Category Archives: Card Management

How We Roll

A study by the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business found that the “denomination effect” is indeed real. It turns out that carrying larger bills mitigates overpaying. So be sure you ask for a hundee instead of five $20’s.

This research will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. This follows prior research finding that consumers spend more when using credit cards instead of cash.


Interesting / relevant article on

Another twist for the unemployed: Debit card fees

Forward Thinking

Citibank has introduced a new card “Citi Forward” that:

  • lowers the purchase interest rate by a quarter percent when cardholders use credit wisely
  • rewards points for paying on time and staying under the credit line
  • Spend Tracker: online resource that lets you know how your spending compares to others like you
  • “ThankYou Points” for completing socially responsible acts, such as donating to a local food drive, going paperless, switching to energy efficient light bulbs and volunteering

Membership has its Privileges

Did you see this story in the Wall Street Journal? American Express is paying select customers to close their accounts. This is how bleak the economic environment has gotten. $300 to not be a customer. Crazy. Maybe Toll Brothers can pay us $6,000 to not buy a home.

Keep in mind that accepting this offer may hurt your credit score, which will decrease your likelihood of obtaining another card in the future. As such, be certain that you have alternative credit cards on hand, before agreeing to the deal.

Also, you will lose any membership rewards points accumulated. So be sure to claim your rewards before agreeing to the offer.

It will be interesting to see if other card issuers follow suit with similar offers.

Personal Spending Analysis

Discover has introduced the “Spend Analyzer” tool to provide charts that organize purchases into categories such as travel, supermarkets, and gas.

The financial tool allows cardholders to compare spending behavior over time, track and sort spending by category, merchant or monthly spend and display up to 24 months of account activity.

View a demo of the product at

How Shall I Penalize Thee… Let Me Count the Ways

Late payment penalties can be brutal. Just how bad? Here are 6 ways that they can work to your detriment on top of the embarrassment at the point of sale.

1.       Reduced credit lines

2.       Late fees (Typically $39)

3.       Over-limit fees (Average of $35)

4.       Trigger a higher interest rate (could as much as double your APR)

5.       Negative report to credit bureaus

6.       Canceled rewards accumulation

Bottom line, pay your card balance on time. If you can’t afford it, don’t charge it.  And if you slip up, contact the issuer immediately and offer a good excuse for the oversight.

The Rather Factor

A group of five young women from Vancouver called the Smart Cookies offer their advice on how to manage, prioritize, and figure out what’s important to you so you can live a fabulous life while responsibly managing your money.

It’s not about stinginess, or depriving yourself, or not being able to afford to have a little fun. Andrea Baxter from the Smart Cookies says that instead of going out and spending $50 on a nice dinner, you should ask yourself if you would rather be spending that money towards something that will bring more enjoyment and pleasure, such as saving-up for a car, or a trip, or even a new pair of jeans.  Once you’ve decided what you would rather spend your money on, you should set aside a certain amount every month for it.

They have been on the Oprah Show, got their own television show on the W Network (Mondays at 10:30 pm, Tuesdays at 11:30 pm, and Thursday mornings at 11:00 am), and they’ve even written a book, The Smart Cookies Guide to Making More Dough.

See more Smart Cookies here