Credit Cards

Credit Cards

Better Safe Than Credit-Less

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

American Express Points for Taxes? No Thanks

Photo by Andres Rueda[/caption] It's always annoyed me that we can't pay our taxes with a credit card for free. I mean, come on—it's 2010, and I still have to cut a check or set up a direct debit to the IRS each year. It just seems so old fashioned. I would much rather use my credit card to pay online, rack up rewards points, and enjoy having an extra 30 days or so before coughing up the cash to pay my balance in full. Wouldn't you?

The Inactivity Fee Returns

 Photo by 2010 already looks like it's shaping up to be the year of ever-expanding fees for credit cardholders. While legislators are still celebrating and patting themselves on the back for passing the CARD Act of 2009, consumers, on the other hand, haven't experienced much to be happy about at all. Credit limits continue to get slashed, interest rates are on rise, and credit issuers are resurrecting old fees or adding new ones in an effort to recapture lost profits.

Happy Holidays from Creditnet!

The team at would like to wish each of you a joyous holiday season and a prosperous, debt-free New Year!

Low Pay, Inc. Charged with Deceptive Marketing

[caption id="attachment_1019" align="alignleft" width="90" caption=" "]Low Pay, Inc. Charged with Deceptive MarketingPhoto by[/caption]

How can a company find customers willing to pay almost $400 in fees for a credit card that will only finance 30% of purchases from a single catalog? It's hard to imagine, but the FTC seems to have caught one dead in its tracks.

According to a press release issued on November 3rd, a formal complaint was issued in federal court alleging that Low Pay, Inc. used deceptive mailers to market its card to consumers with credit problems, charging them hundreds of dollars in up-front fees and often reneging on its refund policy. In response, Low Pay has apparently agreed to pull the plug on its questionable practices while they battle it out with the FTC.

The actual complaint explains in more detail how the FTC believes Low Pay pulled this whole thing off. Here's what was allegedly going down:

No Credit Card? Get Some Credit Before it's Too Late

The Credit CARD Act of 2009, signed into law by President Obama on May 22nd, just cleared a major hurdle in its path to early adoption. As reported on last week, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a new bill which would move the effective date for credit card reforms from February 2010 to December 1st. That's just under three weeks from today!

Don't Get Fooled: Opt Out of Opting In

Should you opt out, opt in, opt in to opting out, or opt out of opting in?

So many choices!  But when it comes to over-the-limit fees, there's only one answer in my mind— opting out.

One of the major provisions in the CARD Act of 2009 is that banks will no longer be able to charge over-the-limit fees unless customers choose to be allowed to make purchases in excess of their credit limits.  So, you will have the right to "opt out" of over-the-limit fees, which are often as high as $39, by simply telling your bank you would rather live within your credit limit.

Managing Credit Cards While Living Overseas

My wife and I moved from Seattle to Thailand for work late last year. Other than preparing myself for lots of spicy food, tropical weather, and a 12-hour time difference with clients on the East Coast, I also wanted to make sure I was prepared to properly handle my credit cards while living overseas. I have always traveled internationally for work, and ever since my first trip abroad I quickly realized that credit cards were my lifeline. They could mean the difference between staying at the Hyatt, or sharing a hostel room with a talkative German named Franz. That said, over the last seven months I have learned some valuable lessons - many the hard way- about managing my credit cards internationally. Hopefully some of these experiences will be of value to you wherever you happen to call home.

Use 'Em or Lose 'Em

Most people don’t think of credit cards as a terribly exciting topic of conversation. When was the last time you were hanging out with a bunch of friends and felt an overwhelming urge to brag about how many “ThankYou” points you banked with your CitiCard this year? Probably not going to be the life of the party if that’s the best you can come up with. That is, unless you’re hanging out at my house.


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