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How Credit Cards Work

5 ways to avoid credit card fraud this shopping season Written by Maryalene LaPonsie We are down to the wire on the holiday shopping season. If you have been waiting until the last minute to buy gifts, well, we are just about there. However, in your rush to get the presents under the tree, don't make careless mistakes that could put your best credit card number into the wrong ...
How will the Visa and MasterCard merchant settlement affect you? Written by Jennifer Gregory When you use your credit card to pay for groceries, your focus is likely to be how much you are paying for the items in your cart. But each time you swipe your credit card, the business you are patronizing has to pay a fee to the credit card company, called an interchange fee. The fee ...
What does variable APR mean? Written by Variable APR means that the annual percentage rate on your credit card can change over time. Don't worry, though. Banks can't just adjust your rates without notice or beyond reason. A complex set of rules governs how much you'll pay in finance charges on your outstanding balance. Banks base your APR on a prime lending rate, ...
Retail rejection: Top six reasons your credit card was declined Written by Megg Mueller There are few things in life more embarrassing than having your credit card declined, especially if you're attempting to make a purchase while you have people with you ("Hey, boss! I'll get the check!" Oops…). But before you slink away in shame, consider that there are a number of reasons your card could be declined, ...
Is it time to upgrade your credit card? Written by Maryalene LaPonsie High interest rates and limited rewards got you down? If you aren't pleased with your current credit card, you don't have to go to the trouble of applying for a whole new account. A credit card upgrade may be all you need. John Ulzheimer is the president of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com and says upgrading a ...
5 things your credit card company won't negotiate Written by Beth Orenstein You've gotten yourself into some financial trouble - overspending when work is slow or nonexistent. You are hoping to negotiate with your credit card issuer to give you some wiggle room with those monthly payments. Go for it, says Mike Sullivan, director of education for Take Charge America, a non-profit credit counseling organization in Phoenix. "I ...
What factors determine the credit limit you get on a credit card? Written by Credit card issuers have spent the past few decades developing a complex "matrix" system to match your credit profile with the "right" credit limit. Picture your credit score running down the left-hand column of that matrix, and your income running across the top row. An underwriter then sets optimal credit limits based on which block ...
What to do when your credit card is declined Written by Christina Majaski Sure, it might be embarrassing, but having your credit card declined is almost a rite of passage for people who aren't incredibly wealthy. It's hard to imagine that anyone can go through life without their credit card or debit card being declined at least once, even if it's just a technical snafu. However, when credit cards ...
I was sent a credit card without my authorization. What do I do? Written by Q: I was sent a credit card without my authorization. What do I do? My credit report was obviously dinged to obtain one. Will it be dinged again if I cancel? A: "Dear Lord, the gods have been good to me. As an offering, I present these milk and cookies. If you wish me to eat ...
Should you pay taxes with your credit card? Written by Jeffrey Steele If you're paying income tax to the IRS this year, you have several ways to pony up, including cash, personal check and your favorite credit card. While there are positives to paying taxes with plastic, the experts we talked with say there are at least as many negatives. Rewards points and convenience are two reasons for ...

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