Credit Cards: One Simple Way to Find the Best One for You

Credit Cards: One Simple Way to Find the Best One for YouCapital One, United Airlines, American Express, etc. The list goes on with all of them claiming to offer you the most value for your buck. That brings the question up: which one is best for you? Would you like to earn loyalty rewards or receive cash back for your credit card purchases? Do you know which one will forgo the annual fee? Do you know which one charges the highest interest for carryover accounts or penalties on late payments? Then, of course, you will want to know which one offers the best rewards.

Until now, there was often no way to determine the answer to these questions without going through the credit card application process and waiting for the card to arrive. This often meant surfing the Web in an attempt to uncover the miniscule fine print in a company’s consumer agreements or waiting until you were surprised with a 36% interest charge on your unpaid balances when you received your first bill with a carryover charge. Now, however, there is a company called NerdWallet that can do the work for you and locate the best choice for your particular needs.

NerdWallet offers many ways and choices for the consumer to activate its search — one of which should meet the needs of almost every consumer. One way to search is to look for a credit card with a low-interest rate; another option seeks to find which credit card offers the best cashback rewards or air miles. In addition, this neat little program also includes an avenue of recommended options for those who may have less than stellar credit.

In fact, the program has you answer questions that let you enter specifics for the type of credit card you need, and then provides lists directly related to your needs. Below is a list of the specific categories you may find once NerdWallet has done its job:

  • Top 10 Credit Card Deals
  • Best Rewards Credit Cards
  • Best Cash Back Credit Cards
  • Best Travel Credit Cards
  • 0% APR Credit Cards
  • Credit Cards for Bad Credit

So how does NerdWallet operate? First, the company scans thousands of relevant credit card companies and their offerings prior to correlating the comparisons. Once this process is completed, the company then targets those available features against your previously designated needs, including:

  • Reward Programs
  • Interest Rates
  • Balance Transfer
  • Annual Fees
  • How To Easily Earn Airline Miles

Your next question will probably be: how difficult is the program to use? Fortunately, NerdWallet is user-friendly and, as such, is fairly simple and easy to navigate. In fact, the entire process begins with a short questionnaire where you only need to input which options you want. Then, after viewing a list of available credit cards that meet your criteria, you choose the ones that you want to explore further. Then follows the opportunity for you to view the various offer results and details, which in turn affords you the ability to narrow down the list of credit cards that you think will work best for you.

However, what if you are looking for the best business expense credit card? Well, you don’t have to worry, because NerdWallet has a special website for business owners. This site provides easy-to-understand choices, including overviews and comprehensive explanations for all credit cards offers. Another unique feature of this portion of the NerdWallet website is that it offers the opportunity for business professionals to leave reviews and comments about every credit card. Looking at the reviews and details for each credit card to see how satisfied other companies were with their service can help a business owner select the credit card that will best meet the personal and business needs of his company.

The company that I use is so efficient that it has called us numerous times to make sure that a purchase was actually authorized by us. I know that, each time I have received such a call, my mind has been put at ease and I felt that the company was working in my best interest. However, this is also a high-interest credit card if it is not paid in full every month, so it may not be for everyone.

Over all, I would definitely recommend NerdWallet for anyone searching to find a credit card for the first time or to change to a different one that is more akin to what they need.

Comments welcome.

Source: NerdWallet

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by 401(k)2012

enGreet

I’m not very good about sending cards to people. I’m so used to doing things online that having to write something by hand and mail it seems like a lot of work. Yes, I blame my laziness on the Internet. Of course, I can’t really blame the Internet for my lack of card sending anymore because there are multiple services that enable you to select and write a card online and then pay to have it printed and sent. A service called enGreet makes sending a card almost as easy as sending an e-mail.

The first thing worth mentioning is the unique selection of cards that are available through enGreet. Artists are able to upload their card designs and make money when people choose them, which means that you won’t just see the same cards that you’ve seen in stores for years. Once you’ve selected a card you just write your message, customize it, and then have it sent. One really neat feature that’s offered enables you to schedule when a card should be sent if you don’t want to send it right away. Instead of running the risk of forgetting a special occasion, you can just create the card now and have enGreet remember when to send it for you.

[rsslist:http://shop.tagjag.com/products/romance]

Banks Continue To Rip Off Consumers Using Our Own Money

During the G20 meeting there was a brief interview with one protester in which a reporter asked why the group was protesting. This person stated that he was angry that the taxpayers were bailing out the banks and the banks were than loaning back the money to the taxpayer at a profit. Interesting point of view. But here in the United States we have another problem that is also making the banks extremely unpopular. 

It seems that the banks now are using the recession as an excuse to raise credit card rates. Consumers are finding themselves facing rates as high as 28% as the banks continue to receive bailout money with a 0% loan rate. Congress and President Obama are now taking a hard look at this situation and hopefully will crush these idiots into submission and get the banks back to reality. 

Yesterday I was doing some research on another project when I found this statement from wikipedia describing the depression from the ’20s and ’30s which stated the following:

During the Crash of 1929 preceding the Great Depression, margin requirements were only 10%. Brokerage firms, in other words, would lend $9 for every $1 an investor had deposited. When the market fell, brokers called in these loans, which could not be paid back. Banks began to fail as debtors defaulted on debt and depositors attempted to withdraw their deposits en masse, triggering multiple bank runs. Government guarantees and Federal Reserve banking regulations to prevent such panics were ineffective or not used. Bank failures led to the loss of billions of dollars in assets. Outstanding debts became heavier, because prices and incomes fell by 20–50% but the debts remained at the same dollar amount. After the panic of 1929, and during the first 10 months of 1930, 744 US banks failed. (In all, 9,000 banks failed during the 1930s). By April 1933, around $7 billion in deposits had been frozen in failed banks or those left unlicensed after the March Bank Holiday.

Bank failures snowballed as desperate bankers called in loans which the borrowers did not have time or money to repay. With future profits looking poor, capital investment and construction slowed or completely ceased. In the face of bad loans and worsening future prospects, the surviving banks became even more conservative in their lending. Banks built up their capital reserves and made fewer loans, which intensified deflationary pressures. A vicious cycle developed and the downward spiral accelerated.

The liquidation of debt could not keep up with the fall of prices which it caused. The mass effect of the stampede to liquidate increased the value of each dollar owed, relative to the value of declining asset holdings. The very effort of individuals to lessen their burden of debt effectively increased it. Paradoxically, the more the debtors paid, the more they owed. This self-aggravating process turned a 1930 recession into a 1933 great depression.

Does this sound familiar? Bank failures, a lack of loans to build reserves, and a vicious cycle of downward spiral? 

Auto sales suffered between 1928 levels compared to 1932. And today after receiving billions of our dollars the industry is now posting a profit. You give me a few billion and I’ll show a profit as well. The banks caused the current financial recession and now are punishing the consumer for their mistakes.

We never learn from our past mistakes.

What do you think? 

Great Depression

Enable Vista Aero On Non-WDDM Video Cards – Does It Work?

Back on April 5, 2007 I wrote a piece about he Intel 915 Express Card and how it would not support Aero in Vista. [Story is here.]

So today I received a comment from reader Hubbak Khan who indicates there is a way to enable Aero on non-WDDM video cards. I personally have not tried this, since I do not have a system in which Aero does not function. So I thought I would pass this on and if anyone wished to try it, let us know how it works or doesn’t work.

Enable Aero Glass On NoN – WDDM Video Cards:-

By Hubbak Khan

If you have upgraded your >4 year old computer to Vista (versions with aero effects), this is disabled because your video card doesn’t pass the WDDM specs.
Here is how to enable those cool-looking Aero Effects:

1. From the Start menu, click All Programs and then expand Accessories.

2. Right click on “Command Prompt” and click “Run as Administrator”.

3. Click on “Allow” from the Windows Security dialog.

4. In the Command Prompt window, type “regedit” (without the quotes) and press Enter.

5. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM (if this key doesn’t exist, create it)

6. Create a new DWORD (32-bit value) of UseMachineCheck, and set its value to 0.

7. Create a new DWORD (32-bit value) of Blur, and set its value to 0.

8. Create a new DWORD (32-bit value) of Animations, and set its value to 0.

9. from the Start Menu, Click “Run”

10. Type “cmd”, and click Ok

11. At the command prompt window, type “net stop uxsms” (without the quotes)

12. after that finishes, type “net start uxsms” (without the quotes)

13. Reboot

12. Goto Personalization in the Control Panel, Click on Window Color and Design

13. Apply Aero !!!!!!!

By Hubbak Khan

I haven’t tried this so be careful!

Comments welcome.

Unethical Use Of Linux Is Under Attack

WOW! It isn’t often that we get to hear from Richard Stallman, a free software advocate, but when we do the Linux world takes notice. Mr. Stallman is addressing the problem of using what is called ‘Oyster’ which is a contactless cards used on London’s underground rail system. In his opinion the ‘Oyster’ system is:

 

Online payments cannot be made anonymously, so anyone paying online or linking their Oyster card to a credit card for automatic top-ups is handing their travel information to the government, Stallman argued. He also warned that the RFID chip on the card might be read at other times, allowing information to be gathered besides details of Tube and bus travel.

“The GNU system (often called “Linux”) has been developed, since 1984, for the sake of computer users’ freedom. Ironically, it is now the basis for a system designed to smother the freedom of the people of London, through online payments to Oyster cards,” Stallman stated in the email.

“Each Oyster card has a unique ID, which it transmits when it is used,” added Stallman, “So, if you make the mistake of connecting the card with your name, then Big Brother knows exactly when and where you enter the Tube system and where you leave. For the surveillance-mad government of the UK, this is like a dream come true.”

I respect Mr. Stallman’s opinion and his attempt to keep open source free from any type of misuse or abuse. What do you think?

 

Comments welcome.

 

Source.

How To Stop Cyber Criminals

There is not a day that goes by that we read about how ineffective law enforcement is against cyber criminals, who openly sell stolen credit card information or other personal information about consumers. Since most cyber criminals work out of foreign countries, trying to coordinate law enforcement agencies from different countries can be difficult.

Two grad students over at Carneigie Mellon University have an interesting idea on how to stem cyber criminal activity. They suggest that law enforcement should infiltrate the cyber criminals home where stolen information is sold and pose as crooks. The thinking is that by doing this , law enforcement will be able to provide false information and false transactions with the hopes of fostering distrust and dishonesty among the criminals themselves. In the paper it states:

Underground markets represent a substantial security threat. Previous approaches for disrupting underground markets have focused on standard law enforcement activities such as locating and disabling hosting infrastructure or identifying and arresting market participants [17]. These techniques face numerous social and technological hurdles which limit their success and result in substantial associated costs. For example, disabling the hosting infrastructure for a market may require multi-national cooperation, which can be time and resource consuming. Furthermore, nations may refuse to cooperate with foreign law enforcement agencies or may lack appropriate laws for prosecution. Even in the case where law en forcement techniques have succeeded in disrupting an underground market, the markets often re-emerge under new administration with a new “bulletproof” hosting infrastructure. Identifying and arresting key players also includes a host of associated complexities and costs, such as tracing individuals through chains of compromised hosts and the cost of subsequent legal proceedings.

The substantial costs and limited success of standard law enforcement techniques motivate our search for low-cost approaches to countering the threat posed by underground markets.In this section, we sketch two low-cost countermeasures based on principles in economics and natural limitations in the client identification capabilities of open underground markets. The first is a Sybil attack and the second is a slander attack. The goal of this preliminary exploration is to highlight open challenges and present initial approaches on how to tackle them.

I think this is a great idea.

Comments welcome.

The complete report can be found here in .pdf format.
[tags]cyber, criminals, report, credit, cards, scams, law, enforcement, [/tags]

Rules And Resources For Puzzles, Card Games, And Other Games

Bridge Is Cool teaches you how to play mini bridge and regular bridge. Paul and I learned to play bridge with our parents when we were first married and had more time on our hands. Since then, we’ve gotten busy with out children and other things plus our friends don’t know anything about playing bridge. I hope Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s foundation will help bridge get back into action again.

Mattel has instruction sheets for its games and other toys.

EveryRule.com is a difficult to use site and I couldn’t find the instructions I needed. The site also has rules for sports, TV game shows, and party games.

The House of Cards features traditional and family card games, rules, software downloads, and online card games. You can also learn a bit about playing cards and their history.

Monopoly Money – print money when you lose some. Just add pastel paper if you want to match the real thing (the game’s money, not the bucks that buy things).

Hasbro games and toy instructions.

[tags]bridge,soliatire,cards,games,Meryl K. Evans[/tags]

T.J.Max – Data Loss – Should Companies Be Liable?

I’m sure by now that most of us have read the story about T.J.Max and the loss of some 45 million credit card and debit cards numbers that were apparently stolen following a break into their systems. But what seems even more incredible about the incident is that the break dates back to July of 2005. The company still doesn’t have a clue whether the break in was ongoing and just random breaks ins to their systems. Though they did discover that in December 2006 that suspicious software was hidden on their systems.

OK. So let us look at this situation. Several things come to my mind concerning the break in:

  1. T.J.Max has a IT department being run by Miss Childers 3rd grade class for incorrigible youth.
  2. T.J.Max doesn’t have a IT department.
  3. T.J.Max doesn’t have a clue about anything except that stuff was stolen.
  4. T.J.Max should not be allowed to use computers and each employees should be issued a Etch-a-Sketch.
  5. All of the above.

What is disturbing to me is that it will be the average person who will end up suffering. Someone who went to T.J.Max to buy a pair of socks and used their credit card to charge the purchase. This poor soul will now be punished by having his/her card used to charge up thousands of dollars worth of merchandise and then gets to fight with the credit card companies after his credit is screwed up. I have read where it takes some people years to get their report cleared for something they did not do.

So is it fair for T.J.Max to get off with a wrist slap? Shouldn’t they have to pay everyone who’s credit card was stolen for the pain and suffering they have incurred? How about having to clear everyone’s record who’s card was stolen and pay off any charges the thieves have charged?

What is your take on this? Should companies be held more liable for losing our identities and letting our credit cards be used by cyber criminals?

Comments welcome.

PS I am going to venture a guess that as the investigation proceeds we will learn that someone on the inside of T.J.Max may have been a accomplice to the theft. :-)

[tags]data, loss, tjmax, criminals, credit, cards, [/tags]

Microsoft Carioca Rummy – Another Free Game

My wife enjoys playing this free card game from Microsoft, which is available for download. The game itself is described as:

“If you enjoy card games, you will love Microsoft’s Carioca Rummy! The object of this unique card game, popular in countries like Argentina and Chile, is to get rid of all of your cards during each round. The player with the fewest cards at the end of the game wins! This offer is available for genuine Windows customers. Download and play Carioca Rummy today!”

You must be using one of the following Microsoft Windows operating systems: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Professional Edition, Media Center Edition, or Tablet PC Edition

I think you will enjoy playing this game. Let’s face it, the original games that come with Windows get stale after a while.

Get the free download here.

[tags]free, rummy, cards, game, download, windows, microsoft[/tags]

CardStore.com

For many of us, sending out greeting cards is more of a chore than anything else. Sending one out occasionally isn’t that big of a deal, but when you need to send out cards to everyone you know because of a specific event, then it’s very easy to get impatient with the process. Writing the cards out by hand does give them that personal touch, but when time is of the essence, it may not always be convenient or reasonable. CardStore.com allows you to take care of all your card creation and mailing needs from the comfort of your desk.
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