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avatar You are viewing an archive of articles by Smithee. Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer.

Smithee

I Want the New iPhone & I Don’t Care What’s In It

by Smithee

Apple’s new iPhone hardware will be formally unveiled next Monday, and I’m already itching to be able to buy it. I bought the original iPhone within a few weeks of it being available, and I upgraded to the iPhone 3G just a couple months before the iPhone 3GS came out. My wife has had that ... Continue reading this article…

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Information Consumerism Commentary

by Smithee

In an earlier part of the century I was suffering from information overload. TV, radio, podcasts, Twitter, Facebook, clones of Twitter and Facebook… and even with a feed reader, there were too many websites to keep up with. I was getting burned out, and I started having frequent daydreams about giving up and raising goats. ... Continue reading this article…

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How Does Fraud Detection Work on Your Cards?

by Smithee

You probably know that your debit and credit cards have someone watching over them for indications of fraud and/or theft, and we’ve written here before about making sure you tell the bank in advance of a trip so that they don’t mistakenly block your card. I’ve personally seen this system work well, and also not ... Continue reading this article…

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Government to Regulate Credit Card Swipe Fees

by Smithee

It will be at least a month until we know what the final financial overhaul bill looks like and exactly what proposals are being made, but one smaller provision that exists in similar formats in both pieces of legislation is a change to the way debit and credit cards are handled in stores. Currently, the ... Continue reading this article…

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New Credit Card Statement Design Means Lower Balances

by Smithee

According to an online poll conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (which exists to encourage you to set up a payment plan, but that doesn’t necessarily make their data suspect), Americans are more likely to pay more toward their credit card debt since their statements were re-designed to show just how awfully long ... Continue reading this article…

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New Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

by Smithee

Yesterday the IRS issued the first set of rules for small businesses to benefit from a tax credit signed into law as part of the Affordable Care Act. Detailed guidelines with examples are available (PDF), but to summarize: the credit is available to small employers that pay at least half the cost of single coverage ... Continue reading this article…

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Smithee Debt Update, Mid-May 2010

by Smithee

Happy Vacation-makes-finances-a-bit-messy Friday! It’s been about a month since my last credit card debt update. Since then, we managed to pull off something akin to a coup or a miracle. With help from my wife’s bonuses (which are only considered miraculous because mis-management at her company makes those difficult to realize), we were able to ... Continue reading this article…

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Legacy Credit Card Debt: Gone

by Smithee

I mentally separated my two credit cards into “Legacy Debt” and “Newer Debt”. The former has been with me on a variety of cards, banks, and interest rates since 1997, but in the last couple of years I consolidated it onto one card that I haven’t used to purchase anything. I’ve been paying it off ... Continue reading this article…

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Customer Service: Politeness vs. Demands

by Smithee

The prevailing wisdom when dealing with customer service representatives is to just keep repeating, “Let me speak to your supervisor,” until you eventually get what you want. Every time I read this, though, I get defensive and annoyed. I can’t forget that year I spent answering the phones for Bank of America, and the myriad ... Continue reading this article…

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Set Your ATM Preferences

by Smithee

Marketing e-mails, provided they make it through Google’s top-notch spam filters, get about half a second of attention from me before they get deleted. I’ll spend a bit more time if they come from my bank, and Chase recently caught my eye with an announcement about “setting your ATM preferences” (especially since a large part ... Continue reading this article…

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