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February 22, 2011

Effect of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, also known as the Credit CARD Act of 2009. This credit card reform legislation focused on establishing fair and transparent practices relating to the extension of credit while removing complicated contracts and practices that often lead consumers to pay more than they reasonably expected. In essence the main elements of this law were the following: Ban Unfair Rate Increases, Prevent Unfair Fee Traps, Plain Sight /Plain Language Disclosures, Accountability, and Protection for Students and Young People. Some of the specific requirements in the Credit CARD Act of 2009 include the following: card companies must notify consumers 45 days before they make any big changes to the terms of their cards, including rate increases or penalty fee changes; and credit card companies must disclose how long it will take consumers to pay off their balances if they only make the minimum payment each month. In addition, it banned most rate increases during the first 12 months after a card is issued to a consumer, confined any increases to new purchases, and required the card companies to apply any payments above the minimum to balances carrying the highest interest rate. Initially there was speculation that this new law may restrict access to consumer credit and raise costs. Fortunately for the consumer, this new law is initially being proved successful in accomplishing its stated goals.

A study by nonprofit research group, Center for Responsible Lending, found that "the new (Credit CARD) rules have not caused prices to increase or access to credit to fall. Instead, they have benefitted the public by making credit card pricing significantly more transparent. Price transparency is likely to lower costs long term by spurring competition and making it harder for issuers to manipulate or arbitrarily raise prices." The Center said the narrowing between so-called "stated rates" and real rates meant card companies were being more transparent about the cost of the credit they are providing consumers. It also estimated that as much as $12.1 billion in previously hidden annual charges were now being clearly disclosed in credit card offers. Since the CARD Act was enacted on February 22, 2010, rates increased a mere 2%.

Due to the legal requirements that credit card companies now have, it is even easier for consumers to obtain credit cards that fit their particular credit needs and desired financial goals. To assist you in comparing the best credit cards on the market, including credit card ratings, APRs, & credit card reviews, visit the ManagingMoney.com Credit Card Center. Here you can search and compare a variety of credit cards including: regular credit cards, reward credit cards (such as airline rewards, cash rewards, gas rewards, hotel rewards, and travel rewards), business credit cards, student credit cards, prepaid credit cards, poor credit cards, and more.

February 18, 2011

Ally Bank Announces CD Rate Increase

Ally Bank announced an increase in their High Yield Certificate of Deposit (CD) rates, effective February 18, 2011. CD terms include 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, 3 year, 4 year, and 5 year terms. If you fund your account within 10 days of opening your account you will receive their 10 Day Best Rate Guarantee which means that you will earn the highest rate they offer. At Ally Bank there is no minimum to open an account and no monthly fees. Ally Bank was named the Best Savings Account by MONEY Magazine, ©Time Inc. May 2010 and also named one of the best No fees, No strings checking accounts by Kiplinger's Personal Finance, December, 2010. To view Ally Bank's current rates, visit ManagingMoney.com Certificates of Deposit. Ally Bank's history began in 1919 when it was known as General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) and was a provider of financing to automotive customers. In 2010 the company was renamed Ally Financial Inc. Ally Financial Inc. is a FDIC-insured institution (NYSE:GJM).

February 14, 2011

IRS Begins Processing Returns Delayed from AMT Legislation

In December 2010 the IRS announced that due to the recently enacted Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) legislation there would be tax processing delays for taxpayers who itemize deductions, specifically those claiming the higher education tuition and fees deduction and the educator expenses deduction. Effective February 14, 2011 the IRS will begin accepting tax returns that were affected by this filing delay. The IRS stated that the delay was necessary to accommodate the December 17, 2010 enactment of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 while not disrupting other operations tied to the filing season. The tax processing delay affected taxpayers using any of these five IRS forms: Form 8863, Education Credits; Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits; Form 1040A's Schedule 2, Child and Dependent Care Expenses for Form 1040A Filers; Form 8396, Mortgage Interest Credit; and Form 8859, District of Columbia First-Time Homebuyer Credit. To make sure you have the most up-to-date tax software, visit the ManagingMoney.com TaxCenter. Here you can compare the top tax providers in either download or desktop format.

February 7, 2011

Entertainment Book Valentine's Day Savings

Save money this Valentine's Day with The Entertainment® Book. Now through February 14th you can buy The Entertainment® book for $14 off the original price plus free shipping! The Entertainment® Book is widely recognized as the best coupon book on the market for saving money on hotels, restaurants, local attractions, travel, groceries, and more! Specifically included are: 50% off and 2-for-1 coupons to help you save money on everyday essentials right in your own neighborhood. Discount areas include: Dining, Shopping, Movie Tickets, Groceries, Services, Travel, Attractions, Car Care, and Home Furnishings. Now you can balance saving money and staying within your budget, while still having fun going to the movies, eating out, and shopping without spending a fortune. Take advantage of this Valentine's sale, and fall in love with great savings!

 

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