Is This the Credit Card of the Future?

Is This The Credit Card of the Future?Could the next credit card you receive from your bank contain a keyboard and LCD display? It may if you are using a MasterCard for either credit card or debit card purchases in the very near future. The newest type of credit card and debit card could contain an authentication token, which could ease the risk of high end transactions. In addition, the authorization process uses a keyboard with LCD screen and has the unusual name of Display Card for directing the transaction with a one-time password.

Why does this separate MasterCard from the pack? One reason is that other banking institutions currently require that a user carry a separate token. This token is used to provide a higher level of security for specialized transactions. By incorporating a token inside the credit card with its own keyboard to activate a password, MasterCard believes it will be able to provide a higher level of security.

Currently MasterCard is testing the new Display Card in Singapore. Users will be able to use the new credit card or debit card with multiple banking accounts that have chosen to have the system in place. In addition to making charges to the credit or debit card, the LCD display on the Display Card will also be able to show you your account balance and credit limitations as well as recently posted transactions. MasterCard also states that it will also be able to offer its customers reward points and special promotions via the new system.

When I first read about MasterCard being able to offer promotions to its customers, my first thoughts were that this could become a new source of advertising for the banking system. Your credit card with an LCD display could potentially be used to send you advertisements from the bank, other advertisers, or even advertisements to purchase products. We may find ourselves receiving notifications on our credit cards for the next latest and greatest Groupon offering, Netflix rental, or anything else one could imagine.

I believe we all understand the need for added security for both our credit card and debit card accounts. For this I applaud MasterCard for its latest innovation. I just hope that this does not turn out to be just another ploy to bombard us all with more advertising.

What do you think? Would you be willing to to use a high-tech credit card or debit card if it involved you being subjected to advertising?

Comments are welcome.

Source: MasterCard press release

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

Banks Want To Help Subprime Borrowers Get Credit Cards

Sometimes I have to wonder how we as a nation tolerate schemes that are designed to bilk those who are less fortunate. It even surprises me that we have a government that bails out people who have invested their money in loans that were designed to fail. We’re a nation where some propose less restrictive guidelines for lenders because they are nice guys who love the consumer. No sooner than the banks get back up on their feet, they turn around and start their shenanigans once again.

Here is what the banks are saying:

Lenders like Capital One and HSBC are jumping back on the subprime credit card bandwagon, saying they are just trying to help consumers out by extending credit to a larger group of borrowers.

But the lenders are also hedging their bets on this new group of subprime borrowers, who will have an average interest rate of around 20%, up from around 17.6% a year ago. Meanwhile the average credit lines remain about the same low-level of $300 to $500.

These are people who may have lost their jobs and fell behind on their payments. People who can ill afford paying a 20% interest rate and who the banks will sucker in to take one of these cards.

There are other options. I would recommend that people get a secured credit card that is backed up by the amount of money you deposit with the lender. Interest rates are usually lower and you can build up your credit score.

Comments welcome.

Source –  Easy Credit Card

Nissan Wants $32k+ For Its Electric Car Called ‘LEAF’

Yesterday I received an email from Nissan regarding the introduction of its new electric car named the LEAF, plus the pricing for the new car. Pricing for the car will start at $32,780 for the cheapest model. Nissan lists the price for the low priced model at $25,280 which included the deduction of a federal credit which is $7,500. Another option that is being made is that the car can be leased for $349 a month. There is an additional cost of $2,200 for a charging station, which also may come with a $2,000 federal credit as well.

The press release from Nissan also states:

“Imagine the possibility of never needing to go to a gas station again. Or of paying less than $3 for 100 miles behind the wheel. Or of creating zero emissions while driving,” said Brian Carolin, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing, NNA. “Nissan leads the industry by offering the first affordable, zero-emission vehicle for the mass market. Nissan LEAF truly is in a class by itself.”

The vehicle at the standard SV trim level is well-equipped with a variety of standard features, including an advanced navigation system and Internet/smart phone connectivity to the vehicle, including pre-heat/pre-cool and charging control. Nissan LEAF is equipped with energy-efficient LED headlights and makes extensive use of recycled and recyclable materials, such as seat fabric, instrument panel materials, and front- and rear-bumper fascias. Other standard amenities include Bluetooth connectivity; Intelligent-key with push button start; Sirius/XM satellite radio capabilities and roadside assistance. Safety features include vehicle dynamic control (stability control), traction control and six airbags. The SL trim level, available for an additional $940 (MSRP), adds features including rearview monitor, solar panel spoiler, fog lights, and automatic headlights.

The press release from Nissan also stated that those who live in California may also get an additional $5,000 credit from the state. I would venture a guess that these cars and other cars such as the Chevy Volt will be selling like hot cakes in the Golden State.

So what do you think? Will you be interested in an all electric car?

Comments welcome.


Your Money: The Missing Manual

There should be an image here!Keeping your financial house in order is more important than ever. But how do you deal with expenses, debt, taxes, and retirement without getting overwhelmed? Your Money: The Missing Manual points the way. It’s filled with the kind of practical guidance and sound insights that makes J.D. Roth’s a critically acclaimed source of personal-finance advice.

You won’t find any get-rich-quick schemes here, just sensible advice for getting the most from your money. Even if you have perfect credit and no debt, you’ll learn ways to make your rosy financial situation even better.

  • Get the info you need to make sensible decisions on saving, spending, and investing
  • Learn the best ways to set and achieve financial goals
  • Set up a realistic budget framework and learn how to track expenses
  • Discover proven methods to help you eliminate debt
  • Understand how to use credit wisely
  • Win big by making smart decisions on your home and other big-ticket items
  • Learn how to get the most from your investments by avoiding rash decisions
  • Decide how — and how much — to save for retirement

Your Money: The Missing Manual

There should be an image here!Keeping your financial house in order is more important than ever. But how do you deal with expenses, debt, taxes, and retirement without getting overwhelmed? Your Money: The Missing Manual points the way. It’s filled with the kind of practical guidance and sound insights that makes J.D. Roth’s a critically acclaimed source of personal-finance advice.

You won’t find any get-rich-quick schemes here, just sensible advice for getting the most from your money. Even if you have perfect credit and no debt, you’ll learn ways to make your rosy financial situation even better.

  • Get the info you need to make sensible decisions on saving, spending, and investing
  • Learn the best ways to set and achieve financial goals
  • Set up a realistic budget framework and learn how to track expenses
  • Discover proven methods to help you eliminate debt
  • Understand how to use credit wisely
  • Win big by making smart decisions on your home and other big-ticket items
  • Learn how to get the most from your investments by avoiding rash decisions
  • Decide how — and how much — to save for retirement

What Others Know About You And What You Should Know About Yourself

Every once in a while I stumble on an article that is too good not to share with all of you who read this blog. So today when I read this over at The Consumerist, I thought I would pass this on. Basically what The Consumerist has done is to list Web sites that provide information about us that others know about us. This is information that we need to know, especially if there are errors about our past history that need to be corrected. Some of those that are listed can be completed online, while others you need to mail in with a copy of your ID and also a utility bill [each site may be different] by which to identify yourself.

Here is what The Consumerist has posted:

Employment History Reports
The Work Number
ChoicePoint (866) 312-8075

Tenant History Reports
ChoicePoint (877) 448-5732
First Advantage SafeRent (888) 333-2413
Tenant Data Services
UD Registry (818) 785-3905

Auto & Home Insurance Claim Reports
Insurance Services Office (ISO) (800) 627-3487

Credit Bureau Reports
Payment Reporting Builds Credit (PRBC)

Full File Disclosure/Personal Information Reports

Check Writing History Reports
ChexSystems (800) 428-9623
TeleCheck (800) 835-3243.
Shared Check Authorization Network (800) 262-7771 Fax: (800) 358-4506

Health History Reports
Medical Information Bureau (MIB) (866) 692-6901

Prescription Drug Purchase History Reports
Ingenix MedPoint
Milliman IntelliScript

Social Security Statement
Social Security Administration

Purchase Returns History Reports
Retail Equation

Gaming Patron’s Credit History and Transaction Data
Central Credit

Other Reports

Utilities & Telecommunications Reports
National Consumer Telecom and Utilities Exchange, Inc (NCTUE) Call 1-888-201-5643 for reports

I am currently checking online and mailing in requests for information on some of the history reports I am interested in.

Hope this helps.

Comments welcome.


Why Bloggers Can No Longer Use The Term ‘Smartbook’

Over in Cologne, Germany there is a company called ‘Smartbook AG’ that provides computers to businesses and ‘lifestyle’ markets. It seems that the company claims to have a trademark on the word ‘Smartbook’ and claims that some companies are using this term in violation of their trademark. Some companies use the term ‘Smartbook’ in describing a device which is basically a netbook of sorts.

In a recent article it also states that:

Let me kick off by saying that Smartbook AG does indeed own a trademark on the word smartbook in most of Western Europe, Australia, Singapore, South Korea and a couple of other countries. The company sells laptops that are named Smartbook, so I guess the company is well within its rights to try and protect their trademark in any way it deems appropriate.

To me this seems like kind of straight forward. If one does choose to use the term ‘Smartbook’ to describe a device, the trademark company should receive credit.

Case closed.

Comments welcome.


Smartbook AG web site

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

Buy A GM Volt – Get A $7500 Tax Credit

As we are all aware of, the recent bailout package was filled with ‘pork’ and one of the porkers was a tax credit provision for those buying an electric vehicle which includes the GM Volt. The Volt is a electric car that you just plug in at night to recharge. The charge will take you about 40 miles or so. Once the charge runs out, the driver pushes the car to where they are oing. :-) Just joking. There is a built into small gas motor that will recharge the batteries to get you going again. Max distance is said to be about 400 miles on  about 7 gallons of gas and electric combined.

So GM not only got a $25 billion dollar loan, but now a tax incentive for folks to buy a Volt. I guess congress felt this was the time to go for broke and get in all the pork they could. Seems like another $150 billion was added to the original $700 billion. Seems fair to me.

Back to the Volt. It is nice to see are tax money being spent wisely on a GM experiment that may just help in working out the kinks during our transition to energy independence. Gee. I’m starting to sound like a politician. :-)

The tax credits are for any electric vehicle. It starts at $2300 hundred and goes up as the wattage increases.

Comments welcome.


Netflix To Offer Credits For Shipping Delays

Netflix has announced to some of its users that there could be some shipping delays. The email I received stated that two of my DVD’s were experiencing a delay in getting to my home. This was surprising since Netflix has always been one of the best online services that I have used. I did check their site and noted my DVD’s would be sent on Friday instead of on Wednesday, which is a minor inconvenience.

Nteflix also states that a credit will be given:

 IMPORTANT: Your DVD shipments might be delayed…

We’re sorry to report that we continue to experience issues with our shipping system, so some of you are not receiving DVDs in a timely manner and some of you have not received emails letting you know we got a DVD back from you.

We apologize and we’ll be automatically issuing credits to all of you whose shipments have been delayed. Our goal is to ship DVDs as soon as possible and to provide a personalized email update to you if your DVD shipment was delayed.

We’re sorry for any inconvenience we’ve caused you and thank you for your patience.

It would be nice if all companies were as consumer friendly as Netflix appears to be. They at least take responsibility when there is a problem and offer a credit without being asked.

Comments welcome.


Click here to learn more

Circuit City – Bring Back Your HD DVD Player

Quiet plese. Circuit City is keeping the changes in their return policy for HD DVD players hush-hush. Though many news media’s are reporting the change, I was unable to find anything on Circuit City’s site that confirms the change in policy.

But according to news sources, Circuit City has extended their normal 30 day return policy to 90 days for those who have purchased HD DVD players. In one article from Forbes [link below], the return policy is for a store credit only.

If you are one of the victims of the format wars, and wish to return your HD DVD player, I would check with your local Circuit City store to confirm what the return policy may be. If you do return your unit, let us know if you ran into any problems.

Forbes article is here

Comments welcome.

[tags] circuit city, hd dvd, return, policy 30 day, 90 day, credit, store, [/tags]

Freezing Mortgage Interest Rates Could Stave Off Current Crisis

In an attempt to combat the current wave of foreclosures in the housing sector the Bush Administration in conjunction with the mortgage industry are proposing a temporary freeze in interest rates on some sub-prime mortgages. While this is not a sure thing, if it is adopted it will be one of the biggest actions taken to date to deal with the looming crisis.

The current talks include everyone from banking regulators key personnel in the mortgage industry such as Wells Fargo and Citigroup inc.

In the current offering these financial leaders are proposing extending for a number of years the lower, introductory rates that were offered on sub-prime mortgages, loans usually offered to borrowers with weak credit histories. This change would effect an estimated 2 million homeowners who entered the market at initial teaser rates that are now scheduled to reset at much higher rates by the end of 2008. If the industry does nothing to stop this increase the typical home mortgage could rise from $1200 per month to $1550 per month, an increase of $350. As a result the fear is that many of these homeowners will be forced to default on their existing loans triggering hundreds of thousands of foreclosures.

[tags]mortgage, interest rates, mortgage crisis, freeze mortgage, sub-prime loans, subprime loans, Wells Farge, Citigroup, foreclosure, Bush Administration, credit histories, credit, loans[/tags]

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]

How Credit Reporting Agencies Assign Credit Scores and How to Improve Them

Personal credit scores are at the heart of the U.S. economy and are used as a basis for lenders to determine who they will lend to and who they will not lend to. The scores were adopted in the 1960s by FICO (Fair Issue Corp.) as a way of alerting lenders of potential client risks. One of the elements of the score is based on your payment history and this one aspect alone can weaken your credit score faster than anything else. However, your credit report is only valid for 24 months prior to the date that someone is checking into it. After that period of time your bad payment history will fall away and you get to start again.  

Interestingly enough in the state of Missouri we were surprised to find that everything revolves around your credit score from the amount you will be charged for car insurance to the interest rate that you can negotiate on a loan. We had no idea of the significance of our score until we arrived to apply for our home loan, with personal info out the kazoo for everything from income and assets to expenses, only to find that the bank didn’t need them. The only thing that mattered to them was our credit score. Credit scores can range from 300 to 850. 

One thing that amazed us is that despite a past bankruptcy incurred due to a divorce  no one took any notice of the ding on our credit and since our credit since then was exemplary and it was over ten years old we were treated as if we had never been forced to file. So how does one repair bad credit or attain new credit?  First one must realize that gaining credit is largely a numbers game and consumers can use some common sense guidelines to improve their creditworthiness. When studying your credit report, according to Mike Cherry, president of Consumer Credit Counseling Services in Springfield, MO. you need to be aware that the report carries only your last two years of credit history. Therefore “if you start paying your bills on time today, and you haven’t been for a year, in 24 months, that bad payment history will fall away”. 

Another important thing that is looked at for the determination of about 30 percent of your credit score is your debt-to-credit ratio. That is the amount of debt a person has compared to their total credit limits on all revolving credit. To improve your score you must make timely payments but that is not all. Marita Thomas, vice president of commercial lending for Empire Bank says that you should “make sure that the outstanding debt on your revolving lines of credit is 50% or less.” She also added that “if you’re maxed out on credit cards, you’ll probably be over when the interest is added at the end of the month – and that carries a lot of weight.” 

Other considered factors in the determination of your credit score include the number of active accounts that you have  (too many accounts can be detrimental and account for about 15% of your credit score) and the length of credit history (the longer your credit history the better and be advised that the number of active accounts weighs in for about 10 percent of your score.  If you are unaware of your credit score you can check your score annually, for free, at . At this web address you can check the three most commonly used credit bureaus records on yourself. If you find discrepancies or errors you can then contact the bureaus to remedy them.  Good luck and I hope you find this information helpful.[tags]FICO, FICO score, credit score, Credit reporting, credit, free credit report, payment history, bankruptcy, payment records, home loans, auto insurance[/tags]