I wanted to take the time to write down all of the personal finance basics as I see them, to create a great resource and easily linked article so you – and your friends – can learn everything without having to search. This post came after years of studying the field, and writing for this […]
Credit cards get a bad rap – one that is not entirely deserved. I’ve got this working theory that it has to do with their name – the term ‘credit’ may mean ‘ability to obtain resources based on a future payoff’, but the card is named entirely wrong: If the only purpose of your credit cards is to purchase things on credit you are doing things completely wrong. The true beauty of credit cards is that they are a liquidity tool; credit cards allow you constant access to funding… whenever you need it. So, let’s look at the perfect strategy for turning your credit cards into liquidity cards!
Here’s an interesting move on the part of Bank of America… account holders who use their debit card at any time during a month will be expected to pony up $5.00 at the end. The fee doesn’t apply if you use your debit card at ATMs, just when you use it to make purchases. It’s just the latest of the big banks to make waves with debit card fees – and, with the fee scheduled to roll out to Bank of America account holders next year, it’s the largest of the debit card fee programs. Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase are also toying with the idea to tack on monthly debit card fees.
… is higher than credit card debt in our country (hat tip: Wall Street Journal). How can this be?, you may ask, when the number of news stories on credit cards seem to vastly outweigh the corresponding reports on student loans. Well, yes, credit card stories seem to outnumber student loan stories by a ratio of about 15 to 1, according to StudentLoanJustice.org. How did this happen?
Even though I lifted the moniker from this article on CNN Money, the scare quotes are appropriate. I’ve written about the Credit Card Act of 2009 and its unintended consequences. Lucky for you, the law is starting to bear fruit. We’ve seen issuers who offer cards with 79.9% interest rates, at least this article features a few cards with redeeming qualities. Anyway, you can tell the title is a bit tongue in cheek, but let’s tackle the features in the three cards shown.
Merry Christmas Eve to all my Christian readers, I’ve got a gift for you a day early. What if you could take your credit card now, make it so you can’t run a balance, and add an annual fee? Sound like something you might be interested in? Me neither. However, that’s exactly how a charge card compares to a traditional credit card.
Carnivals and featured links for the week.
There’s nothing worse than having something taken from you that you once had. As Alexis de Tocqueville remarks so elegantly in Democracy in America, “The heart of man is not so much caught by the undisturbed possession of anything valuable as by the desire, as yet imperfectly satisfied, of possessing it, and by the incessant dread of losing it.” Citi Cards stared down the rule makers, and unfortunately for their responsible customers, they blinked first. Maybe I’m being too melodramatic, but what I’ll illustrate in this article is merely symptomatic of the sweeping changes you may see in the credit card industry in the near future.
I feel it necessary to shill for Mint for a bit… and no, this is not a paid post…
Mint.com is a financial website in the vein of Quicken Online or Yodlee which allows you to aggregate the information from the vast majority of your financial accounts in one place. I’ve been using Mint for 13 months now, and have seen a number of the improvements to the service in that time. As an aggregator, Mint is very good at what it does. Going beyond a financial snapshot, Mint even has some analytical features that I find useful. I’ll take a look at some of the good features and caveats in this article.