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Fair Isaac Corp. is changing the FICO score calculation, and many consumers will have higher credit scores as a result. The FICO score is still the most widely used measure of a consumer’s creditworthiness. The current calculation is called “FICO 08″ and the new calculation to be rolled out soon is called “FICO Score 9.”

Banks rely on credit scores like the FICO score to determine whether to lend money to consumers and how much to charge borrowers for that privilege. Overall, the higher credit score you have, the lower loan interest rate you may qualify for. FICO isn’t the only game in town. Lately, it’s been seeing some competition from products like VantageScore. VantageScore recently updated their own scoring algorithm to better reflect risk, and because this score is backed by the three credit reporting bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, it has been gaining traction among banks and lenders.

The update to FICO is Fair Isaac’s response to the new VantageScore algorithm. FICO’s new scoring approach, FICO Score 9, prevents certain behaviors from negatively affecting scores.

Accounts that have been transferred to collections agencies and have been repaid are dropped, so these accounts are no longer factored in. Previously, an account that had been in collections but has been repaid remained a negative factor in calculating a FICO score.

Medical debt won’t negatively affect your credit score as much. FICO now believes that medical debt has little to do with creditworthiness and risk. Most people find themselves in medical debt not because they are bad at handling loans, but because they were ill-prepared for a major medical expense. Sometimes, even the best emergency funds can’t handle immediate medical expenses.

Yet, presence of medical debt can certainly be a problem when a person is considering taking on more debt, which is why a bank would look at a credit score.

These changes, plus an alleged new technique for diving the creditworthiness from consumers without a credit history, are purported to be good for consumers in general. And for those who fall into the above categories, scores will undoubtedly increase. Increases scores, in theory, have great advantages for consumers. Debt becomes less expensive. If you qualify for a better mortgage rate by 50 basis points (or 0.5 percentage points), you could save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage. This is significant savings and could be a fantastic benefit. It could help more people reach financial independence or debt-free living sooner — or at all.

This is a very optimistic outlook. Maybe Fair Isaac has consumers in mind — and considering part of the impetus for these changes were recommendations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there is definitely a pull in favor of a large portion of Americans, those who borrow money sometime in their lives. But Fair Isaac doesn’t deal directly with consumers for the most part; banks do. And banks have a way of turning anything good for consumers against the consumers.

New regulations to protect consumers? Banks charge additional fees. Lower rates available on mortgages? Fewer consumers qualify for credit. Extremely low rates for banks borrowing from the Federal Reserve? Extremely low interest on savings accounts. New, higher credit scores for a portion of American borrowers? The potential results seem clear: Higher loan interest rates, a higher standard for lending, fewer loans, or a combination.

Does a bank look at raw credit scores or percentiles? From a financial perspective — and these are companies in the financial industry so they know all about evaluations from a financial perspective — it doesn’t make much sense to evaluate loan applicants on raw numbers. Percentiles hold the keys to decision-making.

Let’s saw a university based its applicant acceptance solely on SAT scores. The SAT scores its test on a scale up to 800. When I was in high school, there were two SAT tests, math and verbal, for a total possible score of 1600. A score of 650 out of 800 in math would have been very good, and would have qualified the test taker for a good percentage of universities. That score might have been in the 90th percentile, so scoring a 650 in math means you’ve performed better than 90 percent of the population.

The SAT company changes the test, though, and in one year, perhaps they made the test easier. The same person who received a 650 might now receive a 680. That sounds like an improvement, but because the test has changed, now that 680 is the lowest score necessary to be in the 90th percentile. Your score improved but so did everybody else’s. Colleges aren’t just going to admit more students because more test-takers scored 650 or above, they’re going to move the cut-off to remain with the 90th percentile.

And that’s how I expect things will work with credit scores as well. There’s some leeway because the scoring change does not result in an across-the-board credit score increase. Only a portion of consumers will benefit from increased scores. But even though increased scores are limited to people who fall into those categories, the percentiles will change. Some people will probably see a benefit in the form of lower loan rates or a higher potential for qualification, but it won’t affect the overall amount banks are lending. The pool of money ready for loans won’t get bigger, at least not due to this change. If banks loan more money next year than this year, that would have happened regardless of Fair Isaac’s meddling.

With the new score calculation, there doesn’t appear to be a way for any consumer to see a lower credit score. Of course, some consumers will see lower credit scores over time, but that would be a result of their particular behavior with credit rather than the scoring algorithm change.

Some people win, some people will lose. And the people who lose will be those who weren’t affected by the score change, in other words, those who don’t have medical debt or haven’t had collections.

Another factor to keep in mind is that interest rates are still historically low. Experts have been predicting the rates would increase ever since the Federal Reserve Board began lowering them. Eventually those experts will be correct. Interest rates could go up at the same time more people have higher credit scores.

You can’t see your own FICO Score 9 yet. You can find out your FICO scores under the previous version of the algorithm by visiting MyFico.com and ordering “FICO Standard” products for each of the three credit bureaus. Because each of the three bureaus could contain slightly different data about a consumer, there could be a different FICO score for each bureau, even under the same FICO 08 calculation.

With the introduction of FICO Score 9 to lenders, consumers don’t yet have the ability to see exactly what lenders who use FICO Score 9 see. That puts consumers at a disadvantage yet again, just as when FICO Scores were not available to the public, and you were never able to know your own credit score until you applied for a loan. I expect Fair Isaac will begin allowing consumers to buy their scores using the FICO Score 9 algorithm eventually, but not before the lenders get a glimpse of the overall data and can make new decisions.

I decided to order my FICO 08 scores from all the bureaus. Previously, I had only monitored my score for free using CreditKarma, and the score reported there, my “TransUnion New Account Score,” has remained 790 for a long time. CreditKarma also reports a VantageScore of 874 for me, down from 886 a few months ago. MyFico charges $19.95 for each score, but I found a discount code (S1403STL20FST) to reduce that price.

Within seconds, I received my FICO 08 scores from each bureau: 807 from Experian, 806 from Equifax, and 806 from TransUnion. I expect little change between FICO 08 and FICO Score 9 for me since I don’t fit any of the above categories. But, if I had medical debt, my score could potentially increase by 25 points.

What do you think about these changes to the FICO scoring algorithm? Will it have a positive effect for consumers? What are your credit scores? (You can share them anonymously if you like.)

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While living in New Jersey and having family in the Los Angeles and Orange County area, I’ve always found that United Airlines has had the best fares. And because 75 percent of my total airline travel has been to these locations, I decided a few years ago to make my main credit card the United MileagePlus credit card (formerly Continental OnePass). While in general, cash back rewards credit cards are the best deal for most people who use rewards credit cards, because I flew United frequently enough and was happy to spend my rewards on flight upgrades, the MileagePlus card is the card that made the most sense for me.

Some recent changes are convincing me to switch to a different credit card, perhaps one that earns generic travel rewards that can apply to any airline or a straight cash back card. First, my travel destinations have expanded. With family now in San Diego, a girlfriend in Phoenix, and an eye to visit more cities in the future, I’m using a variety of airlines once again.

Perhaps more importantly, United has just made some significant changes to its frequent flier program. Rather than rewarding travelers with frequent flier points based on miles traveled, United is rewarding customers based on the amount of dollars they spend.

Here’s how this would potentially affect me.

Next week, I am flying to San Diego, California, and the week after, I’ll be returning. The trip is business-related; I’m making several presentations at the Digital CoLab event, speaking about entrepreneurial leadership one day and leading a session on crafting effective mission statements in another. I’ll also get a chance to see my family and girlfriend while I am on that side of the country. I booked my flight several weeks ago, spending $507.90, or $568 including all taxes and fees. The tickets available were “class S,” or a deeply-discounted economy fare.

I also spent $150 and 40,000 miles to upgrade both flights to first class.

Under the old system, which is still in effect, I will earn 4,850 award miles. The new system will reward me, a non-elite member of the frequent fliers program, five points per dollar, or 2,540 miles. This new system will be put into place in 2015 and will put people who frequently fly United, but perhaps only several times a year, at a significant disadvantage.

The most frequent travelers, in United’s Premier 1K elite level, will earn 11 points for every dollar. Business travelers who often purchase full-fare or first-class flights will receive a significantly better benefit than those of us who search for the lowest price economy fares.

United’s change follows a similar announcement from Delta.

This illustrates the danger of rewards credit cards. Points aren’t real currency; the company that issues the points can, at any time, decide to change the rules about how points are earned or decide to change the value of each point. Today, a one-way flight with any particular airline might be 50,000 points; next week, that same flight might cost 75,000 points. Airlines certainly use a calculation to determine what makes the best conversion rate for points taking many variables into account, but to the traveler, changes in the reward program can be arbitrary and frustrating.

It also means that anyone who considers himself to be a master of his own personal finances must continually reevaluate the rules and terms of the rewards program. It’s legal bait-and-switch; consumers are inclined to sign up when a program is a good deal, and as the company erodes the value of what they are offering, they are counting on consumer inertia. Inertia is a powerful force. It’s partly what has kept in me bad employment situations much longer than I should stay, inertia has kept me living at the same address, and it’s the same force that has kept some of my money in the same national bank for twenty years.

Companies rely on inertia to maintain profitable customers. But this change, for me, comes at the same time that United will have less value to me as an airline.

Here’s why this is great from United’s perspective. It’s the same reason that airlines are more inclined to add more incidental fees. United and other airlines can keep fares low. Anyone can easily search for the lowest fares across multiple airlines, pitting airline against airline for the same routes. This used to be the job of travel agents, but now anyone with an internet connection can see the same information that travel agents used to see. Even with airlines that keep consolidating, this has driven competition in price — at least, in advertised base fare price.

With the frequent flier program changes from Delta and United, the airlines can keep advertised fares low while reducing the total expense of each fare booked. It’s rare for there to be any real win-win scenarios between companies and their customers. There is no way for United to paint this program update as a positive experience for most customers because most customers simply search for low prices and end up with discounted economy fares.

The biggest winners, other than the airline, are people who frequently fly first class, and most of those fares are paid by corporations. Even those who buy full-fare economy tickets with the new program terms next year will likely have an advantage over the current program. There’s only one reason someone would buy a full-fare economy ticket when a discount is available — for the ability to receive a refund if travel plans change — but this is a small percentage of customers.

Will you be affected by Delta’s and United’s changes to their respective frequent flier programs? Will you be on the winning side or losing side? Will you reconsider how you earn miles, such as through a mileage reward credit card?

Here are the full changes to United’s MileagePlus program.

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At the end of last year, I took advantage of a sale on some photography equipment. I perceived the deal to be good, and after contemplating the purchase for some time, I decided to go ahead. The sale price was manipulate through the offering of a manufacturer’s $300 mail-in rebate after a retailer’s discount of $300. This type of deal is similar to those on many other products when this particular manufacturer, Canon, wants to move their merchandise faster.

For anyone wondering about the specifics of the purchase, this was the new version of the Canon 24-70mm professional lens, offered at $1,999 instead of $2,299, with a $300 mail-in rebate. The total cost would be $1,699, or a discount of 26%. As far as I know, the deal hasn’t been offered since. Whether the new lens is worth $1,699 is another question, but it tends to be a favorite among professional photographers.

American Express Prepaid Rebate CardI waited a long time before completing my rebate paperwork. I almost missed the deadline and forfeited my $300. That’s one way they “get you.” The company accepted my rebate paperwork, and a few weeks later, in a nondescript envelope I almost didn’t open, I received the rebate in the form of an American Express prepaid reward card.

Assuming a third party company handles the rewards program for Canon, this seems like a great way to save money. They can buy prepaid reward cards in bulk for less than the face value. Compare that benefit with rebate checks. For every $300 written on a check, the company has to have $300 in the bank, just in case every recipient cashes their rebate checks (which doesn’t happen, anyway).

In order to avoid keeping track of a gift card balance — you can’t download gift card transactions into Quicken to know where you stand, and going online to check the balance periodically can get annoying — I wanted to wait to use the card for something worth at least $300. When the opportunity finally came about a week ago, the transaction, a vacation stay at a hotel, was not approved. In order to avoid trying to troubleshoot the problem, I handed the cashier a credit card. It turned out that I just didn’t tell the cashier to put only $300 on the prepaid card.

Since then, I’ve used the rebate card for smaller purchases and checked the balance today — $13.74 remains on the card. I’ll have to remember that number, so the next time I use the card, I can take the balance exactly down to zero.

Back in 2009, I noticed how more cash-back rebates were taking the form of prepaid debit cards, and it’s a trend I still don’t like.

1. It forces you to spend to see your savings. With a rebate check, you can put your cash back right back in the bank account from which you paid for your discounted item initially. All it takes is a deposit, and after some time, you’ve effectively received the product for the discounted price. Some prepaid debit cards can be “cashed” at local bank branches, like a rebate check. For example, Visa claim their prepaid rebate cards can be “cashed” at any “Visa member bank,” but Visa can’t tell customers which banks qualify as Visa member banks. I took a Visa rebate card to a Visa member bank, and the teller would not cash the prepaid card and had no idea what to do with it.

For the most part, in order to realize your savings through the rebate, you have to use the card to spend more. Money is fungible — whether you deposit a $300 rebate and spend $300 on groceries or you use a $300 rebate to buy groceries, the outcome is the same. The difference shows up when you use the rebate card to buy something you wouldn’t have purchased otherwise — like another item from Canon.

And with the big Canon logo on the card, you can be sure the company is aware that it is encouraging rebate customers to use their rebate — in a form that looks suspiciously like a Canon gift card — to purchase more of the company’s products.

2. Checks are free. Rebate cards often carry a fee. If you deposit or cash a check at a bank where you have an account, you get to use your money for free. Rebate cards often carry fees in states where this is allowed. Right on the back of the card, American Express offers this warning:

Subject to applicable law, a $2.00 monthly fee will be assessed against card balance starting 7 months after card issuance. Funds do not expire.

There is no reason for this fee to exist except to justify the discount offered to merchants who sign the contract with the card issuer to take advantage of prepaid rebate cards. Customers who don’t use their rebates make this type of rebate profitable. But so do customers who use the rebates. Every time you swipe a card, be it a charge card, credit card, or gift card, and it creates a transaction over the Visa, MasterCard, or American Express, card issuers and banks make money.

On the other hand, there are some customers form whom the prepaid debit card is actually cheaper. Many households living in the United States do not have bank accounts. Many live without a bank branch within walking distance, and others wouldn’t want a bank account even if it were convenient. In order to cash a rebate check, they might need to pay a fee to a check cashing store or Walmart. And there is a clear problem with rebate checks of low amounts, as many Consumerism Commentary visitors noted with the settlement checks for the Bank of America overdraft lawsuit. No one wants to pay a $3 fee to cash a check for $0.89.

The debit card, however, is free to use for spending within seven months.

3. You’ll likely leave a balance on the card, not realizing your full rebate. The best way to use a prepaid rebate card, if you’re going to use it for a purchase, is to use it for a partial payment on one transaction that is worth more than the card. The problem you can run into, especially with a high-value rebate like mine for $300, is that you may not get the chance to use the card for a purchase beyond the rebate’s value.

When that’s the case, you run into the problem described above. You have to watch your balance and track your purchases just so you know how much remains of your rebate after each transaction. If you don’t, or if you forget about having the rebate card, the money on it goes unused until fees deplete the balance.

If I neglected this particular $300 rebate card, the balance would be completely depleted 157 months after it was issued, according to the rules on the back of the card. That’s a little more than 13 years. But the card expires before then — in April 2022. Cards that operate on the network must have an expiration date, and this one is 98 months after the card was issued (assuming it was issued when I applied for the rebate, in February 2014).

Realistically, the chances of a card like this surviving until expiration in April 2022 are low, but it’s impossible to know what the process will be for replacing an expired prepaid rebate card with a remaining balance in 2022.

4. If your rebate card is stolen and used, you can’t recover your money. That’s not much different from cash, but it’s certainly different than debit and credit cards. With credit cards, you have liability protection against theft.

If your credit card is stolen or lost and used by someone else, if you’ve reported the card lost or stolen or disputed the transactions, you are not liable for paying for the transaction with your own money. With a debit card, you have some protections, but with the transaction linked to your bank account, you may have some short-term headaches while you resolve the issue. See these five reasons to avoid debit cards.

A rebate card is not a secure method of payment. The transaction itself is secure just like any other transaction over the electronic payment network, but because the rebate in this form isn’t your money, once it’s used by anyone, even a thief, it’s gone, unless you immediately report the card lost or stolen.

5. Cashiers don’t always know how to use them. Restaurant employees seem to know how to split checks with separate payment methods. That’s essentially what you need to do if you have a rebate card with a remaining balance and want to get that balance to zero, but don’t have a transaction for the exact amount of the remaining balance. You need to split your purchase into two payment methods, with the prepaid rebate card being one. For example, if you have $8.25 left on your card but your purchase is $10.00, the cashier would need to split your purchase into two payment options.

Not every cashier is well-versed in this process, and not every point-of-sale system makes this possible (but most do). As a result, it could be a hassle to deal with the remaining balance on a card, and that leads to the possibility of having more consumers who don’t take advantage of the full refunds. Unlike checks, which could get escheated to the state if never used, unused rebate card balances just remain with the card issuer.

Despite these drawbacks, receiving a rebate for a purchase is better than not receiving a rebate for the same purchase. It would be great if retailers offered a choice, but that’s not how the rebate system works most efficiently for the retailers. For many people, a rebate check is a better choice than a prepaid rebate card, but where the choice isn’t provided, being aware of the drawbacks of cash back rebate cards will help avoid the pitfalls and take advantage of the full rebate as advertised.

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To most Americans, Louisiana means great music, good food and some crazy Super Bowl moments. However, keen observers of the credit card industry also know Louisiana as the home of Iberiabank, a solid regional lender that’s been chugging away in cities like New Orleans and Lafayette for more than 125 years. An early adopter of remote banking, Iberiabank offers cards like its Visa Select to consumers with excellent credit all over the country, even if they’ve never been south of I-10.

Iberiabank Visa® Select is the only of Iberiabank’s credit cards that carries an annual fee, albeit a modest one. It’s also the only Iberiabank card with a consistent zero-APR introductory purchase offer, zero percent or 7.50 percent introductory purchase APR for one year from the account open date. After that your assigned purchase rate will apply. Applicants with excellent credit may qualify for one of the lowest variable go-to rates in the country. Even the second- and third-tier APR ranges spelled out in this card’s terms and conditions beat most other cards on the market. Keep in mind other factors, aside from your credit score, may also play a role in the approval process. With a 3 percent balance-transfer fee on each transfer amount and a 12-month introductory balance-transfer APR of either 1.99 or 7.50 percent, this card becomes a good place to park a balance that you know you’ll need to pay off over two or more years. After the introductory period, your APR will be the same as your assigned purchase rate, based on your creditworthiness.

Beyond that, the Iberiabank Visa Select operates like many of the no-frills credit cards you’re used to seeing from national lenders like Chase, Capital One and Citi. Therefore, the real reason you might ever consider this card would be the fact that most of Iberiabank’s larger rivals have merged with each other over the past few decades. By making their best balance-transfer deals available only to first-time customers, some big banks have shut out potential business from consumers who may have once held a card at an acquired institution.

Although banking industry gossip hounds occasionally name Iberiabank as a takeover target for any number of predators, there’s little guarantee that will ever happen. If anything, the bank has used the years since the financial crisis to justify its conservative underwriting approach and to expand its regional branch footprint. Therefore, little Iberiabank looks like a welcome haven for customers who have tried just about every big name in the credit card business.

However, that’s one of the paradoxes that shielded Iberiabank from major damage during last decade’s credit crunch. The kind of consumer who would typically qualify for this credit card probably doesn’t need a destination for a balance transfer. If anything, they’re paying an annual fee in the same price range for a more comprehensive rewards credit card, like a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or a Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express.

Still, if you’re a fan of the underdog and you’re happy to spend a little money each year to keep a line of credit on standby for emergencies, you can do far worse than the Iberiabank Visa Select card.

Click the card name link Iberiabank Visa Select for rates, additional information and application page.

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Online Shopping: Credit Card or Debit Card?

by Luke Landes
Credit Cards vs Debit Cards

The conclusion begins this article. If you’re shopping online, it’s better to use your credit card, not your debit card, in almost all cases. For someone just beginning to focus on improving one’s finances, this seems to be the wrong conclusion. After all, in theory, with a debit card you can spend only what’s in ... Continue reading this article…

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PenFed Promise Visa Review

by Joe Taylor Jr.
PenFed Promise Visa Card

By offering a suite of services originally designed to help military families make ends meet, Pentagon Federal Credit Union has grown into one of the country’s largest nonprofit financial institutions. Unlike credit unions that require geographic or employer-related eligibility, PenFed extends membership to any citizen with a family connection to our national defenses. You can ... Continue reading this article…

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The Credit Access and Inclusion Act: Should Credit Scores Include Utility Payments?

by Luke Landes
For Rent

A bill is currently being considered by the House Financial Services committee in the U.S. House of Representatives that would make it easier for credit reporting agencies to include both positive and negative bill-paying behavior in credit scores. The Fair Isaac Corporation, which changed its company branding in 2009 to be just FICO though the ... Continue reading this article…

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The Occupy Debit Card

by Luke Landes
Occupy Banks

Can an organization offer mainstream financial products while being ideologically opposed to the mainstream financial industry? That’s the question I began considering when I first heard that the Occupy Wall Street movement was in the process of developing a prepaid debit card product. The Occupy Debit Card is still just a concept, but if the ... Continue reading this article…

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An Unauthorized Charge From TransUnion: Was My Identity Stolen?

by Luke Landes
Burglar alarm

Earlier this year, the university where I studied as an undergraduate, the University of Delaware, announced that the school had been the victim of a security breach. The announcement indicated that personal information of anyone who had been on the university’s payroll might be compromised, and those who were compromised would receive a letter from ... Continue reading this article…

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Citi ThankYou Preferred Card – Low Intro APRs Review

by Joe Taylor Jr.

The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card – Low Intro APRs brings a flexible rewards program to a wider audience, with some unexpected perks and privileges for a no annual fee card. However, if you’re already packing a travel rewards card or a cash back card, you might find this account a little underwhelming. Earning 1 ThankYou Rewards point ... Continue reading this article…

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Discover it with 18-Month Balance Transfer Offer

by Joe Taylor Jr.

The Discover it® card with an 18 month introductory balance transfer offer arrived on the market with heavy fanfare, including lots of television ads and billboards touting personal service and a new rebate structure that frees customers from most cash back traps. This card’s critics have pointed out that other lenders extend far more generous signup offers, ... Continue reading this article…

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Credit Card Basics: Everything You Should Know

by Luke Landes
Inappropriate use of a credit card

The credit card is one of the most divisive products among all the financial tools available. Ask around and you’re sure to find people who pay all their expenses using credit cards as well as others who swear the products are the embodiment of pure evil. Opinions among financial experts and thought leaders are just ... Continue reading this article…

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Discover it for Students

by Joe Taylor Jr.

Discover’s made strong inroads into student borrowing over the past few years. Discover it® for Students represents the bank’s latest foray onto college campuses, with pricing and features that resemble full-featured credit cards more than the typically watered-down student accounts on the market. Loading up your wallet for the long haul For years, student credit cards earned bad ... Continue reading this article…

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Keep Your Old Credit Cards Open

by Luke Landes
Credit Cards

There may come a time when you have no need to keep your credit score as high as possible. Perhaps you have no need for debt now and in the future. It’s not common, but there are a few methods of arriving at that point. You’ve fashioned a life for yourself off the grid. You ... Continue reading this article…

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Discover it for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus

by Joe Taylor Jr.

Once upon a time, applying for a student credit card got you a cheesy T-shirt, or a hat, or a beer koozie. Often, that same card saddled you with a higher-than-average APR and a bare bones set of features compared to regular credit cards. Instead of spiking your finance charges, the folks behind the Discover it® for Students ... Continue reading this article…

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How Credit Card Issuers Pay Rewards Without Going Broke

by Lance
Credit cards

This is a guest article by Lance, the founder of the blog Money Life and More. Earning rewards from credit card companies like cash back and sign-up bonuses, astute credit card users may be wondering how issuers afford to pay these bonuses for people who don’t pay interest or late fees. Lance takes a look ... Continue reading this article…

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Discover it card Review

by Joe Taylor Jr.

The Discover it® card makes a habit of saying no. No annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, no overlimit fee and no APR hike for a late payment. Discover’s latest incarnation of cash back cards aims to simplify the relationship between cardholder and card issuer into one of easy cooperation. Discover it Card maintains 5 percent ... Continue reading this article…

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Credit Card Checkout Fees Are Here

by Luke Landes
Credit Card Surchage

I’m currently in California, visiting my mother, who as I mentioned in a previous article is in the hospital. While articles this week will likely be slow on Consumerism Commentary, one thing I won’t have to deal with while visiting family is the relaxed regulation on merchants who accept credit cards. Starting this week, retailers ... Continue reading this article…

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A New #Cut4Bieber: Justin Bieber’s Prepaid Debit Card

by Luke Landes
Justin Bieber

There’s apparently a celebrity of some sort called Justin Bieber. I don’t know much about him, but I might have heard a song of his one time. He might have been a baby only a few years ago, but today he’s following in the footsteps of some of my favorite gurus, in a love-to-hate sense, ... Continue reading this article…

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The Best Credit Cards, August 2014

by Luke Landes

As the new year begins, it’s a good opportunity to review the best credit card offers available and see which — if any — make sense for you. The best credit cards of 2014 offer a combination of sign-up bonuses, reward programs, low-APR promotional periods, and other benefits that can be used to your advantage ... Continue reading this article…

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