What's going on in the world of credit cards this week? An actress accuses IMDb of misusing her credit card information, Barclaycard introduces a new "social" credit card, and the IRS reminds us that the old credit card debt you thought you got rid of may rear its ugly head.
Soon to be a major motion picture?
If you haven't heard of Junie Hoang, that's because her roles have been a bit under the radar. She played a triage nurse in an episode of the TLC series "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" and a receptionist in the straight-to-video 2007 movie "666: The Beast."
You probably have, however, heard of the website IMDb, or Internet Movie Database. Chances are, if you've ever wondered what movies an actor has appeared in, you've put his or her name in your favorite search engine and it comes up with IMDb's listing on the performer. Generally, there at the top of the screen, for everyone to see, is the actor's date of birth.
Hoang allegedly guarded her age as if it were KFC's secret recipe. She never gave it out, and yet somehow, IMDb listed it, sharing with the world that she was born in Saigon, Vietnam, on July 16, 1971.
Actors -- male or female -- often consider their age a personal piece of information. Actors want casting directors to look at their acting portfolio to decide what parts to offer them. If the casting director knows the actor's age, that information might negatively influence their thinking. Hoang evidently didn't want casting directors or Hollywood directors to know her age, and she is now suing IMDb and its parent company, Amazon.com, for one million dollars.
The New York Times reports that Hoang believes IMDb used her credit card information on her IMDb Pro subscriber account to get her age and put it on the site. Amazon.com's lawyers have maintained that even if that is how IMDb learned her age, no laws have been broken.
Still, whichever way the court goes -- assuming this does make it to court -- it'll be interesting to watch and see what the outcome is, especially for privacy advocates and companies that sell or share credit card information.
And, yes, many people have already noted that if Hoang hadn't said anything, chances are, her age might have gone unnoticed by many people in the industry. Now everyone knows that she'll be turning 41 this summer.
New credit card for the Facebook generation
Barclaycard US has a new credit card called the Barclaycard Ring MasterCard. According to Banking Business Review, it's the first "social" credit card. Sure, a lot of credit cards have a presence on social media, but Barclaycard says that this card comes with a social media forum where you can offer direct feedback to the company. If you think it's a great card, you can tell them. If you think it needs to bring its low interest rate even lower, let them know. If you think the marketing campaign stinks -- well, you get the idea.
But what's really interesting is that card members will be able to access the card's financial profit and loss statements and be involved with the Giveback program, which lets the community of cardholders share in the profits generated from its collective decisions.
As for the card's details, it launched with an 8-percent APR interest rate on purchases and balance transfers, with no balance transfer fees and no annual fees. No rewards, though, either.
That's part of a trend we've written about recently, "plain vanilla" cards, in which there aren't rewards, but the simplicity and lack of fees is the main selling feature. The Citi Simplicity Card and Chase Slate are some of the cards making up the "plain vanilla" credit card trend.
IRS to tax old debts - should you panic?
USA Today reports that billions of dollars in credit card debt that was charged off during the Great Recession -- and some of it is decades old -- isn't quite dead yet. The IRS has been sending tax bills to some people, stating that they owe taxes on the canceled debt, since a forgiven debt is considered taxable income.
Now that said, if you're reading this and panicking, thinking of some debt you were forgiven a couple of years ago, USA Today says as long as you can prove you were bankrupt or financially insolvent at the time the debt was forgiven, you should be in the clear.
How will you know if this is a paperwork headache that you'll need to deal with? The IRS will send you a 1099-C form. They expect to send almost 6.4 million of these forms out this year alone, a jump up from recent years (it was 3.9 million in 2010).