Are Medical Credit Cards Unhealthy for Your Finances?

You need some expensive medical care yet don’t have the insurance or money to pay for it. Should you use a medical credit card that’s pitched at some doctors’ offices? A new report by the nonprofit Consumer Action warns that some of these cards can be unhealthy for your finances. They usually offer a zero percent introductory rate, though after that period, card terms can vary greatly. The problem is that these terms often are difficult to uncover. So patients …

Make Your Voice Heard on AARP Policy Positions

Every day, thousands of AARP staff and volunteers bring AARP public policies to life when they fight on behalf of older Americans and their families in all state capitals and Washington, D.C. Yet those vital efforts would not be possible without input from people just like you. AARP policies are set by our all-volunteer Board of Directors, but only after an annual process that begins with listening to the insights and experience of individuals who are 50-plus. As a first …

Payday Lender Ordered to Pay $10 Million Over Collection Practices

Ace Cash Express, one of the nation’s largest payday lenders, has agreed to pay a $10 million settlement over its collection practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that Ace, based in Irving, Tex., must refund $5 million to customers who fell victim to such practices from March 2011 to September 2012; it must also pay a $5 million civil penalty. Payday loans are taken out by people who need quick cash between paychecks. Companies such as Ace Cash Express have been known …

Oldest Americans Weathered the Recession Better Than Others

Many Americans are still reeling from the last recession, although the oldest among us weathered the economic decline better than other age groups. That’s according to a recent report by the Census Bureau that looked at how Americans ages 65 and up fared during and after the 2007-2009 recession. These older consumers were somewhat buffered by more conservative investment strategies as well as high homeownership and a resistance to squeezing all equity out of their property by refinancing. It wasn’t …

Don’t Become a Credit ‘Mule’

Cash-desperate consumers are being lured into becoming unwitting “credit mules” via a cellphone scam, the Federal Trade Commission warns. Con artists pay targets a couple hundred dollars to sign up for wireless contracts for iPhones and other mobile devices, the FTC says. The consumers then turn over the smartphones to the scammers, who “unlock” the phones so they can be used by others. The phones then are often sold overseas, where they can fetch from $500 to $1,000 apiece, says Nat …

Skipping Out on Student Loans? Check Your Wallet

So what can Uncle Sam do if you don’t repay your federal student loans?   Report you to credit reporting companies. Garnish your wages. Keep your tax refunds and Social Security payments until the debt is paid off.   That’s right, all of the above.  Only most people aren’t aware of it. Economists and researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York asked this of more than 1,000 consumers – only to discover that less than one-third of them correctly answered that the …