Reuters Money

Will retailers give debit cards a new life?


A sign for wine supplied by John Ulzheimer. REUTERS/handoutAs an expert on the credit industry, John Ulzheimer spends his days thinking about credit cards, debit cards and credit scores. So imagine his surprise when he picked up lunch at a restaurant near his house in Atlanta, then later went on a beer run, and was directly confronted with the consumer fallout from the hot-button issue of the day in his profession: new fees for debit card purchases imposed by government regulations.

“The liquor store has an entirely new pricing structure – the cash/debit card price was 5 percent less. And, at the restaurant, for the first time ever, they asked me if I was paying by cash or debit card or credit card, even before I ordered my meal,” he said, and sent along picture at right from the liquor store.

Since the start of October, the credit industry has been focused in on debit cards, as the Durbin Amendment kicked in federal limits on how much card issuers could charge merchants per transaction, and which last week translated into some major banks imposing monthly fees on users for using their debit cards for purchases. also released a new study that showed reward offers for debit card usage declined 30 percent in the past year.

It seemed as if the industry was conspiring to turn those cards from a popular payment method back into a piece of plastic you only use to get cash from the ATM. And some said good riddance. “There’s absolutely no reason that consumers need to use a debit card. And I was in that camp before this legislation,” said Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of credit card comparison site, which just released its own study on how the new fee limits will affect consumers.

Why U.S. credit cards fail overseas


For comedian Dan Nainan, who has traveled to 10 countries already this year, trying to use his U.S. credit cards to buy train tickets in Hong Kong or rent a bike in Toronto was no laughing matter. Each time he swiped his card, the transaction could not be processed.

“The machine has no idea that any country would be so stupid as not to have the same kind of credit card the rest of the world does,” he says. “It’s really, really frustrating.”

New credit score tool offers insight into getting the best credit card


There’s a certain mystery about applying for a credit card: Is your credit score good enough for the best card and rate? Just how much credit might you get  if you are approved? What does everyone else get?

Now there are answers to these questions. With a new tool from, you can use information from a long list of credit card companies to find the best card for you, and figure out the one that you’re most likely to get approved for.

The best credit cards to get travel rewards


If you want to turn your credit card spending into free flights and hotel stays, it pays to do some homework. Not all cards are created equal.

The consumer review website looked at a stack of credit cards that offer points that can be applied to free travel. Their findings?

from Business Traveller:

Ten best credit cards for business travel

By Grace Nasri at FindTheBest

Any business traveller, or anyone for that matter, wants to have a credit card that offers the best perks, the lowest APR and no – or low – annual fees, yet nobody has the time to comb through the pages of fine print detailing the sometimes shocking terms of agreement.

Everyone wants to find “the perfect card”, but the best card ultimately depends on the specific person’s needs. For the typical cardholder, analytics from FindTheBest’s Credit Cards Comparison shows that the two most important factors when selecting a credit card are annual fee and ongoing purchase APR rate; 36 percent of users sort by annual fee and 21 percent sort by ongoing purchase APR, while other key factors, including balance transfer APR and rewards type, are only sorted on by less than 10 percent of users. But the typical card user has different needs than the business traveller.

A silver lining: Credit cards buffered from rate hikes


Credit cards are pictured in a wallet in Washington, February 21, 2010. REUTERS/Stelios VariasWith the downward plunge of the stock markets and the potential for interest-rate hikes following the downgrade of U.S. debt, consumers are understandably worried about their own interest-rates going up. But one bit of good news in all this volatility is that credit cards are somewhat insulated, for right now.

That’s “somewhat” because the protections are for what you’ve already spent and not what you’re going to spend going forward.

New free credit scores: What you need to know now


There’s an irony about the new credit score disclosure rules issued by the Federal Reserve Board on July 6, and this is it: Would-be borrowers who are most likely to get their credit scores for free are still the people who may find it advantageous to buy their scores.

The borrowers who won’t get their scores may find they don’t need to buy them, either.

Data breach victims more likely to be fraud targets: Study


Victims of data breaches are far more likely to become the victims of fraud than other consumers and credit card issuers need to do more to protect their customers, a new study from the firm Javelin Strategy & Research found.

About four percent of consumers are victims of fraud, Javelin said, but if you’ve been a victim of a data breach, that risk rises to 17 percent.

Why young people spend so much


With Independence Day approaching, merchants will be looking to 18-24 year olds to light up the holiday.

According to a new survey from Visa, the sought after demographic will spend an average of $379 on fireworks, entertainment, food, beverages and other celebratory items related to the Fourth of July holiday, compared to $218 for 35-49 year olds, and $155 for 50-64 year olds.

Will ING customers stay happy with CapOne accounts?


ING Direct customers seem to love their online-only bank, and reports that it may soon be taken over by Capital One Financial Corp. have a few of them worried.

The tenor of reaction comments posted on The Consumerist web site ranged from “I’m sad” and “Noooooooooo…” to unprintable epithets. ING has won a following with competitively high interest rates on savings and checking, and no-fee checking accounts. And CapOne drew complaints from some discontented customers of Bethesda, Maryland-based Chevy Chase Bank after it took over that Washington-area institution.