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A new study breaks with traditional personal finance advice on the best way to pay down your debts, while the New York Attorney General makes some waves with subpoenas to major U.S. banks on the Libor scandal that’s rocking Europe currently.

‘Snowball’ Method Is Fastest Way to Pay Off Your Bills, Research Shows

A new study from the Journal of Marketing Research has found that paying off the debts with the highest interest rates first may not be the best way to get your bills paid.

It’s all about the psychology of the method used, which is why the “snowball” strategy of paying down the smallest debts first and working your way up is preferable for consumers. They get a boost from being able to cross out a debt account and move on to the next, which is why the method is so effective.

@huffpomoney @cnew

Has HAMP Gotten Better at Helping Distressed Homeowners?

In a great profile of a couple struggling to get a mortgage modification under the Housing Affordable Modification Program, AOL Real Estate dives into whether HAMP is getting any more homeowners out from under their upside-down mortgages.

The findings show improvements in the number of mistakes mortgage servicers are making under HAMP, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury. And though the Ugaros still haven’t received their mortgage modification, their bank is taking another look at the modification application.

@aolrealestate @tkwiggin

7 Banks Hit With Libor Subpoenas Courtesy of NY Attorney General Schneiderman

The Libor scandal that has been rocking the European financial world has finally seen some action in the U.S. as several major banks — Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS, HSBC and Deutsche Bank — were served with subpoenas recently.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office was behind the subpoenas, according to Forbes, but more state attorneys general may be joining in soon.


Why Do I Need to Sign My Credit Card?

It’s a question every consumer faces when they get a new piece of plastic — to sign or not to sign? We spoke with identity theft experts to get some insight into whether the signature on the back of their credit card is still important.

The verdict? It may be less important now than it was years ago, but it still is an extra line of protection between you and identity fraud, so it doesn’t hurt to sign the back.


Image: NS Newsflash, via Flickr

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