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Emily's list: Credit card surcharge edition
In November, I expressed frustration over merchants that require minimum purchases for credit cards. Originally, it wasn't allowed, but in 2010, merchants won the right to require a minimum purchase up to $10.
The big news this month is that merchants now have the right to add a surcharge of up to 4 percent on Visa and Mastercard purchases. When I heard this, I was initially concerned that my large purchases would have a noticeable fee. Fortunately, our reporters' research shows that few merchants even plan to charge such a fee, at least for now.
I'm torn on this one. On one hand, I can see why this is a win for small businesses whose profits suffer from incurring so many expensive credit card transaction fees. But would a major retailer really need to charge us an extra 4 percent? Fortunately, Target says it won't raise fees, but who knows if others will. Our survey shows that consumers wouldn't go for it: "65 percent of Americans who use credit cards said they would pay another way if any fee was charged." I imagine that people wouldn't mind as much if it was just built into the price rather than tacked on as a fee.
What are your thoughts on these changes? Would you start paying cash if merchants began implementing these fees?
Please read on for my roundup of my 10 favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week!
1. Krant Cents says that regular budgets are a waste of time and explains how to create a budget that actually offers results.
2. For those still burdened by holiday spending, My Personal Finance Journey explains how to dump holiday hangover debt and avoid it next year.
3. Food is often one of the most expensive items in budgets, especially in large families. TeacHer Finance shares six tips to help you stretch your food dollars and make everything last longer.
4. Money Smart Life offers tips on how to both earn more money and spend less in order to pay down debt.
5. Good Financial Cents shares his best financial tips for newlyweds, especially those who haven't spent much time discussing money yet.
6. Sweating the Big Stuff debates the benefits of using automatic payments versus paying in advance for credit card debt and other expenses.
7. The Money Principle provides readers with seven steps to analyze your debt situation and begin making progress.
8. Money Smart Guides discusses how to make savings a priority, even when there is nothing left after payday.
9. The Debt Myth reveals one of the key factors to getting out of debt: being emotionally ready and committed.
10. Debt Free Adventure explains the perils of permanent debt and offers advice on how to make debt temporary.
They're the pieces of plastic we love, and love to hate. Get the latest news, tips, research and more from the CreditCards.com staff.
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