No matter how much you think you know about credit cards, there’s always more to learn. The credit card industry is constantly changing. Between hackers, a changing regulatory environment and a steady stream of new credit card features and offers, it pays to be informed. Here’s a selection of the latest credit card news and information we think you should know.
The Justice Department shut down 36 websites that were trafficking in stolen credit card numbers. It was the result of an international investigation that even included a clever code name: Operation Wreaking hAVoC. AVC refers to automated vending carts, which is what the trafficking sites are called.
One of the sites that was shut down offered card numbers for $1 each. You know, it still amazes me that this “credit card underworld” exists online. @AP
[Free Resource: Check your credit for free before applying for a credit card]
Technically, this story ran last week, but it’s so relevant to the story I just summarized, I wanted to share it. This isn’t about having your card denied because you’ve missed credit card payments. This is about having your card denied because fraud was suspected. This recently happened to me and it’s very inconvenient. But on the flip side, it’s nice to know your card issuer is paying attention when a weird spending pattern emerges. Banks are especially sensitive right now because there’s been a recent increase in fraud.
This Reuters story suggests that if you’re traveling, call the bank before you leave and let them know. Another suggestion is to have several credit cards so you have one that works when you need it. @Reuters, @christaylor_nyc
[Article: The Best Cash Rewards Credit Card in America]
Yeah, I know some people think credit cards are evil, but there are some situations where you really ought to swipe your credit card. This story on Pittsburgh CBS does a good job covering the top nine. Among the items that should always be charged:
- Big ticket items so you get an extended warranty and purchase protection if your card provides it. Bonus: If you use a rewards card you get points, cash back or miles.
- Provider services, such as landscapers and home contractors. This makes it easy to stop payment if you have a dispute.
- Online purchases, for sure. If there’s a security breach on the website, you don’t want your debit card account number at risk. Plus, if there’s a problem with the merchandise, you have purchase protections.
- Recurring monthly payments, such as health club memberships. You can easily cancel it and block payments, if necessary.
[Credit Cards: Research and compare rewards credit cards at Credit.com]
Wow, that’s a pretty big price tag. HSBC’s CEO said that the sale gives the bank a chance to focus on the U.K. and on other markets. It’s too early to tell what will happen to the credit card portfolio Capital One has just acquired. Capital One has long been one of the few major banks that actively pursues consumers who don’t have perfect credit. In that regard, this isn’t a left-field move. I’ll be watching this story as it continues to develop and will report any updates that might affect consumers. @BloombergNews, @MustReadMustoe
Image: Kate Ter Haar, via Flickr