Thursday, July 27th, 2017

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Personal Finance

California Leads Nation in Consumer Debt

The Golden State loses some of its luster in new figures from the New York Federal Reserve: The bank’s data show that California takes the top spot in the U.S. for consumer debt. California residents carried an average debt load of $78,000 in the second quarter of 2010, said the paper. The national average is […]

New Credit Cards Cut You Off – When You Want

"I’m sorry, ma’am. Your card has been declined," says the cashier. Your reply: "Excellent!" A confusing reaction? It will make sense soon, if you get a new MasterCard from Citigroup with the InControl service, described by the New York Times as a "financial chastity belt." InControl allows consumers to set their own limits on spending […]

Home Equity Loan Defaults Soar as Housing Values Drop

A sea change is under way in Americans’ debt habits: They are changing how they borrow, how they pay their loans, how they get out of debt and when they default. It used to be that smaller, revolving credit loans – like credit card debts – were the most likely to go unpaid. Now, it’s […]

Recessionary Economy Has Side Benefits for the Employed

A new report in the New York Times outlines one of the little-talked about phenomena of the recession that drained the U.S. of jobs and wealth in 2008 and 2009. For those in the worst-affected zones, the report finds, the damage has been severe and lasting. Heavy manufacturing regions, like Michigan, and those areas that […]

Student Loans Exceed Total Credit Card Debt

New figures from reveal that in aggregate, Americans owe more money in federal and private student loans than they do in revolving credit, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Federal Reserve says that Americans owe a total of $826.5 billion in revolving credit debt, most of which is on credit cards. Outstanding student loans, meanwhile, […]

Smartphones Could Take the Place of Credit Cards

A simple wave of an iPhone or a Droid might replace the old-fashioned swipe and sign ritual of credit cards, reports Bloomberg/BusinessWeek. AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile have reportedly partnered with Discover Financial Services – the fourth-biggest payment network after MasterCard, Visa and American Express – to transform smartphones into mobile payment systems. Some early […]

New Illinois Law Slams Debt Settlement Firms

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a law this week imposing strict new limits on debt settlement companies working in the state, with the aim of protecting residents trying to get out of debt from the more predatory practices of these firms. The Illinois law follows a Federal Trade Commission ruling that bans many of the […]

Credit Card Terms Change, but Rewards Seem Untouched

Some watchers of the credit card industry predicted dire consequences if Congress passed the financial reform bill, claiming that issuers would recoup their losses by changing fees, charging more for issuing cards and cutting back on rewards. While the first two predictions appear to have been borne out, it seems that credit card companies aren’t […]

Meet the New Card, Same as the Old Card

You didn’t think it was going to be that easy, did you? The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 took a wrecking ball to some of the more frustrating practices of the credit-card industry in an effort to help Americans trying to stay and get out of debt. Some estimates put the […]

New FTC Rule Protects Consumers from Debt Relief Practices

The Federal Trade Commission issued its final rule on debt relief firms Thursday, banning those that engage in telemarketing from collecting advance fees from customers. The rule will come into effect in October of this year, and it should help protect consumers who are trying to get out of debt from some of the industry’s […]