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October 27, 2013 | Catharine Hamm
And the winner is ... United Mileage Plus. And cash. This year, "More for Your Money" has concentrated on credit cards that can be used abroad. It can be tricky because U.S. cards, which have a magnetic stripe, aren't always accepted abroad. Much of the rest of the world uses credit cards with a smart chip that require a PIN to complete a transaction. U.S. cards are supposed to work abroad but don't always, readers have told us (and I know from my experience). So we've been hot on the trail of chip and PIN cards available in the U.S. (the choices for leisure travelers are slim)
April 6, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - The recent hacking of customer data from Target Corp. computers is roiling the California Legislature. Last week, two members of the Assembly touted a bill to strengthen consumer safeguards and limit the type of information collected and retained by retailers. The measure, AB 1710, may trigger one of the year's biggest disputes over business-related legislation. "It'll be a big fight, a tough fight," said Bill Dombrowski, president of the California Retailers Assn.
September 5, 1996 | From Bloomberg Business News
General Motors Corp.'s GM Card and AT&T Corp.'s Universal Card won the top ratings in a J.D. Powers & Associates study of credit card holder satisfaction. The GM Card, offered through Household International Inc., got the highest rating among credit cards that offer rewards for frequent usage. The card, which gives users discounts on GM cars, scored a 110 rating, compared with the industry average of 105. J.D. Powers, an Agoura Hills-based marketing information firm, said the AT&T Universal Card was the highest-rated among credit cards that don't offer rewards.
March 22, 2014 | By Kate Mather and Carla Rivera
The California Department of Motor Vehicles said Saturday that it is investigating a potential security breach of its credit card processing services, but officials said the agency had no immediate evidence that its computer system had been hacked. The DMV was alerted by law enforcement officials about the possible breach and has "heightened monitoring" of all of its Web traffic and credit card transactions, the agency said in a prepared statement. The agency is also in contact with credit card companies and the vendor who processes its online transactions.
September 4, 2013 | By E. Scott Reckard
The Federal Housing Administration wants to make it easier for people who have defaulted on their mortgages to get a new home loan with FHA backing. But there's a catch. To qualify for the break, borrowers must show that their foreclosure or bankruptcy was caused by external economic factors, reducing their income by 20% or more for six months. And no, you can't have quit your job or have been fired for cause. Those who can demonstrate such a pay cut, job loss or decline in business income now must spend only one year making timely rent and credit-card payments before they can apply to buy a home with an FHA-insured loan, a recent FHA bulletin explained.
November 18, 2007 | Kathy M. Kristof, Times Staff Writer
If you're renting a car over the holidays, chances are a clerk at the counter will try to sell you some pricey insurance options. Should you fork out the extra cash? Probably not, experts say. That's because there's a very good chance the auto insurance policy you already have would kick in if you had an accident while driving a rental. And sometimes the credit card you use to rent the car offers coverage too.
December 24, 2013
Re "U.S. a laggard in adopting more secure credit card technology," Business, Dec. 21 How did Americans wind up being the international low-hanging fruit for credit card information thieves? The Times ably explains this situation in this article. However, in the aftermath of Target's massive data breach, I'm left wondering how a country that is such a leader in technological research can fall down so badly in implementing off-the-shelf preventive measures. John Pierson Pasadena ALSO: Letters: A Snowden pardon?
March 15, 2009 | DAVID LAZARUS
Since the beginning of the year, millions of credit card customers have been hit with higher interest rates -- in many cases from lenders that have received billions of dollars in bailout cash from taxpayers. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, responded last week with legislation that would impose a 15% cap on rates for all consumer loans, including plastic. And you know what? It just might work.
February 18, 2009 | DAVID LAZARUS
After reading my Sunday column on how banks are jacking up credit card rates, Santa Clarita resident Hank Lee wanted to know why usury laws weren't keeping interest rates at reasonable levels. "How much is enough?" Lee asked me. "Is 'compassionate capitalism' such an oxymoron?" My knee-jerk reaction was to say yes. But let's take a closer look. First, a defining of terms.
January 2, 1998
Credit cards: Weapons of mass consumption. MARK A. BROWN Tustin
March 17, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
Sally Beauty Holdings Inc., the Texas-based hair and beauty products retailer, said Monday that a recent data breach affected fewer than 25,000 payment cards. The company disclosed the breach earlier this month, but an investigation by a data forensics team from Verizon is now beginning to provide more information into how many customers were affected. Sally's data breach occurred only a few months after significant data breaches disclosed by other retailers, including Target Corp.
March 4, 2014 | By Paul Whitefield, This post has been updated. See below for details.
Congratulations, Ukraine, you just won the lottery! Though, on this side of the world, it looks like we just gave $1 billion in aid to a country most Americans couldn't find on a map. Secretary of State John F. Kerry stopped off in Kiev on Tuesday, praising “these brave Ukrainians” who stood up to President Viktor Yanukovich, the deposed leader. Apparently, though, the “brave Ukrainians” are also the “broke Ukrainians.” PHOTOS: A peek inside 5 doomed dictators' opulent lifestyles As my colleague Carol J. Williams reported : “Kerry announced a $1-billion U.S. aid package to Ukraine and said the International Monetary Fund was working out details of a longer-term plan for rescuing the deeply indebted economy.
February 18, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Personal information collected from credit card shoppers would be better protected by upgrading the country's entire payment system to technology that has dramatically reduced fraud in Europe. That was the consensus of a group of retailers, bankers, credit card companies and consumer advocates at a legislative hearing Tuesday. Legislators delved into the causes of a recent hacking of about 70 million computerized customer records at Target Corp. and a smaller incident involving about 1.1 million customers at Neiman Marcus department stores.
February 17, 2014 | David Lazarus
Ding-dong, Cap One calling. Credit card issuer Capital One isn't shy about getting into customers' faces. The company recently sent a contract update to cardholders that makes clear it can drop by any time it pleases. The update specifies that "we may contact you in any manner we choose" and that such contacts can include calls, emails, texts, faxes or a "personal visit. " As if that weren't creepy enough, Cap One says these visits can be "at your home and at your place of employment.
February 16, 2014 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: Recently I've paid off almost $20,000 in credit card debt and am determined not to go down that path again. Because I haven't used these cards in a while, though, I'm starting to get notifications from the credit card companies that they're closing my accounts because of inactivity. I know having long-standing accounts on your credit report is a good thing, but I don't want to be tempted to use these cards just to keep the account open. Is it a bad thing if almost all of my credit card accounts get closed?
February 6, 2014 | By Matt Pearce
There's junk mail, and then there's nasty mail: San Francisco writer Lisa McIntire says Bank of America sent her a credit card offer addressed to "Lisa Is a Slut McIntire," and she posted photos of it Thursday on Twitter. The bank tweeted her an apology and pledged to investigate, but the problem apparently originated with an academic society that was marketing jointly with the bank. McIntire, 32, said in a phone interview that she learned about the mail in a text exchange with her mother, a screen grab of which she also posted on Twitter.
December 20, 2013 | By Chris O'Brien
More bad news for folks who used their credit cards at Target during the holiday shopping season. Many of the 40 million credit cards that the company says were part of the data breach are already for sale on black markets around the world. That report comes from KrebsonSecurity , the website run by cyber-security reporter Brian Krebs, who initially broke the story about the Target breach. On Friday, Krebs posted another story detailing how he had tracked down phony cards made using information that was stolen as part of the Target data breach: STORY: Target data theft fuels new worries on cybersecurity " Credit and debit card accounts stolen in a recent data breach at retail giant Target have been flooding underground black markets in recent weeks, selling in batches of one million cards and going for anywhere from $20 to more than $100 per card, KrebsOnSecurity has learned.
July 1, 2011 | David Lazarus
Are high credit card fees pricing plastic out of the market? Some businesses are putting the kibosh on credit cards to avoid paying processing fees that run about 2% of the transaction amount. In other words, every time you buy something for $100 with plastic, it costs the merchant nearly $2 in processing fees. Multiply that by hundreds or even thousands of daily transactions, and that can add up to some serious coin. Typically, those costs are passed along to customers in the form of higher prices.
February 4, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The blockbuster theft of credit card data from Target during the holiday shopping rush was just one example of the way outdated cards are leaving Americans more vulnerable to fraud and identity theft than shoppers are in other developed countries. The good news is that the credit card industry is in the process of fixing part of the problem. The bad news is that squabbling among retailers, banks and payment processors is getting in the way of a more complete solution. The United States is one of the few remaining places where credit and debit cards rely on a magnetic stripe, rather than a microchip, to store and transmit account information.
February 2, 2014 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: I'm confused about paying down credit card debt. Some say to pay the lowest-balance cards first and others say the highest balance or the one with the highest interest. I have almost $16,000 on credit cards ranging from a $4,930 balance on a card with an 8.24% interest rate to $660 on a card with an 18% rate. Answer: Actually, the first question you should ask is "How much credit card debt do I have compared to my income?" If your balances equal half or more of your annual earnings, you may not be able to pay it all off. You should make appointments with a legitimate credit counselor (such as one affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at
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