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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.

Capital One Accused of Dishing Out Low Blows

] What would you do for a whopping $1.00 of new credit from your credit card issuer? Hmmmmm...let me see—nothing? You certainly wouldn't agree to move old charged-off debt to a new credit card just so you could start making payments and paying interest again, right? That would be absurd! That is, unless you were tricked into doing so.

Limited Options for Cards Sans Currency Conversion Fees

Dear Creditnet: I received a credit card offer in the mail from the university I attended for graduate school. It's a MasterCard issued by a major bank with no annual fee, and it also boasts no currency conversion fees for international transactions. Is this a perk that's common through other no annual fee credit cards as well? I travel overseas often, so this could really come in handy on future trips.

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?

Fiore Pokes Fun at Credit Card Reform

In response to the CARD Act, credit card companies are desperately seeking to boost profits by resurrecting old fees and creating new ones.

The long-lost inactivity fee is one that's been receiving a lot of attention in the media lately.  Use your card too much, and you end up in debt.  Use your card too little, and your credit issuer will slap you with a nasty inactivity fee for basically not being profitable enough.

The Inactivity Fee Returns

 Photo by Photos8.com 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.

Party Like It’s 2009

party balloons  Remember partying like it was 1999? Yeah, that was ten years ago. Since then you may have been able to hide your collection of Limp Bizkit CDs, stop wearing jean shorts and change your “Rachel” hairstyle (frosted tips for guys), but unfortunately you can’t remove that barbed wire tattoo from around your bicep. Show of hands —who else thought this decade would be dominated by Sisqo and his Thong Song (parts 1-5)? Ok, maybe I’m the only one.

Tsongas' Amendment Seeks Level Playing Field

[caption id="attachment_1107" align="alignleft" width="207" caption=" "]US CapitolPhoto by dbking[/caption]

It's been ten months since I first wrote about Experian ending it's partnership with Fair Isaac. Since then, consumers have been unable to purchase their FICO scores based on Experian's data, while lenders' access to the scores has remain unchanged.

The fact that individuals can only purchase two of their FICO credit scores while lenders can still access all three has not only outraged consumers across the country, but also many consumer advocacy groups and representatives in Congress. If any credit bureau wants to sell their credit scores to lenders, consumers should have the ability to purchase those same scores too. It's only fair, right?  There needs to be a level playing field between consumers and creditors.

How Closed Credit Cards Affect Your Credit Score

creditcards Dear Creditnet: I haven't used my credit card in a long time, and I think they may have closed it on me. The expiration date on my card passed a few months ago, and they didn't send me a new one. It had a pretty large credit line. Was my credit score dinged? Answer: You never received a replacement credit card in the mail, but that doesn't necessarily mean your account was closed. The bank may have made an error and failed to send a new card, or perhaps the card was lost in the mail? You need to do some legwork first to determine the true status of your account.

"Damage Points" Chart Better Than Nothing

[caption id="attachment_1056" align="alignleft" width="183" caption=" "]Random NumbersPhoto by Irargerich[/caption] Liz Pulliam Weston, the popular personal-finance columnist, recently released an article on MSN Money entitled "5 ways to kill your credit scores". I actually follow most of Ms. Weston's RSS feeds, but for some reason I skipped over this one during my daily dive through credit-related news. I'm not sure why I skipped it. It must have been the name—it didn't really spark my interest. For whatever reason, I just assumed it was another one of those articles preaching the same old advice about credit scores. You know how they go, right? Pay your bills on time, keep your credit utilization ratio low, and avoid bankruptcy, or else you can kiss your good credit score goodbye.

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