‘Checkout fee’ could be added to credit card purchases soon
News from Memphis Commercial Appeal:

Just as credit card holders begin mending the wounds of their holiday purchases, they could be sideswiped by a new fee.

The consumer advocacy group Consumer Action is urging people to be on alert for so-called checkout fees some retailers could begin to impose on credit card transactions starting Jan. 27.

Merchant trade groups contend most retailers, fearing customer backlash, will not charge the fee. But Consumer Action wants cardholders to be aware of the possibility and options for fighting back.

“We’re not sure whether retailers are going to charge these fees,” said Ruth Susswein, deputy director of national priorities at Consumer Action in Washington, D.C. “They may not for competitive reasons. Some of it will depend on whether the other guy does it.”

She noted that the practice is banned in 10 states, including California, Florida and New York.

Consumers who encounter the fees should voice their displeasure, which may persuade merchants to drop them, Susswein said.

Merchants won the right to charge the fees under a class action settlement with Visa, MasterCard and big banks reached last summer and tent…………… continues on Memphis Commercial Appeal

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Italy blocks credit card use at Vatican
News from Brisbane Times:

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…………… continues on Brisbane Times
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Don’t let mortgage debt wreck retirement

Posted by administrator | 06/01/13 | Tagged Credit Card Debt

Don’t let mortgage debt wreck retirement
News from Los Angeles Times:

Dear Liz: I have a first mortgage with a current balance of $ 32,000 at 5.625% interest. This will be paid off in about 24 months, based on regular payments plus $ 200 a month extra I am paying on principal. I have a home equity line of credit with a balance of $ 200,000 at 3% interest on which I am paying interest only ($ 490) monthly with an occasional principal payment when I can afford it. Between the two mortgages I am making payments of about $ 1,950 per month.

I am about to retire and want to reduce my payments to a more manageable amount. I do not intend to move in the near future. Income is $ 145,000 annually now but will be reduced to about $ 76,000 annually upon retirement. Should I just hold on, pay off the first mortgage and then begin making interest plus principal payments on the credit line? Or should I refinance both mortgages now into a 30-year fixed mortgage?

Answer: Ideally, you would retire your mortgage debt before you retire from your job. That’s not possible in your case, so you should focus on making sure this debt doesn’t wreck your retirement.

A spike in interest rates could play havoc with your budget. Mortgage interest rates have been extremely low for some time, but that won’t continue indefinitely. Inflation may pick up as the economy improves, which means that 3% varia…………… continues on Los Angeles Times

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Obama schedules debt-ceiling ‘fiscal cliff II’ for February
News from Daily Caller:

President Barack Obama scheduled another so-called “fiscal cliff” crisis for February by announcing late Jan. 1 he would refuse to negotiate any curbs on his use of the nation’s maxed-out credit card.

“I will not have another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they passed,” he claimed during a late-night appearance on the last-minute resolution to the December 2012 fiscal cliff.

However, the GOP-led Congress wants to use its authority over the nation’s debt ceiling to pressure Obama to shrink future spending, not to repudiate existing debts. (RELATED: House Republicans approve Senate fiscal cliff bill)

Obama is expected to add $ 3.4 trillion to the national debt by 2017. In his first term, he boosted the national debt by $ 5.8 trillion, up to $ 16.4 trillion.

But on Dec. 31, his government hit the $ 16.4 trillion limit agreed by Congress and Obama in 2011.

Federal officials say they’ll use a series of financial maneuvers to postpone any problems until February. But sometime after that, Obama’s administration won…………… continues on Daily Caller

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