I made my 3-part student loan repayment budget. I selected my payment plan. I was starting to come to terms with the monthly sacrifices I'd be making to pay off my student loan debt over the next decade. And then I saw a shelter dog's big brown eyes.

In many states across the country, infant child care is more expensive than a year of tuition at a four-year public university. But unlike college students, most parents don't have access to low-interest loans for day care.

Publishing complaints on the Web -- as proposed by a federal regulator -- will help consumers pick financial services more wisely. And it might even encourage companies to fix their problem areas.

After writing about a study that revealed consumers want more federal government involvement in cybersecurity and data breach resolution, I wanted to learn what, if anything, is happening on the federal government level that addresses these concerns. As it turns out, there's been quite a bit of activity on the subject this year, especially in recent weeks.

If you're already carrying a hefty amount of student loan, mortgage or credit card debt, you may have a tough time convincing your lender you deserve another loan. A new survey from the Professional Risk Managers International Association and FICO found that the majority of bank risk professionals cite high debt-to-income ratios (which compare how much debt you owe to how much money you take in) as their biggest source of worry when deciding whether to approve a new loan.

In the case of a data breach, what consumers don't know can hurt them.A study conducted by the National Consumer League and Javelin Strategy and Research revealed that many victims of fraud don't know how their information was compromised. As a result, they want more protection as they fear the unknown.

Isis,the mobile payments venture, pondered, "What's in a name?" The answer came quickly: too much baggage. The company announced Monday it will shed its name and come up with another, since the acronym ISIS has been contaminated by the terrorist group operating in Iraq and Syria.

It was bound to happen: Once the credit card form factor was adapted to house the ultra-thin, 21st century version of the Swiss Army Knife, its days as an unrestricted carry-on for domestic and international air travel were numbered. As handy as it is to have a card-sized utility tool tucked away in your wallet, the Transportation Safety Administration has been confiscating them like crazy lately because they qualify as a potential hijacking threat. That's right: TSA won't allow shanks on a plane.

New research suggests that credit card minimum payment warnings could be prompting some consumers to pay less than they would otherwise.

The state of Louisiana has joined the growing ranks of public and private entities looking to protect sensitive student information from potential data breaches and identity theft.

My expensive lesson about car rentals and credit cards came after a couple of accidents, one involving a rental car. And the luck of the draw -- in this case which credit card my husband drew from his wallet to pay for the rental car -- cost us $600.

College debt weighs so heavily on the millennial generation that a college-educated 30-year old is now less likely to own a home than a 30-year-old with no student debt. That was part of the testimony at a U.S. Senate hearing this week, aptly titled "Dreams Deferred."

A crackdown on store card giant GE Capital exposed details of the discount offers that card companies extend to some struggling customers. Card issuers don't like to talk about the issue -- why negotiate in public? -- but the store-card issuer's consent order from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau revealed the terms that Synchrony offered some of its debt-strapped customers.

With my six-month, no-payment grace period coming to an end, I decided it was time to officially confirm my student loan debt repayment plan so I sat down and took a hard look at the numbers and found that paying more now is my best option.

The list of retailers affected by data breaches in recent months keeps getting longer and everyone is looking for someone (or something) to blame. Two surveys -- one of consumers, one of IT and IT security professionals -- attempt to assign that blame: Consumers blame retailers. The IT pros say, "Sorry. My bad."

The next time you get the urge to overspend, you may want to take a moment to count your current blessings. A new study published this month in the journal "Psychological Science" found that cultivating a sense of gratitude not only helps boost your overall well-being; it may also help curb your urge to splurge.

Regulators wanted to talk about mobile banking technology. The audience had another subject in mind: Get payday lenders off our necks.

This week, Suze Orman's love story with her signature Approved prepaid debit card for budget-stretchers came to an unexpected end. And as with most sudden breakups, neither side is saying much.

Bancorp Bank, which handled the payments end for the reigning queen of cable money advice, would only tell the New York Times that come July 1, Approved cards won't be.



Like it or not, your credit card company is watching what you buy, where you buy it and just how much you spend on it.

One of the big reasons for this: sniffing out fraud.

In the wake of huge headline-grabbing breaches at Target, Michael's and other retailers, banks are constantly on the lookout for purchases that might seem strange or out of character for a particular credit card holder. Oftentimes, they'll call or text a cardholder if something looks unusual. They'll even decline a purchase if it seems iffy.

But what exactly makes a purchase look sketchy?

Don't know? Don't feel bad. According to the latest CreditCards.com survey, many of your fellow cardholders don't either.



According to a new Wells Fargo survey, 80 percent of millennials say the Great Recession taught them the value of saving for a rainy day. But nearly half of the millennials surveyed said they aren't saving anything for retirement.

Heading back to college for a second degree presented a number of financial challenges I didn't have the first go-round. I got through it by weighing all my options carefully, juggling numerous demands -- and getting a little lucky.



I had a great system for my credit card bills: I'd write a check when the bill arrived, put the due date on it, and then put it in a stamped envelope ready to be mailed. Then I'd smugly enjoy the float. Great system. Until it wasn't.



Once again, U.S. colleges and universities are taking heat from federal lawmakers for peddling hazardous plastic on campus. But this time, lawmakers are zeroing in on campus-issued debit cards, rather than credit cards.

Exploiting a romantic relationship for financial gain is one of the oldest fraud schemes in the books and thanks to mobile banking technologies, a criminal can now simultaneously break a victim's heart and bank account from anywhere in the world.

Want to borrow against your bling? If you deposit a sufficient amount of your gold bullion with IMGold, a "secure bullion depository" on the banking haven Isle of Man, you can borrow against it using the new Bullion Card.

If you're down to your last dollar, you may want to save your money rather than spend it. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, the less cash you have on hand, the more likely you are to regret your purchase, regardless of what you bought.

Those eight-to-10 character passwords you've created to protect your accounts aren't as secure as you think, and fraudsters are cracking our log-in credentials now more than ever.

Without referring to the political battle going on around it, the CFPB's report on its supervisory activity demonstrates the need for a cop on the consumer financial beat.

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They're the pieces of plastic we love, and love to hate. Get the latest news, tips, research and more from the CreditCards.com staff.

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