Are Credit Cards Really The Future of Payment?

Credit cards make for easy, convenient payments, but they’ve got some competitors that may supplant them some day.

For decades, observers have predicted that credit cards would, in the future, become the only form of payment that mattered. As large-denomination coins mostly have already, currency would wither away, and checks would become unpopular because they simply aren’t as convenient as plastic.

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How Many Credit Cards Should You Carry?

What’s the optimal number of credit cards? That depends on your circumstances… but surprisingly, fewer isn’t always better.

How many credit cards should you have?

Obviously, there’s no easy answer to that question, beyond the old standby, “It depends.” Some people would tell you to avoid credit cards altogether — that they’re nothing but traps that pull you down into a mire of debt. I can’t say those folks are entirely wrong.

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The Jury Duty Scam, and How to Avoid It

If you’re not careful, a thief might use something called the “jury duty scam” to steal your credit card information

Identity thieves love to steal credit card information, and one way they’ve been doing it recently is with the simple jury duty scam. Victims have reported this con all over the U.S. since the mid-2000s… and the odd thing is that it took the bums so long to come up with it.

While it’s not terribly common, it epitomizes a clever way thieves steal personal data by enlisting the aid of an unexpected accomplice: the targeted victim. So let’s take a closer look at this scam, and how to avoid it and its relatives.

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The Future of Credit Cards

Ever wonder what the credit cards of the future will be like? Here are a few glimpses of what lies ahead.

Yea, I have seen the future of credit cards… and frankly, it’s pretty awesome.

This has caught me a bit by surprise, since I’ve long thought of credit cards as more or less static. From my studies, I know that it took 20 years just for the engineers and issuers to figure out how to get the ubiquitous magnetic strip to work. Microchips took even longer to sort out.

But those things are nothing compared to the riches awaiting us.

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What Not to Buy With a Credit Card

While credit cards are truly handy payment tools, there are a few purchases you shouldn’t make with them.

Wielding credit cards can be tricky. There are times when they can be too convenient… and so you’re tempted to give the plastic a real workout, which can have significant repercussions down the line. Worse, it’s easier than ever to pay with credit cards; even most small businesses accept them nowadays.

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Credit Card Mistakes to Avoid

It’s easy to misstep when navigating the credit minefield, so here are some common credit card mistakes to keep in mind

Credit card mistakes can be credit killers, so needless to say, you’ll need to keep a weather eye out for them. You know the basics by now: don’t max out your cards, don’t carry too many at once, always pay more than the minimum required, choose cards with low rates….

But some common practices can have unexpected consequences, resulting in painful dings to your credit. In this article, we’ll take a look at three.

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What Your Reward Card Gives, It Can Take Away

Reward cards are great, aren’t they? But beware — you may not get everything you expected when you redeem those points

If you’re like me, you treat your reward card like a kind of credit card bank, where you accumulate interest as you pay bills, buy groceries, and rent videos. And sure, it can be pretty sweet when you trade in those points for an upgrade on your next flight to Aruba.

However (and there’s always a however, isn’t there?), you should never lose sight of who you’re dealing with here. Even reward credit card issuers are businesses, and pretty sharp businesses at that. So they’re going to game the system any way they can to make money off you.

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Gift Cards and Gas Rebates: a Great Combo

Gas rewards credit cards are old hat, but some merchants have recently started offering nice gas rebates if you pay with their gift cards.

You’ve probably heard of credit cards that offer cashback rewards for buying gas… but how many have you heard of that give you gas rebates right at the pump? That’s usually the domain of debit cards, and even then you don’t often get a great deal.

Worse, with debit cards you also have to be aware of the possibility of skimmers: ID thieves who draw you in with promises of cheaper prices, then steal your personal information right off your card.

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Reloadable Credit Cards for Teens

Want to make sure your kids always have a little cash? Give them reloadable credit cards.

As much bad press as they’ve gotten recently, let’s face it: pre-paid, reloadable credit cards fill a certain niche in the marketplace. Some folks think of them as ways for ne’er-do-wells who’ve never learned to handle money to control their finances and rebuild their credit, but that’s just one aspect of their usefulness.

There are other uses, and in this article, we’ll take a look at one.

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Don’t Be Fooled By Introductory Rates

It’s easy to become so enamored with a new credit card’s introductory rates that you lose track of the real fees

In recent years, credit card issuers have hit upon an amazingly profitable sales tactic: incredible introductory rates. In some cases, they can be as low as zero percent — which, on the face of it, seems like a great reason for you to transfer your balance immediately.

After all, with such a low (or no) interest rate, you can manage your money better… so it makes sense to switch, right?

Not necessarily.

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