Constance Sommer

Constance Sommer

Constance Sommer writes about personal finance, health care and other topics. When she’s not at her computer, she can be found chauffeuring her kids around their Los Angeles neighborhood.

Constance Sommer's stories at

Student credit card: When, how, why to graduate to a regular unsecured card -- If you graduated from school, it's also time to graduate from a student credit card to a regular card. Upgrading comes with a few benefits, if you know how to do it right. ... (See Student credit card: How to upgrade)

Student credit card: When, how, why to graduate to a regular unsecured card -- If you graduated from school, it's also time to graduate from a student credit card to a regular card. Upgrading comes with a few benefits, if you know how to do it right. ... (See Student credit card: How to upgrade)

Going cashless: Is your business ready to go cashless? Pros, cons, tips -- If your business is considering going cashless, consider the pros and cons first. Start by knowing your customer base - and learn from experiences of other businesses who've tried to go cashless with mixed results. ... (See Going cashless: Small-business guide)

Employee company credit card: How to cancel without hurting your credit -- If you had a business credit card issued by your employer that was suddenly canceled, there are steps you can take to make sure it doesn't hurt your credit. Here's what to do. ... (See Cancel employer-issued card: Tips to protect your credit)

Retail credit card: How to upgrade to a regular card -- Have a retail store credit card but think it's time to apply for a regular credit card? Here's what you need to know, including approval tips and what to do with that old store card. ... (See How to upgrade to a regular card from a store card)

Summer vacation: Plan early using rewards points -- Looking forward to a summer vacation? January is the perfect time to start exploring destination options, looking for great deals -- and planning your credit card rewards strategy to fund your trip. ... (See Summer vacations: How to plan early)

Unique holiday gifts: Where to find them, how to save using credit cards -- Looking for truly unique gifts for your loved ones this holiday season? These tips will help you take advantage of social media and other tools, including card rewards, to find, and pay for, really original holiday gifts. ... (See Unique holiday gifts)

Is Black Friday worth it? Credit card tips to amp up savings -- Is Black Friday worth it? That depends on what you want to buy ? and your family's holiday shopping habits. Regardless, these tips can help you amp up savings. ... (See Is Black Friday worth it?)

Last-minute holiday travel: Dos, don'ts, rewards cards tips -- If you waited till the last minute to plan a holiday vacation, here's how to score the best deals and use card rewards and loyalty programs on last-minute holiday travel. ... (See Last-minute holiday travel)

Reconsideration lines offer a second chance at credit card approval -- If your credit card application has been denied you might have a second chance of approval by calling the issuer's reconsideration line. Here's when to call and what to say. ... (See Card issuers' reconsideration lines)

One credit card for everything: Pros, cons and tips to make it work -- Using just one credit card for everything can have pros and cons. Here's how to make the best out of having a single card in your wallet. ... (See One credit card for everything)

Staycation savings: Earn rewards on local summer entertainment -- Staying local this summer? Credit cards can help you offset summer expenses beyond travel, with savings on restaurants, movies, museums, theme parks and camps ... (See Staycation rewards)

Paying with cards at marijuana dispensaries? It's complicated -- Marijuana is legal in 29 states and D.C., but remains illegal under federal law, which has hindered dispensaries' access to card processing options. Still, some might let you pay with plastic. ... (See Cannabis and credit cards)

How to use a cash back card as a savings tool -- With some planning and a strategy, you can save for emergencies or big expenses ... (See Using cash back card for savings)

5 books, 4 movies to learn more about personal finance -- Further your and your family's money savvy with these expert-picked flicks, reads ... (See Books, movies about personal finance)

Do's and don'ts when giving teens their first credit card -- Decide whether it's time, then help your teens use cards wisely, and put checks in place if they don't ... (See Teen's first card)

Go paperless without neglecting your card bills -- Help the environment, save money - but stay on top of your finances. Here's how ... (See Tips to go paperless)

Plastiq, Tio: Pros, cons of charging your bills through an online service -- Services such as Plastiq and Tio let you charge many bills you'd otherwise have to pay straight from your bank account. But their fees range between 1.9 and 2.5 percent of each transaction. ... (See Bill-paying services)

How to pay for experiences without going into debt -- The key to financing experiences is to plan ahead. Here are six steps to setting up a specific goal and strategies to paying for that dream bucket-list item. ... (See How to pay for experiences)

How many credit cards should you have? -- Wondering how many credit cards you should have? Experts say at least two, one from each card network, one from each type of rewards, and no more than you can handle ... (See Cards)

Paying for a rental car with debit card: 9 obstacles -- Want to rent a car using a debit card? Expect extra hassles. ... (See Rental )

Moving? Use a credit card to rack up major points, rewards -- Get points and rewards by charging moving expenses on a rewards card, as long as you pay it your bill pronto ... (See Moving)

A second credit card: When it's wise to get one, when it's not -- Adding more plastic to your wallet can be an asset, but it's not for everyone ... (See Second card)

Which banks let you personalize your credit card? -- If you've ever wanted to take you favorite pet with you in the in the grocery store or to a fancy restaurant, consider plastering their likeness on a credit card ... (See Personalize)

Modern credit cards now a half-century old -- In 1966, MasterCard and Visa got their start; credit world dramatically different now ... (See 50 years)

13 ways to make sure your identity is stolen -- How easy is it to get your identity stolen? Here are 13 easy ways ... (See Theft)

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

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

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

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Updated: 06-19-2019