Author Lisa Bertagnoli

Lisa Bertagnoli

Lisa Bertagnoli is a freelancer journalist who lives and works in Chicago. She is a frequent contributor to and Society columnist at Crain's Chicago Business, and has also written for The Chicago Tribune, Chicago magazine and a handful of national publications.

Bertagnoli is the author of "Scarlett Rules," (Villard, 2006) a lighthearted life-lessons book based on Scarlett O'Hara. Bertagnoli holds bachelor's degrees in history and journalism and a master's degree in linguistics.

Lisa Bertagnoli's stories for

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

Chip card delay at gas pumps extends skimming fraud -- Lack of EMV technology means pumps easily compromised by crooks ... (See Skimming)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 exceptions to 'zero liability' policies -- Despite "zero liability" promises from credit card companies and protection from federal laws, there are instances where you might be on the hook for fraudulent credit and debit card charges ... (See Zero liability)

10 tips for using luxury pawnbrokers -- The pawn industry has gone upscale, with 'luxury asset lenders' offering thousands, or even millions, of dollars against your jewelry, art, cars and boats. But know what to watch out for before you use one of these services ... (See Luxury pawn)

9 baby steps that lead to big financial goals -- Breaking down big goals into baby steps makes them seem less overwhelming. We've come up with a few small actions to get on the path to financial health and sound credit ... (See Baby steps)

Biometrics: Your body could be your next password -- Call it body language: Finger prints, vein scans, voiceprints and other unique biological means of authenticating a person?s identity for credit card purchases are closer to reality than they are to the Jetsons ... (See Biometrics)

After the breach: Should you enroll in ID or credit monitoring services? -- Many retailers whose databases have been hacked are offering credit monitoring or identity protection services. Depending on what you sign up for, the services can prevent full-out identity theft, or simply duplicate steps you can take on your own ... (See Breach)

Game on: Digital tools teach kids money lessons through play -- Video games that teach kids how to handle money can be effective when they are done right, experts say ... (See Learning via money games)

4 ways to build credit without a credit card -- If you want to start building credit but don't want to get a credit card, there are other options, including passbook or CD loans, credit builder loans and alternative credit scores ... (See Credit without a card)

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

How to ask for a credit limit increase -- Credit card issuers determine your limit based on what they think you can repay. If you want to raise your limit it helps to have your argument nailed down before you ask ... (See Credit limit increase)

Pay As You Earn helps some student loan borrowers -- If you're a college grad who used federal student loans to pay for college, you may be eligible for a new income-driven repayment tool: the Department of Education?s Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan ... (See Student loans)

New mobile technology leads to new fraud techniques -- Scammers are always trying to stay a step ahead, so it's no surprise they're finding ways to use QR codes and other forms of mobile malware ... (See New fraud)

We told you not to scan this -- As we explained in our story, 'Mobile technology means new fraud techniques,' QR codes can be used to foist malware on unsuspecting code-scanners like you ... (See QR codes)

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)

How to shape up your finances in 12 months -- The 12 months in a fresh new year give you 12 opportunities to get your credit shaped up and your budgeting under control. Here, experts offer one seasonally relevant idea for each month of 2012 to do exactly that ... (See Shape up your finances)

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)

9 steps to take if your credit card data is hacked -- When it comes to protecting customers, all banks are not alike -- but what can you do if your bank's database gets hacked? ... (See Credit card hacked? 9 steps to take)

6 tips for avoiding the 'freshman $15,000' -- The first year of college is famous for weight gain, known as the "freshman 15," but it's also bad for gaining debt. Six college students reveal how they gained, then shed, their "freshman $15,000" ... (See Freshman debt)

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)

The Magnificent 7: Where state laws get you extra free credit reports -- Everyone loves a freebie, so residents of seven states may be happy to know that state law grants them a free extra copy of their credit report every 12 months. ... (See Extra free credit report)

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)

9 tips for sticking to a holiday budget -- Here's one way to guarantee a happy new year: Rein in holiday spending. To do that, create a holiday budget and stick to it ... (See 9 holiday budget tips)

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)

4 key questions to ask when considering a cash advance -- Recession-bitten consumers are stepping away from credit card cash advances with a vengeance. That's a good thing, financial experts say. Cash advances are a bad financial idea, except in the most dire of emergencies. ... (See Cash advance questions )

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Updated: 06-27-2019