credit cards http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/356/all en-US 7 Ways Auto-Payments Can Screw You http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-auto-payments-can-screw-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-auto-payments-can-screw-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shocked-woman-bill-121285155-small.jpg" alt="shocked woman bill" title="shocked woman bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Setting up automatic bill payments can be a great way to avoid late fees and save time. But if your attitude is &quot;set it and forget it,&quot; auto-payments can also come back and bite you in the butt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-automate-your-finances?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Automate Your Finances</a>)</p> <p>Watch out for these seven auto-pay betrayals.</p> <h2>1. Overdraft Fees</h2> <p>Personally, I only set up automatic payments using my credit cards, not my checking account. The reason is that if my account is ever on the low side, I don't want to risk having an automatic payment sink me down into the red, triggering an overdraft charge. Consider setting up account alerts to notify you of low balances in order to avoid this snafu.</p> <h2>2. Account Closure</h2> <p>A good friend was recently prey to the all-too-frequent scourge of credit card fraud. Her card issuer assured her she was not responsible for the fraudulent charges, so she wasn't worried about that. Her worry was that if she closed the account, she would have to call all her recurring billers &mdash; the gym, the cable company, etc. &mdash; to give them the new number. What's worse, if any of the billers mess up and don't switch to the new card number, you could end up with late fees on those accounts. And if you're me, you'll probably forget to notify at least one biller, and end up missing several payments before you realize your oversight.</p> <h2>3. Fraud</h2> <p>I had a stored-value card for our local public transit system, set to automatically replenish its funds from my credit card account. This is very convenient &mdash; for people who are good at keeping track of their card. I lost mine, and since I don't take public transit daily, it was a couple of months before I realized it was missing.</p> <p>It was only after I noticed one month that our credit card had been billed for over $100 for transit card refills that I realized something was going on. Once I looked into it, I realized that my card had been used by someone else for several months and I had been defrauded by more than $300. I have an investigation pending with the system, and I have a new card &mdash; which is not on auto-pay.</p> <h2>4. Vendor Errors or Vendor Fraud</h2> <p>Once you have given a vendor your credit card or checking account number, they can, in some cases, continue billing your account &mdash; even more than you agreed to. Check out this <a href="https://customer.uscellular.com/myaccount/autopay-faq.html">Q&amp;A cell phone company US Cellular</a> had to publish last year to deal with the fallout after their auto-pay system went haywire and billed people for two months' service at once. Then there are disreputable companies that might sign you up for one service and then start billing you for things you didn't order. Read the fine print and double-check that no additional charges will be forthcoming without your express permission</p> <h2>5. Cancellation Difficulties</h2> <p>This one happened to me with the phone company. I moved and canceled service, but they just kept right on charging my credit card every month. At first, the charges went unnoticed in the chaos of a cross-country family move, but by the time I noticed it, I had to call customer service again and again before it stopped. Each month, the agent would say the problem was taken care of and that a refund was being processed. But the the next month, lo and behold &mdash; I was billed again. Consider getting confirmation in writing of cancellations.</p> <h2>6. Forgetting to Cancel</h2> <p>The flip side of the above is when you put a service on auto-pay, then completely forget you are paying for it. If you don't study your credit card bill or bank statement carefully each month, you might pay for years of that music streaming service or beer of the month club without remembering that you never listened to it or you stopped drinking beer.</p> <h2>7. Lack of Vigilance</h2> <p>When you have to manually pay a bill each month, you tend to look at the amount you're paying and the statement. When I pay my electric bill, I compare it to the past month and the year-before's bills, and if it went up, I think about what we might have been doing differently to use more electricity. But I tend to slide on watching bills that get paid automatically, like our phone bill. Even if we still receive a paper statement, if I know the bill is paid it's too tempting to just recycle the bill without opening it. This could lead to unpleasant surprises if your bill goes up or fluctuates. Fight the temptation to ignore the amounts billed, and pore over your statements on occasion. You might be glad you did.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been burned by auto-pay? Tells us your story in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-auto-payments-can-screw-you" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways Auto-Payments Can Screw You" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-auto-payments-can-screw-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-private-financial-information-you-must-share">The Private Financial Information You Must Share</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-grocery-budgeting-a-game-the-price-is-right-style">Make Grocery Budgeting A Game, The Price Is Right Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-people-with-good-credit-never-do">8 Things People With Good Credit Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Finance auto-pay banking budgeting credit cards money management Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:30:16 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1260292 at http://www.wisebread.com Read This to Maximize Your Rewards and Cash Back This Holiday Season http://www.wisebread.com/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-christmas-credit-card-453313301-small_0.jpg" alt="christmas credit card" title="christmas credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Tis the season for shopping, and for most of us that means swiping some plastic. Did you know that choosing the right credit card for your purchases is more important than ever during the holiday season? This is when you spend more than you usually do, which means that you can rack up more rewards than you normally would. Does your go-to credit card offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">bonus points for grocery shopping</a>? At department stores? For gas? It's time to find out!</p> <p>Here's a step to step guide on organizing your credit cards so you are armed with the one that will help carry the budget burden. (See our picks for the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-the-holidays">best credit cards for the holidays</a>)</p> <h2>1. Review Your Credit Card Terms</h2> <p>Do you even know which credit card offers cash back and which one only offers points for travel redemption? Take out your credit cards, and go into your card's rewards terms. Write down what each card offers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases?ref=seealso">How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases</a>)</p> <h2>2. Compare Against Your Gift List</h2> <p>Now that you know which cards offer what rewards, look at your gift list to see if your cards offer rewards for the purchases you are planning to make. Consider other purchases you might need to make, too, like travel arrangements or extra grocery shopping for all the people staying at your place for a week.</p> <h2>3. Choose Cards Based on Bonus Rewards</h2> <p>Use the credit card that offers bonus rewards on purchases. For example, use the 3% cash back on groceries credit card when you buy groceries. Use the card that gives you double points on travel purchases when you reserve your flight to your in-laws'. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">5 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>4. Use Their Shopping Portals</h2> <p>Look at your list again. Are there any stores that you can buy your gifts at that are partnered with your credit card's shopping portal? Many card issuers have their own shopping portals where they give bonus rewards if you shop through there. The shopping experience is the same &mdash; you just have to go to their portal first, then click through to the store you want. Some cards offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-discover-it-card-attractive-cash-back-awards-for-shoppers">up to 20% cash back</a> if you shop via their portal (and use their card).</p> <h2>5. Look for Bonuses</h2> <p>After you've figured out which cards offer bonus rewards for the purchases you need, it's time to decide which card to use for the rest of the purchases. Most cards offer 1% cash back or 1 point for other purchases, and you might think that means it doesn't matter which card you use for them, but you'd be wrong. Some cards offer bonus rewards <em>on your rewards</em>. So if you racked up 5000 points in a year, a card might offer an extra 10% on top of that, so you'd get an additional 500 points. You'd want to use that card for all your other purchases.</p> <h2>6. Get Protection for Your Purchases</h2> <p>One final thing to consider when choosing the credit card for your holiday purchases are the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about">additional benefits a credit card may offer</a>. These benefits often include <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-free-extended-warranty-from-your-credit-card-issuer">extended warranty</a>, price protection, purchase protection, and return protection. When it comes to holiday shopping, these perks may be worth more than any extra rewards or cash back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping?ref=seealso">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a>)</p> <p><em>Do you try to maximize your rewards during holiday shopping? Please share your tips and tricks in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season" class="sharethis-link" title="Read This to Maximize Your Rewards and Cash Back This Holiday Season" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lynn-truong">Lynn Truong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-all-of-the-benefits-of-your-credit-cards-and-none-of-the-costs">How to Get All of the Benefits of Your Credit Cards — and None of the Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-many-credit-cards-should-you-carry">How Many Credit Cards Should You Carry?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-why-i-prefer-credit-cards-over-cash">10 Reasons Why I Prefer Credit Cards Over Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Credit Cards credit cards holiday shopping maximum rewards rewards cards Fri, 21 Nov 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Lynn Truong 1257853 at http://www.wisebread.com How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-shopping-bakery-credit-card-492527833-small.jpg" alt="woman shopping credit card" title="woman shopping credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Anymore, it doesn't make a lot of sense to get a credit card if you aren't receiving some sort of rewards benefit. If you are going to use credit to make purchases, then you might as well recoup some of that. However, there are hundreds of these types of rewards and cash back credit cards. They may all sound similar, but depending on your spending habits, you would see very different levels of rewards with different cards.</p> <p>Cash back cards allow you to get &quot;cash back&quot; for your purchases. Rather than getting points for your purchases and then using those points to get various merchandise or travel rewards, you get actual money back (most of the time in the form of a statement credit). What varies from card to card is the amount of cash you get back, in what categories, and how you redeem them.</p> <p>You want the best possible cash reward card for your individual financial situation. Here's what to consider as you look for a cash rewards credit card. (See our picks for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" style="text-decoration:none;">best cash back credit cards</a>)</p> <h2>How You Earn Cash&nbsp;</h2> <p>Not all cash back cards have the same mechanism for accumulating rewards. There are cards that work by giving you cash back on a percentage of your purchases, and some that work on a points system.</p> <h3>Earning Cash through Points</h3> <p>In most cases, cash rewards cards that offer points are pretty straightforward. You get one point for each dollar that you spend. Some cards will offer extra points by shopping at a specific store, or by spending in certain categories.</p> <p>For example, Credit Card XYZ offers 3x points for supermarkets, 2x points for gas, and 1 point for other purchases. Your points would looking something like this:</p> <ul> <li>Shopping at Whole Foods Market: $87; Points: 261 (87*3)</li> <li>Getting gas: $43; Points: 86 (43*2)</li> <li>Shopping at Home Depot: $60; Points: 60</li> </ul> <p>It's important to realize that one point does not translate into a dollar of cash back. In most cases, each point is akin to earning 1% cash back. So for the purchases above, those points are worth about $4.</p> <p>You can see, though, how the extra multiplier help rack up rewards points quickly.</p> <h3>Earning Cash through % Back</h3> <p>Cars that offer a percentage of cash back on your purchases work the same way as the points above. But instead of going through the extra step of translating the points into cash, the calculation is done directly.</p> <p>For example, if Credit Card ABC offers 3% back for supermarkets, 2% for gas, and 1% for other purchases, the breakdown would look like this:</p> <ul> <li>Shopping at Whole Foods Market: $87; Cash back: $2.61 (3% of $87)</li> <li>Getting gas: $43; Cash Back: $0.86 (2% of $43)</li> <li>Shopping at Home Depot: $60; Cash Back: $0.60 (1% of $60)</li> </ul> <p>The total cash back comes out to $4.07, pretty much the same as Credit Card XYZ that uses a points system.</p> <h2>How Purchases Earn Cash Rewards</h2> <p>There are three main ways that credit cards offer rewards on purchases.</p> <h3>Rotating Categories</h3> <p>In recent years, it's become popular to offer a higher percentage on categories that rotate each quarter. So, for three months, you might get 5% back for groceries, restaurants, and gas (1% on other purchases), but next quarter, it might be something different, like department stores and home improvement stores.</p> <p>Not only does this make it difficult to really evaluate whether a credit card will be beneficial for you, there are also hoops to jump through in order to get these extra rewards. Many credit card issuers require that you sign up for the higher cash back each quarter. So, if you don't remember to go in and sign up for that 5% cash back on the quarterly category, you'll miss out, <em>even if you spent in those categories</em>.</p> <h3>Tiered Categories</h3> <p>In many cases, depending on your spending habits, you can do better with a tiered category card. These are cards that don't rotate categories. Instead, they offer different cash rewards for different categories. You might receive 3% back on groceries, 2% back on gas, and 1% back on other purchases. If you are willing to pay an annual fee, you might be able to get 6%, 3% and 2% cash rewards in those categories.</p> <p>If you plan your spending so that you use your card for all of your common expenses, these tiered cards can be more effective than a rotating category card, since the cash back can offset your annual fee, and help you come out ahead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=seealso" style="text-decoration:none;">Top 5 Credit Cards for Groceries</a>)</p> <h3>Flat Rate</h3> <p>Flat rate cash rewards cards are making a bit of comeback right now. These are cards that might offer 2% or 1.5% on all purchases made throughout the year, no matter the category. If you don't use your card often, and you don't like the idea of keeping track of which card to use for different purchases, this type of cash rewards card can make a lot of sense. In many cases, when you average out what you're getting from a rotating category card, you are likely to average out to 1.5% to 2% overall anyway.</p> <h2>Redeeming Your Cash Rewards</h2> <p>Cards offer different options for redeeming your cash rewards. Many issuers have a threshold before you can redeem, so you need to build up your rewards. If your card operates on a points system, you might need to reach a minimum of 1,000 points ($10) for example, before you can cash out.</p> <p>Here are some of the common ways that you can usually redeem your cash rewards.</p> <h3>Statement Credit</h3> <p>Your cash back is applied to your balance. You can apply the amount to your balance before you make your credit card payment. If you have a points-based rewards card, there will be a system for converting your points to cash. Usually it's a simple process if you access your account online.</p> <h3>Cash or Check</h3> <p>In some cases, you can choose to have cash deposited into the bank account of your choice. Some consumers use this option to boost their emergency savings. You might also be able to receive a paper check that you can deposit wherever you want.</p> <h3>Gift Cards</h3> <p>An increasingly popular way to redeem cash is via gift cards. In some cases, you might be able to redeem cash or points for a gift card with a face value that does more good than a statement credit or cash back. For example, if you have earned $20 in cash back, you might be able to get a $25 gift card to your favorite store. Or you might need 5,000 points for a $50 statement credit, but you might be able to get a $50 gift card for 4,500 points. As long as the store you prefer is available, it can be a better choice to redeem for a discounted gift card.</p> <h3>Merchandise</h3> <p>In some cases, you can convert your cash rewards into merchandise. This is often the least effective way to redeem your rewards, since the value of the merchandise rarely compares to the cash or cash equivalent you receive. With merchandise, there is a good chance that you are basically paying $25 for something that you could buy from the store or online for $15 or $20. It's not usually a good deal.</p> <h2>Important Note on Rewards Caps and Annual Fees</h2> <p>Make sure that you understand all the terms and conditions of your rewards credit card. Don't miss out on getting all the cash back you can by skipping over the fine print.</p> <h3>Reward Caps</h3> <p>Due to the overwhelming popularity of credit card users trying to capitalize on rewards, credit card issuers have started placing caps on the amount of cash back you can earn. For cards with rotating categories, they may have a condition that the cash back bonus rate only applies to the first $1,500 (on all the categories combined). After that, you'd get only 1% back. For tiered categories, there might be an annual limit. Once you hit that, it goes back to the standard 1% cash back until the next year.</p> <h3>Annual Fees</h3> <p>The most attractive cards with the higher rewards are usually cards with an annual fee. Run the numbers to see which card makes sense for you. Even if you think you'll earn back enough to pay for the annual fee, see if choosing the no fee card would get you more cash back.</p> <p>For example, If you earn $100 a year in cash back, but have to pay $75 for the annual fee, you're getting $25 back per year. It's a net positive, however, you might be able to get $50 back on a no-fee card. Sure your rewards are lower, by half, but you're still ahead because you didn't have to pay the fee. Cards with annual fees only make sense if you can really maximize the bonus categories.</p> <p>Ready to sign up for a great cash rewards credit card? We've picked out the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal">5 Best Cash Rewards Credit Cards</a>!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work" class="sharethis-link" title="How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miranda-marquit">Miranda Marquit</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season">Read This to Maximize Your Rewards and Cash Back This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-all-of-the-benefits-of-your-credit-cards-and-none-of-the-costs">How to Get All of the Benefits of Your Credit Cards — and None of the Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-many-credit-cards-should-you-carry">How Many Credit Cards Should You Carry?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-why-i-prefer-credit-cards-over-cash">10 Reasons Why I Prefer Credit Cards Over Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Credit Cards credit cards redeeming rewards rewards cards Tue, 18 Nov 2014 10:00:08 +0000 Miranda Marquit 1256481 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-shopping-credit-card-178584659-small.jpg" alt="woman shopping credit card" title="woman shopping credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Take a stroll through any big box retailer and you'll find that part of the store has already been transformed into a winter wonderland. Elaborate displays house inflatable lawn decorations, tree ornaments, and holiday cards. Though you might not be ready to write your gift list just yet, you should know these 11 ways your credit card will save you money once holiday shopping gets into full swing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-the-holidays?ref=seealso">Top Credit Cards for the Holidays</a>)</p> <h2>1. Extended Warranty</h2> <p>Many retailers will attempt to sell you extended warranties with your purchases, particularly for electronics. These plans tend to be very expensive and have numerous limitations. Some credit cards offer a free one-year extension of the manufacturer's warranty just by placing the entire purchase on the card. Check your credit card benefits to see which ones have this perk. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about">11 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About</a>)</p> <p><strong>Credit Cards With Extended Warranty</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=23007525&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Amex EveryDay<sup>SM</sup> Credit Card</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=23007783&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Citi&reg; Double Cash Card</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Discover it&reg;</a></li> </ul> <h2>2. Price Protection</h2> <p>Nothing will deflate your shopping spirit like buying a gift for someone and then finding the exact same item at another retailer for less money. While you can do a good deal of price checking before you make the purchase, sales that you can't foresee crop up throughout the holidays. Some credit cards offer price protection where you may be refunded the price difference if something you purchased goes down in price within a specific period of time.</p> <p><strong>Credit Cards With Price Protection</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=23007783&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Citi&reg; Double Cash Card</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Discover it&reg;</a></li> </ul> <h2>3. Return Protection</h2> <p>How many times have you bought a gift only to find out that the recipient already has it or it's the wrong size or color? Most retailers have an expiration date on the length of time that they accept returns or exchanges. Sometimes, retailers don't accept returns or allow exchanges at all.</p> <p>Luckily, many credit cards offer 60-90 days of return protection. If you bring the item back to the retailer and the retailer doesn't accept the return, your credit card company may give you a refund for the purchase if you placed the entire purchase on your card. Again, it's important to check limitations and exceptions to this policy.</p> <p><strong>Credit Cards With Return Protection</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=23007525&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Amex EveryDay<sup>SM</sup> Credit Card</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Discover it&reg;</a></li> </ul> <h2>4. Purchase Protection</h2> <p>Unfortunately, product damage and theft are rampant during the holiday shopping season. Increasingly credit cards offer purchase protection though they don't always advertise this benefit. Cards that offer purchase protection typically protect items from theft or damage for 90 days from the date of purchase.</p> <p><strong>Credit Cards With Purchase Protection</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=23007525&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Amex EveryDay<sup>SM</sup> Credit Card</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=23007783&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Citi&reg; Double Cash Card</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Discover it&reg;</a></li> </ul> <h2>5. Cash Back</h2> <p>Check to see if you have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">cash back credit card</a> that offers cash rewards for your purchases. Using the right card can help you rack up savings when it's time to pay the bill. Usually cash back rewards come in the form of a statement balance. If you hit their minimum threshold, you can apply the cash rewards to your balance and get a nice discount after you've already bought your gifts.</p> <p><strong>Credit Cards With Cash Back</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Discover it&reg;</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050771&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Blue Cash Everyday&reg; Card from American Express</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=23007783&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Citi&reg; Double Cash Card</a></li> </ul> <h2>6. 0% APR Promotional Offer</h2> <p>As a general rule, I only charge expenses that I know I can pay off in full every month. Interest rates on credit card balances are often 15% or higher. If there's no way for you to avoid carrying a card balance this holiday, look for special sign up offers that provide a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">0% balance transfer</a> rates and/or 0% interest charge on purchases for new members.</p> <p><strong>Credit Cards With 0% APR Promotional Offer</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Discover it&reg;</a></li> <li><a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050893&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Citi Simplicity&reg; Card</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=23007525&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Amex EveryDay<sup>SM</sup> Credit Card</a></li> </ul> <h2>7. Shopping Portals</h2> <p>Many credit cards have retail partners who offer discounts if cardmembers shop through their particular shopping portal. Check to see what discounts your credit card issuer may offer if you use their shopping portal. The shopping experience is the same. You just go through one extra step (go to the shopping portal to click on the store link instead of going to the store page directly).</p> <p><strong>Credit Cards With Shopping Portals</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Discover it&reg;</a></li> <li>Chase Freedom&reg; Card</li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=23007783&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Citi&reg; Double Cash Card</a></li> </ul> <h2>8. Hotel Discounts and Upgrades</h2> <p>Before you book a hotel for your holiday vacation, check your card benefits to see if you can get special discounts and/or upgrades at various hotel chains. You can also check out some of the hotel co-branded credit cards if you're partial to a particular chain. The sign up offer alone may get you some free nights. Then you can use the card the rest of the year and cash in for every holiday vacation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a>)</p> <p><strong>Credit Cards With Hotel Benefits</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050761&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card From American Express</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050865&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Citi&reg; Hilton HHonors Visa Signature&reg; Card</a></li> <li><a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22927724&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Barclaycard Wyndham Rewards&reg; Visa Signature</a></li> </ul> <h2>9. Airfare Deals</h2> <p>Do you have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">travel rewards credit card</a>? Now's the time to check how many miles you've collected and how to maximize your travel rewards. The best credit cards offer 1:1 transfer points to partner loyalty programs. Others offer discounts by purchasing or redeeming travel through their travel portal site.</p> <p>If you don't already have one, consider signing up for a card with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">big sign up bonus</a>. Some even offer free or deeply <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-airline-companion-tickets-and-3-bad-ones">discounted companion fares</a>. If you have a favorite airline, you can see if they have a co-branded credit card. Otherwise, there are plenty of great travel rewards credit cards that offer many different options for redeeming flights.</p> <p><strong>Credit Cards With Airfare Deals</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3050774&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">American Express&reg; Premier Rewards Gold Card</a></li> <li><a rel="nofollow" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644811&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" target="_blank">Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard&reg;</a></li> <li>Chase Sapphire Preferred</li> </ul> <h2>10. Gift Cards for Reward Points</h2> <p>If your card has a reward points system, it probably offers you a variety of ways to use those points. Purchasing gift cards is one of the highest value ways to use your points. For example, you may be able to purchase a $100 gift card with only $90 worth of reward points. Credit card companies usually make special arrangements with retailers to purchase a retailer's gift cards for a discounted price. Through its rewards programs, credit card companies pass this discount on to their customers. If you plan to buy gift cards for gifts, check your credit card rewards program options to see what they have on offer.</p> <p><strong>Credit Cards With Gift Cards for Reward Points</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=22902982&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Citi ThankYou&reg; Preferred Card</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=23007525&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Amex EveryDay<sup>SM</sup> Credit Card</a></li> <li>Chase Freedom&reg; Card</li> </ul> <h2>11. Special Deals and Discounts</h2> <p>Different credit cards offer different discounts and extra rewards for shopping. Some credit cards might offer extra reward points for shopping at department stores. Others might offer their card members a straight discount at certain stores. Check your credit card website or call the number on the back of your card for details on special offers, seasonal or otherwise. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/store-credit-cards-that-dont-suck?ref=seealso">Store Credit Cards That Don't Suck</a>)</p> <p><strong>Credit Cards With Special Deals and Discounts</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=3577212&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Blue Cash Preferred&reg; Card From American Express</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=18819056&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Discover it&reg;</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=23007783&amp;fot=1155&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Citi&reg; Double Cash Card</a></li> </ul> <p>Benefits often change without notice and can have limitations and exceptions. Don't assume that your card does or does not offer any of these benefits. Check online and call the number on the back of your card to get the scoop so that you fully understand the exact benefits and how to use them. Happy holiday shopping!</p> <p><em>Have you taken advantage of these or other credit card perks? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping" class="sharethis-link" title="11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Never Use Cash for These 11 Things</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-loyalty-rewards-programs-you-didnt-know-existed">12 Loyalty Rewards Programs You Didn&#039;t Know Existed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-grocery-shopping-techniques-you-need">The Only 5 Grocery Shopping Techniques You Need</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-save-money-on-hotels">10 Surprising Ways to Save Money on Hotels</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Credit Cards Shopping credit card discounts credit card perks credit cards discounts rewards shopping Tue, 04 Nov 2014 09:00:12 +0000 Christa Avampato 1250590 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Credit Card Data Breaches http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-credit-card-data-breaches <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-credit-card-data-breaches" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smartphone-NFC-purchase-187551382-small.jpg" alt="smartphone payment" title="smartphone payment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every week the news seems flooded with yet another example of a retail data breach. These data breaches have exposed the credit card information of millions of consumers.</p> <p>While retailers scramble to respond, here are five steps you can take to limit any personal impacts of these data breaches. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keep-your-credit-card-safe-while-shopping-online?ref=seealso">Keep Your Card Safe While Shopping Online</a>)</p> <h2>1. Make Your Debit Card a Credit Card</h2> <p>A debit card doesn't do a thief any good unless he or she knows your PIN number. If you swipe your debit card and tell the cashier it's a debit, the system will prompt you for a PIN number. Instead, tell the cashier it's a credit card and you'll sign for your purchases rather than entering a PIN. This way your PIN number will never be in the payment system, so it can't be compromised by a data breach.</p> <h2>2. Avoid Credit Monitoring Offers</h2> <p>The moment a new data breach is exposed, scammers get to work. Many will whip up fake companies and begin spamming people with email offers of free or low-cost credit monitoring services. The scammers trick people into turning over their credit card information with promises of fraud protection when these scammers are actually the fraudsters. Do yourself a favor and delete these emails the moment you see them in your inbox. You can monitor your own credit by getting your credit report free once a year from each of the credit agencies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-truly-free-credit-report?ref=seealso">How to Get a Truly Free Credit Report</a>)</p> <h2>3. Review Your Charges and Create Usage Alerts</h2> <p>Each month, carefully review your statement to make sure you recognize all charges on your card. The moment you see something unfamiliar, report the issue to your credit card company.</p> <p>Most credit card companies will take responsibility for suspect charges if reported to them in a timely fashion. Many credit cards also give you the option to set up alerts so that you know when your card has been used. If you receive one of these alerts when you haven't used your card, contact your credit card company immediately to report the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-fraud-and-how-to-avoid-it?ref=inarticle">fraudulent charge</a>.</p> <h2>4. Request New Plastic</h2> <p>If you learn that a retailer where you shop has had its payment data compromised, call your credit card company and ask for your current card to be canceled and a new card issued. This way if a fraudster does get hold of your card information, it won't work and you'll be protected.</p> <h2>5. Look for Different Ways to Pay</h2> <p>Most retailers offer multiple methods of payment. There's always good ol' cash. Increasingly, retailers are accepting alternative payments such as Google Wallet, PayPal, and specialized apps such as the one created for Starbucks customers. These methods offer another layer of protection for customers because they serve as an intermediary between the retail payment system and your card information. With them, your card information never hits the retail payment system and can't be compromised by retailer data breaches.</p> <p>Data breaches are unlikely to subside. Under current Federal law, retailers are not responsible for any fraud that occurs if the card data of their customers is compromised. They don't pay a penny, so they have no financial incentive to improve their systems. It's true that they will be inundated with bad publicity, but in time that publicity subsides. Take action using the advice above and be your own best source of protection.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been a victim of credit card fraud? What steps have you taken to protect yourself?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-credit-card-data-breaches" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Credit Card Data Breaches" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-credit-card-data-breaches">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-inspiring-saver-found-true-love-shook-off-debt-denial-and-paid-off-123000">How One Inspiring Saver Found True Love, Shook Off Debt Denial, and Paid Off $123,000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-weirdest-cases-of-credit-card-theft">The 8 Weirdest Cases of Credit Card Theft</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Credit Cards credit cards Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:00:07 +0000 Christa Avampato 1246267 at http://www.wisebread.com Never Use Cash for These 11 Things http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl-shopping-checkout-180329083-small.jpg" alt="shopping checkout" title="shopping checkout" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some people only make their purchases in cash in order to avoid accumulating debt. Others swear by credit cards in order to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-type-of-rewards-credit-card-is-right-for-you?ref=inarticle">earn rewards</a>. But most people use a mix of cash and card. So which purchases should you never use cash for? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks?ref=seealso">Top 6 Reasons Cash-Only Rocks</a>)</p> <h2>1. A House</h2> <p>There are few people who can afford to purchase a house outright, but even if you can, it may not be the wisest financial decision. Mortgage rates are at all time lows, and so you would likely be better off using the cash you would otherwise pay for the home to invest in the stock market. And obtaining and making payments on a mortgage is good for your credit history. Plus, mortgage interest is tax deductible.</p> <h2>2. Appliances</h2> <p>Many credit cards offer extended warranty protection, which is insanely helpful for appliances that are prone to breaking. This means that if your $300 above-the-stove-microwave breaks after 18 months (six months after the warranty expired), you can contact your credit card company and they will issue you a refund. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-credit-card-perk-that-saved-me-300">This exact thing happened to me</a>, and I got all my money back, and now I make sure to purchase all my appliances on a credit card which has warranty protection. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-free-extended-warranty-from-your-credit-card-issuer?ref=seealso">How to Use Your Credit Card's Free Extended Warranty</a>)</p> <h2>3. Items From Stores With Short Return Policies</h2> <p>Some stores only offer a two week or 30-day return policy. If you pay cash and want to make a return past this period, you're out of luck. But many credit cards offer 90 day return protection, which means that if the store won't take back the item on day 89, the credit card will refund your money. (Note that usually you are required to ship the product you can't return to the store to the credit card company.)</p> <h2>4. Clearance Items</h2> <p>Many stores have no refund policies for clearance items (typically marked &quot;all sales final&quot;). For the same reasons as for stores with short return periods, by using a credit card with 90 day return protection instead of paying cash you'll protect yourself if the item doesn't work out.</p> <h2>5. An Item You're Likely to Break or Ruin</h2> <p>Another of my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ultimate-credit-card-perks-checklist-benefits-you-dont-know-about">favorite credit card perks</a> is &quot;buyer protection,&quot; a form of purchase protection that protects you if you lose or break an item within a certain time of purchasing it (typically three months). If you're buying an expensive item or something you could break, ruin, or get stolen, then charge the item to a credit card.</p> <h2>6. Medical Expenses</h2> <p>Medical expenses are subject to certain tax breaks and thus it's best to have a record of them. Whether you're claiming a deduction because you've accumulated expenses greater than 7.5% of your income, or you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you must keep a record of your purchases. While the IRS may not accept a credit card bill (the rules on this are a little complex), it doesn't hurt to have the card bill if the tax man comes knocking at your door. More importantly, using a credit card will help you keep track of expenses so you can make the claim when the time comes.</p> <h2>7. Charitable Donations</h2> <p>Like with medical expenses, putting charitable donations on a credit or debit card will help you keep track of the expenses for tax purposes. Use a budgeting tool like Mint.com to easily help you compile your deductions at the end of the year.</p> <h2>8. Purchases at a Store Where You Shop Frequently</h2> <p>If you spend at least several thousand dollars each year at certain stores, it may be worthwhile to get the store's credit card to save you money. For example, a Target Card saves you 5% on every purchase and an Amazon.com card gives you 3% in rewards. Certain department stores even offer special coupons or savings events for their cardholders. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/store-credit-cards-that-dont-suck?ref=seealso">Store Credit Cards That Don't Suck</a>)</p> <h2>9. Recurring Purchases</h2> <p>If you have recurring debits set up for payments on your water bill, cable TV, phone, utilities, or anything else, you should charge it to a credit card and not have the amount debited directly from your bank. Why? If you have a dispute over a charge, you can file a dispute with your card company and immediately get your money back. (If you file a dispute with your bank over an automatic withdrawal from a checking account, you have a much harder battle to fight.) I know someone who recently cancelled an insurance policy, but the company continued to debit her checking account anyway. Had she charged it to a card, it would have been far less hassle to sort out because the credit card company would do the fighting for her.</p> <h2>10. Airline Tickets</h2> <p>When you book your plane ticket using a credit card, you're likely eligible for a whole host of related benefits including: Baggage Loss Protection, Passport/Credit Card Loss Protection, No Baggage Checking Fees, Free Airport Lounge Access, Lost Luggage Tracking Assistance, Emergency Translation/Interpretation for Medical Emergencies, and Emergency Medical Transportation Assistance. Chances are you won't need to use any of these protections, but if you do run into a sticky situation, these protections will make a huge difference. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso"> Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>11. Car Rentals</h2> <p>Want to save a lot of money on rental cars? Decline the additional insurance offering and rely on your credit card's insurance instead. Besides car rental insurance, using a credit card for renting a car may also entitle you to additional car rental discounts and roadside assistance.</p> <p>Note regarding credit cards: Many of the protections listed above vary by credit card, so be sure to check with your card company to see what benefits you're entitled to. And these benefits assume that you're paying your card in full every month; if you're not, the additional interest you accumulate may not offset the benefits of paying with a card.</p> <p><em>What other items do you never use cash to buy?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things" class="sharethis-link" title="Never Use Cash for These 11 Things" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-cash-for-these-11-things">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-grocery-budgeting-a-game-the-price-is-right-style">Make Grocery Budgeting A Game, The Price Is Right Style</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-spend-more-with-cash-or-credit">Do You Spend More with Cash or Credit?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/would-you-get-rid-of-credit-cards-if-stores-give-more-discounts-to-customers-who-pay-cash">Would you get rid of credit cards if stores give more discounts to customers who pay cash ?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Budgeting Credit Cards Shopping budgeting cash credit cards interest shopping Fri, 03 Oct 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 1226294 at http://www.wisebread.com How One Inspiring Saver Found True Love, Shook Off Debt Denial, and Paid Off $123,000 http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-inspiring-saver-found-true-love-shook-off-debt-denial-and-paid-off-123000 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-one-inspiring-saver-found-true-love-shook-off-debt-denial-and-paid-off-123000" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-paying-bills-89654425-small.jpg" alt="couple paying bills" title="couple paying bills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>American <a href="http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-card-data/average-credit-card-debt-household/">debt is on the rise</a>, up 3.8% from last year. We're carrying higher mortgage balances, more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-strategies-to-wipe-out-your-credit-card-balance?ref=inarticleinarticle">credit card debt</a>, and significantly higher student loan burdens (which are up an astonishing 11.5% from last year).</p> <p>For students in particular, it's easy to overspend. The cost of college is staggering and, to make matters worse, few students come to campus prepared with financial literacy training. Both federal and private loans are readily available for most students, but so are a barrage of credit card offers. Credit is so easy to obtain for many students that, according to one recent survey, most college graduates are <a href="http://www.fidelity.com/inside-fidelity/individual-investing/college-grads-surprised-by-student-debt-level-exceeds-35000">shocked to discover how much debt they've racked up</a>.</p> <h2>A Young Dentist in Debt</h2> <p>Just ask Paul Amato, DDS at LeCuyer Amato Dentistry who, according to one <a href="http://money.msn.com/debt-management/debt-calculator.aspx">debt calculator</a> I ran his numbers through, owed over 85% of his first year take-home pay to creditors. &quot;When I finally sat down and looked at the numbers,&quot; he says, &quot;the interest was like a gut punch.&quot; Amato had finished dental school and had landed a well-paying job, but even so, the path he'd taken to get there had left him struggling with more debt than he could manage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt?ref=seealso">5 Inspiring People Who Paid off Over $100,000 Each in Debt</a>)</p> <h2>Being in Debt Denial</h2> <p>Amato graduated with $120,000 in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-borrowers-still-pay-off-their-student-loans-in-10-years?ref=inarticle">student loan debt</a> and and another $40,000 in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-warning-signs-that-you-need-to-stop-using-your-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">credit card loans</a>. Shortly after graduation, he took on an additional $40,000 in auto financing. All told, his debt burden was 2.5 times that of his first year take-home pay and he didn't even have a mortgage to show for it. &quot;I had six credit cards,&quot; says Amato. &quot;I never added up how much I was paying on the cards. I just paid the minimum. I wasn't thinking much about the interest. I was really kind of careless.&quot;</p> <p>Looking back, Amato accepts he could have lived on his student loan disbursements alone. He didn't need the credit cards. &quot;I overdid it,&quot; he admits. &quot;I had friends who had money I didn't have and I wanted to hang out with them. I wanted to do the things they were doing.&quot; Amato also accepts that he could have bought a less expensive car. &quot;At first I thought it wasn't a big deal. Then I saw it was a huge deal. I was paying a lot in interest. I paid that car off and I kept it for eight years. But now I have a more practical car.&quot;</p> <p>Amato admits to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-harmful-money-beliefs-that-are-keeping-you-poor?ref=inarticle">being in denial about the debt</a> he was accruing until he and his then girlfriend (and now wife), Rebecca, got serious, moved in together, and started talking about their money. &quot;She noticed that I had a lot of credit card bills coming in,&quot; says Amato. &quot;That's when we sat down and started looking at everything together.&quot;</p> <h2>Getting Motivated</h2> <p>&quot;Rebecca had no debt and she always paid everything off. She was a buy-what-you-can-afford kind of gal,&quot; says Amato. &quot;She wanted me to get my finances in order before we committed to a relationship.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/say-no-7-reasons-why-you-shouldnt-get-married-if-youre-in-debt?ref=seealso">Say No! 7 Reasons You Shouldn't Get Married if You're in Debt</a>)</p> <p>Every month, the two would sit down and review Amato's balance sheet. It quickly became clear that he'd need additional income to make a dent in his debt. &quot;I filled in wherever I could,&quot; says Amato. &quot;I took hygienist shifts. I'd drive one to two hours away to take an extra job. If there was somewhere I could work, I worked.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-20-somethings-can-do-about-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">What 20-Somethings Can Do About Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>In addition to increasing his income, Amato also lowered his living expenses. &quot;We lived on the cheap,&quot; he says. &quot;We lived in a modest apartment in a questionable part of town. We didn't have cable. We rarely went out.&quot;</p> <p>It wasn't always easy, Amato admits. &quot;I wanted to spend my money every time I got paid. Rebecca really kept me rooted in reality. She'd say, 'You can have those things one day but now is not the time.'&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dark-side-motivations-to-get-you-out-of-debt?ref=seealso">10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of Debt</a>)</p> <h2>Digging Out of the Hole</h2> <p>Amato tackled his debt by paying the minimum payments on all debts except his highest interest loan. &quot;I paid off the credit card with the highest rate first and then I kept going, in order,&quot; he says. &quot;Then came the car loan and eventually I started doubling up on my student loan payments.&quot;</p> <h3>Reset Goals</h3> <p>Life isn't always a linear journey, though, and Amato reprioritized his financial goals several times along the way. After making his final credit card payment, Amato bought the engagement ring. A few years later the Amatos bought their first house. The big purchases didn't re-open the door to bad habits, though. &quot;Ever since I paid off the credit card debt, I've been much more savvy about other bills like car or home-owners insurance. I'm a much better saver.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-trick-yourself-into-better-credit-card-behavior?ref=seealso">How to Trick Yourself Into Better Credit Card Behavior</a>)</p> <h3>Refinance</h3> <p>Amato also consolidated his federally-funded student loans. The rate on his private education debt was substantially higher so he kept those loans separate, and paid them off as early as he could. During those early years, as Amato's income grew, he kept his standard of living low, and paid as much toward his debts as he could.</p> <p>&quot;I became even more Type-A. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel,&quot; says Amato. &quot;If I could run a tighter ship, I could be more profitable.&quot; It was a philosophy that helped Amato with his personal finances, but also within his professional practice.</p> <h3>Shift to Retirement</h3> <p>Eventually, the Amatos eased off their student loan and mortgage repayment strategies and focused more on boosting retirement savings. Today Amato still has $80,000 in student loans and a substantial mortgage balance to contend with. They've since filled the house with 18-month-old twin boys and, because of the frugal choices they made early on, were able to put Rebecca through dental school without taking on any additional debt. &quot;It helped that we didn't have to re-buy books or equipment,&quot; says Amato. &quot;That made her cost less than when I had gone to school.&quot;</p> <h2>Looking Back</h2> <p>&quot;Paying off that credit card debt really gave me a lot of perspective about living beneath my means,&quot; says Amato. &quot;Without that debt I can take life into my own hands and work toward my long-term goals. I want financial freedom. I don't want to be constrained by debt.&quot;</p> <p>What Amato learned is that financial freedom isn't about how much money you make. It's really about how you manage what you have. &quot;I made some poor decisions early on,&quot; he says, &quot;but fortunately I was able to learn from them.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you retired a significant debt? Tell us your story in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-inspiring-saver-found-true-love-shook-off-debt-denial-and-paid-off-123000" class="sharethis-link" title="How One Inspiring Saver Found True Love, Shook Off Debt Denial, and Paid Off $123,000" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-inspiring-saver-found-true-love-shook-off-debt-denial-and-paid-off-123000">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-people-with-good-credit-never-do">8 Things People With Good Credit Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-new-credit-card-policies-chase-card-holders-already-hit-with-fees">Watch out for new credit card &quot;policies&quot; - CHASE card holders already hit with fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-save-money-with-credit-cards">10 Tricks to Save Money with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-we-really-need-help-in-getting-more-debt">Do we really need help with getting more debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-college-graduate-paid-off-28000-in-three-years-on-a-30k-salary">How One College Graduate Paid Off $28,000 in Three Years on a $30K Salary</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Credit Cards Debt Management credit cards debt debt management debt stories paying debt Fri, 03 Oct 2014 13:00:06 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1226229 at http://www.wisebread.com This One Ratio Is the Key to a Good Credit Score http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-score-iStock_000020365052Small.jpg" alt="credit score" title="credit score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A credit score is a bit like the Da Vinci Code; it's a serpentine web of myth and mystery that's hard to crack. But there is a Holy Grail of sorts here too. Of all the different factors that feed into your credit score, many experts believe that there is one factor that stands above the rest in keeping your score high. The fact that this one ratio is so important is a little counterintuitive, so simply understanding its importance can unlock the higher credit score you've been looking for. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps?ref=seealso">How to Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Simple Steps</a>)</p> <p>So what is it? It's called the <em>credit utilization ratio</em>.</p> <h2>A Complicated Calculation</h2> <p>So what exactly is the credit utilization ratio? It's simply your total credit card balances divided by your total credit card limits. So, if you have, say, $15,000 of available credit on your credit card(s), and have an outstanding balance of $5,000, your credit utilization ratio is about 33%.</p> <p>Now, that isn't so complicated and mysterious, is it? But where things start getting a little weird is when you come to understand exactly how this ratio functions in terms of your credit score. As a financially literate person who handles debt with caution (you're reading Wise Bread, after all), you might assume that having no more available credit than is strictly necessary is a good thing. After all, why have more available credit to tempt you away from sticking to your budget and staying out of debt?</p> <p>Well, because it's important to maintaining your credit score, that's why.</p> <p>Credit utilization accounts for about 30% of your credit score. And while on a strictly practical basis having less credit available to you is probably a good idea, experts typically recommend that you never allow your credit utilization ratio to exceed 30%. What that means is that if you have only one credit card with a relatively low $5,000 limit, you should never allow the balance to exceed $1,500. Even if you're a person who conscientiously pays off that card each and every month, that can get tricky. Use your card to get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">great deal on a vacation</a> online and you could blow your credit utilization ratio.</p> <p>What it all means is that in order to have the best possible credit score, you need more available credit that you never use.</p> <h2>The Plot Thickens&hellip;</h2> <p>So let's dig a little deeper into how to get your credit utilization rate at an optimal level for your credit score.</p> <p>Now, I mentioned that experts typically recommend that it not exceed 30%. However,<a href="https://www.creditkarma.com/article/CreditCardUtilizationAndScore"> research conducted by Credit Karma</a> looked at 70,000 credit scores and their corresponding credit utilization rates and found that the lower your credit utilization rate, the higher your credit score &mdash; except if you have 0% utilization. In fact, those with the highest credit scores had a utilization rate of 1% to 10%.</p> <p>It is also important to note that in the FICO credit scoring model (the most common credit scoring model used in the U.S.), credit utilization is scored in two separate ways. First, the credit utilization for each of your credit cards is calculated separately. Then, the total of all your credit card balances is compared to your overall credit limit. What that means is that not only is more available credit important to achieving a higher credit score, but that available credit should be spread out over more than one credit card.</p> <p>Ideally, you should keep both your balance on each card and your overall balance across all cards as low as possible.</p> <h2>How to Beat the System</h2> <p>OK, so now that you've unlocked how the credit utilization ratio affects your credit score, it's time to look at exactly what you can do to keep your ratio at the most optimal level possible. Here are few key moves to make &mdash; without becoming a debt junkie.</p> <h3>Spend Less</h3> <p>One very simple way to improve your credit utilization ratio is to simply spend less on your credit cards. Work on converting to a cash budget and save up for big purchases in advance. It's as simple as that.</p> <h3>Expand Your Available Credit</h3> <p>When it comes to credit, less is definitely more, but it's better to use less than to have less available. So, if you're a person who regularly spends a lot on your credit card &mdash; whether for convenience or to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">earn points</a> &mdash; it's best to make more credit available to keep your credit utilization ratio in the optimal zone.</p> <p>But no matter how much credit you use, just be sure to pay off your balance on time every month &mdash; the age of your debts and your payment history have a big impact your credit score, too. If you don't trust yourself, open a credit card, then cut it up. The credit's available, but you won't be using it.</p> <h3>Be Careful About Closing Credit Cards</h3> <p>Closing credit cards can be a good <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-strategies-to-wipe-out-your-credit-card-balance?ref=inarticle">debt reduction strategy</a>, but not if it pushes your credit utilization ratio up. If you want to reduce the amount of available credit you have, cut your spending and average monthly balance first.</p> <h3>Watch the Rest of Your Score, Too</h3> <p>Of course, credit utilization isn't the only factor in your credit score. Your payment history, age of credit, mix of credit, and credit inquiries all play a role. Improving your credit utilization ratio is a simple way to boost your credit score, but it isn't the only way. And, if you have bad credit as a result of past financial decisions, it shouldn't be the only way.</p> <h2>The Big Reveal</h2> <p>If you're feeling confused about why you would be rewarded for having more available credit, it's important to remember exactly who's in charge of the entire notion of a credit score: lenders.</p> <p>So, while having a good credit score can have a lot of financial benefits for you, the scoring itself isn't designed for your benefit; it's designed to help credit card companies and other lenders protect their interests. What that means for borrowers is that getting the best credit score isn't necessarily about making what appears to be the most logical financial choices; it's about playing the game. Just be sure you play it to win.</p> <p><em>What do you do to keep the best possible credit score? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score" class="sharethis-link" title="This One Ratio Is the Key to a Good Credit Score" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-think-affect-your-credit-score-but-dont">10 Things You Think Affect Your Credit Score — But Don&#039;t</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-ought-to-get-another-credit-card">10 Signs You Ought to Get Another Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-your-spending-patterns-affect-your-credit">Can Your Spending Patterns Affect Your Credit?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/building-a-credit-history">Building a Credit History</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Credit Cards credit cards credit history credit score credit utilization ratio Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:00:07 +0000 Tara Struyk 1224394 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Signs You Ought to Get Another Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-ought-to-get-another-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-signs-you-ought-to-get-another-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-choosing-credit-cards-98412558-small.jpg" alt="man choosing credit cards" title="man choosing credit cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Another credit card&hellip; what, are you nuts?</p> <p>Before you close this page, keep in mind that a properly managed credit card is a great way to build your credit history. For some, it may be the only way to build a credit history. There are <a href="http://www.smartasset.com/blog/news/growing-number-of-people-cant-afford-to-buy-or-rent-their-homes/">several Americans that cannot afford to buy a house</a> or qualify for a loan &mdash; because they don't have credit histories.</p> <p>This is why you need to recognize the 10 signs when you ought to sign up for a new credit card.</p> <h2>1. You Are Very Young</h2> <p>Starting out on your own can be tough. You're doing a lot of things for the very first time: paying bills, signing up for rental agreements, and building your credit history. It is a good strategy to manage more than one credit card. All things remaining equal over the same time period, responsible spending with <em>two</em> credit cards will build a better credit score than spending with just one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for College Students</a>)</p> <h2>2. Your Only Card Is a Store Card</h2> <p>Variety is the spice of life. And credit scores are no exception. For example, <a href="http://www.myfico.com/CreditEducation/Types-of-Credit.aspx">your credit mix determines 10% of your FICO score</a>. In the hierarchy of debt, store cards, such as a Macy's card, are at the bottom. While it is important to have a good standing on your store card(s), if those are your only sources of credit, then you're missing out on a potentially higher credit score. Credit cards, installment loans, and mortgages are more substantial forms of debt. In this scenario, by opening a credit card you're improving your credit mix. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/store-credit-cards-that-dont-suck?ref=seealso">Store Cards That Don't Suck</a>)</p> <h2>3. You Want Lower Interest Rates</h2> <p>This is self-explanatory. If you can find a credit card with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">lower interest rate</a>, you should evaluate whether or not it makes sense to transfer your balance. For example, credit unions offer friendly credit card terms, including attractive features such as no annual fees and lower rates than banks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank?ref=seealso">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a>)</p> <p>Before transferring your balance, double check if the lower interest rate is only temporary. Often the lower interest rate may be valid only during a promotional period, before going up. Other companies offer only lower interest rates on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">balance transfers</a>, but not on new transactions.</p> <h2>4. You Want to Consolidate Debt</h2> <p>If done properly, consolidating all of your credit cards into a single new one could help you manage debt better.</p> <ul> <li>Most credit cards punish you with a $25 to $35 late fee if you miss a due date. It is harder to miss a single payment than several payments with different due dates.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If your new card has a 10% interest rate and all your old cards had a 19% interest rate, then you would be to pay down an extra $9 of principal for every $100 monthly payment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't close your old credit cards because that lowers your average account age. The length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your FICO credit score.</li> </ul> <h2>5. You Can Improve Your Credit Payment History</h2> <p>If you are able to pay off your credit card balances every single month, then you can take advantage of the most important element of your credit score: payment history. <a href="http://www.myfico.com/CreditEducation/Credit-Payment-History.aspx">Your credit payment history determines 35% of your FICO score</a>. If you open a new card, use it for one and only one thing, such as paying for gas, and pay off the balance every month, and you will boost your credit payment history.</p> <h2>6. You Want to Rack Up Reward Points</h2> <p>When you are an active member of a rewards program, you could open a co-branded credit card to give your points a major boost. Co-branded airline credit cards help you rack up miles with everyday purchases. Usually they offer bonus miles for purchases with that particular airline, so choose the card that is co-branded with your favorite airline. There are also general all-purpose travel rewards credit cards that allow you to rack up miles with purchases and then redeem them for flights or hotel rooms from a variety of partners. It all depends on how you like to travel.&nbsp;(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>7. You Haven't Signed Up for New Cards in a Long Time</h2> <p>Extremes are bad. Just like opening too many cards in a short period of time would harm your credit score, not applying for new credit in a long time could keep your credit score flat. <a href="http://www.myfico.com/CreditEducation/New-Credit.aspx">New credit determines 10% of your FICO score</a>. If your credit score has remained the same for several years, the culprit may be that you haven't opened a new credit account for a long time. Think of this card as your opportunity to step up to the plate and show your credit management skills. Stay on the bench too long and credit agencies have no recent material to take a look at.</p> <h2>8. Your Only Card Is Maxed Out</h2> <p>Trying to pay off your maxed out card and improve your credit score at the same time may seem almost impossible. Juggling monthly payments and bills can be very stressful without the convenience of a credit card. At the same time, you don't want to fall into a vicious debt cycle.</p> <p>In this situation, one way to lessen the burden is to get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">secured credit card</a>. It works like a prepaid gift card: Your available balance is only what you deposit. While a secured credit card may not require a credit check, it still reports your credit management activity to the three credit bureaus. Not all secured credit cards are the same, so check the rules before signing up.</p> <h2>9. You Travel Internationally (a Lot!)</h2> <p>Your credit card may have great terms for domestic transactions but the minute that you spend abroad you may get dinged with one or more of these fees:</p> <ul> <li>Flat fee per foreign transaction;</li> <li>Percentage fee for total purchase amount (usually 1% to 3%);</li> <li>Foreign currency fee;</li> <li>ATM fee;</li> <li>Balance inquiry fee; and</li> <li>Penalty fee for failed transactions.</li> </ul> <p>On top of all of these charges, your domestic credit card may have a daily limit and require you to call in advance to prevent the card from being blocked when used abroad. This is why you need to get a new (and hassle free!) credit card that you can use on your international travel.</p> <h2>10. You've Been a Victim of Identity Theft</h2> <p>Victims of credit card hacks, such as those stung by the <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/22/news/companies/target-credit-card-hack/">Target hack in 2013</a> and <a href="http://www.cnet.com/news/home-depot-victim-of-same-malware-that-hit-target-report/">Home Depot in 2014</a>, may not only have to freeze their credit reports but also to shut down their compromised credit cards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-4-biggest-credit-card-scams?ref=seealso">The World's 4 Biggest Credit Card Scams</a>)</p> <p>In this case, you would have no other option than to sign up for another credit card to prevent any further damage to your credit score and history.</p> <p><em>What are other signs you ought to get yourself another credit card? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-ought-to-get-another-credit-card" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Signs You Ought to Get Another Credit Card" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-ought-to-get-another-credit-card">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score">This One Ratio Is the Key to a Good Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-inspiring-saver-found-true-love-shook-off-debt-denial-and-paid-off-123000">How One Inspiring Saver Found True Love, Shook Off Debt Denial, and Paid Off $123,000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Credit Cards credit cards credit history new credit new credit card Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:00:03 +0000 Damian Davila 1221624 at http://www.wisebread.com The 8 Weirdest Cases of Credit Card Theft http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-weirdest-cases-of-credit-card-theft <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-8-weirdest-cases-of-credit-card-theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-card-theft-479259989-small.jpg" alt="credit card thief" title="credit card thief" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When someone robs your home, they're invading not just your property, but your privacy as well. No fun. But when someone steals and uses your credit cards, you at least get to spy on the perpetrator by reading on your credit card statement what he or she tried to buy with your good name. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-fraud-and-how-to-avoid-it?ref=seealso">How to Deal With Credit Card Fraud</a>)</p> <p>If you think your identity has been stolen and new accounts have been opened in your name, you won't have much time for idle reading, since you'll have to file a police report and jump through a lot more hoops to clear your name.</p> <p>But if it's a simple matter of a stolen card or card number, you probably don't have much to worry about. Since <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0093-credit-card-loss-protection">federal law limits consumer liability</a> for credit card theft losses to $50 &mdash; and most card companies won't even hold you responsible for that &mdash; once you report the crime to your card company, you can afford to sit back and enjoy this peek into the life of a crook. You may not end up developing a relationship with your scammer and learning life lessons the way things worked out in the movie <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CCLPIAM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CCLPIAM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=XOB56AQKCY4HGHBN">Identity Thief</a>, but you might at least have a laugh.</p> <p>Especially if your scammer's purchases are anything life these real-life examples of the weirdest cases of credit card theft.</p> <h2>1. Must Have Been a Really Nice Litter Box</h2> <p>Martin Bowling, who had been a well known success in the search marketing field, was <a href="http://www2.webmasterradio.fm/martin-bowling-sentenced-to-three-years-for-computer-fraud.html">convicted of stealing a subscriber list from a former employer, Woodcraft Magazine</a>, and using the information to charge more than $4,000 worth of goods, including a home beer brewing kit and a self-cleaning cat litter box. In Bowling's defense, most cat owners have had moments when they would do almost anything to avoid having to scoop the litter box.</p> <h2>2. Unusual Wallet</h2> <p>For Pompano Beach, Fla., resident Ann Hernandez, it's not what she allegedly bought &mdash; power tools &mdash; but where she allegedly stashed the illicit credit cards and driver's license that was weird. I'm not going to say where, but police probably had to get her to squat and cough to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/19/ann-hernandez-hid-stolen-identity-in-vagina_n_863899.html">reveal the evidence</a>.</p> <h2>3. I Just Wanna Be Me</h2> <p>Graduate student Li Ming tried to commit credit card fraud by impersonating&hellip; himself. Confused? What happened was, Li (who is from China, where last names come first), ran up tons of charges on his cards. Instead of paying up, Li faked his own death, got an obituary printed in the paper, and then later quietly tried to use a copy of his birth certificate to apply for a new driver's license. He figured that because his surname is one of the most common in China, no one would notice. Unfortunately for him, the DMV did indeed notice, and Li was busted.</p> <h2>4. Weekend at Eunice's</h2> <p>In England, an <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2543471/Widow-Afghanistan-war-hero-posed-91-year-old-churchgoer-steal-14-000-pay-clothes-flights-credit-card-bills.html">Afghan war widow received a bank statement</a> addressed to the former owner of her home. A little sleuthing told Nicola Marlton-Thomas that the accountholder, Eunice Lees, had died two years earlier, leaving no heirs. Marlton-Thomas cleaned out the woman's accounts and applied for credit cards in her name, buying business supplies, camping gear, and clothes before security monitors realized that these were not typical purchases for a 91-year-old woman.</p> <h2>5. The $9.84 Scam</h2> <p>Earlier this year, hundreds of consumers began complaining about <a href="http://www.jsonline.com/watchdog/watchdogreports/credit-card-scam-alert-mysterious-984-charges-appearing-on-accounts-b99193957z1-242753731.html">mysterious charges appearing on their bills</a>, always for $9.84. It was unclear who might be doing this or whether the victims had a common link, but one thing is apparent: Thieves are banking on the fact that most of us won't <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-your-credit-card-statement-is-keeping-you-in-debt?ref=inarticle">check our statements</a> carefully enough to notice a random charge under $10.</p> <h2>6. Straight to the Top</h2> <p>The case of Abraham Abdallah is bizarre in its brazenness. The busboy picked up Forbes' list of richest Americans and went right to the top, gathering the luminaries' social security numbers, birthdates, home addresses, and even credit card numbers with a combination of Internet research and social engineering. Abdallah then attempted to use the credit card numbers of none other than Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Warren Buffett to purchase expensive goods, and may have even bought not one but two brownstones in Brooklyn, <a href="http://nypost.com/2001/03/21/cyberthiefs-empire-spans-globe-cops/">according to the New York Post</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keep-your-credit-card-safe-while-shopping-online?ref=seealso">Online Shopping Safety Tips</a>)</p> <h2>7. Spielberg Part Deux</h2> <p>Abdallah wasn't the only con artist to try and victimize Steven Spielberg. James Rinaldo Jackson managed to <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5763781/ns/technology_and_science-security/t/id-thief-stars-tells-all/#.U-Qa2PldWHM">tap into the director's American Express account from prison</a>, he says just to snoop on his idol's high-roller purchases. But Jackson pilfered other people's credit accounts to pay for pizzas, jewelry, and Nike shoes, which he used to pay off other inmates for standing guard duty while he dialed for dollars. He also sent a letter to then Hollywood director (later Yahoo! CEO) Terry Semel, containing account numbers and other personal data for dozens of Hollywood personalities, as part of an unsuccessful movie pitch. When he didn't get a picture deal, Jackson reportedly went ahead and used some of the listed figures' credit card numbers. Jackson brazenly stole the identities of more than 25 chief executives, using the cards and cash advances to buy all manner of luxury items.</p> <h2>8. Beyond the Pale</h2> <p>In one of the more egregious cases of identity theft I've heard of lately, it seems that the bodies and possessions strewn on the site of the<a href="http://mashable.com/2014/07/21/scammers-mh17-victims/"> Malaysia Airlines 17 crash have been plundered for credit cards</a> and other identifying documents, which are possibly being used for identity theft. Scam Facebook profiles have been opened in victims' names, and one journalist said that every bag he saw at the crash site appeared to have been opened and rummaged through.</p> <p><em>Heard of any crazy credit card or identity theft scams lately? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-weirdest-cases-of-credit-card-theft" class="sharethis-link" title="The 8 Weirdest Cases of Credit Card Theft " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-weirdest-cases-of-credit-card-theft">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-inspiring-saver-found-true-love-shook-off-debt-denial-and-paid-off-123000">How One Inspiring Saver Found True Love, Shook Off Debt Denial, and Paid Off $123,000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season">Read This to Maximize Your Rewards and Cash Back This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Credit Cards credit card theft credit cards theft Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1221852 at http://www.wisebread.com 73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/buying-medicine-78056472-small.jpg" alt="buying medicine" title="buying medicine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The first step to saving dough is to have a go-to list of cost-cutting strategies in your pocket. Below are 73 ways to cut spending, some more orthodox than others. Find just a few that work for you and watch the savings add up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-things-everyone-should-be-saving-for?ref=seealso">The 10 Things Everyone Should Be Saving For</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cancel Cable TV</h2> <p>With so many streaming options like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, there's barely any reason to pay for cable TV. at all. Unless you watch a whole lot of new programming, it's even cheaper to buy your shows by the season through itunes.</p> <h2>2. Find a Cheaper Cell Plan</h2> <p>Don't overpay for minutes or data that you're not using. Likewise, be sure to shop carriers every time your contract is up to make sure you're buying from the cheapest service provider (assuming they also offer the best coverage, of course).</p> <h2>3. Shop for Groceries With a List</h2> <p>A list can help keep you from adding needless items in the shopping cart (chocolate chip cookies, anyone?) that can flatten your wallet while fattening your waistline.</p> <h2>4. Shop Your Home and Auto Insurance Policies</h2> <p>There are no discounts for loyalty these days. One expert I spoke with recently estimated a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-26000-in-5-years-or-less">$600 &ndash; $800 annual savings</a> by comparing insurance carriers every couple of years. That's a big bang for a couple of minutes worth of work.</p> <h2>5. Buy Discount Pharmaceuticals</h2> <p>Large retailers are increasingly offering discounted pharmaceuticals. <a href="http://www.goodrx.com/">GoodRX.com</a> compares prescription prices to help you find the lowest costs in your area. Both Target and Walmart have a large list of generics that are priced at $4 for a month's supply. <a href="http://www.shoprite.com/health-wellness-pharmacy/">Shop Rite</a> also offers a discount generics program as well as free short-term supplies of prenatal vitamins and diabetes medication.</p> <h2>6. Throw a Potluck Party (Instead of Going Out)</h2> <p>Going out to eat is expensive. Why not have your friends over, instead? If everyone brings a dish or drink, you can all eat like royalty for the night &mdash; for next to nothing.</p> <h2>7. Learn to Sew</h2> <p>Taking your duds to the tailor for button and rip repairs can add up, not to mention the price of scrapping the item altogether and buying new. Why not learn to sew and make minor repairs on your own at the fraction of the price?</p> <h2>8. Ask Your Credit Card Company for a Rate Reduction</h2> <p>If you carry a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">credit card balance</a>, any reduction in rate can help shave a couple of dollars off your costs. Before you call, be prepared with any offers you've received from competitors and come to the phone with a script, <a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-getting-your-credit-card-interest-rates-reduced/">like this one</a>. If you have a $5,000 balance, a 5% rate reduction could save you $250 over the course of a year.</p> <h2>9. Consign Clothes You Don't Wear Anymore</h2> <p>Clearing clutter not only saves space and time, but it can also pad your savings account, if you send your castoffs to your local consignment shop. Most consignors offer you a percentage of what the items sells for, keeping the remainder for themselves to pay for overhead and as profit. If you're not wearing the duds anymore, it can pay (literally) to clean house.</p> <h2>10. Learn to Cook</h2> <p>A recent study found that <a href="http://retailfeedback.com/component/k2/item/6-home-cooked-meals.html">it costs $12.28 per person to dine out</a>, on average. If you live in a major city or have champagne tastes (like me), it can cost substantially more. Cut your dining costs by at least half by cooking more of your meals at home.</p> <h2>11. Cook Meals in Batches</h2> <p>Save time and money by doubling or tripling recipes when you cook. It takes just as much effort to cook one meal but you'll end up with two or three nights worth of dinners (saving you time as well!) plus you can save cash by buying groceries in bulk. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-and-money-with-a-monthly-assembly-or-bulk-cooking-weekend?ref=seealso">Save Time and Money With a Bulk Cooking Weekend</a>)</p> <h2>12. Open Your Windows</h2> <p>Cooling costs add up in the summer. Instead of turning on the air conditioner, open up the windows. You'll save money and air out the house at the same time.</p> <h2>13. Turn Off the Lights</h2> <p>Don't let your electric bills get out of control. Listen to what dad always said and turn off lights when you leave a room.</p> <h2>14. Unplug Unused Appliances and Gadgets</h2> <p>Even if they're not in use, they're still draining electricity, so long as the plug is in the socket.</p> <h2>15. Borrow Books, eBooks, and Audiobooks From Your Local Library</h2> <p>Voracious readers know that book costs can add up quickly. Save yourself some dough and borrow from your local library instead. Most libraries have added e- and audio books to their catalogs, so you can borrow in your favorite format.</p> <h2>16. Declutter</h2> <p>Decluttering your home helps you find the things you already own &mdash; so you're less likely to make the mistake of buying items in duplicate or triplicate (of which I am guilty!). Bonus: You'll also save time because you'll know where everything is. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever?ref=seealso">Do This One Thing a Day to Defeat Clutter Forever</a>)</p> <h2>17. Use LED lightbulbs</h2> <p>A household can <a href="http://eartheasy.com/live_led_bulbs_comparison.html">save over $6,000</a> by switching their home lighting from incandescent bulbs to LEDs. The bulbs cost substantially more up front, but they're extremely energy efficient. They can last between 11 and 17 years, even if used up to 12 hours a day. Over time, the higher up-front cost of the bulbs will pay you back in substantially lower energy and replacement costs.</p> <h2>18. Cancel Unused Subscriptions</h2> <p>Unread magazine subscriptions needlessly clutter your space and drain your wallet. If you're not reading the issues, let the subscription go.</p> <h2>19. Cancel Unused Memberships</h2> <p>It's easy to let memberships services like those to Netflix and your local gym run, even if you're not using them. Check out where you're being billed monthly for a service you don't utilize and get canceling.</p> <h2>20. Buy Used</h2> <p>Consignment stores are good for more than just selling. You can often buy high end brands at a fraction of the price at your local consignment shop, eBay, or from sporting goods resale shops. Great finds can also be found at yard sales and estate sales.</p> <h2>21. Set Up a Babysitting Co-Op With Friends</h2> <p>Long gone are the days when a local teen would watch your kids for $3 an hour. Today's babysitters charge anywhere between $10 and $20 per hour, depending on where in the country you live and how many kids you have. Instead of breaking the bank to get some much needed quality time with your partner, set up a babysitting co-op with other local parents.</p> <h2>22. Brown Bag Your Lunch</h2> <p>One <a href="http://www.yourgfm.com/debt-calculators/brown-bag-calculator.shtml">online calculator</a> estimates a New Yorker can save $31,200 over 10 years by packing a lunch instead of going out. Even workers in less pricy cities can see substantial savings from a homemade lunch. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-quick-cheap-lunch-ideas?ref=seealso">25 Quick, Cheap Lunch Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>23. Perform Routine Maintenance on Your Car</h2> <p>Your car's regular service isn't the place to scrimp. Changing your car's oil and filter every 3,000 &ndash; 10,000 miles (depending on what your owner's manual recommends) is the best way to avoid engine failure, which can add up to thousands of dollars in repair or replacement costs. That's just for starters. To avoid costly repairs, follow your auto manual's recommendations for air filter changes, tire rotations, brake checks and more.</p> <h2>24. Wear More Traditionally Styled Clothes</h2> <p>Following fashion trends can be expensive, particularly for women. Traditional or conservative style choices go out of fashion less often, meaning you can update your wardrobe less frequently.</p> <h2>25. Plant a Vegetable Garden</h2> <p>According to one blogger, the Burpee Seed Co. estimates a <a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/how-to-save-money-with-a-home-garden/">$1250 produce yield</a> for every $50 a family spends on seeds and fertilizer.</p> <h2>26. Check Out Free or Cheap Community Events</h2> <p>Most communities offer free or inexpensive community events <a href="http://www.nycgovparks.org/events/">like these</a>, found in New York City. Check out your local chamber of commerce or township website for what's available near you. Most often you can stay entertained without spending a dime.</p> <h2>27. Ditch Your Car</h2> <p>According to AAA, the <a href="http://newsroom.aaa.com/2014/05/owning-and-operating-your-vehicle-just-got-a-little-cheaper-aaas-2014-your-driving-costs-study/%20">average annual cost of owning a car</a> is $8,876 per year. If you live in a walkable area or in a city with a good transportation system, you could easily forego that cost.</p> <h2>28. Pack Your Own Vacation Snacks</h2> <p>Most major theme parks will let you carry your own snacks through the gate and the savings can really add up. A snack-sized serving of <a href="about:blank">grapes costs $3.69</a> in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom while you can buy an entire bag at the grocery store for about the same amount. Pack a backpack on your next day trip and you can shave beaucoup bucks off your final day's tab.</p> <h2>29. Pack Snacks and Coffee for Your Car Trip</h2> <p>We all want to break up a long drive with a stop at Starbucks. In my area, a tall frappuccino costs over $4. Add in another for my spouse and some snacks for the kids and a little diversion can add up to over $20. Instead, bring some brew from home and pack kiddie snacks in a couple of ziplock bags.</p> <h2>30. Negotiate Fees With Service Providers</h2> <p>Everything is negotiable, so&hellip; negotiate!</p> <h2>31. Use Coupons</h2> <p>If you don't like the coupon clutter, check one of the latest coupon apps like <a href="http://www.retailmenot.com/">RetailMeNot</a> or <a href="https://www.favado.com/">Favado</a>.</p> <h2>32. Vacation Within Driving Distance</h2> <p>Airfare rose 2% in 2013 and flyers coughed up <a href="http://www.pressherald.com/2014/01/16/airfares_continue_to_rise__up_12_percent_since_2009/">$3.4 billion in fees</a> last year. Bring down the cost of your vacation by going Griswold style and packing up the station wagon (or minivan).</p> <h2>33. Exercise at Home</h2> <p>According to one source, the <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/01/02/the-heavy-price-of-losing-weight">average cost of a gym membership</a> is $55 per month. Instead, check out these exercises that will give you a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-at-home-exercises-will-give-you-a-gym-quality-workout-for-free">gym-quality workout for free</a>.</p> <h2>34. Pay Off Your Debts</h2> <p>The average household owes in $7,221 in credit card debt at an average fixed rate<a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/credit-cards/rate-roundup.aspx"> APR of 13.02%</a>. All that interest adds up to money that's needlessly being paid out to credit card companies. Stop the cycle, pay in cash, and stash those payments in your own account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-strategies-to-wipe-out-your-credit-card-balance?ref=seealso">How to Wipe Out Your Credit Card Balance</a>)</p> <h2>35. Save Your Loose Change</h2> <p>Put it in a jar at the end of each day and watch the pennies add up.</p> <h2>36. Quit Smoking</h2> <p>A <a href="http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/tobacco-control-advocacy/reports-resources/cessation-economic-benefits/states/united-states.html">pack of cigarettes costs $5.51</a>, on average, and THEY KILL YOU.</p> <h2>37. Brew Your Own Coffee</h2> <p>One blogger estimates the cost of a cup of<a href="http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/01/25/savings-experiment-the-perks-of-brewing-versus-buying-coffee/"> home brew at 16 cents per cup</a>. Compare that to your local coffee shop.</p> <h2>38. Use Fee-Free ATMs</h2> <p>Find one <a href="http://www.allpointnetwork.com">here</a>.</p> <h2>39. Pay Extra Toward Your Mortgage</h2> <p>Calculate your<a href="http://www.mortgagecalculator.org/helpful-advice/save-by-paying-more.php"> potential annual savings</a> here.</p> <h2>40. Weatherproof Your Home</h2> <p>You'll save on energy and replacement costs by insulating pipes, installing storm doors and windows, and caulking cracks.</p> <h2>41. Buy Clothing on Sale</h2> <p>Retailers want to make room for new merchandise at the end of a season and usually slash prices to a fraction of what you'll find at high season. Take advantage of the savings by buying off season and preparing for the following year.</p> <h2>42. Buy Consigned Clothing Online</h2> <p>Consignment stores aren't just for selling your cast offs. Check your local options or check out some of the newer online consignors like <a href="https://www.liketwice.com/">Twice</a>, <a href="http://www.thredup.com/">ThredUP</a>, or <a href="http://www.greenestreetconsignment.com/">Greene Street Consignment</a>.</p> <h2>43. Buy High Quality Clothing</h2> <p>Don't like to buy used? Invest in higher quality duds that will stand up to wear and tear over the years. The upfront cost may be higher but over time you'll be shopping far less often.</p> <h2>44. Learn to Iron</h2> <p>The average two-piece dress costs $12.47 to dry clean. Iron your pieces at home and you can stretch the time between dry cleanings.</p> <h2>45. Set Gift Price Limits</h2> <p>The <a href="http://americanresearchgroup.com/holiday/">average cost of Christmas</a> for families in 2013 was $801. Birthdays and holidays don't have to be as expensive if you talk to your loved ones and set a price limit on gift giving. It's the thought that counts, anyway. Right?</p> <h2>46. Buy a Smaller Home</h2> <p>Because lower utility bills, lower maintenance costs, less to clean, less to furnish, and lower tax bills. Need I say more?</p> <h2>47. Live Close to Work</h2> <p>One blogger estimates <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5855550/the-true-cost-of-commuting-you-could-buy-a-house-priced-15900-more-for-each-mile-you-move-closer-to-work">you can buy a house priced $15,900 more for each mile you live closer to work</a>.</p> <h2>48. Move to a Cheaper City</h2> <p>According to <a href="http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost-of-living/">one online calculator</a>, it costs half as much to live in Chapel Hill, NC as it does to live in New York City. Make your own comparisons.</p> <h2>49. Get a Roommate</h2> <p>Half the rent, half the utilities.</p> <h2>50. Pay Your Bills on Time</h2> <p>Chronic late credit card payers can <a href="http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/10/18/chronic-late-credit-card-payments-how-bad-can-fines-fees-get/">face a fee of $35 per month</a>, in some instances. That's an added expense with no included benefit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-and-avoid-late-fees?ref=seealso">How to Get Rid of and Avoid Late Fees</a>)</p> <h2>51. Downsize to One Car</h2> <p>Save on the added insurance and maintenance costs of the extra set of wheels.</p> <h2>52. Downsize to a Smaller Car</h2> <p>A sedan has a lower sticker price and also guzzles less gas than an SUV.</p> <h2>53. Skip the Credit Card With the Annual Fee</h2> <p>There are plenty of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-type-of-rewards-credit-card-is-right-for-you?ref=inarticle">reward cards</a> available that don't tack on an unnecessary annual fee.</p> <h2>54. Cancel Your Landline</h2> <p><a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/06/cell-phone-ownership-hits-91-of-adults/">91% of Americans carry a cell phone</a> so there's little reason to maintain the expense of an additional land line.</p> <h2>55. Send Your Kid to a Cheaper College</h2> <p>In his latest book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316204366/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0316204366&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=V7QLJKDKF4IT5UMS">David and Goliath</a>, Malcolm Gladwell argues that the academically gifted will rise to the top at a lower-tier school and that there are many esteem-boosting advantages to this education strategy. You and your kid can also save a whole heck of a lot of money in the process.</p> <h2>56. Keep Driving Your Beater</h2> <p>A paid off car has one major advantage over a new car: It's paid off. Think twice before you upgrade to a newer model with a hefty monthly price tag.</p> <h2>57. Create a Personal Waiting Period</h2> <p>One study found that <a href="http://www.usaweekend.com/article/20130712/MONEY01/307120006/I-ll-take-that-that-that-Experts-explain-impulse-buying">North Americans spend more than $4 billion per year in impulse buys</a>. Create a cooling off period for yourself and go home to think about a purchase, before you make it. You'll be surprised by how much you'll save.</p> <h2>58. Use Cloth Diapers</h2> <p>For new parents who can stomach the added responsibility, <a href="https://www.babyworks.com/cost-comparisons">cloth diapering can save a family several thousand dollars</a> by the time baby turns two and a half.</p> <h2>59. Skip Your Supermarket's Pre-cut Fruits and Vegetables</h2> <p>The markup is high and they expire faster. Cut your own and save.</p> <h2>60. Buy Generic Groceries</h2> <p>Generic groceries usually taste just as good as their more expensive brand-name counterparts. They're also cheaper.</p> <h2>61. Eat Homemade Soup</h2> <p>Invest in a $20 crock pot and throw all your leftovers in the pot. Dinner is made when you get home from work, it was cheap, and it's good for you. Triple win. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-night-soup-delicious-soup-from-leftovers?ref=seealso">Thursday Night Soup: Delicious Soup From Leftovers</a>)</p> <h2>62. Make Your Own Bread</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/make-your-own-sandwich-bread-5-recipes-for-beginners-167356">Baking bread</a> is easier than you think. A homemade loaf also costs a small fraction of a store-bought loaf.</p> <h2>63. Freecycle Your Castoffs</h2> <p>Declutter your life by taking advantage of your local <a href="https://www.freecycle.org">freecycle community</a>. You can also find a few new things for yourself, at zero added cost.</p> <h2>64. Mow Your Own Lawn</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.homewyse.com/services/cost_to_mow_lawn.html">cost to hire a service</a> to mow your lawn averages between $0.06 and $0.31 per square foot. Mow your own and you can save a bundle over time.</p> <h2>65. Go to the Matinee</h2> <p>From the movie house to Broadway theater, matinee showings are substantially cheaper. If you're paying for a few friends or family members, the cost can be cut dramatically by watching a show in the afternoon instead of evening.</p> <h2>66. Make Frugal Friends</h2> <p>Frugal friends can help you keep your savings goals on track, inspire you with new ideas, and won't encourage you to break the bank on the newest trends.</p> <h2>67. Have Your Shoes Repaired</h2> <p>Repairing quality footwear is usually more cost effective than buying cheaper shoes more frequently. A quality pair of men's dress shoes can last for 10 years or more, particularly if they're resoled or re-crafted. A good cobbler can extend the life of your shoes for decades.</p> <h2>68. Buy Cheaper Wine</h2> <p>The research shows that <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-decision-tree/201207/cheap-and-expensive-wine-taste-the-same-in-blind-taste-tests">we really can't tell the difference</a> between an expensive bottle of French wine and a cheaper bottle of domestic swill. Save yourself the bucks and buy cheap. If you're serving guests and want to look upscale, invest in a decanter, just for show.</p> <h2>69. Shop Consignment Sales for Kids Clothes and Toys</h2> <p>There are consignment sales throughout the country where parents sell their castoff toys and clothes for a fraction of the cost of buying new. <a href="http://consignmentmommies.com/SeasonalSales">Find one near you</a> and save big.</p> <h2>70. Dress for the Weather</h2> <p>Before you crank up the heat, grab a cardigan to stay warm. Offset the cost of high fuel costs with appropriate winter gear in the house. Sweaters, fingerless gloves, and fleece pants help keep you warm in cold weather.</p> <h2>71. Vacation in the Off Season</h2> <p>A September beach vacation can cost half of what it costs in July or August. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Top Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>72. Vacation Via a Houseshare Program</h2> <p>Services like Airbnb give you the opportunity to find unique vacation accommodations while you save a few bucks. You can also earn some cash by renting out your own place while you're out of town.</p> <h2>73. Drink at Home</h2> <p>Skip the expensive bar and have your nightcap at home with friends.</p> <p><em>Do you have an easy money-saver that isn't on the list? Share it below!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today" class="sharethis-link" title="73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-people-in-your-life-who-are-keeping-you-poor">The 9 People in Your Life Who Are Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/join-america-saves-week-february-24-to-march-2nd">Join America Saves Week February 24 to March 2nd</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-low-effort-ways-to-save-money-ever">The 10 Most Low Effort Ways to Save Money Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-auto-payments-can-screw-you">7 Ways Auto-Payments Can Screw You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-every-penny-count-with-a-zero-based-budget">Making Every Penny Count With A Zero-Based Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Finance budgeting credit cards debt saving spending Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:00:05 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1209317 at http://www.wisebread.com The World's 4 Biggest Credit Card Scams http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-4-biggest-credit-card-scams <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-worlds-4-biggest-credit-card-scams" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-card-scanner-492297013-small.jpg" alt="credit card scanner" title="credit card scanner" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know that you need to keep your credit cards close and keep an even closer eye on your statements, lest you fall victim to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-fraud-and-how-to-avoid-it?ref=inarticle">credit card fraud</a>. But how do credit card scams really happen? Here's a look at some of the biggest card heists, and how they went down. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-be-fooled-by-2014s-most-common-new-scams?ref=seealso">Don't Be Fooled by 2014's Most Common New Scams</a>)</p> <h2>1. Fake Payment Terminals</h2> <p>In England in 2008, computer science student <a href="http://metro.co.uk/2008/10/29/men-jailed-for-16m-fake-credit-card-factory-81691/">Anup Patel</a> and an accomplice could have caused more than $27 million in losses to banks when they stole some 19,000 credit card numbers through gas station credit card terminals, and set up a home credit card factory to put those numbers on new, working cards.</p> <p>Devices known as skimmers, attached to a credit card scanner or ATM machine and painted to blend in, are a common way for thieves to collect card information. The pair also set up hidden cameras, in order to capture information consumers typed in, such as PINs or other identifying data.</p> <p>In this case, the scammers pocketed about $3.5 million &mdash; before they landed in prison.</p> <h2>2. Employee-Operated Skimmers</h2> <p>Sort of like the above example, but with more sleight of hand, is the technique of double scanning a credit card in a restaurant or retail establishment. A waiter or waitress can slide your card through the restaurant terminal to apply legitimate charges, then slide it through another scanner in an apron pocket to collect data for future fraud. The irony here is that you will probably tip the person who just robbed you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a>)</p> <p>In 2011, the <a href="http://www.usfoods.com/your-business/cost-control/archive/beware-of-credit-card-skimming.html">Secret Service busted a 28-person ring</a> who worked at steakhouses, targeting high-limit cards, and ran up $1 million in charges at luxury stores before getting caught.</p> <h2>3. Hackers</h2> <p>The largest thefts of credit card information hit the stores directly, not individual customers. Hackers sneak software onto the store's credit card processing computers, or break into databases where customer information is stored, accessing millions of card numbers at a time. Fortunately, the merchants and credit card companies involved typically cover any losses to consumers in these incidents.</p> <h3>TJX Companies: More Than 45 Million Card Numbers Stolen</h3> <p>With a <a href="http://www.securityfocus.com/news/11455">security hole that gaped open from 2005 through 2007</a>, the owner of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and other stores admitted that it would probably never know the full extent of customer information stolen from it. Because the breach had been going on so long before the company warned cardholders, lots of fraud was perpetrated using the stolen information, including $8 million in merchandise theft by one gift card fraud ring in Florida alone.</p> <h3>Target: 40 Million Card Numbers Stolen</h3> <p>Target advertised hard in the run-up to 2013's Black Friday, and was rewarded by millions of shoppers pouring through store doors. Unfortunately, many of those shoppers later found out their credit card information had been stolen when they swiped their cards at Target's registers. The culprit was a simple piece of malware installed on a company computer that managed to spread itself to every register of every store, and siphon up customer data as they swiped their cards. Target promised that customers would lose no money due to the breach, but Target lost big time, with a <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-03-13/target-missed-alarms-in-epic-hack-of-credit-card-data">46% decline in sales and a $61 million recovery bill</a>.</p> <p>It also cost CEO Gregg Steinhafel his job.</p> <h3>CardSystems Solutions: 40 Million Card Numbers Stolen</h3> <p>A <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2005/06/17/news/master_card/">virus installed on computers of this third-party Mastercard and Visa transaction processor</a> in 2005 resulted in the compromise of 40 million customers' card numbers, in an incident that first awakened many consumers and credit card industry insiders to the very real danger of cybercrime. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/keep-your-credit-card-safe-while-shopping-online?ref=seealso">Keep Your Credit Card Safe While Shopping Online</a>)</p> <h2>4. Credit Cards Created for Fake or Stolen Identities</h2> <p>If a thief steals your credit card number and starts running up charges, chances are you'll notice the illicit charges on your card statement and put a stop to it. But crooks who manage to take out new credit accounts in real or fictitious names can get away with running up more bills for longer.</p> <p>In 2013, <a href="http://www.fbi.gov/newark/press-releases/2013/four-plead-guilty-in-200-million-international-credit-card-fraud-conspiracy">four conspirators were charged</a> in Trenton, NJ with setting up an elaborate network of fake identities to borrow more than $200 million. The victims here were mainly credit card companies and businesses, since many of the 7,000 false identities under which they set up credit accounts were fictional. They managed to create good credit profiles for their fictional identities by setting up shell businesses and reporting paid-off loans in the straw borrowers' names.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been a victim of credit card fraud? How did you find out?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-4-biggest-credit-card-scams" class="sharethis-link" title="The World&#039;s 4 Biggest Credit Card Scams" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worlds-4-biggest-credit-card-scams">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-scams-and-cons-that-could-clean-you-out">The scams and cons that could clean you out.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">Top Seven Reasons Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-inspiring-saver-found-true-love-shook-off-debt-denial-and-paid-off-123000">How One Inspiring Saver Found True Love, Shook Off Debt Denial, and Paid Off $123,000</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Credit Cards credit cards credit theft crime identity theft scams Fri, 05 Sep 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1203754 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Paying These 6 Unfair Banking Fees? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/atm-withdrawal-479705383-small.jpg" alt="atm withdrawal" title="atm withdrawal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average checking account has about <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/average-checking-account-has-30-fees-2013-08-08">30 different fees</a>.</p> <p>So it's not a surprise that many Americans are considering dropping their banks and choosing a credit union instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank?ref=seealso">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a>)</p> <p>However, a total switch may not be necessary if you're able to significantly lower your banking and finance fees. Here are six fees that you really don't have to pay.</p> <h2>1. ATM Fees</h2> <p>Some ATM usage fees are just outrageous. For example, using a non-Bank of America debit or credit card for a withdrawal, transfer, or balance inquiry at a Bank of America ATM has a <a href="https://www.bankofamerica.com/deposits/resources/personal-schedule-fees.go">$2.50 fee per transaction in the U.S</a>., and $5.00 in a foreign country. The same fees are applicable when you use a Bank of America debit or credit card at an ATM outside their network.</p> <p>Here are some strategies to avoid paying ATM fees:</p> <ul> <li>Know what ATM networks belong to your network. Most banks have a page that details this information on their websites. Bookmark it on your desktop and smartphone.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use cashback. Several retailers, such as CVS and Safeway, allow you to get cash back when using your debit card to process payment. If your bank doesn't charge you fees for using your credit card (more on the next point), then you can take out money without any charges.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Look for banks that reimburse other bank fees. For example, USAA Bank <a href="https://www.usaa.com/inet/pages/no_fee_checking_main?akredirect=true">refunds up to $15 in other banks' ATM usage fees</a> each month. Also, Ally Bank <a href="http://www.ally.com/resources/pdf/bank/ally-bank-straight-talk-product-guide.pdf">reimburses all other bank's ATM fees nationwide</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Checking Account Fees</h2> <p>Most banks charge between <a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/08/23/3-bank-fees-you-should-never-pay.aspx">$10 and $20 every month</a> to maintain a checking account with them. That add ups to $100 to $240 per year in unnecessary banking fees! Follow these tactics to avoid checking account fees.</p> <ul> <li>Meet the monthly minimum or average balance requirements for your account. This amount varies per bank so make sure to check with yours.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Find out if your bank waives checking account fees by signing up for direct deposit. Even if your bank doesn't waive the fees, this service helps you to meet the minimum balance requirements more easily.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Open a checking account with a credit union. Virtually all credit unions don't charge fees for checking accounts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do your homework. Certain banks waive checking account fees to special demographics, such as <a href="https://www.wellsfargo.com/checking/college/">university students</a>, <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/checking/banks-target-seniors-free-checking.aspx">senior citizens</a>, or <a href="https://www.chase.com/online/military/military-personal.htm">current armed forces service members and veterans</a>.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Overdraft Fees</h2> <p><a href="http://time.com/money/3070815/overdraft-fees-banks-save-money/">About $31 billion</a> are paid every year in overdraft fees around the country. In theory, overdraft fees are there to protect you when your checking account or credit card hs $300 and you decide to make a purchase for $320. The problem is that financial institutions and lenders are selectively choosing when to charge overdraft fees, which range from $25 to $35.</p> <p>Let's imagine that you have a credit cards balance of $30. Throughout the day, you spend $5 in breakfast, $15 in lunch, and $20 in dinner. If the fees were to be charged chronologically, you would only pay one overdraft fee. Unfortunately, some credit card companies selectively charge the fees so that you get dinged with the fee more than once. Suddenly, you are on the hook for up to $70 in overdraft fees.</p> <p>To make matters worse, while <a href="http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201407_cfpb_report_data-point_overdrafts.pdf">70% of checking account holders incur no overdrafts per year</a>, about 82% of checking accounts are hit with up to three overdraft charges per year. The conclusion? Do not sign up for any service labeled &quot;overdraft.&quot; Don't become part of the 8.3% of Americans that overdraft more than 10 times per year and opt out this service.</p> <h2>4. Fancy Checks</h2> <p>Do you really need to spend between $21.95 to $56.85 (before applicable taxes, shipping charges, and extras) for <a href="http://www.bradfordexchangechecks.com/products/1800538001-The-Little-Mermaid-Personal-Checks.html">Little Mermaid checks</a>? No, you don't.</p> <p>Generally, ordering a check through your own bank is not a good idea. For example, ordering <a href="http://www.samsclubchecks.com/line.aspx?lineid=212">personal checks at Sam's Club</a> starts at $8.70, while ordering checks through your bank often starts at $20. The only time to order checks through your bank is when they are free, such as when opening a new account.</p> <h2>5. Credit Reports</h2> <p>You don't need to pay for a credit report. Ever.</p> <p>Under federal law, you can get a free credit report through <a href="http://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action">AnnualCreditReport.com</a> every 12 months. This report includes all your credit history from the three main reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.</p> <p>It is a smart habit to order your free credit report every year so that you can go through it to find any inconsistencies. If you do find any issues, you can <a href="https://www.ai.equifax.com/CreditInvestigation/home.action">create an online dispute</a>. Notice that you only need to notify one reporting agency because it will notify the other two for you.</p> <h2>6. Extra 0.25% to 1.00% in Loan Interest</h2> <p>Several financial institutions are willing to knock off from 0.25% to 1.00% of your interest rate if you set up an automatic monthly payment from your checking account. While this is not strictly a fee, the effect of this policy is to charge account-holders who do not opt for automatic payments a fee.</p> <ul> <li>Get up to <a href="https://www.fiscal.org/new-and-used-auto-loans.html#auto-loan-discounts">1.00% off from the APR of your auto loan</a> at the Fiscal Credit Union.</li> <li>Receive a <a href="http://www.finaid.org/loans/studentloandiscounts.phtml">0.25% to 0.50% interest rate reduction</a> from your student loans.</li> </ul> <p>Make sure to double check with your bank if they offer rate discounts for automatic monthly payments.</p> <p><em>What are other banking and finance fees that you don't really have to pay?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees" class="sharethis-link" title="Are You Paying These 6 Unfair Banking Fees?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Discover Bank Review: You Know the Card, but What About the Bank?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-small-print-of-high-interest-savings-accounts">Beware the Small Print of High Interest Savings Accounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing">12 Places to Keep Your Money Safe — And Growing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-auto-payments-can-screw-you">7 Ways Auto-Payments Can Screw You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-tools-for-the-unbanked">New Tools for the Unbanked</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Banking banking checking credit cards fees savings Wed, 03 Sep 2014 13:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1199895 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Pieces of Credit Card Tech That Will Blow Your Mind http://www.wisebread.com/6-pieces-of-credit-card-tech-that-will-blow-your-mind <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-pieces-of-credit-card-tech-that-will-blow-your-mind" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mobile-wallet-credit-card-478704511-small.jpg" alt="mobile wallet" title="mobile wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit cards are ubiquitous nowadays, but have you ever wondered what is going on inside those cards, or the machines that are in &quot;charge&quot; of making sure the purchases you make are credited to your account? We thought it might be an interesting series to explore the hidden technology that might impress you that's hiding in your wallet!</p> <h2>1. Chip + PIN Technology</h2> <p>This bit of technology is ubiquitous in Europe and South America, and until recently, nearly nonexistent in the United States. But, those of you that have recently applied for and received a credit card may have in your possession a credit card with a gold square in the middle of the card. This is called an <a href="https://www.chasepaymentech.com/faq_emv_chip_card_technology.html">EMV chip</a>, and it makes it nearly impossible for thieves to steal your credit card and use it for purchases. To use it, a PIN is required, like a debit card. Manufacturing a fake credit card in your name is nearly impossible, according to Andi Coleman, who is part of the committee that regulates standards for credit cards in the United States. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-new-chip-and-pin-credit-cards-stop-identity-theft?ref=seealso">Will New Chip and Pin Technology Stop Identity Theft?</a>)</p> <h2>2. Coin</h2> <p>This <a href="https://onlycoin.com/">&quot;all-in-one&quot; credit card </a>made quite a splash in 2013 with its flashy release of a card that can store all your credit cards in one piece of plastic, making some readers of this site very happy I am sure! You can take a look at this <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2014/05/05/coin-demoes-the-tech-that-scored-a-15-5m-round-led-by-red-point/">TechCrunch article</a> to see it in action, but we may be looking at the future of card technology (or at least until they are deemed useless by future tech).</p> <h2>3. &quot;Tap and Go&quot;</h2> <p>One piece of technology that I find cool in some credit cards is the &quot;tap and go&quot; feature. This works just as it sounds &mdash; simply tap your credit card on the reader at the register, and go on your merry way. It speeds up transactions, which is good for merchants like Starbucks with long lines. There is a computer chip and antenna embedded in each card, which adds to costs but is in the best interests of the merchant (who saves time) and the credit card company (which makes it easier for consumers to use their card, increasing usage).</p> <h2>4. Tokenization</h2> <p>Those that are worried about their individual data being stolen by hackers can be relieved that &quot;tokenization&quot; is catching on. Basically, your data is encrypted into a &quot;token&quot; that is essentially worthless if stolen en route from your card to the merchant. The merchant can then convert back the token into something that it can read, and ultimately charge you for. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-fraud-and-how-to-avoid-it?ref=seealso">How to Avoid Credit Card Fraud</a>)</p> <h2>5. Ondot</h2> <p><a href="http://www.ondotsystems.com/products">Ondot</a>, marketed as the remote control for your credit card, gives you control over when and where your cards can be used. Location based controls can be tied to zip code, so a thief won't get far, or a card can be synced to a smartphone GPS, which means if it wanders far from your phone, it won't work. Other features include the ability to block certain stores or types of stores. It's an unprecedented level of control for those who want to manage their own &mdash; or their children's or their employees' &mdash; credit card spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Secured Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>6. Loop</h2> <p>The <em>smartphonification</em> of America continues apace, with several companies finding ways to put your cards into a &quot;wallet&quot; on your phone, which you then use to make payments. <a href="http://www.looppay.com/">Loop</a> stores your credit card data on your smartphone, and includes a special protector that wraps around your phone to communicate with payment machines. (They also offer a key fob that does the same.) Place your phone or key fob against the credit card reader, select a card on your iPhone or compatible Android phone, <a href="http://www.looppay.com/how-it-works/">press the Loop button</a>, and the transaction is complete.</p> <p>So, what do you think? Are you eyeing some of this new technology as a feature for your next credit card? Chip and PIN technology will be ubiquitous within the next two to three years here in the United States, but you'll want to secure a card with this feature if you plan on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-and-money-using-your-credit-card-on-the-road?ref=inarticle">traveling abroad</a> anytime soon. If not, you'll be stuck using your debit card or cash.</p> <p><em>Do you think any of these credit card advancements help you manage your spending more carefully? Or do you think they will make it too easy to charge another purchase? Please share in comments! </em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pieces-of-credit-card-tech-that-will-blow-your-mind" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Pieces of Credit Card Tech That Will Blow Your Mind" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mark-jackson">Mark Jackson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pieces-of-credit-card-tech-that-will-blow-your-mind">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-all-of-the-benefits-of-your-credit-cards-and-none-of-the-costs">How to Get All of the Benefits of Your Credit Cards — and None of the Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-think-affect-your-credit-score-but-dont">10 Things You Think Affect Your Credit Score — But Don&#039;t</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-warning-signs-that-you-need-to-stop-using-your-credit-cards">6 Warning Signs That You Need to Stop Using Your Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-many-credit-cards-should-you-carry">How Many Credit Cards Should You Carry?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miracle-device-coin-rolls-all-your-credit-cards-into-one">Miracle Device Coin Rolls All Your Credit Cards Into One</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Credit Cards Technology chip and pin credit credit cards gadgets spending Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:00:04 +0000 Mark Jackson 1168782 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Airport Hacks From Professional Travelers http://www.wisebread.com/15-airport-hacks-from-professional-travelers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-airport-hacks-from-professional-travelers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-sleeping-airport-78770981-small.jpg" alt="businessman sleeping airport" title="businessman sleeping airport" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you want to save money on drinks and baggage fees, skip airport lineups, get good prices on flights, keep the kids amused, and stay safe when arriving in airports at unwieldy hours? Then read on, because I've rounded up 10 professional travelers and invited them to share their <em>best</em> airport hacks. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-through-the-airport-faster?ref=seealso">How to Get Through the Airport Faster</a>).</p> <h2>1. Apply for Global Entry</h2> <p>U.S. Citizens can clear customs quickly with <a href="http://www.cbp.gov/global-entry/about">Global Entry</a>. (Citizens of Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and other countries have <a href="http://www.cbp.gov/global-entry/other-programs">similar pre-screening programs</a> that work in tandem with Global Entry). Application involves a rigorous background check and interview, but once you're a member you can clear customs in a jiffy, and also take advantage of special security lines and procedures.</p> <p>Lisa Ellen Niver of <a href="http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/">We Said Go Travel</a> is a global citizen who has traveled to over 100 countries on six continents. After traveling with her parents and experiencing the benefits of Global Entry, she lodged her own application. &quot;After you apply and have your interview, you no longer have to stand in long security lines. You are whisked ahead with no need to remove shoes or take computers out of cases. It makes travel seem almost civilized again!&quot;</p> <h2>2. Bring Your Own Liquor</h2> <p>Are you taking a domestic flight (and/or flying a budget airline) and want to have a drink but don't want to pay the airline's prices for liquor? Carry on a mini bottle of your favorite libation and mix it with the free soft drink, says Tamara Elliott, who offers savvy practical travel advice on <a href="http://www.globeguide.ca/">Globe Guide</a>. &quot;This works well since mix (Coke, juice, etc) is already included on-board &mdash; plus, the TSA doesn't have restrictions about what liquids you can bring, just how big they are.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Hitchhike Into the First Class Lounge</h2> <p>Turner Wright of <a href="http://www.onceatraveler.com/">Once A Traveler</a>, who has lived in Japan, South Korea, Peru, Thailand, and New Zealand, has an unconventional method for accessing first class lounges:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">Some first class lounges allow you to bring in a guest for free, so as long as you're not too smelly and relatively personable, just hang out at the entrance and ask someone if he or she wouldn't mind signing you in (including a sob story about how you've been cooped up for 30 hours and/or missing your family wouldn't hurt).</p> <h2>4. Pay for the First Class Lounge</h2> <p>If schmoozing into the first class lounge doesn't work (or isn't your style), you can often buy a pass. It usually costs $30-$50 and gives you access to all the lounge amenities such as comfortable seating, free food and drinks (including alcohol), Internet, and sometimes even showers and quiet rooms for sleeping. If you have hours to kill before your flight or between flights, this can be money well spent.</p> <h2>5. Wear Your Extra Luggage</h2> <p>Benny Lewis as been on the road for over 11 years and was named National Geographic's Traveler of the Year in 2013. He travels with everything he owns (including books!), and flies budget airlines with over 80 pounds of gear without paying for it. His secret? He <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-most-creative-ways-to-avoid-airline-fees-like-wearable-suitcases">wears his luggage</a> with the unfashionable but arguably practical <a href="http://www.jaktogo.com/">Jaktogo</a>. &quot;It's not a great fashion statement, and uncomfortable to wear while you do it, but that's only necessary while you [check in and] board the plane (since that's the only time your number of bags are truly checked). The rest of the time, you can walk around the terminal and even go through security with it in its extra bag folded up mode.&quot; (Benny himself a polyglot who teaches people to become <a href="http://www.fluentin3months.com/">Fluent in 3 Months</a> with a variety of tools including a free crash course.)</p> <h2>6. Fly Red-Eye</h2> <p>Matt Stabile, founder and Editor-in-Chief of <a href="http://www.theexpeditioner.com/">TheExpeditioner.com</a> and <a href="http://www.expeditionersafaris.com/">ExpeditionerSafaris.com</a> says the best way to avoid the hassle of getting through airports is to choose red-eye (overnight) flights, especially if it's a long flight. &quot;If you book a flight that leaves past, say, 10:00pm, you'll avoid rush hour traffic on the way to the airport, lines at check-in are going to be minimal, security will take a fraction of what it takes earlier in the day, and once you settle in for the flight, you can simply go to sleep and wake up at your destination.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Get Help Booking Flights</h2> <p>If flying red-eye doesn't appeal, Benny Lewis also recommends using <a href="http://www.flightfox.com/">Flight Fox</a> to book flights; he says they can often find a convenient travel time for the same cost as a red-eye flight.</p> <h2>8. Ask for Assistance</h2> <p>Airports usually involve lots of walking and standing in line, which not everybody can manage. If you or somebody you're traveling with has trouble getting around (due to age or injury), don't let pride get in the way; ask for assistance.</p> <p>Jeanne Dee of <a href="http://www.soultravelers3.com/">SoulTravelers3</a> discovered this life-saver while suffering serious medical challenges and traveling with her family. &quot;Airlines can help you with wheelchair assistance, making the whole process doable for someone with health challenges, and they escort the whole family through security and customs and such.&quot; Jeanne and her multi-award-winning digital nomadic family of three have been on the road non-stop for almost nine years, visiting 47 countries on five continents for $23/day per person.</p> <p>Although wheelchair assistance shouldn't be taken advantage of, it's a huge time-saver if you have a tight connection and are unable to move quickly. I discovered this myself after suffering a near-fatal accident and traveling to the States for medical attention. I would never have made the connection in my condition without being skirted through the airport's &quot;secret passages&quot; and ushered through special lineups. (Bonus: Your travel companions are escorted through with you!)</p> <h2>9. Eat at the Airport</h2> <p>Tiffany and Chris Soukup of <a href="http://www.vagabondway.net/">VagabondWay.net</a> have been traveling and working around the world for the last 10 years. They've learned through experience that eating a solid meal at the airport can actually be cost-effective, and arriving well-fed helps battle <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-naturally-reset-your-sleep-cycle-overnight">jet lag</a> and even helps you make better (money-saving) decisions. Tiffany uses some hacks to make it cost-effective and fun. &quot;I can't say the airport is my favorite place to eat, but I look forward to walking around to find where I'll dine. [Also], look ahead to know what restaurants are at the airport and see if you can get coupons.&quot;</p> <h2>10. Family Travel Hack: Entertain the Kids Without Gadgets</h2> <p>Rachel and Greg Denning of <a href="http://www.discovershareinspire.com/">DiscoverShareInspire.com</a> have been traveling since 2007 with their five (now six) children. They know better than any parents how hard it is to keep kids entertained during long hours of waiting in airports, and they say using less technology (tablets, smartphones, etc) creates better travelers.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">The mind-numbing, easy entertainment of many [tablet/smartphone] games can lead to boredom, because children get accustomed to being passively entertained, instead of actively entertaining themselves. Reading books, talking, singing, playing games (cards, iSpy, etc.) can hold their attention and lead to bonding and personal interaction, which makes travel more enjoyable for parents and children alike.</p> <p>She adds, however, that if your kids are already addicted to technology, going cold turkey in an airport isn't wise; best to start &quot;weaning&quot; them several weeks before traveling. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-digital-detox-how-and-why-to-do-it?ref=seealso">The Digital Detox &ndash; How and Why to Do It</a>).</p> <h2>11. Jump the Line (and Other Perks) With Frequent Flyer Status</h2> <p>&quot;The Guy&quot; dubs his website <a href="http://www.flightsandfrustration.com/">Flights and Frustration</a> for good reason; he has been traveling internationally with his work nearly every month for over 14 years. He has found a way to use business class and priority lineups even if he's flying economy. It's all about achieving elite status with frequent flyer miles. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles?ref=seealso">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a>).</p> <p>&quot;A prime example is my KLM Flying Blue card. With higher status I can use my economy ticket and still go to the business class check-in queue.&quot; For those with miles but no status, try asking for a points-upgrade. &quot;Inquire at check-in (or even before you go to the airport) to see if you can redeem points to upgrade your ticket to business class. Then it is queue jumping and luxury travel all the way.&quot;</p> <p>Having status with one airline can give you access to perks on all airlines in the alliance. &quot;I collect frequent flyer points on my Singapore Kris Flyer card for Star Alliance flights. I held a Gold Status with this Kris Flyer card whilst checking in for a domestic flight in the US with United. Due to my frequent flyer status with Star Alliance, they waived the baggage fee.&quot;</p> <h2>12. Go Through Priority Lines Anyway</h2> <p>Turner Wright (of <a href="http://www.onceatraveler.com/">Once A Traveler</a>) doesn't even bother flashing a frequent flyer mile status card to jump the line. &quot;Depending on the rush, I find it pretty ridiculous to cue up in one security line when there's an empty one for first class or priority passengers. Usually I just walk up and ask if I can go through, assuming they don't just wave me in. The same goes for lines at immigration and customs.&quot;</p> <h2>13. Flash Your Travel Rewards Credit Card</h2> <p>Even if you don't have super-elite frequent flyer mile status, you can flash a travel rewards credit card to gain lounge access. Stephanie Zito has been to over 115 countries living and working on the road for the last 20+ years. In addition to her humanitarian work and <a href="http://www.wanderingforgood.com/">Wandering For Good</a>, she's also the managing editor of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-travel-hacking-cartel-fly-around-the-world-for-almost-free">Travel Hacking Cartel</a> and a travel-hacker extraordinaire.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">If you live and work on the road and take advantage of lounges for showers, meals, Wi-Fi, and free drinks, it's worth carrying a card that&nbsp;gets you Priority Pass which allows you to access more than 600 lounges around the world. If you just need a pass or two, many co-branded airline credit cards offer one or two lounge passes a year as a sign-up bonus.</p> <h2>14. Catch a Rest in the Chapel (and a Shower Nearby)</h2> <p>If you've got a long layover or delayed flight and need some peace and quiet, look for the airport chapel. It can be a great place to catch a catnap, meditate, or simply enjoy a cell-phone free environment. Stephanie Zito also says it might lead you to a shower in certain parts of the world: &quot;If you're traveling through the middle east, there is almost always a public shower room somewhere in the airport &mdash; you just have to find it. The trick is to locate the prayer area. The showers will always be nearby.&quot;</p> <h2>15. Sleep in the Airport</h2> <p>Wade Shepard has been traveling since 1999 as founding editor of <a href="http://www.vagabondjourney.com/">Vagabond Journey</a>, and he has a formula for sleeping in airports. &quot;I usually sleep in the airport when I have an early morning flight leaving between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m. or when I land between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. It's free, relatively secure, and cuts out the hassle of taking [costly] late night transportation and checking in/out of a hotel at an hour when humans are better off tucked away in bed.&quot; He even argues that it's safer to sleep in the airport than to navigate a foreign city late at night, where you might be more of a target.</p> <p>He consults <a href="http://www.sleepinginairports.net/">SleepingInAirports.net</a> to find the best places to sleep, and likes to be out of the way but still around other people (who are preferably sleeping) so there is security in numbers. As for his luggage, he secures it: &quot;I either lock my bag to the chair I'm sleeping in or I tie it my wrist &mdash; so if someone was to try to snatch it I'd wake up.&quot;</p> <p>Wade even does this with his wife and child in tow. &quot;Having three people to fend for makes the money saved even greater! I also found it works better just to let my daughter stay up late, go crazy in the airport, then crash on the plane rather than waking her up in the middle of the night and moving her out [of a hotel].&quot;</p> <p>For more from frequent travelers, check out these 25 other fantastic travel tips and secrets: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-secrets-from-the-worlds-most-frugal-frequent-travelers">25 Secrets From the World's Most Frugal Frequent Travelers</a>.</p> <p><em>Do you have any reliable airport hacks? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-airport-hacks-from-professional-travelers" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Airport Hacks From Professional Travelers" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-airport-hacks-from-professional-travelers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sleeping-in-airports-for-the-stranded-and-frugal-minded">Sleeping In Airports For The Stranded And Frugal Minded</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-airline-travel-sucks-and-what-you-can-do-to-make-it-better">5 Ways Airline Travel Sucks — and What You Can Do to Make It Better</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clipped-wings-can-consumers-fix-air-travel">Clipped Wings: Can Consumers Fix Air Travel?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-through-the-airport-faster">How to Get Through the Airport Faster</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Travel air travel airport secrets airports credit cards frugal travel travel secrets Mon, 18 Aug 2014 15:06:06 +0000 Nora Dunn 1185372 at http://www.wisebread.com