Credit Card Debt Inches Up in August

Posted by administrator | 30/09/12 | Tagged Credit Card Debt

Credit Card Debt Inches Up in August
News from Opposing Views:

The amount of credit card debt being carried nationwide rose very slightly in August, despite the fact that some of the areas hit hardest by the recent recession continued to slash their balances.

The total combined credit card debt for every borrower in the country climbed 0.2 percent on an annual basis in August to $ 585.3 billion, according to the latest data from the credit reporting agency Equifax. However, the uptick came mostly because of relatively large increases in areas that already carried massive amounts of credit card debt, and despite declines in many areas that were most deeply affected by the recent economic downturn.

For instance, balances in much of Southern California, the Las Vegas area, and a few large cities in Michigan came down appreciably on a year-over-year basis, the report said. The Las Vegas area, where balances dipped 1.88 percent to slightly more than $ 3.69 billion, from more than $ 3.76 billion, led this trend. Further, the areas around Detroit, Ann Arbor and Flint saw balances slide 1.8 percent to nearly $ 9.7…………… continues on Opposing Views

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Experts: Don’t use home equity to pay off credit cards
News from The State:

Neil

Brown

Periodically, The State’s financial columnists, Ashleigh Brooker and Neil Brown, certified financial planners in the Midlands, will offer their views on a question from a reader. This week’s question:

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Should I refinance my home and/or take out the equity to pay off my credit cards?

Ashleigh said…

I heard this question more often during the height of the real estate market, but not in recent years. The primary reason being, many of the same people who had equity in their homes five years ago have significantly less, if any, today. However, with today’s interest rates being at historic lows, refinancing into a lower rate and/or for a shorter term can significantly lower your borrowing costs. While refinancing your home makes sense in many cases, I am not a fan of using the equity in your home to pay off your consumer debt.

I primarily do not recommend it because it often gives the consumer a false sense of their true financial condition. Consequently, debts that have nothing to do with your home, which in many cases is a family’s biggest and only asset, are now associated with that house. Reducing the equity in your home may not seem like a big…………… continues on The State

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Treasurer’s credit card expenses highest among elected Sedgwick County officials
News from Kansas.com:

Treasurer Linda Kizzire used her work credit card more than any other elected Sedgwick County official during the past two years, violated a policy about meals twice and wrote nine memos explaining receipts that she lost or that did not match her credit card statements, records show.

Kizzire charged $ 13,351 to her county credit card from Jan. 13, 2011, through Sept. 11, 2012. The county also reimbursed her $ 2,666 for mileage and other travel expenses during that time, records show.

By comparison, former treasurer Ron Estes put $ 3,282 on his credit card in 2008 and $ 4,478 in 2009.

Kizzire traveled to conferences across the country, ate at steakhouses such as Ruth’s Chris and McCormick & Schmick’s, took employees to lunch, sent 25 staff members to a motivational seminar and treated staff to chocolates and nuts.

After a reporter asked her if she knew she had violated a policy that states that “meals or snacks purchased by county staff for county staff while in Sedgwick County are generally not allowed,” Kizzire last week wrote a check for $ 90.97 to reimburse the county.

“If there was an issue, they should have said something then,” Kizzire said, referring to the finance department. “I did not know that was not acceptable.”

Records show Kizzire signed a “credit card purchase certification” document at least 18 times that stated…………… continues on Kansas.com

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Best (and worst) ways to get cash overseas
News from The Seattle Times:

Ginny Vanderlinde of Federal Way looked forward to treating her son to a trip to Turkey to celebrate his high-school graduation.

She took all the right steps to make sure she had a backup source of cash to get them through a 17-day adventure.

In addition to having enough funds in her Boeing Employees Credit Union account to withdraw cash at ATMs abroad, she loaded $ 1,000 onto a prepaid AAA Visa TravelMoney card, issued by South Dakota-based MetaBank.

Designed to replace traveler’s checks, prepaid cards work like debit cards, meaning you can use them either to withdraw cash from an ATM or make a purchase.

Vanderlinde says the auto club assured her the card would work in Turkey, but when she arrived and tried to withdraw cash, all systems failed.

Turkey, as it turns out, is on a list of “high risk” countries where MetaBank blocks the use of prepaid cards due to government warnings about money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Vanderlinde called the bank, and was told “that card does not work in Turkey.” Luckily, her BECU debit card was working fine. (The restrictions apply only to prepaid cards.)

AAA’s website (www.aaaprepaidbalance.com) includes a list of excluded countries, so either the clerk who helped Vanderlinde made a mistake or the list changed between the ti…………… continues on The Seattle Times

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