Ask the experts: Should my credit card debt be retired, too?
News from Sacramento Bee:

Should I pay off credit cards before retirement? Where should I invest my IRA money? What are some go-to websites for financial beginners?

This week, those personal finance questions get answered by Walt Romatowski, a certified financial planner in Roseville, who’s one of our “Ask the Experts” writers.

I owe $ 40,000 in credit card debt (on eight cards). I am going to retire this year and have $ 40,000 after taxes in my savings account from work. Should I take this money and pay off my credit card debt?

You did not mention if you have adequate retirement savings and/or a pension that will provide for your normal spending during retirement, or if you have a mortgage or any other kind of debt.

Assuming that you do have adequate resources to cover your monthly expenses, it does make sense to pay off your credit cards, so that you can enter your retirement years with little or no debt.

You don’t need eight credit cards, but you should hold on to one or two major credit cards to cover life’s inevitable unexpected expenses and to maintain your credit rating.

Try to pay for most things with cash. When that’s not possible, make it a habit to pay off your credit card balances each month, so that your debt does not build up again.

Where do you recommend a retiree invest a Roth IRA?<…………… continues on Sacramento Bee

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Younger Americans might die with credit-card debt
News from Columbus Dispatch:

By  Theodore Decker

The Columbus Dispatch Tuesday January 15, 2013 6:53 AM

That Chanel handbag might be to die for, and perhaps you truly couldn’t have lived without that all-inclusive trip to Cancun.

But the credit-card debt that those purchases helped to build could be following you to the grave.

Ohio State University researchers say younger Americans appear to be taking on more credit-card debt than the generations before them and are proving to be slower in paying it off.

“If what we found continues to hold true, we may have more elderly people with substantial financial problems in the future,” said Lucia Dunn, an OSU professor of economics. “Our projections are that the typical credit-card holder among younger Americans who keeps a balance will die still in debt to credit-card companies.”

The study, written by Dunn and Sarah Jiang of Capital One Financial in McLean, Va., used data from monthly surveys to look not only at the amount of debt that consumers carried but also at the speed at which they paid it off. They wanted to determine how d…………… continues on Columbus Dispatch

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Credit card use banned inside Vatican City

Posted by administrator | 16/01/13 | Tagged Credit Card

Credit card use banned inside Vatican City
News from WNCT:

By: Anna Matranga, CBS News | 9 On Your Side

THE VATICAN – Visitors to the Vatican’s historic sites are being turned away if they don’t have cash.

Emma and Sheila Gallagher say they would have bought more Vatican souvenirs, if they could pay with plastic.

The Italian central bank has shut down credit cards and cash machines inside the Vatican.

Bank bosses say the Vatican does not have tough enough regulations in place to prevent money laundering.

The Vatican’s bank has been implicated in money-laundering scandals in the past.

Vatican officials are calling it a temporary technical problem but are not saying how soon it will be fixed.

Cash only is not just an inconvenience for tourists, it’s a financial loss for the Vatican. In 2011, tourists spent over $ 90 million at museums here.

Vatican officials say they have taken steps to fight money laundering and have appointed a top European official to oversee the effort.

And Pope Benedict has promised greater transparency in Vatican finances.

The cash-only policy is posted on…………… continues on WNCT

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Consumers Wise Up on Credit Cards
News from Fox Business:

Credit cards have long gotten a bad rap from some personal finance experts. They insist carrying plastic in your pocket is the quickest way to financial ruin and, certainly, when used incorrectly, credit cards can do major damage to your budget.

However, new data from the American Bankers Association indicates Americans may be adopting a wiser approach to credit card use. Rather than racking up big bills they cannot pay, most card holders surveyed by the ABA appeared to be keeping their spending in check and paying their bill on time each month — so much so that the number of bank card delinquencies dropped to an 18-year low in the third quarter of 2012.

Credit card bills getting paid on time, in full

As of the end of September 2012, only 2.75% of all bank card accounts were delinquent. A number that low hasn’t been seen since 1994. The ABA defines a delinquent account as one that is 30 days or more overdue.

In releasing the third-quarter numbers, the association noted the low number of bank card delinquencies is likely a result of consumer efforts to

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Will retailers start charging you more to use a credit card or give you a …
News from Plain Dealer:


Merchants in Ohio and most of other states could soon start charging you an extra fee if you pay with a credit card at a store or restaurant.

However, few if any merchants are expected to actually impose the charge, which likely would be 2 to 3 percent of a purchase.

The latest chapter in the regulatory battle involving banks, credit cards, debit cards and the powerhouse companies, MasterCard and Visa, has cast another spotlight on the whole payment system and how costs get passed along to almost all of us.

This time around, the focus is on so-called “check-out fees” that merchants are allowed to impose on consumers starting Jan. 27. The fees are possible thanks to a multibillion settlement last summer following a lawsuit filed in 2005 on behalf of 7 million merchants nationwide against MasterCard, Visa and a handful of major banks.

Part of the complaint said the credit card processors unfairly prohibited merchants from encouraging their customers to use cash or checks. Cash and checks cost the merchants less because they require no credit card or debit card fees to third parties.

Under the settlement, merchants can start charging customers more at the checkout counter to make up for those credit card fees. But merchants don’t control the fees they’re cha…………… continues on Plain Dealer

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Police: Man Tried To Use Dead Mom’s Credit Cards For Bar Tab
News from

A Cantonment man was arrested on five felony charges after allegedly trying to use his dead mother’s credit cards to pay a bar tab at an adult entertainment nightclub.

The Pensacola Police Department responded to the Babe’s Gentleman’s Club on North Davis Highway after 34-year old Noah Leigh Morris allegedly racked up a $ 347 bar tab and did not have a way to pay for it. Manager Sammy Smith told police that Morris was attempting to use his deceased mother’s credit cards to pay for the tab.

Morris told police he was going to pay with his mother’s credit cards, and that she had passed away two days prior. The office reported Morris showed his wallet containing seven credit cards with his mother’s name and then attempted to use his mother’s Discover Card to pay the tab. The card was denied, as was a card with Morris’ name on it.

As he was arrested, deputies found several controlled prescription pills on Morris’ person in an unlabeled pill bottle.

Morris was charged with swindling or defrauding an innkeeper, fraudulent use of credit cards and two counts of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. He remained in the Escambia County Jail with b…………… continues on

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Vatican denies flaws that led to credit card block

Posted by administrator | 14/01/13 | Tagged Credit Card

Vatican denies flaws that led to credit card block
News from

4 hrs.

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican insisted on Sunday that it had taken adequate measures to combat money laundering and so could not understand why the Bank of Italy had blocked the use of credit and debit cards inside Vatican City. 

The central bank stopped Deutsche Bank Italy from providing electronic payment services for the Vatican on January 1 because the Holy See was seen as lacking anti-money-laundering controls and oversight, a move that left thousands of tourists visiting the Vatican museums and gift shops in the lurch, forcing them to use cash. 

“I am truly surprised,” Rene Bruelhart, the head of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority, told the Corriere della Sera newspaper in an interview Vatican Radio posted on its website. 

Bruelhart, 40, said the Holy See had implemented EU-required controls and did not understand the action. 

“The reality is that, considering the particular nature of the Vatican City State, adequate measures have been adopted for vigilance, prevention, and fighting money laundering and financing terrorism,” he said. 

The Bank of Italy said Deutsche Bank had installed machines for payment with credit and debit cards in the Vatican – a tiny city-state surrounde…………… continues on

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Credit card use remains tight as borrowing rises

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

Credit card use remains tight as borrowing rises
News from Press Herald:

January 9

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – U.S. consumers borrowed more in November to buy cars and attend school, but stayed cautious with their credit cards.

The Federal Reserve said Tuesday that consumers increased their borrowing in November by $ 16 billion from October to a seasonally adjusted record of $ 2.77 trillion. Borrowing that covers autos and student loans increased $ 15.2 billion.

A category that measures credit card debt rose just $ 817 million.

The sharp difference in the borrowing gains illustrates a broader trend that began after the Great Recession.

Four years ago, Americans carried $ 1.03 trillion in credit card debt, an all-time high. In November, that figure was 16.5 percent lower.

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How to Restructure Credit Card Debt

Posted by administrator | 12/01/13 | Tagged Credit Card Debt

How to Restructure Credit Card Debt
News from Fox Business:

For consumers struggling to make ends meet and racking up credit card debt and barely making minimum payments, hardship programs might provide a welcome relief.

Many credit card companies offer these programs that target borrowers who have fallen behind on payments. They typically offer debtors lower interest rates as well as reduced payments, fees and penalties. In general, most hardship programs fall into two categories: short-term, which could be for a few months or up to a year, or permanent which is until the credit card balance is paid.

Credit card companies don’t publicize these programs because they hurt revenues due to the lowered interest rates. But for most banks, these programs are a better option than not getting any money back as a result of an individual’s default or bankruptcy.

Delinquency: Not a Good Strategy

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when approaching a credit card company about enrolling in a hardship program. Most creditors will want to look at your income and expenses so be prepared to explain your budget. The company will evaluate your ability to pay your debt to determine your eligibility.

They will also look at your account history, so it is a good idea to inquire about the program before falling behind on payments. Using delinquency as a strategy to get your creditor to work…………… continues on Fox Business

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Rewards Conundrum Raising Costs for Credit-Card Issuers

Posted by administrator | 12/01/13 | Tagged Credit Card

Rewards Conundrum Raising Costs for Credit-Card Issuers
News from Fox Business:

Membership has its privileges–and its costs.

Moves by credit-card issuers to make it easier for customers to use the rewards they earn from spending are helping increase customer loyalty, experts say, but are also driving up expenses for some of the industry’s biggest names.

American Express Co. (AXP) is the latest lender to take a financial hit. The company on Thursday announced a $ 342 million quarterly charge tied to its Membership Rewards program.

The largest credit-card lender based on customer spending said its customers are essentially using up the rewards points they receive for each purchase made with an AmEx card at a higher rate than it previously calculated. That is forcing the company to record a larger liability on its balance sheet to pay for the points it doles out to cardholders, and will increase rewards expenses by $ 40 million annually going forward.

AmEx executives say the higher costs are a good sign: higher participation in its flagship rewards program, which is attached to most of its proprietary charge and credit cards, reflects strong customer engagement. This bodes well for the lender, they say, as other banks aggressively court the well-heeled consumers that are AmEx’s bread and butter.

“It’s almost a high-class problem, in a way,” said Donald Fandetti, an analyst with Citigroup Inc.

AmEx Chief Financ…………… continues on Fox Business

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Should you apply for a new credit card? What about your savings? Your 2013 …
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ATO data-matching targets credit card use and property deals
News from

Friday, 11 January 2013 07:50
Terry Hayes

Page 1 of 2

Happy New Year to everyone!

Tax in 2013 is certain to be as lively as ever, probably more so with a federal election looming. The tax promises are sure to flow thick and fast.

I’d like to start this year with an old favourite – ATO data-matching. This technique is now regularly used by the ATO to gather a wide range of information it can then trawl through to detect compliance with the tax laws. No one should underestimate the sheer volume of data the ATO now collects and with the ever-increasing sophistication of techniques to analyse and “slice-and-dice” that data, the tax affairs of Australians will come under closer scrutiny.

In its latest endeavours, the ATO has announced data-matching programs targeting offshore bank accounts, credit and debit card sales, and real property transactions. The information collected will be electronically matched with certain sections of ATO data holdings to identify non-compliance with lodgment and payment obligations under taxation laws.

The ATO intends to collect data relating to credit and debit card sales of entities for the period 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 from various banks and…………… continues on

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Don’t Know Which Card to use? There’s an App for That

Posted by administrator | 10/01/13 | Tagged Credit Card

Don’t Know Which Card to use? There’s an App for That
News from Fox Business:

I have more than a half dozen credit cards in my wallet. A new app on my iPhone, Glyph, tells me which of these credit cards to reach for to get the most rewards when I’m buying groceries, getting gas, dining at restaurants or shopping at Macy’s or CVS.

At least two of the credit cards I have, Discover and Chase Freedom, change their extra reward categories frequently. I have to say I’m good about signing up for those promotions and remembering whether this month it’s gas and groceries or restaurants and department stores.

Downloading the Glyph app to my iPhone was easy enough, even for someone who is as technology-inept as I am at times. But when I went to use Glyph at the restaurant in D.C. where we had lunch on Saturday, I had forgotten my password so I couldn’t log on. I had written my password down in my planner as I do all my passwords, but my planner was back home in Pennsylvania. It wouldn’t do me any good. By the time I asked Glyph for password help, my husband had already paid the bill with our Discover car…………… continues on Fox Business

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It’s Perfectly Legal To Use A Business Credit Card If You’re A Regular Consumer
News from Business Insider:


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NJ man charged with illegal credit card use

Posted by administrator | 09/01/13 | Tagged Credit Card

NJ man charged with illegal credit card use
News from The Reporter:

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LANSDALE — A New Jersey man is headed to county court on charges he illegally used a credit card belonging to a Lansdale woman.

Eun Jeon, 30, of the 350 block of Sutton Place in Norwood, N.J., and originally from South Korea, will face two misdemeanors in county court next month after two charges were downgraded and a third was withdrawn at a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Jeon originally faced three felony charges: one each of theft of lost property, access device fraud and identity theft, stemming from his alleged use of the victim’s credit card in June. On Tuesday the identity theft charge was withdrawn and the two others were downgraded to misdemeanor offenses, according to the office of District Judge Harold Borek of Lansdale.

According to the police criminal complaint against Jeon, a resident of the Wissahickon Park Apartments on the 700 block of East Main Street in Lansdale reported fraudulent transactions on her Visa…………… continues on The Reporter

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Gift Card Use Nearly Leads To Arrest For Batesville Teen
News from WKRC TV Cincinnati:

A local mom says she was afraid her son was going to be arrested when a store threatened him… all after he used a gift card. She says she’s learned a gift card is just like a debit card– which can present problems depending on where you use it.

Local 12 Troubleshooter Howard Ain say Connie Miller of Batesville says her son just turned 18 years old and he received a gift card from a friend. He first used it to get some gas for his car. “He bought $ 31.52 worth of gas.”

The gift card was worth $ 100, so he went to a local store and made another purchase. But, Miller says, a problem later developed with that purchase. “He goes over there and he comes back and he says mom do you have some money and I says for what. He says well they told me if I don’t pay for that card, the Verizon card, they’re going to call the police.”

Turns out there wasn’t enough money left on the gift card— so he checked. “He goes online, he said mom they charged me $ 74 over at Krogers. So I called over there and she says if you pay at the pump then it will charge extra but if you pay at the kiosk it won’t.”

That extra charge is called a “hold” and it’s added by most gas stations to make sure there’s enough money before you begin pumping. It stays there for from 24 to 48 hours. Holds are not at all unusual when you pay at the pump at just about any gas station. Although when you us…………… continues on WKRC TV Cincinnati

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