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The Pros & Cons of Using a Credit Card in Emergency Situations

A wise man once told me "life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."  Or maybe that's just a popular saying? In any event, unforeseen situations can spring up at any moment, and sometimes they force you to reach for your credit card at the least opportune times. While it's impossible to predict emergency situations before they happen, at the very least you can arm yourself with knowledge of the pros and cons of using your credit card to charge your way out of life's little mishaps. Here's a run-down of a common sticky situation, and how credit cards can and cannot help.

The Tax Man Cometh! How to File an Extension

Tax Day 2011If you haven't heard yet, your fellow Americans in the District of Columbia celebrated a holiday on April 15th.  Emancipation Day, which marks the day President Lincoln signed a law in 1862 that freed over 3,000 slaves in D.C., is usually observed on April 16th but was moved to the 15th this year so it wouldn't fall on a weekend.

By law, local holidays in D.C. affect tax deadlines the same way federal holidays do.  So this means that your federal income taxes aren't due until today, April 18th.  You got an entire extra weekend to pay the tax man! I hope you took advantage of it.

But what if you still haven't gotten your act together in time to file your income tax return?  No need to worry, because you always have the option to file an extension and get a reprieve until October.

Credit: What's Love Got to Do With It?

Live, Laugh, Love. Three simple verbs, yet many have deemed them the motto of their life. I used to think it was pretty cheesy, but when I took a second to think of the deeper meaning behind these words, I realized it’s not such a bad motto to use.  So what does it have to do with your credit? Well, everything.

How the Credit CARD Act Helps You

 

In an effort to create greater transparency between customers and credit card companies, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD) introduces consumer-friendly litigation that regulates how banks control credit card fees. Notably, the new law standardizes how a bank can increase interest rates, change introductory offers and delinquent payments.

The Future of Credit Cards: No More Plastic

[caption id="attachment_3226" align="alignleft" width="280" caption=" "]Near Field CommunicationPhoto by Tom Purves[/caption]

There's a battle raging in America, and it’s not one involving weapons or violence. Rather, the fray is seen in the corporate world, and it’s all about our money.

Now, we’re all used to marketing efforts that encourage us to buy from one company instead of another, but this is a different fight.

This isn’t about where we spend our money, it’s about how we spend it.

Near Field Communication

Attention around Near Field Communication is growing throughout mainstream media. Even so, many are unaware of its existence and future possibilities.

VISA Contactless is Quickest Payment Method Ever

 

Ever since credit cards began featuring magnetic strips to hold personal information electronically, there has been very little innovation in terms of the way payments are processed by merchants.  Now, fifty years after the advent of magnetic strips, it seems the credit card industry is ready to take its next big leap forward. The good ol' mates down in Australia have recently unleashed an exciting new technology that may provide a glimpse into the future of credit cards.  The new innovation is called "Visa Contactless", and it works in conjunction with consumer iPhones.

Capital One Ends Match My Miles: 1 Billion Miles Are Gone

Capital One announced early this morning that they've hit the one billion mile mark and have brought the Capital One Venture card "Match My Miles" program to a close. Originally slated to run through May 13th, the offer was obviously popular as it took less than a month to match all the free miles they were willing to give away. At a cost to Capital One of $.01 per mile, that's a mere $10 million, not including whatever they paid Alec Baldwin to have his face plastered all over your TV throughout March Madness.  Based upon the incredible popularity of the card, it sounds like it was money well spent.

Capital One, Chase and Citibank Warn of Email Breach

Did you receive emails from credit card companies over the weekend that read something like the following? "Recently, we were notified of a system breach at Epsilon, a third-party vendor that provides marketing services to a number of companies. The information obtained was limited to the customer name and email address of some credit card customers. No account information or other information was compromised and therefore there is no reason to re-issue a new card."

Keeping Cash on Hand for Emergencies

The earthquake in Japan scared the crap out of me, and I was simply sitting in the comfort of my home nearly 5,000 miles away. I would find myself up late at night watching video clips on CNN over and over again thinking, "Did this really just happen?" The footage looked like something straight out of an apocalyptic movie. Really scary stuff!

How to Protect Your Credit Card from Smartphone Hackers

If you're at all like me, your computer is teeming with antivirus software, spyware guards, privacy alerts, and other enhanced security features.  It's what helps me sleep at night.  And if you're like me, you also rarely think twice about enacting the same kind of security measures on your smartphone. Maybe it's because I still think of my phone as, well, a phone, and not a personal database of extremely sensitive personal information, like social security numbers and credit card data.  In reality, however, our smartphones are pocket-sized treasure chests for identity pirates.

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