February 16, 2014 |
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 |
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.
February 4, 2014 |
The blockbuster theft of credit card data from Target during the holiday shopping rush was just one example of the way outdated cards are leaving Americans more vulnerable to fraud and identity theft than shoppers are in other developed countries.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 |
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 http://www.nfcc.org)
January 31, 2014
Re "Banks put cost ahead of card risk," Column, Jan. 28 David Lazarus is correct that switching to chip-and-PIN cards would make for a much safer credit-card system. But his repeated mantra that lawmakers should impose heavy fines on companies whose customers' personal data are compromised is rather naive. Companies don't have as much control over the more intelligent hackers as he might think. Yes, I was one of those customers whose card was compromised when I used it at Target, but I feel sorry for the corporation, not bitter.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 30, 2014 |
SACRAMENTO - Californians who use their credit cards for online purchases would gain some protection, and voters would decide whether the state's public universities could consider race and gender for admissions, under measures passed by the state Senate on Thursday. The Assembly has yet to act on either measure. Responding to cases in which hackers stole personal financial information on millions of credit card users, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) proposed limiting the details that online merchants may collect from their customers.