It can be so tempting — You’re about to make a big purchase at a retail store when the cashier says you can save all sorts of money by applying for a store credit card. But what they rarely make clear to you is that the card you’re applying for often comes with a sky-high interest rate — and those rates are going higher. [More]
You’re probably familiar with “same as cash” credit offers from retail stores, where you aren’t charged any interest so long as the entire purchase is paid off within a given period of time (usually 6 or 12 months). But what many of those stores don’t put in the bold type is what happens if you don’t pay by the deadline. [More]
A few months before her wedding, Megan bought her bridesmaids’ dresses at J. Crew, and opened a store credit card account to get 20% off. She scheduled a payment through her bank, Wells Fargo, to pay off the balance, then panicked weeks later when she saw a large chunk of money leaving her bank account that she didn’t remember authorizing. She called to cancel, remembered what the payment was for, then canceled the cancellation. This led Wells Fargo’s fraud-flagging systems to believe that the next time Megan opened a store credit card and paid the bill, they should just go ahead and cancel the payment. [More]
When Jessica went shopping at Banana Republic last month, she forgot her store credit card. That was OK, the sales clerk assured her: she just needed Jessica’s Social Security number and for her to sign off on the transaction in order to access her existing card data in the system. Most people are so used to having our forgotten store loyalty cards looked up using our phone numbers that this seems natural enough. Only it wasn’t – by providing her SSN and signature, Jessica was actually applying for a Banana Republic Visa card. [More]
Last week, I mentioned in passing that World Financial Network National Bank, home of more retail-branded credit cards than you can fit in the average wallet, is adding a “paper statement fee” to all of their credit cards. And if you use store credit cards at all, the odds are pretty good that you have a WFNNB card in your wallet. [More]
Our weekly roundup of the best personal finance news. Inside: Good charity-dar, scam detection, snow-removal tactics, rebuild your 401k, and warnings about store credit-cards.