Category: Credit Cards

Follow-Up Round-Up

Time to follow up on a few topics I have written about in the past and mention a few more tidbits not worthy of entire posts.

Bad BooksUSPS Stamp

On Friday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled another half million electrical DIY books to add to the million or so recalled from the same publisher in January. Some of the books were originally published in the 1950s. No explanation of why this batch was overlooked nine months ago. Also still no word on what, exactly, is wrong with them.

I had some fun with this in January, but darker thoughts are now creeping into my head. Is it just me, or is anybody else uncomfortable with the idea of a government agency recalling “dangerous” books?

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10 Dumb Comments on 10 Dumb Reasons to Take Out a Loan

Yesterday WalletPop posted 10 Dumb Reasons to Take Out a Loan. Oh, how I like list posts. Ideas homogenized into orderly little chunks. It’s like blog dim sum. Or sushi. Or maybe Chicken McNuggets.

Chicklet-currency I am too much of a fussbudget not to point out that three of the listed items are not dumb reasons to borrow but dumb ways to borrow. Still, I think I can come up with ten easy-to-digest responses. Here goes.

1. Buying a Timeshare. I have to agree that buying a new timeshare, that is, from the developer, is probably always a bad idea. (On the other hand, buying one used, from some other sap who bought new and now will take any reasonable offer, sounds like an interesting idea to me. I’ve never done it.)

But does borrowing the money to buy a timeshare make it worse? I don’t see how. Indeed, once you set aside the foolishness of buying the thing, a loan to do it seems quite reasonable. The developer may provide financing on special terms and I think that under some circumstances the interest is tax deductible.

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Even More Debit and Credit Card Confusion

Time to circle back and discuss the cards, credit and debit, again.

If you are just joining us, I will recap. Debit card transactions now outnumberC Cards 2 (Andres Rueda) credit card transactions in America. Frank doesn’t get it. He has used a debit card maybe three or four times in his life. Although he can imagine several special cases in which a debit card would be preferable to a credit card for a person, he can’t wrap his head around the idea that the majority of people fall into those categories.

Wise Bread today ran a feature comparison of credit versus debit cards. Debit cards did not fare well in the head-to-head, besting credit only on the “Which is better for avoiding credit card debt?” criterion.

This, by far, is the strongest argument in favor of the debit card. If it helps you control your spending and helps you avoid credit card debt, then that one feature alone is as precious as gold. If you currently have credit card debt or are trying to get out of credit card debt, then cutting up the credit card and using a debt card is probably one of the smartest decisions you can make.

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Complete Credit Card Confusion Continues

It has been months since I last shared confusion over the way everybody else uses credit cards. Today I am back at it.

Over the weekend the New York Times had a report about a new featureC Cards (Andres Rueda) being rolled out by MasterCard and Citigroup. (By which the Times means Citibank.)

The service, called inControl and already in use by some Barclaycard holders in Britain, is a sort of financial chastity belt that offers the potential to prevent a variety of budget sins and other money traps.

Worried about your restaurant habit? If your bank adopts MasterCard’s service, you could tell it to have your debit or credit card reject any restaurant purchase above whatever monthly cap you set.

I must admit I do like the name of the product. “inControl” neatly implies that without it you would be “outofControl” and I think that if this service appeals to you that is likely true.

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Why Johnny Can’t Read His Credit Card Agreement

From comes the news that U.S. credit card agreements are unreadable to 4 out of 5 adults. It is not that they are written in invisible ink, or tiny print, or even that they are hidden away in the deep recesses of someCredit-cards Lotus Head web site. The agreements are printed in easy to see black and white and mailed to the card holder’s house.

Are they in Latin? Do they involve obscure legal terms? Perhaps they are poorly translated from some foreign tongue?

No, they are unreadable to 4 in 5 Americans because those sneaky credit card companies have written them in standard English, but at a 12th grade level. Bastards.

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