Credit card convenience can become a problem

Posted by administrator | 24/07/12 | Tagged Credit Card Debt

Credit card convenience can become a problem
News from WATE-TV:

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Although credit cards offer many conveniences, they can create many problems when they become hard to control.

Americans owe more than $ 800 billion in credit card debt, according to a report from Equifax. The average household has more than $ 16,000 in debt.

Certified financial planner John Fawaz presented some tips Tuesday morning on Good Morning Tennessee on what to do when credit cards become a problem.

Many people have problems paying off the debt because it compounds over time. If you have $ 10,000 in credit card bills you can expect to pay $ 10,000 in interest in just four years if you don’t pay down the principle.

Fawaz says it is sometimes possible to ask credit card companies for a lower interest rate to help you make payments. If your credit card company won’t do that for you, shop around for another company.

When debt builds up too large to handle, you may be able to lower the interest rate and spread out payments by paying off the debt through a home equity loan. The key here is to use discipline and not add more credit card debt on top of it.

Of course, the best practice to handle rising debt is to stop using your credit cards. Don’t add to the problem while you’re trying to get it under control.

John Fawaz is president of Financi…………… continues on WATE-TV

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Out of Debt Infographic: Three Stages to Get Out of Debt
News from Virtual-Strategy Magazine:

New CreditDonkey.com educational infographic empowers consumers to reduce their debt

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) July 24, 2012

As unemployment starts to decrease and residential construction increases, people throughout the US are breathing a collective sigh of relief. But for many, the road to economic recovery is still an intangible destination, blocked by a mountain of debt that has accumulated over the last several years. Many consumers are faced with this mountain of bills and are uncertain if they will ever get back on financially solid ground. CreditDonkey.com recently published a new infographic that was designed with these Americans in mind.

Infographic: http://www.creditdonkey.com/out-of-debt.html

Titled “Dig Yourself Out of Debt”, the infographic outlines three general debt scenarios that people typically face and then provides tips to follow for each situation.

“We’ve found that many consumers are still trying to pick up the pieces after experiencing reduced or complete loss of income during the recession,” said Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey.com, a credit card comparison and financial education website. “It can be difficult to find reliab…………… continues on Virtual-Strategy Magazine

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WATCH: How To Responsibly Use A Credit Card, From Maria Bartiromo
News from Huffington Post:





















Financial expert and anchor of CNBC’s “Closing Bell” Maria Bartiromo discussed how to use a credit card responsibly when she visited me to chat on Mondays With Marlo.

If you’d like more financial knowledge and advice on how to make your money grow, check out Maria’s advice:

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Credit card settlement unlikely to help stores charge fees
News from Chicago Tribune:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stores may not find it easier to charge shoppers fees for paying by credit card as a result of a $ 7.25 billion class action settlement with Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc, a problem that may delay or derail its approval, an analyst said on Monday.

The proposed settlement between retailers and the two biggest credit card companies would resolve stores’ claims that Visa and MasterCard conspired with major banks to fix swipe fees—- the amount paid to process debit and credit card payments.

In addition to a $ 6.05 billion payment and temporary $ 1.2 billion swipe-fee reduction, the deal would also allow stores to start charging so-called checkout fees to customers who pay with MasterCard or Visa credit and debit cards.

But senior Bernstein Research analyst Rod Bourgeois wrote in a July 23 report that retailers would in reality not get much help from the deal in offsetting the swipe fees by charging customers more.

“We think the settlement’s much-touted surcharging provisions (as currently written) actually have no real usefulness to merchants,” he said.

Buried in the fine print of the agreement are provisions that undercut the stated intent of the settlement, he said.

For example, if retailers force customers to pay more for using Visa and MasterCards, they essentially must charge consumers more when they…………… continues on Chicago Tribune

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Police Blotter: Man Charged with Credit Card Theft

Posted by administrator | 23/07/12 | Tagged Credit Card

Police Blotter: Man Charged with Credit Card Theft
News from Patch.com:

Timothy Pandolfi, 29, of Browns Mills, was charged with fraudulent use of a credit card and credit card theft at 11:35 a.m. July 15.

Princeton Borough police began investigating the theft of a wallet from Starbuck’s at 100 Nassau St. on July 11.

One of the victim’s credit cards was used to purchase items at the Wawa market on University Place as well as train tickets from the Dinky Station, according to police.

With assistance of the NJ Transit Police in New Brunswick, Pandolfi was found to be in possession of the stolen train tickets as well as the stolen credit card and warrants were issued for his arrest. 

He was charged by Pemberton Township Police Department on a criminal warrant issued by the Princeton Borough Municipal Court.

He is currently lodged in the Mercer County Detention Center in lieu of 10 percent of $ 30,000 bail and had been given a July 16 court date.

…………… continues on Patch.com
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Credit care: Different rules apply to last 2 months of deferred-interest …
News from Arizona Daily Star:

2012-07-22T00:00:00Z Credit care: Different rules apply to last 2 months of deferred-interest payment plansTanisha Warner Creditcards.com Arizona Daily Star

Q: I recently had an issue with my credit-card service. Last December they offered interest-free for six months on anything purchased during the month of December. They required you to pay only the minimum during those months.

I use this card for other things regularly but always pay that balance plus the minimum required payment every month. After the fourth month, they started applying the whole payment toward my no-interest balance and started charging me interest on the balance not paid for my regular charges. I was told yesterday on the phone that this is the law, that they have to do it that way. Is this true? It sounded very suspicious to me.

A: A 2009 federal law is in place that addresses how payments are applied to credit-card accounts. The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act requires that payment amounts in excess of the minimum amount due must be applied to the balance with the highest interest rate. But there is an exception to the rule for deferred-interest plans such as the one offer…………… continues on Arizona Daily Star

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Get with the Plan: Couple should focus on erasing debt

Posted by administrator | 22/07/12 | Tagged Credit Card Debt

Get with the Plan: Couple should focus on erasing debt
News from The Star-Ledger – NJ.com:

Elton, 47, and Kate, 36, have an enviable income level, but their debt is pulling away at their chances for future financial success.
With two mortgages, two second mortgages, more than $ 50,000 in credit card bills, family loans, college loans, a 401(k) loan and business loans, they don’t have much of a net worth despite the higher salary Elton earns.
“When the market tanked, Elton’s company froze salaries and reduced bonuses. Likewise, my work hours were reduced and we went into pre-foreclosure,” says Kate.
“With family loans, we were able to stave off a judgment but that added to our debt load.”
And there’s more potential debt in their future. They will pay half the college expenses for Elton’s two kids, 17 and 14, from a previous marriage, and the couple has a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old together.
“Our biggest concern right now is our burdensome mortgage payment,” Kate says. “Five years ago, we bet against the house thinking home values would go up and that Elton’s position would reward him handsomely, so we envisioned a future refinance and construction loan to fix up the fixer-upper.”
Things haven’t gone as planned.
The couple, whose names have been changed, have saved $ 54,700 in 401(k) plans, $ 3,500 in IRAs, $ 433,900 in a brokerage account that holds stock in Elton’s company, $ 10,000 in money markets and $ 2,000 in savings. They…………… continues on The Star-Ledger – NJ.com

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Though Bad Debts Fall, Lawsuits Over Collection Practices Rise
News from Fox Business:

Lawsuits filed by credit card customers and other debtors are surging, according to new data on filings, despite a decline in card debt and bankruptcies.

Though debt collectors long have been accused of employing unfair tactics — no one throws down a welcome mat for debt collectors — the report comes as a surprise, since there’s less bad debt to fight over. Some experts say the spike in lawsuits might reflect more aggressive filings by lawsuit-happy consumer attorneys rather than more illegal behavior by debt collectors and reporting agencies. Others disagree, saying the credit industry is more intensely pursuing whatever debt exists.

First, the numbers: Some 890 consumer credit lawsuits were filed in May 2012 in the 90 federal court districts in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a data gathering and research organization based at Syracuse University.

That’s an increase of 12.4% over the previous month. In fact, though the May number dipped a bit from the comparable month in the previous year, the volume of consumer credit lawsuits has grown every month since the beginning of 2012.

Moreover, nearly three times as many consumer credit lawsuits were filed this past May as were filed five years ago, in May 2007. During the first five months of this year, 6,256 consumer cre…………… continues on Fox Business

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Americans step up credit card use sharply in May

Posted by administrator | 21/07/12 | Tagged Credit Card

Americans step up credit card use sharply in May
News from Boston.com:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans put more on their credit cards in May than in any single month since November 2007, one month before the Great Recession began.

But overall credit card use is still well below where it was just before the downturn. Economists say May’s increase was likely a temporary response to weaker hiring and poor wage growth and not a sign of sustained confidence in the economy.

‘‘We might see additional increases in credit card debt in the coming months,’’ said Paul Edelstein, director of consumer financial economics at IHS Global Insight. ‘‘But they won’t match the May surge.’’

Consumer borrowing rose by $ 17.1 billion in May from April, the Federal Reserve said Monday. The gain drove total borrowing to a seasonally adjusted $ 2.57 trillion, nearly matching the all-time high reached in July 2008.

Borrowing has increased steadily over the past two years. But most of the gains have been driven by auto and student loans, which rose to a record level of $ 1.7 trillion in May.

Consumers cut back sharply on credit card debt during the recession and immediately after. Only in th…………… continues on Boston.com

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Take steps to protect against identity theft
News from Columbia Daily Tribune:


According to a Javelin Strategy & Research report, 11.6 million adults in the United States had their identities stolen last year. Some of these crimes are relatively minor, such as the unauthorized use of a credit card number. In other cases, the perpetrators have used stolen identities to rent a home or buy a new car. Here are some practical steps you should take to protect yourself and your family.

Safeguard your Social Security number. This is the best step you can take to prevent the most serious forms of identity fraud. Take your Social Security card out of your wallet or purse. Never give out your Social Security number to anyone who calls, emails or texts requesting personal information. In general, your bank, insurance company, doctor’s office or anywhere else you have an existing relationship will not call you for personal information. If a business you have an established relationship with calls requesting personal information, politely hang up, look up its contact information independently and c…………… continues on Columbia Daily Tribune

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Different Rules Apply to Deferred Interest Payment Plans’ Final 2 Months
News from Fox Business:

Dear Credit Care,

I recently had an issue with my credit card service. Last December they offered interest-free for six months on anything purchased during the month of December. They required you to pay only the minimum during those months. I use this card for other things regularly, but always pay that balance plus the minimum required payment every month. After the fourth month, they started applying the whole payment toward my no-interest balance and started charging me interest on the balance not paid for my regular charges. I was told yesterday on the phone that this is the law that they have to do it that way. I need to know if this is true. Why at the end of the promotion would they do this and not during the six months. It sounded very suspicious to me. But I am not a lawyer and have a very hard time understanding the verbiage in the documents. Thank you for your time. 

– Debi

Dear Debi,

A 2009 federal law is in place that addresses how payments are applied to credit card accounts. The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act requires that payment amounts in excess of the minimum amount due must be applied to the balance wit…………… continues on Fox Business

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Retailers, shoppers bristle at idea of added fees for using credit cards
News from Appleton Post Crescent:

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Credit Card Debt Jumps to Highest Level in Almost 5 Years, ConsolidatedCredit …
News from Albany Times Union:

Credit card debt is at the highest levels since 2007. ConsolidatedCredit.org warns consumers to watch their balances and their budgets to avoid hefty debt and interest charges. Howard Dvorkin, personal finance expert and author, gives advice to consumers to keep their spending in check.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL (PRWEB) July 19, 2012

As a result of a slowdown in job growth and a decline in consumer confidence, credit card debt reached its highest point since November 2007.

With more consumers turning to credit cards for purchases, revolving debt rose by $ 8 billion, increasing the total credit card debt to $ 870 billion, according to the Federal Reserve.

Howard Dvorkin, CPA and founder of ConsolidatedCredit.org warns consumers to reduce credit card spending as the recession is not over. “Faced with layoffs and high prices, consumers rely on credit cards to cover basic expenses,” says Dvorkin. “While the economy is slow, consumers need to make an effort to avoid credit card spending.”

…………… continues on Albany Times Union

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Steven Anderson: Sensible ways to limit debt coming out of college
News from Reno Gazette-Journal:

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Settlement Allows Retailers to Surcharge for Credit Card Use; Will They?
News from Fox Business:

Consumers could expect to see more chances to save money by paying cash for merchandise, following a landmark settlement reached between credit card companies and retailers.

As part of the July 13 settlement — which must still be approved by a federal court — Visa, MasterCard and major banks agreed to drop requirements that retailers charge the same price for cash and credit purchases. Retailers have long complained that so-called “swipe fees,” which card processors charge every time a customer uses a credit card, are too high and are hidden by the prohibition on listing surcharges to pass along those higher costs. The agreement allows credit card surcharges and also calls for card issuers to reduce swipe fees for eight months.

Lawyers involved in the case say it is the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history. The card companies agreed to pay more than $ 6 billion to settle lawsuits from retailers claiming that the card issuers engaged in anti-competitive practices.

If approved, the settlement would the second major victory by retailers over swipe fees in recent years. In 2011, the…………… continues on Fox Business

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Credit card thieves target park, beach visitors
News from San Jose Mercury News:

Police are looking for two suspects they say are responsible for a series of burglaries and illegal credit card use across the East Bay and South Bay dating as far back as December.

The two suspects, who have not been identified, have committed at least five burglaries at Tilden Regional Park and several more in the Half Moon Bay area, according to Sgt. Tyrone Davis of the East Bay Regional Parks Department. They break into cars while the owners are out in the park, hiking or picnicking, and quickly use the cards to buy expensive electronics equipment before the owners discover the theft and report them stolen, Davis said.

The pair have used stolen credit cards to purchase at least six iPads, three iPods and a MacBook Pro at Target and Apple stores in Emeryville and Albany, Davis said. The most recent burglary was June 30.

“They’re going and buying top-of-the-line items and then they probably turn around and sell them,” Davis said.

In the course of investigating the Tilden burglaries, Davis said, a detective with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office contacted him and reported similar incidents involving car burglaries at beaches in Half Moon Bay and purchases at stores in Redwood City and Palo Alto.

Police hope images from a surveillance video will help ID the suspects — an older man with glasses w…………… continues on San Jose Mercury News

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How do I climb out of $30K credit-card debt?

Posted by administrator | 18/07/12 | Tagged Credit Card Debt

How do I climb out of $ 30K credit-card debt?
News from Philadelphia Inquirer:

DEAR HARRY: I am a retired man on a pension who has foolishly allowed his credit-card debt to go above $ 30,000. I pay the amount due each month on time, but with rent, car payments, insurance and other debts, I am left with nothing at the end of the month.

I am single, 59 years old, and I do not want to go through bankruptcy. I have a friend who did, and it was a hellish experience.

I’m aware that this is totally my own fault for wanting to live fancier than I could afford.

I have recently seen ads on TV for several credit-recovery outfits that claim they will reduce my monthly payments and my total debt through negotiation with my creditors.

I hesitate to deal with those companies, because they’re from out of town and use a hard-sell approach.

What’s your opinion?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Be prepared to cut back seriously on your spending. Before you go anywhere with this, go over your spending for the past three months to see where you can trim your discretionary items.

I know what you mean when you say these outfits are using a hard sell.

There is big money to be made in this business, so you really have to be on your guard.

The only organization that I feel comfortable with is the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Delaware Valley (800-989-2227).

It’s a nonprofit p…………… continues on Philadelphia Inquirer

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Laws Unfairly Treat Debt Collectors Differently on Credit Card Payments
News from InsideARM:

Note: Moss & Barnett associate Issa Moe also contributed to this article.

John Rossman

Have you ever been restricted from doing something everyone else was free to do?  Welcome to the life of a debt collector!  For fear of becoming the target of regulatory action or an opportunistic lawsuit brought under the guise of consumer protection, debt collectors are constantly limited in their ability to engage in business practices that are commonly accepted in other industries.

One particular area of extreme inequity is that debt collectors do not share the same ability as their business peers to freely and without reservation pass along transaction fees, or fees for processing particular forms of payment, to consumers.

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Merchants consider charging more for credit card use

Posted by administrator | 18/07/12 | Tagged Credit Card

Merchants consider charging more for credit card use
News from Chicago Tribune:

Restaurants and merchants are considering a surcharge for customers who use credit cards, under a multibillion settlement reached last week with Visa and MasterCard.

Visa Inc.and MasterCard Inc.’s proposed $ 7.25 billion settlement with retailers over swipe fees, which credit card companies charge to process payments, allows merchants to offer discounts to customers paying with cash or checks, and to impose fees when they pay with credit cards.

Analysts say it could lead to a two-tiered payment system for a host of transactions, just as is common familiar at the gas pump.

The agreement allows retailers to collectively bargain on future swipe fees, which are also known as interchange rates. It also opens up the possibility that more retailers can add surcharges for credit card transactions, although they would have to explain them to consumers in clear, concise language.

The settlement is not a completely done deal since one of the plaintiffs, the National Association of Convenience Stores, is rejecting it. Even so, here are the answers to four questions consumers should be asking now:

1. Will it end up costing me money or saving me money?

The answer is not easy since it is unclear how retailers will react.

One choice is for retailers to add a surcharge for credit card transactions at the cash register. continues on Chicago Tribune

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Attempted Larceny at Gap, Illegal Credit Card Use
News from Patch.com:

Attempted Larceny at Gap

An attempted larceny was reported at Gap, 775 Main Street South in Southbury, on Monday, July 16 at 12:01 p.m.

According to police reports, a suspect described as a tall, dark-skinned, possible Latin, male average build, well groomed black hair attempted to steal 15 pairs of pants from Gap.

The suspect was driving a brown 2012 Chrysler 300 with tinted windows and a New York license plate number FTH 7149. The vehicle was seen traveling west on Main Street South after leaving the Southbury Green Parking area.

The assailant pushed a store attendant but no injuries were reported.

Illegal Credit Card Use Reported

Southbury police are currently investigating the illegal use of a credit card last week.

According to police reports, a Southbury resident reported multiple unauthorized transactions made to her account totaling over $ 4,000. The case is currently under investigation.

Southbury Teen Turns Himself In

Joseph Suffin, 19, of Southbury, was charged with 3rd degree criminal mischief on Thursday, July 12 after he turned himself in on a warrant stemming from an incident on June 14.

Suffin was released on $ 500 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Waterbury Superior Court on July 24. continues on Patch.com

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