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Archive for August 2012

Perks and pitfalls of the electronic wallet

Published 8/31/12

Perks and pitfalls of the electronic wallet By Justin Boyle

I still carry cash. Most people I know look at the paper folding stuff I pull out at the coffee counter and barely recognize it. Back in the late '90s, when primitive electronic devices like debit cards were becoming more popular, a good friend of mine told me that paper money would be obsolete in less than 10 years.

He was wrong, it turns out, but maybe only in the length of time he gave it. With the recent release of Google's cloud-based online wallet, cash might be more in danger than ever of a complete electronic takeover ...

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5 little-known credit card perks

Published 8/23/12  (Modified 12/18/13)

5 little-known credit card perks By Tim Sullivan

Last week, for no apparent reason, my phone became little more than an ornate paperweight. I took it to the repair guys and they told me that the phone was out of warranty, shrugged and quoted me the sky-high replacement cost.

Who came to the rescue? My credit card company.

Most of us know about credit card rewards, such as points for air travel, but almost every credit card comes with other lesser-known benefits, like the extended warranty coverage that prevented me from having to pop for a new phone. If you ever buy electronics or get on a plane, listen up: You may have benefits you didn't know existed if you pay with plastic. Here are some common ones I make sure to remember ...

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Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express Review

Published 8/21/12  (Modified 2/25/14)

By Megg Mueller

Editor's Note: Thank you for your interest, this offer expired and is no longer available.

For businesses that depend on frequent travel to keep things running smoothly, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express offers some attractive perks. From its variety of point-redemption possibilities to its $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $65, this credit card can help make business travel a little more rewarding.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts includes over 1,100 properties worldwide, with brands such as Westin, Sheraton, W Hotels, Four Points, The Luxury Collection and St. Regis. Starpoints -- this card's unique term for reward points -- can also be used for flights on more than 350 airlines with SPG Flights, for gift cards and more. For business owners, these multiple redemption options can provide much-needed flexibility ...

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Credit scores: Sorting truth from fiction

Published 8/16/12

By Megg Mueller

There are numerous factors that go into your credit score, so sorting myth from fact on this topic is no simple matter. But to fully take control of your credit history, it's vital that you understand the things that can help your score and the things that can harm it -- as well as the things that make no difference.

Read on to learn which factors matter when it comes to protecting your score.

How to sabotage your credit score

Perhaps the worst type of credit-score misunderstanding is the seemingly good deed that ends up hurting you ...

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Avoiding the traps in first-time credit use

Published 8/10/12  (Modified 3/20/14)

By Angela Spires

"Charge it."

It's a great feeling, but let's face it: When you get out on your own for the first time, the credit card temptation can be overwhelming. Once you receive your first card, you may find yourself searching for reasons to use it -- reasons to spend that you never had before.

I know I did. Instead of forming a budget, I would just charge the items I couldn't pay for immediately. But that led to a mountain of debt that took me much longer to pay off than I had planned ...

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Can the 10 percent solution strengthen your finances?

Published 8/1/12  (Modified 8/6/12)

Can the 10 percent solution strengthen your finances? By Marc Pearlman

A sad truth today is that many Americans don't have enough personal savings to enable a worry-free retirement. But a common misconception among people who are struggling financially is that in order to get ahead, they must earn more income.

While more income is one solution to this problem, it's not the only solution. Furthermore, many working adults are living paycheck-to-paycheck, regardless of income. This suggests that the problem may often be more related than spending than income.

Fortunately, you don't need a financial planner to implement a strategy that can dramatically impact your future financial freedom. I call this strategy the 10 percent solution and here is how it works ...

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