Daniel Ray

I'm Daniel P. Ray,'s editor in chief, and I've been writing and editing consumer-oriented stories about personal finance -- especially debt-related issues -- for about 16 years. Before joining in July, 2007, I was an editor at, including six years as editor in chief.

I started out, fresh out of the University of Missouri, as a cub reporter at the Miami Herald, eventually spending 10 years there in various reporting and editing roles, covering everything from local politics to the cop shop to the courthouse. After that came five years as an editor for the music magazine, Country Weekly, where I learned to love Merle but failed miserably at the Electric Slide.

The latter job is also where I got my first taste of this new thing called the Internet. Back then, it wasn't the Internet we know now; the browser hadn't been invented yet. But I found it fascinating that with a few UUNET commands, I could browse the library of the University of Stockholm. I don't speak a word of Swedish; I just thought it was cool.

Along the way in my (now mostly online) journalism career, I picked up some nice hardware, including six "Best in Business" plaques from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and one from the Society of Professional Journalists.

My first credit card came at Mizzou, where it was at first just a piece of plastic that came with a free hat. The debt that I eventually racked up with it lasted far longer than the hat. Now, except for occasional splurges on music concerts or camping gear, I handle them much more responsibly.

Posts by Daniel Ray

Living With Credit, Protecting Yourself, Research, regulation, industry reports

Letting others use your credit cards common, survey says

Have you ever voluntarily handed over your credit card to someone else for them to use? I have, maybe you have too. Despite all the worries about credit card fraud, a new survey shows that handing over your card for someone else to use is a common practice, but I didn’t realize how common until I surveyed staffers.
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Fine Print, Protecting Yourself, Research, regulation, industry reports

Farewell, urgent, misspelled appeals: Nigerian email scam dying off

Farewell, noble scion of a Libyan oil fortune; I shall miss your misspellings. Adieu, widowed princess of a diamond-producing country with troubled politics and tortured syntax.
For decades, I have enjoyed and destroyed your urgent entreaties to rescue you and your vast, somewhat shady fortune. I always thought it odd that I could be of service only if I would give you my bank account information, but no matter anymore.
A scam, known today as the Nigerian or 419 scam, is going away.
So says the Federal Trade Commission, which again this year has published its list of biggest consumer complaints.
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Research, regulation, industry reports

Of candidates and consumers, Big Bird, binders and bayonets

We’ve had binders full of women, Big Bird and bayonets, but until Saturday, hardly a peep has been uttered by the presidential candidates about consumer protection.

With his weekly radio address Saturday, Obama broke the near-silence on the topic. He touted the recent work of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in beginning to regulate credit bureaus, and in winning multimillion-dollar awards from credit card issuers over business practices unfavorable to consumers.

I’m glad to see the discussion, even if it is late. I’m about to enter my 15th year as a personal finance editor, and the past four years have seen more pro-consumer activity from the federal government than the 10 prior years combined. If you like the additional protection, that’s one more reason to vote for Obama. If you don’t think we can afford them, it’s another reason for voting for Romney.

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Protecting Yourself

Entering your PIN in reverse at an ATM still won’t call the cops

An old urban myth is getting passed around on by email again, and it’s as false as it ever was, even though there are new, ugly reasons to wish it were true.
The bogus email says that, if you’re ever forced by a robber to withdraw money from an ATM, you can send a silent alarm to police by punching in your PIN number in reverse.
A series of forced-at-gunpoint robberies may have led to the renewed circulation of this rumor.
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Protecting Yourself

Please don’t let me buy a big screen TV with your credit card

Dear Mr. [name withheld];
I’ve been shopping for a big-screen TV.
Thanks for offering to buy me one.
What? You say you don’t know me? You say you didn’t want to buy me a big-screen TV?
Then don’t ever do again what you just did: Send a stranger your name, address, and, most importantly, your credit card number.
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