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Poll: Americans sleeping better as economy recovers

June 30, 2015 Comments off

Poll: Americans sleeping better as economy recovers

Losing sleep over financial stress is on the decline in the U.S., according to a new poll.

A national poll commissioned by found that 62 percent of adult Americans are losing sleep over at least one financial problem — 7 percentage points lower than in June 2009, the last time this poll was conducted.

Today’s most common money worry is saving enough for retirement; two in five Americans say this keeps them up at night at least occasionally. The second biggest concern is educational expenses, which trouble young adults the most.

Complaints data show which credit cards pay refunds most, least often

March 20, 2015 Comments off

Complaints data show which cards pay refunds most, least often

Synchrony Financial, the big store-card issuer behind Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and Amazon cards, among others, gets more complaints at the federal government’s complaint window than its peers.

But it also pays refunds more often when customers grumble, 2014 data show. looked at the nearly 14,000 complaints people made about credit cards last year to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — up 6 percent from 2013. Rather than look at what causes complaints, we examined how companies dealt with them — an insight that is unavailable from other sources.

Looking at 12 major card issuers, we found big differences in the way they handle beefs:

  • Per dollar of card balances, Synchrony, formerly GE Capital, was about twice as likely to get a complaint than average among 12 large card issuers. However, it also paid refunds most often, issuing “monetary relief” — refunds or waivers — to more than one-third of grouches. The dollar value of companies’ refunds wasn’t available.
  • American Express, a frequent leader in card satisfaction surveys, shined less brightly in the complaint data. About one in four of its customers was still unhappy after AmEx dealt with their gripe. That was the highest rate of disputed solutions among the group, although TD Bank, Chase and Bank of America had dispute rates almost as high.
  • People in some states are substantially more likely to get refunds than others. More than one-third of complainers in Wyoming and South Dakota got credits, double the rate in West Virginia and Mississippi (see state refund rate chart).

Banks that make the most money, and the least, on credit card loans

January 30, 2015 Comments off

Banks that make the most money, and the least, on credit card loans

The most lucrative card companies are ones you probably never heard of — but whose cards you just might carry.

Store-card issuers Comenity Bank and Synchrony Financial, formerly called GE Capital, reaped the most interest and fees from their cardholders among 12 major card issuers, an analysis by found.

Banks that issue credit cards are enjoying high profits these days, buoyed by low defaults and cheap funding costs. But some card banks are better off than others, thanks to cardholders who shell out more interest and fees. analyzed financial reports filed by 1,300 U.S. banks to see who made the most — and the least — from their card business in 2013.

The analysis found a wide spread in card income — with some big banks collecting three times as much from cardholders as their competitors. The industry generated an average yield of 12.4 cents on each dollar of card balances last year, before losses and other costs. Among the top dozen issuers, yields ranged from a high of 28.4 cents to a low of 8.4 cents per dollar of card loans.

Financial infidelity poll: 6% hid bank account from spouse or partner

January 27, 2015 Comments off

Financial infidelity poll: 6% hid bank account from spouse or partner

Secret bank accounts and covert financial transactions aren’t just the stuff of spy movies — they’re surprisingly common features within U.S. households, according to a new national poll conducted for

Roughly 1 in 5 Americans who are in a relationship admit they have spent $500 or more without their partner’s knowledge. A smaller number — 6 percent — have taken the subterfuge a step further, leading financial double lives by maintaining hidden checking or savings accounts or using secret credit cards.

2015 (Credit Card) Balance Transfer Survey: Offers more generous, but move fast

January 20, 2015 Comments off

2015 Balance Transfer Survey: Offers more generous, but move fast

The typical credit card balance transfer offers have become more generous, but you have to act quickly to take advantage of them, according to a analysis of 100 popular credit card offers to new customers.

Compared to our survey of the same sample of cards a year ago, more cards offer a balance transfer promotional rate for at least 12 months (38 cards this year, compared to 33 last year). The number of cards with an offer lasting 15 months or more is also up, from 10 a year ago to 17 now.

The survey also finds there are good reasons to comparison shop — and to act quickly. Fees vary, and most cards that offer introductory balance transfer rates give cardholders only 90 days or fewer after the account opens to take advantage of the lowest introductory rates.

2014 Penalty Rate Survey: The price of being late

November 24, 2014 Comments off

2014 Penalty Rate Survey: The price of being late

Those who fall 60 days behind in credit card payments face an average penalty interest rate of 28.45 percent, according to’s survey of major 100 U.S. credit cards.

That’s down slightly from a 28.60 percent average penalty APR in 2012 — but still expensive.

For example, consider a cardholder who carries a $4,000 balance on a card charging 11.82 percent — the average APR for those carrying a balance, according to the Federal Reserve. At the 28.45 percent average penalty rate, the cardholder would have to pay an extra $665.20 in interest a yea

Credit Card Tuition Payment Survey 2014: Fees, restrictions wipe out dreams of rewards

October 10, 2014 Comments off

Credit Card Tuition Payment Survey 2014: Fees, restrictions wipe out dreams of rewards

Students and parents looking to pay a large college tuition bill with a credit card to earn rewards should expect to add a 2.62 percent convenience fee for the privilege of doing so, according to a survey.

That fee, which would add $262 to a $10,000 tuition payment, is big enough to make paying tuition by credit card unattractive to rewards cardholders, since the fee more than wipes out most rewards.

The survey looked at tuition payment options offered by 300 U.S. private, public and community schools — the largest 100 of each class of school, based on attendance.

Overall, 260 schools (87 percent) accept credit cards for tuition payments under at least some circumstances. However, tuition payment policies and fees vary greatly among the types of schools and between individual institutions.


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