Living with credit (535) | New, interesting products (123) | Research, regulation, industry reports (258) | Rewards (48) | Protecting yourself (201) | The fine print (88) | Credit card miscellany (409) | Celebrity Money Watch (9)
Several months ago, my favorite coffee shop in Austin switched from using a traditional credit card reader to the free Square device that attaches to an iPhone. I groaned when I saw it. Every time I swipe my card through a Square reader, the whole transaction feels slower and more cumbersome and often takes a few tries to get right.
This week, Square introduced a new product, the Square Stand, designed to fix that problem and make transactions faster and more seamless.
When suddenly confronted with those of lesser means, I'm wont to whisper to myself, "What would Jay Gatsby do?" That exact question leapt to mind recently when my personal assistant Parker interrupted my morning facial to discuss a new mobile app he'd discovered online called Smart Jets.
When it comes to credit report errors that are hard to get fixed, not even U.S. senators are immune.
At a senate hearing held Tuesday to discuss the country's controversial credit reporting system, three Democratic senators sitting on the panel, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, confessed that they, too, had found errors on their credit reports.
In loving tribute to my mother this upcoming Mother's Day, I'd like to thank my mom for teaching me how NOT to manage money. Don't worry, she won't be offended. She'll be the first to admit that she has never managed money well and has made numerous financial blunders during her lifetime. And that's how I learned. Don't worry, she won't be offended. She'll be the first to admit that she has never managed money well and has made numerous financial blunders during her lifetime. Yes, I have made money mistakes. Who hasn't? But I am far more financially savvy than my mother.
If you prefer to pay with plastic rather than with your smartphone, you're not alone. Despite ongoing hype about how mobile payments are poised to take over the way we pay, most people seem happy to stick to what they've got.
As Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an earnings call last week, mobile payments are "just getting started" and have yet to reach a tipping point with consumers. That's good news for entrepreneurs, since opportunity abounds if you're innovative enough to create something that will stick.
It has recently come to my attention that my credit cards have been frolicking buck naked in public lo these many years, their account numbers, card validation codes and expiration dates on full display for tout le monde to see.
This innocent indiscretion seemed perfectly harmless until I stumbled upon an online company called MaskYourCard (get the phonetic?) that offers to cover up the good bits on my chits with custom-made, wraparound bandages that sell for a dollar a pop, half off for Christian-themed strips. For $10, you can design your own.
Card issuers seem to be putting more distance between themselves and 'gotcha' tactics. Is transparency coming into fashion?
Last week, Colorado became the ninth state to limit employers' use of credit reports when checking job applicants' backgrounds. Now, at least 13 other states -- and even some municipalities -- are eyeing the practice, which has grown increasingly controversial at a time when nearly everyone knows at least someone who's been thrown into unemployment through no fault of their own.
If sharing information about what you buy with strangers makes you squeamish, then you may want to think twice about swiping your credit card.
Everyone from the IRS to your neighborhood burger joint wants to know what you charge to your card. And, increasingly, new tools and services -- courtesy of credit card issuers and other businesses -- are allowing them to sneak a peek.
Square, the free square-shaped card reader, already transforms any Android device, iPhone or iPad into a nerd magnet.
Now, members of the oldest profession are using it to meet up with members of one of the youngest. The average tech salary of $96,000 tends to attract friends for hire, and the Square is helping to facilitate their interactivity.
Lovers of vinyl records know that a certain amount of distortion goes with them -- a hiss that is specific to that record. In the wake of the big Scnuck's grocery store data breach, a California security company found the same applies to the magnetic stripes on credit cards. It's a discovery that may give credit cards a "fingerprint" able to thwart thievery such as befell Schnuck's the grocery chain.
It happens to the best of us.
NBC News reporter Chuck Todd recently learned that an unpaid red light ticket that he ignored (or, according to his tweets, just didn't see) has tarnished his credit score, according to MediaBistro's FishbowlDC.
A credit card that cuts your tax bill while supporting the local business base? One Pittsburgher is betting that struggling cities will have an affinity for the idea.
A group of Democratic senators are trying to pass a bill that's supposed to help curb the number of impressionable teens and college students who sign up for bigger student loans than they can afford.
I wish something like that existed when I was a clueless teen.
The sign at the world-class Metropolitan Museum of Art says it merely recommends you pay $25 to get in. But a lawsuit charges that the museum too eagerly swipes the full amount on credit cards when tourists pass through its colonnaded doors.
In a New York Times magazine article posted Tuesday, economics reporter Annie Lowrey posed a question that I've thought about often: "Do millennials stand a chance in the real world?"
According to mounting research, odds are it's going to be tough.
A bill pending in Congress would give you free access to your real credit score, not an estimate. But it looks like an idea who's time has not come, at least not yet.
Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke led extraordinary measures to create jobs. Now he may be headed for a job change of his own -- just as the task facing the Fed reaches a delicate turning point.
Both VantageScore and FICO are developing new credit scores that incorporate nontraditional data.
But will more lenders -- many of whom still rely on the plain-Jane, credit-based FICO score -- actually use it?
Local, state and federal health officials increasingly tap the stored purchase data of warehouse and supermarket membership accounts to track down outbreaks of food-borne illnesses. One day, your Costco, Sam's Club, Kroger or Publix card, with its detailed description of exactly who bought what when and where, could give health officials just the head start they need to contain a fast-moving epidemic and save lives ... or have enough data to invade your food-related privacy.
In just five days, spring will be here. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons here in Texas, where we have beautiful, mild weather that briefly tricks me into forgetting about our sweltering summers. As we all know, spring is a metaphor for cleaning out and new beginnings.
Use these following 10 blog posts that I enjoyed as inspiration to make this season a time for change and financial growth.
Disturbing news out of London this week, where Grammy-nominated British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran's rock star credentials have come under intense scrutiny after he admitted he's not fit to abuse his credit card.
"My manager doesn't let me have credit cards as I do weird things. He has to approve everything I buy," Sheeran told The Sun. "One day I said, 'I think I'll go and buy some cars today', and he goes, 'Right, but you don't drive'."
Sheeran's uncharacteristic behavior flies in the face of more than a half-century of irresponsible spending by rock's biggest spendthrifts. How might the soundtrack of our lives been changed had Rod Stewart stopped at one Lamborghini, or the Rolling Stones at one French villa, or the Who at one set of instruments? Thanks to their excess, we'll never know.
Low-income people in poor countries can't usually access traditional banking systems. Either there isn't one, or they don't have enough credit to qualify. This stifles entrepreneurs and artisans in small communities who want to grow their businesses. Enter Kiva, a nonprofit that facilitates microloans from individuals like me to individuals or groups in impoverished countries.
Each time I've given loan, I have teared up. How amazing is it that we as regular individuals can help someone in another country change their life and grow their business for only $25 at a time? I can't even imagine what it would be like to live in a world where I couldn't qualify for a bank account or not be considered for a loan of any kind, even a credit card.
Learn more about my microloans and read on to learn about 10 of my favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week, all of which have excellent money tips and tricks!
I've been thinking about robbing a bank. Well, not literally. For that, you'd need something faster than a minivan, more threatening than a golden retriever, and a getaway crew you could trust not to punk you at the curb, bag in hand, while they post the video to YouTube. And frankly, I don't look good in stripes. It's the bank robbery process I've been pondering, not the act. And the process has taken a very interesting turn in recent years, thanks to a Stony Brook, N.Y., research firm called Applied DNA Sciences that's giving cash something it's never had before: an identity.
Arbitration requirements got knocked for a loop a few years ago, but lately they show signs of bouncing back. The Supreme Court has upheld them, and another court's ban on three big card issuers is about to expire. But the federal government's new consumer bureau will have the last word.
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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