A neighbor informed me recently that while she was up at the corner gas station she saw two men with a laptop computer acting suspiciously. She said they were 'doing something' with their computer and seemed to be closely watching her and other customers (especially as they took out their credit cards to use the pay at the pump option). She believes that they may have been remotely stealing credit card numbers. Listen To Jim Paris Discuss This Topic My 71 year old mother mentioned the other day that a friend suggested that she go out and buy a special... Read more →


I was returning home from a trip last week. After picking up my luggage from the carousel and finding my car, I started my drive home from the airport. My stomach was growling as I had not eaten in several hours. I saw a McDonald's that was open and I ended up in the drive-through ordering a bottle of water and a small hamburger. What would follow would be one of the strangest experiences I have ever had in a drive-through. Although not common, PINs can sometimes be stolen electronically You Want My PIN? What? The young lady at the... Read more →


How The Rewards Game Works Credit card issuers offer rewards to entice you to apply for their card. Your challenge is to use the card and pay off your balance in full at the end of each month, avoiding any interest charges. If you can't bring yourself to do this, don't get enter the game (you will get clobbered). It is obvious that those cards offering the highest rewards are usually those with the worst interest rates. The rewards programs are funded partly by the money that the card company earns from the merchant transaction fees, but it also comes... Read more →


If you hate your bulging wallet and the headache of digging through your credit cards, debit cards, and loyalty cards when making a purchase, a new device called Coin promises to be a game changer. It will fit nicely in your wallet (the same size as a single credit card) and replace just about every type of card you are carrying. Coin is also fully functional at ATM's as well. The device, which will sell for $100, is currently available for $50 through a pre-order promotion. Those that pre-order will receive their Coin by this summer. With the use of... Read more →


New Fee For Credit Card Users Begins Nationwide Rollout

As part of a settlement reached this past summer between merchants and Visa/MasterCard, consumers may now be charged more when paying with a credit card. The change went into effect this week and will only apply in cases where a credit card is used. Those using debit cards will not be affected. States That Still Prohibit Checkout Fees For Credit Card Users California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Texas How Much Will It Cost You? The amount that can be added to your bill can not be more than what the merchant is actually paying for... Read more →


I have been writing for a couple of years about the large number of people who are ditching their bank account for simpler and lower cost options. In this week's article, I want to share a brand new option- Bluebird. Bluebird is a new account being offered through a joint venture between Wal-Mart and American Express. It is a debit card that provides a simple alternative to a bank checking account. From the Wal-Mart press release - “Our customers tell us that they’re tired of navigating a complex maze of dos and don’ts to avoid the ever growing list of... Read more →


Secured Credit Cards - The Magic Bullet For Raising Your Credit Score

Many Americans have had a very bumpy financial ride through what is now being called, "The Great Recession." One of the casualties many have faced is a bruised credit score. Whether you actually had a foreclosure, or simply went through a loan modification, chances are your credit score was affected. Even a few late credit card payments can destroy years of good credit management. There is a great tool that I have recommended for years that can be used to quickly rebuild damaged credit. This is how I restored my own credit after bankruptcy. I learned very quickly, that even... Read more →


A Bank Account You May Just Love

I have started to see a number of articles lately about so called SAFE accounts and why they are becoming so popular. What are they? A SAFE account is a simple bank account that provides an ATM/debit card and has no overdraft risk. The account is the product of an FDIC pilot program launched in 2011 to reach the 'unbanked' population. It is called 'SAFE' since its primary purpose is to provide the unbanked a safe place to keep their funds rather than taking the risk involved with operating on a cash only basis. These accounts also save consumers from... Read more →


The Next Robo-Signing Scandal - Credit Cards?

A local judge told the New York Times that 90 percent of credit card lawsuits in his court are flawed, and the credit card company can not prove that the debt is actually owed. The judge went on in the interview to describe the testimony and evidence provided by many credit card companies as tantamount to 'robo-signing' and 'robo-testimony.' This is a reference to the foreclosure scandal and the challenge that many lenders face proving that they own a mortgage on a specific property. Some lenders had employees signing thousands of documents per day attesting to their claim. The employees... Read more →


American Express, once known as a yuppie status symbol, introduced a prepaid debit card this week with hopes of reaching a new demographic. Prepaid debit cards were once considered a financial tool for the lower tier of consumers, but not so much anymore. Many people have made the decision to make life simple and do most (if not all) of their financial transactions using a prepaid debit card. Prepaid debit cards are reloadable cards that can be used anywhere that major credit cards are accepted. They are also convenient to use for using to making online purchases. They are generally... Read more →


Final Phase Of New Credit Card Law Takes Effect

President Obama signed major credit card reform into law in March of 2009. The initial elements of the new law were phased in last year. In February, I wrote a comprehensive article addressing many of the details of the new credit card law. This week marks the third and final phase in of the law. 1. Late Payment Fees Late payment fees will generally be capped at $25 and cannot be higher than the minimum required payment. This means that you can’t be hit with a $25 late fee for making a $10 payment late. Under the new rules, consumers... Read more →


The New Credit Card Law

A new law went into effect on Monday of this week to put a stop to what many have called ‘predatory practices’ engaged in by the credit card industry. I have mixed feelings about these kinds of laws. I am very much a Libertarian and believe that the government should not be micro managing private enterprise, but the credit card industry has really gone too far in recent years. The variety of fees they have invented, not to mention interest rates as high as 30 percent, all seem to have pushed Congress over the edge. These changes appear to be... Read more →


The Truth About Settling Credit Card Debt

The idea of a forbearance or a modification on a mortgage has become extremely common. The next financial bubble expected to burst is the credit card market. There are now 1.2 billion credit cards in America today. The total credit card debt owed by Americans is nearly 1 trillion dollars. Today, I will address five major myths about settling credit card debt. Myth # 1 – It Is Easy To Settle Your Credit Card Debt For Less Than You Owe I wish it were true, but easy settlements of credit card debt for pennies on the dollar are extremely unlikely.... Read more →


What Is In The New Credit Card Law For You?

In May of this year, President Obama signed into law The Credit Card Accountability Act. While most of the provisions do not kick in until next year, some became effective this past week. The majority of consumer protections such as limiting when interest rates can be increased, banning universal default and double-cycle billing, and restricting credit cards for minors, among others takes effect Feb. 22, 2010. More than 70% of U.S. households have at least one credit card and more than half of cardholders pay their balance in full every month, according to the Federal Reserve. 1. 45 Day Notice... Read more →