to improve your chances of getting one ... (See Business credit)

Collectors have numerous ways to get money from entrepreneur -- Some small-business owners don't get regular paychecks, which makes it harder for debt collectors to garnish their wages. But they can still find other ways to collect ... (See Business debt)

How a car repossession affects your credit -- Between late payments and collections, a repo can cause a 100-point score drop ... (See Repossession)

Explain medical debt with 100-word statement -- You should add a 100-word statement to your credit report explaining your late payment due to medical debt -- but don't forget to remove it later ... (more)

Ex still charging on old joint card account -- She thought all the cards had been closed. Years later, she finds out she was wrong ... (See Joint account)

How average credit account age affects your FICO score -- The average age of the various types of credit plays a significant part in determining your credit score ... (See Age of credit accounts)

Survey: Average card rates hold steady at 15% for 9th week -- Aug. 19, 2015: Average credit card interest rates remained cemented in place Wednesday, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

8 smart ways to fund gender reassignment costs -- Funding the transition from one gender to another requires careful planning ... (See Gender reassignment)

When credit card interest is applied -- Newbies often don't know that most cards can be used without paying interest ... (See Credit building)

Mobile banking becoming a consumer favorite -- As banking by cellphone takes off, branches are falling out of favor as American consumers' favorite way to do their financial business ... (See Mobile banking survey)

Buying a car with no credit: 6 things to know -- Even with bad or no credit it is possible to get a vehicle. Here are 6 keys to know before you make your purchase ... (See Car loan with no credit)

Accepting credit cards won't affect nonprofit's tax status -- Getting a credit card reader to accept donations won't impact the personal finances of the person who opened the organization's business account ... (See Nonprofit)

Study: 8 in 10 Americans saddled with some form of debt -- Findings of a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts suggest younger generations are growing more wary of borrowing ... (See Pew debt study)

Yes, raid kid's college fund to pay $30,000 card debt -- College funds are good and important, but if they jeopardize a family's financial health, hard decisions have to be made ... (See Raid college fund)

Household debt report: Credit card balances highest since 2010 -- Balances on credit cards climbed to their highest mark in several years in the second quarter, according to a new government report, reinforcing other signs that card use is climbing as the economy strengthens ... (See Household debt)

5 credit score oddities -- Quirks in the credit scoring formula make unexpected things help or hurt ... (See Credit score oddities)

Help your score rebound after card issuer closes account -- Ways to recover your score after losing an open credit line ... (See Closed card)

How to manage different balances on one card -- Know the best payoff method for a card with varying APRs on different balances ... (See Multiple balances)

5 reasons you need good credit in retirement -- You may be about to retire but your credit isn't -- and shouldn't. ... (See Retirement)

What to do when your retail store card switches banks -- When a new bank issues your retail card, changes in the rewards and the card's terms can follow ... (See Retail card switch)

Video: Small-merchant guide to EMV credit cards -- Small businesses have been slow to upgrade to terminals that can read EMV chip cards. Here's what they need to know about making the switch ... (See EMV merchant)

Clearing authorized card user account information -- The simplest way to remove negative information generated from an authorized user account is to be removed from the account ... (See Authorized user)

7 tips for using budget apps safely -- Banks usually would cover fraudulent charges if your information were stolen in a breach. But there are other risks in putting all your account information in one app ... (See Using budget apps safely)

How banks limit the size of your balance transfer -- You may see a balance transfer to a 0-percent card as a way out of debt, but to the bank, it's new credit and you have to qualify for it ... (See Balance transfer)

Rate survey: Average card rate sits tight at 15 percent -- Aug. 5, 2015: Interest rates on new credit card offers held still this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

How to build a credit score with your first card -- Should you use the card a little or a lot to ramp up your credit score? ... (See First card)

5 steps to prepare your finances for a startup -- Too many entrepreneurs rush into launching their business without adequate preparation, which can lead to a cash flow crunch ... (See Startup finances)

How, when to get your file from specialty reporting agencies -- Little-known specialized bureaus have dossiers of important data, and you can often get their file on you for free ... (See Specialized reports)

Identity theft packs an emotional toll -- A high percentage of identity theft victims feel stress at the violation, studies show ... (See Emotional toll)

Where to turn for help with overwhelming debt -- When bankruptcy and debt settlement sound like bad ideas, where else can you ask for help? ... (See Credit counseling)

Out of 11 cards, which 7 do I cancel? -- Having a zero balance on all the cards makes credit score impact minimal ... (See Canceling a card)

Credit card delinquencies improve despite economic chill -- U.S. consumers improved their on-time payment performance on credit card bills during the first quarter, despite shrinkage in the economy ... (See Delinquency statistics)

Credit card use and availability statistics -- How available is credit for U.S. consumers and how are we using it? Our research team investigates the trends in statistics ... (See Card use statistics)

How credit reports handle balance transfers -- If your payment record was good, try to keep both the new and old accounts open -- it'll help your credit score ... (See Balance transfer)

Privacy or rewards? Some card programs force you to choose -- Some banks won't let you fully participate in their rewards program if you opt out of them sharing your data ... (See Rewards vs. privacy)

Mom steals ID, racks up debt, ruins daughter's credit -- Reluctant to turn her mom in, a daughter now faces thousands in debt that she can't repay ... (See Theft)

Getting the best exchange rate abroad -- Credit and debit cards offer the best rates for purchases, but there are a few pitfalls to avoid ... (See Exchange rates)

Business at risk in personal bankruptcy -- In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may have to give up your business, even if it's failing ... (See Bankruptcy)

Cities with the biggest, smallest credit card debt burdens -- People on the coasts aren't known for frugal living, but when you consider their income, they carry the lightest credit card debt ... (See City debt burden)

Be cautious with new credit when considering bankruptcy -- Getting a new credit card when you're about to file bankruptcy is rarely a wise idea ... (See Considering bankrputcy)

Secured card may be best when on a fixed income -- With your deposit as your credit line, you can't spend more than what you can repay ... (See Secured card)

What to say (and NOT say) to debt collectors -- When a debt collector calls, you may be tempted to lose your cool. This video shows you how to handle that dreaded phone call ... (See When debt collectors call)

How credit cards saved my vacation -- As intrepid travelers know well, few trips go perfectly as planned. That's when your credit card can come to the rescue. ... (See Vacation)

Tips to boost credit score enough to qualify for a mortgage -- Low and mismanaged credit can be bumped up by taking these three credit card actions ... (See Improve score)

How a balance transfer card can boost FICO score -- Opening a new line of credit can boost your rating by reducing your overall debt-to-credit-limit ratio ... (See Balance transfer)

You've paid off your debt. Now what? -- Being debt-free comes with new disposable income. Here’s how to manage it. ... (See Debt-free)

Business debt caused by partner's con? You're still on the hook -- A business owner must pay credit card debt he owes, even though it was caused by an ex- business partner's shenanigans ... (See Business debt)

What to do if you fail your debt management plan -- DMPs help you dig your way out of debt, but it's not for everyone ... (See DMP)

Can too many cards lead to loan rejection? -- According to FICO, there is no such thing as a penalty for too much unused credit ... (See Rejection)

Video: Debt collector calling? Know your rights -- Find out what a debt collector can and cannot say when they call you ... (See Debt collector)

Myth: Too much available credit hurts home loan -- If you have many cards with little or no balances, closing them won't boost your credit score ... (See Myth)

2015 credit card fee survey: Average card carries 6 fees -- Credit card issuers are showing an ever-increasing appetite for fees, a new survey from shows, with the average card carrying six different fees. ... (See Fee survey)

The upside of an adverse action notice -- An adverse action notice provides insight into building a brighter financial future ... (See Adverse action)

Don't let new card's annual fee take you by surprise -- When applying for a new card, take the time to review its fee structure before you sign up ... (See Fees)

Perks multiply in latest generation of elite cards -- Why shell out $400 a year or more just to carry a super premium credit card? It's all about the perks. ... (See Elite cards)

Rewards earned via business spending are tax-free, for now -- The IRS has been consistent in its interpretations, but increasing complexity could prompt changes ... (See Tax free rewards)

3 ways to strengthen weak or nonexistent credit -- Building up your credit will take work and time. But knowing where to get started is key ... (See Strengthening credit)

Setting payment priorities for cards, co-signed student loans -- The interest rates on the various loans will have a lot to say about which you should tackle first ... (See Prioritizing payments)

New mobile sale apps help make a dent in your debt -- Apps and specialized websites are making personal sales simpler, safer and more lucrative than ever before. ... (See Mobile sales)

Build credit before house hunting -- The desire to own a home may be strong, but with no credit, it's just a dream ... (See Home buying)

Credit scores recover quickly from short-term debt -- If a brief, big debt surge is necessary, do it. Eating up your credit limit will hurt your credit score, but you can recover quickly with no lingering damage ... (See Short-term debt)

Survey: Average card rates remain at 15 percent for a 3rd week -- July 1, 2015: Interest rates on new credit card offers remained untouched this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

6 things to know before buying identity-theft protection -- Thinking about paying for a service that offers identity-theft protection? Know these six things first ... (See ID theft protection questions)

Business and personal expenses better on separate cards -- You can legally use a small-business credit card for all of your spending, but there are advantages to keeping them separate ... (See Separate business card)

Canceling card doesn't wipe out charges for recurring services -- Once you allow recurring charges, they're tough to turn off, but canceling a card will just risk damaging your credit score and won't erase your obligation to pay ... (See Recurring charges)

Statute of limitations doesn't wipe credit slate clean -- Once a debt has passed the statute of limitations, that doesn't mean it gets wiped off your credit report ... (See Old debts)

Push notifications: the future of bank communication -- Six reasons push notifications will dominate mobile banking in the future ... (See Push notifications)

Banks' internal 'behavior scores' can decide cardholder terms -- If you apply for a new card or higher limit from your existing card issuer, they'll judge you with a proprietary 'behavior score' that looks at how you've used their card before ... (See Behavior score)

When does interest begin accruing on charges? -- For those new to credit, it helps to know how interest can add to your balance ... (See When interest charges begin)

Video: Protecting your child from ID theft -- A child's identity is much more valuable to thieves than an adult's because the theft will often go undetected for years. Here are steps you can take to protect your child from identity theft ... (See Child ID theft)

Don't fall for Internet loan scam out of desperation -- After bankruptcy, your choices for personal loans will be limited, but don't make a bad one ... (See Online loan scam)

Same-sex marriages mean joint debt issues -- Millions of Americans now will confront the financial intricacies of marriage, including what happens to jointly owned property, debt ... (See Same-sex marriage and debt)

3 quick, easy, inexpensive credit score rebuilding tools -- Paying off all your debt at once will help, but it won't rebuild a slumping credit score by itself. To speed the process, add some new, positive loan payment history. Here's how ... (See Credit rebuilding)

Poll: Americans sleeping better as economy recovers -- A scientific survey commissioned by finds money worries don't keep us awake as often, but retirement and education still make for sleepless nights ... (See Losing sleep poll)

For uncontrolled spenders, cash-only may be the right lifestyle -- Despite the benefits of credit cards -- convenience, purchase guarantees and rewards -- plastic is simply too convenient for some consumers to handle. If you're one of them it may be time to switch to a cash-only lifestyle ... (See Cash-only)

Score impact of maxing out 3rd line of credit -- Maxing out credit cards is never a good idea, but as long as you pay them off quickly, your score will rebound ... (See Maxing out cards)

Paying a utility bill on a rewards card to earn points -- If you pay off your credit card balance in full every month, it makes sense to put as many expenses as you can on your card -- if you can avoid fees ... (See Utility rewards)

Notify card issuer immediately if accountholder dies -- Pick up the phone and let the credit card company know; it prevents new charges and identity theft ... (See Deceased)

Are you living with an identity thief? -- Deleted computer search histories and mysterious packages arriving in the mail can point to a fraudster living under your roof ... (See Fraudster)

Don't ignore divorce decree debt mandate -- If the court says you're liable for a debt, even if the bank says you're not, pay up or expect to face a contempt charge ... (See Divorce)

FCC allows fraud alerts on cellphones -- The federal agency toughens rules against spam calls on cellphones, but creates an exception for banks to alert their customers to fraud ... (See Cellphone fraud alerts)

The facts behind debt reduction methods -- How your credit score is affected by a debt reduction plan depends on what type of action you are taking. It helps to know the facts before choosing a method ... (See Debt reduction)

Money advice from famous TV dads -- Sheriff Andy Taylor, Ben Cartwright, Louis Huang and even Homer Simpson can give financial lessons ... (See Money advice from TV dads)

Average card rates remain at 14.99 percent for fifth week -- June 17, 2015: Interest rates on new credit card offers remained cemented in place Wednesday, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rate reports)

Using credit to manage monthly income swings -- Rich one month, poor the next? If handled wisely -- and only occasionally -- credit cards can be a lifeline ... (See Income swings)

Credit score impact of multiple balance transfers -- Moving debt from one balance transfer card to another can damage your credit ... (See Transfer)

11 credit card travel insurance benefits -- Your credit card may offer extra insurance protection when you travel. Here are 11 benefits to consider ... (See Travel benefits)

Your 3 options when consolidating card debt -- A balance transfer, bank loan and debt management plan can all work to consolidate big credit card debts, but only one will be right for you ... (See Consolidate)

Credit counselors turn to student debt -- Agencies that help people erase card debt are retooling, but not everyone thinks they have the solution to student loan woes ... (See Student debt)

Chasing rewards points backfires when debt piles up -- If a family member who's an authorized user racks up debt on a rewards card, there may be other, less-traditional options for getting it paid back ... (See Chasing rewards)

Credit score still damaged after report error fixed -- A "rapid rescore" won't fix a credit issue, but digging deeper into the credit score issue will help ... (See Credit score fix)

Don't be duped into signing up for a store credit card -- Protect your credit by refraining from spontaneous store sign-ups ... (See Retail card)

How to sign up for bank alerts on your cellphone (and why you should) -- Financial institutions don't make it easy, but financial alerts can stop fraud and help you stay on top of your personal finances ... (See Phone alerts)

How to dispute a debit card purchase -- The protections aren't the same as credit cards, but you may not be completely out of luck ... (See Debit dispute)

Your daughter ran up the debt, she should pay it -- As a student with no income, your daughter shouldn't have been issued a card. But she did, and she used it, so she should deal with it ... (See Pay debt)

Your rights under the Fair Credit Billing Act -- The FCBA allows you to dispute charges and temporarily withhold payment without hurting your credit score ... (See FCBA)

Mom with dementia sued for card debt -- By the time a credit card issuer files a lawsuit for unpaid debt, it's already late in the debt-collection process, but you still have options ... (See Dementia)

Credit card market share statistics -- The top 10 U.S. banks issue nearly 90 percent of all the credit cards. Find out who the major players are, how much of the market they control and how much the overall market is growing ... (See Market share)

How credit mix is calculated in FICO scores -- Having a variety of credit - a good "credit mix" - is the last and often overlooked component to the FICO score formula, but is still vital to a good score ... (See Credit mix)

Paying off multiple 0-percent cards, all with balances -- One good thing: The math is easy since you don't have interest to worry about ... (See 0-percent)

I changed my mind: Can I cancel new card, avoid annual fee? -- Know all card fees before you apply or else you may be stuck with a card you don't want ... (See Annual fee)

2015 Cash Advance Survey: Convenient cash will cost you plenty -- Credit card cash advances are convenient, but use with caution: Such transactions come with surprising extra costs, according to a new survey of 100 cards' cash advance policies ... (See Cash advance survey)

6 debt consolidation traps and how to avoid them -- Debt consolidation allows you to lump multiple debts into one loan, usually with a lower interest rate. But fall into one of these traps and you could end up worse off than when you started ... (See Debt consolidation traps)

Fixing damaged credit? First, create a budget -- In fixing damaged credit, regular payments are a must, and you have to get a budget before you can know what you can afford to pay ... (See Budget)

Dissolving joint debt post-divorce dicey -- Dragging out joint debt obligations after divorce opens door for all sorts of problems ... (See Post-divorce debt)

How finance companies differ from credit cards, banks -- Consumer finance companies offer an alternative way to pay for big-ticket items. But look before you leap. ... (See Finance companies)

To boost score, let credit utilization guide your debt payoff -- For the best credit score boost, neither the debt snowball nor the 'highest rate' method is best. Instead, let credit utilization guide your payment allocation ... (See Debt payoff plan)

Credit card delinquency statistics -- Our team has compiled statistics on U.S. credit card delinquencies over the years, collections, bankruptcies and much more ... (See Delinquency stats)

Computer financing options for credit newbie -- A 20-year-old weighs a loan versus a credit card for new computer purchase ... (See Options)

Debt problems plague troops after military service ends -- Returning military service members often face a barrage of personal finance problems ... (See Troops)

Reporting stolen cards on someone else's behalf -- If a friend or relative has lost track of credit cards, you can help, but only in a limited way ... (See Help)

Finally got a zero balance? Good! Now change credit strategy -- After paying off retail cards and shedding all debt, don't slam the door on credit. Keep accounts open and maybe use one occasionally to keep your score up ... (See Paid off)

Survey: Employees less likely to borrow on cards for necessities -- A fifth of employees have to borrow on their credit cards to pay for monthly necessities, a study by PwC shows, but overall, workers' financial wellness is improving ... (See Employees' financial wellness)

Why credit limits aren't revealed until after you get the card -- Banks don't disclose what your credit limit will be until after you get the card, which means consumers are deprived of a piece of information critical to making an intelligent choice ... (See Credit limit secrecy)

New US resident must rebuild credit -- Unfortunately, a positive credit file built up in another country doesn't follow you here. Here's how to start over ... (See Credit building)

Poll: Fraud alert false alarms common -- As banks get more aggressive in combating fraud, about 7 in 10 Americans contacted about possible fraud received at least one alert in error ... (See False alerts)

Finding a single reward card for the whole family -- If you're looking to consolidate all household charges on one statement, consider adding family as authorized users ... (See Authorized users)

To get a business loan, you may need to buff personal credit -- Getting business credit before establishing good personal credit is like trying to learn to run before you can crawl. Take the first step by establishing good credit practices ... (See Building business credit)

5 tips for negotiating rewards cards' annual fees -- Credit card issuers can be surprisingly receptive to cardholders who are seeking a break on their annual fees. They won't always waive them, but you may walk away with a discount or bonus points ... (See Negotiating rewards card fee)

How I fared when I asked for fee waivers on rewards cards -- reporter Tony Mecia tries his hand at getting a deal on his annual fees. The results were encouraging ... (See Annual fee waiver)

Card offer in someone else's name probably not ID theft -- Keep up your guard, but sometimes junk mail is just junk mail ... (See Junk mail)

How to combat 5 common female financial fears -- Female financial professionals describe the fiscal woes women typically shoulder and how they can be managed -- or avoided altogether ... (See Women's money fears)

Defaulted business cards result in tax liability -- Canceled business card debt can resurface as income owed to the IRS ... (See 1099-C)

Getting a mortgage? Pay debts, go easy on charging -- The time between getting preapproved for a mortgage and the closing date on your home is crucial for your credit, so don't blow it by overborrowing ... (See Mortgages and card use)

NY Fed: Debt in collection shrinks -- The percentage of accounts in collections and the average size of those debts both shrank, according to new data from the New York Fed. ... (See Debt in collections)

Advances in fraud analytics promise to stop crooks, not you -- Geolocation technology and better analytics should help card issuers more accurately determine when it's a fraudster using your card and when it's you ... (See Anti-fraud technology)

How to tell if a 'friend' stole your identity -- Sharing too much information with sketchy "friends" can put you at risk ... (See ID theft by "friend")

On a foreign trip, should I use credit cards at ATMs? -- The cards you use in the U.S. will probably work fine for international travels, but here are your options ... (See Foreign ATMs)

Banks to erase some bad debts on credit reports -- Chase, BofA promised to remove black marks related to debts that were extinguished in bankruptcy, under pressure from judge ... (See Erase debt)

Your rights when disputing fraudulent charges on a business card -- If a fleet card that wasn't being used by a small bushiness is suddenly maxed out, the owner's right to dispute and void the charges is similar to the rights for consumer cards ... (See Fraud charges)

After one spouse dies, card debt likely impacts the other -- If one spouse dies owing substantial credit card debt, the living spouse can feel the effect, even if it was a solo account not in a community property state ... (See Spousal debt after death)

How to shop (somewhat) anonymously -- Worried about your personal information falling into the hands of data brokers or ID thieves? You can protect it at least somewhat without having to resort to cash-only buying ... (See Shopping (somewhat) anonymously)

Don't succumb to lure of debt settlement firm -- Don't pay someone to reduce your debts when you can do it yourself for free ... (See Debt settlement)

Credit card balances rise in March -- Consumers' revolving debt load increased in March, ending two months of declining balances ... (See Fed consumer credit report)

Got a cellphone? Here come Smishing scams -- Think you're too savvy to fall for email scams? Fraudsters have a new tactic that targets your new constant companion -- your cellphone ... (See Smishing)

How mortgage settlements affect your score (and for how long) -- It's been years since the recession thrust millions of homeowners into default. If you've paid your other bills, maybe you can qualify for another mortgage ... (See Deed on report)

What ID thieves do with the financial data they steal -- High-tech hackers get all the headlines, but an analysis of identity theft claims data by Travelers show the most common way stolen data gets used is a low-tech one: Thieves snatch a card, then go out and use it ... (See Use of stolen card data)

Cover sudden pet bills with emergency card -- Having a $0 balance card on hand to cover an unexpected vet bill can be a smart move ... (See Pet insurance vs. emergency card)

Sorry, Mom: Poll says mothers losing financial influence -- A scientific poll by finds that Americans say mothers are no longer their biggest financial influence. Instead, we rely on self-taught lessons ... (See Money influencers poll)

Elder fraud cases on the rise -- Cons aimed at the elderly include a 'grandchild' in distress and threats from a government 'official.' They're effective and on the rise ... (See Elder fraud)

Most issuers like to know your travel plans -- Most credit card companies want to know your travel plans to prevent fraud alerts. But you should also choose the right card and make sure you have different payment options ... (See Travel plan notification)

Retail card account opens at your first purchase -- After you use the card, get the discount and take home the merchandise, it's too late to change your mind -- the card has been activated ... (See Retail card activation)

Video: Protect your privacy while using mobile shopping apps -- If you use shopping apps on your smartphone, you may be sacrificing your privacy in ways you aren't even aware of. Here are four steps you can take to protect yourself ... (See Mobile apps and privacy)

Even for old debt, settling beats other options -- Even if the statute of limitations is almost up for an old debt, you're better off settling than ignoring the debt or declaring bankruptcy ... (See Settling old debt)

Debt shifting helps your score, but paying it off is better -- Using balance transfers to shift a pile of debt so it's evenly distributed across cards can help a credit score, but paying off the debt helps much more ... (See Debt shifting)

Average APR on new card offers remains at 14.92 percent -- April 29, 2015: Interest rates on new card offers held steady Wednesday, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rates)

12 surefire ways to create money and credit problems -- Want to run perpetually short on funds, rack up massive debts and decimate your credit score? Do these things and you are sure to succeed ... (See Problems)

Saving for laptop trumps financing 'deals' -- With a little motivation and patience, you can save hundreds by saving for that new laptop purchase instead of opting for a financing deal ... (See Saving versus borrowing)

6 tips for talking to your adult kids about your finances -- Older parents need to tell kids if they're financially fine, or in a bit of trouble. Here's how to do it with the minimum of shock and tears ... (See Family finances)

HELOC vs. cash-out refinance for card debt repayment -- Before you acquire a home equity line of credit or cash-out refinance on your mortgage to get out of debt, there are other determining factors to consider for what may seem like a great idea ... (See Out of debt)

For sudden debt at age 75, the strategy's different -- At age 75, with an unexpected $45,000 in post-divorce credit card debt, the strategies become different: Seek counseling, but consider cutting payments to the minimum ... (See Divorce debt)

Synthetic identity theft crimes growing fast, targeting kids -- Synthetic identity theft is growing fast, and victims may be children or others who don't use credit, so they're unaware of the crime for years ... (See Synthetic identity theft)

401(k) accounts protected from collection -- After out-of-work husband runs up $30,000 on his wife's card, his wife wants to know if her 401(k) can be tapped for repayment ... (See Debt collection)

Why hard inquiries hurt your credit score -- Hard inquiries can be triggered after you have asked for more credit or by trying to rent an apartment. Once a inquiry hits, your score is knocked down a couple of points, and here is why ... (See Hard inquiry )

Create, restore credit with a credit-builder loan -- Credit-builder loans are small loans, made by some credit unions and a few banks, designed to help consumers establish or boost a credit profile ... (See Credit tool)

'Green' your spending with eco-friendly cards -- A handful of banks offer socially conscious credit cards that donate a percentage of your spending to environmental causes. ... (See Eco-friendly cards)

Pay off loan with balance transfer card? -- Using a 0 percent balance transfer card to pay off a high-interest personal loan can be smart if done right ... (See Loan pay off)

ABA study: Card delinquency stays low -- Despite an uptick at the end of 2014, delinquencies for credit cards issued by banks remained well below the 15-year average, American Bankers Association research shows ... (See Card delinquency)

What to do if your credit card rate goes up -- With the U.S. economy on the upswing, an interest rate hike is expected soon. That could be a shock for credit card holders, who will face a higher cost for carrying a balance. But there are a few things you can do to minimize the pain ... (See Rising rates)

Alternative lenders offer cheaper loans for more of your data -- If you're looking for a low rate loan, new startups are filling that gap, but require more data than what's on your credit report ... (See Alternative loans)

If you must pay less than the minimum, call and explain -- If it's short-term problem, take the initiative and call. If it's a long-term problem, get credit counseling ... (See Less than minimum)

Help! Ex left me with $45,000 in card debt -- A 75-year-old is stuck repaying $45,000 her ex racked up on three cards. ... (See Divorce debt)

Video: Answers to your most-common EMV questions -- As credit cards with secure chips begin to roll out across the U.S., we address some of the most frequently asked questions about them in a video interview with Smart Card Alliance head Randy Vanderhoof ... (See EMV answers)

Video: Do I need a PIN for my EMV credit card? -- New credit cards containing secure computer chips are being rolled out in the U.S. These EMV cards are sometimes called chip-and-PIN cards, which is confusing because you probably won't actually use a PIN like they do in other countries ... (See EMV PIN video)

Video: Will EMV credit cards protect my online purchases? -- New credit cards containing so-called EMV chips offer enhanced security for in-store purchases but not online purchases. In our ongoing series of frequently asked questions about EMV cards, Randy Vanderhoof, head of the Smart Card Alliance, explains why ... (See EMV fraud video)

Video: Will EMV chip cards work in NFC mobile wallets? -- Banks are issuing credit cards with enhanced security, known as EMV or chip-and-PIN cards. But what happens to that security when you use them in a mobile wallet? We asked Smart Card Alliance chief Randy Vanderhoof ... (See EMV and mobile wallets)

Your low-limit secured card strategy: Pay the bill early, often -- When you have a low limit card and want to build your credit score, time your payments so your credit utilization is lowest on the statement date, since that's when your issuer reports to the credit bureaus ... (See Pay early, often)

Video: Do I need to swipe my EMV credit card? -- Banks are issuing new credit and debit cards with EMV chips, which enable more secure transactions than magnetic stripes. In the first of our four-part series on frequently asked questions about EMV, we discuss why you may still need to swipe your card ... (See EMV swipe video)

How debt management plans affect your credit -- If severely in debt and behind on payments, your credit score is already hurting. Entering into a debt management plan can only help by showing timely payments ... (See DMP)

Poll: Right age to get a card? 22 -- Our national survey also finds millennials are conflicted about cards: They think they should have them early, yet one in four doesn't have one ... (See First card poll)

Financial heuristics: Creating money rules to live by -- We all have financial rules that are habits. Some help us save money, while others end up costing us. The key is to create rules that play into our financial end game. ... (See Financial heuristics)

Cut prescreened offers to reduce theft temptation -- When your mailbox is flooded with card offers, it may be best to opt-out to reduce any risk of a thief trying to apply for credit in your name ... (See Opt-out)

Paying a time-barred debt before mortgage application -- If an old unpaid debt is causing you to doubt whether to apply for a mortgage, see if it's gone beyond the collectible stage ... (See Time-barred debt)

4 ways to sabotage your child's financial independence -- It's natural for parents to want to continue supporting their children through college. But too much help can sabotage their financial independence ... (See Financial sabotage)

Canceled cards boost debt utilization ratio -- When you cut several cards from your wallet, you can reduce a big credit score hit by increasing the credit limits on your remaining cards ... (See Credit limits)

How to check your child's credit report -- With a few exceptions, children shouldn't have credit reports. If they do, it could be an indication of fraud. Here's how to find out ... (See Child's credit)

February 2015 credit card balances decline -- Credit card balances declined once again in February, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday. ... (See April 7, 2015, consumer credit report)

6 credit-based conspiracy theories -- To some, credit doesn't exist just to make paying for stuff easy and safe. Rather, a not-so-innocent back story with covert players is involved ... (See Conspiracies)

Authorized user must close deceased's account and move on -- After her husband dies, a widow who is an authorized user on his account must notify the card company of the death and open her own account ... (See Authorized user)

What kids should know about money, at what age -- Children as young as 3 can get started on a sound financial education. Following these milestones can help you guide them toward a financially healthy future ... (See Kids and money)

How 'microresolutions' can transform your finances -- 'Small Move, Big Change' author Caroline Arnold was tired of failing her New Year's resolutions, so she took a bold step to break them down in achievable actions ... (See Microresolutions)

Brother's got a near-perfect credit score? Go piggybacking -- Being added as an authorized user to an account with almost perfect credit will help boost your credit score and history. But is it as easy as it sounds? ... (See Piggybacking)

When no credit history leads to card rejection -- You need credit history to get a credit card, but issuers won't give you one unless you have credit. What's a college graduate student to do ... (See Credit history)

Survey: More cards bid farewell to foreign transaction fees -- Consumers looking for a card that won't tack extra fees onto purchases when traveling abroad now have more than 60 cards to choose from, according to's 2015 foreign transaction fee survey ... (See Foreign fee survey)

Authorized users can sometimes gain late cardholder's rewards -- If a primary cardholder passes away, an authorized user on the account is not usually entitled to the account's rewards points. But program providers are often more generous than their rules convey ... (See Inherit rewards)

Banks become more generous with card credit limits -- Credit card issuers are showing their confidence in consumers and the economy by boosting the number of card offers and the size of their credit limits, says a banking trade group report ... (See Credit limits increase)

Mobile payment statistics -- Mobile payments are taking off, but how high will this technology fly? We sort through the best statistics on the evolving pay-by-phone industry ... (See Mobile payment stats)

Near retirement age is the worst time to raid 401(k) -- When in your 50s, with retirement in sight, don't use your 401(k) as a piggy bank for a child's college and to pay off card debt. You need a financial plan more than a quick cash fix ... (See Near retirement)

Payday loan alternatives more important than ever -- Having an alternative to high-priced payday lenders -- always a good idea -- could become more so if a federal crackdown shutters some storefronts ... (See Payday alternatives)

Husband opened cards, ran up debt in your name? It's fraud -- After her husband racked up thousands on cards he opened in her name, step one in cleaning up the mess is reporting his fraud ... (See Husband fraud)

Length of credit history matters more when you're young -- When new to credit, it takes time to boost the length of your credit history. With each new account opening, you cut your average age of accounts, so open new cards sparingly ... (See Young credit)

New rules proposed for payday loans -- The federal consumer watchdog is preparing rules that are expected to fight repeat payday loans without shutting borrowers off from quick cash ... (See Payday loans)

Crooks' new target: your rewards points -- Cyberthieves are plundering easy-to-hack loyalty program websites, grabbing your rewards points and a treasure trove of personal information that can put your identity at risk ... (See Rewards theft)

Don't let fear compel you to cancel your first card -- You may have been raised to believe that cards can lead to a life of debt, but if you handle them responsibly, they are great tools to build a positive credit rating ... (See First card)

Q&A 'Future Crimes' author Marc Goodman -- Technology is rapidly evolving and so is cybercrime. Marc Goodman, author of "Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable, and What We Can Do About It," explains ... (See Marc Goodman)

7 debts you may not have to pay -- Paying your debts is honorable, and usually a legal requirement, but there exceptions when it can be erased, or it wasn't really yours to start with ... (See Debt escape)

If your credit's all grown up, ditch that $300 'starter card' -- If that $300 "starter card" you got as a credit whippersnapper hasn't evolved with you, get rid of it and enjoy the benefits that come with a higher-limit grown-up card ... (See Starter card)

1099-C snarls mortgage qualifying -- An incomplete tax form and an old charged-off debt may cause mortgage underwriters to turn down your home loan application ... (See Mortgage qualifying )

4 times to go old-school with your finances -- When organizing your budget or keeping track of credit card bills, technology can get in the way. Here are four situations where old-school pays ... (See Old-school)

How payments are allocated on a card with different rates -- Will a payment that is over the minimum amount go straight to the latest charge? Where payments are allocated to on your card ... (See Payment allocation)

Bankruptcy should be removed automatically from credit reports -- The notation that you have filed a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy should be deleted automatically from your credit reports after seven or 10 years -- but you better check ... (See Bankruptcy)

When to close an annual-fee card -- Closing a credit card can lower your credit score a bit, but if your annual fee is due and a more rewarding card beckons, it's probably worth it ... (See Annual fee)

Gas card survey finds pedestrian rewards -- When it comes to rewards, the most venerable of credit cards -- gas-brand cards -- remain stuck in the slow lane, with high APRs and limited paybacks. They remain useful for credit-building or a quick burst of savings ... (See Gas card survey)

Applying repeatedly for credit after being turned down makes it worse -- If your response to being turned down for credit has been to apply over and over again, stop. You're making it worse. Before you do anything else, find out why ... (See Stop applying)

5 financial tips for the newly engaged -- Planning your future finances should be equally as important as planning your nuptials, experts agree. Here are five money tips to remember when you and your partner start a life together ... (See Engaged finances)

Debt relief scam mars victim's credit rating -- Debt relief scams often tell victims to stop paying debt accounts, leaving their credit rating in shambles due to defaults and delinquencies ... (See Debt relief scam)

Why you should file a police report for card fraud -- To your horror, a thief racks up charges on your card. You call the police. Will officers come roaring in, sirens blaring? No, but filing a formal report can help in many ways ... (See Police report)

How credit score formula handles multiple credit inquiries -- FICO uses a 30-day buffer and a process called "deduplication" on multiple inquiries for a mortgage or car loan, in effect counting them as one. But that doesn't apply to credit card shopping ... (See Multiple inquiries)

Credit check not needed for public school loans -- Federal school loans, such as those given after applying for the FASFA, don't take credit into account. So going back to school already in debt could add up quickly ... (See Student loans)

For foreign travel, go for the chip, don't hold out for a PIN -- Having a credit card with an EMV chip will make it easier to get around in Europe, but don't insist on one that requires a PIN rather than a signature ... (See Chip-and-PIN)

Study makes the case against credit card arbitration -- Millions of consumers have been forced to accept arbitration clauses in case of disputes, but few understand them, says a new study ... (See CFBP arbitration study)

Credit reports to raise standards to improve accuracy -- The big three credit bureaus will take steps to reduce errors on credit reports and improve the dispute process under a settlement announced Monday ... (See Credit report accuracy settlement)

6 steps to protect a very small business from ID theft -- Attention to security issues is often lacking among the self-employed and micro-business owners. But protecting your company's and your clients' financial data is critical to avoiding a disaster that could tank your business dreams ... (See Business data security)

Payoff order for multiple cards: Which one first? -- With multiple cards to pay off, you can tackle the one with the highest rate or lowest balance. Choose the method you'll stick with ... (See Payoff plan)

Sharing a card with a parent can be risky -- Being an authorized user on your elderly mom's card can either help or hurt your credit rating, depending on how well she manages credit ... (See Parent's card)

Boosting credit after a discharged bankruptcy -- A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit years after discharge, but if you make payments on time and use credit wisely, your score will start to increase ... (See Discharged)

Q&A with Ron Lieber: How to raise unspoiled kids -- New York Times personal finance columnist and "The Opposite of Spoiled" author Ron Lieber touts the benefits of teaching financial decision-making at an early age ... (See Ron Lieber Q&A)

Recovery from bad credit: 1st steps -- Restoring your credit after letting all debts go into default takes resolve and a bit of negotiation savvy. These steps will help you get back on track ... (See Credit recovery)

Carrying a balance? No rewards card for you! -- Interest costs far outweigh any rewards offered by credit cards, so prioritize paying off your balances before thinking about earning rewards ... (See No rewards)

1099-C frequently asked questions -- Wonder why you received a 1099-C in the mail? Most taxpayers don't realize forgiven debt is considered income, and questions abound ... (See 1099-C FAQ)

No 2-in-1 card for tax-exempt organizations -- Nonprofits are exempt from sales tax, and retailers have programs to accommodate them, but no all-in-one card avoids sales taxes at point of sale ... (See Tax-exempt)

Looking for credit after Chapter 7 bankruptcy -- Go slow, because issuers don't want to give credit right away to someone who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Secured cards are one credit-rebuilding alternative ... (See Credit after bankruptcy)

It's not fraud if you lend your card out -- The odds of prosecuting someone for card fraud for using your card when you gave your permission are pretty fruitless ... (See Card fraud)

How to fight phantom-debt collectors -- Callers with details about you and your debts can be convincing, so it pays to know how to tell a legitimate collector from a phantom-debt scam ... (See Phantom debt)

An insider's view: How FICO scores burst from secrecy -- columnist and former FICO official Barry Paperno recounts how credit scores went public, and why they're as confusing as ever ... (See FICO history)

Poll: Wealthy getting EMV cards first -- Chip-bearing EMV cards, and the extra fraud protection that goes with them, are being issued first to wealthier cardholders, a poll shows ... (See EMV cards)

Credit card interest rates drop to 14.87 percent -- Feb. 25, 2015: Average rates on new card offers fell Wednesday for the first time in nearly two months, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rate report)

Tougher rules coming for debt collectors -- Federal regulators are writing a major update of debt collection rules for the first time in decades, but the penalty will remain a wrist-slap ... (See Debt collection rules)

Financing a new laptop? Do the math first -- A 0-percent finance deal to buy a new computer is almost too good to pass up for one consumer. But being new to credit, this might not be the best way to go ... (See Financing)

Dangers of putting business expenses on a personal card -- Paying your new small business's expenses with your personal card may be convenient, but it has limited benefits and adds new risks ... (See Personal credit)

How a balance transfer can help with a large debt -- With $16,500 of debt on a single card, the best options are to find the best possible balance transfer deal, or get involved in a debt management program ... (See Balance transfer)

Collectors still calling after a 1099-C 'Cancellation of Debt' tax form -- Just because you received a 1099-C and may have paid taxes on an unpaid debt, that doesn't mean you're free from collection attempts ... (See 1099-C)

Poll: Wealthy prefer cash-back rewards on their cards -- Three out of five wealthy Americans prefer cash-back rewards, choosing them over free hotel stays, concierge services and even frequent flier miles ... (See Cash back)

7 exceptions to 'zero liability' policies -- Despite "zero liability" promises from credit card companies and protection from federal laws, there are instances where you might be on the hook for fraudulent credit and debit card charges ... (See Zero liability)

Help your credit score rebound after a fall -- If you're whittling debt and paying bills on time after a credit score tumble, your credit scores should improve fairly quickly. If they aren't, something else is wrong ... (See Score rebound)

Quickly opening, closing accounts makes scores dip a bit -- After following bad credit advice, a reader worries that by closing two cards she just opened, she did some irreparable damage to her credit score ... (See Credit score)

Households staggering under student loans -- While problems with most other loans are easing, student loans are entering uncharted heights and late payments are surging, says new data ... (See Report: Student debt surging)

Dangers of applying for an online payday loan -- Considering an online payday loan? Don't. These sites often scatter your personal information to the Internet wind, opening you up to, at best, bad deals, and at worst, relentless fraudsters ... (See Online payday loans)

Raid retirement fund to pay off debt? Bad idea -- Raiding the retirement fund is so tempting when you're unemployed and racking up debt, but it's almost never the smart move ... (See Raid retirement)

Financial planning options for the 99 percent -- Getting financial goals together is not as daunting as it sounds. From DIY plans to going to a professional, financial planning is within reach ... (See Financial planning options)

Pay down debt before adding teen to card -- A mom who wants to add a 17-year-old to one of her card accounts should reconsider: Her daughter really doesn't need one, and Mom needs to get her own balances under control ... (See Adding teen to card)

Student loan debt regret: 12 do-over wishes from college grads -- Now saddled with heavy student loan debts, 12 grads share their regrets and offer tips on how future students can avoid the same big-ticket mistakes ... (See Student loan debt regrets)

Best way to apply tax refund to multiple card balances -- With a mortgage on the horizon and several maxed-out cards, what would be the best way to apply a tax refund to maximize credit score? ... (See Refund)

Credit card interest rates remain at 14.89 percent for 6th week -- Feb. 11, 2015: Average rates on new credit card offers remained stuck at 14.89 percent Wednesday for the sixth consecutive week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rate report)

Being financially prepared for the death of a spouse -- If your spouse passed away, could you seamlessly take over the household finances? If not, some quick information sharing can save you from more heartache ... (See Finances)

18 and ready for first card: Begin here -- Having successfully handled a small car loan, an 18-year-old with a part-time job seeks advice on whether she can qualify for her first credit card ... (See First card)

6 bad reasons to open a new card -- Take a look at six of the worst rationalizations for opening a credit card, and learn how to be a prudent plastic user. ... (See Bad reasons to open card)

Poll: Wealthy cardholders prefer cash-back rewards -- Getting cash back is by far the favorite credit card reward, according to a new survey of cardholders with at least $100,000 in investable assets ... (See Cash-back survey)

December 2014 G-19 report: Card balances up -- Credit card balances were on the rise once again in December, the Federal Reserve said Friday. ... (See Fed G.19 consumer spending report)

How to get back overage on card accounts -- You charged an item, paid the card bill, but then returned your purchase, leaving a credit on your card. Do you just spend it or can you get that cash back? ... (See Card overpayment)

Pros, cons of getting a business card for personal use -- Business cards sport features personal cards don't have, and no rule prevents someone without a business from getting one -- but watch the catches ... (See Business cards)

5 steps to a mortgage-worthy credit profile -- You've decided it's time to make your dream of owning a home a reality, but are you financially prepared? Here are five steps to getting your credit and finances in tiptop shape ... (See Mortgage)

How to build credit with a student loan -- Student loans are usually overlooked as credit tools. But for young people with few other accounts, paying on one can provide a powerful credit score boost ... (See Student credit)

Help! I opened cards fraudulently, ran up big card debt -- At just 17, a young man fraudulently opens multiple card accounts without his parents' consent and says he's severely in debt. What are his options? ... (See Card debt)

Fighting back against the growing threat of tax fraud -- Tax fraud scams have skyrocketed as rip-off artists file phony tax returns on consumers' behalf. To avoid getting burned, be alert to their tricks ... (See Tax fraud)

ID theft means surprise loan denial -- The bank turned down his loan application due to his mortgage and five credit cards. Since he doesn't have any cards and rents a room, it's ID theft ... (See Denied loan)

Q&A: How Cherie Lowe slew her debt dragon -- In her new book, "Slaying the Debt Dragon," Cherie Lowe chronicles the life-changing experience of having to pay off $127,482 in debt ... (See Debt dragon)

Sharing medical cards not allowed -- Medical card expenses are generally reserved for the cardholder, family members and even pets, but not your latest girlfriend or boyfriend or BFF ... (See Medical cards)

How to defeat debt and still have fun -- With some creativity, you can pay off debts while still enjoying the occasional treat, gift or vacations ... (See Fun)

How rapid rescore works when applying for a mortgage -- If you have errors on your credit report that could block a mortgage application, choosing a rapid rescore option could help, if your lender offers it ... (See Rapid rescore)

Beware auto-renewals' endless charges -- Signing up for magazine subscriptions or a free trial could haunt you for months or years, ringing up endless charges on your credit card through automatic renewals ... (See Auto-renew)

How a card's introductory APR works -- Exactly how does an introductory period APR work and what are the consequences of not paying off the entire balance before that period expires? ... (See Intro APR)

Video: Credit card agreement -- Quick guide -- Your credit card terms and conditions can be a little overwhelming. But when signing up for a new card, it's important to know what you're getting into. We've created this short list of the most important terms to watch for ... (See Terms and conditions video)

A day in the life of a common credit card crook -- Those who make, buy and use stolen credit cards have workdays like the rest of us. See what the daily grind is for the crooks who would profit from your card data ... (See Card crook workday)

What merchants should do if customer presents unsigned card -- Merchants handed a card with no signature or "See ID" should make the customer sign -- or risk having to eat fraud-related losses ... (See Signature)

Must husband pay wife's unpaid card debt? -- If a spouse with no income secretly runs up a big credit card debt, state laws dictate whether there's a shared legal obligation to pay ... (See Spousal debt)

Credit score statistics -- How does your credit score compare to the average American's? Check out the credit score statistics we've compiled, including the states with the highest and lowest credit scores, how credit scores change with age and much more ... (See Credit score statistics)

Unpaid joint car loan sullies ex's credit -- She was in charge of payments, but neglected to tell her fiance when they were late. Now that they've broken up, she wants to know if she can fix his credit ... (See Car loan)

Why the wealthy go broke, too -- When people with above-average incomes encounter financial hardships, the reasons are surprisingly similar to people with more modest incomes ... (See Broke)

What day is my card balance reported to the credit bureaus? -- Banks and credit bureaus manage millions of accounts and have different policies for recording data, so finding when yours is recorded isn't possible ... (See Card data)

Apply for your first credit card, then remove yourself from Dad's -- Preserve your authorized user credit history when applying for your own card. Once approved, you can then safely remove yourself from the shared account ... (See Apply)

Financial infidelity poll: 6% hid bank accounts from spouse or partner -- In a new national survey, we asked people living with a spouse or partner about their money secrets, hidden bank accounts and undisclosed splurges ... (See Financial infidelity)

Strategies to maximize cash-back rewards -- Most cashback cards pay about 1 percent in rewards; a couple of cards pay a flat 2 percent. But you may want to consider using a flat-rate card and a card with higher rewards rates on rotating categories ... (See Cash back)

Road to rewards redemption gets easier -- Cardholders lose millions of dollars in rewards, but that could be changing after one big issuer lowers hurdles to claiming cash back ... (See Rewards redemption)

Choosing a debt management program -- If you think you need credit counseling or a debt management program, look for services offered by a nonprofit, accredited organization ... (See Debt management program)

6 steps to getting a credit card chargeback -- A chargeback from your credit card issuer gives you a refund when the retailer won't. Here's how to navigate the sometimes confusing chargeback rules ... (See Chargebacks)

Is husband liable for wife's $50,000 card debt? -- A wife is carrying $50,000 in debt over several cards and wants to know if her husband be will responsible for repayment if she dies before it's paid off ... (See Card debt)

Balance transfer promotional rates on the rise -- Balance transfer promotional rates are getting more generous, with more cards offering lengthy interest-free promotional periods, according to the 2015 Balance Transfer Survey ... (See Balance transfer survey infographic)

7 times to put yourself in credit card timeout -- There are key moments in life when putting away the cards and paying off any balances can be the best moves for your financial future ... (See Card timeout)

When building credit, focus first on on-time payments -- Don't overmanage your credit utilization while in a formal debt management plan. Just keep paying on time, every time and your score will rise over time ... (See On-time payment)

Managing 10 cards or more? 4 rules -- Successfully managing 10 or more credit card accounts requires a certain amount of supervision, particularly to prevent fraud. But if you can handle them well, go for it ... (See Multiple cards)

Credit card delinquency rates rise slightly in 2014 -- Delinquent credit card balances rose slightly in the third quarter of 2014, but remain far below the 15 year average, says the American Bankers Association ... (See Credit card delinquency rates)

Automatic stays in bankruptcy stop debt collection immediately -- The automatic stay is the cornerstone of the bankruptcy process. By freezing collection actions it gives the consumer breathing room to figure out what to do next ... (See Automatic stays)

Don't default on co-signed loan to teach son a debt lesson -- Letting a car loan go into default to show a kid what happens is a lot like driving the car into a wall to show him what happens if you don't use the brakes ... (See Co-signers)

Partial payment agreements can hurt your credit score -- Reaching a partial payment agreement with a lender at a lower interest rate does wonders for your budget, but can crush your credit score ... (See Credit score)

November 2014 G-19 report: Card balances down -- Credit card balances declined for the first time in two months in November, the Federal Reserve said Thursday. ... (more)

Balance Transfer Survey: Offers more generous -- The typical credit card balance transfer offers have become more generous, but you have to act quickly to take advantage of them, according to a 2015 analysis of 100 popular credit card offers ... (See Balance transfer survey)

How credit charging limits work -- It may be obvious to more experienced cardholders, but for newbies, knowing how credit limits work gives you the power to avoid expensive mistakes ... (See Credit limits)

New protections from financial 'gotchas' in 2015 -- New rules coming in 2015 from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should make it safer and less expensive to use plastic and other forms of consumer debt ... (See 2015 CFPB preview)

Why your employer may deny you a company card -- A small business has to weigh several factors before giving a new employee a company card for travel expenses. Understanding them can help employees and small business owners both start off on better footing ... (See Company cards)

ABA study: 'Revolver' card holders down, 'transactors' rise -- Fewer cardholders carried balances, while more cardholders paid in full each month in the second quarter of 2014, the American Bankers Association found ... (See Study: 'Transactors' rise)

Living on disability, with $8,000 in card debt -- With no assets and only disability income, repayment options are nonexistent and bankruptcy too expensive for a cardholder with $8,000 in card debt. ... (See Disabled)

Paying by cash won't build credit score -- If you've never made a late payment in your life, you'd think you'd have a good credit score. Not so if those payments have all been in cash. But fear not: You can get a score without going into debt. ... (See Cash only )

9 baby steps that lead to big financial goals -- Breaking down big goals into baby steps makes them seem less overwhelming. We've come up with a few small actions to get on the path to financial health and sound credit ... (See Baby steps)

Should a student have more than one card? -- While there is no reason a young adult can't manage multiple cards, juggling so many may present more challenges than a student may expect ... (See Too many cards)

Travel cards' best signup point offers require excellent credit -- Most rewards cards are targeted at people with excellent credit -- with FICO scores of 750 and above. But if your credit is in the "good" range, you still have options ... (See Sign-up bonus score)

6 ways to give a charitable donation by credit card -- Choices abound for giving to charities by credit cards, but make sure you watch the fees and get your tax deduction ... (See Charity donations by credit card)

Secret financial escape plan for domestic violence victims -- It’s common for abusers to keep victims in the dark about household finances and to limit access to bank accounts, but using a bit of stealth can help build much-needed financial independence ... (See Escape)

'Joint and several liability' clause shares business debt risk -- Small businesses have a hard time finding credit cards that don't require a personal guarantee. There are some that will allow you to share the liability with your company, but that has limits ... (See Liability)

There's no quick credit score fix -- Credit scoring formulas are as complicated as our often-tangled personal lives. There are no quick fixes, so keep your focus on the big things, such as on-time payments ... (See No quick fix)

Closed accounts affect your credit score, but maybe not how you think -- No matter who closes an account, the account holder or creditor, it will have an impact on a credit score. How much depends on the overall credit utilization ... (See Closed accounts)

Rates remain at 14.92 percent for 2nd week: Weekly Credit Card Rate Report -- Dec. 24, 2014: Average rates on new credit card offers held steady this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Weekly Rate Report)

Steps to take when a family friend steals your card -- When someone you know fraudulently uses your card and racks up big debt, you have to file a police report in order to clear up your credit ... (See 'Friendly' fraud)

Mobile shopping apps raise privacy and security issues -- A investigation reveals that mobile shopping apps may be accessing your phone's camera, text messages, flashlight and more, and collecting data you're not be aware of ... (See Shopping app privacy )

Apple vs. Android: Which platform's apps are more secure? -- While Android and Apple devices collect data and grant permissions in different ways, that doesn't necessarily mean one platform protects consumer privacy more than the other. Experts explain the differences ... (See Apple vs. Android)

Lifting Cuba restrictions means easier credit, debit use -- Consumers will find it easier to pay for things in Cuba after President Obama lifts restrictions on use of U.S.-issued credit, debit cards there ... (See Cuba)

Over-limit card scam fools cardholder -- A cardholder gave her bank info over the phone to her card issuer to prevent an over-limit charge. But it probably wasn't her bank who called, but a thief ... (See Scam)

Card borrowing lags while student, auto loans soar -- Consumers are borrowing more to finance cards and college degrees, while credit card borrowing is stuck at 2003 levels, a Federal Reserve Bank of New York report shows ... (See Borrowing)

How many cards is too many? -- While there's no right number, you can go too far in either direction and end up hurting your credit score ... (See Too many cards)

Fed: Countdown to higher rates continues at 'patient' pace -- Interest rate setters at the Federal Reserve signaled that near-zero market rates are approaching an end, but they'll not be rushed ... (See Fed 'patient' with rate hikes)

Credit card interest rates decrease to 14.92 percent -- December 17, 2014: Average rates on new credit card offers decline slightly to 14.92 percent this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rate report)

Jobless grad with student loans, $29,000 card debt ponders bankruptcy -- A recent graduate not only has student loan payments, but card debt of almost $30,000 -- and no job. Is bankruptcy her only answer? ... (See Bankruptcy)

Biometrics: Your body could be your next password -- Call it body language: Finger prints, vein scans, voiceprints and other unique biological means of authenticating a person’s identity for credit card purchases are closer to reality than they are to the Jetsons ... (See Biometrics)

Video: Overcoming financial infidelity -- Couples who keep secrets about money may also be hiding other issues. Take these steps to avoid and overcome financial infidelity ... (See Financial infidelity)

Want a mortgage? Ditch cash-only, build a credit history -- Unless you have the cash to buy a house, you'll need a mortgage. And you can't get a home loan without some kind of credit history ... (See Cash-only)

Authorized users can't access credit card account information -- Authorized users cannot access the individual account information, which can be frustrating if you think you're a joint account holder ... (See Account information)

You can't boost secured card limit with extra cash -- A college student with a secured card wants to increase his credit limit and asks whether giving the issuer more cash will do the trick ... (See Credit limit)

Poll: More Americans expect to be in debt forever -- A new survey conducted by asks Americans when they expect to get out of debt; 18 percent of those in debt say "never" ... (See In debt until death)

Holiday buying 2014: more savings and gift cards, less credit -- Fewer Americans plan to holiday shop with credit cards in 2014, while more have set aside money or will use gift cards for their purchases, an Accenture study finds ... (See Holiday buying 2014)

How to get, use a low-limit card -- If a low credit limit is desired, you have to start backward. A higher limit card can be downsized once the account is approved ... (See Low-limit)

Choose your rewards strategy: One card? Or multiple? -- Using one rewards card consolidates points, but having several lets you be sure every dollar spent earns you something back ... (See Multiple rewards cards)

8 tips for merchants to avoid credit card chargebacks -- Chargebacks are a costly and unfortunate fact of life for many small businesses that accept credit cards. However, there are ways you can protect yourself against unfair chargebacks ... (See Chargebacks)

Don't be fooled by these 6 data breach myths -- Do you think hackers target only large retailers? Or that smart-chip cards will be our security salvation? Think again. ... (See 6 data breach myths)

Avoid late payments by setting up auto bill pay -- Life happens, and when it does, it's easy to forget a credit card payment. To protect your credit score and avoid fees, stop late payments before they occur ... (See Late pay)

Opening 3 cards at once dings credit score -- Unlike rapid-fire applications for mortgages or car loans, which are bundled into a single credit score hit, each card application counts against you ... (See Credit score)

Tips to rebuild credit after living abroad -- After living overseas for five years, bringing a dormant U.S. credit file back to life takes a few smart moves combined with a little patience ... (See Rebuilding US credit)

Poll: If given $1,000 in miles or cash back, most would splurge, not save -- At least 83 percent of Americans said they would splurge in some fashion if they received $1,000 in travel miles or credit card cash rewards, a poll from Capital One found ... (See Rewards splurge)

Banks that make the most money, and the least, on credit card loans -- The most costly card companies are ones you probably never heard of -- but whose cards you just might carry ... (See Yields)

What yield does your bank make on credit cards? -- Using 2013 federal bank data, we list 500 U.S. banks and show the percentage yield they make from credit card holders, before and after losses ... (See 500 banks' yields)

Understanding 'consent' to charge a card -- A merchant needs consumer consent before charging their debit or credit card for a purchase. But there are some gray areas where misunderstanding of the law can cause disputes ... (See Consent)

Inheritance spent, bankruptcy looming -- She inherited $36,000, but instead of paying her credit card debt, she spent it. During bankruptcy, does she have to reveal where the money went? ... (See Bankruptcy disclosure)

Landlords limited in ability to pull tenants' credit reports -- Though a tenant has left rent unpaid and thousands in damages, that's not enough to give a landlord the right to pull a credit report ... (See Tenants' credit reports)

Mom offers daughter balance transfer deal -- A 28-year-old's mom offers to pay off $2,400 in card debt, but then wants to cut daughter loose as an authorized user on her card ... (See Authorized user)

Survey: 3 in 4 Americans make impulse purchases -- A national survey by of 1,000 adults found more than three out of four Americans confess to making impulse purchases ... (See Impulse)

4 tips to minimize impulse buying -- Impulse buying is a popular habit, but not always a good one. If you're an impulsive buyer wondering how to avoid making another unplanned purchase, here's how to help keep your spending in check. ... (See Impulse buying tips)

If loan to friend or family goes bad, you may take a tax deduction -- When friends or family borrow from you and then default, the IRS allows a bad debt tax deduction -- if you documented the loan and file the right forms ... (See Bad debt deduction)

Parent's nursing home costs take priority over card debt -- Before moving into a nursing home, her dad paid his card debt out of Social Security income. Now that income goes to the nursing home ... (See Prioritizing debt)

Lessons from cities with the best and worst credit scores -- One city is known for college grads, the other for cotton and the Blues. Measured by credit score, Mankato, Minnesota, and Greenwood, Mississippi, are as far apart financially as they are culturally ... (See Best, worst scores)

5 credit don'ts for homebuyers applying for mortgages -- When you're about to apply for a mortgage, tread lightly on making changes to your credit. Steps you think should be helpful could derail your loan ... (See Mortgage credit don'ts)

Online fraud may surge after EMV chip card rollout -- U.S. issuers are replacing traditional magnetic stripe credit cards with cards containing counterfeit-resistant EMV chips. But fraudsters are expected to adapt, turning to online and other forms of fraud ... (See Online fraud surge)

Some cards generous for travel, give less in cash back rewards -- If a travel card turns out to offer different rewards or fewer points than you expected, consider canceling it before the annual fee comes due ... (See Travel rewards)

How trauma leads to destructive financial choices -- Child abuse. Warfare. Assault. If you have endured a life-threatening event, you may be more likely to make poor money decisions. ... (See Trauma)

'Hand to Mouth' author Linda Tirado: Broke means bad money decisions -- Former IHOP night cook-turned-author Linda Tirado explains in very frank terms why being poor often leads to making shortsighted financial decisions ... (See Hand-to-mouth)

Adding yourself to spouse's card is fraud -- Taking the liberty of adding yourself to your spouse's card as an authorized user is considered fraud, and you could be charged with identity theft ... (See Fraud)

Study: Online accounts often go unchecked for fraud -- Americans regularly check their bank account and credit card statements for suspicious activity, but less than a third check various online accounts at least once a month, a study by credit bureau Experian finds ... (more)

5 steps to dispute debt caused by ID theft, stop abusive collection -- Take these steps to uncover all the damage left by an ID thief, contest the fraudulent debts and end a debt collector's scare tactics ... (See Disputing fraud)

Shared card leads to collection mess after a bankruptcy -- When Dad declared bankruptcy, the debt collectors shifted their attention to his daughter to collect a $3,600 balance on the credit card they shared ... (See Shared card)

2014 Penalty Rate Survey -- Those who fall 60 days behind in credit card payments face an average penalty interest rate of 28.45 percent, according to's survey of 100 major U.S. credit cards ... (See Penalty rates survey)

Have a balance transfer financial strategy -- Yes, comparison shop for low rates and fees, but more importantly, know how a transfer will fit into your financial big picture ... (See Balance transfer strategy)

Steps to rebuild credit after bankruptcy -- After declaring bankruptcy obtaining secured credit sources and becoming an authorized user can help bring life back to your line of credit ... (See Bankruptcy)

Credit card ownership statistics -- How many credit cards does the average American have, and what types do they have? We've compiled industry statistics to answer those questions and more about who's carrying what cards ... (See Card ownership statistics)

Employed grad with no debt gets rejected for new card -- With no debt, a job and regular payments on a low-limit card, a recent grad wonders what she has to do in order to get approved for a new card ... (See New credit)

Know your rights under the Truth in Lending Act -- This federal law provides bedrock consumer protection by requiring lenders to disclose credit terms in a standardized way, and sets the rules for fees and billing ... (See TILA)

Options limited if authorized user refuses to pay charges -- Call it authorized-user blackmail: A daughter adds her dad to her card, he runs up the balance, but threatens to stop payments if she closes the card ... (See Authorized)

6 steps to using credit cards to manage caregiving costs -- When it comes to managing caregiving costs for a loved one among family members, credit cards can help, but only if everyone plays by the rules ... (See Caregiver)

How early payment can result in late fees -- Leaving town? Paying your card bill early can backfire if you miss making the minimum payment by the due date, leaving you with late fees and penalty rates ... (See Early payment, late fee)

Negotiation is key for defaulted student loan -- When a private student loan is in default, bringing the loan current may require a lump-sum payment as well as written proof of what you can afford to pay ... (See Default)

How a DUI can tank your credit -- While a conviction for driving under the influence won't show up directly on your credit report, the financial ramifications that follow a conviction can really flush your score ... (See DUI)

Old-school phone scammers make comeback with modern twist -- Old-school telephone fraud is making a comeback as fraudsters are again more likely to contact you by phone than through websites or email ... (See Telephone scams)

Balance transfer impact on your credit score -- Moving a high-interest card balance to a lower-interest card you already have shouldn't hurt your score, but there are other issues to consider ... (See Balance transfer)

After the breach: Should you enroll in ID or credit monitoring services? -- Many retailers whose databases have been hacked are offering credit monitoring or identity protection services. Depending on what you sign up for, the services can prevent full-out identity theft, or simply duplicate steps you can take on your own ... (See Breach)

Charge-offs irreversible, even if co-signer not notified of debt -- When a widower is denied credit six months after his wife's death, he finds a charge-off on a co-signed account dropped his credit score almost 200 points ... (See Co-sign)

Credit card interest rates linger at 15.07 percent -- Oct. 22, 2014: Average rates on new card offers stayed at 15.07 percent this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rates Report, Oct. 22, 2014)

How credit cards impact your credit score -- When it comes to your credit score, credit cards have the power to help you or hurt you; here are the main ways that you, your cards and your score intersect ... (See Credit score)

Co-signing backfire ruins chance to lease an apartment -- A kindhearted gesture backfires for a man who co-signed his sister-in-law's lease: She broke her lease, left a debt, ruined his credit and his ability to rent a new home ... (See Co-sign)

Best way to track all those reward points? -- How do you make sure you really earned triple points on gas purchases on Card A and the miles you were supposed to when using Card B's online shopping portal? There are no easy answers ... (See Rewards tracking)

Poll: Many cardholders will avoid stores hit by data breaches -- As retail data breaches become more common, nearly half of 985 U.S. cardholders polled by say they're likely this holiday season to avoid stores that have been hit ... (See Breach poll)

Credit rehabilitation programs don't do anything you can't do -- The money you give to a credit rehabilitation company could be better spent paying down debt because what those companies do you can do yourself ... (See Credit rehab)

Banks seek rule change to allow more cellphone fraud alerts -- Despite a plague of data breaches, banks fear lawsuits if they send fraud alerts via text messages and cellphone calls, according to an industry group ... (See Fraud alert texts)

Retail cards, the Rodney Dangerfields of credit, deserve respect -- Store cards get a bad rap. But closing even an unused retail card can hurt credit utilization and lower your credit score ... (See Retail cards)

Think about money differently, says 'Smartcuts' author Shane Snow -- Author and entrepreneur Shane Snow says if we inventory our habits and question them, we may find more creative money solutions ... (See Shane Snow)

Credit card interest rates hold steady at 15.07 percent -- Oct. 15, 2014: Average rates on new card offers didn't budge this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

7 tricks retailers use to get you to spend more -- Learn how to break the spell retailers cast through tricks such as 'nibbling,' end-cap enticements, overly familiar salespeople and 'specials' that aren't ... (See Retail tricks)

Credit reports key to detecting fraud -- If you suspect someone is trying to open a card account in your name, fraud alerts and credit report monitoring can stop thieves before they start stealing ... (See Fraud)

Trip canceled? Your credit card may reimburse you -- How much of your trip's travel insurance is already covered by your credit card? Some cards offer reimbursements on failed travel plans ... (See Trip cancellation)

Compare credit cards' trip cancellation, trip interruption policies -- Does your credit card cover you if you have to cut your vacation short or cancel it all together? Use this chart to compare some of the cards that can ... (See Trip cancellation card policies)

Your rights if a merchant charges you but delays shipping -- You ordered your item and your card was charged, but the merchant takes forever to ship. Do you have any rights to demand faster shipping? ... (See Delayed shipping)

How to build an emergency savings account -- If you are contemplating using credit cards for emergencies, here are a few ideas for building an emergency cash fund instead of increasing your debt load ... (See Emergency fund)

The good and the bad of credit account 'piggybacking' -- Authorized users can greatly benefit from being tagged in an account with a good credit score. But they can also be hurt if the account is not so great ... (See Piggybacking)

How to fix credit report damage from authorized user status -- A mom added her daughter as an authorized user to her card seven years ago, but then filed for bankruptcy. Her dad asks if it's too late to get the card off his kid's credit report ... (See Credit report)

The Unverzagt family's triumph over their credit card debit -- Selected as Clients Of The Year by the National Foundation of Credit Counseling, the 13-person Unverzagt family paid off their credit card debt in five years ... (See Debt-free)

Using rewards to buy a new car -- Some credit cards earn you rewards that can be used as an auto down payment, but consider alternatives such as cash-back cards, too ... (See Down payment rewards)

Credit Card Tuition Payment Survey 2014 -- Paying tuition by credit cards is possible at most large colleges, says a survey, but expect to pay a convenience fee that averages 2.62 percent -- enough to wipe out all but the most generous rewards ... (See Tuition payment survey)

2014 Credit Card Tuition Payment Survey data -- Find out whether the four-year college or university you're considering will allow you to make tuition payments by credit cards -- and at what cost ... (See 2014 tuition payment survey data)

Buy now, pay forever: Beware negative option plans -- Free trials that aren't free, automatic renewals and other types of "negative option" offers that end up on charging your credit card ... (See Negative options)

Closing joint bank accounts after a breakup -- On joint credit card accounts, problems arise when you carry a balance. Legally, that debt belongs to both of you, even after a breakup ... (See Close joint accounts)

Joint truck lease leaves widow in a lurch -- Leasing a new truck with your spouse doesn't seem like it would be a big deal, unless all of a sudden one spouse is left making the payments alone ... (See Lease)

Privacy disclosure statements let you opt out of info sharing (sometimes) -- They look like junk mail, but don't toss them. Carefully read your banks' annual privacy notices to see if they share too much info. If they do, opt out -- if you can ... (See Privacy)

Prescreened card offers don't impact your credit score -- Prequalified or prescreened credit card offers just mean you meet a card issuer's broad criteria. But if you try to take the offer, the real credit check occurs ... (See Prescreened)

Credit reports hold longer memory than issuers -- You let a card go unpaid for years, then finally paid the account off. The odds of the card issuer remembering your behavior aren't as big as the credit bureaus ... (See Unpaid)

Retailers roll out layaway plans early for 2014 holidays -- Holiday layaway programs are popping up earlier every year. Some retailers are even moving layaway online to vie for consumer business ... (See Layaway 2014)

Charged items have a low risk for repossession -- If someone charges your gift on credit, but then doesn't pay the bill, the odds of it being repossessed are slight. But the risk does exist ... (See Repossess)

Forget the 30 percent credit utilization 'rule' – it's a myth -- When it comes to credit utilization and your credit score, a very low credit-to-borrowing ratio is best, and it's a myth that your score falls off a cliff once you hit 30 percent ... (See 30% myth)

Study: 7 percent of employees have wages garnished -- About 7 percent of workers had wages garnished in 2013, and workers age 35-44 are most likely to endure that stressful and sometimes humiliating fate ... (See Wage garnishment study)

When new to credit, top rewards cards may be out of reach -- A student about to graduate wants a top-tier travel rewards card to be her first card, but her short credit history may not let her qualify -- yet. Here are the steps to take ... (See Qualifying for rewards)

Pay-it-forward givers sometimes provide debt relief -- If someone does something nice for you, instead of returning the favor directly, you help someone else. It's called "paying it forward," and sometimes that help comes in the form of debt relief ... (See Pay it forward)

Am I liable for my business' corporate card debt? -- A small-business owner's responsibility for the company's credit card debt depends partly on the kind of card. Corporate cards and small-business cards treat liability differently ... (See Corporate cards)

New industry tools fight credit card fraud -- Card issuers, retailers and other companies are coming up with a host of new tactics to try and stem credit card fraud ... (See Anti-fraud tools)

How leaving a tiny card balance each month affects credit score -- Keeping the balance-to-credit ratio low, paying in full and on time is a better way to get the most from your secured card ... (See $2 balance)

Fed holds course toward rate hike in 2015 -- The Federal Reserve indicated that it will keep interest rates at historic lows for the time being to support the job market, but higher rates are coming ... (See Sept. 17, 2014: Fed holds course)

Don't be 'breakage' -- 7 tips to avoid losing gift card value -- About $1 billion worth of gift cards will go unused in 2014. The industry calls that lost value "breakage" or "spillage" and it means big profits for them and lost money for you ... (See Breakage)

Angrily closing an unused card can hurt credit score -- After applying for a new balance transfer card, only to discover the credit limit too small, he closed the account in anger and now wonders if he acted too fast ... (See Closed card)

6 ways to outsmart data brokers -- You can't stop data brokers from harvesting information on what you buy, how much you make and even how healthy you are. But you can limit what they see ... (See Data)

Don't travel? Opt for other business rewards -- If you don't travel much for business or pleasure, there's no point in getting a small-business credit card that specializes in travel rewards. Instead, look for a cash-back card or one that earns rewards you can use ... (See Business rewards)

Mobile payments raise consumer protection worries -- Consumer advocates worry a mobile finance boom will make it easier to snoop on your buying habits, or even clean out your mobile wallet ... (See Mobile protection)

Is a personal line of credit right for you? -- Personal lines of credit are becoming more common for bridging short-term gaps in cash flow. Compare them first with other forms of credit, though ... (See Line of credit)

Be careful with inheritance, spending before bankruptcy filing -- If you're about to file for bankruptcy, what do you do when you know you're about to inherit some money? Can you spend it? ... (See Inheritance)

Charge a lot? Pay early and often to avoid score damage -- Even if you pay your balance off in full and on time each month, if you are charging close to your credit limit, don't expect a high credit score ... (See Pay often)

Best ways to manage a secured card -- Before you apply for a secured card, it's best to know what fees will be charged and whether that card will be the best fit for your credit profile ... (See Secured cards)

Fed: Card balances rise for a 5th straight month -- Credit card balances increased once again in July, marking the fifth straight month of rising card debt this year, the Federal Reserve said Monday ... (See G.19: Fed says card balances rise)

6 rules for 'card flipping' -- While "flipping" cards to take advantage of promotional deals can lead to free travel and other perks, if you don't play the game correctly, you can trash your credit ... (See Flipping)

Cardholder delinquency at lowest level in at least 7 years -- Just 1.16 percent of American cardholders were 90 days delinquent, according to quarterly data from the credit bureau TransUnion ... (See Delinquent cardholders)

How balance transfer cards help or hurt credit scores -- Moving high-interest card debt to a 0 percent balance transfer card can help your credit scores, but only if you play by the rules ... (See Balance transfers and credit scores)

Video: the road to wage garnishment -- Garnishment is complex -- the rules vary by state, your employment status and your income. But it all starts with a failure to pay bills on time ... (See Wage garnishment)

Fed survey says consumers' card discipline is holding firm -- Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances finds that debt burdens remain in check long after the recession's plunge ... (See Survey of Consumer Finances)

Buying a car with a credit card often an uphill fight -- Using a credit card to buy a car could give you consumer protections and perks. But most dealers hate the fees that go with accepting plastic, so you might have to wheel and deal ... (See Buying a car on credit card)

Closing 50 cards without damaging credit score -- With an 800+ FICO score at stake, the account-closing strategy should be to take it slow and shut down the newest and smallest accounts ... (See Too many cards)

CFPB warns card issuers: Reveal costs of 0% promotional offers -- No-interest promotions are costly for credit card users who lose the grace period and must pay interest on new purchases, regulators warned ... (See CFPB 0% offer warning)

Preparing your cards for overseas travel -- Planning a trip abroad? Make sure your card (and a backup card) has EMV chip technology, no foreign transaction fees and notify your issuer of your plans ... (See Cards abroad)

5 credit card questions to ask before traveling overseas -- Before you hit the road, let your card issuer know where and when you'll be traveling, so it doesn't mistake those overseas charges with fraudulent activity. Then, start asking some questions ... (See Travel)

Wrong account info doesn't absolve debt responsibility -- If your card account lists an incorrect Social Security number as yours, that doesn't give you a free pass on paying any debt you've racked up ... (See Wrong info)

How closing cards and student loans affects FICO scores -- Keeping cards active and paying loans on time is best way to maintain a strong credit score ... (See Credit scores)

Discover, AmEx tie for tops in customer satisfaction -- American Express, the perennial leader in J.D. Power's ranking, shares the top satisfaction score for the first time since the survey started in 2007 ... (See J.D. Power)

Tips for detecting card theft -- Yes, there are crooks out there waiting to steal your card info, but if you're vigilant you can stop them before they do too much damage ... (See Theft)

Poll: Cash or card for $5 purchase? -- The younger you are, the more likely you are to prefer debit or credit cards for payments of under $5, a new poll shows ... (See Small payments)

Poll: Cash or card for $5 purchase? -- The younger you are, the more likely you are to prefer debit or credit cards for payments of under $5, a new poll shows ... (See Small payments)

Renting a car? Know whether your card adds insurance -- Renting a car can put your credit card benefits into play, but only if you know what's covered and avoid the exclusions ... (See Insurance)

What to look for when committing to a campus card -- Regulations have changed how campus debit cards work so proceed with caution when signing up for a new account. ... (See Cards)

Seniors vulnerable to credit card fraud -- As people get older, even when they are intellectually still very sharp, it seems to become more difficult for them to determine who to trust and when ... (See Fraud)

8 keys to safe credit, debit card use on campus -- Students who enter college also begin a lifelong journey with credit and debit card use. Here is how to do it safely ... (See Campus card safety)

Paying card bill on time more important than credit utilization -- Maxing out your card will have a negative effect on your credit score, however, the potentially positive payment history might just be worth it ... (See Maxed out)

Video: Why was my credit card application denied? -- Ever had your credit card application denied? No one likes rejection, but there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of being approved ... (See Rejected)

Credit card life after bankruptcy -- After bankruptcy, issuers will be wary of lending to you. Applying for a secured card is a way to boost your FICO score and show lenders you can be trusted again ... (See Bankruptcy)

6 signs of bad financial advice -- While good sound nuggets of money advice can help you keep money in your pocket, bad advice can leave you digging out of financial hole ... (See Advice)

Maxed out cards? Don't open another one -- She's maxed out five credit cards and can't pay what she owes on them, but asks if it's OK if she can use the new credit card she got ... (See Maxed out)

NY Fed: Consumer debt up in Q2 -- Credit card loans and other nonhousing consumer debt rose, according to the quarterly analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York ... (See Household debt and credit)

Don't expect big score boost when unpaid debt falls off credit report -- Is an old debt, charged off seven years ago, finally falling off your credit report? Sorry, but there's not likely to be a big rise in your score. It could even fall ... (See Old debts)

How to spot and prevent medical identity theft -- While credit card breaches have grabbed headlines, fraudsters have been homing in on an even more lucrative source of identity theft: medical records ... (See Medical ID theft)

Understanding credit limits and how they work -- Understanding how charging and repayments work with your first card can save you from financial headaches in the future ... (See Credit limits)

Credit card complaints Q1 2014: a graphical look -- What are credit card users angry about? Billing disputes, say the complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the first quarter of 2014 ... (See Complaints)

8 ways to get friends to repay a personal loan -- A pal was in a bind and turned to you for help. Sensing urgency, you agreed, but now you're not getting repaid and your frustration is growing as fast as the excuses ... (See Repay)

Should I pay my business's bills by credit card? -- Using plastic to pay contractors and other recurring business bills can be a good way to rack up rewards points and improve cash flow. But beware it does not become a crutch ... (See Business bills)

Pros and cons of charging automatic payments to a credit card -- Charging automatic payments on a credit card can be beneficial for busy consumers, but it also has its faults. Here are the pros and cons to think about ... (See Automatic payments)

FICO 9 credit score formula lessens impact of medical debt -- People with paid-off debt or medical debts will see scores rise with the new FICO math, while others will receive lower marks ... (See FICO formula)

New to US? A primer on how to create, build a credit history -- If you're new to the U.S., our credit reporting system can be daunting. Here's a primer on how to create and build a credit profile ... (See New credit)

Time-barred debt can still do damage even after 13 years -- Credit checks for mortgages go deep and collection efforts may restart, so even on a debt 13 years old, potential damage can linger ... (See Time-barred debt) 2014 retail credit card survey data -- Compare interest rates, rewards and more from this detailed comparison of 61 cards issued by 36 retailers. Part of's 2014 Retail Store Card Survey ... (See Retail card data)

Retail card survey 2014: APRs higher, rewards complicated -- The cost of borrowing from your favorite retailer has gone up: The average APR on the credit cards from America's largest retailers has climbed more than 2 percentage points to 23.23 percent, according a new survey. ... (See 2014 retail card survey)

Make financial planning as easy as 50/20/30 -- In Alexa von Tobel's best-selling book, "Financially Fearless," she simplifies financial planning with a quick and easy method for spending, saving and having fun ... (See Fearless)

Did Macy's ruin my credit when it closed, reopened my card account? -- A shopper is concerned that her credit score is ruined when Macy's closed her old card after issuing her a new one. Don't worry, Sally says ... (See Closed credit card)

Virtual debt collection lets you negotiate, settle up online -- With a computer or a smartphone, you can review a claim, set up a monthly repayment plan or even cut a debt settlement deal with an algorithm ... (See Virtual collection)

More apartments accepting payment by credit card -- If you could pay your rent with plastic, would you? As more landlords offer that option, renters have to weigh carefully whether it's the best way to pay ... (See Charge rent)

New moves to protect military members from financial fraud -- Federal and state regulators are cracking down and pairing with other groups to offer education, protection and recourse for military service members in the crosshairs of financial fraudsters ... (See Military and fraud)

New myth: Closing a credit card account always hurts your score -- It's a new myth that closing a credit card account always hurts your score. The information about the card (good or bad) sticks with you for (seven to 10) years ... (See Myth)

6 strategies to fight 'frugal fatigue' -- When penny pinching starts to hurt, "frugal fatigue" can set in. Here are six strategies to keep your savings on track ... (See Frugal fatigue)

4 reasons why college kids need a credit card -- You might want to shelter your college kids from the complicated world of credit (and potential debt) for as long as possible, but at some point they will need to learn the ropes ... (See College)

Personal loan consolidation won't help win a mortgage -- In trying to qualify for a mortgage, it probably won't help to consolidate several small personal loans into a big one with a higher rate ... (See Consolidate)

After illness, cards maxed out, turned down for loans -- When illness results in rising card balances and the banks won't give you a loan to pay them off, what paths can you take to get help? ... (See Maxed out cards)

6-year-old mystery debt suddenly appears on credit report? Erase it! -- Just before the statute of limitations expires, a negative item pops up on your credit report and the creditor can't supply an account number ... (See Surprise debt)

9 ways to revive your New Year's financial resolutions -- Have you fallen off the financial wagon with those money resolutions from January? These nine steps will get you back to where you need to be ... (See Resolution revival)

Preapproved vs. pre-screened card offers: a big difference -- At first glance, a preapproval letter from a credit issuer can seem like an official invitation to a hot new nightclub. Yet when you arrive, you may be rudely turned away. ... (See Preapproved)

Study: Data breaches pose a greater risk -- It used to be that just 1 in 9 victims of a data breach had the hacked info used against them. Now the odds are 1 in 3, says a new study ... (See Breach)

30 renowned restaurants that don't take credit cards -- Some beloved eateries refuse to take credit cards from patrons, yet still find a way to thrive ... (See 'No credit card' restaurants)

Tax lien won't impact shared credit card -- When adding someone with a tax lien to your card as an authorized user, that won't open any doors to the Internal Revenue Service ... (See Uncle Sam)

Collectors see less credit card debt -- Credit card holders are less likely to get calls from a debt collector than in the past, because collectors have less card debt to pursue, industry surveys say ... (See Debt)

Fewer Americans are delinquent on their bank cards -- Consumers' bank card delinquencies, already at historically low levels, dropped further in the first quarter of 2014. The American Bankers Association says it's a sign that more people are using cards as transaction tools instead of debt instruments ... (See Card delinquencies)

Rebuilding fiancee's credit one small monthly charge at a time -- In his debut column, former FICO executive Barry Paperno endorses a one-small-monthly-payment plan for an engaged couple ... (See One payment at a time)

Anatomy of a credit card -- With the coming of chip cards, the anatomy of a credit card has become even more crowded. Do you know what all the parts are and what they do? ... (See Card anatomy)

Yay! 3 cards paid off. Now what? -- Paying off card debt brings immeasurable relief, but once the balance is zero, do you keep the cards open or close them immediately? ... (See Paid off)

Small debts can lead to big credit score problems -- Tiny debts, if unpaid, can blossom into huge problems by marring your credit score and dropping obstacles in your financial path ... (See Small debts, big problems)

'Supersurvivors' author: Crises carry profound financial impacts -- In the book 'Supersurvivors,' Lee Daniel Kravetz and his co-author looked at those who survived crises and found virtually every type of traumatic event, even if not primarily financial, has profound financial consequences ... (See Supersurvivors)

Debt and divorce: 5 steps to make a clean credit split -- Divorce can get ugly if one person doesn't follow debt repayment obligations spelled out in the divorce decree. Take these five steps to increase your chances of a smooth split ... (See Credit split)

Ways to pay off high-interest debt -- Saddled with expensive debt? Instead of looking for new creditors, figure out why you're in debt in the first place and what you can do to lower it ... (See High-interest debt)

8 FAQs about EMV credit cards -- The way you use a credit card is changing as the U.S. catches up with the rest of the world and moves to cards. Here, in Q&A format, is what you need to know about the transition ... (See EMV FAQ)

Bad debt but good income? Your credit can be fixed -- For a price, lenders are willing to forget your old credit sins, as long as you have enough income to prevent any new ones ... (See Income trumps debt)

Small banks, credit unions keep debit rewards programs alive -- Three years after big banks started pulling the plug on debit card rewards programs, many small banks and credit unions are finding surprising success in offering similar rewards to their customers ... (See Debit rewards)

Spotting and avoiding hidden hotel fees -- Taking a page from airline and card industries, hotels are raking in billions of dollars a year in unexpected and sometimes hidden fees. Here's how you can steer clear of such costs ... (See Hotel fees)

Fraud alerts: Your credit's first (and free) layer of security -- A fraud alert notifies lenders that they should take special precautions to verify your identity before extending credit. But it comes with limitations -- and hassles ... (See Fraud alerts)

Debt collector can't back out on deal, if it's in writing -- If a debt collector ignores an agreement for monthly payments and ramps up the threats, you just have to produce the written agreement. You did get it in writing, didn't you? ... (See In writing)

Compare medical credit cards, loans -- Fewer health-care financing options populate the market since the recession. Compare the terms and conditions of the top medical credit cards and loans before you apply ... (See Compare medical credit cards)

Should I close card accounts to get a mortgage? -- While mortgage lenders want to minimize their risk, they usually just want credit card accounts paid off, not closed down ... (See Card accounts and mortgages)

Do predictive scores violate your privacy? -- Marketers are combining vast stores of data into predictive scores that help them decide what offers you see -- to the concern of privacy advocates ... (See Predictive scores)

How minimum payments are applied to small balances -- Don't slip up and forget a credit card payment when the balance is almost paid off. A late fee could be larger than your minimum payment ... (See Minimum)

10 times NOT to use credit cards -- Credit cards are convenient, but if you want your sanity and pocketbook to survive intact, give the poor things a rest sometimes ... (See 10 times not to use cards)

Video: 5 steps to secure smartphone data -- Your smartphone may be lost, stolen or hacked – and along with it goes your financial and personal data. To secure personal data on your smartphone, take these five simple steps ... (See Mobile data security)

New high-end cards boost average cost of annual fee cards -- A surge of pricey new high-fee credit cards on the market boosted the average annual fee to $163, nearly double a year ago ... (See Annual fee cards)

Authorized users and charge cards -- Authorized users can't mess up a credit utilization ratio for charge cards, because there's no ratio to upset. However, late pays still damage credit ... (See Charge cards)

P.F. Chang's goes old school to combat fraud -- P.F. Chang's China Bistro restaurants in the U.S. have dusted off old-school manual card readers to use while the chain investigates a potentially large-scale data breach ... (See P.F. Chang's)

0-percent balance transfer after debt in collections? Good luck -- Balance transfer offers aren't lifelines offered to people with bad credit, they're a deal for those who maintain good credit ... (See Balance transfer )

Child charged merchandise on mother's account? Return it -- A child who charged merchandise without permission needs to learn a lesson; have her stand by as Mom calls the card company -- and the cops ... (See Unauthorized)

Capital One's rewards chief: Expect a busy travel season -- In a Q&A, Capital One's rewards vice president Amy Lenander discloses it will be a busy summer season, and what the future holds for rewards ... (See Summer rewards)

What's your 'real' FICO score? All of the above -- Have you ever wondered why your FICO score varies from one time to the next? Today it's 700, tomorrow it's 720, a month later it's 785! Then the car dealer runs your credit report and informs you that your score is a mere 699! What happened? ... (See 'Real' score)

Poll: As card fraud rises, so do false alarms -- As data breaches soar, so do credit card fraud false alarms that block or flag legitimate credit card transactions, says a new poll ... (See Fraud false alarm)

CFPB seeks lower-cost ways to serve up mobile banking -- As banking moves to mobile devices, banking regulators want to make sure consumer protections and cost savings go along ... (See Mobile banking)

Tick-tock debt: Law gives 30 days to respond to collector -- When a debt collector makes first contact, federal law gives you the right to seek verification of the debt and to dispute it -- if you act quickly ... (See 30 day debt clock)

Married women find financial responsibility attractive -- Married women consider financial responsibility sexier than men do, an Experian poll finds. ... (See Marriage and credit)

How young adults can use credit safely -- One of the first lessons of young adulthood: it's much easier to get into debt than get out of it. We look at some of the pitfalls young people fall into with credit and how to avoid them ... (See Young credit)

On-time payments cure the stinkiest credit -- With not much credit or income, a reader's best ally is time and a lengthy series of on-time payments, says Erica ... (See On-time payments)

Talk to lender before letting debt go to a collector -- If you're late on debt payments, don't just let it go to collections. Your original lender has more loan workout options to offer ... (See Let debt go?)

Poll: Millennials know less than others about credit scores -- The 35-and-younger crowd knows less about credit scores than other American adults, a survey from the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions shows ... (See Millennials and credit scores)

One mistake results in big credit score drop -- A single mistake on a card bill caused a huge drop in a customer's score and highlights a credit rule: The bigger the score, the harder the fall ... (See One mistake's credit score cost )

Paying, not purchasing, improves credit scores -- If you already carry a balance, don't worry about making new purchases -- just pay down your debt on time and your credit score will rise ... (See Purchases and credit scores)

SBA disaster loans -- not just for business -- When disaster strikes, SBA loans may help -- even if you're a consumer. But it helps to know what to expect ... (See Disaster loans)

Mom piggybacked on realty agent's troubled account. What now? -- A real estate agent convinced an elderly woman to sign on to the agent's credit card account to build credit history. But now the agent is bankrupt and collections agents are calling. How can the woman's daughter help? ... (See Piggybacking)

Thanks, Sis, but I'm ready for my own card now -- A man who got his sister's help to raise his score is ready to graduate to credit on his own -- taking his remaining debt with him via balance transfer ... (See Balance transfer)

6 fears that keep people from financial advice -- Nearly half of Americans don't know who to trust for financial advice. Here are wise ways to get over that and other fears ... (See 6 financial fears)

Mom opened checking, credit accounts in my name, left a mess -- Fraud, even by a family member, is a crime that should be reported in order for you to start the process of salvaging your credit ... (See Family fraud)

'Dragnet Nation' author Julia Angwin: May I have my privacy back? -- The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter's book investigates who is watching us online, what they're doing with the data (including selling it), and why it matters. ... (See 'Dragnet Nation')

Move beyond the starter card with a personal loan -- A perfect payment record on a starter credit card won't earn great rewards. Try a personal loan at the same bank that offers the rewards card you want ... (See Starter card)

4 ways crooks cash in on your personal and financial data -- You've heard about data thieves, but have you wondered what they do with it once it's stolen? Here's how crooks convert your info to their cash ... (See Cashing in data)

Lower credit limit surprise nearly spoils a sale -- The checkout counter is a bad place to find out your card's credit limit has been dropped to $100. Good payment habits should prevent such surprises ... (See Credit limit)

CFPB: Credit scores for medical debt are unfair -- Study by consumer watchdog agency finds that medical debt collection weighs too heavily on people's credit scores ... (See Medical debt and credit scores)

Kit Yarrow Q & A: Decoding the hidden cues that make you buy -- Retailers use many cues to lure consumers into buying items. In her book, 'Decoding the New Consumer Mind,' psychologist and consumer researcher Kit Yarrow reveals how to find these budget bombs ... (See Decoding)

Debt settlement vs. credit counseling: similar aims, different means -- Both debt settlement companies and credit counselors run ads offering help in getting out of debt. But their tactics are very different ... (See Debt reduction)

Law caps service members' rates on old debt, not new -- Put down the credit card, soldier. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act lowers interest rates only on balances incurred before going on active duty ... (See Military)

How to stop sending mixed money messages to your kids -- A substantial number of parents admit to bribing their kids for good behavior or 'borrowing' from their piggy banks. Here's how to set a better example ... (See Mixed messages)

Get that debt settlement offer in writing -- An offer to settle old debt for a 10th of what's owed may soun good, but get it in writing, and make sure you understand the consequences ... (See Old debt)

Don't just transfer a balance, pay it down -- It's worthwhile to transfer a balance if the only other card is a dud -- but do the math and have a plan to whittle that balance down ... (See Balance transfer)

How to rebuild credit in 5 steps -- Don't think of rebuilding bad credit as a race -- slow and steady changes are needed, and time and patience are your allies ... (See Gradual growth)

Authorized user backfire hurts son's credit score -- Adding their son as authorized user backfired after they both lost their jobs. Now his plan to buy a house is in jeopardy ... (See Authorized user backfire)

How quickly is my card payment posted? -- It can take a few days for your card issuer to post your payment -- and for someone with a low-limit card, that can matter a lot ... (See Payment posting)

Banks expect credit to ease near pre-recession levels -- A Fed survey of senior loan officers finds bankers expect a hefty increase in credit card growth, the first big jump since the Great Recession ... (See Card lending easing)

Judgment-proof debtors have an imperfect shield -- If you are poor enough, a court judgment for debt has little threat. You're "judgment-proof," with wages and belongings shielded by law from collectors -- but that does not mean you can relax ... (See Judgment-proof debtors)

Settling a debt after a judgment -- Even after a judgment is entered against you, it is still possible to settle a debt for less than the court-determined amount -- maybe much less ... (See Settling debt after judgment)

Debt judgment may trigger bankruptcy -- Bankruptcy shields you from debt collectors, but comes with serious consequences that must be weighed ... (See Debt judgments and bankruptcy)

Fighting a default judgment for debt -- In most debt judgments, consumers never got their day in court. Often these one-sided judgments can be erased, giving the debtor another chance to fight the charges ... (See Fighting a debt judgment)

Court judgments for debt: Your options after the gavel -- A court judgment for debt can lead to seizure of wages and property, but there are steps to protect yourself after the decision comes down ... (See Judgments for debt: after the gavel)

Compare rewards cards for business gas spending -- If your business buys gasoline, why not be rewarded? Business credit cards and specialized fleet cards both offer programs to reward and track fuel purchases ... (See Gas rewards)

They divorced, he died, she's stuck with his $40,000 student loan -- Even though they were divorced before his death, she co-signed on his $40,000 student loan, which means she's asked to repay. What are her options? ... (See Student loans and death)

Getting teens to see plastic cards aren't 'invisible money' -- It's tough to decide when a child is ready to graduate to having a debit or credit card. One test: Can they see that the money they spend is real? ... (See Invisible money)

There ain't no cure for the bad co-signer credit score blues -- When you co-sign, you agree to take on responsibility for the loan -- and the credit damage that results if it's allowed to go into default ... (See Co-signer credit score blues)

During Chapter 13 bankruptcy, secured cards tough to get -- Banks may reject your credit card application, even for a secured card, while you're under the strict money diet imposed by a Chapter 13 bankruptcy ... (See Secured card)

Debt rises by 5 percent in top 20 cities -- A study by the credit bureau Experian shows borrowing is on the rise again in 19 of the 20 biggest U.S. cities, with Dallas, Houston leading the way ... (See Average debt)

Applying for a credit card? Your odds for approval -- Thinking of applying for a card? The odds of having your application approved depend on the issuer, the card and your credit score ... (See Application approval odds)

Small-business bank loans become a bit easier to get -- Bankers are becoming a bit more accommodating to small businesses, new research shows, but they're still hard, so know all your choices ... (See Bank loans)

Prepaying principal, paying ahead not the same -- Your auto lender would probably prefer you just pay ahead, since that won't cost them anything. But if you want to lower your costs, prepay the principal ... (See Prepaying)

Divorced woman still cleaning up ex's financial mess -- Five years after their breakup, a woman is trying to see if there's a way to undo the financial damage her ex dumped on her and she unwisely kept ... (See Ex's mess)

Poll: Americans say they'd rather save than spend -- An April 2014 Gallup poll shows that Americans state they would rather save than spend, a desire that has increased for the third year. ... (See Save vs. spend poll )

Big bill, small credit limit: Know your options -- In one hand is a big bill. In the other, an offer for a credit card with a 0 percent interest rate, but a too-small credit limit. They're not the only choices, Jane says ... (See Credit limit)

Should I pay in full, even after a debt settlement? -- If it's been years since the settlement, and the credit damage is mostly behind you, it's best just to let go. Focus on what's ahead, not what's behind you ... (See Settled)

Taking over parents' finances: first steps -- Don't wait until it's too late, get information now and make necessary changes while they still have the capacity and legal authority to do so ... (See Parents' finances)

'When She Makes More' looks at female breadwinners -- Author Farnoosh Torabi plumbs the emotional and financial complexities that pop up when women out-earn their male counterparts ... (See 'She Makes More')

Foreign boyfriend's check-cashing request sounds like fraud -- The Internet has created an industry of romantic swindlers whose sole purpose is to rob you by making you think with your misplaced heart ... (See Swindler)

Bankers predict an increase in credit-line requests -- A poll of risk managers at banks in the United States and Canada shows most believe credit-line increase requests will rise in 2014 ... (See Credit line survey)

Debt settlement vs. bankruptcy: Which damages credit score worse? -- Debt settlement means the creditor gets at least something back, so it damages credit scores less than bankruptcy, which wipes out debt ... (See Credit damage)

YOLO: When is it OK to splurge? -- You max out your 401(k), never carry a card balance and have an emergency fund. When is it OK to blow the budget on a you-only-live-once moment? ... (See YOLO)

How to perform a credit transfusion on your spouse -- It's a tricky and dangerous procedure, but it's possible: The spouse with good credit can absorb the bad-credit person's debt by balance transfer ... (See Credit transfusion)

For MoneySavingMom blogger, fulfillment, frugality go together -- Successful blogger Crystal Paine offers an adjustment strategy for the too-tired, too-stressed woman whose supermom outfit has become too tight ... (See Crystal Paine)

Got a medical card, but can't afford the procedure -- A dentist suggested financing a procedure with a medical card and then charged upfront; now the patient wants to cancel ... (See Cancel medical debt)

Paying your tax bill with prepaid cards -- Popular Vanilla Reloads are becoming harder to find, but credit card rewards seekers still have options to avoid hefty tax-payment card fees ... (See Tax points)

Secure, or not? Assess the risk before sending credit card info -- We asked Internet security experts to rate the common methods of sending credit card information to see which pose the greatest risks ... (See Data risk)

Debt near the bottom of parents' financial concerns -- America's parents worry more about setting a good financial example for their kids than taking on too much debt, T. Rowe Price's 6th annual 'Parents, Kids and Money' survey shows ... (See Parents, kids and money survey)

Pros and cons of becoming a first-time landlord -- If you're eyeing a property as a potential rental, do the math to see if it will make a profit, but also decide whether you want to do what a landlord does ... (See Landlord)

Author Steve Bucci: Take the slow, steady road to good credit -- "Credit Repair Kit for Dummies" author Steve Bucci says there's no magic wand to a quick credit fix nor is there a credit repair fairy ... (See Credit repair )

Take care before giving a debt collector your bank account information -- In some cases, debt settlement may be the right option, but verify first that you owe the debt, and then dole out the dough yourself ... (See Bank account)

You don't have to wait for a zero-balance statement to avoid interest -- Caution is good, but you don't have to wait for a zero-balance statement to use a credit card again. Paying on time avoids interest charges ... (See Zero balance)

Best card to send with kids to Europe -- His two 20-year-olds head to study abroad this fall, armed only with their debit cards. Dad wants to know if he get supply them with a credit card, too ... (See EMV)

10 tips for dealing with debt collectors, collection -- First, pull your head out of the sand. Next, educate yourself on your rights and on who to reach out to for help or to register a complaint ... (See Debt collection tips)

Don't be fooled into falling for these 8 scams -- Here's the lowdown on eight hot scams, cons and swindles that criminals are employing to separate you from your money, along with tips for avoiding them ... (See 8 hot scams)

Finding the best rewards card for frequent Saudi Arabia travel -- For a businessman who will be traveling to Saudi Arabia a lot for work, the advice is similar to that for other travelers: decide on an airline and hotel chain that fit your needs, then find a credit card tied to them. And don't forget about fees ... (See Saudi Arabia travel)

3 who bounced back from bankruptcy to millionaires -- Bouncing back after a bankruptcy may not be easy, but it can be done. The most prosperous of the rebounders analyze their past shortcomings, chart a better route, then march full force into the future ... (See Bankruptcy to millionaire)

On disability, facing interest rate creep -- She was on her card's hardship plan to keep her APR low, but then the company changed ownership and her rates keep rising. Is there any recourse? ... (See Hardship rate)

Shifting debt from credit cards through a mortgage refi -- Paying off credit cards via a home refinance could change your credit utilization and help your credit score, if you don't go charging again ... (See Refis and credit scores)

Healing your inner financial child -- If you’ve been struggling to break certain financial habits, the problem may not be your budget, but rather your childhood ... (See Habits)

Can I use my credit card after bankruptcy? -- There is no specific amount of time you have to wait before you can start charging again after bankruptcy. In fact, it can even help rebuild your credit ... (See Bankruptcy)

Winning the credit 'Game of Thrones' -- Managing your credit cards can sometimes feel like waging an epic battle with unseen enemies on all sides -- sort of like the characters on "Game of Thrones" ... (See Games)

Not all free credit scores are created equal -- More than 25 million credit cardholders now have regular access to a credit score through their credit card issuers, but that free score may not be the comprehensive, tell-all number you think it is. ... (See Scores)

Assets online? Plan your estate for the digital age -- Financial accounts, credit card rewards and even treasured photos are often online-only these days. Take these steps to help an heir to find them, and pay your bills to boot ... (See Digital estate plan)

Pay the whole debt or pay part: Which helps credit score more? -- Much of the credit score damage was already done back when you defaulted, but paying it off can make you look better to other lenders ... (See Partial payment)

What financial advice do millennials say they need? -- Millennials are confident about their financial knowledge, but they want advice about savings, budgeting and credit cards in particular ... (See Millennials and financial advice)

Does more 'stuff' really make you happy? -- Buying stuff gives you a quick high, but that doesn't last for long, says "Stuffocation" author James Wallman. By focusing your time and money resources on experiences instead, you’ll find joy while also avoiding depressing debt. ... (See Stuff)

Student loan payments choking new grad -- With student loan payments taking up 57 percent of her income, a new grad ponders defaulting as she can't see how she can keep up ... (See Default)

What interest rate increases will cost cardholders -- Consumers will pay up to $192 million more a month on their credit card balances starting this month, according to Federal Reserve data ... (See Rising card rates)

Medical card pays for endorsements -- GE Capital's CareCredit card pays dozens of professional societies to help market its high-rate health care credit card, raising questions that could cloud the doctor-patient relationship ... (See Medical card endorsements)

Who's responsible for kids' unauthorized card charges? -- You're not responsible for unauthorized purchases, but when the unauthorized purchaser is right under your own roof, things can get fuzzy ... (See Unauthorized kids)

Stop paying your late mother's credit card debt -- Some advice for a daughter who has continued to pay her deceased mom's card bills for five years, and still owes $3,000: Stop. Now ... (See Death and debt)

Familiar fraud: When family and friends steal your identity -- When identity fraud victims know their imposters, it can rip apart relationships as it ruins finances, making it a tough crime to overcome ... (See Familiar fraud)

Paying all you can vs. leaving a cushion in savings -- If there's enough money to make a big dent in your card debt but not enough to pay it off, you have choices to make, and the right one depends on your goals ... (See Paying vs. savings)

Don't default on a stipulated judgment -- When you agree to pay a creditor a reduced, but fixed amount each month to satisfy an old debt and then default, you risk having to pay the full balance ... (See Stipulated judgment)

Card fees, not interest, dominate revenue -- Credit card fees, and not interest, continued to dominate card issuers' revenue in 2013. ... (See Card fees)

Q&A with security expert Slava Gomzin on the safest way to pay -- What's being done to protect cardholders at checkout -- and what can we do in the meantime to protect ourselves? We asked Slava Gomzin, security and payments technologist at Hewlett-Packard and author of "Hacking Point of Sale" ... (See Slava Gomzin)

Card debt falls in January -- Card balances reversed direction and fell in January, as consumers got hit by harsh weather and expiring jobless benefits ... (See Card debt falls)

9 signs your spouse is a financial bully -- Many couples argue over money, but what if your spouse takes away your credit cards or demands you turn over your paycheck? Watch out: you might be married to a financial bully ... (See Bully)

Too late for a refund? Return assistance programs may help -- Credit card return assistance programs extend the window for refunds on products you've bought with the card. But you'll find lots of exclusions in the fine print ... (See Return assistance)

Help! Mom trashed my credit -- It's tough to find that a card you never signed up for is dragging down your credit and chances for employment, but if you were just an authorized user, you'll get off easy ... (See Credit)

Son uses dad's card after he dies -- Believing the card he shared with his dad was a joint account, the son kept using the card after Dad's death. But he was just an authorized user, so who's to pay the bill? ... (See Debt)

Cards with free credit scores -- A growing number of cards give you a no-cost way to watch the number crucial to your financial health ... (See Free credit scores)

Savings clubs: Not just for Christmas anymore -- Small banks and credit unions have extended the Christmas Club tradition to encourage savings for both good times and bad ... (See Savings clubs)

Disabled? How to discharge federal student loans -- After taking out student loans to earn a degree, medical issues kept her from pursuing her career. Now 65, she owes big, and a discharge may be her best bet. Here's how to win one ... (See Discharge)

CFPB calls for free credit scores -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has urged credit card issuers to make credit scores available to customers for free ... (See Consumers want free credit scores)

If authorized user goes bankrupt, account holder's credit not at risk -- Granting authorized user status to a partner who later goes bankrupt won't risk your credit, but watch out for any joint accounts ... (See Partner's credit)

Making sure bad debts are gone from your credit report -- Still paying a collector for an old debt? It should eventually fall off your credit report. But take care or it could linger longer ... (See Old debts and credit reports)

How 'jamming' cleans your credit report -- temporarily -- The scam called jamming throws a wrench into a beleaguered credit report dispute process, making it harder for the big three credit bureaus to keep up with legitimate disputes ... (See Jamming)

Complain and win: 4 tips for calling credit card customer service -- If you have a problem with your card, don't let endless options and hold music deter you. With a little knowledge and the right attitude, you can get results ... (See Service)

How to keep but not go broke with expensive friends -- Unless you want them to visit you in the poorhouse, understand why you want to match your high-spending pals dollar for dollar, then find less-expensive alternatives ... (See Expensive friends)

Steps to building your credit before 1st auto loan -- A newcomer to credit, even someone who's handled credit well so far, won't have a great score. Additional work is need to get a good first auto loan ... (See 1st auto loan)

Poll: Who Americans blame for data breaches -- As data breaches mount and put personal information at risk, a poll finds most Americans lay the blame on laxness by retailers ... (See Data breach blame)

Include all debts in a management plan -- When going into a formal debt management plan from a credit counseling agency, you can't keep several credit card accounts open. That defeats the purpose of getting out of debt ... (See DMP)

GAO urges changes in college-provided debit cards -- A federal report questions the fairness of a new breed of college-provided debit cards and urges transparency on the deals -- and the fees charged students ... (See College debit cards)

Households are borrowing money again -- A new federal report shows U.S. consumers are steadily building debt once again, with the end of 2013 seeing the first annual increase in debt since the Great Recession ... (See Consumer debt increases)

Surprise! Many credit card agreements allow repossession -- An analysis of the federal database of credit cards finds dozens include a 'security interest' clause that leaves the door open to the repo man ... (See Repossession)

Military families remain easy prey for ID theft -- A move to strip Social Security numbers from military IDs is underway, but millions of old cards will leave soldiers vulnerable to ID thieves for years to come ... (See ID theft)

After divorce, ex leaves joint debts unpaid -- You're never really free of an ex-spouse as long as you have credit card and other debt together. When one stops paying, what recourse do you have? ... (See Ex's debts)

How rapid rescoring works to improve a credit score -- A rapid rescore can be requested by a mortgage lender to quickly undo damage from an erroneous credit report, but it won't erase your old mistakes ... (See Rapid rescore)

Rewards programs move toward flexible, immediate spending -- As frequent flier and hotel rewards programs get devalued, credit card issuers are offering new ways to redeem your points, from taxi rides to paying your mortgage ... (See Flexible rewards)

Credit card approval tips for new immigrants -- New to the U.S.? Until you understand the American credit rating system, expect to be continually rejected for new credit cards ... (See New to U.S.)

8 savvy habits of high-volume credit card users -- Some cardholders have learned how to charge and pay off massive sums on their credit cards while always coming out ahead. Here's what they're doing right ... (See Savvy habits)

Fed: Card balances leap in December -- Credit card balances rose even more than usual for the holiday season, posting a third month of growth ... (See Fed: Card balances rise a 3rd month)

What helps credit score more: Pay debt all at once? Or in bits? -- Paying all at once may be harder on your budget, but it's the fastest way to get a crucial credit scoring ratio back out of whack ... (See Pay down entire debt)

2014 balance transfer survey: Beware combo deals, two-tier fees -- Long-lasting 0-percent balance transfer offers abound to help consumers pay down card debt, but new tweaks aren't so friendly ... (See Balance transfer survey)

5 financial cleanses to break bad money habits -- Take a page from the nutritional world and go hard core after the parts of your financial life you want to change with these five money cleanses ... (See 5 financial cleanses)

How many is too many credit cards? -- If you've got great credit, 0 percent promotional deals are there for the taking. But does having too many paid-off cards a good or bad thing? ... (See Too many cards?)

When is it time to 'cut off' your financially dependent parents? -- If you’re a parent, you may be used to financially helping out your kids. But what if the tables turn and your own mom or dad starts coming to you for money? How much should you help them out? ... (See Cut off your parents)

ID theft disconnect: We fear it but still engage in risky behavior -- A survey conducted by Experian's ProtectMyID found that consumers are increasingly worried about the threat of identity theft, but are not doing much to protect themselves ... (See ID theft: Fear vs. actions)

Moving out? Don't forget about the credit cards -- Relocation is stressful enough without having it damage your credit. With a bit of planning, you can maintain your sanity -- and your credit score ... (See Moving and credit)

Don't confuse introductory rate, deferred-interest deals -- Interest accumulates like a ticking bomb on deferred-interest deals, exploding into huge charges if you don't pay the balance in time ... (See Intro vs. deferred)

Mid-Atlantic complains most about credit card problems -- Washington, D.C., and neighboring states file the most complaints per capita about credit cards with the federal consumer financial regulator ... (See Complaints)

Do you have what it takes for DIY debt settlement? -- Settling your own debts instead of hiring someone else can save you money and put you in the power seat, but it's not for the fainthearted ... (See DIY debt)

Stop obsessing over a perfect credit score -- When your FICO credit score is just 70 points shy of a perfect score, is it really worth the effort to push it all the way to the top? ... (See Credit score obsession)

How to let kids fail their way to financial success -- As parents, the instinct is to protect children from making mistakes -- especially costly financial flubs. But knowing how to handle mistakes can mean the difference between an error becoming a learning opportunity and a bad habit ... (See Kids' money mistakes)

Ex's ID theft thwarts new couple's finances -- His ex-wife racked up debt in his name on a secret credit card, but agreed to pay if off in the divorce. But how does he clear the debt off his credit reports? ... (See Ex-debt)

How long can a judgment impact your credit score? -- Once you have a judgment against, you, it's bad: Some state laws allow them to be in force for decades. But it may fall from your credit report sooner ... (See Judgments)

Credit cards: our moral guardians -- When it comes to arbiters of morality and integrity, we look toward the Ten Commandments, our moms and -- in a strange and largely unnoticed new trend -- the corporate behemoths that issue our credit cards ... (See Guardians)

Single mom struggling with card payments -- A single mom living paycheck to paycheck wonders how she can clear up the charge-offs and late payments listed on her credit reports ... (See Credit score)

As online gambling booms, credit card acceptance lags -- States turning to online gambling find the credit card industry is reluctant to join the game, leaving gamers scrambling for alternate ways to ante up ... (See Online gambling)

Infographic: Consumers expect credit to stay tight -- A few hopeful consumers predict credit accessibility will get easier -- but most think it will get tougher or stay the same ... (See Credit accessibility)

Erroneous loan default report won't affect other credit accounts -- When a large error claiming you defaulted suddenly appears on your credit, you have to fight to remove it, but it won't impact other loans ... (See Not my debt)

Closing excess cards without hurting credit score -- With a wallet full of retail cards, just how do you go about closing the extraneous ones without incurring too much credit score damage? ... (See Closing cards)

Saving money versus paying off debt -- Does it make sense to put money in a savings account while you still are repaying debts ... (See Savings)

Infographic: Credit card delinquencies inch up after three-year slide -- While consumers are paying many of their loans on time, late credit card payments saw an uptick in the third quarter of 2013, according to the American Bankers Association ... (See Delinquencies)

Keeping a card balance to boost credit score is dumb advice -- Some financial "experts" claim that carrying a small balance on your credit cards is good for your credit score. It's time to kiss that myth goodbye ... (See Balance)

Q&A: How to save $1,000 a month -- Author Brian O'Connor cut his own middle-class budget by $1,000 per month and found that, in many cases, it was easier than he expected ... (See $1,000)

Lessons from abroad on financial education -- The U.S. is not alone in its attempts to address financial literacy in public schools. An international push is on to teach kids the money skills they need to navigate today's increasingly challenging financial landscape ... (See Financial literacy)

Next steps if your settlement offer to a debt collector is rejected -- Once negotiations over a debt stall and collection efforts reach the legal threat stage, it is better to have your own attorney ... (See Debt collection)

Why Johnny can't save money -- and what schools should do about it -- As the feds push for more financial education in public schools, questions linger about how financial subjects should be taught -- and whether they're even teachable for school children ... (See Literacy)

Fed: Card balances rise again -- Credit card balances bulged in November for a second month, as consumers' spending increased faster than their paychecks rose, the Federal Reserve said ... (See Card balances rise)

9 credit-buildings tips for US immigrants -- The land of opportunity requires newcomers to establish credit anew once they arrive in the U.S., but you can go from nothing to good credit in a short time ... (See Immigrant credit)

Psst! A hot tip on debt elimination companies: They're bogus -- So the guy at the airport lounge was saying how a debt elimination firm cost just $49 to cut all debt. It's real, right? Erica splashes cold water in a reader's face ... (See Debt elimination )

How behavioral economics explains 6 common money mistakes -- Ever look back at financial decisions and ask: Why did I do that? Turns out, science can probably answer the question with behavioral economics ... (See Mistakes)

How to get to that long-haul international flight for free -- A trip to the Middle East is expensive, whether you're paying with reward points or dollars. But combining a couple of credit card sign-up bonuses can nearly get you there for free ... (See Bonuses)

Credit card late fees could rise in 2014 -- The CFPB has added $1 to the amount that first-time offenders can be charged for a late credit card payment, raising it to $26 ... (See credit card late payment fees)

Options you haven't thought of for raising quick cash -- Cash crunch? Yes, you should look for more income. But turn over every stone, including utility refunds, pawnshops, eBay and adjusting your withholding ... (See Quick cash)

She took cash advances on his card, then he died. Does she owe? -- A woman worries that the cash advances she made as an authorized user on a now-deceased man's card will raise the ire of his family ... (See Liability)

The financial power of negative thinking -- Optimism may feel good, but pessimism is sometimes more helpful in building wealth. Here are six times it pays to have a more pessimistic financial outlook ... (See Negative thinking)

Options for overcoming thin credit -- If you've had little or no credit history and have no income, secured cards and becoming an authorized user are your best options ... (See Overcoming thin credit)

Tips for getting that first credit card -- The path to getting your first credit card may be bumpy at first, but if managed properly, the road to easy credit becomes a smooth ride ... (See First credit card)

Infographic: What were 2013's biggest budget busters? -- For about one in five Americans, meals at restaurants were the biggest threat to their budgets in 2013, according to a survey ... (See Budget busters)

Eldar Shafir Q&A: Money worries lead to poor financial decisions -- Constant concern about money makes you prone to poor financial decisions, says "Scarcity" co-author Eldar Shafir ... (See Broke)

Top retailers' 2015 return and receipt policies -- Our survey of 12 large retailers' policies regarding returning items without a receipt shows most allow it -- within certain limits ... (See No-receipt return policies)

How to undo unauthorized card charges -- When you provide a merchant with your card for one item but other items get added to the bill without your permission, it's time to file a dispute ... (See Dispute)

Need a last-minute tax deduction? Try a credit card charity network -- By donating through a major credit card's charitable giving network, you can pledge (and get the deduction) today, pay the bill next year ... (See Taxes)

Having trouble making your credit card payments? -- Do your best to continue making minimum payments on your cards. For any cards that you are not able to pay, communicate regularly with the card issuer to let them know the status of your situation ... (See Late payments)

Will prepaying card bill help credit score? -- Paying your credit card bill as early as possible is a good habit, but it won't help your score any more than paying it on time ... (See Prepaying a credit card bill)

12 credit card predictions for 2014 -- What will issuers do to woo new cardholders next year? Will rewards get juicier or 0 percent interest deals longer? We talked to the experts to find out ... (See 2014 forecast)

Parent with dementia and a $40,000 debt: Who's liable? -- The cost of an assisted living facility has left no room for even the minimum payments on mom's credit cards. What's an adult daughter to do? ... (See Dementia and debt)

Video: How to use EMV smart chip credit cards -- U.S. financial institutions are finally issuing credit cards with EMV computer chips, which are widespread in other parts of the world. They promise to be more secure than traditional magnetic stripe cards ... (See EMV cards)

Data breach protection: 10 tips -- When your card data may have been stolen by hackers in a data breach, it's no time to panic, but do be vigilant and ready to take action if unauthorized charges show up ... (See Data breach protection)

Should you remove money from your retirement savings? -- Generally, it is considered a bad idea to take money out of a retirement account to pay off debt, particularly if you must pay early withdrawal fees ... (See Retirement withdrawal)

CFPB report: On-campus credit card deals fading away -- The lucrative, once-secret bank deals with colleges for on-campus access to students are fading, but on-campus debit card deals are rising to take their places ... (See Campus credit card deals)

Yes, get a second credit card, if you used the first wisely -- But beware: If you're not paying off the balance every month on your primary card, applying for a second card won't help and could get you into trouble ... (See Second card)

Former 'credit junkie' Beverly Harzog comes clean -- Personal finance expert Beverly Harzog unveils her secret addiction to credit in a new book, "Confessions of a Credit Junkie" ... (See Credit junkie)

Bad idea: using credit cards to pay for a move -- Relocating to another state without a job, emergency fund or a place to live is just bad planning. Living off credit cards until your ship rolls in is even worse ... (See Living on credit)

Some frequent flier miles, reward points can be inherited -- You aren't going to be able to take those frequent flier miles with you on that trip to the great beyond, but you might be able to pass them on to your kids ... (See Inheriting points)

Despite settlement, demands to repay old debt resurface -- A collector's new demands you pay an old debt should go away if you got written verification of the settlement agreement. If not, take these steps ... (See Written verification)

CFPB report: Biggest card issuers push consumers into arbitration -- Few consumers use the dispute resolution format favored by banks, says a new report by the federal consumer watchdog ... (See Arbitration report)

How soon after bankruptcy can you get new credit cards? -- With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy almost behind you, how soon is too soon to start applying for new credit? And will you be approved? ... (See Post-bankruptcy)

Husband's secret debt destroying marriage -- He opened new cards without his wife's knowledge, racked up debt and now can't afford the minimum payments. Should she leave him or give him another chance? ... (See Secret debt)

Lending to friends and family: Your 4-step guide -- Lending to people you know can be fraught with risk. If you're going to do it, follow this 4-step guide to check expectations and improve your chances of success ... (See Family loans)

Sample promissory note for loans to family, friends -- If you're lending to a relative or friend, you'll want to craft a written agreement. This free sample promissory note spells out how and when you are to be paid, and what happens if the borrower doesn't repay the loan ... (See Sample promissory loan note)

The high cost of credit card cash advances -- Using your credit card to draw cash at an ATM or writing one of those handy checks that comes in your monthly statement can cost you plenty, an exclusive survey shows ... (See Cash advances)

A quick guide to credit card cash advances: No! Don't! -- In an emergency, when you have no other options, then maybe – maybe – taking a cash advance from your credit card makes sense. Otherwise, no. And by that, we mean, NO! ... (See Cash advance guide)

Death announcements serve notice to creditors -- A published death announcement serves notice to creditors that the clock has started ticking for them to file claims against the estate ... (See Death notices)

Regretting your recent cash advance? You're not alone -- More than half of those who have taken a cash advance on a credit card say they have regretted that decision, according to a new poll ... (See Cash advance poll)

What kind of plastic can you get with fair credit? -- With FICO scores in the low 600s and numerous hard inquiries on his credit reports, will card issuers accept or reject his card application? ... (See Fair credit)

Card issuers soften mandatory arbitration rules -- Signing away your right to go to court is part of most credit card agreements, but the CFPB is taking a look at mandatory arbitration requirements ... (See Mandatory arbitration)

What's the big deal about secured cards? -- When your credit is trashed or you have a thin credit file, building up a solid credit score can be within reach by just signing up and using a secured card ... (See Secured cards)

Death, wills, remarriages can all change inheritances -- State law governs what happens when a person dies without a will. Typically they assume that any assets of the deceased should go to a surviving spouse before going to a child ... (See Lost inheritance)

Is family responsible for mom's debt? -- An 89-year-old mom is carrying $20,000 in card debt from purchasing gifts for loved ones. Will the family be liable for the debt when she dies? ... (See Mom's debt)

What percentage of available credit should you stay under? -- How much of your available credit should you use to keep a high credit score? There's no one-size-fits-all answer, but the less credit you use, the better ... (See Ratio)

FICO credit-score giveaway coming to Discover cardholders -- Discover's the latest bank to add free credit score access as a routine service, completing the route of the once-secret three-digit number to full public view ... (See Credit scores)

Using your card for fast cash is costly -- Sometimes a cash advance from your credit card can be a lifesaver, but high fees, interest charges make them costly for routine cash flow fixes ... (See Cash advance)

Infographic: Lack of savings more worrisome than card debt -- Although credit card debt is more stressful than either health care or living costs, what's most likely to keep you up at night is a lack of savings for the future ... (See Money worries: No savings outstresses debt)

GAO: Information resellers quickly invading personal lives -- Data collectors know and resell your buying preferences, investments, ailments, favorite sports, hobbies and political leanings -- and need to be reined in, the government agency says in a report ... (See Information resellers)

Debt judgment puts inheritance at risk -- When expecting an inheritance after you've had a judgment against you for unpaid debt, don't worry -- that money doesn't automatically go to creditors. But worry: They'll come looking ... (See Inheritance and debt)

NY Fed: Household debt rise marks a 'turning point' -- Households increased their debt load in the third quarter by the largest amount since early 2008, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York ... (See Fed report: Borrowing returns)

Tips for building credit before renting a home -- Landlords commonly check the credit history of potential renters; knowing and polishing yours can hand you the keys to a new home ... (See Credit check)

Great degree, great job, but no credit -- Recent college grads shouldn't expect to be granted easy access to credit once they land a job. Building a great credit score takes time, patience ... (See New credit)

How to use the grace period to avoid paying interest -- Taking advantage of the grace period's break on interest charges can save the typical card user a couple hundred bucks a year, but the savings aren't automatic ... (See Grace period)

Can a doctor's office charge a credit card surcharge? -- Like other merchants, doctors' offices are allowed to charge a fee for accepting credit cards, but at the risk of aliening patients ... (See Credit card surcharge)

Forging hubby's signature on a card application -- Forging a spouse's signature here and there may be OK, but never on a credit card or loan application, and not if it's done secretly ... (See Forgery)

Credit card balances extend their slide -- Credit card balances fell for a fourth month in a row in September, according to the Federal Reserve's monthly report on consumer credit ... (See G.19 consumer debt report, September 2013)

Can card issuer send bills just 11 days before due date? -- The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 says consumers should get 21 days from the time the bill was sent until it's due ... (See Due dates)

When's a good time to drop dad's card? -- His dad helped him get off to a good credit start by sharing a card with him during college. Now, at 23, it's time to drop dad's card and get his own ... (See First card)

Beware: 7 retailer tricks that make you spend more -- From jumbo-sized carts to BOGO deals, retailers employ all sorts of tactics to nudge you into buying products that aren't on your list ... (See Retailer tricks)

Mobile apps help track business credit card receipts -- A handful of receipt-tracking apps now offer new ways to track business expenses, allowing you to capture receipts and file them on the fly ... (See Receipts)

Don't be a victim of home burglaries -- Home robbers prize homes easy to rob and hard to get caught robbing. These steps will prevent them from seeing your house as being on either list ... (See Preventing home burglaries)

New complaint data zings credit bureaus -- Federal complaint data shows that consumers are often dissatisfied -- even when credit bureaus say they have addressed the problem ... (See Credit bureau complaints)

Ex-wife racks up debt on joint accounts -- When a marriage is over, joint accounts should be severed. If not, an ex's financial misbehavior can come back to haunt you ... (See Divorce debt)

Infographic: Preferred payment methods vary by location -- Buying groceries? You'll pay by debit card. Online? It's credit cards or PayPal. Grabbing a burger? You'll fork over cash, says a study of preferred payment methods ... (See Preferred payment methods)

Cards maxed out for 10 years? Perhaps you need a plan -- If you've lived for a decade with maxed-out credit cards, consider a debt management plan, but pick your counselor carefully and know the credit impact ... (See Debt plan)

Make sure your first card is a good fit -- Shopping for your first credit card is much like finding that perfect pair of jeans -- it has to fit your income as well as be age and credit appropriate ... (See First card)

Buy lottery tickets with a credit card? Probably not -- A web of state laws, retailers, card policies can all ban the practice ... (See Lottery tickets and credit cards)

3 ways to curb pre-holiday money stress -- Ah, the holidays. From Halloween to New Year's Eve, it's common to experience the financial freak out. Must you, though? No, say the experts ... (See Holiday spending)

Is a widow liable for using dead husband's card? -- After the death of a spouse, continuing to use his or her plastic can be considered fraudulent. And if you can't make the payments, the issuer can come after you ... (See Debt on dead spouse's card)

Adding a spouse as authorized card user to boost score -- Couples looking to buy a house can buff their team credit score by having the person with better credit add the partner with worse credit as an authorized card user ... (See Score)

Video: Hoard or shred? Organizing financial records -- Having too many paper records lying around may increase your risk of identity theft. But some documents are essential to save -- mainly for tax purposes ... (more)

Getting rid of old medical debt -- When old medical debt is keeping you from moving ahead with your life, it's time to take action. Either pay it off or work out a debt settlement with collectors ... (See Medical debt)

7 ways to prep for a lean holiday season -- Avoid buyer's remorse this season by checking out these expert tips for keeping your spending frugal but festive ... (See Holiday spending)

2013 bankruptcy filings continue decline -- 2013 is on track to be the third straight year of reduced filings since 2010, when the aftermath of the recession pushed personal bankruptcies to about 1.53 million ... (See Bankruptcy)

Chronic late credit card payments: How bad can fines, fees get? -- Occasional tardiness won gentler treatment under a 2009 reform law, but repeat offenses bring heavier penalties ... (See Late fees)

Who pays card bill after parent dies? -- Once a parent passes, all bills should go through his or her estate. Even if you used the card with permission prior to death, if it's not your card, it's not your bill ... (See Liability)

Becoming disloyal: 6 reasons to quit a loyalty program -- Yes, you love your perks and discounts, but at some point, your loyalty may cost you too much time and headaches to be worthwhile ... (See Loyalty programs)

Seeking low-interest cards in quest for a better credit score -- If you're trying to recover from bad credit, will canceling old cards and opening new cards improve your credit score? ... (See Credit score)

Turned down for secured card. Now what? -- After being turned down for a secured card, which is designed for people with bad credit, are there any other options to rebuild your credit? ... (See Rejected)

How much can collectors increase charged-off debt? -- Courts are setting higher standards for debt buyers to prove their right to charge you interest after a bank has written off your debt ... (See Charged-off debt)

7 jobs that require great credit -- Before applying for that dream -- or even interim -- job, you may want to pull your credit report and deal with any problems first ... (See Jobs requiring credit check)

Will closing a new, unused card hurt my score? -- If you just got new plastic, but a more attractive offer comes in the mail, would it be OK to cancel the first card and apply for the second? ... (See New card)

Yes, debt collectors have the right to collect, and sue -- Some people mistakenly believe that when a debt is charged off, the obligation to pay disappears. Not so. Debt collectors have the legal right to pursue, and sue, you ... (See Debt)

Government shutdown obstructs credit card applications -- The government shutdown has cut off IRS income verification services that lenders use to approve loans, including some credit cards ... (See Shutdown hits card apps)

Can too many credit cards mess up your credit score? -- When a review of your credit report says you have too many card accounts open, will your otherwise stellar credit take a nosedive if you cancel some? ... (See Too many cards)

Banks soften due dates, offer help to furloughed federal workers -- Banks are offering special help for victims of a man-made disaster -- the federal government shutdown that has furloughed federal workers and forced them into economic hardship ... (See Furlough)

12 creepy details data collectors know about you -- Think you can keep your rendezvous to Montreal a secret between you and your sweetie? Not anymore. Personal data is no longer considered your own private business ... (See Data)

Bankruptcy's credit damage worse than debt settlement's -- Both hurt badly, as they should, since they're serious debt defaults. But bankruptcy causes the greater credit score damage ... (See Bankruptcy vs. settlement)

Fiancee leaves ex with big pre-wedding debts -- He gave her his credit card to buy a $3,600 dress and financed a $9,000 ring. Then she left the country, taking it all with her. What's a jilted lover to do? ... (See Wedding debt)

Infographic: Good credit? Issuers want you -- If you have good credit, hold out for the best deal on a new credit card, because there's a lot of competition for your business ... (See Good credit)

Landing and maintaining an unsecured line of credit for your business -- For small businesses with few assets seeking the flexibility of on-demand funds, an unsecured line of credit can be an ideal option. Keep these pointers in mind when considering one ... (See Unsecured)

Wage garnishment laws differ by state -- If you're served with a summons for unpaid debt, where you live will determine whether a creditor can recoup funds through wage garnishment ... (See Garnish)

Report: We've learned our lesson about using credit cards -- We've learned a lesson from the recession, says a report from a bankers' trade group, with cardholders paying lower interest, carrying lower balances ... (See Lesson learned)

Credit mix and maxing out: Undoing damage from a heavily used card -- If you have one credit card that's close to maxed out every month, having a mix of other types of credit will help soften any credit score damage ... (See Credit mix)

4 ways to build credit without a credit card -- If you want to start building credit but don't want to get a credit card, there are other options, including passbook or CD loans, credit builder loans and alternative credit scores ... (See Credit without a card)

Do card issuers remember my very old mistakes? -- If you defaulted on credit card debt years ago, so long ago that the debt is off your credit report, what are your chances of getting a new card with the same issuer? ... (See Old debt)

5 things people fail to budget for -- If you're constantly pulling out your credit card because you couldn't stick to your budget, your problem probably isn't willpower. You're overlooking key expenses ... (See Budget fails)

Better off broke: Why some choose poverty over wealth -- Not everyone craves a high-powered job, big house, luxury vacations and stockpiled cash. In fact, some prefer to both earn and spend far below their capability ... (See Broke)

Elderly mom racks up card debt, check-cashing loans -- A daughter needs advice on how to help her elderly mom who has $25,000 in card debt and is relying on check-cashing loans to get by ... (See Breaking debt cycle)

Subprime borrowers have easier time getting car loans -- Unlike with credit cards, auto loans are becoming more available for borrowers with blemished credit ... (See Auto loans)

Sorry, repaying loan from mom won't help your credit score -- It's good you're paying back the personal loan from your mother. You're a fine son. But that doesn't count to credit bureaus ... (See Credit score)

Industry insider tips: How to make music AND money -- The rise of digital streaming and gadget-centered entertainment has created new opportunities for musicians seeking to build a career out of their craft ... (See Music)

Musician/blogger Doug Ross on music and money management -- For professional musician and blogger Doug Ross, the key to having a successful music career is not artistic integrity -- it's about making a living doing something you love. ... (See Doug Ross)

Entertainment lawyer Neeta Ragoowansi on surviving in music -- Entertainment lawyer Neeta Ragoowansi says many artists overlook burgeoning opportunities to promote their music. ... (See Neeta Ragoowansi)

Mom illegally adds daughter to joint card -- A recently married daughter finds out her mom used her name to open a joint account without her permission or knowledge ... (See ID theft)

Fed maintains support for low interest rates -- The Fed left short-term rates that govern credit card APRs unchanged at near-zero levels. It also voted to maintain current support for low long-term rates such as mortgages, defying analysts' expectations ... (See FOMC)

4 free, underused card perks -- Free upgrades, refunds, companion tickets and museum admissions are just some of the card perks you may be missing out on ... (See Credit card perks)

Can a minor be sued for using an adult's credit card? -- When a young person is given an adult's card to make purchases, but then the adult cries foul and threatens to sue, is the child liable for the charges? ... (See Minor)

Q&A with 'What to Do When I Get Stupid' author Lewis Mandell -- Our cognitive ability related to credit cards and borrowing peaks around age 53. In his new book, "What to Do When I Get Stupid," behavioral economist Lewis Mandell explains how we can protect ourselves from hucksters -- and ourselves -- in our dotage ... (See Retirement)

Is it OK to close a card before I buy a condo? -- Closing a high-fee card can be a smart thing to do, but not when lenders are considering you for a home loan. Any credit score hit may cost you ... (See Credit score)

You can now #buy through social media -- but do you really want to? -- In-stream purchasing lets you buy products through social media by posting a simple hashtag or set of words. It's quick, convenient -- and potentially dangerous ... (See Social media)

Pre-screened offers don't guarantee card approval -- All those enticing zero percent card offers that come in the mail don't mean that you'll be approved for them, and can even hurt your credit score ... (See Offers)

9 debt myths debunked -- Did you hear the one about how making even a small payment will stop debt collectors in their tracks? If you believe that, you need some myth-debunking ... (See 9 debt myths)

Steps to protect finances of those with Alzheimer's -- If a loved one is having trouble remembering to pay the credit card bill or spending money recklessly as a result of Alzheimer's disease, there are steps you can take to protect his or her credit and financial security ... (See Alzheimer's)

Infographic: Cardlessness among young people up nearly 80 percent -- All age groups are increasingly shedding credit cards, according to June 2013 data from FICO. Yet no age group is ditching them faster than young people ... (See Young people going credit-cardless)

Don't let a rental scam spoil your vacation -- Rental scams are becoming increasingly common. Recognizing the warning signs is essential to prevent a scam from ruining your next vacation. ... (See Vacation rental scams)

Can you negotiate medical debt with collectors? -- Yes, you can negotiate over delinquent medical bills with a collection agency, but paying less than what is owed has consequences ... (See Medical debt)

Will making minimum payments damage my credit score? -- Consistently making minimum monthly payments on a high balance is a dangerous habit that can damage your credit score if your financial situation worsens ... (See Minimum)

Rebuilding your credit as an authorized user -- Becoming an authorized user on a spouse's credit card can help you rebuild your credit but you need to understand your responsibilities and be committed to using the card wisely ... (See Rebuilding)

Is sharing your credit card ever OK? -- Have you ever lent your credit card to a relative or friend to make a purchase on your behalf? Most times, these actions are harmless, but sometimes they can backfire ... (See Sharing credit cards)

Student loan repayment troubles? Don't delay -- If a student loan ends up in default, your options for repayment become limited, and get worse after wage garnishment ... (See Student loans)

My 88-year-old mother lives on cash advances -- A mother who has been supplementing Social Security by taking credit card cash advances needs a financial intervention -- and a budget ... (See $40,000 debt)

Broke at Big U? Short-term college loans may help -- Many colleges offer loans up to $1,000 at little or no interest. For students short on cash while they wait for financial aid, the loans can be a life saver ... (See College cash)

Is a card account open if it isn't activated? -- If you apply for a card, get it in the mail and then choose not to activate it, does the account still get listed on your credit report? ... (See Unactivated card)

Your map through Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy -- If you've decided that bankruptcy might be the solution for you, you need to be prepared for the stops along the way for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies ... (See Bankruptcy map)

What’s the best rewards card for parents with kids in school? -- If you have kids away at college you'll need a rewards card that can help pay for travel -- and everyday expenses. Several fit that bill, but you may have to pay an annual fee ... (See Parents)

Building good credit doesn't happen quickly -- Paying on time for a few months will not drastically change a credit score, especially if you've lapsed in the past. But with patience and time, your score will rise ... (See Good credit)

Many pay an unexpected price for deferred-interest deals -- About 1 in 5 people who sign up for deferred interest deals on big-ticket items actually wind up owing finance charges ... (See Deferred interest trap)

Deferred-interest, 0-percent financing 'deals' costly for many -- About 1 in 5 people who sign up for 0-percent, deferred interest deals wind up owing accumulated finance charges ... (See Deferred interest)

I'm buried in debt. Can I just stop making payments? -- If you're swamped with credit card debt, it may be tempting to stop making payments and hope the problem goes away. Sorry. It won't ... (See Stop paying)

Survey: Card satisfaction hits 7-year high -- Though impenetrable financial terms and opaque rewards programs still plague cardholders, we are increasingly satisfied with our plastic ... (See J.D. Power)

How to pick a socially responsible credit card -- Consumers who value sustainability have two major credit card options: Affinity cards that donate to charities, and cards issued by financial institutions devoted to the concept of 'the triple bottom line' ... (See Donate)

How 'authorized user' status can help build US credit -- New to the U.S.? There are several ways to start building a good credit history, most notably by becoming an authorized user on another's credit card ... (See Authorized user)

Certegy fined $3.5 million for violating Fair Credit Reporting Act -- The FTC has accused credit reporting agency Certegy of maintaining and reporting inaccurate information about thousands of check-paying customers, resulting in a $3.5 million fine. ... (See Certegy)

Can a car dealer garnish my wages after selling me a lemon? -- Every car owner's nightmare is to get stuck with a trouble-prone vehicle. Can a dealer garnish your wages if you can't afford to pay off the loan on a useless auto? ... (See Garnish)

NY Fed: debt squeeze eases on households -- While borrowing on cards increased, credit limits grew faster in the second quarter, leaving cardholders with more available spending power ... (See Debt and credit report)

Credit score impact of settling past-due accounts -- When you have numerous credit accounts that are seriously past due, is the best solution to settle the accounts or try to pay them in full? ... (See Settle or pay in full?)

How to dispute unauthorized credit report inquiries -- If a negative item on your credit report isn't true, you dispute it. But did you know the same goes for credit report inquiries you don’t recognize or didn’t approve? ... (See Credit inquiries)

Infographic: Consumers cutting back -- but also spending more -- Consumers are pinching pennies when it comes to small purchases, while opening their wallets for bigger ones, according to July 2013 research from Harris Interactive ... (See Saving while spending)

Pay off card charges before bill arrives -- If you budgeted for an item you put on plastic, pay it off right away instead of waiting for the bill to arrive. That way, you'll reduce any interest adding to the balance ... (See Interest charges)

How to get your adult children to leave the nest -- Instead of feathering their own financial nests, many parents who are retired or approaching retirement are going into debt and raiding their savings to support their young adult children -- all in the name of love ... (See Adult children)

Using money to self-medicate? -- Fallen into the emotional money trap? Recognizing the feelings behind impulsive spending can help reduce excessive consumption ... (See Curb the splurge)

Stroke, spending spree leaves family with debt emergency -- After his wife suffered a stroke, she racked up card debt. He may be able to argue diminished capacity to have it dismissed, but should be prepared to pay up ... (See Health debt)

Fed: Card balances fell in June -- Credit card balances were down in June, pulling back from a strong upward surge the month before, despite an increase in consumer spending ... (See G.19)

When being an authorized user is useless -- Her brother added her to his card to boost her credit, but the issuer doesn't report card activity for authorized users. What are her options? ... (See Authorized user)

Historic newspaper archive reveals earliest mentions of credit cards -- Consumer credit in the U.S. has its roots in the late 19th century, and the earliest printed mentions of credit shows we confronted today's challenges then ... (See Credit in U.S. history)

How 'mindfulness' can curb impulse spending -- By pausing to reflect, you can take a step back and make choices about what you're going to buy based on reason, rather than impulse ... (See Mindfulness)

If your company fails, your credit card rate can rise -- Your business is shuttered and you're left with credit card debt. Now the issuer is hiking your interest rate. Is it really allowed to do that? Most likely, yes. Here's what you can do ... (See Business card rate hike)

Should I tap into my 401(k) to buy my retirement haven? -- As you near retirement, it can be tempting to use 401(k) distributions to fund big purchases. There are, however, lots of rules to follow and tax implications that you must be aware of before making a decision. ... (See Tapping 401(k) )

Daughter racks up debt on deceased dad's card -- Not knowing she was just an authorized user, a daughter continued to use her dad's card after he died. Now the issuer closed the card and wants quick repayment ... (See Authorized user)

How to protect a foster child from ID theft -- Foster kids are even more at risk for identity theft than the general population. Help protect yourself or a young person you know by following these tips ... (See Tips)

Have I fallen prey to identity theft? -- It's relatively easy to find out if you've fallen victim to identity theft, given the availability of credit reports and online billing statements. Clearing up an identity theft issue, however, is more difficult and may require contacting local authorities or placing a freeze on your credit report. ... (See Fraud)

Foster children get help in combating ID theft -- A 2011 federal law says when foster children turn 16, child welfare agencies must help them get annual credit reports and clear up any mistakes. States are now implementing programs to do just that ... (See Foster kids and ID theft)

Fed keeps interest rates low -- As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee voted Wednesday to keep short-term interest rates low ... (See FOMC)

Summer vacation mistakes that can cost you -- Daydreaming about a lazy day at the beach? Just make sure you don't make a vacation planning mistake that could set your finances back for months to come ... (See Vacation mistakes)

Will a debt management plan hurt your credit score? -- When you enter a debt management plan, one of the requirements is to close open card accounts. How will that action affect your credit score? ... (See DMP)

Does it make sense to refinance business credit card debt? -- Small businesses with good credit may benefit from transferring business card debt to a lower-interest loan or 0-percent interest card ... (See Refinance)

How credit scores impact some student loan approvals -- Planning to apply for student loans? You might want to check your credit. If you’re applying for PLUS loans or private student loans, your credit history counts ... (See Student loans and credit)

Don't blow your inheritance -- A large inheritance can create the temptation to spend and lend on a large scale. How do you balance your wants and needs (and those of others close to you) while keeping your newly obtained wealth intact? ... (See Inheritance)

Husband won't stop charging on joint card -- Sharing a joint credit card can be hard if one spouse uses the card too often and can't pay off the balance. Do they kill the card or get will that make things worse? ... (See Joint credit)

Rules of the road for improving your credit mix -- Having greater diversity in the types of credit you use can nudge your credit score up -- as long as you make your payments on time ... (See Credit mix)

The path to a lower interest rate -- Most banks and credit unions tie their credit cards' interest rates to the prime rate, but knowing the prime rate alone won't lead to lowering yours ... (See Your rate)

Tattoo debt: Body art can create red ink -- Tattoos can come with surprising costs, both on the front and the back end. The best artists aren't cheap, and the worst can produce pricey mistakes ... (See Tattoo debt)

What to look for in an emergency credit card -- Unless you have huge sums of cash, have an emergency card handy -- one that won't cause extra problems if you actually use it ... (See Emergency card)

Bankruptcies continue to fall -- As the eighth anniversary of a bankruptcy reform law approaches, filings in the first half of 2013 have fallen 14 percent from the same period one year ago ... (See Bankruptcy filings)

Repayment, settlement, bankruptcy: Facing debt from failed business -- A business owner has unpaid credit card debt worth thousands. Should she settle, file for bankruptcy or something else? ... (See Business debt)

Credit reports now show your credit card bill-paying habits -- Credit bureaus add "trended data" to credit reports showing whether you carry a credit card balance, giving card issuers and others a more detailed portrait of your financial habits ... (See Trended data)

Managing your fashion-forward teen's clothing allowance -- Keeping up with the latest fashion trends is a high priority for many teens. A clothing allowance is a great way for a parent to teach fiscal responsibility and keep the family's fashion budget under control. ... (See Teen's clothing allowance)

Money experts give advice to their younger selves -- We asked financial professionals to imagine they could go back in time and pass on to their younger selves the wisdom about money they've gained ... (See Advice)

Found your lost purse? Good, but don't use those canceled cards -- If that lost purse or wallet turns up and you've already reported the cards missing, it's too late. Wait for the new ones, and next time, don't carry so many ... (See Lost purse)

Getting your deposit back when a company goes bankrupt -- Your catering company has gone belly-up just before your wedding, taking your deposit with it. All's not lost, if you used a credit card, but beware -- those refunds can be time-consuming and tricky to reclaim ... (See Post-bankruptcy deposit refunds)

Even with very old debt, don't ignore collection efforts -- The statute of limitations doesn't bar collectors from trying to get you to pay old debts, but you have rights and can stiff-arm them easily ... (See Old debt)

Infographic: Who’s checking your credit score? -- When it comes to which types of companies may check your credit score before approving you for their products or services, many consumers are in the dark. ... (See Credit score)

How employee salary advances work -- Occasional emergency bridge loans from an employer can be OK, but regular pay advances are fraught with perils that can spill into the workplace ... (See Salary advances)

Help! My husband's ruining my credit -- They opened a joint credit card together and then her husband went "crazy" charging things they couldn't afford. To make matters worse, he stopped paying the bill ... (See Joint credit)

Didn't make that donation to charity? Watch out for fraud -- If you see a small donation to a charity on your credit card but don't remember making the gift, you may be a victim of fraud. Small transactions like these are often tests to see if a stolen card number is working ... (See Charity donation scam)

Q&A with 'Bootstrapper' author Mardi Jo Link -- Her book chronicles how she mended a broken heart and literally saved her Northern Michigan farm with alcohol, Buddhism and hard-won financial acumen ... (See Bootstrapper)

What to know before jumping into a rent-to-own lease -- It's both a lease to rent a home and a deal to buy it, rolled into a single document, so it has more moving parts and quirks than either document individually. In other words, study up and get expert help ... (See Rent-to-own)

Divorce and card debt in community property states -- She's an authorized user on her ex-husband's card, but since they live in a community property state, she's not off the hook ... (See Divorce debt and community property )

Oops! I bought something with my 0-percent balance transfer card -- If you transferred a balance to a 0-percent card and then bought something with it, you'll need to do some fancy minimum payment math to avoid interest charges ... (See Oops)

Watchdog agency opens doors to complaints about debt collectors -- The government's consumer watchdog issued warning notices to the collection industry about illegal tactics on the day it began taking complaints about collectors ... (See Debt collection)

4 signs your teen isn't ready for credit cards -- Getting your teen behind the wheel of a car was scary enough, so do you think your kid is ready to handle the responsibility of a credit card? ... (See Teens and credit)

Is daughter liable for shared card debt with mom? -- Mom tried to boost her daughter's credit by putting her on several credit cards, but then Mom passed away. Who has to pay the balances? ... (See Shared credit)

Card delinquencies hit 22-year low -- Credit card delinquencies hit their lowest levels since June 1990 during the first quarter of this year, reflecting a stronger economy and more frugal consumers, the American Bankers Association said. ... (See low credit card delinquent accounts)

Average credit card debt statistics -- Depending on how the average is measured and who's doing the measuring, Americans are either doing pretty well when it comes to managing our credit cards, or horribly ... (See Average card debt)

CFPB steps in to save service members money -- More than 50,000 active-duty service members who participated in a big bank's specialty auto loan program are due a refund ... (See Military auto loan refund)

Where to look for credit, funding for minority-owned business -- For a young, African-American entrepreneur looking to start a small business, credit can be tight -- especially if you're still paying off student loans. Here's where to look for advice, and money ... (See Minority business)

Why not leave country and bail on student loans? -- Sure, you can leave your debts behind -- and your family and friends, too. But there are repayment options that can help ease your burden. ... (See Student loans)

Ken Ilgunas' unique approach to avoiding college debt -- He lived in van for two years while attending Duke University with the goal of graduating with no debt. Now he's written a book about his philosophy and experience ... (See Ken Ilgunas)

Servicemembers Act helps, but soldier, straighten up your debt -- The Servicemembers Act limits rates for loans to active-duty military personnel, but controlling debt should be a soldier's first financial duty ... (See Servicemembers Act)

How canceled cards impact credit scores -- When a card is canceled, the only way it can hurt your credit score is by reducing your credit utilization ratio -- or if you behaved badly with it ... (See Canceled card)

Average American expects to be debt free by age 53 -- Americans are optimistic about achieving a clean slate before retirement, but 1 in 10 expects to never be independent of debt ... (See Debt-free)

Jaron Lanier Q&A: Consumers, take back your data -- The computer visionary and influential thinker sees individual and widespread economic risk in turning details of our lives into commodities ... (See Jaron Lanier Q&A)

Infographic: Millennials swap credit cards for student loans -- More young consumers are turning their backs on credit cards and piling on student loan debt, according to research from FICO ... (See Millennials ditch credit cards, pile on student loans)

Should you take on credit card debt to pay for a new employee? -- A new boutique owner is considering hiring a part-time salesperson so she can devote more time to marketing efforts. But to do so, she'd need to charge expenses such as inventory on a credit card. Is it worth it? ... (See Hiring)

Using plastic to pay off student loans: A bad idea -- Using one or more credit cards to get out from under the burden of student loan payments can seem tempting, but it's a step in the wrong direction ... (See Student loans)

Are your finances ready for a 'babymoon'? -- Need a little alone time before that bundle of joy arrives? Time to start planning your "babymoon" -- just make sure you don't add to your stress by spending too much ... (See Babymoon planning)

Settling a debt? Verify it, and get everything in writing -- If you want to settle a debt with a collector for less than owed, do it safely and permanently by following these steps ... (See Settling debt the right way)

DOMA ruling cuts both ways financially -- The Supreme Court's ruling may spur same-sex couples toward marriage, but the financial consequences of such unions aren't all favorable ... (See DOMA and dollars)

6-step credit-building plan for a struggling single mom -- A low-income, young single mom with school and another baby coming wants to handle credit wisely, but she'd better have a plan to avoid debt ... (See New credit)

Looking for Mr. FICO: Singles using credit score to filter dates -- Your astrological sign? Pah. A growing number of today's singles employ a FICO filter, using credit scores to judge whether a date is responsible ... (See Creditworthy dating)

5 bankruptcy myths busted -- Only deadbeats, cheats and crooks file for bankruptcy, right? Nothing could be further from the truth, say the folks who deal with bankruptcy day to day ... (See Bankruptcy myths)

Pet wellness plans touted to spread out vet costs -- Some snarl, others purr at the idea of evening out pet care spending; evaluate all the costs and what's covered before signing up ... (See Pet wellness plans)

Old car debt hounds ex-wife -- What do you do do when your wages are garnished to pay for a repossessed car that was jointly owned by you and your ex? ... (See Joint debt)

How to spend money to buy happiness -- "Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending" co-author Michael Norton says you can buy happiness if you know what to buy ... (See Happy Money)

Want to help a relative in debt? Do it carefully -- Sure, you can help a relative overwhelmed by debt. Help her negotiate, consolidate -- but be careful about taking that debt on yourself ... (See Relative in debt)

Fed signals that rate hikes remain in distant future -- The Federal Open Market Committee voted to keep interest rates at ultra-low levels amid speculation that stimulus measures are nearing a turning point ... (See rates remain low)

First credit card tips and advice -- An 18-year-old wants to know just how a credit card works and how it should be used before she applies for one ... (See First credit card)

5 top excuses (and 5 top fixes) for paying bills late -- Excuses abound for paying bills late, but none do you any good. We identify the top five -- and a way to overcome each one ... (See Bill paying moves )

Credit CARD Act: The next generation -- The federal watchdog agency is reviewing the 2009 law's impact; consumer groups are urging a host of fixes, enhancements ... (See Post-CARD Act)

Infographic: Best, worst states for credit card delinquencies -- In what could be a sign of economic recovery, bank card lending is on the rise, according to numbers from credit bureau Experian ... (See Card delinquencies)

Credit dispute process fix coming soon -- Disputing a credit report error? The bureaus will no longer discard your evidence; it will be scanned in and forwarded to the lender or debt collector ... (See Disputes)

Dealing with $8,000 card debt hidden from husband -- Whether you reveal the hidden debt to your husband is up to you, but you need to change habits to stop it from growing and get a plan to pay it off ... (See Hidden debt)

Foreign exchange students can build a US credit score -- A 20-year-old Chinese student living in the U.S. wants to build an American credit score, and she can: Scores aren't just for U.S. citizens ... (See Foreign student scores)

How to teach your son about money -- While financial literacy for women and girls has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, boys have their own issues. Here are some tips for teaching your son about credit and finance ... (See Money lessons)

6 money experts share dad's best credit advice -- Dads often give advice on more than just proper tire pressure. Their words and deeds lay out a financial path for their children, and these six experts share theirs ... (See Dads' advice)

Old debt, new collector: Negotiate? Ignore? Or pay up? -- When an old debt resurfaces as you're trying to make a credit comeback, getting it listed as paid in full does the most benefit to your credit, but the most harm to your cash flow ... (See Old debt, new collector)

Options for card approval without a credit history -- At 21, he was turned down for a secured card. His grandfather offers to co-sign on a card with him, but will that be his best choice? ... (See Young credit)

6 ways to protect your credit after a natural disaster -- While your first priority after experiencing a life-altering tragedy may be to rebuild, ignoring your debts can hamper your recovery ... (See Natural disaster)

U.S. rolling out chip card technology, ever so slowly -- Rely on your American magnetic-stripe cards for international travel and you could run into problems. Many other countries now use on more secure chip technology. But the U.S. is moving in that direction ... (See EMV card update)

Beware: Risk of data breaches rises when you travel -- The odds your card's data will be taken rise when you're on holiday for an obvious reason: You like to hang out at the same places the cyberthieves do ... (See Data breaches)

Finding a free bankruptcy lawyer for business, consumer debt -- If you're considering bankruptcy but can't afford a lawyer, there are a few options available for you. Some bankruptcy attorneys do pro bono work, or you may be able to file the papers on your own ... (See Filing for free)

Infographic: Americans pick computers over financial planners -- When it comes to financial planning, Americans are turning to computer programs over living, breathing financial advisers, a Gallup poll has found ... (See Computers reign over financial planners)

Divorcing? Your kids don't need a money martyr -- Sally sharply arches her eyebrow at a one-sided divorce settlement that gives him the house, her the debt -- and a self-imposed college fund obligation on top of it all ... (See Divorce and debt)

If you have the choice, pay off that big debt -- When a generous uncle offers to pay off a $30,000 credit card debt, say thanks and do it -- then figure out how to pay him back and stay out of debt ... (See Pay off debt)

Peer-to-peer loans catch on for credit card debt consolidation -- Peer-to-peer loans -- made by individuals to other individuals -- are booming as a debt consolidation tool. Though they can be a deal, they aren't for everyone. Here's how they work, what to expect ... (See P2P)

Wife of inmate worries about his card debt -- Her husband is in prison for five years, and he left behind $7,000 in card debt that she can't pay. Will she be pursued for the debt by collectors? ... (See Debt and prison)

Nontraditional borrowing alternatives to online P2P loans -- Peer-to-peer lending works for people with solid credit, but if you have a history of late payments, there are other creative alternatives to credit card loans ... (See Creative, nontraditional loan choices)

Congress considers relief for credit damage from medical bills -- Debt caused by medical bills is special and should wait 120 days before it's reported late on credit reports, according to legislation introduced in Congress ... (See Medical debt)

Stuck with card debt with no job, assets -- She has no work or personal property and cannot afford to pay her card bill. Can she still be pursued for the debt even if she has nothing? ... (See Card debt)

Infographic: New grads wish they'd saved more for college -- The high cost of college has given the class of 2013 some financial perspective, a survey has found ... (See College costs)

People are managing cards better, survey finds -- Americans are getting better at paying off their credit card bills and avoiding interest charges, but about a third are still struggling to pay more than the minimum ... (See Financial survey)

Same-sex marriage means gay couples get joint custody of debt -- As more states allow same-sex marriage, gay couples discover they must take on one of matrimony's biggest legal burdens: a partner's debt ... (See Same-sex marriage)

How card companies report credit utilization to bureaus -- Card issuers vary in how they report card use, which can affect your credit score. Usually, it's no big deal, but it becomes one when you want new credit` ... (See Credit use)

Can old debt threaten a great credit score? -- His credit score is in the mid-700s already, but a debt collector is calling about an old debt. Will ignoring the calls threaten his creditworthiness? ... (See Credit score)

9 tips for managing ADHD and debt -- Constructing and sticking to a budget and determining which bills need to be paid and when can be especially challenging for those with ADD/ADHD ... (See ADHD and debt)

Should I give more employees company cards? -- In a small business, handing out credit cards to everyone can create headaches. You'll typically share responsibility for the account with the business. But there are times when giving out more cards can make everyone's lives easier ... (See Employee cards)

Will card debt scare off student loan lenders? -- With high card debt, no job and a desire to return to school, will qualifying for a student loan be insurmountable? ... (See Student loan)

Q&A with author Frank Ahearn on the art of disappearing -- This skip-tracer turned skip-maker charges $42,000 minimum to help people disappear. He doesn't take credit cards. In fact, his first move will be to destroy yours ... (See Frank Ahearn)

Keeping your credit score high in retirement -- As retirement approaches, it's time to review your collection of credit cards to make sure they're still working for you, and to keep debt low ... (See Credit score in retirement)

Credit-building tips for new US citizen -- He opened a U.S. card with a passport and business account. Now that he's moved here and has an SSN, he wants to know how to build a good credit score ... (See Credit tips)

Should you charge that new pet? -- Pet regret? If you put that new furry friend on plastic, you may be able to get a refund, but it all depends on exactly where you bought it and what went wrong ... (See Pets)

Co-signer, joint account holder, guarantor: Know the difference -- Thinking about sharing a card account with someone? Take heed. Your liability for the debt could vary greatly depending upon the type of account you choose ... (See Shared accounts)

Doing the math to calculate your retirement savings goal -- While everyone's desired retirement goal is different, you can, with just a bit of math, come up with a rough idea of your savings goal. Here's how ... (See Retirement savings goal)

Student loan co-signer on the hook for delinquency -- A wife co-signed her husband's student loans, which he defaulted on when he lost his job. Should she pay off the balance or not? ... (See Student loan)

How to pick a bankruptcy attorney -- That’s it, you’re done. After struggling to pay your debts, you’re ready to consider bankruptcy. It’s time to contact a lawyer to represent you, but which one? ... (See Bankruptcy attorney)

Proposed rule could help kids replace stolen Social Security numbers -- The Social Security Administration is considering easing the process for replacing stolen SSNs for children 13 and younger, who are increasingly targeted by identity thieves ... (See New SSNs for kids)

Two balance transfers means payment dilemma -- The federal CARD Act of 2009 created rules about how payments should be allocated when there are multiple rates, but not for multiple balances ... (See Payment allocation)

Does canceling an unactivated card hurt credit scores? -- She applied for a low-limit, high annual fee card and never activated it. Now she wants to cancel it. How will that impact her credit score? ... (See Credit score)

Study: Credit card debt causes people to forgo medical care -- A study by a pair of University of Michigan sociologists finds people who are ill and don't seek treatment because of the cost are more likely to have credit card debt than other forms of debt ... (See Medical care and card debt)

NY Fed: Credit card balances reach new low -- Consumers resumed paying down their card balances in the first quarter of 2013, the New York Fed reported, and delinquencies improved ... (See NY Fed)

Survey: Consumers still don't understand credit scores -- Women have more credit knowledge, says a study released Monday, but few of us really understand what makes us creditworthy ... (See Credit survey)

California blasts Chase for robo-signing -- California's attorney general accused Chase Bank of using false documents in court cases to collect credit card debts ... (See Chase robo-signing suit)

Infographic: How Robo-signing works in credit card debt -- When creditors mechanically and automatically certify that credit card debt is real without any documentary evidence, it's called robo-signing, and the practice is both widespread and controversial ... (See Robo-signing credit card debt)

How to ask for a credit limit increase -- Credit card issuers determine your limit based on what they think you can repay. If you want to raise your limit it helps to have your argument nailed down before you ask ... (See Credit limit increase)

Pay off debt vs. settle it: Which is better for your credit score? -- With $4,000 in card debt and five months behind on the bill, she wonders if settling the bill or paying it off is better for her credit score ... (See Credit score and settlement)

7 tips for saving time, money when shopping online -- As online shopping has evolved, so have the ways in which you can use the tool wisely. These seven tips will keep time on the clock and money in your wallet ... (See 7 online shopping tips)

Debt lingers on credit report even after garnishment, repayment -- Through garnishment, an old debt has been repaid, but the credit damage can linger for years. The good news? It fades with time ... (See Old debt and credit reports)

Will paying off a bad loan early boost credit score? -- If you can afford to pay off a high-cost loan, do it. Don't stick with a bad loan in the false belief that it will help build your credit score ... (See Car loan)

10 ways to get more from your credit card through social media -- Social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube can help you resolve problems, find perks and maximize the benefits you get from your credit cards ... (See Cards and social media )

5 reasons budgets fail - and what to do about them -- Budgets can be a valuable tool to control spending, but many fail. Be wary of these five budget-bursting culprits, and learn how to prevent yours from flopping ... (See Why budgets fail)

Is wife liable for ex's card debt? -- When a spouse has thousands in secret card debt and then files for divorce, exactly who is responsible for repaying that debt? ... (See Ex's card debt)

Scared of Big Brother? Too late, says 'Big Data' co-author -- As more companies tap into the huge amounts of data to measure consumer behavior, "Big Data" co-author Viktor Mayer-Schonberger says it's not really a bad thing ... (See Big Data)

Help! My sneaky sis used my credit card, damaged my credit -- When family is involved in fraudulent card use, the choice is tough: Silently suffer the credit consequences or rat out a relative ... (See Fraud)

CFPB changes stay-at-home spouse rule -- The federal government's consumer agency has finalized a rule change to make it easier for nonworking, stay-at-home spouses to get their own credit cards ... (See Stay-at-home spouses)

2013 survey of balance transfer offers --'s annual balance transfer offer survey finds fees are falling, but a new breed of tempting hybrid cards is on the rise ... (See Balance transfer survey)

Rebuilding credit to run your new business -- If your personal credit is in the basement and you want to start up a business, getting a business card will be tough -- but not impossible. Here's how ... (See Rebuild credit)

Card add-on products stage a comeback -- Add-on services like payment protection are expected to rebound from regulators' smackdown ... (See Card add-ons)

Is there any such thing as good debt for a small business? -- Debt is often associated with poor planning or being in financial straits. But for a small business, there are times when it's smart to use debt as a financing option. Knowing when is the tricky part ... (See 'Good debt' for business)

Stop the debt shuffle, and figure out why you owe so much -- You have $55,000 in card debt. Now you want to borrow against a life insurance policy? Stop. Look at why you're in debt before you go any deeper ... (See Debt shuffle)

Debt pay-off choices: Less now or a lot later -- You can save now by paying an old debt at a discount, but consider your credit over the long run before making up your mind ... (See Pay debt now or later?)

Withdrawing vs. borrowing from 401(k) to pay credit card debt -- When downsizing or job loss makes credit card debt unbearable, the 401(k) money looks tempting. But whether you take it or borrow against it, know the consequences ... (See 401(k))

Feds crack down on payday loans, deposit advances -- Banks and storefront lenders will face new rules on small-dollar loans to protect borrowers ... (See Payday loan rules)

When does bad debt fall off credit reports? -- If you have debts that went into collections and were later discharged in bankruptcy, when can you expect those marks to be erased from your credit reports? ... (See Debts)

6 crucial credit questions you should know answers to -- Not keeping current on the state of your finances can have dire consequences. Here are six money questions everyone should know the answers to ... (See 6 credit questions)

Fed study: Recession really changed our spending habits -- We didn't just have our credit cards taken away during the recession, we gave them up. So says a new New York Fed study, which says the historic drop in debt was at least partly the result of households tightening their belts ... (See Fed study)

Chapter 13 bankruptcy: How it works -- Unlike Chapter 7 liquidation plans, Chapter 13s give filers a chance to pay off debts over three to five years -- but they rarely turn out as planned ... (See Chapter 13 bankruptcy)

Getting your family to eat generic grocery store brands -- When your family already likes the taste of a name brand, switching to a generic store brand isn't easy. But with some sleuthing, you can improve your odds ... (See Store brands)

Late fees inflate balance of forgotten card -- She opened a card, charged $100 and then Hurricane Sandy hit and she forgot all about it. Now it's in a collector's hands and the balance is $300 ... (See Card default)

Robo-signed collection cases under fire -- Practices that let debt buyers win collection judgments with just hurriedly signed affidavits appear headed for a major overhaul ... (See Robo-signed debt collection)

Poll: Card debt the No. 1 taboo subject -- Credit card debt? Shhhh! It ranks as the No. 1 taboo subject, ahead of sex, politics and religion as a conversational no-no, says a poll ... (See Taboo)

Deceased husband's debt haunts wife -- Three years after he passed, his wife receives a 1099-C form for his credit card debt cancellation. Does she have to report this on her income tax return? ... (See 1099-C)

Bankruptcy filings plunge in first quarter of 2013 -- Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy fillings fell the most in states hard hit by the recession, including Nevada and California ... (See 1st quarter bankruptcies)

Student with no job denied credit -- With student loans as her only income source, it's no surprise that a medical student is turned down for a higher-limit Amazon card ... (See No job, no plastic)

Infographic: Consumers prefer mobile banking to mobile payments -- Proponents of mobile payment technology tout the convenience of leaving your wallet at home. Yet, while consumers are eager to bank by phone, they're not sold on buying by phone ... (See Mobile payments)

Infographic: More taxpayers reaching for credit cards -- Most Americans will use checking or savings accounts to pay their taxes this year. But more are reaching for credit cards ... (See Paying taxes)

6 wedding expenses you should always charge on credit -- Wedding-related mishaps can turn any mild-mannered bride into a bridezilla, but sometimes your credit card can come to the rescue ... (See Wedding charges)

Will I inherit my partner's debt when I go into business with him? -- If you're joining up with a business owner who already has some credit card debt, be careful. Depending on the type of account he's got, you could lose out if he fails to pay up ... (See Business debt)

How long does old debt stay on credit reports? -- If a debt is reported as being charged off and passes the state statute of limitations, when does it drop off your credit report? ... (See Old debt)

When can an issuer cancel your credit card account? -- Credit card companies can cancel your account for any number of reasons, even if you're paying on time -- and they don't have to warn you about it. Here's what you can do ... (See Closed card)

Fed: Card balances rise in February -- Credit card balances rose in February as consumer spending increased, despite the specter of pending budget cuts ... (See credit card balances up)

9 tips for traveling with credit cards -- There's more to smooth travel than just keeping your cards working. Here are 10 tips to make your travels with plastic cheaper, easier and more enjoyable ... (See Traveling with credit)

Vacay layaway: Pay now, enjoy later plans spread to vacations -- Cruises, airlines and travel agencies turn to layaway financing options so dreams of faraway places can come true, debt-free ... (See Vaction layaway)

Starting an 18-year-old on the road to credit -- His parents sank into debt after marriage, but learned from their mistakes. How do they stop their 18-year-old son from repeating history? ... (See Young credit)

Infographic: Lack of savings consumers' biggest financial worry -- To kick off Financial Literacy Month, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling asked consumers which money matters worry them most ... (See Money worries)

Damaged credit: Can you sue? -- While holding others accountable for inaccurate and costly credit hits is a recent legal phenomenon, courts are recognizing that good credit is a valuable asset ... (See Suing for damaged credit)

When to pay off old debt -- There can be good reasons to repay a debt even after it is too old for you to be sued over -- but you could create a new headache if you're not careful ... (See Old debt)

Cash-now promise of lawsuit loans under fire -- Lawsuit loans -- cash advances given to lawsuit filers before a case is settled -- are the latest fast-growing, high-fee lending industry to draw controversy and attempts at regulation ... (See Lawsuit loans)

How to clear a judgment from your records -- She repaid the collector after a judgment was placed against her, but the judgment remains after the collector folded. How does she clear the record? ... (See Judgments)

How to check whether your parents left you an inheritance -- Emotions, time and distance can cloud memories, so if you think you may be missing out on an inheritance, go for the records ... (See Inheritance)

Infographic: Young adults ditch homeownership, rack up student loans -- While young people's post-recession lifestyles include fewer homes, fewer cars and less credit card debt, their student loan debt has skyrocketed ... (See Young adult debt)

11 hidden credit card perks -- The phrase "credit card fine print" is usually associated with unpleasant, expensive gotchas, but these hidden surprises bring good news to your wallet ... (See 11 credit card perks)

Will credit score suffer with new card cancellation? -- Just how much will your credit score be impacted if you open a new credit card, pay it off right away, and then cancel it? ... (See Cancel a card)

Who pays your expenses if your company goes bankrupt? -- Technically, you could be on the hook for unpaid expenses you charged if the company goes belly up, but in practice, employees are pretty safe ... (See Company expenses)

How old debts can lead to seized assets -- Just because you think a debt is beyond the statute of limitations doesn't mean you can ignore a court summons or bill collector lawsuits ... (See Old debts)

Expiration dates fuzzy on old card debt -- Card issuers' rules and conflicting legal rulings laws make it tough to tell when a consumer's debt ages past the statute of limitations ... (See Uncollectible debt)

Medical credit cards: Treatment today, payment headaches tomorrow -- Some say they're a savior in a medical crisis, while consumer advocates decry their high interest rates and few protections ... (See Medical cards)

5 tips when comparing health-care credit cards -- Facing a medical bill you can't afford all at once? Before you consider applying for a medical credit card, know what you're getting into ... (See Medical cards)

Health-care financing comparison chart -- Fewer health-care financing options populate the market since the recession. Compare the terms and conditions of the top medical credit cards and loans before you apply ... (See Medical credit card chart)

Rate survey: Card interest rates hold steady at 14.95% for 5th week -- Interest rates on new credit card offers remained flat this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

Debt vs. savings: Who gets paid first? -- When facing student loans and other debts, saving for emergencies may seem counterproductive. But without a cushion, you're more likely to face financial peril ... (See Debt vs. savings)

Funding dreams on credit: Film financing -- Kenny Golde maxed out multiple credit cards and took out a business loan to finish a movie that went over budget, for total debt of $220,000 ... (See Film financing)

Funding dreams on credit: Bike champ -- Gene Hamilton charged as much as $10,000 every year during mountain bike racing season for gas, hotels and airfare and spent the rest of the year paying it off ... (See Bike champ)

Funding dreams on credit: Vintage arcades -- Michelle and Michael Ware maxed out their card at $25,000 to start their vintage arcade game business, only paying the minimum due until things took off ... (See Vintage arcades)

Funding dreams on credit: Travel junkie -- Jeremy Jones strategically opened travel rewards cards to get promotional bonus deals to fund his goal of traveling around the world ... (See Jeremy Jones)

5 who funded their dreams on credit -- Do you have a big aspiration, but a small bank account? Check out how these five people went into debt to fulfill their fantasies, and the lessons they learned ... (See Funding dreams)

Funding dreams on credit: Fragrance creation -- Geir Ness created his own fragrance line by charging $12,000 on his credit cards to work with a perfumer and manufacture the first 1,000 bottles ... (See Geir Ness)

Emancipated minors may get freedom, but don't count on credit -- Emancipation is a rare legal course followed by youthful celebrities and a few regular youths. You gain independence, but not credit ... (See Minors and credit)

Out of cash, out of work and in debt -- An unemployed couple can't find work in their new state of residence, keep using plastic to get by, but can't keep up with their credit card bills ... (See Unemployed)

Infographic: How men, women divide money-related chores -- A 2013 TD Ameritrade survey finds that when couples tackle the household finances, women tend to do the day-to-day chores, men the long-terms plans ... (See Couples and money)

Hackers up the ante for small-business data security -- It’s getting trickier for small-business owners to keep customers’ credit card information safe. Still, there are steps you can take. They're not free, but can save you money in the long run ... (See Avoid breaches)

Survey: Credit card interest rates stay at 14.95 percent -- Interest rates on new credit card offers remained flat this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

6 questions to ask about your company credit card -- Charging your plane ticket and hotel on a company card has big shot appeal, but know that it's a perk with responsibilities and maybe personal credit risk ... (See Corporate cards)

Asking for a lower interest rate, higher limit on your credit card -- Following a brief lapse, a reader has restored her good payment habits and wants a higher credit limit and lower interest rate. Will her wishes be granted? ... (See Issuer requests)

'Pound Foolish' author Helaine Olen takes on personal finance 'gurus' -- In her book, the self-confessed former money dummy skewers the dispensers of personal finance advice for their ill-fitting generic "wisdom" ... (See Helaine Olen)

8 smart financial moves for college seniors, new graduates -- Many soon-to-be college grads are woefully unprepared for the financial challenges ahead. Take these crucial steps before tossing that cap into the air ... (See College finances)

Taken to court for card debt? What to expect -- If you have been served a summons to appear in court over unpaid card debt, the legal journey will unfold in six stages. Know what they are ... (See Court judgment)

Fed: Card balances rise in January -- Credit card balances rose in January, as a fiscal cliff cut in take-home pay and higher prices at gasoline pumps caused consumers to lean more on their plastic ... (See credit card balances up)

5 steps to prevent your debt from haunting your heirs -- If you’ve got debt and die tomorrow, don’t assume it will disappear. Chances are, it will eat into the assets you’re planning to leave for your heirs and may even wipe out your estate. ... (See Debt and death)

7 things not to say to someone in a financial crisis -- What do you say to someone who confides in you to having severe money woes? Do you chide them for not being more responsible? Or do you change the subject? ... (See What to say)

Disabled son charges card to the max, then gets sued -- He can't work and lives off of $712 a month and maxed out a credit card. Now he's being sued. His mom worries the court will garnish his disability payments ... (See Sued for debt)

Creative financing alternatives for small businesses -- Every small-business owner needs credit at some point. Unfortunately, traditional bank loans can be tough to get. But there are alternative financing solutions that could help when traditional credit isn't an option ... (See Small-business funding)

How to pick the best rewards credit card for your business -- Finding the right business card means finding one that rewards you for what you spend on. But don't forget to count up the card's fees, too ... (See Business rewards)

Should you pay off card debt slowly or all at once? -- If you're carrying credit card debt, is it better for your credit score to pay it all off in one fell swoop or in smaller installments? ... (See Card debt repayment)

Credit card complaints zing companies -- Newly published complaint data give a look at card issuers' relationships with customers -- and which companies are likely to pay back a customer with a gripe ... (See Most complaints)

NY Fed: Consumer debt market shows signs of 'healing' -- As 2012 drew to a close, the overall consumer debt market showed signs it is finally on the mend, says research from the New York Fed ... (See Consumer debt )

Making hard budget choices when work hours are cut back -- A 10 percent reduction in hours means a sudden drop in pay and new budgeting choices. They won't be easy, but here's where to start looking ... (See Hour cutback budget)

Infographic: Issuers stingier with credit post-CARD Act -- Since the CARD Act went into effect in early 2010, you need a higher credit score to get more measly credit limits, according to the American Bankers Association ... (See Credit after CARD Act)

2012 credit card complaints reveal trouble hot spots -- Complaints sent to new federal database paint a nationwide mosaic of misery, and the complainingest people tend to have comfortably high incomes ... (See Card complaints)

Getting business tax information from a closed credit card account -- Banks can close your credit card account for any number of reasons. But you are entitled to get the information you need to file tax returns for your small business ... (See Closed account tax data)

When authorized user status works against you -- A 27-year-old with less-than-stellar credit is only jeopardizing her credit more by adding herself to her mom's card with a really high balance ... (See Authorized user)

Credit limit tricks: Keep a high score while still using your card -- Forget the oft-repeated personal finance axiom about keeping card balances below 30 percent of your credit limit. Just know your monthly credit 'snapshot' date to keep your card balances low and your credit score high ... (See Credit limit)

Tips for setting up a teen's clothing allowance -- With their own allowances, teens make their own choices -- and some will be doozies -- but you'll reduce friction and sneak in a financial lesson or two ... (See Teen allowance)

Compare credit card extended warranties: behind the fine print -- Most credit cards offer to extend manufacturers' warranties, but you'll have to meet a laundry list of requirements to qualify. If you do, though, you'll get your broken purchase fixed or replaced, without breaking your bank account ... (See Extended warranties)

Danny Singh talks about early money management skills -- At 11, he took over paying his mom's bills and managing her financial affairs. At 19, he published his second book, this one on fighting foreclosure. Singh dishes on his money lessons ... (See Whiz kid)

10 ways loan co-signers can protect their assets -- Despite warnings from experts, people still co-sign loans for their loved ones. If you must, or already did, at least take these steps to protect yourself ... (See Co-signing protection)

After a debt judgment, inheritance may be at risk -- She's being sued for past due credit card debt. Can her creditors go after any inherited property or cash down the road? ... (See Debt judgment)

American, US Airways merger could launch credit card battle -- While American Airlines and US Airways struck notes of love and harmony when announcing their merger, the union could set up a battle between two major banks over who can offer credit cards to customers of the world’s largest airline ... (See Airline merger rewards fallout)

Watch out for fuel surcharges on reward flights -- Beware those hefty fuel surcharges, added by nearly all European and Asian airlines. You can't pay for them with points, which devalues bonus point offers ... (See Fuel surcharges)

Pluses, minuses of renting out a spare bedroom to a tenant -- Turning an empty room into extra cash seems easy, but think through whether you're willing to put up with loss of privacy and other inconveniences ... (See Renting out a spare room)

Authorized user's credit score in jeopardy on shared card -- When he was 14, his dad added him to a card account to boost his credit score. Now Dad is mismanaging the card and hurting his son's credit score ... (See Authorized user blues)

Pay As You Earn helps some student loan borrowers -- If you're a college grad who used federal student loans to pay for college, you may be eligible for a new income-driven repayment tool: the Department of Education’s Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan ... (See Student loans)

On disability, can't pay high card debt - is home at risk? -- Coping with a major illness and massive credit card debt, a woman wonders if the card issuers can take her house if she stops payments ... (See Illness and debt)

Costly tax refund loans not really gone -- While RALs have effectively been banned, consumers are still being pitched to pay big on costly tax refund advances ... (See Refund anticipation loans live on)

13 inexpensive Valentine's Day ideas -- Popular culture invites you to judge your mate's devotion based on how much they spend. Consider these 13 ideas and avoid an unfrugal accident ... (See Valentine ideas)

Steps to rebuild a thin credit file -- After getting into credit card trouble almost 10 years ago, he gave up using plastic. Now he wants to try again with a new card, but how can he qualify? ... (See Thin credit )

Credit counseling agencies get bigger, but are they any better? -- A wave of consolidation is rapidly transforming credit counseling from locally based agencies to national call centers ... (See Big credit counseling agencies get bigger - but better?)

Choosing a credit counseling agency: 6 tips -- Nonprofit credit counseling agencies are bound by rules that guard against abuses. But some agencies can work better for you than others ... (See Credit counselors)

The business of credit counseling -- Nonprofit credit counselors benefit from a solid reputation but clients face high dropout rates and difficulty getting information ... (See Credit counselors)

Compare 4 choices for debt relief -- People who need help getting out from under debt have a number of choices, each with some advantages and pitfalls. Here's an overview ... (See 4 debt relief choices)

When does it make sense to roll card debt into a refinance? -- A couple with huge card debt and high-interest mortgage wonders if rolling the card debt into a new, low-rate refinance makes sense ... (See Refinance)

Infographic: Women more likely than men to break up over money -- Poor money management skills and heavy debt are a turn-off, especially for women, a survey has found ... (See Love and money)

How to keep the costs low on a kitchen remodeling -- This common home improvement job can be costly, so choose materials carefully and consider doing some of the job yourself ... (See Low-cost kitchen)

FTC: Debt collectors often have skimpy info -- About 1 million U.S. consumers a year dispute debts, says a new FTC report, and no wonder: Collectors often have little info on what is owed ... (See Collectors' skimpy info)

Heavy debt a major turnoff, especially for women, survey finds -- Attitudes regarding debt loom large over any relationship, and that's especially true for women, who find heavy debt a huge turnoff, says a survey ... (See Debt's a turnoff)

Mom defaults on card shared with daughter -- A mom tried to do the right thing by adding her daughter to her credit card account, but then she stopped paying. How will that affect her daughter's credit rating? ... (See Authorized user)

Fed: As long as unemployment is high, rates will remain low -- If, after all these years, you still haven't taken advantage of today's historically low interest rates, don't worry. Today's record low rates aren't going to disappear any time soon ... (See FOMC)

6 ways NOT to pay off holiday credit card debt -- While making good on your resolution to pay down your debt is a terrific goal, think twice before resorting to these six sketchy debt pay-off plans ... (See Bad moves)

Emancipated minor wants to start building credit -- Just how does a recently emancipated soon-to-be 17-year-old go about building his credit without parental consent? ... (See Emancipated minors and credit)

Sock rewards into retirement or college savings with investment cards -- Several rewards programs help you save for the future. Investment rewards can be deposited directly into retirement or college savings funds ... (See Investment rewards)

4 high-cost desperation loans to avoid -- Overspend on the holidays? A short-term loan may seem like manna from heaven, but some loans may leave you in worse shape than before ... (See Last-ditch loans)

Does closing a newly activated credit card hurt your credit score? -- She accidentally activated a card, but already has two in her wallet. Will canceling a card she never used hurt her credit score? ... (See Credit scores)

How to get elite status at hotels quicker -- This is an excellent time to get into a hotel loyalty program with a rewards credit card: Their seasonal promotions can help you achieve 'elite' status faster ... (See Elite status)

Bankruptcies fell 14% in 2012, continuing 2-year decline -- Bankruptcy filings for 2012 year show a 14 percent fall, following a 12 percent decline the prior year, as America continues its shaky economic recovery ... (See Bankruptcies fall)

How to handle collection calls after a loved one dies -- A widow is being hounded by debt collectors over her deceased husband's unpaid card debt. What are her rights and how can she stop the calls? ... (See Card debt after death)

8 emotional spending triggers - do you know yours? -- Budget plans usually start with a month or so of data gathering, but that's the easy part. Evaluating why you spend what you do is the trick ... (See Spending triggers)

He's new to credit, behind on bills, worried about job hunt -- He started off on the right foot by getting credit and paying bills on time, and then he moved, lost his job and fell behind on payments ... (See Missed payments)

Beware of co-signing student loans for your kids -- A mom co-signed for her kids' student loans, and now payments are way overdue. Mom's credit score is tanking as result. What are her options? ... (See Co-signer risks)

7 things that WON'T impact your credit score -- Some slip-ups can damage your credit score, but do you know which of your personal and financial attributes have no bearing on that three-digit number? ... (See Credit score)

Infographic: Credit card delinquencies on the decline -- Delinquent payments on credit cards hit an 18-year low in the third quarter of 2012, according to numbers from the American Bankers Association ... (See Delinquencies)

What's in the (credit)cards for you in 2013? -- Smartphone magic that lets you breeze through checkout lines? Higher barriers against rapacious card rip-offs? We ask analysts what's ahead in 2013 ... (See 2013 predictions)

One late pay won't ruin a credit score - and needn't kill a new romance -- If a guy on a date tells you his credit score got ruined by one late payment while he was on vacation, there's probably more to the story ... (See Late paying lover) Weekly Card Rates Report: Rates hold steady while consumer debt burden drops -- Interest rates on credit card offers held steady at 14.96 percent for a seventh week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rate report)

How to mend your bad credit rating -- If you have horrible credit, it doesn't mean it's ruined forever. Knowing how you got there and how to make things right can help ... (See Digging out of bad credit)

Are overdrafts on prepaid cards a good deal or a debt trap? -- Overdraft programs on prepaid cards are sneaky, high-cost loans that should be outlawed, consumer advocates say. But some customers of the card company NetSpend couldn't disagree more ... (See Prepaid card overdraft)

Please help me - I spent too much on Christmas -- She budgeted for holiday gifts, but went way over for the kids. And then, kablooey! There went the car, and here come the bills. Now what? ... (See Holiday budget blues)

Taxes, tuition can rack up rewards, for a fee. Is it worth it? -- Large payments for taxes or tuition can rack up big rewards, but they often come with extra costs -- 'convenience fees.' When does it make sense to pay them? ... (See Big reward, big fee)

Sticking with a frugal lifestyle -- Everyone wants to save money, but to make frugality a lasting lifestyle, you'll need specific goals and a support group around you ... (See Frugal lifestyle)

When a cardholder dies, is the authorized user liable for any balance? -- When a primary account holder for a credit card dies, an authorized user on the card wonders if he is now responsible for the card's balance ... (See Authorized users)

Using credit, debit instead of cash can make you fat -- Dieters, watch out: paying with plastic at the grocery store can make you more likely to load up your cart with donuts, ice cream, potato chips and other fattening foods ... (See Plastic versus cash)

Financial resolutions that stick -- Want to get your financial house in order in 2013? There are some tricks you can use to make sure you will achieve your goals this time around. ... (See Money resolutions)

Why good credit matters in a natural disaster -- When Superstorm Sandy hit, the last thing on East Coast residents' minds was their credit score. But having good credit and available credit smooths the bumpy road to recovery ... (See Superstorm Sandy)

How to find an affordable, safe handyman -- Cast a wide net to get a reliable, reasonable person for your home repairs, and this is one area where cheapest isn't always best ... (See Finding a handyman)

Credit card lessons for college students -- What started out as an emergency card in college can morph into big, long-term debt if you're not careful. Plan carefully before moving on to another card ... (See College credit)

Fed: Rates will remain low until unemployment improves -- If you're thinking about refinancing your home or buying a new car sometime next year, you still have plenty of time to do it. The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will continue to keep the federal funds rate target near zero ... (See FOMC)

11 smartphone tips to ease holiday shopping stress -- Ease your holiday shopping experience by employing these handy dandy apps and tips that can save you time and money while preventing headaches ... (See 11 smartphone tips, apps)

How to deal with card debt in unemployment -- A single mom is laid off with a son in college and has lots of credit card debt. Will turning to a credit consolidation company help or hurt her dilemma? ... (See Laid off, in debt)

How one determined Kansas couple paid down $120,000 in debt -- Frances Bostick of Manhattan, Kansas, keeps a bag of cut-up credit cards to remind her of her hard-won victory over a $120,000 debt ... (See Shedding debt)

Infographic: Money-related resolutions hit record high -- Saving more, shedding debt are at the top of consumers' New Year's resolution lists ... (See New Year's resolutions)

How to rebuild credit after defaulting on several cards -- She defaulted on several credit cards years ago, and was even sued for payment on one of them. Now she wants a new credit card. Will she qualify? ... (See Card default)

Will high credit card balance hurt recent grad's credit score? -- A mom wonders if her college grad daughter's high credit card balance and regular payments will help build a good score or hurt it ... (See Credit scores, high balances)

What happens, what to do after a card data breach -- If your card data has been breached, your vulnerability -- and the right self-defense actions -- can vary widely ... (See Coping with a data breach)

Antidepressant use can spur spending sprees -- An unexpected and financially devastating side effect of antidepressants: irrational shopping sprees, gambling jaunts and reckless investments ... (See Antidepressants and spending)

Co-signed loans and your credit history -- A mom co-signed her son's student and car loans. Now that he's employed, she wonders if she can get those loans off her credit reports ... (See Co-signed loans)

Infographic: Holiday shoppers use rewards to travel, offset expenses -- The holidays can be an opportunity to rack up credit card rewards points, miles and cash back. So how will cardholders put their rewards to work after the holidays this year? ... (See Rewards)

Your fiscal cliff: What to do now to prepare for a financial fall -- If we fall off a 'fiscal cliff,' do you know where you would land? Here's what to do now to prepare and soften the impact of expiring tax breaks, spending cuts ... (See Fiscal cliff)

6 credit score strategies: Do they work? -- Some people go to extremes to try and improve their credit scores, adopting tactics that can seem, well, a bit unusual. What’s even odder is that a few of them actually work. ... (See Credit scores)

Credit cards and Asperger syndrome -- A 29-year-old with Asperger syndrome and under her mother's guardianship wants more freedoms, including a credit card of her own ... (See Asperger syndrome)

Once you reaffirm an old debt you can be sued -- Debt that has passed the statute of limitations should prevent debt collectors from suing you -- unless you mistakenly reaffirmed that the debt is yours ... (See Re-aging debt)

Cards increase VIP experience programs -- Card companies are stepping up their special offers for cardholders, using their leverage as event sponsors to extend VIP-type perks to more mainstream customers ... (See VIP experiences)

With a big card debt, can you negotiate before you're late? -- You can try to settle for less than full payment if your credit card bills are current, but it may not work, and don't stop payments to force the issue ... (See Early debt negotiation)

Card issuers roll out special, limited-time offers for 2012 holiday season -- By knowing which card to use for which gift, holiday shoppers can stretch their budgets with these special, limited-time discounts and deals ... (See Holiday promotions)

Can multiple card payments raise your credit score? -- If you use your card a lot, making multiple payments in the months reduces your credit utilization, which can help boost your credit score ... (See Multiple payments)

Uninsured? How to deal with an unfrugal emergency room bill -- You'll have to wrestle with the hospital bureaucracy, but these steps can help the uninsured prevent a big emergency room bill from leading to permanent financial damage ... (See Medical debt)

7 money tips for stressed-out moms -- With seven of 10 moms feeling overwhelmed by financial burdens, some mother's little financial helpers can come to the rescue in relieving stress ... (See Mom money tips)

Which is best for holiday shopping: Layaway or credit cards? -- She wants to get a leg up on her holiday shopping, but wonders if layaway or using her credit card is a better choice ... (See Layaway or credit?)

Veterans face fiscal cliff -- In addition to the loss of pay, service members coming off active duty as the military shrinks will no longer be eligible for interest rate caps under the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act ... (See Veterans)

Boyfriend added you as an authorized user on his card? No, you don't have to pay the bill -- A boyfriend who adds you as an authorized user isn't doing you any favors, especially if he starts to default, since that will hurt your credit ... (See Authorized user)

Survey: Holiday budgets fall in popularity -- For the fourth year in a row, holiday shoppers are less likely to cut back spending or create a budget, a USAA survey finds ... (See Infographic: Holiday spending makes a comeback)

How does settled debt impact your credit score? -- With four credit cards in collections, she wonders about the impact of paying less than what she owes ... (See Settled credit card debt)

How to handle finances in a second marriage -- If your first marriage involved a lot of money fights, take the right steps to prevent those same issues from happening the second time around ... (See Second marriage finances)

Getting an ex to pay joint card debt after divorce -- Relying on an ex-spouse to pay off a joint account post-divorce can be worrisome, but there are some options to keep your credit score safe in the meantime. ... (See Joint credit card debt)

Credit scores related to where you live -- Where you live can make a big difference in how you use -- or misuse -- credit, but it's more complicated than just your address ... (See Geographic credit score impact)

When to drop a credit card with a monthly fee -- You got the card to rebuild your credit, but it has served its purpose and now its monthly fee is adding up. Do you keep it or cancel it? ... (See Credit card fees)

FTC takes aim at 'robocall' scams -- The FTC announced a crackdown on robocalling violations amid a surge in complaints about the annoying and sometimes costly practice ... (See Telemarketing robocalls)

Why opening and closing news card doesn't build credit -- A college student wonders if opening a new card and using it a couple times and then closing the account will help his credit score ... (See Open and shut credit)

New mobile technology leads to new fraud techniques -- Scammers are always trying to stay a step ahead, so it's no surprise they're finding ways to use QR codes and other forms of mobile malware ... (See New fraud)

How to graduate from an authorized user to having your own credit card -- The 'natural method' of building credit works fine for most: Get a little loan, keep up payments, then advance to bigger loans as needs grow ... (See Authorized user)

Q&A With Daniel J. Smith: What's an honest Nigerian to do? -- Q&A with Daniel J. Smith, whose book 'A Culture of Corruption' describes a country whose best-known export includes millions of scam emails ... (See Nigerian email scams)

Credit card emergency travel assistance plans -- Luggage lost in Lithuania? Jailed in Jamaica? Your credit card's emergency travel assistance concierge service can lend a helping hand ... (See Emergency travel assistance)

Charge-backs: How to win disputes over services you didn't receive -- There are steps to follow when disputing a charge on your credit card, including keeping a paper trail of receipts and promises made by merchants ... (See Credit card charge-backs)

Survey: Younger couples keep more credit card secrets -- Younger couples may be less financially honest than older couples, according to September 2012 data from AARP. ... (See Secret debt)

The demographics don't lie: Social Security is slowly going broke -- There are plenty of solutions available, but America's demographics and the law don't lie: Social Security, without changes, will go broke ... (See Social Security)

Layaway 2012 season begins with an early rush -- Layaway payment plans, reborn in the recession, are retaining their popularity and coming back early, though consumers should be wary of the fees ... (See Layaway)

Does co-signing a mortgage put house at risk for unpaid credit card debt? -- A disabled mom co-signed for her son's home loan, but now she's being sued for credit card debt. Is her son's house in jeopardy? ... (See Co-signer risks)

Intense Facebook use goes with higher credit card debt -- Those who frequently used Facebook to socialize with close friends tend to have higher debt, lower credit scores, says new research ... (See Facebook use = more debt)

Basic frequent flier perks shrinking as airlines push top-tier programs -- Airlines are now more interested in luring us to second-level elite status (50,000 EQMs), so they're taking some goodies away from base-level elite members ... (See Frequent flier perks)

Thinking of paying old debt? First, look at your whole financial picture -- From the narrow perspective of your credit report, yes, paying off old debt is always better. But then you won't have that money to buy food or shelter ... (See Debt payoff dilemma)

Using and signing spouse's credit card is fraud -- An ex-wife is saddled with the credit card debt that caused her divorce, but now her ex wants to sue her for fraud for using his credit cards ... (See Credit card fraud)

4 ways your credit card can boost happiness -- If your credit card doesn't make you happy, you're not doing it right, says new research. So forget a big-screen TV; go for experiences ... (See Credit cards and happiness)

Thinking about getting a dog for Christmas? Consider all the costs -- Expect to pay $1,580 to pay for a dog's first-year costs, so be sure you can afford one before you get emotionally attached ... (See Pet care costs)

Feds soften rules to let stay-at-home parents qualify for credit cards -- A rule intended to keep credit cards out of the hands of irresponsible youths had also prevented stay-at-home parents from getting them ... (See Stay at home moms)

Can't get credit after bankruptcy? 3 reasons -- After you emerge from bankruptcy, getting credit can be tricky if you still have certain debts, aren't earning enough or apply with the wrong bank ... (See Credit after bankruptcy)

Debt-free makeovers: Beauty without breaking the bank -- Keeping up with the Kardashians as they get gorgeous is no frugal feat. While celebrities have deep pockets for tucks and tweaks, what's the average Josephine to do? ... (See Beauty and the bank)

4 ways your signature can cause financial trouble -- Chances are your spouse won't bust you for signing your name on a purchase using his card, but it's still illegal. And whatever you do, don't use red ink ... (See Don't sign that!)

Authorized card users don't have to pay up -- If you're an authorized user on your ex's credit card, you're not legally liable to the card issuer, but he could file a lawsuit for repayment ... (See Authorized users)

6 reasons it's time to break up with your credit card -- Sometimes relationships fizzle -- and that can be especially true of your relationship with your credit card. Here are six ways to know when it's time to move on ... (See Breaking up with your credit card)

Spouse isn't immune to bankruptcy's impact -- When one spouse files for bankruptcy, the other spouse could still be on the financial hook ... (See Bankruptcy)

Young adult financial lessons -- When teaching a young adult to make smart financial choices -- start with the basics and move in to the scare tactic. ... (See Young credit)

Deceptive gray charges trap consumers into debt -- Small, unwanted charges on credit cards often go unnoticed by consumers. But they can quickly add up ... (See Deceptive charges)

Can an executor use deceased's credit card to pay for expenses? -- A sibling asks whether it is appropriate for the executor of her sister's estate to use her dead sister's credit card to pay the interment costs ... (See Credit card use after death)

Areas struggling from recession still cautious with credit debt -- According to data from Experian, cardholders' willingness to pull out the plastic is partly determined geography -- specifically, by whether an area has recovered from the recessoin ... (See Credit card debt)

Tips for selling old furniture: Well built pieces from designers sell well -- To make a buck off that old furniture, you have to figure out what you've got. Then haggle! ... (See Tips for selling used furniture)

Want a rewards credit card? Clean up your credit score first -- A young man wants a rewards credit card for his new job, but his credit history is sketchy, which may also impact his new career ... (See Rewards cards)

10 surefire steps to get errors off your credit reports -- If you've already spent months, or even years, trying to scrub errors from your credit reports, it may feel like you have no choice but to live with them. However, don't give up too soon. You can get those errors fixed ... (See Tips for clearing credit errors)

American Express to refund $85 million for marketing, debt collection violations -- Federal regulators have forced American Express to refund $85 million to 250,000 customers over its marketing and collection practices ... (See AmEx refund)

If a credit card holder dies in debt, the authorized user is not liable to pay -- Authorized users on a credit card are not liable for the debt left by a deceased cardholder, but get the information off your credit report ASAP ... (See Deceased cardholder)

When automatic credit card bill payments can hurt your credit -- Yes, it's nice not to have worry about late payments when you set up automatic bill pay, but sometimes things can go really wrong if you don't pay attention ... (See Automatic bill payments)

6 questions to ask your elderly parents about their finances -- It may be a hard conversation to have, but as your parents get older, you'll need to chat with them about their financial well-being. Here are six questions to get you started ... (See Money questions for aging parents)

When to pay off credit card debt with a personal loan -- A personal loan may let you lower your rate and retire your credit card debt faster, but it will require a good credit history ... (See Personal loans vs. credit card debt)

Study: Domestic violence victims also often endure 'coerced debt' -- Victims of domestic violence are often controlled by their abusers, and a new study says destruction of their credit is one method ... (See 'Coerced debt')

Tips: How to protect yourself from financial abuse, coerced debt -- Knowledge is power if you’re a victim of a partner's financial abuse that has led to debt. These tips from experts can help halt or reverse the abuse ... (See Financial abuse)

What qualifies as a 'good' FICO credit score? -- Even if you screwed up big time just once, you can still have a good credit score. And if you fix the mistake, it can be even better ... (See Good credit score)

How romance can ruin your finances -- Love is free, but sealing the deal may cost you. Know when the pursuit is hurting your bottom line and when it might be better to back off ... (See Love and money)

Zombie debt business booms; consumers at risk -- Do you have a debt from years ago that you never paid? If so, beware: that old account could come lurching back to life when you least expect it ... (See Zombie debt)

Chased by zombie debt? 7 steps to take - fast -- Old debt coming back to haunt you? These seven steps may not all kill off 'zombie debt' but they'll sure keep you ahead of it ... (See Zombie debt)

Cleaning up your credit score before a house purchase -- Forget the myth that no debt translates to a bad credit score. The fact is the less debt you have, the more a potential mortgage lender will like you ... (See FICO score)

Attention boomers: 8 don'ts (surrounded by 2 do's) for retirement planning in your 50s -- Boomers eyeing retirement confront a changed, post-recession landscape and need to deal with some new realities -- and avoid some common mistakes ... (See New retirement do's and don'ts )

How to build good credit with your first credit card -- Whether you are a U.S. national or not, you need to follow the same steps to building good credit by responsible use of your first credit card ... (See First credit card)

Despite chipless iPhone 5, smartphones morphing into payment devices -- The hot new iPhone doesn't have a chip in it to allow payments, but experts still expect we'll soon pay with the same gadgets we yak with ... (See Smartphones as payment devices)

Rebuilding a credit score after job loss takes time, patience -- If a job loss has led to debt, you can't fix the past, but you can rebuild your credit score by adding positive, new entries in your credit record ... (See Rebuilding credit)

Steps to take to stop debt collection robocalls -- There are steps you can take to stop those annoying debt collection agency robocalls from calling you nonstop for days on end ... (See Debt collection robocalls)

Drunken shopping: How drinking can pickle your finances -- Buying under the influence, shopping after chardonnay or drunk shopping. No matter what you call it, shopping after sucking back some spirits can do a number on your budget ... (See Drunken shopping)

Infographic: Mobile banking on the rise for young and old -- A quarterly survey conducted by Citi revealed that consumers who bank using their mobile device is growing, even among older age groups. ... (See Mobile banking rising)

How to out-talk yourself from getting into debt -- You deserve it! Everyone else has one! It's the last one! How your inner voice can talk you into debt, and how to out-talk those inner desires ... (See Debt's inner voice)

Avoid credit card debt through personal fundraising -- Travel, adoptions and startups can wreak havoc on your credit cards. Before you whip out the plastic, you may want to consider using creative fundraising techniques ... (See Personal fundraising)

Fed pledges low rates through 2015 -- If you've been holding off on buying a new car or refinancing your mortgage, you've still got plenty of time. The Federal Reserve announced Thursday that it will continue to leave the federal funds rate target at rock bottom ... (See FOMC)

When does a debt management plan make sense? -- A single mom has racked up big card debt and also plans on going back to school. Would a debt management plan reduce her financial struggles? ... (See Debt management plans)

Prepaid card debuts for recovering addicts -- A new prepaid card blocks the transactions that may cause a recovering addict to fall back into old habits ... (See Next Step: a card for addicts)

Infographic: Who uses small-dollar loans? -- Fifteen million Americans used small-dollar credit products in 2011, from outfits such as pawnshops, payday lenders and auto title outfits. Who borrows, why and what do they spend their loans on? ... (See Graphic: Small-dollar loans)

Fed report: Consumer credit card balances fall again -- Consumer credit card balances fell for the second straight month in July, according to new data from the Federal Reserve ... (See G.19)

Liz Weston, author of 'No Dumb Questions About Money' Q&A -- Personal finance expert and author Liz Weston talks about everything from kids with credit cards to "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" ... (See Liz Westion Q&A)

Canadian immigrant finds credit record doesn't cross U.S. border -- Auto traffic may flow smoothly over the U.S.-Canada border, but a new immigrant from the north to America finds credit ratings don't cross the border ... (See Cross-border credit)

Your credit card purchase protection plan: Will it cover your loss? -- You drop your new Nexus in the tub or have your iPhone pilfered from your gym locker. Out of luck? Not if your credit card can reimburse you ... (See Purchase protection )

Do you have to tell credit card companies a parent in debt has died? -- A daughter doesn't plan to tell her dad's creditors of his death when he passes, and plans on cleaning out his bank accounts without going through probate ... (See Credit card debt and death)

A primer on Libor, the federal funds rate and the US prime rate -- Confused by the difference between Libor and prime? Here's all you need to know about the benchmark interest rates that help set your loans ... (See Interest rates)

New U.S. immigrant credit rules of the road -- The U.S. credit system's rules are not easy to grasp for those new to the country, and understanding can be clouded by some common credit reporting myths ... (See New credit)

What to do when a friendly loan goes unpaid -- Lending money to family and friends is risky, especially if you charge that loan to your credit card. What do you do when the bills go unpaid? ... (See Loans to friends)

How to handle family, friends' requests for money -- There's nothing wrong with wanting to help a loved one in a financial lurch, but not if it will derail your own finances. ... (See Saying no)

Spending now and saving later are the financial hallmarks of singles -- Singles have a buy-now-save-later attitude when it comes to spending, and although attitudes are tough to change, changes in how they go about spending could bring them financial stability ... (See Spending and singles)

If you're a spender, the 'pay yourself first' method can force you to save -- If the savings habit doesn't come easy for you, try creating a savings "bill" for yourself -- and make it the one you pay first ... (See Pay yourself first)

Debit card fraud is up -- As debit card use has risen, so has debit card fraud -- key targets are atms, grocery stores and gasoline pumps. ... (See Debit card fraud)

8 steps for businesses to get a better commercial credit score -- You may have to rely on personal credit to found a small business, but to wear big business pants, you need to build up your commercial credit score ... (See Commercial credit score)

Church treasurer seeks credit card for purchases -- Nonprofits can benefit from well-managed credit cards, but what type of plastic would serve those type of organizations best? ... (See Church credit card)

Pamela Yellen: Getting financially fit -- Many consumers don't prepare enough for a financial crisis, and when it happens, they can be left destitute. Author Pamela Yellen teaches you how to prevent that from happening ... (See Financially fit)

Infographic: Top US cities all improving on paying back debt -- New data shows huge decreases in default rates, and a couple of big U.S. city's residents deserve a pat on the back ... (See Declining credit default rates )

After much scrutiny, banks pull back on credit protection plans -- Credit protection plans, lucrative add-ons for credit card companies but panned by critics for their dubious value, are on their way out, a survey of major card issuers shows ... (See Credit protection plans pulled)

Sued for debt, harassed by debt collectors -- A single and unemployed mom was sued for debt she owed two years ago. Now she's being harassed by collectors and wonders how to get them to stop ... (See Debt collection)

Surprise joint credit card debt affects credit report, mortgage hunt -- A husband's joint account with another woman has begun causing problems -- and for the purposes of this discussion, we just mean credit problems ... (See 'Other woman' card)

Removing yourself from a spouse's credit cards -- Authorized user or joint account holder? Depending on your status, there are different rules for getting your name off a credit card ... (See Joint credit)

American shoppers emphatically say 'no' to credit card surcharges -- Nearly two in three Americans say they would stop using their credit cards if retailers start tacking on extra fees for paying with plastic, according to a new poll ... (See Credit card surcharges)

When a debt is 'written off' what does that mean? -- When a debt is 'written off,' that's just an accounting term that means one -- and only one -- creditor has given up on it. You can be sure another will follow ... (See Written-off debt)

5 steps to take to overcome financial trauma -- You hit bottom financially, now what? If you're struggling with fear, guilt or shame, it's time to pull up those bootstraps and move forward ... (See Financial trauma)

Fair Credit Reporting Act: a guide to your rights -- It's not always easy to get errors corrected on your credit reports. However, don't give up yet: You have a 1970 law on your side that can help ... (See Fair Credit Reporting Act)

Steps to take to clear credit reports of fraudulent card account -- Getting an issuer and the credit bureaus to clear your record of a fraudulent account takes time and patience -- as well as a little know-how ... (See Credit bureau dispute)

2012 Olympic parents' financial struggles -- What do Olympic athletes Gabby Douglas, Ryan Lochte and Lolo Jones all have in common? Parents who are struggling financially ... (See 2012 Olympics)

Tips for holding down costs of pet food, vet care -- Fluffy and Fido are part of the family, so they need to part of the family budget, too. Here are ways to trim costs without sacrificing your pet's quality of life ... (See Frugal pet care)

Credit card management 101 for new college students -- A high school student getting ready for college wants to know exactly how to manage her first credit card without getting into debt ... (See First credit card)

5 credit mistakes expatriates can avoid -- Moving abroad? Don't make these common money and credit mistakes as they will make your return to the U.S. a lot less welcome ... (See Expat credit goofs)

Fed report: Reversing course again, consumer credit card balances fall in June -- Consumer credit card balances tumbled in June, after shooting up the previous month, according to new data from the Federal Reserve ... (See G.19)

Son's credit hurt when mom defaulted on account -- Requesting a credit card for your child to use -- even if they're a minor -- could make them an authorized user whose credit is affected ... (See Authorized user)

Want to leap back in to credit cards? 8 things to look at first -- The same credit card issuers that may have dumped you or slashed your limit may suddenly be finding you more attractive. But how can you know if you should dive back into the relationship? ... (See Go back to your cards)

How much income tax do you pay on canceled credit card debt? -- If you settled to pay less than you owe on credit card debt, the IRS will consider the forgiven amount as income, which may impact your taxes ... (See 1099-C)

4 credit card choices for college-bound students -- In addition to a mini fridge and extra-long twin sheets, have you thought about what type of plastic to send with your child to college? ... (See College credit)

How debt management plans impact credit scores -- If your spending and debt are out of control, a visit to your local credit counselor can help -- but will entering into a debt management plan destroy your credit? ... (See Debt management plans)

As expected, Fed keeps rates at rock bottom -- If you have good credit and are ready to buy a new fridge or even a new house, now is a good time to do it. The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will continue to leave today's record low interest rates near zero ... (See FOMC)

Debt-free seniors may have a new credit problem: They're 'unscorable' -- With no debt and no credit activity, you may soon become unable to get a credit score, a problem today's senior citizens are starting to encounter ... (See Unscorable seniors) survey: Credit card sign-up bonus offers abound, with a hitch -- Card issuers are offering good promotional rates -- and there are still rewards to be had -- but consumers increasingly have to work for them. ... (See Credit card sign-up bonus survey)

Canadian, US credit scoring systems similar - as are ways consumers can improve scores -- While the details differ, credit scoring systems in the neighboring countries are similar -- and so are the ways to boost a score ... (See US, Canadian credit scoring systems)

Bankruptcy's effect on marriage -- A single woman in Florida, whose house is underwater, is considering bankruptcy. She worries how that will affect her chances at marriage ... (See Bankruptcy and marriage)

Need $500? 7 best-to-worst ways to borrow -- In a pinch between paychecks? Who or where you choose to borrow from can be a temporary dollar dilemma or a long-term money nightmare ... (See Borrow cash)

Chase agrees to $100 million settlement over minimum payment hike -- The giant credit card issuing bank agreed to pay for its 2009 decision to suddenly boost its "fixed' minimum card payments from 2 percent to 5 percent ... (See Settlement)

Best way to establish credit? Why, get a credit card, of course -- What's the best way to swim your way to good credit? You can dog-paddle with a secured card or attempt the butterfly with a strong swimmer as your co-signer ... (See Building a credit history)

Students shedding credit cards as recession, new law sink in -- The nation’s college students finally may be absorbing a lesson that won’t count in class but will improve their life skills: how to responsibly handle credit cards ... (See Students cut cards)

A credit crunch consequence: Bankruptcy filings decreasing -- The tightening of consumer credit during the economic downturn may be paying off: Consumer bankruptcy filings again plunged in the second quarter of 2012 ... (See Bankruptcies fall)

Servicemembers Act 6 percent interest rate not always easy to claim -- The law meant to protect military personnel can reduce interest rates and even refund payments, but there are limits and hoops to jump through ... (See Servicemembers Act)

6 tips to keep your family from busting your budget -- You strive to stay on budget, but certain family members are always pressuring you to spend more than you have. What are your options? ... (See Money, family pressure)

Why a spouse may be turned down for joint credit card: Sally Herigstad -- A couple wants to have a joint credit card, but the bank refuses to add the husband to the wife's card. Our expert tells her why ... (See Joint credit)

How budgets fail (and how to make yours succeed) -- Attempts at budgeting flop because they're poorly designed, unrealistic or was a poor match for the person using it. But you can make yours work ... (See Budgeting)

Never trust roommates to pay your bills: Erica Sandberg -- If a bill's in your name and your credit is on the line, trusting someone else to pay it on time in your absence is a mistake that can haunt you for seven years ... (See Roomie credit damage)

Different rules apply to last two months of deferred interest payment plans -- An exception written into the Credit CARD Act directs more of a consumer's payments be applied to a deferred plan's balance during its final months ... (See Deferred plan payments)

In case of default, business credit cards can get personal -- You may want a credit card to help finance your small business, but look closely: The application likely puts your personal assets on the line if you default ... (See Business credit cards)

Gym cost too much? Inexpensive exercise alternatives abound -- Your workout needn't start with lifting the contents of your wallet for membership or fancy equipment. Run, skip or cartwheel over to these low-cost exercise alternatives ... (See Frugal exercise alternatives)

FICO introduces new, less traditional credit score -- Some consumers may hail Tuesday's release of the new FICO mortgage core powered by CoreLogic as a blessing. Others may see it as an unwanted invasion into their privacy that could make it even harder for them to secure a home loan ... (See Mortgage score)

With six cards already in your wallet, would another one hurt? -- A 25-year-old with six credit cards in her wallet already wants to know if adding yet another card to the mix will help or hurt her credit score ... (See How many credit cards?)

A minute detail: The time of day your credit card bill is due can vary -- Legal changes prevented issuers from playing games with credit card due dates. But the time of day can vary -- and minutes matter to those with online, just-in-time payment habits ... (See Credit card bills)

Fed report: Consumer credit card debt reverses course, rockets up in May -- Consumer credit card balances rose in May after tumbling the previous month, according to new data from the Federal Reserve ... (See G.19)

Elderly Mom needn't worry about ailing Dad's debts -- With few jointly shared assets and little income, he's judgment proof; creditors should be politely but firmly told to go away ... (See Elderly credit card debt)

The hidden costs of 'cashless' cruising -- Many cruise ships have gone to a cashless system onboard, but travelers should be wary: With cash out of sight, you can quickly go overboard on charges ... (See Cashless cruises)

The high cost of rehab: expensive, but attainable -- Not every recovering addict can afford a swank rehab clinic, but everyone who needs help with substance abuse can find an affordable solution ... (See Rehab costs)

Drug-related debt: A debilitating descent into financial ruin -- Substance abuse results in more than health and relationship wreckage: Financial disaster often follows, leading to financial ruin ... (See Debt and substance abuse)

Get a late start on building credit? Steps to boost score, qualify for a mortgage -- At 39 with just one credit card, a reader wants to boost her credit score to qualify for a mortgage in the near future. What are her options? ... (See Late start on credit )

8 ways to keep your cards safe during vacation travels -- Travel season is theft season, so here are eight ways to safeguard your cards from Australian spielers, German langfingers, Brazilian ladrãos or not-so-good ol' American crooks ... (See Keeping cards safe)

End of recession encourages consumers to start spending smarter -- The road to recovery from the recession is one of change, and the United States is seeing just that in the form of consumers' payment choices ... (See Consumer spending)

IRS to tax-exempt hospitals: Go easier on medical debt collection -- Low-income Americans who fall behind on their medical bills will be spared the worst debt collection tactics under new IRS rules that grew out of the health care law ... (See Affordable Care Act)

A rapid rescore can fix your credit score in a hurry -- A few credit score points can mean the difference between a good mortgage rate and a lousy one. If errors are dragging down your score, a rapid rescore can help ... (See Rapid rescoring)

Credit card issuers vary wildly on how they verify income, cardholders' ability to pay -- Some banks ask a lot, some very little in enforcing the Fed's 2011 rule requiring card applicants show an ability to repay what they borrow, research shows ... (See Ability to pay)

True debt collection horror tales -- Even a polite call from a debt collector can ruin your day, but what would you do if he threatened bodily harm and started to stalk you on Facebook? ... (See Debt collector horror tales)

Erica Sandberg: Does rehabilitating a student loan require a fee? -- If your federal student loan is in collections and you want to start paying again, beware of collectors who want to charge you an upfront fee ... (See Rehabbing student loans)

Offsetting the impact of a canceled credit card: Sally Herigstad -- When a card issuer surprises you by canceling your card, what steps do you have to take to make sure your credit score won't suffer? ... (See Canceled credit card)

American travelers' 2012 guide to chip-and-PIN cards -- Traveling overseas may bring about a hassle to you and your wallet -- that is, if you don't have an EMV smart card instead of the traditional magnetic stripe credit card ... (See Chip-and-PIN cards)

Fed votes again to keep borrowing costs down -- Today's record-low interest rates aren't going anywhere any time soon. The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it's unlikely to raise interest rates until at least 2014 ... (See FOMC)

Tanisha Warner: Should a judgment-proof debtor pay card debt anyway? -- An elderly couple with few assets but a Social Security and a military pension probably are untouchable by credit card collectors and the courts ... (See Judgment-proof debtors)

What VantageScores are, how they work -- FICO scores may get all the attention. But your loan application may be judged through its competitor, VantageScore, which is becoming more widely used ... (See VantageScores 101)

7 smart money moves to make before you marry -- Getting married is exciting -- but with money as the source of so much marital discord, consider these 7 smart money moves before you say "I do" ... (See Premarital money moves)

Financial education program for military families launched -- Citi and a leading nonprofit credit counseling and education agency team up with veterans' service organizations to help solve financial issues for military families ... (See Financial education)

Federal officials challenge payday lending from tribal sovereign entities -- Native American tribes have long had rights of sovereign immunity -- but are those rights being abused in the case of payday loans and extreme interest rates? ... (See Tribal-based payday lenders)

Gary Foreman: Cooperation key to a frugal family reunion -- Divide the tasks into manageable piles and put the Web to work so everyone buys in, watches the plan evolve and contributes ... (See Frugal family reunion)

Erica Sandberg: Steps to getting that first credit card -- Without a solid credit history of making payments on time, qualifying for a low-interest credit card will be hard. First, you have to take baby steps ... (See First credit card )

'The Lost Bank' - How WaMu became largest bank failure in US history -- 'The Lost Bank' author Kirsten Grind watched Washington Mutual, go from regional bank famed for friendliness to spectacular failure ... (See "The Lost Bank")

Cathleen McCarthy: Wide body traveler seeks credit card for first-class seat -- A horizontally blessed traveler wonders which frequent flier credit card would give him the best deal on upgrading to the larger, first-class seats ... (See Frequent flier miles)

Fed survey: Recession shrank card debt, but crushed household wealth -- Card debt dropped after the recession, according a Federal Reserve survey of consumer finances, but net wealth plummeted ... (See Finances)

3 trends shaping today's rewards credit cards -- No doubt that there are lots of good deals on rewards cards out there, but resign yourself: Maximizing your payoff will take some work ... (See Rewards cards: 3 trends)

6 secrets about joint credit -- While occasionally useful, joint accounts have many unseen downsides you should know about before signing up ... (See 6 secrets about joint credit )

Sally Herigstad: Protect against credit card debt liability when serving as power of attorney -- Her brother stole her elderly mom's credit cards, so she now has power of attorney and canceled the cards. But will doing so damage her credit in any way? ... (See Elderly credit card debt)

Credit card bonuses playing hard to get -- Credit card sign-up gift bonuses, once dangled freely, are becoming harder to qualify for as issuers set up hurdles designed to discourage hit-and-run customers ... (See Card bonuses harder to get)

We're paying off the mortgage - should we get a bigger house? -- With a last mortgage payment made, he wants to get a bigger house, she wants to consider other possibilities ... (See Paid off mortgage. Now what?)

Erica Sandberg: Getting debt free means stashing credit cards -- Sure, there are all kinds of credit products out there, but if you're trying to whittle down debt, the best option is to live a plastic-free life for a while ... (See Stash the plastic)

Turning miles into cash gains favor -- After years of talking about it, the credit card loyalty program industry is poised to launch several programs where rewards points can be converted into cash ... (See Cash for miles, points)

Tanisha Warner: Old, old debt brings new collection effort: Legal? -- Federal, state laws limit collectors in chasing you over a car loan debt more than a decade old ... (See Old debt, new collection)

Sally Herigstad: Protecting funds from garnishment when disabled -- Being sued for uncollectable credit card debt when you are disabled seems cruel, but you still need to take the steps to defend yourself ... (See Disabled, in debt)

Hush their mouths! Use credit card privacy statements to opt out of sharing personal information -- This one's not junk mail, so open and act on your annual credit card privacy statement. With it, you can (partially) control how your personal information is shared ... (See Credit card privacy statements)

Use caution when making political donations, especially with credit cards -- It’s easier than ever to give to a candidate or cause by credit card, but be wary: Candidates aren't always security savvy, and crooks abound who aren't honest as Abe ... (See Credit card political donations)

Q&A with actor Steve Guttenberg -- Steve Guttenberg has starred in such blockbuster movies as "Three Men and a Baby," "Cocoon" and "The Boys from Brazil," but his greatest performance came as a teenager when he conned his way into Hollywood ... (See Steve Guttenberg)

Erica Sandberg: Don't co-sign a loan while in bankruptcy -- If you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the last thing you should consider is co-signing a car loan for anyone, including your partner ... (See Co-signing loans after bankruptcy)

5 steps to lose debt, get credit fit -- Just as you prepare for bathing suit season, losing debt and getting your finances in shape requires steely resolve and firm goals ... (See Credit, debt fitness)

Tanish Warner: Steps to boost credit score when a mortgage is the goal -- Getting a mortgage? Check your credit reports, pay down balances, consider closing cards and sit down with a lender for a review ... (See Mortgage and credit)

Protect credit scores when canceling a credit card -- You'll ding your credit score by canceling a card, especially your oldest, but you can minimize it by boosting the limits on other cards ... (See Cancel a credit card)

7 tips for dealing with college debt -- Now that you have your degree, put those smarts to use to figure out how to get out from under your huge student loan debt ... (See 7 tips to pay off college debt)

Q&A with Holly McCall, champion of the stay-at-home parent -- Turned down for a Target card because issuers cannot consider household income anymore, McCall got so mad she's campaigning for change ... (See Holly McCall)

Erica Sandberg: Why getting debt help may hurt new credit access -- The reasons that led you into a debt management plan may be the same reasons why credit card issuers keep turning your down for new credit ... (See Credit card rejection)

Sally Herigstad: Should one spouse take full debt responsibility? -- A married couple with joint card debt wants to transfer the balance to a lower rate card. Should the better credit score spouse take on the burden alone? ... (See Joint card debt)

Is it time to hire a daily money manager? -- Overweight? Hire a personal trainer. Dirty house? Get a cleaning service. But to whom do you turn to get a grip on overspending and debt? A daily money manager ... (See Daily money manager)

Q&A with Phil Collins -- The retiring drummer reveals an additional facet of himself with his new book about the Alamo ... (See Phil Collins Q&A)

Erica Sandberg: 2 ways to start building a credit history -- You want your first credit card, but no bank will give you one without an established credit history. How do you go about proving you're a good credit risk? ... (See First credit card)

Credit card rewards can trim the sales price of cruising -- Sure, you want to cruise to distant shores, but you don't want every dime pirated away. Special rewards cards and programs can smooth out the financial seas ... (See Cards to save on cruises)

Cathleen McCarthy: How to get points for small town hotel stays -- If your job takes you to small-town America, you can still find a rewards credit card that gives you big points for frequent motel stays ... (See Earning small-town hotel rewards)

Credit card protection plans draw state lawsuits, federal scrutiny -- Consumer advocates have long warned against credit card protection plans for their high cost, low payouts and big exclusions. Now regulators are joining in ... (See Credit card protection plans)

7 questions to ask before buying credit card payment protection -- To see whether you're a fit for a credit card payment protection plan, ask yourself these seven questions ... (See Payment protection plans)

Tanisha Warner: Young debtor, learn the basics before it's too late -- At age 25, a reader with a $5,000 debt in collections is young enough to overcome the problem and establish a lifetime of good money habits ... (See Set good money habits)

The latest privacy invasion: retailer tracking -- Credit and debit card purchases leave a surprisingly detailed purchase trail. What can you do to protect your privacy? ... (See Consumer privacy)

Government seizes websites selling stolen credit card info -- The federal government slammed the virtual doors on 36 websites participating in illegal behavior in April. Their crime? Selling and distributing stolen credit card numbers. ... (See Credit card fraud)

Sally Herigstad: Can you use dad's credit card when he's ill? -- An adult child is taking care of her dying father and wonders about the legality of using his plastic to pay for bills and medical expenses ... (See Using dad's credit card)

Gary Foreman: Paying down debt vs. saving - how to decide -- To get the most out of any extra money, compare how much you could pull in by saving it against how much interest you're paying out on your loans ... (See Pay debt or save?)

Erica J. Sandberg: When it's OK to get a second credit card -- You've been faithful to paying on time with your first credit card, but the limit is low. How do you know when it's a good time to get a second credit card? ... (See Getting a second credit card)

6 reasons to avoid payday loans -- With all the bad press payday loans get, you'd think people would steer clear of them. But the lure of fast cash keeps them coming ... (See Payday loans)

Cathleen McCarthy: Is trading credit card reward points for product a good deal? -- Keeping up with rotating rewards points programs takes time and energy, so is buying stuff with your points instead a better option? ... (See Cashing in rewards points)

Tanisha Warner: Keeping credit score high when you carry big card balances -- Even if your credit score is high, issuers may still reject you for a new card if your card balances are near their limit ... (See Credit card rejection)

Q&A with Charles Duhigg: diagnosing, restructing bad money habits -- "The Power of Habit" author Charles Duhigg discovered surprising keys to permanently changing his life by diagnosing and reconstructing his habits ... (See Charles Duhigg)

Sally Herigstad: Dealing with a spouse's secret credit card debt -- When one spouse repeatedly lies about credit card debt and keeps it a secret, what's the other spouse to do? ... (See Secret credit card debt)

Erica Sandberg: Know where you stand before you apply for new credit -- To know what kind of credit card you can qualify for, you first need to know your credit score and pull your credit reports ... (See Applying for credit)

Infographic: Brazil top nation for financial literacy, Visa survey finds -- In an April 2012 international survey of 25,000 people, Visa ranks countries in order of financial literacy. Brazil topped the list, and the U.S. finished just out of the medal round ... (See Financial literacy)

Americans want more credit, banks slowly ease credit restrictions -- The Fed's quarterly survey of senior loan officers finds bankers slightly easing credit standards for credit cards and other loans. More Americans are searching for credit, too ... (See Fed survey)

Federal regulators scrutinize banks' 'advance direct deposit' loans -- Though banks tout them as superior to payday loans, their short-term lending alternative is drawing fire from consumer advocates and scrutiny from regulators ... (See Direct deposit advances)

Tanisha Warner: Your post-bankruptcy credit rebuilding plan -- From now on, on-time payments are a must, you'll likely need a secured card and make sure any lenders report to all the credit bureaus ... (See Credit after bankruptcy)

Sally Herigstad: How to get a mortgage with no credit history -- A 27-year-old with no credit history is going to have to jump through extra hoops to qualify for her first mortgage ... (See First mortgage, no credit) poll: About 6 million in US hid bank accounts from spouse, partner -- Call it financial infidelity: A poll found that about 7 percent of people are hiding a credit card, checking or savings account from their partners ... (See Financial infidelity)

Gary Foreman: If your job's uncertain, avoid new debt -- Working in an uncertain industry can mean frequent job losses, so if you get a new job, reassess your prospects, start saving and avoid new debt ... (See Debt and unemployment)

Federal watchdog gives consumers a chance to speak on arbitration -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is giving consumers and banking industry representatives a chance to speak their minds about the long-disputed matter of arbitration ... (See Credit card arbitration)

Erica Sandberg: Credit score tips for new U.S. residents -- New to the country? Be aware that there are multiple credit scores, and good credit practices can quickly build a great credit score ... (See Credit score tips)

Study: Women get stuck with higher credit card interest rates -- Women not only are more likely to carry a balance, but they're less likely to comparison shop for credit cards, says a study ... (See Credit card interest rates)

'Mad Men' money: Credit in the smoking era -- Inspired by the hit TV series, "Mad Men," to revive the three-martini lunch? Some ways of life in the midcentury were definitely healthier than others, including how consumers managed money and credit ... (See Mad Men money and credit)

Tanisha Warner: Collectors calling for a 12-year-old debt? Know and assert your rights -- A collector calling on a 12-year-old debt needs to prove you really owe it, and be told it's too old to be legally collectible. Just don't ignore it ... (See 12-year-old debt)

Sally Herigstad: How to help elderly mom get out of credit card debt -- When fixed income seniors are faced with insurmountable credit card debt, what can family members do to help? ... (See The elderly and credit card debt)

Erica Sandberg: Rules for using your first credit card -- Your first credit card can be an opportunity to build good credit or create a financial disaster. Follow these guidelines and avoid getting in over your head ... (See First credit card)

How to combat 'financial cyberchondria' -- If your finances are floundering or your credit score is crashing, Twitter and Facebook could be to blame. Turns out reading tweets, Facebook status updates and Google+ posts can create a whole new kind of stress beyond 'is my former high school flame still single?' ... (See Financial cyberchondria)

State by state bankruptcy statistics, 2005-2012 -- Bankruptcy filings for the third quarter of 2012 show the number of filers continuing to decline, after a long series of increases that followed the 2005 bankruptcy law reform ... (See State bankruptcy statistics)

Cathleen McCarthy: Is airport lounge access a true credit card perk? -- A newbie business traveler questions the value of airport lounge access if she decides to apply for a new frequent flier credit card ... (See Airport lounges)

Tennessee surpasses Nevada to claim sad crown: State where bankruptcies are most likely -- Bankruptcy filings continued their decline nationally in the first quarter of 2012, nowhere more sharply than the Silver State ... (See Bankruptcy filings)

The truth about 7 common credit report myths -- Credit bureau experts detail the most common misconceptions consumers have about their credit reports and clarify them ... (See Credit report myths)

Sally Herigstad: 'Residual interest' makes credit card bills tough to pay off -- You thought you paid off your card's entire balance, but then you're hit with not one, but two, bills saying you still owe. Why? ... (See Credit card residual interest)

More consumers ditch rewards, go with plain vanilla credit cards -- Basic credit cards won’t help you rack up free flights, wads of cash or gift cards. But new research shows they’re back in a big way, and they’re especially popular with young, financially savvy consumers ... (See Plain vanilla credit cards)

Financial literacy survey shows consumers lack basic money skills -- A new financial literacy survey reveals a "disturbing" lack of knowledge pertaining to personal finance among U.S. adults. ... (See Financial literacy)

Gary Foreman: How to decide when you can tackle a do-it-yourself project, when to call in a pro -- You've got to know when to hold that wrench, know when to fold up that ladder and call in a pro. A little advance planning will help you from getting in too deep on home repair projects ... (See DIY vs. professional repair)

Fed: Consumers wary of mobile payment security -- Americans are embracing using cellphones to conduct financial business, says a March 2012 report from the Federal Reserve, but concerns about security hare holding back adoption ... (See Mobile payments)

Erica Sandberg: Issuer increases your interest rate, do you cancel credit card? -- When a card issuer notifies you of a interest rate change, you have several options, including canceling the card. But is that the best choice? ... (See Canceling a credit card)

Convenience fees: When is it OK to charge extra to use a credit card? -- Paying with a credit card often yields rewards. But in certain situations those benefits come at a cost, not just through interest, but in the form of convenience fees ... (See Convenience fees)

4 ways to survive the Money Hunger Games -- Being a victor when it comes to money and credit management requires skill, maximizing your resources and playing to win ... (See Money Hunger Games)

Cathleen McCarthy: Transfer miles or buy outright to gift flights? -- Want to present a special someone with the gift of free airfare? What a sweet idea -- but watch out for those fees! Find out the best ways to cash in your extra miles before you act ... (See The gift of flight)

Tanisha Warner: After recovering from bad credit, ditch the bad credit credit card -- Yes, you may take a small, temporary credit card hit, but getting rid of a card with a $14.50 monthly fee is probably worth it ... (See Cancel that bad credit credit card)

Survey: Students fail the credit card test -- According to a multicampus survey of college business students, only a small fraction pay off their credit card debt each month or know their interest rate ... (See Financial literacy fail)

Sally Herigstad: Defaulted car lease can lead to wage garnishment? -- If you stop paying your car lease, expect to be sued for the balance, and if you don't pay up, wage garnishment might be next ... (See Wage garnishment)

Survey: We'll put refunds into savings, pay off debt, or buy electronics -- A survey says most of us will dutifully save this year's refunds or pay off debts, but another big chunk of us will head to the mall to satisfy our cravings for electronics ... (See Tax refunds)

Gary Foreman: Traditional vacation vs. mortgage payment -- He wants a traditional, long break from the job. She wants a mortgage that isn't past due. Something's got to give ... (See Vacation or mortgage payment?)

Renting a car? Beware of phantom toll fee charges -- When renting a car, be aware that if you hit a boothless toll road, mysterious and expensive charges might be added to your final bill ... (See Toll booth charges)

Auto loan payments now outrank mortgage, credit cards -- Mortgage payments used to come first, then housing collapsed. Credit card bills took priority after that, but today, it's car payments that are paid first ... (See Debt payment rankings)

Erica Sandberg: How to build good credit with your first card -- Sure, your first credit card probably came with a low credit limit, but use it wisely and progress slowly to build a strong credit history ... (See First credit card)

How business cards can impact your bottom line; compare to find the best -- Business credit cards nearly disappeared during the recession, but have come back -- but without the safeguards consumer cards offer ... (See Compare business credit cards)

Cathleen McCarthy: Do you lose rewards on returned purchases? -- You racked up a boatload of points on that new TV, but now you're having second thoughts? Be prepared for bad news ... (See Points and returned purchases)

Sally Herigstad: Old, unpaid debts can resurface at any time -- You can change your name and move to another state, but old, unpaid debts have a sneaky way of finding you and ruining your credit ... (See Old credit card debt)

5 reasons you don't really want to win the lottery -- While it's fun to daydream about it, winning a lottery, fortune comes with risks, responsibilities and a flood of moochers, fakers and false friends ... (See Win the lottery? No thanks)

Q&A: 'Millionaire Mind' author T. Harv Eker talks money, debt and breaking bad habit -- "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" author shares how your personal money blueprint can either make or break your financial goals ... (See T. Harv Eker)

Gary Foreman: We the frugal are frustrated with you spendthrift braggarts -- You did a staycation and eat bag lunches. Your co-worker came home bragging about the foreign jaunt she can't afford, and now whines about the bills ... (See Spender whines, saver fumes)

7 easy ways to 'go green' with your finances -- As Earth Day approaches, know that when it comes to saving the planet, it's possible to make an eco-friendly difference one transaction at a time ... (See Go green with your finances)

Sally Herigstad: Reduced payment plans not offered by all credit card issuers -- Need help getting your credit card payments reduced for a while? Be prepared to get different answers from your card issuers ... (See Reduced credit card payment plans)

Credit cards' rate 'ranges' make comparison shopping difficult -- Today's card offers have such wide APR ranges it's impossible to tell which rate you'll get and whether it's a good deal until the card arrives ... (See APR ranges)

Gary Foreman: Tips for teachers with children facing a no-income summer -- For those on tight budgets worried about a summer without pay, the choices are tough, but obvious: Cut expenses, boost income ... (See Money tips for teachers)

7 times when it's OK to check someone's credit report -- Is it ever OK to pull someone else's credit file? It depends. If you suspect elderly or minor fraud or even infidelity, you can if you obey the rules ... (See Checking credit reports)

Erica Sandberg: Will banks lend again after your bankruptcy? -- A series of unfortunate events can suddenly lead to bankruptcy, but is the hit to your credit one that marks you for life? ... (See Getting a loan after bankruptcy)

Q&A with FTC's scam-spotting enforcer, Lois Greisman -- Some of the scams she focuses on target those down on their luck, and the technique is no more high-tech than a knock on the door ... (See Bottom dollar scams)

Tanisha Warner: Big purchases can have a real impact on your credit score -- If you make a big purchase that eats up most of your credit limit, your credit can take a hit -- even if you pay it off fairly rapidly ... (See Big purchases and credit scores)

Sally Herigstad: Rebuilding credit doesn't mean going back into debt -- A couple trying to recover from financial disaster want to know the best way to go about building up their lackluster credit scores ... (See Rebuilding credit scores)

Student loan debt: the next time bomb? -- Today's college graduates are hitting the job market with more debt and fewer prospects, setting up the prospect of another delinquency disaster ... (See Student loan debt)

Erica Sandberg: What to do when a family member uses your credit card without your permission -- When family members help themselves to your credit cards without your knowledge, you have every right to report that as a theft to the police ... (See Family credit card theft)

Sending remittances: more options, more protection -- Thanks to a new regulation taking effect in 2013, those who need to send remittances abroad will have more protections and more fee transparency ... (See Remittances)

Economy brightens, but not enough for Federal Reserve to raise rates -- A good jobs report isn't enough to make the Fed's rate-setting committee veer from its low-rate course ... (See FOMC)

6 surprising things that won't hurt your credit score -- Losing your job, paying your taxes late or being locked up in prison won't hurt your credit score, as long as you keep paying on those bills ... (See Credit score myths)

How to prevent ID theft after death -- Identity thieves respect no one -- not even the recently deceased. In fact, a person's identity may be more susceptible to theft in the months following death than when they were living ... (See ID theft after death)

Public schools get mixed grades on financial literacy -- Efforts to get schools to teach financial literacy to children are stalling, and there is debate about whether such education even works ... (See Financial education)

Sally Herigstad: It's never too late to learn how to manage your money -- Whether you're 18 or 50, taking the initiative to find out how to manage your money -- and your debt -- can prove to be fiscally satisfying ... (See Personal finance know-how)

Financial literacy online resources for parents, children -- With a decreasing number of states requiring financial literacy courses, what's a parent to do to raise money-smart kids? These resources will help ... (See Financial literacy)

Personal loans on the rise - are they right for you? -- Priced as high as credit cards, but paid off over a fixed time like auto loans, this financial product is finding a growing audience ... (See Personal loans)

Erica Sandberg: Can you sue an authorized user for nonpayment? -- Protect yourself from authorized users on your credit card charging up a storm on your card and then leaving you with a huge unpaid balance ... (See Authorized users)

Chart: Compare and find the best gasoline rewards card for you -- Finding the most-rewarding gasoline credit card can limit the damage of rising gas prices -- and keep you from fuming ... (See Gas rewards credit card)

Sally Herigstad: How fast can I make a credit score comeback? -- Rebuilding good credit after running up bad debt requires time and patience, but every on-time payment helps the score-healing process ... (See Rebuilding credit)

8 ways to save money without feeling (much) pain -- Unless your name is Trump or Kardashian, you're looking for ways to economize. These eight ways will trim costs without hacking away at your lifestyle ... (See 8 ways to save)

3 financial fights couples have -- and their 3 fixes -- Lying about purchases, comparing incomes and determining what is a want versus a need top the list of couples' fixable money arguments ... (See Marriage money fights)

Gary Foreman: To fix budget problems, try the 'divide and conquer' technique -- If you're overspending but don't know why, break your budget down into thinner slices until you identify the problem area ... (See Budget problems)

Pros and cons of paying the IRS with a credit card -- Paying your taxes by credit card is convenient, but the fees will likely outweigh any rewards ... (See Pay taxes)

Erica Sandberg: 6 tips for finding the right debt management plan for you -- Before you enter into a debt management plan, be sure to pick a credit counselor whose style and competence are a good match for you ... (See Debt management plan tips)

Consumers hungry for new credit cards, N.Y. Fed report says -- Consumers are hungry for new credit and are running up more card debt, according to new data from the Federal Reserve. But they're still paying down other types of debt, such as home and auto loans ... (See Credit card debt)

Spring clean your finances in 6 steps -- It's not just the rugs and windows that attention. Spring is also the perfect time to organize and refresh your finances. These six steps will help you get started ... (See Spring clean finances)

Sally Herigstad: Laid off, but still liable for ex-employer's card debt -- An employee opened an AmEx business card in her name for her company, got laid off, and is now being held liable for the debt ... (See Small business debt)

Cards with no foreign transaction fees surge -- Competing for well-heeled travelers, an increasing number of credit card issuers have reduced or even dropped foreign transaction fees ... (See Foreign transaction fees )

Erica Sandberg: Do debt management plans hurt your credit score? -- With $35,000 in debt, a couple decided to get help by entering into a debt management plan. But they worry how a DMP will impact their credit scores and future purchasing power ... (See Debt management plans)

Tanisha Warner: Are your mother's bank funds safe from your creditors? -- A debt-ridden woman worries her creditors may come after funds in an account she holds jointly with her mom. The good news is that mom's retirement funds are probably safe ... (See Joint accounts and garnishment)

Sally Herigstad: Don't restart the clock on expired debts -- If a collector attempts to contact you on a debt that has passed the statute of limitations, don't ignore him, but also don't reaffirm the debt ... (See Time-barred debt)

Q&A with Carl Richards: personal finance on a napkin -- "Behavior Gap" author Carl Richards may be more widely known as the man who illustrates personal finance concepts on paper napkins for the New York Times ... (See Carl Richards)

Watchdog agency proposes rules to supervise debt collectors, credit bureaus -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Thursday announced the first-ever plans to oversee the nation's largest debt collectors and credit reporting bureaus ... (See CFPB oversees credit bureaus, debt collectors)

Why mortgage rates are so low while credit card rates are so high -- Mortgage rates are near all-time lows while credit card rates are near all-time highs, and the gap between the two is wider than ever. What gives? ... (See Interest rates)

Cash emergency? Tap life insurance policy instead -- The next time you have a financial emergency, you might want to review the terms of your life insurance policy before whipping out your credit card. ... (See Life insurance vs. credit cards)

Erica Sandberg: First credit card? Follow these best practices -- Managing your first credit card the right way can set the stage for building up great credit. Used wrongly and you may spend years fixing your mistakes ... (See First credit card)

Cathleen McCarthy: What to consider before canceling your airline miles card -- Before you cancel your airlines miles credit card in a frustrated huff, stop, take a deep breath, and consider the impact on your credit ... (See Canceling rewards cards)

Cash-back credit cards survey: More generous, but more complicated -- A survey finds that the days of low, flat rewards are ending, but consumers need to closely watch their more-complicated cards ... (See 2012 cash-back credit cards survey)

Interactive: Top 50 cash-back credit cards -- A interactive chart of 50 cash-back credit card offers. ... (See Cash-back credit cards)

Sally Herigstad: Ex racks up $40,000 on joint credit cards -- After finally becoming debt-free, an ex-wife is dismayed to find her ex has racked up card debt on two old credit cards in her name ... (See Divorce and credit card debt)

Late on your credit card bill? Your auto could be seized -- Credit unions are especially fond of a clause that lets an financial institution seize cars or deposits if loans at the same institution go bad ... (See Cross-collaterization)

Erica Sandberg: You can pay someone else's debt and not be liable for it -- A daughter elects to help her dad with his collection payments, but he wonders if she will then be held responsible for the debt ... (See Paying someone else's debt)

Q&A: Former Patriots cornerback Eugene Profit now runs for the money -- A five-year veteran of the NFL talks about why so many young players fall to financial ruin and what he did to avoid falling into the same pattern ... (See Eugene Profit)

Tanisha Warner: Failing to pay the minimum can get you sued -- It's a common question: Can credit card companies sue you if you pay, but don't pay enough. Unfortunately, if you have to ask, you probably won't like the answer ... (See Minimum payment failure)

Sally Herigstad: Can bankruptcy tap surprise inheritance? -- Having filed for Chapter 13, a woman discovers a surprise inheritance and worries whether she has to turn over the funds to her trustee ... (See Inheritance and bankruptcy)

6 budget-blowing international travel mistakes to avoid -- With a little pretrip planning, you can prevent hundreds of unnecessary dollars from being added to the final cost of your trip abroad ... (See International travel money mistakes)

3 money lessons from "The Bachelor" -- Week after week, "The Bachelor" fans can take the lessons they learn in the fine art of romance and apply it to their personal finances ... (See The Bachelor)

Erica Sandberg: Dad racks up charges on son's credit card -- A father fraudulently opened a credit card in his son's name and charged $5,000. Now he can't pay more than the minimum. What are his son's options? ... (See Credit card fraud)

Reward point 'gifts' are taxable, says the IRS -- As sign-up bonuses for bank accounts and rewards cards have become more generous, someone new took interest -- Uncle Sam. Those sign-up bonus points are taxable, he says ... (See Card rewards taxable)

Sally Herigstad: Joint cards don't dissolve with divorce -- Getting divorced? If you jointly share credit cards, be prepared to cancel those cards and dissipate the debt before things are finalized d ... (See Divorce, credit cards)

Gary Foreman: Can a new mom afford to stay at home? -- A new mom who really wants to stay at home may be closer than she thinks to getting by on one income, if she includes the commuting and child care savings that come with not working ... (See Stay at home mom)

9 things you should know about your credit card receipt -- They're those annoying scraps of paper that litter your purse or flutter from your wallet at inopportune moments, but receipts for credit card transactions are actually worth paying attention to ... (See Credit card receipts)

Q&A: 'Dating Our Money' author Leslie Greenman links love, money -- "Dating Our Money" author Leslie Greenman urges women to make more savvy choices in both personal finance and in love ... (See Leslie Greenman)

Debt payoff debate: Pay smallest balance 1st? Or highest rate? -- A study says "debt account aversion" drives us to pay off small debts first, even if paying the highest-interest debt is always smarter financially ... (See Debt payoff debate)

How to shape up your finances in 12 months -- The 12 months in a fresh new year give you 12 opportunities to get your credit shaped up and your budgeting under control. Here, experts offer one seasonally relevant idea for each month of 2012 to do exactly that ... (See Shape up your finances)

Sally Herigstad: Do you marry someone who has big debt? -- He may be Prince Charming, but marrying someone who is carrying a lot of debt can put a serious crimp in your ability to plan for the future ... (See Marriage and debt)

Erica Sandberg: How settled card accounts impact your credit report -- Settling a delinquent account for less than you owe may be good for your wallet, but it's not so good for your credit reports and score ... (See Settled accounts, credit reports) survey of 2012 balance transfer cards shows offers getting better --'s annual survey of balance transfer cards show increasingly longer zero percent periods, but with higher balance transfer fees ... (See Balance transfer cards)

Tanisha Warner: Be wary of closing credit cards when applying for mortgage -- Considering closing some credit cards? Our expert says you better think twice about it if you're planning to get a mortgage loan soon ... (See Mortgages and closing credit cards)

Sally Herigstad: Dealing with unethical debt collectors -- If a collector threatens to throw you in jail over an unpaid debt, it's time to read him your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ... (See Fair Debt Collections Practices Act)

Gary Foreman: 8 questions to ask to make sure of wise buying decisions -- Ask these eight questions before you pull out your wallet and you'll be sure that you're buying the right thing at the right time at the right price ... (See 8 questions before buying)

Minimum payment survey: How much your issuer charges -- A survey of the minimum payment requirements of top credit card issuers shows they're raising their minimum dollar-amount payments. That may hurt your wallet today, but it's a better deal down the road ... (See Minimum payments)

Erica Sandberg: Mom's on hook for daughter's card debt -- A daughter uses bankruptcy to delete debt only to discover her mom is responsible for $24,000 on a credit card she co-signed more than 20 years ago ... (See Co-signers and card debt)

Supreme Court backs credit card binding arbitration -- The court's 8-1 ruling is a setback for consumer groups, who see arbitration as a contract clause that gives card issuers an unfair edge in disputes ... (See Credit card binding arbitration)

Don't play around with card phone scams -- When a telephone caller promises a lower credit card rate, but needs your card number for confirmation, hung up fast ... (See Phone scam)

Erica Sandberg: Who do you pay when a debt goes into collection? -- When an unpaid debt is charged off and sold to a collector, who do try to negotiate a settlement with: the original creditor or the collector? ... (See Debt collection) survey: Penalty rates creep higher, but become rarer -- In the wake of the Credit CARD Act's restrictions, many card issuers no longer bother with penalty rates. But research finds for those that retain them, the rate is even higher ... (See Penalty rates)

How to handle money when married, but living apart -- When a couple decides to live in different states, what is the best way for them to handle previously conjoined financial matters? ... (See Money and separation)

Annulment vs. divorce: How it impacts finances -- The Kardashian-Humphries impending annulment raises the question of how assets and debts are handled in this atypical marriage dissolution agreement ... (See Annulments and debt)

7 low-cost ways to get financially organized -- You don't need to spend a bundle to get your finanical house in order. These expert tips will help show you the way through the clutter ... (See Financial organization)

Erica Sandberg: One easy step to build a U.S. credit history -- A good salary and U.S. residency doesn't mean you'll be issued a credit card the first time you try. You have to start slow and be patient ... (See Building U.S. credit)

Helping military families avoid financial troubles -- Experts offer advice to troops on guarding their IDs, avoiding scams ... (See Military money)

5 holiday scams to watch out for this season -- You may be filled with a joyous spirit, but don't let your guard down. This is the high season for scammers, too ... (See Holiday scams)

Gary Foreman: You're marrying your fiance's debts, too -- If your future spouse has present debt, discuss it openly, keep your accounts separate and consider a long engagement to see if your intended can straighten up financially ... (See Fiance's debt)

Erica Sandberg: Don't jeopardize great credit with new credit -- When your credit score is already high, but not high enough, there are ways to boost it without applying for a new credit card ... (See Get a higher credit score)

6 credit mistakes that can ruin your holidays -- Credit cards can make holiday shopping a breeze. A few missteps, though, and that breeze can turn into a storm of financial headaches. Here are six credit slip-ups to avoid this holiday season ... (See Holiday credit mistakes)

Tanisha Warner: Not paying your credit card bill after a rate hike won't help -- New columnist Tanisha Warner answers a question from a reader who just had her credit card rate hiked. She's thinking about not paying the bill. Tanisha says: No ... (See Rate hike)

Sally Herigstad: When does a debt get too old to collect? -- Hoping that your debt will get too old to be collectible is a risky proposition, not to mention a bit unethical ... (See Statutes of limitations on card debt)

Credit card concierges offer last-minute holiday shopping help -- If you’re panicking about how to finish your holiday shopping this year, help may be as close as your credit card concierge ... (See Card concierge holiday help)

How to save on debit card foreign transaction fees -- We've researched what each major debit card issuer charges in foreign transaction fees -- and give you tips for avoiding them ... (See Foreign transaction fees)

Gary Foreman: How to teach your children basic financial concepts -- If you teach your kids to 'sleep on' major money decisions and learn the power of compound interest, they'll have gained important lessons that will serve them a lifetime ... (See Teaching money lessons to your kids)

6 things to know about virtual credit card numbers -- Also called 'temporary' or 'disposable,' these one-time-use card numbers can help keep your 'real' card safe ... (See Disposable credit card numbers)

Erica Sandberg: Trying to escape a high APR via a balance transfer -- Trying to transfer a spouse's high-interest debt to your balance transfer card? Not all issuers will allow that to happen ... (See Balance transfer card)

'Continuity billing' scams cause continuous credit card pain -- It's an increasingly common credit card scam: You agree to one small purchase and then get billed over and over ... (See Continuity billing scams)

6 reasons credit card rewards go unredeemed -- and how to change that -- One-third of $48 billion earned in rewards points or miles goes unused every year for various reasons. What's keeping people from cashing in? ... (See Unredeemed credit card rewards)

Kim McGrigg: Old accounts in good standing won't hurt your credit score -- Don't worry about removing old card accounts from your credit report, as long as the cards were in good standing when they were closed ... (See Credit report)

8 wise ways to rack up rewards while holiday shopping -- Does racking up rewards while shopping for gifts make you naughty or nice? It depends on how you manage your spending ... (See Holiday shopping rewards)

Sally Herigstad: Steps to recover from financial infidelity -- Giving one spouse full financial control can open the door to fraud -- and you won't know about it until the damage is done ... (See Financial fraud)

Gary Foreman: Bad credit mortgage alternatives -- You must start with the basics -- paying your bills on time -- but there are other alternatives for people with bad credit trying to buy a house ... (See Bad credit and mortgages)

Review asked of rule that hurts access to credit of stay-at-home moms -- A rare, bipartisan congressional group has challenged the fairness of an 'independent income' test for those who apply for credit cards ... (See Congress independent income )

Erica Sandberg: Choosing the right credit card for a new business -- Our expert outlines common money mistakes new business owners make when starting a new business on credit ... (See First business credit card)

Secrets of professional pickpocket Bob Arno -- Time magazine called Bob Arno the world's foremost expert on pickpocketing. Arno shares some secrets on how best to protect your wallet this holiday season ... (See Bob Arno)

Kim McGrigg: Dad's bankruptcy may force daughter to pay joint card debt -- A worried mom wants to know if her daughter will be stuck paying the debt on a credit card she held jointly with her dad. Unfortunately, our expert says, that's likely the case ... (See Joint account)

Western Union moves to global prepaid cards -- In a joint effort with MasterCard, Western Union upgrades its cash transfer system globally -- allowing customers the ability to easily transfer funds ... (See Prepaid cards)

Sally Herigstad: Divorce, debt and community property states -- Dividing up assets and debt in divorce is complicated enough, but even more so when you've lived in states with different property laws ... (See Community property laws)

Christmas clubs: Start saving now to avoid card debt next holiday -- These old-fashioned savings tools are still around at smaller banks and credit unions, and they can be a useful, fun part of an overall savings strategy ... (See Christmas clubs)

Gary Foreman: Broke? Bad credit? Recent bankruptcy? Say humbug to lousy holiday loans -- If you're recovering from hard times, don't succumb to the lousy loan choices you have available. Find frugal ways to enjoy the season ... (See Bad credit and holidays)

8 tips to keep your cards safe while shopping online -- There are a few Webby tricks to learn, but the basic ideas for shopping online safely are the same as at the mall: Keep your wallet safe, don't talk to strangers and stick to places you know and trust ... (See Online shopping safety tips)

How young is too young for credit? Do you add an infant to your card account? -- In an effort to build a strong credit file for their child, a parent wants to know if adding his newborn as an authorized user to his card is a good first step ... (See Too young for credit)

Bankrupt American Airlines says your frequent flier miles are safe -- In a move to retain its most loyal customers, American assures customers their AAdvantage rewards miles are 'yours and will remain yours' as the airline goes through Chapter 11 bankruptcy ... (See American frequent flier miles)

Sally Herigstad: Can wages be garnished before court date? -- If you've been served for past-due debt, don't wait until the official court hearing to respond or you may find your wages garnished before you're prepared ... (See Wage garnishment)

Q&A with author Terry Hekker, a stay-at-home mom who learned independence -- Author Terry Hekker's advice to women in the 1980s was to stay at home with their kids. Today, 79 and divorced, she has changed her tune ... (See Terry Hekker Q&A)

Small businesses struggle to find credit in post-recession world -- With lending still tight in a post-recession economy, businesses seek alternative funding sources or just don't borrow at all, slowing recovery ... (See Small businesses and credit)

Kim McGrigg: Canceling a credit card is OK -- if done wisely -- When your credit improves, it can be tempting to dump your old, bad-credit credit cards in favor of newer cards. But, our expert says, drop too many cards and your credit could pay the price again ... (See Cancel a card)

Sally Herigstad: Who pays secret debt in divorce? -- When a spouse living in a community property state has secret debt that comes to light during a divorce, just who has to pay for it? ... (See Secret debt in divorce)

Tales of credit card crooks' quirky charges -- Some credit card crooks rack up the most unusual charges on stolen cards -- often leaving themselves wide open for being busted ... (See Credit card crooks)

Erica Sandberg: In marriage, maintain your own credit -- Combining finances can be great, but it's important to maintain at least one credit card in your own name to protect your personal credit rating ... (See Marriage and credit scores)

Cathleen McCarthy: Authorized users can't access rewards without special permission -- If you're an authorized user on someone's credit card, the only way you can access the rewards points for the purchases you've made is if the primary account holder gives you special access ... (See Authorized users and rewards)

8 ways to protect against ATM skimming -- Thieves have discovered that taking money from a bank doesn’t have to involve a risky life-or-death bank robbery -- not when ATMs (and innocent victims) abound. ... (See ATM skimming)

Q&A with Playboy model, reality TV star Kendra Wilkinson on money her new book 'Being Kendra' -- Her life changed overnight when the former dental assistant was invited to move into the Playboy mansion, but when it comes to money, she has her feet on the ground ... (See Kendra Wilkinson)

Erica Sandberg: Make sure your payments make a dent in your debt -- Debt payments that don't seem to diminish your total debt can get frustrating. You have three options: pay more, seek help or bail ... (See Debt repayment tips)

Card suspended? Why your credit's been curbed -- Card been declined? Before panicking, know why your card might be in time out, how to bring it back and how it affects your credit ... (See Credit card suspension)

Bust a cheater by checking his (or her) card activity -- Sooner or later, most cheaters get caught, but not all are tripped by lipstick stains on collars, but their fishy charging and spending habits ... (See Credit cards and infidelity)

Sally Herigstad: When bankruptcy makes sense -- With a sick spouse, $20,000 in credit card debt and a small salary, a woman wonders just how she is going to make ends meet.You probably can't, says Sally ... (See When bankruptcy makes sense)

Erica Sandberg: How low can an authorized user go? -- What's wrong with this picture when a reader asks if an authorized user on a credit card wants to open other accounts in the primary card holder's name? ... (See Authorized users)

7 reasons why your next cellphone should have an NFC chip -- After years of promises, contactless mobile phone payment technology is finally here. Here’s why you might want it for your next -- or current -- smartphone ... (See Contactless payments)

Great American financial failures: From Jefferson to Disney -- It’s easy to scoff at millionaire celebrities who declare bankruptcy, but overextended credit is a time-honored American tradition. Some of our greatest heroes have fallen victim to bad investments and living beyond their means. ... (See Great American financial failures)

Sally Herigstad: What benefits are exempt from garnishment? -- An unemployed Oregonian worries that her unemployment and Social Security will be garnished for unpaid credit card bills ... (See Wage garnishment)

6 things to know about reloadable prepaid cards -- They're different from either traditional credit or or debit cards, so it pays to know how they work ... (See Reloadable prepaid cards)

Erica Sandberg: Have residency, but no credit? -- You may have to jump through a few hurdles, but getting credit when you are a permanent U.S. resident shouldn't be too hard ... (See Establishing credit)

6 money tips for late-in-life divorces -- Few leave marriages of any length unscathed, but the financial impact is often more extreme for those who've been together for decades ... (See Divorce money tips)

5 scariest things on your credit card statement -- Although credit card statements can send chills up your spine, it’s important that you face your fears and look them over ... (See 5 scariest credit card statement items)

Q&A with Don Peck, author of 'Pinched' -- In a succinct 188 pages, Peck surveys more than 100 years of economic recessions, depressions and recoveries to arrive at something of a bird's-eye view of our current economic discontent. ... (See Don Peck)

Gary Foreman: Common tricks and traps in credit card fine print -- The appealing big headline in the credit card promo is often hedged and limited by the fine print -- so you had better understand it ... (See Beware credit card fine print)

Erica Sandberg: 7 questions to ask before you do a balance transfer -- A zero-percent balance transfer card may sound like the perfect solution to your high-interest debt problem, but that's not always the case ... (See Balance transfer credit card)

Predictive analytics: Issuers' crystal ball into card spending patterns -- Card issuers turn to algorithms to determine if you are about to leave them or are having trouble paying your bills -- and allows them to step in to turn the tide ... (See Credit card predictive analytics)

7 ways to protect your credit rating during unemployment -- Losing your job is bad enough; take these steps to minimize the damage and prevent trouble from iniltrating another part of your financial life ... (See Keeping credit during unemployment)

10 things you can't (easily) buy with credit cards -- From mutual funds to lap dances, there are some things your credit card company just won't let you put on your plastic ... (See 10 things you can't buy with credit cards)

Sally Herigstad: Is an heir liable for her parent's credit card debt after death? -- A daughter inherited $70,000 from her father's estate, but it turns out he owes $400,000 in credit card debt. Will she have to forfeit her cash? ... (See Death and card debt)

4 types of money pros: What they are, how to find the right one for you -- Most of the time, a do-it-yourself ethic is all you need to keep your finances in line. But even the smartest amateurs can use some expert advice from time to time ... (See Money professionals)

Erica Sandberg: Is 'unfreezing' a card a good thing? -- After a bank "freezes" your card due to nonpayment and a maxed-out status, will thawing it out help or hurt your credit score? ... (See Card suspension)

Your Wallet Recovery Kit -- Use this free, interactive tool to safely store important credit card and other data you carry with you, so you'll be able to recover quickly from having a wallet lost or stolen ... (See Wallet Recovery Kit)

Busting 7 common credit myths -- These common credit myths can lead to the same financial mess you would have if you were to spend your life savings looking for the Loch Ness monster ... (See 7 common credit myths)

Sally Herigstad: Can debt judgments follow you overseas? -- If you leave the country -- and your debts -- behind, what are the chances that collectors and the law will find you to make you pay up? ... (See Leaving debt in U.S.)

How fnancial troubles sometimes actually help relationships -- Sometimes it takes an extreme situation to bring people together -- an illness, accident or even an act of terrorism. But what about a financial crisis? ... (See Financial troubles and relationships)

Walmart continues layaway's revival, but will deferred gratification payment -- The layaway concept -- paying over time without incurring debt -- works in the current economic environment, but does it have lasting power? ... (See Layaway plans)

Erica Sandberg: The pitfalls of shared card accounts -- Our expert clarifies the differences between authorized users, co-signers and joint account holders, along with who shares payment responsibilities ... (See Shared card accounts)

9 ways to avoid debit card usage fees -- Experts say consumers can avoid paying big banks' new monthly debit card fees by switching to a smaller bank, using credit cards or mobile payments, or pulling out that old-fashioned green paper -- cash ... (See Debit card use fees)

Sally Herigstad: Protect elderly parent's credit card from others -- Unfortunately, some adult children feel no guilt about using their elderly parents' credit cards and racking up debt in their names ... (See Elderly financial abuse)

Erica Sandberg:Can you build credit by paying off card after every use? -- If you use your plastic for everyday purchases, but pay off the balance the next day, will your credit score rise? ... (See Paying debt quickly)

QA with 'Frugalista' Natalie McNeal -- Single, 32, in serious debt and in a precarious job, blogger Natalie McNeal transformed her high-spending ways into a "frugalista" lifestyle ... (See Natalie McNeal)

Gary Foreman: Moves to make if you expect another economic storm -- Just as you plan ahead for hurricanes, you can weather rough financial times more easily with good preparation ... (See Plan for tough times)

MCC codes unveil consumer shopping habits -- Merchant Category Codes reveal where you use your plastic and are tracked by your card issuers. Want to keep your purchases secret? Use cash ... (See MCC codes)

How to avoid credit card security overkill -- While protecting your credit and money is important, it’s also possible to go to unnecessary extremes, causing undue stress and hypervigilance ... (See Overprotecting your credit)

8 creative ways to build credit card rewards points quickly -- If you’ve had the same card for a few years, happy to be collecting a few hundred points here and there, we have two words for you: Wake up ... (See Rack up rewards points)

Q&A with Hill Harper, 'CSI: NY' actor, author of 'The Wealth Cure' -- In his book "The Wealth Cure," the Harvard Law grad and hoops buddy of the president equates the battle for health to the battle for wealth ... (See Q&A with CSI's Hill Harper)

Sally Herigstad: Some spend lavishly right up to bankruptcy court -- A reader is miffed that his brother continues to spend on lavish vacations and purchases, even though he has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy ... (See Spending prior to bankruptcy)

Erica Sandberg: 3 steps for early money management -- Setting up financial goals when you're young can set the stage for success if you stick to a budget and set aside money regularly for the things you want ... (See Money management for youths)

Reduce gas pump pain with retailer reward cards -- With consumers spending an ever-larger chunk of income on fuel, it helps to know that some grocers can lessen the pain with gas-incentive card programs ... (See Retailers' gas card rewards)

5 money tips for parents of new college students -- Your college-age son or daughter isn't the only one who needs to learn; you have new financial choices you need to master ... (See College money tips for parents)

Can you get a credit card after bankruptcy? -- While the days of easy credit are over, credit card issuers still have products for bad credit customers to use to rebuild their credit profiles ... (See Credit after bankruptcy)

Sally Herigstad: Who pays fiance's credit card debt if he dies? -- If your intended carries a lot of credit card debt, make sure that your name is not on any of the accounts until after you marry ... (See Credit card debt and death)

Erica Sandberg: In a debt management plan? No new credit for you -- If you have negotiated with lenders through a credit counseling service to pay down your debt, the last thing you want to do is take on new loans ... (See Debt management plans)

Infographic: Most couples talk money before wedding, survey says -- Nearly nine in 10 couples talk about money before getting married, according to a survey released in July 2011 by the National Endowment for Financial Education ... (See Weddings and money)

5 ways to rebuild credit after bankruptcy -- More than a million people filed for bankruptcy last year, and though it stays on your credit report for years, you can start turning your credit around in as little to 12 to 18 months ... (See Build credit after bankruptcy)

Gary Foreman: Where are you financially vulnerable? -- The economic storm clouds still haven't parted, so wise consumers know their potential money weak spots, and have a plan if something breaks down ... (See Financially vulnerable)

Erica Sandberg: Boost savings with temporary budget cuts -- How do you save thousands over a short period, especially when you have a tendency to overspend? First, see where you stand ... (See Boost savings)

Jeremy M. Simon: No longer want to be an authorized user? Just ask -- It's simple to be removed as an authorized user on a credit card. Just don't expect it to come off your credit report easily ... (See Authorized user)

9 low-tech ways to manage money and credit -- Forget the apps, alerts and software. Old-fashioned ways of keeping track of how and where you spend often are the most effective ... (See Low-tech money management)

Sally Herigstad: Help! Ex-spouse won't pay on co-signed car loan -- Even if your divorce decree says he has to pay, the bank doesn't care and has every right to go after the co-signer for payment ... (See Divorce and co-signed loans)

What is a charge-off? How does it affect your credit? -- The phrase charge-off comes from the world of financial accounting, but if one happens to you, expect the damage to your credit to be substantial ... (See Charge-offs)

Erica Sandberg: Set up charging rules on co-signed card -- A financially reformed mom co-signed on a card for her college-bound son, but worries that he may return her to financial ruin ... (See Co-signed credit card)

Buying airline miles: Is it worth the cost? -- The offers can be tempting: buying airline miles to boost your mileage account. But how do you know you're getting a good deal and not just adding to the airlines' bottom line? ... (See Buying airline miles)

Sally Herigstad: How likely is it you'll be sued for unpaid debt? -- The likelihood of being sued for not paying outstanding credit card debt depends on a variety of factors, but take action before that happens ... (See Odds of being sued for debt)

Gary Foreman: Bride and groom from different financial worlds? Talk, budget -- If he's from financial Mars and she's from financial Venus, premarital discussions about money expectations will help prevent problems later ... (See Premarital money talk)

Money Talks: Q&A with boxing champ Bernard Hopkins -- Also an astute businessman, the light-heavyweight world champion just shakes his head at his peers' foolishness with money ... (See Bernard Hopkins Q&A)

Erica Sandberg: Weigh all costs when doing a balance transfer -- When thinking about transferring your balance to a lower rate card, you need to do the math and have a plan before you card-hop ... (See How to evaluate a balance transfer)

Jeremy M. Simon: Beware of interest charged on closed accounts in debt collection -- Collection agencies are allowed to charge you interest on debts in closed credit card accounts -- unless your card contract or state law says otherwise ... (See Interest on debt)

5 places with the highest ATM fees -- Need cash and your bank's ATMs are nowhere to be found? If you're stuck in one of these places, be prepared to spend up to $20 for a withdrawal ... (See High ATM fees)

Cleveland tops list of cities most improved in on-time credit card payments -- San Antonio, Cincinnati, Houston and Dallas round out the top five cities that have improved most at reducing the number of credit card accounts more than 60 days late ... (See Credit card delinquencies)

When debt is gone, will dreams come true? -- Are people really happier and better off when they escape the chains of debt? Many overburdened borrowers expect to be ... (See Debt-free dreams)

Sally Herigstad: Keep creditors at bay during bankruptcy filing -- Her lawyer went on vacation before her filing was finished, and now she's being sued by a creditor. What are this reader's options? ... (See Bankruptcy filing)

Gary Foreman: How to calculate the energy cost of appliances -- By knowing the right formula and "watt" each appliance consumes in electricity, a landlord and tenant splitting an electric bill can divide it fairly ... (See Appliance energy costs)

How Capital One buying HSBC credit card accounts affects consumers -- Some 27 million U.S. cardholders awoke Wednesday to a new bank when Capital One bought HSBC's card portfolio. Here's what they should expect ... (See Card deal)

How to keep credit, debit card blocking from ruining your vacation -- Before you even pull the flip-flops out of your suitcase for your week of vacation, your available credit may appear as though you've already paid for the whole trip. Blame it on credit or debit card blocking ... (See Credit card blocking)

Erica Sandberg: Retirement funds off limits for debt repayment -- At 29, a reader proposes dissolving some or all of his 401(k) to pay off $37,000 in debt. Our expert says there are other, much safer, options available ... (See 401(k) debt solution?)

5 credit score secrets of the young and FICO-savvy -- Today's 20-somethings face a stiff lending environment that looks down on short credit histories. Find out how some broke through barriers and build a solid foundation early ... (See Credit score secrets)

6 ways to cut groomsman costs -- Bridesmaids get all the press, but groomsmen rack up their fair share of financial burden -- anywhere from $500 to $1,500 or more. Follow these tips to help cut costs. ... (See Groomsman costs)

Sally Herigstad: Will bankruptcy impact an authorized user? -- Without a job and in debt, a wife considers bankruptcy, but asks if her husband is liable for debt on a credit card on which is an authorized user ... (See Authorized user, bankruptcy)

How to detect and prevent elderly financial abuse -- Tragically, there are those who take economic advantage of the elderly. Be aware of the warning signs and the profiles of these perpetrators ... (See Elderly financial abuse)

Gary Foreman: You've got to know your 'monthly nut' -- Your 'monthly nut' is the minimum amount you need to make to keep ahead of your bills and avoid always coming up short ... (See Your monthly nut)

Infographic: Americans' biggest financial worries -- According to a July 2011 Gallup survey, a lack of money and low wages are the issues causing consumers the most concern, followed by health care costs and too much debt ... (See Infographic)

Erica Sandberg: Getting a credit card at age18 presents challenges -- It's not impossible, but qualifying for an unsecured credit card at the age of 18 presents unique challenges ... (See Qualifying for credit at age 18)

It's not fibbing, it's fraud: legal consequences of lying on a credit card application -- Telling a lie about your income on a credit card application isn't fibbing, it's fraud, and you can be jailed for it, as a Rochester, N.Y., man discovered ... (See Credit card application fraud)

Gary Foreman: Rich bride, poor groom and mom can't pay country club reception tab -- Mom should be honest with herself and her wealthy in-laws about her financial limits, and their kids should discuss money expectations before the ceremony ... (See Rich bride, poor groom)

Erica Sandberg: New resident's quest for U.S. plastic -- Having lived in the U.S. for two years now, a reader wants to know how to go about picking -- and getting approved for -- a new credit card ... (See New U.S. credit)

Feds lay down rules for contacting relatives of deceased debtors -- Collecting money from the relatives of deceased debtors is fine, new federal guidelines say, but debt collectors must be transparent about what they do ... (See Death and debt colletion)

Nonprofits innovate to help low-income people establish credit -- With good credit increasingly important to living a mainstream life, the agencies are finding ways to step into the gaps that prevent people from starting and building credit ... (See Credit help)

Sally Herigstad: How to deal with a debt limit meltdown -- For those dependent upon government assistance, the threat of suspended payments as a result of the current U.S. budget stalemate causes panic ... (See Debt meltdown)

What reality TV teaches us about credit and spending -- A slew of reality TV shows are tapping into our collective concern about saving money, spending it, turning clutter into cash and dealing with debt ... (See Reality TV money lessons)

Toddlers, tiaras -- and debt: the costs of child beauty pageants -- Is your adorable child ready for the spotlight? Perhaps pageant life awaits, but be forewarned, overall costs of these beauty contests can be downright ugly ... (See Beauty pageant debt)

5 signs of a rip-off beauty pageant -- Not all beauty pageants are legitimate enterprises. Heed these 5 warning signs before you hand over big bucks for nothing in return ... (See Beauty pageant scams)

Gary Foreman: How to figure out how much rent you can afford -- Renting? The rule of thumb is spend no more than 33 percent of your after-tax income on housing; these money-saving tips will help you get there and into a home you can afford ... (See Renting: How much?)

Infographic: What most consumers know about credit scores -- The average American isn't exactly a credit scoring expert, but there are some basic elements of credit scoring that most Americans do know, according to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America ... (See Credit score)

10 financing options for cosmetic surgery -- Tummy tucks, facelifts and nose jobs don't come cheap and are rarely covered by insurance. So just how do you come up with the cash to get the look of your dreams? ... (See Paying for plastic surgery)

Erica Sandberg: Getting your foot in the credit door -- Young, educated and debt-free, a reader keeps getting turned down for a credit card and wants to know how to get her credit started ... (See How to get your first credit card)

15-minute fixes for your credit score -- Spending just 15 minutes on these expert tips can give your credit score anywhere from a small bump to a major boost ... (See Quick credit fixes)

Get out of debt smartphone apps -- Creating and sticking to a budget may not be fun, but using your smartphone to help you get out of debt sure beats updating budget spreadsheets on Quicken and Excel ... (See Debt-fighting smartphone apps)

Sally Herigstad: Duped by son, mom stuck with $20,000 debt -- What is a 76-year-old woman to do when she co-signs on credit cards and a car loan for her adult son and then he files for bankruptcy? ... (See Co-signing dangers)

Frugality's about value, not about being cheap -- For both practical and personal reasons, on some items, it's OK to go ahead and splurge ... (See Spend it, frugally)

State by state bankruptcy statistics, 2005-2011 -- Bankruptcies reversed course and fell in 2011, but it's not just due to debt aversion. We may just be running out of people who benefit from filing ... (See State bankruptcy statistics)

Erica Sandberg: The path to good credit after college -- Follow these four lessons on how to build a great credit profile after you graduate from college ... (See Path to good credit)

Infographic: Women more focused than men on saving, cutting card debt -- When the Javelin Strategy & Research team polled men and women about their top financial goals in 2011, women were more frugal-minded ... (See Men, women and money)

Sally Herigstad: Stopping an adult daughter abusing mom's credit -- What steps do you take when your sibling won't stop racking up charges on your elderly mom's credit card without approval? ... (See Elderly abuse)

My credit, myself: Young adults using credit to boost self-esteem -- In an uncertain world, recent research shows that for some 20-somethings, it just takes a quick swipe of a credit card to feel like they’ve got everything under control ... (See Credit and self-esteem)

Gary Foreman: Credit card rate too high? How to negotiate a lower one, how to leave if you don't get it -- Credit card rate too high? Here's how to ask for a lower one -- and how to leave if you don't get it ... (See Negotiate your credit card rate)

Airline, hotel credit cards offering sign-up bonus for adding authorized users -- Adding an authorized user can put you over the top for that free flight, but experts advise caution -- it dings your credit and exposes you to financial risk ... (See Authorized user)

Erica Sandberg :How do banks determine a credit card's credit limit? -- When banks issue you a credit card, how do they figure out how much credit to give you? Part of it is secret, the other part not so much ... (See Credit limits)

Pet debt: How animals cost you -- The cost of feeding and maintaining our beloved furry, feathered or other nonhuman friends can land pet owners in the financial doghouse ... (See Pet debt)

Sally Herigstad: It's a bad idea to pay one credit card and stop paying the others -- A reader wonders what would happen if she tried to pay off one credit card bill first and not pay on the others. Our expert says she'll only make matters much worse ... (See Stop paying cards)

13 tips to cut your pet's veterinary bills -- Although your pet is precious to you, when it comes to veterinary services, don't let emotions blind you to costs. Comparison shop and ask questions ... (See Vet bills)

7 tips for managing your online spending -- From Amazon to Groupon offers, it is easier than ever before to inadvertently rack up big balances on your credit cards ... (See Managing online spending)

Building a better envelope budgeting system -- With a few refinements and simplifications, this old cash-based system still works, says our expert ... (See Envelope budgeting)

Erica Sandberg: Will student's credit suffer if mom doesn't pay school loans? -- A mom wants to know if if her son's credit will be in jeopardy if she cannot make the payments on a Parent PLUS college loan ... (See Student loans)

How FICO scores work: Credit utilization -- If you want to earn a good credit score, you'll need to pay attention to your amounts owed. This credit utilization ratio goes by many names, and it's the second-most important factor used to calculate a borrower's FICO score ... (See Credit utilization )

Infographic: The rise and fall of credit card accounts -- Compared to all other financial products, credit card accounts rose faster before the recession and fell harder during and after it, according to New York Federal Reserve data ... (See Credit card accounts)

7 tips for maximizing use of a digital gift card -- The market for digital gift cards has tripled in three years. While similar to their plastic counterpart, there are some differences you need to be aware of ... (See Digital gift cards)

QA with Matt Paxton, host of TV's 'Hoarders' -- The 'Secret Lives of Hoarders' author and TV host goes about helping with brutal honesty and a connoisseur's appreciation for the smell of decomposition ... (See Matt Paxton, "Hoarders" host)

Sally Herigstad: Collectors can refuse partial payments -- Our expert dispels the myth that submitting a partial payment on an old debt will prevent a collection agency from taking you to court ... (See Debt collection myth)

6 college money myths -- Some prevalent college money myths involving credit can do damage that can dog young people well after they collect their sheepskins ... (See College money myths)

Gary Foreman: Alternate strategies to saving for emergency funds -- If you have trouble leaving emergency funds untouched, you may be able to prepay some items, or just make your savings tough to tap ... (See Emergency fund strategies)

Erica Sandberg: Beware of debt relief phone call promises -- A woman wonders if those debt relief phone callers can help cut her $20,000 in credit card debt in half ... (See Debt settlement)

Infographic: Debt causes financial distress -- People with debt woes suffer in more ways than one, according to a recent study from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling ... (See Financial stress)

Infographic: Bank card delinquencies keep falling, says report -- A May 2011 report from credit bureau TransUnion shows that the percentage of cardholders who are at least 90 days late with a payment to a bank-issued credit card continues to slide ... (See Delinquencies)

Infographic: Most parents financially support their adult kids -- A May 2011 survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education finds 59 percent of parents are providing, or have provided, financial support to their adult children when they've finished school ... (See Parents supporting kids)

Credit card statistics, infographic: Americans' top 8 financial worries -- Americans are far more worried about their retirement funds (or lack thereof) than about their ability to make credit card payments, according to a poll by Gallup ... (See Money worries)

How your FICO credit score is calculated: Payment history -- In the calculation of your FICO credit score, no factor is more important than your payment history. That history's comprised of many complex components, but ultimately, it comes down to paying your bills on time, every time ... (See Credit score payment history)

Where to get alternative, specialty free credit reports -- Specialty credit bureaus collect consumer data on such things as rental history, insurance claims and checking accounts, and they're required to provide consumers a free report annually ... (See Specialty credit reports)

Sally Herigstad: Computer stolen? What to do now to prevent ID theft -- If you act quickly once your computer is stolen, protecting your identity can be like putting out a small fire, instead of having to call the fire trucks ... (See Identity theft)

7 questions to ask before opening an online bank account -- If brick-and-mortar bank fees and lackluster interest rate are pushing you to consider an online-only bank, how do you decide if branchless banking is right for you? ... (See Online banking)

Erica Sandberg: Payment options for high-interest credit card debt -- Asking a credit card company to lower the interest rate on your debt can produce a variety of answers -- most of which you will not like ... (See High-interest card debt)

5 money 'rules' meant to be broken -- You've heard all the financial truisms, and while many have a kernel of truth, some axioms should get the ax ... (See 5 money rules to break)

Sally Herigstad: How many times can creditors buy old debts? -- Negative credit information should fall off your credit report after seven years, but sometimes collectors disregard the rules ... (See Get rid of old debt)

Gary Foreman: Tips for finding fun while staying frugal -- You may have 'frugal fatigue,' but lamenting the good old days when you could spend freely will only make your mood worse ... (See Frugal tips)

Sign-up bonuses for rewards credit cards become more generous -- As cards make a comeback from the recession, issuers chasing new customers are becoming more generous with sign-up bonuses ... (See Reward card bonuses)

7 big post-divorce money mistakes -- Breaking up is not only hard to do, it can be brutal on your finances -- especially if you commit one of these big financial goof ups ... (See Divorce and money)

Found a lost credit card? 4 safe ways to be a Good Samaritan -- If you find someone's credit card, your first thought is probably to do the right thing by making sure it doesn't get into the wrong hands. But there is some risk involved in being a Good Samaritan, depending on the option you choose ... (See Lost credit card)

Kim McGrigg: To raise credit score, pay delinquent debt? Or declare bankruptcy? -- A reader so deep in debt she's weighing bankruptcy wonders how to get good credit in a year. Years plural, says our expert. ... (See Bankruptcy)

With all the airline fees, can you afford that 'free' flight? -- At last, you've earned enough frequent flier rewards for a free trip to your dream spot. But with all the fees, 'free' isn't what it used to be ... (See "Free" flight fees)

Credit card application rejected? 3 steps to getting next one approved -- Rejected for a new credit card? Take these steps to make sure that the next time you apply for new plastic you are approved ... (See Credit rejection)

Gary Foreman: Tips for getting grown children out of the nest -- Yes, jobs are tough to find, but kids need to stand on their own financially and leave the nest. It's a parent's job to know how to help them learn to fly ... (See Financial independence)

Erica Sandberg: Daughter's credit at risk when mom defaults -- A mom defaulted on three credit cards where her minor child was an authorized user. She wonders if her daughter's credit is in jeopardy ... (See Piggybacking)

Survey: Annual fees kept at bay despite credit card reform law -- Dire predictions from card issuers that a 2009 reform law would boost fees has not come to pass, our fee survey shows ... (See Credit card fee survey) credit card fee survey 2011: Find your bank's card fees -- Find your card's fees: This table links to information showing the credit card fees from the 50 largest credit card issuing banks and credit unions ... (See Credit card fees)

Patelco CU Gold credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Patelco CU Gold credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Patelco CU Gold credit card fees)

Penn State Employees CU Classic credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Penn State Employees CU Classic credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Penn State Employees CU Classic credit card fees)

Pentagon FCU Standard credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Pentagon FCU Standard credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Pentagon FCU Standard credit card fees)

Pentagon FCU PenPromise Standard credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Pentagon FCU PenPromise Standard credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Pentagon FCU PenPromise Standard credit card fees)

RBS Citizens Bank Platinum card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the RBS Citizens Bank Platinum card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See RBS Citizens Bank Platinum credit card fees)

Redstone FCU Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Redstone FCU Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Redstone FCU Platinum credit card fees)

Redstone FCU Classic credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Redstone FCU Classic credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Redstone FCU Classic credit card fees)

San Diego County CU Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the San Diego County CU Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See San Diego County CU Platinum credit card fees)

Security Services FCU Gold credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Security Services FCU Gold credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Security Services FCU Gold credit card fees)

Security Services FCU Classic credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Security Services FCU Classic credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Security Services FCU Classic credit card fees)

Simmons First National Bank Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Simmons First National Bank Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Simmons First National Bank Platinum credit card fees)

Simmons First National Bank Gold credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Simmons First National Bank Gold credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Simmons First National Bank Gold credit card fees)

Simmons First National Bank Classic credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Simmons First National Bank Classic credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Simmons First National Bank Classic credit card fees)

Intrust Bank Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Intrust Bank Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Intrust Bank Platinum credit card fees)

M and I Marshall Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for M and I Marshall Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See M and I Marshall Platinum credit card fees)

State Employees FCU Classic credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the State Employees FCU Classic credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See State Employees FCU Classic credit card fees)

Michigan State Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Michigan State Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Michigan State Platinum credit card fees)

State Farm Bank Classic credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for State Farm Bank Classic credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See State Farm Bank Classic credit card fees)

PNC Bank Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for PNC Bank Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See PNC Bank Platinum credit card fees)

Suncoast Schools CU Classic (Starter Card) credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Suncoast Schools CU Classic (Starter Card) credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Suncoast Schools CU Classic (Starter Card) credit card fees)

US Bank Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for US Bank Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See US Bank Platinum credit card fees)

UMB Bank Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the UMB Bank Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See UMB Bank Platinum credit card fees)

Virginia Credit Union Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Virginia Credit Union Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Virginia Credit Union Platinum credit card fees)

Virginia Credit Union Gold credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Virginia Credit Union Gold credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Virginia Credit Union Gold credit card fees)

VyStar CU Gold credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for VyStar CU Gold credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See VyStar CU Gold credit card fees)

VyStar CU Classic credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for VyStar CU Classic credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See VyStar CU Classic credit card fees)

Navy FCU Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Navy FCU Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Navy FCU Platinum credit card fees)

Wells Fargo Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Wells Fargo Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Wells Fargo Platinum credit card fees)

Patelco CU Classic credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Patelco CU Classic credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Patelco CU Classic credit card fees)

Wescom CU Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Wescom CU Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Wescom CU Platinum credit card fees)

Navy FCU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Navy FCUsecured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Navy FCU secured credit card fees)

Redstone FCU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Redstone FCU secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Redstone FCU secured credit card fees)

San Diego FCU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the San Diego FCU secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See San Diego FCU secured credit card fees)

Suncoast Schools FCU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Suncoast Schools FCU secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Suncoast Schools FCU secured credit card fees)

The Golden 1 CU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the The Golden 1 CU secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See The Golden 1 CU secured credit card fees)

US Bank secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the US Bank secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See US Bank secured credit card fees)

Wells Fargo secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Wells Fargo secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Wells Fargo secured credit card fees)

Discover More credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Discover More credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Discover More credit card fees)

Fifth Third Bank Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Fifth Third Bank Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Fifth Third Bank Platinum credit card fees )

First Hawaiian Bank Gold credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for First Hawaiian Bank Gold credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See First Hawaiian Bank Gold credit card fees)

First Hawaiian Bank Classic credit card fees -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the First Hawaiian Bank Classic credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See First Hawaiian Bank Classic credit card fees)

FNB Omaha Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for FNB Omaha Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See FNB Omaha Platinum credit card fees)

Delta Community Credit Union Classic credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Delta Community Credit Union Classic credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Delta Community Credit Union Classic credit card fees)

Delta Community Credit Union Gold credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Delta Community Credit Union Gold credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Delta Community Credit Union Gold fees)

Delta Community Credit Union Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Delta Community Credit Union Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Delta Community Credit Union Platinum fees)

Blue from American Express credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Blue from American Express credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Blue from American Express credit card fee)

First Tennessee Bank Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for First Tennessee Bank Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See First Tennessee Bank Platinum credit card fees)

First Tennessee Bank Classic credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for First Tennessee Bank Classic credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See First Tennessee Bank Classic credit card fees)

First-Citizens Bank and Trust Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for First-Citizens Bank and Trust Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See First-Citizens Bank and Trust Platinum credit card fees)

Clear from American Express credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Clear from American Express, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Clear from American Express credit card fees)

FirstMerit Corp. Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for FirstMerit Corp. Platinum, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See FirstMerit Corp. Platinum credit card fees)

FirstMerit Corp. Classic (Variable) credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for FirstMerit Corp Classic (Variable) credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See FirstMerit Corp. Classic (Variable) credit card fee)

Affinity FCU Classic credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Affinity FCU Classic credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Affinity FCU Classic credit card fee schedule )

FirstMerit Corp. Classic (Fixed) credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for FirstMerit Corp. Classic (Fixed) credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See FirstMerit Corp. Classic (Fixed) credit card fee)

Affinity FCU Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for Affinity FCU Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Affinity FCU Platinum credit card fee )

HSBC Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for HSBC Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See HSBC Platinum credit card fees)

America First CU Classic (no annual fee) credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for America First CU Classic (no annual fee) credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See America First CU Classic (no annual fee) credit card fees)

America First CU Classic (with annual fee) credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the America First CU Classic (with annual fee) credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See America First CU Classic (with annual fee) credit card fees)

America First CU Platinum Rewards credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the America First CU Platinum Rewards credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See America First CU Platinum Rewards credit card fee)

America First CU Classic Rewards credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the America First CU Classic Rewards credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See America First CU Classic Rewards credit card fee)

Arizona FCU Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Arizona FCU Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Arizona FCU Platinum credit card fees)

Bank of America BankAmericard Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Bank of America BankAmericard Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Bank of America BankAmericard Platinum credit card fee)

Baxter (BCU) Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Baxter (BCU) Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Baxter (BCU) Platinum credit card fees)

BBVA Compass Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the BBVA Compass Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See BBVA Compass Platinum credit card fee)

BECU (Boeing Employees) Classic (Rewards option available with $25 fee) credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the BECU (Boeing Employees) Classic (Rewards option available with $25 fee) credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See BECU (Boeing Employees) Classic credit card fee )

Capital One Classic Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Capital One Classic Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Capital One Classic Platinum credit card fees)

Capital One Platinum Prestige credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Capital One Platinum Prestige credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Capital One Platinum Prestige credit card fees)

Capital One Standard Platinum (Average Credit) credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Capital One Standard Platinum (Average Credit) credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Capital One Standard Platinum credit card fees)

Chase Platinum Slate credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Chase Platinum Slate credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Chase Platinum Slate credit card fees)

Citibank Platinum Select credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Citibank Platinum Select credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Citibank Platinum Select credit card fees)

Columbus Bank and Trust Platinum credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Columbus Bank and Trust Platinum credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Columbus Bank and Trust Platinum credit card fees)

AmeriCU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the AmeriCU secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See AmeriCU secured credit card fees)

Digital FCU Classic credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Digital FCU Classic credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Digital FCU Classic credit card fees)

Citibank secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Citibank secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Citibank secured credit card fee schedule)

Bank of America secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Bank of America secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Bank of America secured credit card fees)

BBVA Compass secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the BBVA Compass secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See BBVA Compass secured credit card fees)

Capital One secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Capital One secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Capital One secured credit card fees)

Digital FCU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Digital FCU secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Digital FCU secured credit card fees)

Fifth Third Bank secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Fifth Third Bank secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Fifth Third Bank secured credit card fees)

GTE FCU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the GTE FCU secured credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See GTE FCU secured credit card fees)

Pentagon FCU Gold credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Pentagon FCU Gold credit card, according to the annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Pentagon FCU Gold credit card fees)

Kim McGrigg: Will card debt hold up my Australian visa? -- A reader ran up credit card debt in Australia, left, and now wants to move back. Will the debt jeopardize his return? ... (See Card debt and visas)

Debtors Anonymous: What you can expect -- If your financial situation has led you to Debtors Anonymous, but you've been too afraid to go to a meeting, here's what you can expect ... (See Debtors Anonymous)

Gary Foreman: How to diagnose your financial health -- There are parallels between financial and physical health: Both need to be properly diagnosed and the right steps taken to cure the ailments ... (See Financial help)

Erica Sandberg: Rejected: How your credit history impacts card approvals -- A student is rejected for a new credit due to a limited credit history and wonders what he can do to boost his credit scores further ... (See Credit history)

Nontraditional ways to seek financial guidance -- At the end of your rope with money issues? Maybe you should turn to a psychic, hypnotist or kinesiologist to help you work through your hurdles ... (See Financial guidance)

Sally Herigstad: Years of caregiving can lead to bankruptcy -- A reader gave up everything to care for her ailing mom and now faces mounting debt, no money and no job. Is bankruptcy the answer? ... (See Bankruptcy and debt)

5 mental money traps to avoid -- Turning your finances around is never easy, and these five mental money traps can keep you from making much progress ... (See Money traps)

Gary Foreman: Inflation is coming; here's how it will hurt -- Before inflation returns in force, there are steps you can take to readjust your investments and loans to minimize its impact ... (See Adjusting for inflation)

Erica Sandberg: Digging out of the depths of divorce debt -- It's not uncommon to be saddled with debt post-divorce. But when you're too depressed to deal with it, asking for help is your first priority ... (See Divorce and debt)

6 steps to handle a sudden financial windfall -- While a surprise cash infusion is almost always welcomed, it raises questions about the most effective ways to use those funds ... (See Financial windfall)

Kim McGrigg: How to protect yourself from email phishing attacks -- Scammers are after your personal information. Armed with these tips, you won't make it easy on them ... (See Fend off phishing)

QA with Willie Geist, Boyd McDonnell on 'Loaded,' their parody of financial advice books -- Willie Geist, Boyd McDonnell lampoon the get-rich-quick schemes through the idiotic money advice hawked by their faux financial gurus, the 'Dollar Bills' ... (See "Loaded")

Horsing around with credit card debt: a cautionary tale --'s Erica Sandberg relays a story about one memorable encounter she had as a credit counselor with someone who needed a reality check about her finances. See what you can learn from her story about Mary and her daughter's horse riding lessons ... (See Credit card debt)

7 questions to ask when choosing a secured credit card -- If you're shopping for a secured credit card, chances are you can't afford to make a mistake. These questions will help you find a good one ... (See Secured credit cards)

Erica Sandberg: Are credit protection plans worth the cost? -- In all her years working with people with credit problems, our expert has never heard someone exclaim, 'My credit protection plan was a lifesaver!' ... (See Credit protection plans)

6 types of purchases you should always charge on your credit card -- There are times you shouldn't charge, but sometimes a credit card's features can save you a load of grief ... (See 6 times to always use a credit card)

Jeremy M. Simon: Settling delinquent debt won't remove it from your credit report -- A reader wants to get old delinquent debt off his credit report. Our expert says that unless the debt isn't really his, he's out of luck and debt will stay there for seven years ... (See Delinquent debts)

Representatives ask for review of rule limiting credit cards to stay-at-home spouses -- A Fed rule limiting credit availability of stay-at-home spouses should be studied to see if it hurts them, a quartet of U.S. representatives said in a letter Friday ... (See Independent income rule)

Sally Herigstad: Government benefits protected from garnishment -- A disabled woman is being harassed by collectors for an unpaid $300 credit card bill. A new law protecting government assistance funds is on her side ... (See Protected from garnishment)

7 lasting money lessons from mom -- She taught you to tie your shoes, and may also have left you with some lasting tips on the right and wrong ways to use money and credit ... (See Money lessons from mom)

Gary Foreman: In your 40s? It's not to early to plan for retirement -- Now's the time to take a broad look ahead, define what you expect from retirement, estimate expenses see if you have the income to live out your dreams ... (See Retirement plan)

QA: Holly Petraeus tackles those who prey on military families -- As the daughter of one general and wife of another, Holly Petraeus gets fighting mad at those who prey financially on soldiers. Now she can do something about it ... (See Holly Petraeus)

Sally Herigstad: The care and feeding of livestock and card debt -- An unemployed reader with $30,000 in card debt wonders how she's supposed to feed her horses, llamas and large dogs ... (See Big pets and big debt)

New rule protects exempted funds from garnishment orders -- For debtors who face frozen bank accounts due to a garnishment order, a new rule prevents exempted funds from being temporarily seized ... (See Wage garnishment)

Travelers to U.S. may face credit card compatibility hurdles -- If European card issuers remove the magnetic stripe from their chip-and-PIN cards, then how would international travelers use their cards here? ... (See Chip-and-PIN cards)

5 lessons to teach kids how interest works -- Credit and interest may be difficult for children to grasp. Here are some ways to bring the concepts home ... (See Credit lessons for kids)

Jeremy M. Simon: Want a new card? Focus on the 3 keys to building good credit -- A reader wants to improve his chances of getting approved for a new credit card. But is closing older accounts and leaving balances unpaid the right approach? ... (See Good credit)

6 myths about credit report checks by employers -- Are employers truly weeding out applicants by checking potential employee credit reports? The reality may surprise you ... (See Employee credit checks )

Kim McGrigg: Debt on his late mother's credit card haunts son -- He was only an authorized user on his late mother's card, but a mistake lays his mother's charged-off debt at his feet, hurting his credit score ... (See Authorized user)

Sally Herigstad: 5 steps to take when debt collectors threaten to put a lien on your home, property -- The FTC prohibits collectors from threatening to put a lien on your property for unpaid debt -- unless they really intend to follow through ... (See Property liens)

Financial denial: When avoidance creates money mayhem -- In our final installment of money disorder stories, we focus on financial denial -- when the anxiety of dealing with debt is so great that you just check out ... (See Financial denial disorder)

What your dreams tell you about your money -- Money got you down? Don't be surprised if certain recurring themes show up in your dreams -- revealing increased levels of anxiety ... (See Money dreams)

Erica Sandberg: The case of the mysterious credit card balance -- A reader recently got a statement for a credit card account he says he doesn't remember having. Our skeptical expert helps him to unravel the mystery ... (See Credit card mystery)

Bankruptcy filings fall in first quarter of 2011 -- The economy has improved and tight credit means there's less debt to file over, but it's not clear that the decline in bankruptcy will last ... (See Bankruptcy filings)

Lawsuits over credit card debts spike in California, Nevada, Florida -- Courts officials in Nevada, Florida and California -- the states hardest hit by recession -- report they're seeing a parade of credit-card debt cases ... (See Credit card debt lawsuits)

Kim McGrigg: Why families shouldn't share credit accounts -- An adult daughter who shared a credit card with her mother wonders if she is liable for the $10,000 balance on the account ... (See Family credit cards)

Sally Herigstad: Why co-signing on a card for an ex is a mistake -- An elderly divorcee co-signed on a credit card to help her ex-husband. Then he died, leaving her to deal with the collection calls and debt ... (See Credit card co-signing)

5 entrepreneurs whose credit cards funded their dreams -- Yes, most experts say don't do it, but these five people used their credit cards to start their businesses. Find out how if they would have done things differently ... (See Small business funding)

Play now, pay later: Sports teams, theme parks roll out payment plans -- Your favorite theme park or pro sports team wants you back, even if you have to pay for your fun over time ... (See Entertainment payment plans)

Does 'good' debt really exist? -- Does "good" debt exist anymore? Financial experts differ, but many say that in today's economy, it's time to reconsider how we look at some common types of debt ... (See Good debt)

Money disorders: Financial dependency means losing self-worth -- Having someone else pay your bills may sound nice, but not being in control of your finances can lead to feelings of helplessness and depression ... (See Money disorder: financial dependency)

Sally Herigstad: Don't settle on a debt for more than you can pay -- When a debt goes into collections, don't agree to a payment plan that you can't realistically pay each month. Explore your budget and your options first ... (See Debt collection)

QA with David Sirota, 'Back to Our Future' author -- The financial excesses of the '80s, epitomized by the fictional character Gordon Gecko, came horribly true in this century with characters such as Bernie Madoff, author says ... (See QA with David Sirota)

7 free ways to reduce the stress caused by money, finances -- If you want to solve those money problems, you need a clear mind, healthy body, experts say. Here are simple ways to get them back ... (See Money stress)

8 credit card strategies of frequent flier mile pros -- These travel junkies earn hundreds of thousands of miles without ever entering an airport. Use their credit card techniques to reap your own free flights ... (See Flier tips)

Kim McGrigg: Good credit no longer wins automatic credit limit increases -- Today, with credit card lenders still skittish, even good payment history may not win an easy credit limit increase ... (See Credit limit increase)

Money disorders: Financial enabling is help that hurts -- If you’re repeatedly giving money to an adult child, he may not be the only one with a problem. Part 2 of's series on money disorders ... (See Financial enabling)

Sally Herigstad: Charged interest after your card is paid off? -- Don't be surprised if you are billed for "residual interest" on your next billing statement -- even after you finally paid the card off ... (See Residual interest)

Ramit Sethi: Being rich isn't all about money -- "I Will Teach You to Be Rich" author Ramit Sethi says money experts focus more on saving money rather than making yours grow, and how being rich involves more than what's in your bank account ... (See Ramit Sethi)

5 ways the Law of Attraction can help you get out of debt -- If you consistently think about being debt-free and banish negative money thoughts, can your mind lift you out of your financial hole? ... (See Law of attraction)

Fed survey: Recession robbed net worth of 6 in 10 American families -- A Federal Reserve survey puts numbers to what we already know: The 2007-2009 Great Recession took a horrible toll on most families ... (See Recession robbed net worth)

When being frugal becomes an obsession -- Do you or someone you know go beyond being a cheapskate? If so, you may have a money disorder -- one that financial therapists call “underspending” ... (See Money disorders)

The golden days of having credit -- Today, having the uber-exclusive American Express Black Card is a status symbol. A half-century ago, being approved for a credit card meant you had joined the American elite ... (See Credit cards)

Gary Foreman: How to cut back on credit card spending -- A reader who gives in easily to credit card temptation needs to take ever-stronger preventive steps ... (See Cut credit card spending)

8-month plan to shift family from two incomes to one -- Moving from two incomes to one can be terrifying, but surviving and thriving on just one income can be done -- and in just eight months ... (See Surviving on one income)

Jeremy M. Simon: What to do with an inaccurate address on a credit report -- A reader whose credit reports list addresses associated with her ex-husband shouldn't worry, but she should take action. Our expert lays out what she should do ... (See Credit report)

New Fed rule limits credit cards for stay-at-home parents -- As of Oct. 1, 2011, only individual income, not household income, can be considered when issuing credit cards, a new regulation says, which will cut into stay-at-home spouses' ability to get credit on their own ... (See Household income )

10 credit commandments for young professionals -- The money habits you form in your 20s can set you up for financial success -- or failure. Be savvy with your cash early and reap the rewards later ... (See New to credit)

Credit card issuers, banks waive fees for Japan relief donations -- Banks will forgo their usual transaction fees so that 100 percent of the money donated for Japan relief reach its destination ... (See Credit card donations)

Sally Herigstad: Protecting your credit during a divorce -- When faced with divorce, it's important to seek the advice of an attorney before agreeing to leave your home or trying to pay off joint debt ... (See Divorce and debt)

After disasters, beware credit card frauds and scams from fake charities -- In the wake of a disaster, emotions can run high and people want to help. Fraudsters know it, and pose as phony charities to steal credit card information ... (See Disaster scams)

6 financial mistakes to avoid in divorce -- If you're not careful, a divorce can wreck your credit and your financial future. Protect yourself against these common financial mistakes ... (See Money and divorce)

Gary Foreman: In hard times, keeping credit lines high may trump paying off debt -- Ordinarily consumers should use spare cash to pay off highest-rate debt first. But for those with shaky income, that strategy might not be the best ... (See Credit lines)

Are you suffering from a money disorder? Maybe it's time to consider financial therapy? -- Do you overspend, blow your budget, obsess over your cash (or lack of it?). Then a new breed of expert -- financial therapists -- are ready to help ... (See Financial therapy)

Jeremy M. Simon: Don't fear credit score drop when applying for new card -- Applying for a new card may trim a few points from your credit score, but it shouldn't last -- as long as you use the new card wisely ... (See Credit score drop)

10 ways to spring clean your finances -- It's the season of invigoration again, a time to ditch dusty financial items and habits and start fresh with just what you need to succeed ... (See Financial spring cleaning)

Using credit, debit card to buy gas now a major financial decision -- 'Blocks' or 'holds' on your debit or credit card funds, along with spiking high prices, can drain an account faster than a gashog drains a tank ... (See Cards and high gas prices)

Todd Ossenfort: The Credit Guy's top 5 money tips -- After writing his column for the past three years, columnist Todd Ossenfort leaves his readers with these top five financial lessons ... (See Top 5 money lessons)

Disabled and in debt: Three choices -- A woman living on disability with credit card debt wants to stop paying the $5,800 she owes. Our expert outlines her choices. ... (See Disabled and in debt)

How to react to these 7 cringe-worthy credit moments -- Your card's been declined, an employer wants to run your credit report and your landlord laughs when he runs your credit. How to handle these embarrassing situations with aplomb ... (See Cringe-worthy credit moments)

Todd Ossenfort: Can collectors come after your inheritance? -- Public records are perused by debt collectors. If they find out you've inherited a chunk of cash, don't be surprised if they come out of the woodwork ... (See Debt collection)

Credit cards magnetic stripes get smarter -- The humble credit card is about to get smart with buttons and displays to keep you on a budget and protect you from fraud ... (See Magnetic stripes)

Sally Herigstad: Using a deceased spouse's plastic is illegal -- Once a spouse dies, card accounts in his name only need to be closed immediately. Using that plastic in his name is considered fraud ... (See Credit cards and death)

San Antonio leads the list of 25 cities with most credit card debt -- Overall, debt is down, but Texas, Georgia, Florida cities are all well-represented in the list of cities whose citizens rack up the most card debt ... (See Cities with most debt)

Jeremy M. Simon: Requesting a teen's credit report isn't child's play -- A mom looking to get a copy of her teenage son's credit report finds that the process can be quite a challenge ... (See Obtaining a teenager's credit report)

5 signs you're getting out of debt too fast -- While racing to the finish line to pay off debt, some quick repayment scenarios may hurt consumers in the long run, experts warn. ... (See Paying debt too fast)

7 building blocks of good credit -- Want a good credit score? Know these seven basic moves and you're guaranteed to have one ... (See Good credit score)

Todd Ossenfort: Neglecting one credit card bill can ruin your credit -- A reader has four credit cards, but only wants to pay on three of them. He wonders what will happen if he follows through ... (See Not paying credit card bills)

Sally Herigstad: Bankruptcy can steal inheritance, even if it hasn't yet been received -- A reader wants to file for bankruptcy, but worries the judge will tap her deceased father's lawsuit settlements bequeathed to her to pay off her debts ... (See Bankruptcy and inheritance)

6 questions to pop before you open a joint credit account with your sweetie -- A joint credit card for an unmarried couple is only for those who know their love will last ... (See Joint credit card)

Gary Foreman: Renters: How to protect yourself if your landlord faces foreclosure -- A federal law temporarily provides some protection against instant eviction, but check to see if the mortgage is being paid ... (See Renters face foreclosure, too)

Credit monitoring services: Pros, cons and how to pick one -- Experts are divided about whether these services are worth the cost, but if you've been a ID theft victim, they can help raise red flags ... (See Credit monitoring)

Survey: Recession still hurting saving, retirement funds -- A national survey finds that the lingering effects of the recession are causing more Americans to become concerned about its impact on their personal finances ... (See Recession's financial effects linger)

Debt collectors seek right to 'robocall' cell phones -- The next debt collection battleground is your cell phone. Debt collectors say autodialing debtors is good for consumers, but the move may add to its image as a pest ... (See Debt-collection robo-calls)

8 tips to stop banking app fraud -- Having an app from your bank on a smart phone or tablet computer is incredibly convenient, but is it safe? Learn how to protect your mobile device ... (See Mobile banking app tips)

Sally Herigstad: Jobless adult children rack up debt on mom's cards -- Three grown sisters have defaulted on $40,000 they racked up on their mother's plastic and wonder what they can do to fix the situation ... (See Charging on mom's plastic)

How your girlfriends can ruin your credit -- Advice from gal pals is a good thing, but maybe not so much if they encourage you to spend yourself into debt ... (See Friends and your credit)

Study: U.S. credit cards more transparent since new law kicked in -- A study marking the one-year anniversary of the reforms enacted by the Credit CARD Act finds they haven't raised prices, and have increased transparency ... (See CARD Act study)

Help! The bank keeps cutting my card's credit limit -- A cardholder who racked up a large amount of debt wants to know why the bank keeps lowering his credit limit ... (See Credit limits)

Consumer credit card ownership sees 1st jump since 2008, Fed says -- The number of credit cards held by consumers increased for the first time since early 2008, according to data released by the Federal Reserve on Monday ... (See Credit card ownership jumps)

Todd Ossenfort: Be vigilant if you suspect ID theft -- A reader questions whether he should be concerned about a credit card offer sent to his home, but directed to a distant family relative ... (See Identity theft)

6 exceptions to paying tax on forgiven debt -- Before you write a check to the IRS for forgiven debt, see if you qualify for one of these six exceptions to paying tax on that debt you didn't have to pay ... (See Forgiven debt exceptions)

When you marry Mr. Debt, be prepared to pay -- Exchanging vows with a debt-laden spouse doesn't make his debts yours, but it puts your relationship on high alert from the get go ... (See Marrying into debt)

8 creative ways to stay debt-free -- After months or years of paying down your debt, keeping yourself away from temptation can become difficult. Experts offer creative solutions to stay on track. ... (See Stay debt-free)

10 ways business credit cards are different -- Business credit cards offer distinct advantages, but not all the protections of consumer cards ... (See Business card differences)

Jeremy M. Simon: How loan applications hurt your credit score -- When applying for a loan, be prepared for a small ding to your credit score as lenders check your creditworthiness ... (See Hard inquiry)

QA with Kimberly Palmer, author of 'Generation Earn' -- For Gen Y, debt is almost inevitable, so learn to handle it wisely, argues Kimberly Palmer in her new book, "Generation Earn" ... (See Kimberly Palmer)

Todd Ossenfort: Ignoring debt lawsuit can lead to wage garnishment -- When a court summons appears about an unpaid debt, it is best not to ignore it. Creditors can get orders to garnish your wages and seize funds from your bank account ... (See Wage garnishment)

3 options for dealing with the February financial freak-out -- February is often the month of reckoning for people losing their grip on credit card debt: Your January bill may have been bloated with holiday spending and debt realities ignored during the holidays are emerging. So where do you turn first? ... (See February financial freak-out)

How much it costs to attend Super Bowl XLV -- You won't see any credit card Super Bowl ads in 2011, but they'll be everywhere -- mainly because it costs so much you couldn't carry enough cash ... (See Super Bowl XLV prices)

Erica Sandberg: Spouse won't stop spending? Get a 'financial divorce' -- If a spouse repeatedly overspends, do what you can to rein in the bad spending habits -- but also protect your credit by separating yourself financially ... (See Financial divorce)

How your age affects your credit -- Whatever the stage of your financial life, see how these age-specific credit tips can help you manage your money ... (See Your age and your credit)

Todd Ossenfort: Stop paying or file bankruptcy: Which path is less painful? -- A low-income senior citizen read advice that instead of filing for bankruptcy protection, he should just stop paying his credit card bills ... (See Bankruptcy protection)

Be debt free for life, urges author David Bach -- talked with best-selling author David Bach about Americans' attitudes toward debt, how they are changing and what he can do to help ... (See David Bach)

Sally Herigstad: Put off marriage until after bankruptcy -- A reader wants to get married and then file for bankruptcy. Our expert warns her of starting off a marriage on such uneven financial footing ... (See Marriage and bankruptcy)

Cookies and credit: Card issuers watch how you shop for credit cards, customize offers -- Shopping online for a credit card? Some issuers have begun to use high-tech marketing techniques to vary their offers based on what they think they know about you from your online behavior ... (See Card issuers' online techniques)

5 tools for rebuilding your post-recession credit -- A number of credit issuers are stepping up offers to consumers working to regain their financial footing, after months of keeping their coffers closed ... (See Rebuilding your credit)

Erica Sandberg: The pros and cons of debt management plans -- A reader says he regrets entering into a debt management plan because of its impact on his credit. Our expert says his old, free-spending ways, not the plan, caused the damage ... (See Debt management plan)

8 people you trust with your credit card, but shouldn't -- It's amazing how blind trust can get you into trouble -- especially when it comes to your credit card. Here are 8 people you should be wary of sharing your plastic with. ... (See Credit card trust)

6 expenses you should never put on a credit card -- There are some things experts say you should never put on a credit card -- because they're frivolous, can land you deep in debt or because there's a better alternative ... (See Things not to charge)

How to change your credit card bill's due date -- Job loss, new marital status and all sorts of factors may monkey with your cash flow schedule. But when changes happen, will your credit card company work with you to move your credit card bill's due date? Yes, say major issuers, but there may be a caveat ... (See Credit card due date)

Todd Ossenfort: When is a debt too old for collection? -- A reader is being pursued for a debt that is 13 years old and wonders if the debt is really his. Lucky for him, the debt is too old to collect on ... (See Old debt)

Credit card balance transfers: How to find the best deals -- Those 0 percent credit card balance transfer offer dwindled during the recession. Now, they're making a comeback -- but you have to watch for the fees and fine print ... (See Find the best deals on credit card balance transfers)

Sally Herigstad: Laid off: Which bills HAVE to be paid? -- You saved for a rainy day and it's raining. After being laid off, a reader watches her emergency funds dwindle and wonders which bills she can stop paying ... (See Laid off, in debt)

QA: Liz Weston's new money commandments -- To help consumers navigate through this new financial climate, money expert Liz Weston talks about her new book, “The 10 Commandments of Money: Survive and Thrive in the New Economy.” ... (See Liz Weston)

Free, public Wi-Fi can be dangerous to your credit card, bank accounts -- If you use a free Wi-Fi connection in an airport, cafe or some other public space, you may be taking a big risk with your credit card information. But the good news is there are steps you can take to secure your data ... (See Wi-Fi card threats)

Todd Ossenfort: Credit card use rights die with the account holder -- Family members want to keep using their dead mother's credit card -- even though the issuer has closed the account. There are legal -- and moral -- issues here ... (See Credit card use after cardholder's death)

Sally Herigstad: Basic rules for business card usage -- A reader who started her own company questions advice recommending that she use her business credit card for both personal and business charges ... (See Business credit card)

Watch what you post! Collectors turn to social media -- Social networking websites are becoming hotspots for collection agencies wanting to track down elusive debtors ... (See Debt collection, social media)

Personal bankruptcies rose 8 percent in 2010 -- Housing bubble states led the pack in bankruptcies, with California and Florida having the most people file. Hawaii had the largest percentage increase and Nevada the most per capita ... (See 2010 bankruptcies)

Erica Sandberg: What authorized users can and can't do with your credit card -- Our expert reminds a reader that authorized users on a credit card account can't successfully request an increase to that card's credit limit. And, she says, that's a good thing ... (See Credit card authorized user)

Jeremy M. Simon: Will an unwanted card hurt your credit? -- A reader seeking an "exclusive" Chase credit card doesn't want his score to be affected by closing an unwanted version of the card ... (See Closing card accounts)

Issuers use incentives to push paperless billing -- While more consumers pay bills online, far fewer have given up on paper bills and statements entirely. As a result, card issuers are dangling incentives as sweepstakes and extra features to get consumers to switch off the paper ... (See Paperless billing)

Todd Ossenfort: The right way to build good credit over time -- If you use credit wisely and build a solid credit history when you're young, you can save yourself a lot of pain and misery down the road ... (See Building credit)

Sally Herigstad: Foreclosure's impact on married couples -- When a mortgage is in one spouse's name, if you choose to foreclosure, the impact to the other spouse's credit can depend on whether you live in a community property state ... (See Credit and foreclosure)

Dan DeFelippi: Secrets of a former credit card thief -- What would a real credit card thief tell you if he had the chance? Dan DeFelippi, convicted of card fraud, says you can't be too careful ... (See Credit card theft)

Issuers may freeze, seize your bank account if you pay late on credit card -- Can you have your bank accounts frozen and money taken from them by an issuer if you don't pay your credit card bills on time? Depends on where you live ... (See Freeze, seize bank accounts)

How different cultures handle credit cards -- With credit card habits varying widely across the world, there are lessons that can be learned from studying how people in other cultures handle money. ... (See Credit abroad)

QA with 'Real Cost of Living' author Carmen Wong Ulrich -- With a master's degree in psychology and a way of cutting through the mumbo jumbo, Ulrich takes dry topics such as debt and investing and puts it into the context of our lives ... (See Carmen Wong Ulrich)

Sally Herigstad: Best ways to spend a $25,000 windfall -- A reader inherited $25,000 and has myriad debts to pay, but can't figure out how to divvy up the money among all her creditors ... (See Windfalls and debts)

Top 10 credit card television episodes -- Credit cards pop up in supporting roles on TV, often in the hands of minors or childlike adults. Their antics reveal the consequences of impulsive buying in ways not so hilarious in real life ... (See Cards on TV)

Comparing pro sports leagues' credit cards -- From Major League Baseball to the UFC, credit card issuers are offering something for every sports fan. It's fine to root, root, root for the home team, but if they don't offer a credit card with decent terms, it's a shame ... (See Compare pro sports cards)

Todd Ossenfort: Getting out of high-interest credit card debt -- A disabled wife's $14,000 high-interest card debt is crippling her husband's ability to continue to pay the minimum amount due ... (See High-rate card debt)

Sally Herigstad: Will bankruptcy filing hurt ex-spouse? -- A divorced woman is ready to file for bankruptcy in a community property state, but is worried that her ex-husband may be pursued for her unpaid debts ... (See Bankruptcy and divorce)

Gary Foreman: How to start using credit cards again after handling them badly before -- To get a good credit score and the best loans, you have to get back in there and start using credit again, even if it burned you the first time ... (See Re-establish credit)

Store loyalty programs: Discounts can have hidden costs -- Sure, the popular store loyalty programs offer discounts, but is it really a discount if you're chasing savings on items you wouldn't have otherwise bought? ... (See Store loyalty programs)

Jeremy M. Simon: Running up credit card debt, declaring bankruptcy a bad idea -- A reader's plan to max out his credit cards before declaring bankruptcy has some serious problems, our expert says. ... (See Bankruptcy fraud)

Todd Ossenfort: Get a better credit score by mixing up types of credit -- It takes more than paying off one credit card every month to obtain an above-average credit score. You need to show that you can handle different types of credit ... (See Boost credit score)

Novel views of credit card debt: Plots of books by Zevin, Walter revolve around debt -- If you have problems handling your finances, you might enjoy sharing your misery with fictitious characters who get into debt and the paths they take to try and get out ... (See Credit card novels)

The 7 deadly credit card sins -- Commit one or more of the seven deadly sins, and you might find yourself headed straight for credit card hell. With a little help, it isn't too hard to trade vice for virtue ... (See Credit card sins)

Sally Herigstad: Avoid sharing credit with elderly parents -- A reader, whose elderly mom can't get credit in her own name, wonders if it's OK to add mom as an authorized user on her credit card ... (See Authorized user)

Even if first credit card's terms aren't the best, think before canceling -- Your first credit card sets up your future credit choices, so use it wisely and weigh the impact of canceling it ... (See First credit card)

QA with personal finance author Farnoosh Torabi -- Is true wealth really only in your head? Can you banish debt and live prosperously just by changing your beliefs? Cue national personal finance authority Farnoosh Torabi ... (See Farnoosh Torabi)

What if Santa charged Christmas? -- If he did charge Christmas, just how much would Santa spend -- and pay back with interest? And what interest rate, minimum payment or rewards might Santa expect to see on his credit card statement? ... (See Santa's credit card)

Sally Herigstad: Pay off balances or close accounts to boost credit score? -- A reader wants to know if closing card accounts or paying down her balances will improve her credit score ... (See Credit score)

Careless-spending celebrities lose sympathy with American public -- High-spending celebrities take note: If you’re in debt because of your poor money choices, don’t look for much empathy from the rest of us. ... (See Celebrity spending)

Gary Foreman: Transfer car loan to a low-rate credit card? Yes, but carefully -- On the surface, transferring a car loan to a 0 percent credit card looks like a no-brainer. The fees and fine print may say otherwise ... (See Transfer car loan to a card?)

Unemployed? You can get an extra free credit report -- Federal law guarantees unemployed U.S. workers the right to an extra free credit report to assist in their job search. The problem? Nobody seems to be telling out-of-work consumers ... (See Unemployed credit report)

Todd Ossenfort: When does debt get too old to collect? -- Each state has a statute of limitations on credit card debt, which prevents collectors from taking you to court after a certain period of time ... (See Statute of limitations)

Sally Herigstad: You can run from debt, but you can't hide -- A woman who left an abusive relationship also left her debts behind. Our expert asks her to face the music as she can't hide forever ... (See Leaving debt behind)

9 hot credit card scams to watch out for -- Scammers love credit cards, and they have a host of ways to prey on yours. Here's what to watch for and how to avoid problems ... (See 9 credit card scams)

Procrastination is key to a credit card and financial disaster -- Putting off paying bills or failing to clean up your credit report can ruin your finances when all you need is a little attitude readjustment. Here's how ... (See Financial procrastination)

Jeremy M. Simon: Is a widow responsible for late husband's debt? It depends -- A widow living in Minnesota wonders whether her credit report should reflect her deceased husband's charged-off credit card account. ... (See Debt and death)

Addiction to home shopping channels: A convenient path to credit card debt -- If home shopping is causing you to bust your budget or descend into debt, it's time to switch channels ... (See Home shopping and debt)

Todd Ossenfort: Disputing, removing joint-account holder causes headaches -- Whether you're an authorized user or a joint account holder, mistakes and confusion may reign when trying to sever a credit relationship ... (See Shared credit accounts)

Sally Herigstad: Retired, deep in debt. Is bankruptcy the answer? -- After years of borrowing, a retired couple is drowning in credit card debt. Is bankruptcy the only way out? ... (See Retired, in debt)

10 expenses to cut to help pay off credit card debt -- In hard times, take a hard look at what's coming in, what's going out and see where you can free up some cash quickly to start hacking away at your debt ... (See Cutting back)

Credit card agreements still mostly unreadable -- A few months ago, we analyzed all the credit card agreements posted on a new public database and found them unreadable to four out of five American adults. We looked again at the worst offenders and find little improvement ... (See Unreadable card agreements)

Jeremy M. Simon: Can you freeze an individual credit card? -- While a credit freeze will restrict the opening of new accounts in a borrower's name, it takes a different approach to temporarily prevent the use of an existing accoun ... (See Credit freeze)

6 questions to help you pick the right small business credit card -- The right questions can help you find a small business credit card that's a lifeline, not a noose ... (See Business credit cards)

Gary Foreman: Thinking of closing little-used credit card accounts? Not so fast -- Think twice before closing little-used credit card accounts because you're mad at the issuer. It could backfire by damaging your credit score ... (See Closing credit accounts)

Erica Sandberg: Wondering who holds your delinquent debt now? Check your credit report -- A reader wants to know which company currently holds his delinquent debt. The answer, our expert says, can be found in his credit reports ... (See Delinquent debt)

11 buying, spending tips:: Your holiday credit card self-defense guide -- If you don't do your homework and take the time to protect yourself -- not just from fraudsters, but from yourself and your own compulsions -- your holiday bills could go sky-high. These 11 tips can help ... (See Holiday credit card shopping)

Todd Ossenfort: When debt collection makes your life miserable -- A reader reduced a regular payment to her creditor by half and wants to know how much worse things are going to get ... (See Credit card debt collectors)

How a Supreme Court ruling threw out usury laws for credit card rates -- How a 1978 court case changed the credit card industry and put cards in everyone's pockets, but erased state laws that limit interest rates ... (See Credit card usury laws)

Jeremy M. Simon: 20-year-old debt should not come back to haunt you -- While credit histories typically benefit from repaying debts, in the case of 20 year old credit card account, it may be better to ignore a creditor's request for payment ... (See Old debt)

Debt's most tragic toll: murder-suicide -- While a poor economy doesn't make someone abusive, financial hardship can turn someone already on the edge into a violent criminal ... (See Debt and murder)

Todd Ossenfort: Does saving trump carrying a high card balance? -- A reader has saved $70,000, but continues to pay only the minimum on a $14,000 card debt. Our expert shows questions her logic ... (See Savings vs. debt)

Job hunting? 7 tips for adding a 100-word explanation letter to your credit report -- Many potential employers check credit reports today, so if your credit is dinged, adding a 100-word letter of explanation to your credit report can set the record straight ... (See Credit report general statement)

Gary Foreman gives a 'live for today' man his best 'save for tomorrow' motivational advice -- Our frugality columnist reminds a man who lives for today that he could get hurt or laid off and quickly face financial devastation ... (See Live for today)

Jeremy M. Simon: Patient's age determines whether unpaid medical debt owed -- A reader's dad was supposed to pay her medical bills, but then he fell on hard times. Now collectors are coming after her. Our expert says the right course of action for her depends on what her age was when she accrued the debt ... (See Medical debt)

Gift cards 2010: More consumer-friendly -- New gift card regulations, incentives and conveniences give consumers more reasons than ever to jump on the gift-card wagon ... (See Gift cards 2010)

Todd Ossenfort: Divorce doesn't dissolve joint card debt -- If you don't close joint card accounts after a divorce, then you're still responsible for paying any balances -- no matter who used the card ... (See Credit card debt, divorce)

9 tips for sticking to a holiday budget -- Here's one way to guarantee a happy new year: Rein in holiday spending. To do that, create a holiday budget and stick to it ... (See 9 holiday budget tips)

Sally Herigstad: When nonpayment lands you in court -- A woman is being sued by her credit card company for nonpayment, and she wonders if it makes any difference if she shows up for a court date or not ... (See When card issuers sue)

Using PayPal? 10 tips to stay safe -- More than 153 million people worldwide use PayPal for online purchases and sales. Just how safe is it? ... (See PayPal)

QA with Susan L. Hirshman, author of 'Does This Make My Assets Look Fat?' -- In her book 'Does This Make My Assets Look Fat?,' Susan L. Hirshman simplifies often-complicated material into girl-talk terms that any failed dieter can digest ... (See 'Fat Assets' author Q&A)

Banks paid out $83 million in '09 to schools, alumni groups to market credit cards -- Once-secret agreements, forced into view by the 2009 credit card reform law, reveal the vast scope of student, alumni marketing ... (See College marketing deals)

Learn your credit card billing cycle to avoid late charges -- The Credit CARD Act has changed the rules for billing and how payments are applied; know them to avoid surprises -- and trouble ... (See Credit card billing cycles)

Credit card insurance perks: Does your card have you covered? -- Your credit card can help make life's little emergencies a tad easier to handle. But the next time disaster strikes, your card could be there for you in ways you didn't expect -- as long as you play by the rules ... (See Credit card insurance coverage)

Paying card debt trumps 2010 tax tips -- What may sound like a good tax strategy for 2010 may actually be less valuable to you than paying off credit card debt ... (See Credit card debt and taxes)

Sally Herigstad: Disabled and in debt: What to do? -- A reader who is temporarily disabled and unable to work wonders how in the world she can pay on her large debts. Our expert offers some advice ... (See Disabled and in debt)

Little known credit card hardship programs offer help for problem debt -- Card issuers don't publicize them, but most have internal hardship programs for customers who have trouble paying their debts ... (See Credit card hardship programs)

Gary Foreman: Ask for a lower credit limit? Unless you can't control your spending, don't -- Unless you can't control your spending, don't ask your credit card issuer to lower your limit; you'll be lowering your credit score, too ... (See Lowering your credit limit)

Hoarders: Buried in debt -- For hoarders, the compulsion to collect, store and acquire things takes over the ability to keep track of finances. ... (See Hoarders and debt)

Erica Sandberg: The dark side of credit piggybacking -- A mom who has fallen on hard times laments that her struggles are hurting her son's credit, since he's an authorized user on her card. Our expert tells her how to clean up the mess ... (See Piggybacking)

Forgot to pay your credit card bill? You could lose your rewards points -- Here's another reason to pay your credit card bill on time: If you pay late, you could lose your rewards points ... (See Credit card rewards)

Todd Ossenfort: Inherent risks exist when co-signing a car loan -- A reader wonders whether she should co-sign on a car loan for a student who needs a car to commute to college ... (See Co-signing risks)

Going to jail? 10 tips for reducing the financial damage -- Credit counselors, attorneys and ex-convicts offer 10 pieces of advice on safeguarding your finances if you're going to jail ... (See Prison and finances)

Paying off joint debt brought into a marriage -- When both partners bring substantial credit card debt into a marriage, it will take a joint effort in order to pay the debt off ... (See Joint card debt)

Gary Foreman: How to deal with debt after a divorce when ex won't pay -- Even if there's a court order, getting money out of a deadbeat ex isn't easy ... (See Divorce and debt)

Over your head in debt? 5 extreme budgeting ideas -- For many people struggling with unemployment or other financial calamity; however, just cutting back on expenses is not enough. Here are 5 extreme ways to save money. ... (See Extreme budgeting)

Medical credit cards: Watch for these warning signs -- With out-of-pocket medical costs skyrocketing, medical credit cards are on the rise. But can they hurt more than they help? ... (See Medical credit cards)

QA with Gail Vaz-Oxlade -- In the mood for a money and credit management expert who pulls no punches yet somehow remains cheery and kind? Look no further than Gail Vaz-Oxlade. ... (See 'Til Debt Do Us Part')

5 credit card urban legends and why we fall for them -- A magical way to erase debt, the debt collector who wants $0 and battling Osama with your plastic -- all urban legends that prey on our weaknesse ... (See Credit card urban legends)

Paid late? 6 on-time payments can erase penalty rate -- Missed a couple of credit card bills and get socked with a penalty APR? New rules give you an opportunity to get your old rate back ... (See Penalty rate cure)

Sally Herigstad: There's no easy way to make debt disappear -- A couple facing wage garnishment wants to know where to turn to get rid of debt. Our expert warns against believing those debt elimination scams. ... (See Debt elimination)

A generic budget: Guidelines for spending categories -- These rules of thumb for how much you should spend for housing, entertainment, etc., help you know if your spending's a little out of whack or a lot ... (See Budgeting guidelines)

Zen and the art of credit card management -- Credit cards can offer peace of mind, but more often than not, they create undue stress. You can bring tranquility into your financial life by following these five strategies for attaining credit card Zen ... (See Zen and credit cards)

NFCC Awards: Carole and Don Carroll: Debt-free after 30 years -- Everyday was a complicated dance balancing $88,000 on more than a dozen credit cards. Today, they are debt free and winners of a major award for their efforts ... (See Biggest losers (of debt))

Jeremy M. Simon: When a parent's 'favor' can ruin your credit -- A reader is an authorized user on his dad's small business card. However, his credit is taking a hit as dad's business has fallen on hard times. Our expert says the reader should remove himself from that account ASAP. ... (See Authorized user)

All in the family: Parents stealing kids' identities -- It's a crime that can go undetected for years and appears to be happened more often. How do you detect, fix identity theft by a parent? ... (See Parental identity theft)

5 ways to know you've got the wrong credit card for you -- You had a closet full of clothes you adored as a teenager -- but that doesn't mean you'd wear them now, right? The same thing goes for your credit card ... (See Wrong card)

How to haggle to reduce your credit card debt and rates -- You've heard the ads promising quick and easy debt reduction, but there's nothing easy or quick about them ... (See Negotiating lower debt, rates)

What happens to unpaid credit card debt if you move abroad? -- Unpaid credit card debts may be tougher to collect if you leave the country. But there are still reasons you should pay up. ... (See International credit card debt)

You went into debt for THAT?!? Good examples of bad charging -- There's a right way and a wrong way to use plastic. And then there's a really, really wrong way. Here are tales of extreme and hazardous uses of plastic ... (See Credit card abuse)

15 questions that will help you find the right credit counselor -- Knowing what to ask will help you be prepared before, during and after your initial credit counseling session ... (See Credit counseling)

Jeremy M. Simon: More than retail cards needed for an excellent FICO score -- Retail credit cards, if used responsibly, can earn the cardholder a good -- but not great -- credit score. To take your score higher, you'll need a mix of cards ... (See Raise your FICO score)

4 simple ways to cope with debt-related stress -- If you’re one of the millions of Americans in considerable debt, it isn’t just your pocketbook that could be affected, but your health, too. Here are four ways to help you cope ... (See Debt-related stress)

Todd Ossenfort: After a breakup, who's responsible for card debt? -- If you allow your significant other to become an authorized user on your card account, you're stuck with the bill, no matter what happens ... (See Authorized user)

Gary Foreman: How to re-establish responsible credit card use after debt problems -- After cleaning up past debt mess, the first question to ask is whether you've learned your credit card lesson and can handle credit responsibly now ... (See Re-establishing credit)

QA with Lynnette Khalfani-Cox -- Like the plumber with leaky faucets at home, money coach and personal finance author Khalfani-Cox had racked up more than $100,000 in debt. ... (See Lynnette Khalfani-Cox)

Smart credit card strategies before and after a job loss -- If you've gotten a pink slip -- or expect that you soon will -- it's time to upend everything you thought you knew about using your credit cards ... (See Credit cards and job loss)

Gary Foreman: After co-signing daughter's mortgage, both the loan and retirement plans turn upside down -- When their daughter's home loan went upside down, a couple's retirement plans went topsy-turvy. But there are options ... (See Co-signed mortgage troubles)

Been 'preapproved' for a credit card? Sorry, you may not get it -- A reader who's never had a credit card in her own name wonders why she's getting rejected for preapproved credit cards. Our expert explains that preapproved doesn't always mean that you're a cinch to get the card. ... (See Preapproved)

9 credit score myths do more harm than good -- In today’s economy, a good credit score is more valuable than ever, but not all advice is good advice. These nine credit score myths that can do more harm than good ... (See Credit score myths)

Retail credit cards 2010: Higher APRs, reduced rewards -- 2010 was not kind to retail credit cardholders. However, as the economy stabilizes, relief from higher APRs could be in the cards. ... (See Retail credit cards)

Todd Ossenfort: When the CARD Act backfires on you -- A reader with multiple low-rate promotional card balances has found that the new CARD Act is thwarting her attempt to pay down several balances ... (See Credit CARD Act) survey: 1 in 4 credit cards have annual fee, but issuers may waive it for you -- One in four U.S. credit cards has an annual fee, but that doesn't mean borrowers have to pay them ... (See Annual fees)

Plastic neophyte questions logic of getting credit -- An employed college grad wonders whether she should or shouldn't get that first credit card. ... (See First credit card)

Going mobile to make payments? You could be losing protection of consumer laws -- When it comes to mobile commerce, all payment methods are not created equal. Transactions linked to prepaid cards offer the least protection against unauthorized use and billing disputes ... (See Mobile payment protections)

3 steps to take when disposing of your computer -- Millions dump their old computers without much concern about all the sensitive information still stored on the hard drives, making them ripe for theft ... (See Dispose your computer safely )

Your options for reducing a high credit card APR -- If your card issuer won't lower your high rate APR, you have several options -- including moving to a new card ... (See Credit card APR)

How a new credit card affects your credit score -- A reader "accidentally" applied for a new Costco American Express card and believes that it might hurt her credit score ... (See Credit score)

How credit freezes work, what they cost -- Credit freezes can be great tools for protecting yourself against identity theft, experts say, but they're not for everyone ... (See Credit freeze)

QA with Zac Bissonnette, author of 'Debt-Free U,' a book of advice on student loans -- Author Zac Bissonnette argues that the risks inherent in college loans far outweigh any benefit of a degree from a big-name school ... (See "Debt-Free U" Q&A)

Todd Ossenfort: 7 ways to ensure a financially successful marriage -- Tying the knot? Know that finances are one of the top five reasons for divorce. Here's how to keep your money and marriage together ... (See Money and marriage)

Ex-offenders face big debt challenges after prison -- Most ex-offenders, once they are free, face overbearing debt obligations and job barriers, often forcing them to return to a life of crime ... (See Out of jail, in debt)

Airline cards for frequent flier cards remain popular, despite CARD Act -- Predictions that the Credit CARD Act of 2009 would cause airline rewards to dry up have proven untrue ... (See Airline rewards cards)

How to transform a good credit score to great -- Each day this week, our columnists will answer one of our readers' most frequently asked questions. Today, we focus on how to boost your credit score. ... (See Great credit scores)

Credit Card FAQ: Gary Foreman: Should you co-sign a loan? -- Each day this week, our columnists will answer one of our readers' most frequently asked questions. Today, 'New Frugal You' columnist Gary Foreman ponders, should you co-sign a loan? ... (See Co-signing)

Tips for minimizing danger of using an ATM card abroad -- Problems at ATMs are a rarity in America. But if traveling abroad, you may need to be wary ... (See Foreign ATM use)

Divorce and debt: Advice on dividing up, paying off debt -- Divorce is stressful enough. When jointly held debt is involved, things get a lot more complicated. Check out the advice in these stories ... (See Divorce and debt)

Credit Card FAQ: Todd Ossenfort: How do you get debt collectors off your back? -- Each day this week, our columnists will answer one of our readers' most frequently asked questions. Our series begins with a focus on debt collectors ... (See Debt collectors)

How credit card debt delays retirement dreams -- The dream of retirement is being clouded -- and delayed -- as more workers approach the golden years saddled with credit card debt ... (See Card debt and retirement)

Instant-issue debit cards go flat - no raised, embossed numbers -- Lost your debit card again? Your local branch can probably issue a new card on the spot, but beware, it looks and feels quite different ... (See Flat debit cards)

Credit CARD Act begins final phase -- Gift card protections, requirements for reasonable fees and mandatory account reviews when interest rates are hiked are among the new consumer protections in Phase III of the Credit CARD Act of 2009. ... (See Credit CARD Act of 2009)

5 steps to prioritize debt payments when cash is tight -- Owe numerous creditors but don't have enough money to send each a complete payment right away? Prioritize. Here's how ... (See Debt repayment)

Help for bad credit -- Got bad credit? Sometimes it can't be avoided. Sometimes it can. Either way, if your credit score's in the dumps, that doesn't mean you don't have options ... (See Help for bad credit)

Help for bad credit: Buying a car -- If your credit score stinks, don't just throw in the towel and buy a bus pass. Learn more about how to buy a car with bad credit with these stories.. ... (See Help for bad credit: Buying a car)

Help for bad credit: Buying or renting a home -- Bad credit history? Don't move into your mom's basement just yet! The economy is forcing landlords and homeowners to be more flexible. ... (See Help for bad credit: Buying or renting a home)

Help for bad credit: Dealing emotionally -- If a bad credit score keeps you up at night, wrecks your relationships or burns your confidence, you need to take steps to face, accept and change those three unsightly digits -- without losing your cool. ... (See Help for bad credit: Dealing emotionally)

Help for bad credit: Getting a cell phone -- Many cell phone plans exist that don't require a contract, big deposit or credit check, and many of those plans -- including pay-as-you-go plans -- may even save you money. ... (See Help for bad credit: Getting a cell phone)

Help for bad credit: Getting a credit card -- You need a credit card to improve your credit score, but you need a good credit score to open a credit card account. If you're stuck in this frustrating cycle, don’t give up ... (See Help for bad credit: Getting a credit card)

Help for bad credit: Jobs -- It's important to know the costs of negative marks on your credit history and how you should handle a potential employer who requests to see your credit report. ... (See Help for bad credit: Jobs)

Help for bad credit: Relationships, marriage and divorce -- Just as bad credit can fragment your relationships, some relationships -- especially those in which joint accounts or co-signed loans are involved -- can rip apart your credit score. ... (See Help for bad credit: Relationships, marriage and divorce)

Help for bad credit: Young adults -- Young people make lots of mistakes. Unfortunately, credit mistakes don't fade into obscurity after college graduation in the way that embarrassing party stories do ... (See Help for bad credit: Young adults)

Credit card lending standards loosen for 1st time in 3 years -- It got easier to get a credit card in the second quarter of 2010, according to data released by the Federal Reserve on Monday ... (See Survey)

Financial experts reveal their worst money advice -- They say free advice is worth what you pay for it, but for these financial experts, it was actually a lot more costly ... (See Money experts' worst advice)

Divorce and credit card debt don't mix -- While a decree can assign payment responsibility for joint credit card debt, if your ex doesn't pay as agreed, your credit is at risk ... (See Card debt and divorce)

Sally Herigstad: 4 common myths about debt and marriage -- A reader has suspicions her husband is having an expensive cash-only affair, using plastic to cover household expenses. Is she liable for that debt? ... (See Credit cards and marriage)

10 things NOT to do when you apply for a credit card -- When applying for a credit card, especially if you've had money problems, doing one of these 10 things could hurt your chances of getting approved ... (See 10 things NOT to do)

Mine, yours and ours: Marriage and your money -- When you say "I do," it's not just your lives that are forever linked, it's your funds too. For the sake of connubial contentment, is it better to intermingle your money or maintain your financial independence? ... (See Marriage and money)

8 reasons to ignore your credit score and rating -- You know how important having and maintaining a great credit score is, but there are times when concentrating on something else makes more sense ... (See Ignore your credit score)

What next generation credit cards will look like, do for you -- Next-generation credit cards are moving from the lab to wallets, with touchscreens, bigger memories and the ability to tell you your balance ... (See Credit cards of the future)

Credit CARD Act doesn't prevent new fees -- While the new law does regulate a lot, what it doesn't do is prevent card issuers from imposing creative new fees, such as "maintenance" fees. ... (See Credit CARD Act)

80 percent of spouses lie about spending -- Secret spenders have hidden credit cards, bank accounts and debts ... (See Secrets)

7 reasons your credit card gets blocked and 7 tips for handling it -- When your credit card company stops a thief from charging fraudulent expenses to your card, you're thrilled. But what happens when they mistake you for the thief? We can help ... (See Blocked)

Sally Herigstad: Do you marry someone who's deep in debt? -- A woman wonders if she'll ruin her credit by marrying a man who has $150,000 in debt. Our expert says no, but be careful to keep romance and finances separate. ... (See Debt and marriage)

Gary Foreman: Don't use 401(k) to pay off credit card debt -- Yes, you could pay debt off and cut back to a three-day work week, but the price would be working many, many more of those weeks ... (See 401(k) and credit card debt)

The credit card carnival -- enjoy the ride! -- Poorly managed credit can seem like spending eternity at the carnival -- complete with thrill rides and junk food -- if you don't know how to take control. ... (See Credit card carnival)

Don't fall for the 'Obama government debt bailout program' scam -- Rip-off alert: There's no government program to relieve you of credit card debt, despite the hordes of Internet scammers who say there is ... (See Debt bailout)

6 tips to use store credit cards the best way -- When used right, store cards can get you big discounts. When used wrong, they can get you into big trouble ... (See Retail credit card tips)

Anatomy of a smart credit cardholder -- From your head to your feet, these are key attributes you can hone to help manage your credit wisely ... (See Smart credit card use)

Sally Herigstad: Don't pay a collector's dubious old debt without proof -- If a collector calls wanting payment on a very old debt that you don't remember, odds are that you are being scammed ... (See Dubious debt)

FTC bans upfront fees for debt settlement firms -- Those who owe on credit cards, other loans were often soaked, federal agency says in banning upfront fees for debt settlement ... (See Debt settlement fees)

Is Dad responsible for stepmom's credit card debt after her death? -- Responsibility for debt after the debtor's death comes down to who signed the contract and what state they're in ... (See Credit card debt after death)

You've arrived! True tales of the American Express Black Card -- This hard-to-get credit card, with its unusual black appearance and hefty metal weight, does more than ensure access to airport lounges ... (See AmEx Black Card)

7 places to safely stash your plastic at home -- Think a thief won't look in your Bible, freezer or underwear drawer for credit cards? It's time to find more creative hiding places. ... (See Credit card hiding places)

Bank of America stops disclosing default APRs -- Despite regulations aimed at making credit card agreements more consumer friendly, new cardholders carrying plastic from the No. 2 U.S. bank won't know the exact cost of making a borrowing mistake until it's too late. ... (See Penalty rates)

Pros and cons of paying off old debt -- Yes, paying it off will look good to lenders, but you may not want to restart the clock on debt that has passed the statute of limitations ... (See Paying off old debt)

Don't retire card debt with 401(k) savings -- While it may be tempting to cash out retirement accounts to pay down card debt, you'll most likely regret that decision later ... (See Retirement and debt)

Consumer financial protections at least a year away -- Long ramp up time for new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau means consumers will have to wait for credit card protections ... (See Consumer financial protection)

Credit card contracts unreadable for most Americans -- A analysis of the contracts filed in a federal database shows most can't comprehend the agreements their credit card issuers send them ... (See Unreadable card agreements)

New federal credit card agreement database shows potential, isn't user-friendly -- A new federal database of credit card agreements contains a wealth of information, but it isn't presented in a user-friendly way, critics say ... (See Credit card agreement database)

10 wordiest credit card agreements -- Of all the credit card contracts posted online in a new Federal Reserve database, these droned on the longest, according to a analysis ... (See Credit card agreements)

Readability of the credit card agreements from 20 largest issuers -- Large national banks issue more than 90 percent of the cards in the United States. Here's how their credit card agreements compare for readability ... (See Credit card agreements)

3 language experts try to make sense of a credit card contract -- No joke: An ex-spy, a rocket scientist and an etiquette expert wade into a credit card agreement and try to make sense of it ... (See Credit card agreements)

Buying a car? Know the 3 main costs of auto ownership -- As with the car itself, the decision on what to buy has a lot of moving parts, so weigh the cost variables carefully when comparing new, used autos ... (See Buying a car)

10 most unreadable credit card contracts -- Of all the credit card contracts posted online in a new Federal Reserve database, these were the 10 most unreadable, according to a analysis ... (See Unreadable card contracts)

10 most readable credit card agreements -- Of all the credit card contracts posted online in a new Federal Reserve database, these were the 10 most readable, according to a analysis ... (See Credit card agreements)

Can your credit score be too high? -- Responsible cardholders don't generate a whole lot of revenue for issuing banks. But does that mean the bank has the right to refuse you plastic? ... (See Good credit score)

6 credit card fees you might not know about -- In the aftermath of new regulations that cracked down on some of their most lucrative practices, credit card companies are looking for new sources of revenue. If you're not careful, you may get hit with a broad array of old and new fees ... (See Obscure credit card fees)

Debt in collections: Do you settle or pay in full? -- Once your debt goes into collections, you can choose to pay the full amount or negotiate a lower amount. Which choice looks better on your credit report? ... (See Debt collection)

How to keep track of all those rewards points -- The idea of earning free stuff is so alluring that many consumers now have too many reward programs to keep tabs on ... (See Rewards points trackers)

Making a budget? Break down the 'Big 4' expenses first -- A debt-laden, recent business school graduate wants to trim some expenses to help pay his student loans. Our expert says the key is consider the four biggest areas of expense first ... (See Big 4 budget)

FTC: Fix 'broken' debt collection system -- The federal agency says the common ways consumers confront debt collection -- arbitration and litigation -- just don't work ... (See FTC: Debt collection 'broken')

Co-signing your kid's credit is great, unless it endangers your credit -- A mom is considering co-signing on a credit card for her 18-year-old daughter. Our expert says that while helping your family is noble, it's important to do so with great caution ... (See Co-signing credit for a child)

Small-business credit cards stage a tentative comeback -- Small-business owners, whose credit choices evaporated amid the recession and new regulations, have seen a modest return of credit cards aimed at them ... (See Business credit)

Pay off your balance each month? Your credit report may not show it -- A family's conscientious but high-charging ways could be bad for their credit scores. ... (See Credit scores and balances)

Study: Credit card annual fees most hated -- A recent survey reveals that of all the costs associated with credit cards, annual fees are the most despised. ... (See Credit card annual fees)

How to get a credit card if you have bad credit -- A tough economy has left many with bruised credit and lenders reluctant to issue loans. But you can still get a decent card. Here's how ... (See Bad credit credit cards)

Minimum payments won't dent high-interest debt -- When only making minimum payments on card balances with varying APRs, the higher-interest debt is only going to go up until you pay more than is required ... (See Credit card minimum payments)

Losing your job doesn't mean you have to file for bankruptcy -- A reader just lost her job and has $60,000 in credit card and student loan debt. She's considering going bankrupt, but our expert says that's not going to solve her problems ... (See Lost job and bankruptcy)

QA with 'Hot (Broke) Messes' author Nancy Trejos -- Author and Washington Post personal finance columnist Nancy Trejos shares how deep she was in debt and how she managed to climb out ... (See 'Hot (Broke) Messes')

Consumers paying more credit card bills on time -- Not since 2002 have Americans been so good about paying their credit card bills on time, according to recent loan delinquency numbers from the ABA. ... (See Credit card delinquencies)

Husband's card defaults don't need to weigh on wife's credit -- Although a husband's debt defaults show up on his wife's credit report, she should be able to clear those negative items ... (See Ex-spouse's credit default)

Financial reform opens access to free credit scores -- Financial reform rules now require lenders that turn you down or give you a higher rate to provide you access to a free credit score ... (See Free credit scores)

Financial role reversal: Adult children increasingly co-sign for parents' loans -- In a case of financial role reversal, more parents are turning to their children for loans due to the parents' rising debts, falling retirement funds ... (See Co-signing for parents)

International card theft targets U.S. consumers -- More than a million American consumer card accounts were compromised in an international card scam. ... (See Card theft)

Travel tips for countries where cash, not credit, dominates payments -- Going to a country where cash and coin, not plastic cards, must be used? These tips will help you minimize the risks that ATMs and carrying cash can bring ... (See Tips for traveling with cash)

How structured settlement buyout offers work -- Structured settlement buyout firms let you get cash quickly in exchange for giving up a stream of payments you got from a lawsuit settlement or accident claim. How do you know whether it's a fair payment? ... (See Structured settlement buyouts)

Taking on more credit won't hurt a good credit score -- A responsible borrower's good credit score won't be hurt -- and might even improve -- when taking on additional credit. ... (See How adding credit affects your score)

Transferring mom's balances to your cards? Not so fast -- Yes, you want to help, but if you allow a family member to transfer a balance to your credit card account, you are legally liable for that debt ... (See Credit cards)

QA: Avis Cardella writes on overcoming shopping addiction -- 'Memoirs of a Shopping Addict' author Avis Cardella describes how credit counseling helped her overcome 'Sex & the City' lifestyle ... (See Memoirs of a shopping addict)

A 'workout plan' to shed debt, build credit scores -- Just like an exercise plan helps you shed weight and build muscle, a credit plan can help you shed debt and build your scores ... (See Credit score workout plan)

Is bad credit bad for small business startups? -- Starting a business with bad credit won't be easy, but it's not impossible. Here are some ways to find funding without a top-notch credit score. ... (See Bad credit and startups)

How to find your credit card security code -- Every credit card has a card security code printed on it. It may be called a CSC, a card verification value (CVV or CV2), card verification code (CVC) or card code verification (CCV), but you need to know what -- and more importantly, where -- it is ... (See Credit card security code)

Free FICO scores exist, but aren't easy to come by -- Free credit scores do exist and are relatively easy to find, but the tricky part is getting the scores lenders actually use ... (See Free credit score)

Credit lessons from the soap operas: One Life to Live -- Part I: You only have 'One Life to Live,' so don't share money with an evil twin - you know, the one who's always spending your money ... (See Credit lessons from soap operas: 'One Life to Live')

Credit lessons from the soap operas: 'All My Children' -- Credit lessons from soap operas: All My Children. Experts say 'All My Children' don't have to know of my money problems -- if I face debt head-on ... (See Credit lessons from the soap operas: 'All My Children')

Credit lessons from the soap operas: 'Days of Our Lives' -- Part III: Days of Our Lives: Leave the brainwashing to Stefano -- no matter what the store says, their credit card may be no good for you ... (See Credit lessons from soap operas: 'Days of Our Lives')

Credit lessons from the soap operas: Days of Our Lives rerun -- Part IV: The Days of Our Lives shouldn't be filled with money troubles ... (See Credit lessons from the soap operas: Days of Our Lives rerun)

Credit lessons from the soap operas: General Hospital -- Part V: If you're financially honest with your mate, no need for a 'General Hospital' style paternity test; you'll always know who's the real parent of a debt ... (See Credit lessons from soap operas: 'General Hospital')

5 steps to dispute a debt that's not yours -- Identity mix-ups are common, but if you're being tagged for debt that is not yours, you need to fix the problem instead of ignoring it. ... (See Not my debt)

Ignoring delinquent debt can lead to wage garnishment -- The longer your debt goes unpaid, the more likely you'll be forced to pay through a court order to garnish your wages. ... (See Wage garnishment)

Dads can be better financial role models -- While many of us learn how to manage our finances from our parents, they're not always the best role models, according to a new survey. ... (See NFCC survey)

7 tips for using your yearly credit card summary as a budgeting tool -- Plastic gets a bad rap for destroying cardholders' personal finances. But increasingly, users and personal finance experts alike tout the annual year-end statements provided for free by card issuers as one of the most useful personal finance tools available ... (See Budgeting)

Premeditated card default for ailing father? -- A reader with a poor, ailing father wants to know if she'll be liable for racking up debt on his credit cards -- knowing full well he has no assets to pay ... (See Credit card default)

How to plan for, face a student loan debt disaster -- Deep in student debt and needing to borrow much more to graduate, a student looks ahead to try and plan a debt escape route ... (See A plan for student debt)

5 simple steps to a faster debt payoff -- A reader's credit card statement showed him what it would cost to pay off his debts in three years. He wants to do it sooner. Our expert tells him how ... (See Debt payoff)

QA with 'Paying With Plastic' author David Evans -- In this book author Q&A, 'Paying With Plastic' author David Evans argues we're going through two payment revolutions: paper to plastic, then plastic to "virtual" payments ... (See 'Paying with Plastic' by David Evans)

Feds cap credit card late fees at $25 -- The fee limit is among several new protections from Credit CARD Act that were finalized Tuesday ... (See Card fee caps set)

Deceased cardholder's debts can hurt authorized user's credit score -- When a credit cardholder passes away leaving unpaid debt, authorized account users can be left facing the credit score impact ... (See Authorized users, death and debt)

13 ways to beat bank fees -- Americans pay billions in bank fees every year, but you don't have to be one of the people forking over fees ... (See Beat bank fees)

4 rules to win at the credit card rewards game -- Charging all your purchases to pump up your rewards point total may be tempting … but is it worth the threat to your finances and your credit score? The answer may be yes, if you follow these four rules ... (See Credit card rewards)

6 ways to protect your credit cards when traveling -- Vacation should be about one thing: relaxing. If your credit cards are stolen, though, you'll spend more time fretting in your hotel room undoing fraud than lying on the beach sipping a drink decorated with a tiny umbrella ... (See Vacation credit card protection)

QA with finance guru Jean Chatzky -- Money and media powerhouse Jean Chatzky shares why so many people have trouble managing credit -- and how to become a master of plastic. ... (See Jean Chatzky)

Elderly father's Social Security income likely safe from garnishment -- A reader worries that her elderly father's Social Security income will be garnished to pay back a credit line from the bank. Our expert says she probably doesn't have to worry ... (See Social Security and garnishment)

Unpaid traffic citations can lower drivers' credit scores -- If you think you can ignore an out-of-state traffic ticket, it can hurt in an unexpected way: damage to your credit score ... (See Unpaid tickets hurt credit score)

Getting financially fit at 50 isn't too late -- A reader is 50 years old, has credit card debt and no savings. She wonders if she'll end up homeless someday. Our expert gives her some good news. ... (See Starting late on retirement saving)

Home improvement financing: Compare 8 choices -- As a contractor matches a saw to the cut, match your home improvement financing choice to the job at hand ... (See Home improvement financing)

Your credit card's Da Vinci Code: How the 'Luhn formula' evaluates credit card numbers -- Think of it as your card's Da Vinci Code: A little known, low-tech mathematical sleight-of-hand is used to see whether numbers on credit and debit cards are real or fake ... (See Luhn formula)

Not signing your credit cards has its hazards -- Contrary to popular myths, not signing your credit card or writing "See ID" in the signature place does not prevent identity theft. ... (See Credit card signature)

Don't fall prey to aggressive debt collection tactics -- Debt collectors know what buttons to push, so if you've never dealt with them before, you may agree to a repayment plan that you can't afford ... (See Debt collection tactics)

Fed: Credit companies admit profiling credit card users -- What you buy and where you buy it can sometimes be held against you by your credit card issuer, a Federal Reserve report to Congress Friday reveals ... (See Credit card profiling)

Saved by plastic: 5 true credit card rescue tales -- While not the primary purpose of plastic, your credit cards can be an invaluable lifeline in extreme situations. Here's how five cardholders used their cards to survive some serious jams ... (See Credit card rescue stories)

The problem with paperless credit card bills: It's easy to forget to pay -- Sure, going paperless is good for the Earth, but not so good for your credit score if you forget to pay your bills. So have backups, or automate ... (See Paperless bill pay tips)

4 things you must know about emergency credit card replacement -- Losing a credit card while traveling can be a disaster. The good news is that if you prepare in advance and take a few precautions while you're on the road, the damage will likely be minimal. ... (See Emergency card replacement)

Seven easy tricks to remember numbers, codes, passwords -- In today's digital society, everyone from your bank to your office to your parents in their new ZIP code, want you to memorize numbers and codes. Here's how ... (See Password tricks)

GAO report shows non-English speakers have it rougher financially -- A federal report chronicles how limited English proficiency also limits people's ability to get by in the complex financial world ... (See Financial literacy and English)

Nonactivated cards can still impact a credit score -- A credit card that hasn't been activated may represent a security threat, but in the calculation of your credit score, an inactive card account's existence -- or its closure -- isn't treated differently than any other credit card ... (See Inactive credit card)

What to do if your credit card is discontinued -- Since the credit crunch hit in 2007, card issuers have become swift to shed cards. While your discontinued card won't be turned away at the grocery store, you do have to react. ... (See Discontinued)

Be careful not to start the clock on time-barred debt -- A reader whose debt has run past the statute of limitations in her state wonders if she should still pay what she can. ... (See Old debt)

Wall Street reform bill taking shape for consumers -- Although there are still a few steps to go before the massive Wall Street Reform legislation becomes law, one thing is certain: Consumers will have a new watchdog agency looking out for their interests in credit card agreements, debt collection and debit card fees, to name a few. ... (See Wall Street bill and consumers)

What to expect when buying a car with bad credit -- The last sound you want to hear when you're rebuilding your credit is the clank of a dying car. What are your options? ... (See Bad credit car buying)

Paying off debt on a fixed income isn't easy -- When your debt is high and your income is fixed, the ability to pay off credit card debt can be challenging. Our expert offers some advice ... (See Fixed income debt options)

Your first budget in 3 easy steps -- Don't be scared of budgeting, it's really not very hard, says New Frugal You columnist Gary Foreman ... (See Your first budget)

Cellphone payment system options multiply -- The trend of paying by cellphone, slow to catch on in the U.S., is finally gaining traction with the big players showing interest ... (See Cell phone payment systems)

8 top reasons you overspend -- Buying with plastic, or in bulk -- or even the music you listen to can lead to overshopping, experts say ... (See Why we overshop)

Does credit card interest accrue after death? -- When a cardholder dies, a variety of factors come into play in determining how, when and if a balance and interest gets paid. ... (See Debt and death)

An elderly couple's options for dealing with debt -- Health issues and a limited income prevent an elderly couple from paying a big outstanding debt. Our expert offers some options ... (See Debt payment options)

Credit card charge-backs can land consumers on blacklist -- A customer database servicing retailers is blacklisting consumers seeking charge-backs for credit card purchases. ... (See Blacklist)

Congratulations, graduate! Now, do you have a post-graduation debt plan? -- Graduating from college this spring? You're probably taking more with you than your diplomas and a futon. The class of 2010 has debt, and a lot of it ... (See Graduate from student debt)

The price of paying off the debt you hate most -- Sometimes paying off the most hated debt first -- even when it's not costing as much as other obligations -- can bring much needed emotional relief ... (See Debt you hate)

Managing high costs of adoption and fertility treatments -- Parents who create their families through fertility treatments or adoption can face staggering bills before their children even arrive. ... (See Baby financing)

Only credit card payments over the minimum go to high APR balances -- If you are only paying the minimum payment for a card with multiple APR balances, then the new law doesn't cover how the issuer applies that payment ... (See CARD Act)

9 best practices for debit card use -- Debit cards don't let you rack up debt, but they can still lead to trouble if not used wisely. Here are tips from the experts. ... (See Debit cards)

Teaching kids good money habits by example -- You can tell your children whatever you want about money, but what they see you doing with it will make a lasting impression ... (See Money habits)

How to rent a home if you have bad credit: In recession, landlords become flexible -- Your landlord might not care about your bad credit as much as you think. With the recession and high vacancy rates, these steps can help you persuade the manager to overlook your score and let you rent ... (See Renting with bad credit)

QA: 'Your Money Ratios' author Charles Farrell -- How can you tell at your age if your financial ship is headed toward open water or veering toward the rocks? Ratios, says 'Retirement Roadmap' columnist Charles Farrell ... (See Q&A with Charles Farrell)

Plastic love: How to protect your credit while online dating -- Use online dating services? Your credit and other financial interests may be at risk if you don't guard yourself from those falsely fishing for companionship. Here's how to protect more than just your heart when seeking a mate via the Internet ... (See Online dating)

Comparing desperate options: bankruptcy vs. debt negotiation -- With savings spent, deep in debt and jobless, a reader's choices are all unpleasant. Go in with eyes open ... (See Desperate money choices)

Bankruptcy protects against wage garnishment -- A reader who filed bankruptcy is contacted by an old creditor who threatens wage garnishment. Does she have to pay the debt or not? ... (See Wage garnishment)

Shredded bliss: 5 steps to choosing the perfect paper shredder -- Protect yourself from identity thieves with these five steps to paper shredder perfection. ... (See Paper shredders)

Visa tackles deceptive online 'data pass' marketing -- In an effort to tone down aggressive sales tactics used by some Internet-based businesses, Visa announced it will require its merchants to more actively warn their customers of external offers made during online transactions ... (See Data pass tactics)

How to read, understand your credit card statement -- A lot of work goes into something no one likes to see: a credit card bill. This interactive guide breaks down how yours should look and what it must contain ... (See Card statements' new look)

Authorized users aren't liable for card debt -- Collectors trying to collect outstanding card debt from an authorized user are barking up the wrong tree. Here's what to do. ... (See Authorized user)

There's no easy fix when you're maxed out on credit -- If you're young and already maxed out on credit, it's time to buckle down, pay it off and clear the path for a less stressful future ... (See Maxed out credit cards)

5 questions to ask before getting a credit card with an annual fee -- More credit card issuers are adding or increasing annual fees, but there are still plenty of no-fee options. Before you get a new card with an annual fee, make sure the benefits are worth the costs ... (See Annual fee questions to ask)

Spotlight falls on political parties' use (and misuse) of credit cards -- Party-issued credit cards give politicians and operatives direct access to political funds. But such access can cause problems ... (See Party cards)

Which of the 4 types of debt-help companies is right for you? -- Deep in debt but not ready for bankruptcy? Consider these types of companies, but beware: credit help comes in many forms, and not all of them are good for you ... (See Debt help)

Chalk one up for the credit card bank lobbyists! -- The CARD Act requires monies paid only ABOVE the minimum payment to be applied to higher interest rate balances ... (See CARD Act)

Too many credit cards increases liabilities -- If you have more cards than you can keep track of, then it's time to close some accounts ... (See Too many credit cards)

How you play poker reveals a lot about your financial personality -- Do you sneak multiple peeks at your cards or stick with your gut and keep them on the table? How you play your cards says a lot about your finances ... (See Poker and finances)

Bankruptcies resume climbing, aided by tax refunds -- Bankruptcy filings rose 17 percent over a year ago; once-available cushions of credit and home equity have vanished ... (See Bankruptcies rising)

Credit score suffers from being caught in 'balance chasing' loop -- "Balance chasing" by banks can leave borrowers with lower credit limits and credit scores ... (See Credit score)

Credit card interest rate relief applies to joint accounts for military couples -- If credit card accounts are held jointly by military spouses, then they qualify for interest rate relief under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act ... (See Active duty credit)

Travelers checks decline in use: Most leave home without them -- Once you wouldn't leave home without travelers checks. Now they're fading from use ... (See Travelers checks)

Collectors can try, but can't legally collect a minor's debts -- Handle with care demands for payment on old, forgotten amounts, and don't pay what you don't owe out of fear or ignorance ... (See Old debt)

Credit card balances free fall in February -- Americans resumed their efforts to trim card balances last month according to newly released Fed data ... (See G.19)

Meet those who seek a perfect credit score -- and learn how they achieved FICO perfection -- We introduce you to credit score superstars -- and learn why and how they keep those precious three digits so high ... (See Credit score)

Late credit card payments don't justify rate hikes anymore -- With the passage of the Credit CARD Act, if you're a little late with a payment, you're protected against an instant interest rate hike. ... (See Rate hike)

How a widow should handle collection calls on late husband's 'debt' -- More than four years after her husband died, a widow begins receiving collection calls on debt that may be the result of identity theft ... (See Collection calls)

Avoiding new rules, 'free' credit report sites switch to offering 'free' scores -- On the eve of new rules sharply restricting offers of 'free' credit reports, companies switch to offering 'free' credit scores ... (See Free credit report)

How the Credit CARD Act will affect types of credit cards -- The Credit CARD Act has pushed card issuers to make big changes -- and some types of credit cards will be impacted more than others. We look at each type. ... (See Card law impact)

8 games that clarify credit for kids -- Kids learn best from experience, which is why financial games aimed at teaching fiscal responsibility can make a boring topic fun. ... (See Play debt)

If you miss your credit card's opt out notice, you pay the price -- If you missed your credit card issuer's notice of an interest rate hike and didn't opt out in time, you're left with three choices. ... (See Opt out)

Beware of phone calls offering credit card relief -- New telephone scams are targeting consumers with promises of lowering credit card interest rates, fixing damaged credit reports. ... (See Beware)

What types of income are protected from wage garnishment? -- Typically, retirement and disability income are exempt from being tapped for the repayment of unpaid debt. ... (See Protected.)

QA with Manisha Thakor, author of personal finance book 'Get Financially Naked' -- 'Get Financially Naked' with your honey -- or face big money woes, book author says. ... (See Naked)

10 financial spring cleaning tips -- Taking these 10 steps will help you to renew, review, refresh and regrow your finances. ... (See Financial spring cleaning)

Want to boost your credit? Co-signing with parent still an option -- Young people looking for a credit boost can still co-sign with their parents, even with the passage of the Credit CARD Act. In fact, if the young adult doesn't have his own source of income, it might be his only choice. ... (See Credit)

Gift card rules mean fewer fees, more time to use cards -- Concerned that your old gift cards may become little more than worthless plastic before you get the chance to use them? Exhale. That's much less likely than it used to be. ... (See Gift card rules)

Law compels speedy estate settlement for card debt -- A little-noticed provision of the Credit CARD Act of 2009 makes it easier for the estate's administrator to settle the account in a timely fashion. ... (See Death)

Senate committee passes reform including consumer financial agency -- A wide-ranging Wall Street reform bill that passed a key Senate committee Monday includes a consumer financial protection bureau under the Federal Reserve. ... (See Consumer financial protection)

How to pay off $11,000 in card debt in three years -- A reader wants to pay off $11,000 in debt on four credit cards in less than three years. Our experts shows him several strategies to help him reach his goal. ... (See Strategy)

Penelope Trunk's ode to credit cards for starting up a business -- Contrarian advice from writer and serial entrepreneur Penelope Trunk, who says credit cards, for all their pitfalls, can be an entrepreneur's best friend. ... (See Startup)

10 places NOT to use your debit card -- They may look just like credit cards, but debit cards have different protections and uses. Sometimes they're not the best choice ... (See Debit)

What records to keep and how long to keep them -- Keep too little paper and you'll be stammering at the IRS agent at audit time. Too much and paper can take over your house. How much is just right? ... (See How long to keep records)

New card statements may elicit fear, anxiety about debt -- New information-packed credit card statements could increase your anxiety. Find out why that's a good thing. ... (See CARD Act)

Credit card charges made by children are invalid -- When minors use your credit card without your knowledge, the law protects them -- and you -- from having to pay for their mistakes. ... (See Minors)

From credit card disaster to card master: 7 tips from the debt reformed -- Repaying big card balances is hard enough, but remaining debt-free is even more so. Learn how seven credit card 'disasters' turned into credit card masters. ... (See Reformed)

Credit card issuers' financial cell phone apps -- Back when, your cell phone was just for talking on the go. Now, mobile banking applications let you manage your finances, and include tools for credit cardholders. ... (See App)

Consumers shying away from credit cards when shopping online -- The poor economy and consumers' growing aversion to carrying large credit card balances may be why more alternative forms of payment are being used for online purchases. ... (See Shop online)

Forgiven debt resurfaces at tax time -- The IRS is one creditor you cannot ignore. If you receive a 1099-C in the mail for forgiven debt, you have to declare it as income. ... (See IRS)

Fed proposes rules to limit credit card fees -- Credit card fees would have to be 'reasonable' and 'proportional' to the offense under new rules proposed by the Federal Reserve. ... (See Fees)

White House online town hall credit card reform transcript -- This transcript chronicles the conversation between administration officials and readers on Feb. 22, 2010, the day a federal credit card reform law took effect. ... (See White House credit card town hall)

Chart: Compare credit cards' rental car insurance policies -- It's no longer wise to automatically refuse extra coverage at rental counter. This chart will help you compare policies among major card companies. ... (See Chart)

Don't always refuse rental car insurance coverage; credit card protections become iffy -- It used to be a no-brainer -- credit card holders refused costly additional insurance policies offered by car rental agencies. Now it's not: The rental agencies charge new fees and the card issuers' policies aren't uniform or universal. ... (See Car rental insurance)

CARD Act prevents sudden rate hikes, not annual fees -- As issuers struggle to recoup lost fee revenue, many are instituting annual fees on their credit cards. The good news is that your APR is protected. ... (See Fees)

Protecting the elderly from credit card collections -- Credit cards and their associated terms and conditions can get very confusing for the elderly who also suffer from dementia. Here's what you can do to help. ... (See Dementia)

How social networking can help credit card debtors -- While social networking groups are virtual, the results from participating in online debt relief support groups are real. ... (See Relief)

White House answers credit card questions -- Austan Goolsbee, an economist and White House credit card expert, answered consumer questions about the new credit card reform law during a live town hall webcast on ... (See Town hall)

You can be sued for nonpayment of credit card debt -- The road of not paying your credit card accounts is not a pretty one. Expect late fees, higher APRs and, eventually, collections. ... (See Debt)

New credit card era begins with latest CARD Act provisions -- It's a new day for credit cards. As of Feb. 22, new consumer protections within the Credit CARD Act of 2009 take effect. ... (See Era)

Cost of bad-credit credit cards rising due to reform law -- The passage of federal credit card reform means big changes for those with bad credit. Subprime credit will be available, but expensive and harder to find. ... (See Subprime)

Tips for rebuilding your credit after divorce -- A disabled domestic violence survivor and divorcee not only needs to rebuild her life, but also her credit. ... (See Rebuild)

What's NOT covered by the credit card reform law -- The sweeping credit card reform act's regulations omit several types of cards and many practices consumer groups find objectionable. ... (See Untouched)

Once secret credit card-college marketing deals to be revealed -- The credit card reform law requires disclosure of the highly lucrative agreements under which colleges were paid to let card issuers market their wares to students, alumni. ... (See Deals)

Era of readily available credit cards for young adults ends -- Students, once coveted by card issuers, now have fewer choices for obtaining credit. ... (See Era)

White House to answer consumer questions about Credit CARD Act -- The White House will answer Americans' questions about the new credit card reform law during a live online town hall at 2 p.m. EST Feb. 22. ... (See White House credit card town hall)

1 in 10 Americans has given up or had taken away credit cards in past 8 months -- A poll shows that consumers' newfound frugality and card issuers' punitive actions have caused a mass migration away from credit cards. ... (See