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Saturday, March 28th 2015 weekly newsletter

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Newsletter Archive

January 22, 2015

Financial infidelity poll: 6% hid bank account from partner
In a new national survey, we asked people living with a spouse or partner about their money secrets, hidden bank accounts and undisclosed splurges...

January 15, 2015

balance-transfer-survey 2015 Balance Transfer Survey: Offers more generous, but move fast
The typical credit card balance transfer offers have become more generous, but you have to act quickly to take advantage of them, according to a 2015 analysis of 100 popular credit card offers...

January 8, 2015

9 baby steps that lead to big financial goals
Breaking down big goals into baby steps makes them seem less overwhelming. Here are a few small actions to get on the path to financial health and sound credit...

December 31, 2014

Mobile apps raise security, privacy issues
A investigation reveals that mobile shopping apps may be accessing your phone's camera, text messages, flashlight and more...

December 23, 2014

Top retailers' return and receipt policies
Our survey of 12 large retailers' policies regarding returning items without a receipt show most allow it -- within certain limits...

December 18, 2014

7 high-tech holiday scams
As they attempt to spoil your holidays, crooks are turning to technology, using email, apps and phony online surveys in service of their cons...

December 11, 2014

Poll: More Americans expect to be in debt forever
A new survey conducted by asks Americans when they expect to get out of debt; 18 percent of those in debt say "never"...

December 4, 2014

How much do banks make off credit card loans?
The most costly card companies are ones you probably never heard of -- but you just might carry one of their credit cards...

November 25, 2014

Survey: 3 in 4 Americans make impulse purchases
A national survey by Creditcards.comĀ  found more than three out of four Americans make impulse purchases; men when they're intoxicated, women when they're sad...

November 20, 2014

Retailer beacons raise privacy issues
Retailers increasingly are using electronic beacons that track smartphones to improve service and offer customized deals. But the technology also raises privacy concerns...

November 6, 2014

Retailer beacons raise privacy issues
Retailers increasingly are using electronic beacons that track smartphones to improve service and offer customized deals. But the technology also raises privacy concerns...

November 6, 2014

Currency changes to aid blind slow to take shape
New technology and phone apps have made it easier for blind consumers to discern cash, despite delays in physically changing the currency...

October 30, 2014

EMV switch won't eliminate travel woes
As issuers roll out chip cards in the U.S., they're opting for chip-and-signature technology, rather than the chip-and-PIN standard used in many other countries...

October 23, 2014

How credit cards impact your credit score
When it comes to your credit score, credit cards have the power to help you or hurt you; here are the main ways that you, your cards and your score intersect...

October 16, 2014

Trip canceled? Your card may reimburse you
How much of your trip's travel insurance is already covered by your credit card? Some cards offer reimbursements on failed travel plans...

October 9, 2014

One family's triumph over credit card debt
Selected as Clients Of The Year by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the 13-person Unverzagt family paid off its $38,000 credit card debt in five years...

October 2, 2014

30 percent utilization rule' is a myth
A very low credit-to-borrowing ratio is best, but it's a myth that your score falls off a cliff once your credit utilization hits 30 percent...

September 25, 2014

Poll: Asking for better credit card terms pays off
According to a new survey by CreditCards.Com, credit card holders found that simply asking for a better rate or late payment fee waiver yielded positive results...

September 18, 2014

How to avoid crushing student debt
Saving early, shopping for colleges, applying for grants and scholarships, and working part-time while in school are a few steps that may ease long-term financial burdens...

September 11, 2014

Average credit card debt: How do you stack up?
What does the average Joe owe on his credit cards? That would be $3,600. Or $7,743. Or $5,234. Or $1,098. When it comes to credit card debt, that average Joe is one elusive fellow...

September 3, 2014

Buying a car with a credit card often an uphill fight
Swiping a card to buy a car could give you consumer protections and perks. But most dealers hate plastic, so you might have to wheel and deal

August 28, 2014

Poll: Cash or card for $5 purchase?
The younger you are, the more likely you are to prefer debit or credit cards for payments of under $5, a new poll shows

August 21, 2014

6 signs of bad financial advice
While good sound nuggets of money advice can help you keep money in your pocket, bad advice can leave you digging out of a financial hole

August 14, 2014

8 ways to get friends to repay a personal loan
A pal was in a bind and turned to you for help. You agreed, but now you're not getting repaid and your frustration is growing as fast as the excuses

August 7, 2014

Ready to pay rent with credit card?
If you could pay your rent with plastic, would you? As more landlords offer that option, renters have to weigh carefully whether it's the best way to pay

July 31, 2014

30 renowned restaurants that don't take credit cards
Some beloved eateries refuse to take credit cards from patrons, yet still find a way to thrive

July 24, 2014

30 renowned restaurants that don't take credit cards
Some beloved eateries refuse to take credit cards from patrons, yet still find a way to thrive

July 17, 2014

Debt and divorce: 5 steps to make a clean credit split
Divorce can get ugly if one person doesn't follow the debt repayments outlined in the divorce decree. Take these steps to increase your chances of a smooth split

July 10, 2014

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, CVV, CV2, CVC or CCV, but you need to know what -- and where -- it is

July 3, 2014

Minimum card payments rising
Our survey of the top 10 card issuers' minimum payment requirements shows they're raising their minimum-dollar-amount payments

June 26, 2014

10 times NOT to use credit cards
Those pieces of plastic are convenient, but if you want to retain your sanity and pocketbook, give the poor things a rest sometimes

June 19, 2014

What's your 'real' FICO score? All of the above
Have you ever wondered why your FICO score varies? Today it's 700, tomorrow the car dealer runs your credit report and informs you that your score is 699! What happened?

June 12, 2014

Are schools putting your child's information at risk?
It's become the norm for school districts to turn over sensitive student data to outside " cloud computing " companies, a practice that ignites concerns about student privacy

June 5, 2014

Dragnet Nation' author: Can I have my privacy back?
The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter's book investigates who is watching us online, what they're doing with the data (including selling it), and why it matters

May 29, 2014

4 ways crooks cash in on your personal data
You've heard about data thieves, but have you wondered what they do with your info once they've stolen it? Here's how crooks convert your details into their cash

May 22, 2014

CFPB: Credit scores for medical debt are unfair
A study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finds that medical debt collection weighs too heavily on people's credit scores

May 15, 2014

Rebuilding bad credit in 5 really slow steps
Quick-fix solutions are as elusive as Bigfoot. Don't think of rebuilding as a race -- slow and steady changes are needed, and time and patience are your allies

May 8, 2014

Court judgments for debt: Your options after the gavel
Court judgments for debt lead to seizure of wages and property, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself after the decision comes down

May 1, 2014

Debt rises by 5 percent in top 20 US cities
A credit bureau's study shows borrowing is back on the rise in 19 of the 20 biggest U.S. cities, with Dallas and Houston leading the way

April 24, 2014

Cashless toll roads and rental cars: 6 tips
If you ever find yourself stuck in a rental car on an e-toll road with no cash option, you have more choices than to get gouged now or gouged later. Here are six tips.

January 16, 2014

6 ways NOT to pay off 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 payoff plans.

January 9, 2014

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.

December 31, 2013

Top retailers' return policies for items without receipts
Although a staunch " no receipt, no return " policy is rare, it still happens. Our survey of 12 large retailers' policies regarding returning items without a receipt shows most allow it -- within limits.

December 26, 2013

How to return, replace a lost or unwanted gift card
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 stolen or lost.

December 19, 2013

Charity gift cards: the gift that lets recipients give back
Tutor a student? Sure. Feed orphaned chimps? Of course. Support local artists? Why not. Charity gift cards let recipients choose a favorite cause

December 12, 2013

Just how bad are credit card cash advances?
Using your credit card to withdraw cash at an ATM or using one of those handy checks that come with your monthly statement can cost you plenty, an exclusive survey shows

December 5, 2013

Can retailers ask for ID with credit card purchases?
Merchant requests to verify your ID with a card purchase are intended to protect you from fraud, but some argue you're safer if you don't play along

November 27, 2013

Gift card scammers skirt security with new tricks
As gift card security increases, fraudsters are upping their game with old-fashioned trickery and new technology intended to part you from your money

November 21, 2013

How to ask for a credit limit increase
If you want to raise the ceiling on how much you can charge, you're at the mercy of the card issuer, so have your arguments ready

November 14, 2013

10 places where you should not use a debit card
They may look just like credit cards, but debit cards have different protections and uses. Sometimes they're not the best choice

November 7, 2013

10 things NOT to do when applying for a new credit card
When applying for a credit card, especially if you've had money problems, do one of these 10 things, and wham! You've just hurt your chances of getting approved

October 31, 2013

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

October 24, 2013

Late payments: How high can fines, fees go?
Occasional tardiness won gentler treatment under a 2009 reform law, but repeat offenses bring heavier penalties, especially for chronic late payers

October 17, 2013

7 jobs that require great credit
While not all employers check your credit reports, some jobs require it. Make sure your credit is squeaky clean before trying for one of these jobs

October 10, 2013

Couple repays $50,000 in debt despite hardships
Cancer, Alzheimer's and unexpected early retirement didn't deter a Georgia couple from biting the bullet to repay $50,000 in credit card debt

October 3, 2013

12 creepy things data brokers know about you
Personal data -- such as where you travel, how much you make or even what kind of car you drive -- is no longer considered your own private business

September 26, 2013

4 ways to build credit without a credit card
If you want to start building credit but don't want to get a credit card, or simply can't, don't give up. You have other options to build a credit profile.

September 19, 2013

Are squiggly finger signatures legally binding?
As more merchants make the transition to mobile payment systems, signing with your finger is the new norm. But is that illegible, squiggly scribble really legally binding?

September 12, 2013

9 debt myths debunked
Did you hear the one about how making even a small payment will stop debt collectors in their tracks? If you believe that, you need some myth-debunking.

September 5, 2013

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.

August 29, 2013

Avoid paying interest on no-interest deals
About one in five people who sign up for no-interest deals on big-ticket items actually wind up owing finance charges -- often hundreds of dollars -- because of tripwires in the terms of the credit cards that are used to finance them.

August 22, 2013

Card debt negotiation in 3 (not) easy steps
You can still dicker over your credit card debt and work out better terms, but expect a marathon, not a sprint.

August 15, 2013

How to dispute bogus credit report inquiries
If a negative item on your credit report isn't true, you dispute it. But did you know the same goes for credit report inquiries you don't recognize or didn't approve?

August 8, 2013

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 and emotion.

August 1, 2013

Rules of the road for improving your credit mix
Having greater diversity in the types of credit you use can nudge your credit score up -- as long as you make your payments on time.

July 25, 2013

Credit reports now show card bill-paying habits
The big three credit bureaus are adding new payment data to the reports of some 160 million card-carrying adults showing whether you rack up interest charges, giving issuers another reason to chase you -- or avoid you.

July 18, 2013

Cash crisis? How salary advances work
If you need a few extra dollars for an unexpected emergency, there's one source you may not have considered: your future paycheck.

July 12, 2013

What's the average credit card debt? Take your pick
Depending on how the average is measured and who's doing the measuring, Americans are either doing pretty well when it comes to managing our credit cards, or horribly.

July 4, 2013

Using plastic to pay off student loans?
Using one or more credit cards to get out from under the burden of student loan payments can seem tempting, but all too often, it can backfire.

June 27, 2013

Attorneys bust 5 bankruptcy myths
Only deadbeats, cheats and crooks file for bankruptcy, right? Nothing could be further from the truth, say the folks who deal with bankruptcy day to day.

June 20, 2013

5 top excuses (and fixes) for paying bills late
Excuses abound for paying bills late, but none do you any good. We identify the top five -- and a way to overcome each one.

June 13, 2013

6 ways to protect credit after a natural disaster
While your first priority after experiencing a life-altering tragedy may be to rebuild, ignoring your debts can hamper your recovery.

June 6, 2013

Same-sex marriage means joint custody of debt
As more states allow same-sex marriage, gay couples will discover they must take on one of matrimony's biggest legal burdens: a partner's debt.

May 23, 2013

Shared accounts: Know the difference
Joint account, co-signer or guarantor? Your liability for shared debt could vary greatly depending upon the type of account you choose.

May 16, 2013

How to ask for a credit limit increase
If you want to raise the ceiling on how much you can charge on your credit card, you're at the mercy of the card issuer, so have your arguments ready.

May 9, 2013

Pay late? Carry a balance? No problem
If you run a balance and even pay late sometimes, there's a card for that as issuers offer rewards for paying on time and reprieves from late fees.

May 2, 2013

Balance transfer card fees drop, add new twist's annual balance transfer offer survey finds fees are falling, but a new breed of debt-tempting hybrid cards is on the rise.

April 25, 2013

Card application rejected? 3 steps to getting approved
Rejected for a new credit card? Take these steps to make sure that the next time you apply for new plastic, your chances for approval are high.

April 18, 2013

6 things that won't hurt your credit score
Lose your job? Pay your taxes late? Locked up in prison? These won't hurt your credit score, as long as you keep paying the bills on time.

April 11, 2013

10 things not to do when applying for a card
When applying for a card, especially if you've had money problems, do one of these and wham! You just hurt your chances of getting approved.

April 4, 2013

Damaged credit: Can you sue?
Courts are now seeing good credit as a valuable personal asset. So if it's wrongly hurt, you may be able to sue for damages.

March 28, 2013

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.

March 21, 2013

Pros, cons of paying taxes with a credit card
A multitude of IRS tax payment options exist, including using plastic. Before you boost your balance (and perhaps rewards) to pay your taxes, know exactly what to expect.

March 14, 2013

What to expect if sued for card debt
If you have been served a summons to appear in court over unpaid card debt, the legal journey will unfold in six stages. Know what they are.

March 7, 2013

Has your credit report been viewed illegally?
Though most credit report inquiries are legitimate, there are some scenarios that can lead to it being read by someone who shouldn't.

February 28, 2013

Credit limit trick: Know 'snapshot' date
Forget the oft-repeated axiom about keeping card balances below 30 percent of your credit limit. Just know your monthly credit " snapshot " date to keep your card balances low and your credit score high.

February 14, 2013

11 options for filing tax returns for free
Want to file your taxes for free? Depending on how much money you make and other factors, you might have several choices for free filing online or in-person with volunteer help.

February 7, 2013

Big credit counseling agencies pay salaries that match
Their clients are financially struggling, but many executives at the largest nonprofit credit counseling agencies are pulling down salaries that put them in the top 1 percent of U.S. earners.

January 31, 2013

1099-C surprise: IRS tax follows canceled debt
If you thought your money woes ended last year when you settled that credit card debt, think again. For many consumers with debt problems, after the debt collector leaves their lives, the taxman arrives.

January 24, 2013

5 credit lessons to teach your daughters
Homeschooling about credit is especially important for daughters, because women with low levels of financial literacy do worse with credit than their male counterparts. Here are five lessons to teach your daughters before they leave home.

January 17, 2013

Multiply rewards with prepaid/reload card shuffle
Rewards junkies' newest strategy multiplies points and miles fast using prepaid and reload cards. It's a bit like getting rewards for a cash advance.

January 10, 2013

7 factors that do NOT impact your credit score
Some slip-ups can damage your credit score, but do you know which of your personal and financial attributes have no bearing on that three-digit number?

January 3, 2013

When does charging taxes, tuition make sense?
Large payments for taxes or tuition can rack up big rewards, but they often come with extra costs -- " convenience fees. " When is it wise to pay them?

December 14, 2012

11 smartphone tips for holiday shopping
If the thought of making lists, battling crowds and spending lots of money makes you feel less than jolly, cheer up. You may already have the tools to make holiday shopping a snap in your smartphone.

December 7, 2012

Credit reports falsely flag some as terrorists
Credit bureaus are selling lenders special notations on credit reports called OFAC alerts. But some bureaus aren't telling consumers about the alerts -- and aren't allowing them to dispute it.

November 30, 2012

How high will your fiscal cliff be?
If we fall off a " fiscal cliff, " do you know where you would land? Here's what to do now to prepare and soften the impact of expiring tax breaks and spending cuts.

November 21, 2012

Issuers roll out limited-time deals for holidays
Even the stingiest spenders will be able to stretch their holiday budgets by playing their credit cards right. Issuers have again sweetened their year-end offers with limited-time special deals.

November 16, 2012

Welcome to the U.S.! Now show us your cards
International travelers who arouse suspicions when they arrive at U.S. airports, seaports and border crossings soon may have to open their wallets and allow their cards to be scanned by U.S. Customs.

November 9, 2012

Election results strengthen consumer protections
Election wins by President Barack Obama and consumer rights firebrand Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts strengthen the hand of the fledgling Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, policy analysts said.

November 2, 2012

5 ways not to goof up credit report disputes
If you're not careful, you could unknowingly undermine your consumer rights -- as well as the ability to successfully challenge your case -- when disputing credit report errors.

October 26, 2012

Study: Heavy Facebook use linked to higher debt
A pair of U.S. marketing professors say they have found a relationship between time spent on Facebook and lower credit scores, higher credit card debt and bigger waistlines.

October 19, 2012

Disputing errors on credit reports: A broken process
By law, credit bureaus are required to investigate credit report errors -- and fix them. But an investigation by shows the process is broken.

October 12, 2012

Celebrity fan sites fined for wooing kids to charge
Young folks with Bieber Fever were encouraged to 'grab a parent with a credit card' and improperly share personal information, feds say.

October 5, 2012

10 surefire ways to remove credit report errors
If you've already spent months or even years trying to scrub errors from your credit reports, it may feel like you have no choice but to live with them. However, don't give up too soon. You can get those errors fixed.

September 20, 2012

Wisconsin credit scores outrank all others
A study released this week by Experian found big regional differences when examining the average credit scores of U.S. metropolitan areas. Of the 10 cities with the highest average credit scores, eight are in the Midwest -- including four in Wisconsin.

September 13, 2012

How to outtalk your inner spender
" You deserve it! " it coos. " It's the last one! " Ah, that inner voice -- the one that talks you into debt. With practice, though, you can overcome its seduction.
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