Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.

Shoping for a Gift Card? The Store Brand May Be a Better Deal

Gift cards are a great option when you don’t know exactly what to buy a person or when you don't have enough time to shop thoroughly. You basically have two options: a store-branded gift card that can only be used for that specific store or chain of stores or a bank/credit card gift card that can be used anywhere that credit card network is accepted. At first glance, the bank/credit card gift may seem like the...
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Barnes & Noble Data Breach Puts Debit Cards At Risk

If you recently used your credit card at a Barnes & Noble, you may have been a victim of a data breach. In September (2012), 63 stores were impacted by the data breach. The stores were located in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. In this particular breach, hackers were able to gain access to the keypads where customers swipe their debit or credit cards and enter PIN information....
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Be Careful Chasing Credit Card Signup Bonuses

A good credit score can help you qualify for the best credit card deals – ones with low interest rate, lucrative rewards, and signup bonuses. More credit card issuers are offering generous signup bonuses for new customers. For example, a points rewards credit card may offer a certain amount of points, 10,000 or more, if you spend a certain amount of money within the first few months of the card. Or, cash rewards card might reward...
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Credit Card Rates May Not Get Any Lower

The average credit card rates this week are 15%, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report from CreditCards.com. Each week, the credit card comparison site computes averages credit card APRs using the most current interest rates offered by the leading credit card issuers. This week’s average rate is just a little higher than same period last year – 14.79% - and the exact same as they were six months ago. There's some bad news: credit...
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Discover to Refund Cardholders for Payment Protection Fees

As part of a settlement with the FDIC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Discover is required to refund about $200 million to cardholders who enrolled in credit protection plans by phone. Payment protection plans charge a small monthly fee, sometimes a percentage of your credit card balance, and promises to cover your minimum payment if you lose your job or become unemployed. You could go months or years, pay hundreds or thousands of dollars, without...
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Avoid Falling Prey to a Credit Card Scam

If you have limited credit or a rocky credit history, rest assured that there are credit card lenders that will consider you for a credit card.It’s true that you will pay more for financing than someone who has a good to excellent credit history. Your interest rates will be higher, you’ll be unlikely to qualify for credit card benefits such as rewards or low-interest introductory rates and balance transfers, and you may even be required to...
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When a Merchant Incorrectly Charges Your Card

When we use our credit cards, we trust the businesses swiping our cards to charge the correct amount. But, don’t get so comfortable that you forget to check your credit card statement to confirm that the amount on your statement matches what you were supposed to be charged. A finger slip or computer glitch could lead to inaccurate charges on your billing statement. Don’t panic if you spot these. If you act quickly, you can take...
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Big Balances Can Be Big Trouble

Credit limits can be deceiving. While they do represent the maximum amount your credit card issuer will let you charge, it’s not necessarily the amount you should charge. In fact, your credit card balance should never meet, and certainly not exceed, your credit limit. Having a big balance on your credit card is risky. Repayment Difficulties One of the most important rules of using a credit card is that you should never charge more than you...
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In 2012, Consumers Are Happier With Their Credit Cards

The past several years have been rough for consumers and credit card issuers. Prior to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, credit card issuers were cutting credit limits without notice, raising interest rates to the default, and charging consumers interest on balances that had already been paid. Fortunately, things are starting to settle and, according to a study from J.D. Power and Associates, consumers are more satisfied with their credit cards than they were six years...
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Can a Charge-Off Be a Good Thing?

Truthfully, a charge-off is one of the worst things that could happen to your credit report and score. Charge-off happens after your account has become 180 days delinquent. By the time a creditor decides to charge-off your account, you’ve been late for six months. All those months of late payments take a tremendous toll on your credit score. But, you may be able to take advantage of a charge-off. Typically, creditors no longer allow you to...
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