The Federal Reserve raised interest rates Wednesday for the second time this year, with two more increases likely in 2018. Each time the Fed's benchmark rate climbs, so does the average credit card interest rate. And that means higher monthly payments for consumers. But even before the Fed's latest action, credit card interest rates were at 18-year highs, at a time when overall interest rates were still near record lows. What accounts for high credit card rates in an era of cheap money? The answer can be traced back to Congress. In 2009, it passed the Card Act, which was meant to protect consumers against unreasonable fees and hikes in credit card interest rates. The law told card issuers they couldn't raise rates on existing balances unless the cardholder was at least 60 days late on a payment. But in an unintended consequence, credit card companies increased rates on the front end as protection against their inability to raise them later, said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst … [Read more...] about Credit card rates hit 18-year high — here’s why
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Susan Tompor Detroit Free Press Published 12:06 p.m. UTC Jun 14, 2018 For roughly a decade, millions of consumers could afford to focus on the rewards and ignore the rates on their credit cards. "They haven't really had to think too much about interest rates because they didn't change that much," said Robert A. Dye, chief economist at Comerica Bank. Game over. Get ready for higher rates on your credit cards after more rounds of Fed rate hikes this year and next. Many consumers may not realize it but the interest rates on credit cards aren't fixed. Most credit cards have what are called "variable rates." As a result, the interest rate consumers pay on credit card debt typically ticks up each time the Federal Reserve raises rates. On Wednesday, the Fed raised rates by a quarter-point once again. The target range for the federal funds rate will be 1.75 percent to 2 percent. A rate hike by the Fed translates into a higher prime rate. The Fed said economic … [Read more...] about Why Fed rate hike can drive you to pay down credit cards
Ken Sweet, Ap Business Writer Updated 10:23 am, Wednesday, May 23, 2018 Photo: Patrick Sison, AP Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 FILE - This Oct. 4, 2016, file photo shows a mockup of an American Express Platinum Card provided by the company, in New York. Credit card companies are taking the next step in using their points programs to influence what their millions of customers buy, going as far as influencing what color blender you might purchase. American Express is piloting a program that will allow merchants to reward specific customers for purchasing specific items at their stores, starting with the online merchant Boxed. less FILE - This Oct. 4, 2016, file photo shows a mockup of an American Express Platinum Card provided by the company, in New York. Credit card companies are taking the next step in using their points programs to ... more … [Read more...] about On the Money: Credit cards to perfect targeting programs
Wanting a hassle-free way to donate to charity? Charity credit cards offer reward points every time you use your credit card, and then give that cash-back to charity.But we found you need to do some research if you want to make the most of your donation.“The Susan G Komen charity card is a big one out there and it’s an example of a bank working with a charity to specifically promote that particular charity and it will even give you a little bit of a bonus after you spend a certain amount on that card,” said Matt Shultz with CreditCards.com.There are some cards that are specific to certain charities like Bank of American’s Susan G. Komen credit card. “Then there are other cards like Charity Charge by Master Card which gives you 1 percent cash back on everything you spend," said Shultz.The Charity Charge credit card will take 1 percent cash back and put it toward the charity of your choice. But, Shultz said not all charity … [Read more...] about Are charity credit cards the best way to contribute to organizations?
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has temporarily suspended a lawyer accused of burglarizing the offices of the law firm that fired her and buying sex toys with a credit card stolen from a former colleague.Harrisburg lawyer Nichole Ashley Collins, 35, was suspended on Thursday, report the Legal Profession Blog, Fox43 and Pennlive.com. Her former law firm is Shaffer & Engle. She had been fired in August after the firm accused her of stealing about $8,000 from an account used to pay filing fees and court reporters. A prior story by Pennlive.com is here.The law firm had reported the alleged theft in September and then reported missing office files in December. One of the missing files contained information on Collins’ alleged stealing, and another contained passwords of name partner Jeff Engle. An unknown sticky substance was also found on the firm’s computer equipment.Another lawyer at the firm returned from a holiday break three weeks later and discovered a purse containing … [Read more...] about Lawyer is accused of burglarizing law firm that fired her, using stolen credit card to buy sex toys