6 Places Never to Use a Debit Card

Credit or debit? Although both cards look the same, they offer different protections. Under federal law, if your credit card is used to make unauthorized charges after it is lost or stolen, you’re liable for only $50 - no matter the amount and with no time restrictions to report the fraud. And many issuers won’t even charge the $50 for valued customers. But with a debit card, you have just two business days to report an unauthorized loss or money transfer, or …

Your Most Embarrassing Number, and It’s Not Weight

Which number is your most embarrassing –  age, weight or credit-card debt? Surprise, it’s debt, according to a poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Thirty-seven percent of nearly 2,200 respondents say they would be the most red-faced to admit their credit-card balances. Credit scores came in second on the shame scale, with 30 percent saying they would not be comfortable disclosing their number. Consumers have fewer qualms about divulging weight and bank balances, according to the foundation. (Twelve …

Some Student Borrowers Face Default if Cosigner Dies

Many parents and grandparents are aware of the hazards of cosigning an education loan, putting themselves on the hook to repay if the student doesn’t. Now another wrinkle has emerged that can end up hurting student borrowers: Under the terms offered by most private lenders, institutions can demand that borrowers immediately repay a loan in full if the cosigner dies or files for bankruptcy. These so-called auto-defaults can occur even if the borrower has been keeping up with payments. And …

Payday Loan Fees Often Exceed the Amount Borrowed

If you need more evidence that payday loans can be a debt trap, look no further than today’s report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The agency found that 4 out of 5 payday loans are renewed or rolled over within two weeks after the end of their term. In half of these cases, the borrower renews the loan at least 10 times in a row. And repeat borrowing may be more expensive than many borrowers may realize. Fees in …

Cyber Scam Predictions for 2014

As the year closes, leading online security vendors are looking into their crystal balls – or rather, reviewing recent trends of trickery – to predict the top cyber scams of 2014. Some notables worth a mention: TVs watching you. Many traditionally “dumb” devices are getting “smarter” – televisions, gaming systems and even baby monitors are being connected to the Internet and often contain cameras or microphones. So, many cybercops predict them to be a magnet for attack, such as remote spying. …

New York Cracks Down on Sites With Payday Loan Ties

Ida Bibbs, a 71-year-old grandmother from New York City, wasn’t looking for a loan online, but who could resist a solicitation promising quick and easy money? No banks. No credit checks. The result, as it turned out, was a suffocating debt trap. Bibbs says she took out one high-interest, short-term loan after another from payday lenders online. First she borrowed $400, then $300 and finally $500, all in the last year.  She used the money to pay her rent - she’d …