Credit Cards

Credit Cards

How to Close Credit Cards for Deceased Relatives

When a loved one passes away, the last thing on your mind is their credit card bills. However, in order to protect the deceased's estate from additional charges, fees, or even identity theft, it's important to remember that your loved one's credit cards will remain open and active until you take the following three steps.

Minimum Purchase Requirements Stink

[caption id="attachment_1524" align="alignleft" width="300" caption=" "]Photo by Andy Newson[/caption]

Ever stopped by a convenience store to quickly buy a drink with your credit card only to have the cashier point to a tiny sign taped to the wall that says "Sorry—The Minimum Credit Card Purchase is $5"? How inconvenient is that?

I understand all the costs small business owners must endure to accept credit cards, but as a consumer, I think minimum purchase requirements really stink. Credit cards are all about convenience, and businesses that choose to accept them in an effort to conveniently grow their revenues shouldn't be allowed to inconvenience customers by placing restrictions on when they can or can't use credit cards.

Surprise! Credit Card Issuers Can Still Jack Your Rates

[caption id="attachment_1486" align="alignleft" width="312" caption=" "]Photo by Kevin Zheng Li[/caption]

It amazes me that a lot of people haven't heard of the CARD Act yet. Perhaps I'm just biased because I spend a lot of time reading financial sites, but it seems like the CARD Act is one of those laws that's received an extensive amount of media hype since it was passed last year. How could anyone completely miss it?

I do happen to come across a friend or relative who knows what the CARD Act is from time to time, and when I do I like to ask them what change they think will matter the most to their wallets. Surprisingly, the general response is the same in almost every case—"no more interest rate increases on existing balances."

Fed's New Site a Flop

The Fed recently launched a new site that provides consumers with online access to credit card agreements from hundreds of major credit issuers. When I first heard about it, I thought this could turn out to be a pretty useful tool.

Any Blippers Out There?

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I've yet to actually meet someone who regularly uses Blippy.com, the twitter-esque social networking site that allows users to share their credit card transactions online.

Apparently there are still thousands of you, but I can't for the life of me figure out why. Where are you? Who are you? If you're out there reading this, please enlighten me!

Credit vs. Debit: Protecting Yourself from Fraud

‘Credit or Debit?’ You’re used to hearing this question when checking out at the grocery store, but have you ever stopped to think about what your choice means in terms of your financial security?

Wells Fargo Jumps Off the Wagon

WF WagonPhoto by Art Poskanzer Higher interest rates for new credit card offers have become the norm in recent months. Credit issuers that quickly jumped on the rate-jacking wagon last year have blamed the increases on tighter regulations set forth by the CARD Act, difficult economic conditions, and increased risk in consumer credit markets.

Credit Card Lover in a Cash-Only World

I really dislike carrying cash. It's dirty, makes my wallet annoyingly bulky, and always seems to disappear faster than it should. What's even worse is ending up with a pocket full of change after being forced to buy something with it. The horror! I used to catch my Mom throwing away pennies when I was kid because she didn't want to carry them, but frankly, I can't bring myself to do that. I'm too cheap. So I do the next best thing...dump the change into my wife's bottomless purse to never be seen again. I guess it has basically the same effect, but mentally I can handle it much better.

CARD Act of 2009 Takes Effect Today

[caption id="attachment_1263" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption=" "]Capitol and flowersPhoto by Silver 7 Photography[/caption]

It's been a long nine months since the CARD Act was signed into law, but the wait is finally over. Today is the day! The Credit Card Accountability and Disclosure Act of 2009 is now officially in effect.

Unfortunately, there's nothing really new and exciting to talk about. Everyone, including myself, has beaten this topic to death for almost a year now. However, I just couldn't let the day pass by without at least mentioning the significance of the new rules taking effect.

Better Safe Than Credit-Less

[caption id="attachment_1239" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption=" "]Girl holding cardsPhoto by Andy Newson / FreeDigitalPhotos.net[/caption]

In spite of all the consumer-friendly changes the CARD Act of 2009 will bring to the credit card industry, there's absolutely nothing that will stop credit issuers from continuing to slash credit limits or close accounts whenever their little hearts desire.

For some changes, such as new annual fees or revamped rewards programs, they may need to provide you with 45-days' advance notice, but there's no such rule in the event of an account closure. In fact, they don't even need to give you prior notice at all.

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