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Shopping and credit cards

It's not enough to just get a good credit card; you have to use it wisely, too. Learn how from these articles from the CreditCards.com editorial team.

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Poll: Nearly half of cardholders likely to avoid stores hit by data breaches -- As retail data breaches become more common, nearly half of 985 U.S. cardholders polled by CreditCards.com say they're likely this holiday season to avoid stores that have been hit ... (See Breach poll)

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)

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 CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

7 tricks retailers use to get you to spend more -- It happens too often. You shop for a specific item, but end up with much more and much less in your wallet. Learn what cues to steer clear of ... (See Tricks)

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)

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)

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)

Small businesses slow in converting to EMV card readers -- With a year to go before retailers hit a major deadline for upgrading their credit card machines, experts warn that many are unlikely to complete the switch in time. As a result, they may find themselves suddenly liable for card-related fraud ... (See EMV)

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)

6 ways to thwart pickpockets -- Cybercriminals and data breaches get all the headlines today, but don't forget low-tech, fast-fingered pickpockets are still out there, blending in the crowd, eager to snatch your wallet ... (See Pickpockets)

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)

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)

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)

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 Rental car insurance)

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)

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)

CreditCards.com 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 CreditCards.com'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 CreditCards.com survey. ... (See 2014 rewards survey)

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)

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)

Poll: Americans say they are careful with money -- While Americans say they are careful with their money, they are also saying they have bought more at the store than they meant to ... (See Saving money)

How America pays: Fed study paints big picture of card trends -- How many credit cards are there? How many debit cards? How many checks do we write? The Federal Reserve's new payments study paints a statistical portrait of how we spend ... (See Payments study)

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)

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)

How Sam's Club card changes affect business users -- As Sam's Club is transitioning to a new card with new cash-back rewards, it's time for businesses to look at whether to stick with them ... (See Business cash back)

8 FAQs about the new EMV credit cards -- The way you use a credit card is about to change significantly 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)

Fed: Card balances extend growth -- Balances on credit cards grew again in May, extending April's record-setting surge, the Federal Reserve said ... (See Consumer credit report, July 8, 2014)

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)

Is a smart-chip card needed when I travel to Europe? -- European countries added EMV chips to credit cards years ago. U.S. issuers are just now catching up with the anti-fraud technology. But is an EMV card a must for European travel? ... (See Chip card)

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)

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)

Can businesses charge large test payments? -- Gas stations and restaurants add temporary "holds" on credit card bills until they know the final balance, but other merchants should avoid this tactic ... (See Test charges)

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)

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)

Wal-Mart store card switch gives consumers reason to compare -- If you're a Wal-Mart or Sam's Club co-branded credit card holder, you're about to get a new credit card -- and with it comes a new reason to check up on the benefits of holding a co-branded card. ... (See Wal-Mart card switch)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Data breaches: Who's to blame? -- With breaches at major retailers allowing infiltration of shoppers' financial data, the question arises: Who's responsible? ... (See Data breaches)

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)

Q&A with Dave Barry: A perpetual adolescent looks at parenting -- As his daughter matures, the comedy writer doesn't, but is thankful his wife can confront credit card-wielding parents of Bieber worshipers ... (See Dave Barry Q&A)

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)

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)

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)

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' policies about returning items without receipts -- Our survey of 12 large retailers' policies regarding returning items without a receipt show most allow it -- within certain limits ... (See No-receipt return policies)

Curses! Foiled again! FBI warns of tinfoil 'feed horn' scheme -- Federal officials are warning merchants -- and credit card customers whose cards have been stolen -- of a new, decidedly low-tech scam called the "Feed Horn Scheme" ... (See Feed horn scam)

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)

3 ways to minimize holiday returns without losing customers -- A spate of post-holiday returns can make a real dent in your profits. There are ways for even small businesses to minimize returns without offending customers used to generous policies from retail giants ... (See Holiday returns)

Charity gift cards let recipient donate to favorite cause -- School a foreign student? Sure. Feed orphaned chimps? Of course. Support local artists? Why not. For a fee, charity gift cards let recipients choose a favorite cause to support ... (See Charity gift cards)

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)

Holiday card rewards 2013 -- If you want to save a little money while using credit cards at the holidays, card issuers have some deals for you ... (See Holiday rewards)

Infographic: 56 percent of parents willing to rack up holiday debt for kids -- Is that first post-holiday credit card statement worth it to see your kids' eyes light up at the spread under the tree? More than half of parents with kids under 18 say it is ... (See Holiday debt)

Mysterious 'Tips for Jesus' leaves behind enormous tips -- Wait staffs across the United States are hoping for a visit from an anonymous customer with a credit card and a taste for outrageous generosity ... (See Tips for Jesus)

Can retailers ask for ID with your credit card? -- If you have signed your card, you may not be required to show your ID to make a purchase ... (See ID requests)

Gift card scammers skirt security with new tricks -- With security surrounding gift cards improving, scammers are resorting to new tactics, including old-fashioned trickery and new technology ... (See Scams)

Credit card perks can save you cash this Christmas -- From special rewards rates to price protection programs, a number of credit card perks can smooth your holiday shopping ... (See Holiday perks)

Using gift card exchange sites to stretch your holiday budget -- Gift cards have become so popular that a secondary market is booming. While you probably wouldn't give mom a used sweater for the holidays, you might be able to save money by buying other people’s unwanted gift cards at a discount ... (See Discount gift cards)

No thanks; 12 gifts that cost too much to receive -- Tablet, iPhone, a new puppy? Sometimes your best intentions to fulfill your loved ones' wishes can end up costing them a lot more than what you intended ... (See Too-pricey gifts)

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)

Gift cards 2013: Reload, please -- Our exclusive survey of all the top gift card sellers shows this year's trend is that they'd really like you to get you to register your card and reload (and reload) it ... (See 2013 gift card survey)

Gift cards chart 2013 -- We've researched the terms and features of the cards of major banks and dozens of retailers to let you make a side-by-side comparison ... (See Gift card survey 2013 comparison chart)

8 creative ways to wrap gift cards -- Worried your gift card is too impersonal? With a little wit and a little inspiration, you can turn that shiny plastic into a whimsical gift ... (See Wrap gift cards)

Layaway 2013: Survives recession's end, but evolves -- Compare fees and policies for the old-fashioned holiday financial helper, which enjoyed a revival during the recession and shows every sign of sticking around ... (See Layaway)

2013 airline gift card comparison chart -- While most airlines offer gift cards, their terms and conditions vary. Make sure you know what you're getting before you buy ... (See Airline gift card)

Infographic: Young people more likely to freely swap plastic -- While older people are more likely to hold tight to their credit and debit cards, younger generations are more liberal about sharing them with others, a survey says ... (See Borrowing credit cards)

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)

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)

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)

Infographic: The cost of Halloween -- Those celebrating Halloween will spend an average of $107 this year. Our infographic shows the traditions and treats that will cost Americans an arm and a leg -- and perhaps various other body parts ... (See Halloween spending)

FTC to Aaron's: Shut down your rental computers' peephole webcams -- Consumers who rented Aaron's Inc. computers were subject to a nasty privacy invasion: spyware that captured their every activity at home, including what the FTC terms 'intimate activities' ... (See Spycams)

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)

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)

Controversy erupts over credit card payments for guns -- A credit card processing company's decision to stop authorizing legal gun sales from a large North Carolina gun shop has ignited a full-bore controversy over firearms and freedom ... (See Guns)

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)

Options for accepting overseas payments expand for small business -- It's easier than ever to expand your business by pursuing international customers. But accepting payments is sometimes a hitch. New services -- as well as old standbys -- can help you get paid ... (See Sales)

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)

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)

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)

When does a merchant account make financial sense? -- If you accept payments by credit card only occasionally, Square or PayPal are viable options, but above a certain sales volume, merchant accounts make sense ... (See Card payments)

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)

Are squiggly finger signatures legally binding? -- As more retailers move to hand-held payment systems, signing with your finger is the new norm. But is that squiggly, often illegible, scribble really legally binding? ... (See Finger signatures)

Rent-to-own vs. credit cards: Which costs less? -- What if you need a new TV, sofa or even a set of tires but you're broke? Do you turn to plastic or a rent-to-own store? Consumer advocates weigh in ... (See RTO)

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)

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)

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)

Can I impose a max on credit card customers? -- If your business sells high-ticket items, credit card swipe fees can add up. The law won't keeping you from imposing limits on card spend but consider other options before you take that route ... (See Limits)

Can my business require a minimum purchase for credit card customers? -- Merchants can impose on their credit card customers a minimum purchase requirement of up to $10 -- but that doesn't mean you should. And debit cards are a different story ... (See Payment minimums)

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)

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)

Many pay an unexpected price for deferred-interest deals -- About one in five people who sign up for "no interest" deals on big-ticket items actually wind up owing finance charges on their store credit card ... (See Deferred interest trap)

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)

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)

What's the better hotel credit card -- Hyatt or Marriott? -- Choosing the best hotel card is a matter of weighing each card's perks against your travel needs, as evaluating the pros and cons of each is an apples-to-oranges comparison ... (See Hotel cards)

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)

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)

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)

Infographic: Early shoppers push up back-to-school season -- Families are getting an increasingly early start on back-to-school shopping, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation ... (See Back to school)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Infographic: Those who don't haggle are missing out -- Although fewer than half of shoppers haggle, those who do are rewarded, according to a survey from Consumer Reports ... (See Haggling)

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)

Groceries bought at Wal-Mart, Costco don't earn extra rewards -- Generally, processors do not count big-box stores (Target and Wal-Mart) or warehouse clubs (Costco) as grocery stores. If you do the bulk of your stocking up with those retailers, you'd be better off with a rewards card co-branded with one of them ... (See Rewards)

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)

Infographic: How we spend our gift cards -- Gift cards don’t tend to gather much dust in your wallet, according to a June 18 survey from the Retail Gift Card Association. ... (See Gift cards)

Stretching a food budget to the extreme -- Stretching out a food budget of only $100 to feed a family of three for a month will require you to admit you need help, and then throw every trick in the cookbook at the problem ... (See Extreme food budget stretching)

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)

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)

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)

A diet of fresh fruits and vegetables needn't eat up your budget -- Working more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet is healthy, but it need not be expensive, if you shop seasonally and buy carefully ... (See Frugal veggies)

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)

10 tips for having a frugal wedding -- Start by deciding on one or two items most important to you both. Splurge on those, scrimp on the rest and you'll avoid a runaway bridal budget ... (See Frugal wedding)

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)

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)

Will canceling cards hurt a great credit score? -- Her credit score is 790, but with seven credit cards open, she wonders if she can cancel some without hurting her score ... (See Canceling cards)

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)

3 keys to successful yard sales: prepare, advertise, organize -- If If you just want to clean clutter, do the minimum. But to make above-average dough, you need to create a better-than-average yard sale ... (See Yard sale tips)

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)

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)

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)

Frugal freezer tips for proper meat storage -- Buying meat in bulk and freezing it can save you hundreds of dollars in food costs, but beware the dreaded freezer burn. Here's how to avoid ite ... (See Freezing meat)

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)

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)

'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)

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)

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)

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)

9 smartphone apps to help with taxes -- Paying Uncle Sam may be a little easier this year, thanks to a flood of new and improved tax apps for your smartphone ... (See 9 tax apps)

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)

How to boost rewards for Valentine's Day gifts -- If you play your credit cards right, you can score points from your honey and for yourself by using a rewards card running a Valentine's Day promotion ... (See Sweetheart deals)

BBB, NFL warn: Super Bowl scams can injure unwary 49er, Ravens fans -- This year's Super Bowl is a hot ticket, but the BBB and NFL merchants warn of rip-offs that can put a big hit on your wallet ... (See Beware Super scams)

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)

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)

Credit card surcharges now allowed, but retailers hesitate -- A court settlement gives retailers the right to recover "swipe fees" by charging extra for credit card use starting Jan. 27, but will they? ... (See Credit card surcharges)

Infographic: Will credit card surcharges take hold in the U.S.? -- Australia's experience with credit card surcharges may hold some clues for what's in store for U.S. merchants and customers ... (See Surcharges)

Mmmm, cheap: Finding frugal food, recipes -- When you come home tired with hungry mouths to feed, it's easy to take the prepared meal route. A bit of research and planning will yield less costly and more healthy results ... (See Cheap food)

5 credit lessons all parents should teach their daughters -- Home schooling about credit is especially important for daughters, because women with low levels of financial literacy do worse with credit than their male counterparts. So teach these five lessons to your daughters before they leave home ... (See Teach your girls)

Couch worn out? Less expensive alternatives to buying a new sofa -- Is your old couch about to give up the ghost? From deep cleaning to slipcovers to reupholstering, you have options other than to buy another ... (See Replacing old sofa)

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)

Infographic: Gift cards seen as more valuable than higher-priced gifts -- Consumers place high value on the flexibility gift cards bring, according to a December 2012 survey by payment processing company First Data ... (See Gift cards)

How credit cards can improve daily deals -- Daily deal offers are getting a fresh boost from credit cards. Here are three ways the new combos make deal-snatching easier ... (See Better daily deals)

2012 airline gift card comparison chart -- While most airlines offer gift cards, their terms and conditions vary. Make sure you know what you're getting before you buy ... (See Airline gift card)

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)

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 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)

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)

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)

12 ways to wrap gift cards -- With a little ingenuity and a few extra bucks, you can turn that 3-1/8x2-1/8 piece of plastic into a thoughtful and guaranteed-to-bring-a-smile present ... (See Gift cards)

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)

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)

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)

Chart: 2012 gift card survey -- A CreditCards.com/Bankrate survey of the top 63 gift cards reveals a changing landscape as issuers and retailers cater to consumer demand ... (See Gift cards 2012)

2012 gift card survey -- Despite their reputation for being thoughtless gifts, gift cards continue to grow in popularity -- with many using them more as budgeting tools ... (See Gift card survey)

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?)

When buying airline miles is worth the investment -- Buying airline miles usually doesn't pay off, but with some of the soon-to-expire deals, now could be a good time to top off your balance ... (See Buying miles)

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)

Lunch isn't free, but these tips can hold down its cost -- Invest in the right containers and plan ahead to avoid the dreaded 'sandwich burnout,' advises New Frugal You columnist Gary Foreman ... (See Cheap lunch ideas)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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!)

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)

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)

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)

Highest credit scores in Wisconsin, study says -- It seems the Midwest stayed strong during the economic downturn, but the credit scores of folks in the South leave something to be desired ... (See Credit scores by area)

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)

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)

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 )

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)

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)

How to set prices on your craft and hobby creations -- How do you decide how much to charge for your crafts? First, decide if you want to treat that hobby as a business, or if you just want to have some fun ... (See Set hobby/craft prices)

Redeem reward miles for in-flight meals and entertainment? McCarthy -- Some travelers would rather fly more comfortably than more often. Can they use accumulated miles for in-flight expenses such as food, movies and drinks? ... (See Miles as in-flight cash)

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 CreditCards.com poll ... (See Credit card surcharges)

What is the credit score impact of canceling an unused credit card? -- A reader regrets that he opened a retail card and now wants to cancel it before he activates it. How much will that cancellation hurt his credit score? ... (See Cancel a credit card)

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)

Million Dollar Listing's Josh Altman's reality check -- Reality TV Realtor Josh Altman shares his financial secrets for first-time homebuyers in a ever-changing real estate market ... (See Josh Altman)

'Upcycling' turns credit cards into jewelry, trash into fashion -- Sure, you've purchased jewelry with a card. But have you ever worn jewelry made from a card? If so, trendy one, you've discovered 'upcycling' ... (See Credit card fashion)

Congress probes whether data brokers invade consumers' privacy -- Congress and regulators are taking a look at data brokers and the privacy concerns raised by the huge volumes of consumer data they amass in the shadows ... (See Data brokers)

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)

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)

Bad credit no longer keeping consumers out of the driver’s seat -- In the market for a new car but worry that your iffy credit score will put the brakes on getting a good deal? Take heart, a new report shows that you might be able to snag those keys after all. ... (See Bad credit car loans)

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?)

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)

Renters' tips for reducing summer cooling bills: Gary Foreman -- Just because you don't own your home doesn't mean you have to swelter in your shelter. These tips will help you chill without big bills ... (See Renter's tips cool summer)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Gary Foreman: How to price garage sale items -- Pricing garage sale items isn't an exact science. But if you consult pricing guidelines, know your market and group like items together, you'll do well ... (See Pricing garage sale items)

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)

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)

Survey: Costs of prepaid cards vary widely -- As more consumers turn to prepaid cards for budgeting and flexibility, our 2012 survey reveals that fees for these cards vary greatly ... (See 2012 prepaid card survey)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

High-tech ways to rent out your stuff -- You're happy to let your best friend borrow your mountain bike. But would you be willing to loan it out to a total stranger if you could make some money off the arrangement? ... (See High-tech rentals)

5 reasons you don't really want to win all that lottery money -- 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 Winning the lottery)

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)

Credit card rate offer 'ranges' make comparison shopping tough -- Some 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 Credit card APR ranges)

Lost your credit or debit 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 Replacement credit card costs)

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)

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)

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)

Gary Foreman: Buying a first band instrument? Think used to avoid the blues -- A child's first band instrument can change a life -- or drain a wallet if you pay top dollar for what turns out to be an adolescent's momentary whim ... (See Shopping for a first band instrument)

How credit cards can help -- or hurt -- you at tax time -- Are credit card rewards taxable? When should and shouldn't you put taxes on a card? Our tax package answers these questions and more ... (See Credit cards and taxes)

Cards with no foreign transaction fee cards 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 )

Gary Foreman: Follow the rules carefully to claim your rebate -- Consumer forgetfulness plus difficult forms mean half of all rebates go unclaImed, but if you're diligent, you can be on the 'good' half. ... (See Get your rebate)

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)

Infographic: Mobile payments now widely accepted among retailers -- Mobile payments are now as widely accepted as online payments among the nation's top 10 retailers, according to a survey released in February 2012 by First Annapolis Consulting ... (See Mobile payments)

Infographic: The high cost of love -- When it comes to love, 2012 is going to be pricey and disappointing for many Americans. In a Valentine's Day-inspired survey, American Express looked at couples' spending habits and even their future plans for their relationships ... (See Cost of love)

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)

Can your social network protect against fraud? -- Social network authentication -- it's the latest tool banks and merchants will be using to verify that you are who you really are before they hand over the goods ... (See Social network authentication)

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)

14 fun credit card crafts -- from high art to kitsch -- If the exploding popularity of do-it-yourself craft blogs and sites such as Etsy and Pinterest is any indication, the world is DIY-crazed, furiously crafting objets d'art out of anything we can get our hands on -- and the credit card is no exception ... (See Credit card crafts)

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)

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)

'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)

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)

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)

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)

2011 credit card holiday gift promotions -- If your gift list includes the promotional items offered by the card issuers, you could get discounts or boost your own rewards ... (See Special holiday bargains)

Chart: 2011 holiday credit card promotions, special deals -- This chart helps you find details of the special credit card promotions, special deals and bargains that seven major card issuers have offered for the 2011 holiday season ... (See Holiday credit card promotions)

Infographic: Americans to boost holiday spending, but do so wisely -- A November 2011 report says that Americans plan to ramp up their holiday spending nearly 20 percent from 2010. However, the report from American Express says that consumers also intend to be smarter about their purchases ... (See 2011 holiday spending)

Q&A with 'Smart Thinking' author Art Markman -- Art Markman, author of the upcoming 'Smart Thinking' and a psychology professor at the University of Texas, explains what psychology can teach us about making better personal financial decisions ... (See Art Markman)

More stores moving to digital receipts -- With the holidays approaching, more retailers are rolling out digital receipts in an attempt to streamline the inevitable glut of post-holiday returns. But not everyone is happy about it ... (See Digital receipts)

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)

Gary Foreman: Beyond couponing - How big families can cut their food budgets -- A mother of a family of five who's already couponing wants to know how to trim her food budget further. Gary Foreman gives her an array of tips ... (See Big family food budgeting)

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)

10 creative ways to present gift cards -- Simplify your holiday gift shopping this year by dressing up a plain old gift card to give it that personal touch ... (See Wrapping gift cards)

Mobile gift cards: the 'cooler' gift card -- Mobile gift cards are the cooler, more sophisticated and smarter cousin to the plastic gift card -- and retailers are jumping on the bandwagon ... (See Mobile gift cards)

Gift card scams: How to spot them, how to avoid being a victim -- As gift cards have become popular, they've attracted the attention of unsavory characters who use both simple and complex techniques to drain their values ... (See Gift card scams)

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)

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)

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)

Gary Foreman: Why every student needs a bit of economics -- You may not become an economist, but everyone needs to have basic knowledge of how they spend today impacts their saving for tomorrow ... (See Economics and spending)

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)

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)

Buying online with a credit card? FTC proposes quicker refunds rule -- Rules written before the Internet existed are due for an update, the agency says, including a change that will get credit card users faster refunds for merchandise ... (See Quicker credit card refunds)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Refer-a-friend programs catch on for credit cards, prepaid cards -- Current customers, friends can get discounts for signing up, and some programs use social media to spread the word ... (See Refer-a-friend programs)

Sally Herigstad: When good gift cards go bad -- Retailers, like people, go bankrupt, leaving creditors holding the bag. So when it comes to gift cards, limiting your exposure may be best ... (See Gift cards and bankruptcy)

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)

A new fee for accessing your own money: Banks debut debit card activity fees -- Wells Fargo has sent notices to customers that starting Oct. 14, it will cost them $3 a month to use a debit card. The activity fees are a way for banks to recoup lost revenue from new caps on "swipe fees" ... (See $ fee for debit use)

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)

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)

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)

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)

No more 'no receipt, no return'? -- In an era of paperless billing and smartphone payments, a paper receipt seems passe. While some companies embrace no-receipt returns, others staunchly hold to their “no receipt; no return” policies ... (See No-receipt return policies)

Mint bans $1 coin trick that let rewards credit card holders rack up big points -- A favorite frequent flier points-building scheme -- buying coins from the Mint on credit cards, returning the metal but pocketing rewards, is no longer allowed ... (See U.S. Mint)

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)

Infographic: How much do you buy when you shop? -- More than 60 percent of shopping trips in the U.S. are made for small or immediate needs, according to a study from The Nielsen Company ... (See Shopping)

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?)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

FTC: BadCustomer.com was $275 million ripoff. Site shuttered, multimillion dollar con alleged -- BadCustomer.com allegedly served as the enforcer for other dishonest websites in a multimillion dollar scam. Its business model: to shut up ripped-off credit card holders by threatening them with blacklistling ... (See BadCustomer, big scam)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Online layaway: Old-fashioned payment system gets new digital life -- During the recession, the old-fashioned concept of layaway came roaring back to life. Now it even has an online twist ... (See Online layaway)

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)

Horsing around with credit card debt: a cautionary tale -- CreditCards.com'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)

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)

What info can you be asked for when using a credit card? -- When you pay by credit card and a merchant asks you for personal information, do you have to show it? In most cases, no. In some instances, asking for personal information may violate store policy, credit card merchant agreements, and even state law. ... (See Personal info)

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)

Gary Foreman: With gas prices skyrocketing, will an electric car save money? -- Thinking about ditching your gas guzzler and going electric? Here's how to make a compare by calculating your overall cost per mile ... (See Buying a car)

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)

Pull the plug to save some money on a little-used refrigerator -- A fridge is your most expensive appliance because it consumes a lot of power, but it's made to be turned on and off ... (See Appliance costs)

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)

Gary Foreman: Want grocery store bargains? It's easy: Look high and low -- Grocery stores study their shoppers, so they know most customers grab first for the name brands at eye level. Want bargains? Look at the top and bottom shelves ... (See Grocery store bargains)

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 CreditCards.com's series on money disorders ... (See Financial enabling)

Buying a car? Know your budget, save up, buy what you can afford -- Car shopping is the most fun, but it should be the final step. Knowing what you can afford (and not just the monthly payment) is the first ... (See Car-buying plan)

6 key questions to ask before buying an online coupon deal -- Hit the "buy" button too quickly, and deal-a-day websites can quickly turn into credit card debt. Ask yourself these six questions before you take the plunge ... (See Online coupons)

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)

Tipping your waiter or waitress? Ditch the credit card, pay with cash -- Although tipping with either cash or credit cards offers advantages, restaurant and hotel experts say that to make sure your generosity swiftly reaches its intended target, tip with cash ... (See Tips with cash)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Medical marijuana sellers can't take their 420 money to the bank -- Pot merchants, selling legally under state laws, are shunned by major credit card banks, but a few entrepreneurs see a budding opportunity ... (See Medical marijuana: 420 money is shunned by banks)

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)

Be debt free for life, urges author David Bach -- CreditCards.com 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)

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)

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)

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)

Haul video parody: Don't haul yourself into credit card debt -- In this spoof of the wildly popular haul video genre, "Bridget" gives the rundown of her latest haul of purchases from Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters -- until CreditCards.com's Connie Prater jumps in to give her a reality check about just how much trouble impulse buying can be. ... (See Haul video parody)

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)

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)

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)

Comparing pro sports leagues' credit cards -- From Major League Baseball to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, credit card issuers are offering something for every sports fan. But like any other credit card, sports affinity cards should be judged by their specific terms and conditions, not their logos. ... (See Compare pro sports cards)

How to change financial bad habits in 8 steps -- Making lasting changes requires time, discipline and a dive into the psyche to figure out why, exactly, you handle money the way you do ... (See Change financial bad habits)

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)

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)

Video: No more naked gift cards -- Amp up the wow factor when you give gift cards this Christmas. CreditCards.com's Cynthia Drake -- on a mission to rid the world of naked gift cards -- presents three fun, simple ideas for jazzing up those gift cards this year. ... (See Video)

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)

15 fun, easy ways to wrap gift cards -- Amp up the 'wow' factor when giving gift cards this holiday season. All it takes it a little creativity -- and a personal touch ... (See Gift card wrapping)

Prepaid city cards boost 'shop local' campaigns -- The introduction of "city cards" boosts support and shopping for town and cities who want to keep more dollars local ... (See Prepaid city cards)

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)

6 ways you can still enjoy unwanted gift cards -- Your friend, co-worker or loved one had the best of intentions, but they gave you gift cards you don't want. Smile, say thank you -- and then try these methods for getting something else with them ... (See Unwanted gift cards)

Debit card payments surpass checks, credit cards -- New Federal Reserve Board study of noncash payment methods shows debit cards are Americans' first choice when buying retail items. Writing paper checks continued a steady decline and is no longer the No. 1 noncash payment method. ... (See Debit card payments)

You made a layaway purchase? How to retrieve your merchandise -- Buying by layaway has made a comeback, so many people are new to the process. Here's how to make sure your merchandise retrieval goes smoothly ... (See Layaway retrieval tips)

How to solve credit card problems through Twitter -- Why wait on endless hold to dispute a credit card fee over the phone when can post your complaint on Twitter and often resolve the problem more quickly and with fewer hassles? ... (See Twitter customer service)

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)

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)

Interchange fee changes coming, and what that means for consumers -- Cash payers had been subsidizing card users at stores, but that system's under fire; if it changes, so could rewards and prices ... (See Interchange fees and consumers)

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)

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)

2010 holiday credit card and debit card special promotions -- The halls are decked with deals this season as stores, credit card and debit card issuers team up for holiday promotions ... (See Holiday deals)

Chart: 2010 holiday credit card and debit card special promotions -- Card issuers are rolling out special holiday deals to entice reluctant, recession-weary consumers into spending once again ... (See Chart: 2010 credit card holiday deals)

Your credit card can make you elite -- Achieving elite status on a frequent flier program may be easier than you think -- especially if you have the right credit card ... (See Frequent flier)

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)

2010 gift card comparison table -- Even in a tough economy, gift cards are always popular. The 2010 holiday season should be no different. Use this chart to find the gift card that's best for you ... (See Gift cards)

9 tips for making, keeping 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)

Gary Foreman: Want to cut electric bills? Beware the 'phantom loads' -- Many of today's devices continue to sip power in 'standby' mode, so cutting off the worst offenders can cut your bill ... (See Cut electric costs)

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)

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)

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')

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)

Prepaid cards a new way to bank? -- Though they don't carry the same protections as credit or debit cards, reloadable prepaid cards are how a growing number of Americans are doing their banking: ... (See Prepaid cards)

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)

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)

Vending machines that take credit, debit cards catch on -- Newfangled machines take plastic and sell everything from fancy electronics to wine -- and yes, they can check your ID, too ... (See Credit card vending machines)

Are cash back debit cards worth it? -- Cash-back debit cards are becoming more common, but are they a good deal? Maybe -- as long as fees and restrictions don't bite into your earnings ... (See Cash back)

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: 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: 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)

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)

How to create a price book to help you comparison shop -- It takes a while to gather the information you need, but once you do, you'll never be fooled into buying an overpriced 'sale' item again ... (See Price book)

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)

80 percent of spouses lie about spending -- Secret spenders have hidden credit cards, bank accounts and debts ... (See Secrets)

A tattoo? Waxing? Teens, parents at odds when shopping for back-to-school supplies -- Parents may be opening their wallets more while back-to-school shopping, but teens aren't happy with what they are buying. ... (See Back-to-school spending)

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)

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)

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)

Bill allowing online gambling - but not by credit card - passes House test -- Online gambling may make a comeback: A law that would permit it passed a House panel, but credit cards are still barred from the poker table ... (See Online gambling bill)

First-time car buyers lack financing know-how -- Most first time car buyers need to explore credit scores, financing options, before they purchase. ... (See First-time car buyers)

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)

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')

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)

Video: How to accept credit cards at your next garage sale -- Garage sales are usually old fashioned and low-tech, but if you're selling a high-priced item such as a flat screen TV or an elliptical machine, that might not be good enough. Here are some tips that can help you accept credit cards at your garage sale. ... (See Garage sale)

Proposed Treasury rules take hard line against prepaid card fraud -- New rules aimed at fighting crime and terror financing could impact gift card buyers, experts warn. ... (See Prepaid 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)

Your car loan: Finance or pay it off? -- A reader wants to know if it's better for her credit standing to pay off her car loan or to continue financing for the life of the loan. ... (See Car loans and your credit)

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)

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 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)

How to accept credit cards at your next garage sale -- Garage sales have always been relatively low-tech affairs, but if you want to sell a higher-priced item, such as a flat-screen TV or that barely used elliptical machine, cash or checks might not be good enough anymore ... (See Garage sale)

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)

Compare 8 home improvement financing choices -- As a contractor matches a saw to the cut, match your home improvement financing choice to the job at hand ... (See Compare home improvement financing)

Will reducing merchant card fees help or hurt consumers? -- Legislation could limit the costs retailers incur when letting customers pay by credit or debit card. But whether consumers will see the benefits is unclear ... (See Interchange fees)

Are you stuck with bigger-than-expected bar bill? Depends -- A reader wants to know if he's on the hook for a higher-than-expected bar tab on his credit card after a night of partying with his friends ... (See Credit card bar tab)

8 ways to maximize your credit card rewards points -- Once you've gone to the trouble of earning all those bonus points, spend them wisely. Here are eight tips from experts on getting the most from your rewards ... (See Credit card rewards)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Look to credit reports to understand loan denials -- A reader wondering why he was rejected for a credit card loan should turn to his credit report to understand why the lender made the move ... (See Credit reports)

Debit card rewards offers grow in diversity, not so much in generosity -- Though their rewards remain meager compared those of credit cards, debit rewards grow in popularity, type ... (See Debit rewards)

6 ways to choose the right debit card rewards program -- As rewards programs associated with debit cards have grown and flourished, so has their complexity. These tips will help you find and manage the right one for you ... (See Debit card rewards)

10 credit card perks you didn't know you had -- Think all that's in the fine print of your credit card is trouble? There may actually be some good news in there: hidden perks, from car rental collision insurance to return protection, that can save you cash ... (See Credit card perks)

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)

Target's moves send credit card interest rates to 3rd straight decline -- Credit card interest rates fell again, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report, spurred by Target's recent move to eliminate its Visa credit card. ... (See Rate report)

3 reasons young homeowners may get turned down for loans -- A reader who recently bought a house also wants to buy a motorcycle, but he's frustrated that he can't get a loan. Our experts preaches patience and the virtues of budgeting wisely ... (See Loan rejection reasons )

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)

Blippy's blooper: Social networking site leaks consumers' card data -- The social networking site's goof rekindles a debate over how much private data should be public ... (See Credit card data breach)

Credit card industry searches in vain for a 'green' card to replace PVC plastic -- Roughly 6 billion credit cards are produced each year by card manufacturers worldwide. Can they be made from something besides plastic? ... (See Green cards)

5 Earth-friendly credit card moves you can make now -- You may not be able to immediately ditch your plastic card, but there are several moves you can make to soften its eco-impact ... (See Eco-friendly credit card moves)

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)

DIY, credit card style: Issuers roll out 'do it yourself' cards -- More companies are rolling out tools on the Internet that give consumers greater control over the features of their cards ... (See DIY cards)

8 crafty ways to recycle, reuse old credit cards -- Don't want to clutter a landfill with all of the plastic in your wallet? Turn your old, expired cards into clever new creations ... (See Card crafts)

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)

Lost your credit card? Your credit report can help -- If you lose all your information about one of your credit cards, don't panic. All the answers you need likely can easily be found in your credit report. ... (See Lost credit card)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Consumers gain right to dispute credit report errors directly with merchants -- As of the summer of 2010, if a merchant puts inaccurate information on your credit report, you can force them to investigate the problem. But you have to do it right ... (See Fix credit report errors)

Video: White House town hall on credit card reform -- Austan Goolsbee of the President's Council of Economic Advisers answered questions on Feb. 22 about credit card reform and what it means to you. The questions were both submitted live and in advance through CreditCards.com. ... (See Town hall)

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)

Video: New card law changes relationship between colleges, issuers -- The Credit CARD Act changes the once-secret agreements between card issuers and colleges by requiring schools to report any deals they make with card companies to the Federal Reserve Board. ... (See Campus)

No payments, no interest -- not anymore! -- Traditional 'no interest, no payment' plans are going the way of the cassette tape, done in by a change in federal law that went into effect Feb. 22, 2010 ... (See Interest)

Video: Big changes coming to bad-credit credit cards -- The new credit card law -- much of which takes effect on Feb. 22 -- has provisions that protect people with bad credit. Specifically, the law limits fees on subprime credit cards. What other changes will the law bring for those with poor credit? ... (See Bad credit)

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)

Video: 5 smart moves to make before Feb. 22 -- Sweeping new credit card laws arrive on Feb. 22, 2010. But before that day, you might want to make one of these smart credit moves. ... (See Moves)

Visa expands 'no signature' credit card transactions program -- That once-familiar credit card ritual -- signing for your purchases -- will become a rarity for purchases under $25 once Visa expands its no-sign program in July. ... (See Credit card signatures)

5 dumbest money moves that love makes you do -- They can seem oh-so-right at the time, but these five financial blunders linger long after your other is no longer significant. ... (See Oops)

Tuning into your finances: How music impacts your money -- There's no denying music can rev up a workout routine, but did you know that music can have a significant impact on your finances, too? ... (See Tunes)

Credit card revenge spending: When love goes wrong, the hurt go shopping -- Getting burned by the one you love can inspire the desire to get back by charging up credit accounts. The ultimate cost, however, may be borne by you. ... (See Burned)

7 ways to protect against being a victim of credit card revenge -- Just suffered a break-up from a revenge-seeking ex? Here's how to make sure your credit is safe. ... (See Revenge)

Poll: Americans grumpy after parking their plastic over the holiday -- The holiday shopping season was a grumpy affair for many Americans who were struggling to downsize their credit card debt ... (See Poll)

Choose a credit card that matches your life stage -- Your finances change as you march through stages of life; shouldn't your credit card choice change, too? ... (See Life)

Credit card penalty rates can top 30 percent; how to avoid them -- Think it costs a lot to use your credit card now? Make a late payment and your interest rate could jump to more than 30 percent. ... (See Rates)

Lee Eisenberg, author of 'Shoptimism' on why we shop -- Cheer up, says Lee Eisenberg, author of 'Shoptimism,' a new book on why we shop. Americans are going to shop our way back to prosperity just as we have for centuries. ... (See Shopping)

Credit card reform arrives in the form of the Credit CARD Act -- The most sweeping credit card changes ever are being imposed on credit card issuers, which in the course of complying, are making dramatic changes in consumers' credit card accounts -- not all of them welcome ... (See Credit card reform law goes in effect)

Take steps to prevent bipolar card splurges -- One of the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be overspending. To prevent rampant shopping, there are obstacles you can set up to derail your urge to splurge. ... (See Bipolar)

How the Credit CARD Act affects gift cards -- Americans -- and retailers -- have grown to love the convenience of gift cards. Their terms have not always been consumer-friendly, though, and the law takes aim at some of them. ... (See Credit CARD Act of 2009)

Interest rates keep rising as credit card reform looms -- As new credit card legislation draws closer, interest rates continue to rise, according to CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report. ... (See Credit card interest rates)

New credit card fee: Pay $1 to get your own monthly billing statement -- Pay a buck to get a bill sent to you? That's what users of credit cards from Ann Taylor, Victoria's Secret, Beall's and some 90 other retailers will have do. ... (See $1)

Think twice before lending your credit card -- or it will cost you big -- If you let someone -- such as your underage daughter -- borrow your credit card, watch their spending carefully. If they go overboard, you're likely responsible. ... (See Beware)

Resist racking up debt to get back at cheating spouse -- You think hitting where it hurts -- his wallet -- will satisfy your hurt? Don't go there as you may end up paying dearly for your revenge. ... (See Revenge)

Bulk up your thin credit in 4 easy steps -- When getting started with credit, the key is to start small, then build up gradually over time. These four easy steps can get you on your way. ... (See Thin credit)

Compare debt-free plastic payment options: debit, charge cards -- Charge cards and debit cards can help you manage cashflow and stay out of debt, but they each come with a risk. Here's how to make them work for you. ... (See Budget tools)

Fed report: Credit card balances plummet by nearly $14 billion -- Americans dumped a record $14 billion in credit card debt in November, according to Federal Reserve data, and experts say the debt shedding won't end anytime soon. ... (See G.19)

Cleaning up holiday credit card mess -- The fun's over. Come January, that holiday joy turns into debt regret. It's important to shed this debt quickly, and to learn how to prevent the same troubles next year. ... (See Mess)

Personal finance predictions for 2010: Your credit card -- Expect dramatic change in an industry roiled by recession, reform. Whether the net is good for consumers is unclear. ... (See personal finance)

Personal finance predictions for 2010: consumer spending -- In experts' views, the worst of the recession is behind us. But so, too, is America's nonchalance toward spending willy-nilly. ... (See Predictions)

Personal finance predictions for 2010: Your debit card -- As credit cards continue to retreat, debit cards will evolve, advance ... (See personal finance debit card)

Giving charity gift cards? Mind the fine print -- Whether you're looking for a tax write-off, a meaningful gift for a loved one or just a way to do a good deed, you may want to consider a charity gift card. But be warned: These cards' fine print can hold terms that are, well, less than charitable. ... (See Charity cards)

Personal finance predictions for 2010: Rewards cards -- For years, card companies footed the bill for these expensive programs. In 2010, rewards will go on a diet of fees and frugality. ... (See personal finance reward cards)

Personal finance predictions for 2010: Phones become payment tools -- We may look back on 2010 as the year our cell phone became a pay phone. ... (See personal finance phone payments)

Personal finance predictions for 2010: Your paycheck -- One day, perhaps this year, your paycheck may disappear -- replaced by a prepaid card. ... (See Predictions)

Personal finance predictions for 2010: Housing's comeback -- Delinquencies predicted to level off, finally ending the bleeding that took us into a steep recession. ... (See personal finance housing)

Personal finance predictions for 2010: Your mail -- Credit card offers fell precipitously in the recession, but experts see a renewed flow in 2010. ... (See Predictions)

Personal finance predictions for 2010: ID theft -- Like wolves to injured prey, identity thieves are out to turn the recession struggles of average Americans to their own advantage. ... (See personal finance ID Theft)

Personal finance predictions for 2010: Your kids -- The CARD Act crackdown on campus card promotions will likely have a chilling effect on how young adults obtain credit. ... (See Predictions)

Keeping New Year's resolutions: experts' tips -- Three in four Americans will make a financial-related New Year's resolution for 2010, a survey says. But will they keep it? We speak with four experts who offer tips for making -- and sticking to -- your goals for the new year. ... (See 2010)

Instant in-store credit card offers in jeopardy -- Retailers say instant credit card offers won't be possible if consumers have to provide paycheck stubs or other income information at the cash register. ... (See Instant cards)

Adult son racks up $20,000 on mom's cards -- When an adult child abuses a parent's trust and charges more than $20,000 on joint cards, it's time to get tough and start selling his stuff. ... (See $20,000)

8 tricks to not rack up card debt during the holidays -- Here are some tactics you can use to enjoy the holiday season without racking up a lot of credit card debt. ... (See Debt)

8 ways to stay debt-free during the holidays -- You have been good all year: You've budgeted fanatically, spent judiciously, whittled down debt ... and now the holidays are here. How do you resist the plastic? ... (See Holidays)

Don't be 'breakage' -- 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)

Tori Spelling, Ed McMahon, Kim Kardashian, Courtney Love: Celebrity credit card lessons -- If we had the kind of money celebrities had, we'd do a better job managing our credit card debt, right? Judging by these celebrity credit card stories, maybe not. ... (See Lessons)

Frugality: Just a fad? Or will consumers keep saving after the recession? -- The tanking economy brought us recession chic. It became cool to clip coupons, throw potlucks and swap used items, but how long will it last? ... (See Spendthrifts)

Buyers' guide to gift cards: 5 questions to ask before buying -- Want to save money on gift card purchases? Ask yourself some key question and do a bit of homework; your extra effort can mean cash left over in your pocket. ... (See Guide)

CreditCards.com survey: Retail credit cards boost rates, cut rewards -- Even more hard-hit than regular credit cards, retail cards are reducing reward programs and raising rates to compensate for their higher charge-off rates. ... (See CreditCards.com survey)

CreditCards.com 2010 retail credit card chart: Compare interest rates, rewards -- The retail credit card landscape changed quite a bit from 2009 to 2010, with retailers boosting APRs on their credit cards and reducing rewards. ... (See Retail credit cards)

CreditCards.com 2009 retail credit card chart: Compare interest rates, rewards -- This year was tough for all credit card companies, but retail credit card issuers experienced greater losses than their general market counterparts. ... (See Retail credit cards)

Credit card video: 3 fun ways to wrap a gift card -- Spice up those impersonal gift cards this holiday season with some fun, creative gift wrapping suggestions. Cynthia Drake with CreditCards.com offers some inexpensive and easy ways to make those presents more exciting. ... (See Video)

2009 gift card comparison table -- Times are tough, but gift cards will continue to be a popular present during the 2009 holiday season. Use this chart to find the gift card that's best for you. ... (See Gift cards)

Identity theft booms, even as thieves rely on old-fashioned methods -- Identity theft is booming again for the first time in years, and fraudsters are staying old fashioned and opting to go after your wallet or laptop, insurance giant Travelers reported. ... (See identity theft)

How many credit cards do you need? There's no perfect answer -- There's no single, easy answer for how many credit cards someone should have. After all, It's not the number of cards you have, it's what you do with them that matters the most ... (See How many credit cards?)

Collectible gift cards can be both practical and fun -- Although the holidays this year are expected to be heavy on practical presents, giving gift cards can still be fun -- including those featuring 'Twilight' and 'Star Trek' themes. ... (See Robert Pattinson)

11 golden rules of practical gift card giving -- Pampering at the spa? Expensive round of golf? Out. Practical gifts are in this holiday season, and that goes for gift cards, too. ... (See Practical)

Avoid headaches with this 5-step plan for traveling with credit cards -- Most people don't consider their credit cards when they're traveling overseas. That's a mistake. These 5 steps will get you and your cards abroad and back safely. ... (See Travel)

6 ways to prevent bank overdraft fees -- Banks and credit unions collected nearly $24 billion in overdraft fees last year. Find out how you can help keep some of that money in your pocket. ... (See Overdraft tips)

Jon and Kate's 8 plus-size money mistakes -- The paparazzi-pursued loco parental units of reality TV, the Gosselins, set an example, say money experts -- of what NOT to do financially. ... (See Plus-size mistakes)

10 flu-fighting credit card tips -- Cards can carry germs, but with these precautions, you can be an inhospitable host for flu and other bugs. ... (See 10 tips)

Getting an iPhone, other fancy cell phone? Mind that other number: your credit score -- If you want to get the latest iPhone or other fancy cell phone, you may find your credit score is a key number. A bad one turns your phone into an expensive connection. ... (See Dialing dollars)

CreditCards.com's guide to online holiday shopping 2009 -- The sour economy will push more people online to do their shopping this year; these steps will help keep your experience free of cybergrinches. ... (See Shopping)

As Americans tighten their belts, they adjust attitudes toward credit -- If buying on credit today were a card game, it would be Texas Hold 'Em. Consumers keep their credit cards close to their vests, leaving merchants to wonder if the newfound frugality is a fad or a bluff. ... (See Consumers)

Study: Consumers get more frugal, practical with buying gift cards -- Even though more consumers are purchasing gift cards this year, they're being purchased in smaller amounts and used for more practical items, a new study reveals. ... (See Gift cards)

States with laws requiring consumer notification of ID theft -- Until recently, if ID thieves stole your credit card data, you were kept in the dark. But a host of new state laws force firms to reveal what they used to keep secret ... (See Data breach notification)

When is it not a good idea to piggyback on Mom or Dad's credit? -- Becoming an authorized user on a parent, guardian or other adult's credit card account can have rewards as well as pitfalls. Bad payment habits of the account holder can ruin the authorized user's credit score. ... (See Authorized user)

Prepaid cards replace checks as rebate payment of choice -- The next time you're due a rebate or refund, don't expect to receive a paper check. An increasing number of stores and manufacturers are opting to issue prepaid debit cards instead, and some consumers aren't happy about it. ... (See Rebates)

Consumers expecting holiday season to be a bit jollier -- Though consumers are less anxious about the recession hampering holiday festivities, analysts expect most will attempt to keep spending in check. ... (See Spending)

Banks' checking and debit overdraft policies draw scrutiny -- Banking overdraft fees are the subject of studies and scrutiny as consumers, legislators and industry officials weigh in on the controversial practice. ... (See Fees)

Wealthiest consumers still unwilling to spend -- Americans are still hesitant to spend. Even consumers earning some of the highest incomes are unwilling to reopen their wallets. ... (See Consumer spending)

More credit cardholders can count on concierges -- You no longer need be ultrarich, or even pay a fee, to obtain the customized services of a credit card concierge. ... (See Concierge)

How cell phone technology is helping combat credit card fraud -- Mobile phone technology is fast becoming the latest crime-fighting tool against credit card fraud ... (See Mobile detective)

How to safely, securely destroy a credit card: 6 tips -- With credit card fraud and identity theft on the rise, a single scissor snip won't cut it anymore. ... (See Destroy)

Consumer credit plunges record $21.5 billion in July -- Consumer debt fell by an unprecedented $21.5 billion in July, according to new Federal Reserve data, as consumers continued to shy away from borrowing in the recession. ... (See G.19)

Consumers' economic confidence grows, but nervousness lingers -- The latest Discover U.S. Spending Monitor survey says that although consumer economic confidence grew in August, more than half of consumers say they plan to cut back on unnecessary spending -- such as going out to dinner and movies -- in the month ahead. ... (See Confidence)

Study: Prepaid cards full of hidden dangers -- Though touted as a way to stay debt-free, the use of prepaid cards may subject consumers to high fees -- and the money may not be safe. ... (See Fees)

How magnets can ruin credit cards -- "Demagnetization" can render a card useless; know what to do if it happens. ... (See Useless)

Black, gold, titanium: Are elite credit cards worth it? -- If your credit rating is outstanding, you earn big and spend big, you could win an elite credit card, which provides premium benefits -- at extreme cost. ... (See Elite)

Have card, will travel: A guide to traveling with a credit card -- You need to take steps before, during and after the trip if you want your travel to be enjoyable for you and your credit. ... (See Travel)

Implantable credit card RFID chips: convenient, but creepy -- Forget the science of it -- and yes, it does work remarkably well. Forget the convenience of it. Forget that similar identifying technologies, from bar codes to mag stripes, overcame similar obstacles and are now ubiquitous. RFID implants face a hurdle the others did not: It's icky. ... (See RFID)

Americans rank high for credit card frugality -- Americans ranked highest among eight major countries in terms of limiting credit card purchases in an attempt to save. ... (See American thriftiness)

Do credit card rewards make people spend more? -- Study: The allure of credit card rewards is one contributing factor that may lead to increased card debt. ... (See Credit card rewards)

Study: Credit cards face bleak future -- New research indicates that consumers may never return to their old charging habits, jeopardizing the future of the credit card industry. ... (See Future)

Let's talk credit: 8 must-have couple conversations -- Attitudes about using credit cards vary dramatically, and learning a partner's outlook can avert all-too-common money disputes. Here are the eight top credit issues every couple should tackle. ... (See Talk to me)

Is credit card loyalty for chumps? -- Your loyalty may make you a stellar best friend, but it's not doing you any favors with your credit card company these days. The dismal economy may have turned your card issuer into a turncoat. ... (See Loyalty)

Most rental car companies accept debit cards, survey finds -- While it's easier to use a credit card than a debit card to rent a car, nearly all agencies allow debit, a CreditCards.com survey shows. ... (See Rental cars)

Summary chart: Restrictions rental agencies impose to rent car with debit card -- Renting a car with no credit card? It can be done, but rental car agencies impose many restrictions and extra demands on debit card users. ... (See Car rentals)

Is your credit card making you sick? Swine (H1N1) flu germs and plastic -- It may not be just that late fee that's making you feel ill: Flu viruses can last for hours -- even weeks -- on plastic surfaces. ... (See Sick)

Personal loan vs. credit card cash advance to pay for wedding -- For one-time events such as a wedding, go with the loan -- the rates are usually much cheaper. ... (See Loan)

Shopping and credit cards: Don't let a convenience become a curse -- For some, a mall and a credit card are a financially toxic mix. It need not be so. These tips will help you become a savvier shopper -- and maybe even save some money. ... (See Shopping)

How to shop your way to a better credit score -- Credit card issuers increasingly use complicated formulas to analyze their cardholders' purchasing patterns for signs of increased risk. ... (See Score)

Credit card foreign transaction fees going up - but a few issuers drop them -- The general trend is up for foreign transaction fees, but a few issuers have bucked the trend and dropped the fee from top-end rewards cards ... (See Foreign transaction fees)

ATM provider releases list of safety tips -- ATM service provider PULSE released a list of tips for protecting customers while using debit cards at ATMS and point-of-sale (POS) terminals. ... (See ATM safety)

'Free trial' offers can bring unwanted credit card charges -- Ever fall for the "order now and receive a free trial offer" on the latest energy booster or anti-aging cream? You're not alone. Here's how to avoid getting scammed. ... (See Scams)

Study: Credit cards don't increase spending -- Paying with credit cards instead of cash may in fact not cause consumers to spend more, according to a new study from Carnegie Mellon University. The study goes against current popular theory that people who buy with plastic tend to overspend. ... (See Study)

Thinking of buying an $8,000 motorcycle on a credit card? Weigh all options before your purchase -- A reader wants to use a new credit card to buy his dream motorcycle, but our columnist suggests waiting and weighing all his options before making the purchase. ... (See Dreams)

Your credit card has a carbon footprint -- A credit card's footprint is roughly the CO2 equivalent of five bank checks, 13 dollar bills -- or the gas to drive a Hummer 150 feet. ... (See Carbon)

If pandemic strikes, will banks, credit cards still work? -- If the swine flu goes pandemic, will your credit card issuer be ready? If it's not, it could mean empty ATMs, disrupted customer service and other such headaches for consumers. For banks, failure to prepare could mean losses of billions of dollars. ... (See Pandemic)

6 ways to maximize hotel rewards -- Hotel reward points can help you get more vacation for your buck this year, especially if you take advantage of loyalty program incentives and partnerships between credit card companies, hotels, airlines and retailers. Here are a few tips. ... (See Hotel )

Study: 'The war on phishing is far from over' -- More consumers were victims of phishing attacks in 2008 -- a 39.8 percent increase from a year earlier -- but the average amount lost decreased, according to a survey conducted by technology research company Gartner. ... (See Fraud)

Ex-wife maxes out joint cards: Who pays? -- Divorce is at best unpleasant and at worse very painful. Plus, the lingering separation of finances can add to the pain for years. ... (See Maxed out)

4 ways to receive bonus gift cards -- Shop at the right place or time, ask the right questions and a free gift card could be yours. ... (See Bonus)

Ad campaign fights credit card interchange fees -- American households pay hundreds of dollars a year in hidden credit card fees called interchange fees each year, a practice that a business coalition has vowed to fight to eliminate. ... (See Interchange fee ads)

Heartland data breach damages still mounting -- More than two months after the announcement of the Heartland Payment Systems security breach, the processor has continued to draw fire from merchants and issuers. ... (See Breach)

Calling Dick Tracy: Credit card watches debut -- The wristwatch-credit card combo is fashionable, keeps good time and has a $10,000 credit limit. ... (See Watch)

Tricks and tips to keep frequent flier miles from expiring -- You don't have to book a ticket to keep your frequent flier miles from expiring -- you just have to shop. ... (See Expiration)

Credit card video: Holiday shopping tips -- As the holidays approach, there are many ways consumers can prepare for shopping. Before hitting the malls, beware of debt regret, don't forget buying options such as layaway and make sure you call your credit card company to find out what warranties you may already have ... (See Holiday shopping video)

Credit card biometrics making its way from the movies to the marketplace -- Credit cards with biometric security features may no longer be the stuff of spy movies, but a mainstream alternative to sloppy signatures and forgotten passwords. ... (See ID theft)

'Tokenization' touted as a new way to increase credit card data security -- Rather than spend more making credit card data hackproof, a new concept would prevent ID theft by never having merchants store the data in the first place. ... (See ID theft)

9 ways to budget with a prepaid card -- Living without plastic is hard, but switching to prepaid cards can help you avoid debt and teach you how to live within your means. ... (See Prepaid)

Exercise caution when selling jewelry to pay down debt -- Selling off jewelry to pay down credit card debt can be a good idea -- as long as you don't get ripped off ... (See Jewels)

4 reasons you should get a department store credit card -- Often (and justly) maligned, retail store cards sometimes can help. ... (See Retail)

Where some of the best rewards cards can be found -- Despite an overall tightening of credit, some credit card issuers are actually sweetening reward offers. ... (See Points)

7 ways the sexes handle credit differently -- Think you and your partner whip out the credit cards for different reasons? What about debt repayment -- is there a difference between the sexes? The answers may surprise you. ... (See Gender)

7 credit card myths debunked -- We've all heard them, and we've probably believed more than a few. But living by a credit card myth can cost you in fees and hurt your credit rating. Here are seven of the most pervasive credit card myths to watch out for. ... (See Myths)

Money clubs make a comeback -- If you're one of those people who finds that a little group support never hurts, you may want to organize a money club. ... (See Clubs)

Poll: Holiday spending less pleasant for consumers -- A new CreditCards.com poll shows two out of five Americans report less pleasant holiday shopping than last year. ... (See Shopping)

Too much fast food can be hazardous to your credit -- No, where you eat doesn't have an impact on your credit score, but that's not the full story. While paying plastic for that Big Mac won't hurt your credit score, it might just make issuers think that you're a credit risk. ... (See Fast food)

How to replace a lost, stolen gift card (or return an unwanted one) -- The reason so many of us love gift cards -- they're a lot like cash -- is also the reason they can be hard to replace when they're stolen or lost. However, there are steps you can take to reclaim that moolah ... (See Returning, replacing gift cards)

How credit card transactions work -- This interactive graphic shows what happens when you swipe a credit card, from the merchant to the processing network to the issuing and acquiring banks. ... (See Process)

How to finance a wedding or an engagement ring -- If you want her to marry you for richer and not poorer, study the fine print to make sure the bauble on her finger doesn't turn into a ball and chain on your newlywed finances ... (See Engagement ring financing)

Best credit card stories of 2008 -- The year 2008 saw unprecedented change in the credit card industry, turning card debt from convenient friend into everyone's enemy. These are the top 10 stories that helped chronicle it. ... (See 2008 review)

Become debt-free with credit card debt consolidation -- If you have a large outstanding credit card balance, now might be the time to consider your credit card debt consolidation options. ... (See Credit card debt consolidation)

Credit card recommendations for your post holiday bills -- Credit card bill-paying tactics that can help you deal with high post holiday card payments. ... (See Credit card debt)

Card issuers, customers 'maxed-out' in frustrating holiday season -- Credit card issuers cutting credit lines. Cardholders strapped for cash. Both sides of the credit card equation are being squeezed, causing some uncomfortable situations at the cash register this holiday season. ... (See Maxed out)

Specialty gift cards and comparison chart -- Bird lover? Chocoholic? As a holiday gift-giver, it might be nice to give a specialty gift card that will encourage recipients to temporarily forgo frugality, despite the glum economy. ... (See Gifting)

Giving the gift of flight with airline gift cards -- Anyone considering giving an airline gift card should make sure all the terms and conditions won't prevent redemption ... (See Airline gift cards)

2008 credit card holiday promotions -- Credit card issuers are sweetening their deals at the end of 2008 by adding rewards and special offers from merchants. ... (See Deals)

Gifts that give twice: Charitable gift cards -- Give more meaning and economize your holiday gift giving by purchasing gifts that give twice -- charity gift cards. ... (See Charity)

Just say no to store credit cards -- There are too many reasons why you shouldn't want a credit card for every store in the mall, so pass up those one-time discounts. ... (See Stores)

Gift cards: Practicality is in for '09 -- Gift cards are still wildly popular, even as Americans struggle through the recession, but many people are rethinking how they use them. ... (See Holidays)

Keeping your credit score clean before you close on a home -- Unwitting homebuyers who go on a credit card binge risk losing their pre-approval status and financing. ... (See Homebuyers)

Deferred interest, same as cash; Play the game right or you lose -- It's tempting: 'No payments for 12 months.' Find out the how deferred interest payment programs work, the best way to use them and what happens if you don't pay on time. ... (See Deferred interest)

10 creative -- or desperate -- uses for credit cards -- The pieces of plastic in your wallet are good for more than spending. In a pinch, they can scrape ice from a window, pick a guitar and more. ... (See Ice scraper)

13 tips to protect yourself on Black Friday, Cyber Monday -- Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren't just big days for shoppers -- ID thieves look forward to them, too. We'll give you tips to make sure that your identity is safe and secure when you shop online or in the stores. ... (See Shopping safely)

Gift card malls cut time, gas costs and money for holiday shopping -- The country's continuing economic downturn has created an atmosphere ripe for the one-stop shopping convenience of gift card malls. ... (See Malls)

Store credit cards still offered, but approvals become stricter -- While it may sound enticing to save 15 percent off your purchase at the checkout counter by applying for that retail credit card, your chances of getting approved for a store credit card are getting slimmer. ... (See Store cards)

Compare credit card rental car insurance coverage: Policies vary widely -- Credit card companies' policies vary sharply, so don't always be quick to turn down rental car agencies' optional coverage. ... (See Rental car)

U.S. retail store credit card comparison -- There are two types of retail store cards. ... (more)

Credit card addiction: How to break the spending cycle -- For compulsive buyers, the overwhelming need to buy is an obsession that can ruin finances, marriages, careers and even lives, say compulsive shopping addicts and researchers. ... (See Compulsive shopping)

Discounts: 8 ways to get gift cards for less -- Use these techniques to pay less than face value or boost buying power of a gift card ... (See Discount gift cards)

As holiday budgets tighten, gift cards remain popular -- Although holiday sales overall are expected to take a hit this year, analysts say gift cards' popularity will continue. ... (See Gift cards)

Top 10 creative ways to wrap gift cards -- The solution for gift-card lovers or skeptics comes in the form of thinking outside the box -- the ubiquitous, gift card-sized gift card box, that is -- and in getting creative. ... (See Gift card wrapping ideas)

Don't lose those expired gift card funds -- For most gift cards issued by major retail chains, expiration dates are, well, expiring. Still, for those consumers whose gift cards do expire, there are ways to recover those funds rather than losing them forever. ... (See Expired cards)

How to buy a car with a credit card -- and when not to -- Not all car dealers let you, but for those with rewards cards and faith in their ability to repay, buying a car with a credit card can make sense. ... (See New wheels)

4 tips for negotiating for better credit card terms -- Know your own value, do your research and you'll come out ahead in negotiations with your credit card issuer. ... (See 4 tips)

Why students pay for college with credit cards, tips to avoid -- When money gets too tight for tuition, a growing group of students and their families break out the plastic. ... (See Cut card use)

10 questions to ask about layaway plans -- Looking to layaway? Here are 10 questions to ask that will help you find a good layaway plan -- and avoid those that should be thrown away ... (See 10 layaway questions)

Layaway enjoying small revival for the holidays -- Layaway, largely erased by the rise of credit cards, is making a minor comeback in time for the holidays. ... (See Comeback)

Back-to-school credit card advice for students, parents -- Tips for financing the school year, dealing with credit wisely and learning how to finance post-graduation life. ... (See Credit education)

Good dog, bad bill: Veterinary care financing options -- Pet owners have more veterinary treatment choices than ever, which is good for pets, but can strain finances. We review the payment options. ... (See Pay the vet)

Surprise! Unexpected items can appear on a credit report -- Hoping to keep your credit score up? You’ll not only want to stay current with your credit card bills, mortgage payments and student loans -- you may also need to pay any outstanding library fines. ... (See Credit report)

Even credit card purchases at home may now trigger 'international' fee -- Credit card purchases may be 'international,' even if you aren't. ... (See Not so foreign)

Many airlines now accepting plastic for in-flight purchases -- Weary travelers, take heart. On most airlines, you are now free to pay for your in-flight Heineken or Harry Potter movie with your credit card. ... (See In-flight charges)

6 tips for financing a funeral -- Planning a funeral on the heels of a loved one's passing -- especially when the loss is unexpected -- is one of the toughest things you can go through. Still, despite the time crunch and emotional upset, there are steps you can take to control your costs. ... (See Funeral costs)

Financing a funeral: All options have pluses, minuses -- What is the best way to pay for funeral expenses? All the methods of paying have pluses and minuses. ... (See Funeral financing)

Foreign transaction fees and rules for the top credit card issuers -- Here are the foreign transaction fees, also known as currency conversion fees, charged by top American credit card issuers to consumers who travel abroad. ... (See Foreign transaction fees)

How to dispute a credit card bill with a merchant -- Dissatisfied with a merchant's product or service? If you do it right, your credit card issuer may step in to help ... (See Dispute merchant credit card charges)

Auto manufacturer reward credit cards: a car deal on wheels? -- Many of today’s credit cardholders aren't interested in just any old rewards -- they're holding out for perks that come in the form of brand-new, all-leather-interior, fully loaded, shiny status symbols to adorn their driveways. ... (See Auto manufacturer credit cards)

Artists recycle credit cards into craft creations -- Some creative crafts people are happy to breathe new life into old cards -- and are doing their part to keep that plastic from heading to the landfill. ... (See Recycled credit cards)

4 ways to safeguard personal information online -- As Internet criminals grow smarter and sneakier, it's increasingly difficult to keep your credit card and personal information safe. Here are four fundamental tips. ... (See Credit card fraud)

Buying pirated music with credit cards: potentially risky -- Those who use their credit cards to buy songs from controversial Russian-based Web sites may be engaging in international piracy. ... (See Charging pirated music )

Despite lingering online fears, virtual credit cards stall -- Although the paranoia that spawned them and the hoopla that accompanied their birth have died down, virtual credit cards are still available for those who want extra assurance ... (See Virtual credit cards)

Car's too small, loan's upside down -- A woman who needs a bigger car but who is upside down on her car loan should focus on paying down the debt before looking at bigger vehicles, says The Credit Guy. ... (more)

6 tips for organizing gift, debit and credit cards -- Between gift cards, debit cards and credit cards, you can end up with a lot of plastic. Here are six organizing tips. ... (more)

Cellphone plus contactless credit card equals Yak, wave, buy -- What do you get when you add contactless credit capabilities to your cellphone? A single device for making calls and credit card purchases. You yak, you wave, you buy ... (more)

Holiday credit card debt solutions -- Climbing out of holiday debt isn't easy, but it has to be done. Here's how to assess the damage and get a plan together. ... (See Regret)

Cure the debt hangover, shed credit card debt -- This set of articles will help you understand why you keep finding yourself in holiday debt, how to get out of this mess and how to prevent it from happening again next year. ... (more)

12 tips for renting a car with a debit card -- Renting a car with no credit card can be done, but expect extra obstacles and costs. These tips can help you overcome them. ... (See 12 tips)

Disclosures would increase on subprime credit card fees -- Subprime cards carry upfront fees that the Federal Reserve board contends are not clearly disclosed to customers. ... (more)

Regulation Z amendments would require changes in credit card terms -- Regulation Z amendments would require changes in credit card terms to be displayed in a table for easy reading. ... (more)

Rules for credit card periodic statement disclosures -- Under proposed federal rule changes, monthly credit card statements would include tables to clearly disclose fees, interest, purchases and other details. ... (more)

Regulation Z rules proposed for credit card fee disclosures -- Credit card companies would have to clearly disclose fees charged to credit cardholders. ... (more)

Regulation amendments propose fixed rate credit cards -- Fixed credit card rates would actually be fixed under Regulation Z amendments. ... (more)

Reg Z proposes credit card notice of term changes to 45 days -- Changes in terms of credit card contracts would need 45 days' advance notice. ... (more)

How the public feels about Regulation Z proposed changes to credit card disclosure rules -- Comments from consumers, credit grantors, payment processors and others on proposed changes to credit card disclosure rules ... (more)

Taking a credit card on a foreign vacation: 10 tips -- On balance, bringing your credit card on vacation is a smart decision, but expect extra fees and take precautions. ... (more)

Identity theft: Credit card dangers lurk on smaller websites -- Credit card dangers, such as identity theft, can pose a greater threat on smaller websites. ... (more)

Be cautious about opening store credit card accounts during the holidays -- Store credit cards may be appealing to shoppers looking to save money, but there are a number of reasons that initial 10% savings may not be enough to make having such a card a winning proposition. ... (more)

Consumer rights for credit and debit cards -- U.S. Central Bank interest rates have been raised on variable-rate credit cards and home equity lines of credit. ... (more)

7 tips for paying winter heating bills -- Having a hard time paying astronomic heating bills? These 7 tips can help. ... (more)

Credit card fraud and online shopping -- Learn the credit card fraud dangers of online shopping and how to avoid them. ... (more)

Can you blame a credit card for those extra pounds? -- Data suggests that consumers may be contributing to their own weight problems by making fast-food purchases using credit cards and debit cards. ... (more)

Buying a car with a credit card -- Using a low interest credit card rather than a car loan to finance a car could be an option, as long as you are aware of what could trigger an increase in the card's APR. ... (more)

Visa reports weak end to 2006 holiday sales -- Visa said that sales for holiday 2006 appear to have fallen short of its earlier outlook. ... (more)

Credit card reward points can translate into holiday gifts -- Reward credit card points can be redeemed for gift certificates or checks that can be used to buy Christmas gifts this holiday season. ... (See Points)

Be credit card savvy when shopping for the holidays -- Knowing a few things beforehand can make holiday shopping with a credit card a much better experience. ... (more)

10 tips to curb holiday credit card mistakes -- Experts offer 10 tips on how to enjoy the holidays while avoiding credit card debt stemming from too much spending. ... (See Holiday)

MasterCard credit cards to be accepted at Sam's Club -- Sam's Club now accepting MasterCard Credit Card instead of Visa. Read about it at CreditCards.com ... (more)

Holiday shopping incentives for credit cards can be tempting -- Although holiday shopping incentives can be tempting, personal information may be used for marketing initiatives. ... (more)

Why some businesses still don't take credit cards -- Small businesses do not always accept credit cards. Find out why at CreditCards.com ... (more)

Credit card spam charges involve smaller, less noticeable theft -- Credit card users need to look out for spam charges -- smaller unauthorized transactions which thieves hope to sneak by on credit card bills. ... (more)

Consumers increasingly use their credit cards to purchase small-ticket items -- Consumers increasingly use credit cards for to pay for small-ticket purchases. ... (more)

Instant credit card approval: What it really means -- Does instant credit card approval mean you can use your card right away? Not necessarily. ... (See What instant approval means)

Online credit card applications: FAQ about CreditCards.com and your card application -- If you're wondering whether it's safe or smart to apply for a credit card here at CreditCards.com, it's both. Here are answers to frequently asked questions ... (more)