Credit Card Fraud: What It Is & How To Prevent It

Credit Card Fraud

Financial scammers – especially those who are tech-savvy – are thriving in our digital age. Nearly 70% more Americans were impacted by financial data breaches in 2012 than in 2010, according to CardHub research, and $94 million worth of credit card fraud was reported in 2012.

Credit card fraud can be classified into two different categories. One is a form of identity theft, which occurs when someone else impersonates you in order to open credit card accounts under your name. Alternatively, the other type happens when your credit card or card information is retrieved to make unauthorized purchases. Both are troublesome to resolve, so one should take steps to stay informed and to protect themself.

Pay Taxes with a Credit Card: Pros & Cons

Pay Taxes With Credit Card And Other Alternatives

The IRS does indeed accept payment by plastic – a fact that leads many people to wonder about the viability of paying their taxes with a credit card.

There are various arguments to be made both in favor of and against such a strategy, and we’ll do our best to lay them out below.

How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: A Step-by-Step Guide

Filing Bankruptcy Chapter 7

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a daunting process for those who are going through it for the first — and hopefully last — time. But with adequate preparation and the proper guidance of a bankruptcy attorney, you can rest assured that the process will go without unexpected surprises.

Generally, the entire Chapter 7 process — from filing to discharge — will last between three and six months. It is a much swifter affair compared to the three- to five-year timeline of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, in which debtors reorganize their debts. In a typical Chapter 7 case, you will make only one trip to the bankruptcy court, during which you’ll attest to the truthfulness and accuracy of your bankruptcy petition. The case will end shortly after you receive your discharge, and all your qualifying debts will be wiped out.

Debt Collection Scams: What They Are & How To Protect Yourself

Debt Collection Scams

Are you receiving demanding phone calls from debt collectors? And are you being threatened with a lawsuit? If your situation remotely resembles that of a loan shark hunting down its prey, then consider waiting before turning your wallet inside out – because there is a chance that you’re the target of a debt collection scam.

Debt collection scams have grown more prevalent in recent years, catching thousands U.S. consumers off-guard. These schemes often involve fraudsters impersonating debt collectors to con individuals into repaying their “debts,” while simply pocketing the money themselves.

Can You File Bankruptcy on Student Loans?

Bankruptcy Student Loans

General wisdom says student loans cannot be discharged in either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. That’s true to the extent that student loans are typically grouped with other “nondischargeable” debts in bankruptcy, meaning they do not get wiped out. However, many sources cite one exception to that rule:

If you can prove to the bankruptcy court that repaying your student loans would impose an undue hardship on you and your dependents, the court may discharge a portion or all of your student loans.

Should I Sign My Credit Card or Write, “See ID” On It?

Credit Cards Banner

Should you sign the back of your credit card? What will happen if you don’t? And does what you write matter? There’s a lot of debate regarding these questions, but let’s settle it once and for all: Yes, you need to sign your card. And writing anything other than your signature doesn’t help mitigate fraud. We’ll explain why in more detail below.

  1. Why Should You Sign Your Credit Card?
  2. What About Fraud Prevention?
  3. The Bottom Line

Why Should You Sign Your Credit Card?

You should sign your credit card because card network rules require it. Merchants are instructed by card networks to only accept credit cards with signatures, as they are meant to compare the signature on the card with the one on the receipt to verify your identity. That is why the words, “Not valid unless signed” are printed on the back of your card.

What Happens to Debt When You Die

What happens to debt when you die

We can’t tell you what happens when you die, but we can tell you what will happen to your debt. Whether you owe money on credit cards, mortgages, student loans or other types of debt, the rule of thumb is that your heirs will not be held liable. In other words, individuals cannot “pass on” or “inherit” debt when a loved one passes away.

There are, however, a few important exceptions to this rule. To learn more, continue reading below.

Bankruptcy Means Test: What It Is & Who Must Take It

Bankruptcy Means Test

The bankruptcy means test is an income-based method used to determine whether debtors qualify to have their debts wiped out under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code or restructured through Chapter 13. It is designed to limit eligibility for Chapter 7 liquidation to debtors who genuinely struggle to pay their debts or have insolvent businesses.

Below, we’ve spelled out the bankruptcy means test requirements and instructions for how to complete it.

Most Common Credit Card Mistakes & Tips to Avoid Them

Blind Leader

Credit cards can be tricky, and it’s common for people to make mistakes when using them.  The key is to learn from these mistakes and to avoid making them again.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the most common credit card mistakes to help you learn from the missteps of others.  So read up and find your way to sturdier financial footing.

How to Increase Your Credit Limit: Tips, Alternatives & More

How to Get a Higher Credit Limit

It is indeed possible to request and receive a credit line increase. Credit card companies grant them all the time, typically to trusted customers who have proven themselves capable of paying their bill on time every month and maintaining a reasonable credit utilization ratio . A good rationale for the bump in spending power – a recent raise, for example – doesn’t hurt either.

With that being said, it’s also important to examine your own motives in seeking a higher spending limit. Is it a noble pursuit, perhaps in seek of a lower utilization and a higher credit score? Or are you motivated by consumption, the desire to support unsustainable spending habits no matter how much debt you rack up? There are both responsible and reckless credit limit increases, you see, and it’s important to make sure you are not merely adding fuel to a fire.

What to Do If Your Credit Card is Lost or Stolen

Lost Wallet

It’s a gut-wrenching feeling – reaching into your pocket, wallet or purse for your credit card and coming up empty.  Yes, in this era of hackers and cybercrime, physically losing your credit card and potentially putting it into the hands of thieves is still a concern.

Continue reading below to learn how to mitigate the damage and hassle associated with losing your plastic.

How to Stay Out of Debt: Tips, Strategies & More

George Washington Pointing

Everyone wants to know how to get out of debt.  And considering that consumers have collectively racked up more than $182 billion in credit card debt since the beginning of 2011, it’s no wonder why.  But while scratching and clawing one’s way to debt freedom is indeed a difficult and commendable act, staying out of debt in the long-term should be your true objective.

How does one go about ensuring they stay in the black? There are a number of strategies, as you’ll see below, and it all begins with preparation.

Investing with Credit Cards: How It’s Possible, Why to Avoid It & More

Money Tree

While nearly 80% of U.S. consumers have credit cards and we make 20 billion credit card transactions each year (accounting for roughly 13% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product), there’s one thing that’s tough to do with plastic: purchase an investment.

Not only do Federal Regulations limit the extent to which you can make investments with borrowed money – which is technically what a credit line represents – but most brokers explicitly prohibit their customers from directly funding their accounts with credit cards. It makes sense, after all, since people would inevitably gamble with money they don’t have, rendering them unable to pay lenders back if investments don’t hit. Brokers also have their own mechanism for leveraged investing – margin accounts – that they wish to protect and promote. Credit card-based investing would represent unnecessary competition, especially since the brokers would have to foot the cost of credit card processing.

Barclaycard Rewards Program Review, Tips & More

Barclaycard Infographic

Barclaycard – the moniker assigned to Barclays’ credit card division – offers a total of three rewards credit cards in two different rewards programs:  Barclaycard Arrival (which uses miles) and Barclaycard Rewards (which uses points, despite being advertised as a cash-based program).

Members of both programs can redeem their earnings for perks like cash back, gift cards and merchandise. Additionally, those in the Barclaycard Arrival program have the ability to redeem for travel rewards – which happen to be the most lucrative redemption option offered by Barclays.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: What It Is, How to File, the Means Test & More

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 is the most common form of personal bankruptcy, constituting about 70% of all non-business bankruptcy cases. It is also called “straight” or “liquidation” bankruptcy, requiring debtors to surrender most of their property in exchange for forgiveness, or “discharge,” of their debts. That property is liquidated, or sold for cash, and the proceeds are used to compensate the debtors’ creditors.

Fortunately for everyone worried about the fate of their home and car during chapter 7 proceedings, those items are actually part of a very long list of exempt items that are not eligible to be sold, as long as you meet certain equity and delinquency requirements.

How to Book a Flight Without a Credit Card

Plane Tickets

You may think you need a credit card to purchase an airline ticket. But a debit or prepaid card will work just as well. And your options may even expand to cash and checks if you book your flight through a travel agent or if you purchase your ticket at an airport ticket counter.

This may surprise you, but that’s because most people assume the rules for renting a car and booking a hotel room also apply to reserving a flight. However, airlines do not apply a hold to your payment method and are therefore less particular about how you book and settle up.

Book a Hotel Without a Credit Card: Hotel Policies & Tips

Book Hotel

You can generally book a hotel room with either a credit card or a debit card. Many hotel chains will also accept prepaid cards, though they are more likely to do so at check-in or check-out than the time of booking.

In rare cases, you can even make a reservation with cash, a personal check or a money order, depending on the hotel. But these payment options are also typically reserved for paying your final bill, as hotels generally require a deposit to secure your reservation.

PNC Points Rewards Program Review, Tips & More


PNC Points – PNC Bank’s credit card rewards program – operates on a standard points-based system. Allowing cardholders to earn 4 or 5 points with every dollar spent (don’t get too excited about this, we’ll explain why later on), points can then be redeemed for basic but useful perks (such as a statement credit, merchandise, gift cards and more). Rewarding businesses and consumers alike, the program features worthwhile cards like the PNC Points® Visa® Credit Card and PNC Points® Visa® Business Card.

CardHub stresses the importance of reviewing various credit card rewards programs, as doing so equips consumers with the information and tips they need when they’re shopping for new rewards credit cards (or if are trying to capitalize on credit cards they already hold). So, read on below for our evaluation of the PNC Points program.

US Bank FlexPerks Program Review, Tips & More

US Bank

U.S. Bank’s credit card rewards program operates under the brand name of FlexPerks. Featuring a few consumer cards and one business card, the program is fairly minimal and straightforward. Members earn FlexPoints whenever they spend money (some credit cards earn at much more favorable rates than others), and these FlexPoints can then be redeemed for travel, cash back, gift cards or merchandise. Unfortunately, given that U.S. Bank provides only four redemption options – compared to the standard five or six – we aren’t too sure how flexible these FlexPoints actually are.

Continue reading our review below for more insider details about the FlexPerks program as well as a detailed breakdown of how it compares to other issuers’ rewards programs. After all, it’s integral to have all of the necessary information when shopping for a new rewards card (or trying to capitalize on one you already have).

How to Get a Credit Card That Will Maximize Savings

With well over 1,000 credit cards on the market, advertisements bombarding us online, on TV and through the mail, and mountains of fine print to confuse us, it can be understandably difficult to find the right credit card. It’s a worthwhile endeavor, however, given how financially beneficial a complementary credit card can be and how it can help you avoid some of the biggest mistakes that credit card users make.

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Our content is intended for general educational purposes and should not be relied upon as the sole basis for managing your finances. Furthermore, the materials on this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you have any legal questions, please consult an attorney. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.