Category Archives: Rewards

Card would cut your taxes while helping hometown

Fred Williams

A credit card that cuts your tax bill while supporting the local business base? One Pittsburgher is betting that struggling cities will have an affinity for the idea.
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Health officials track food illnesses via warehouse club purchases

Jay MacDonald

Local, state and federal health officials increasingly tap the stored purchase data of warehouse and supermarket membership accounts to track down outbreaks of food-borne illnesses. One day, your Costco, Sam’s Club, Kroger or Publix card, with its detailed description of exactly who bought what when and where, could give health officials just the head start they need to contain a fast-moving epidemic and save lives … or have enough data to invade your food-related privacy.
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Steel yourself: the new Starbucks metal card is going for serious coin

Jay MacDonald

In the mood for some heavy metal this holiday season? Forget the new Starbucks Metal Card. The latest must-have gift card for the over-caffeinated became a has-been before it been-was, selling out its entire 5,000-card limited edition run in less time than it takes a crack barista to pull a caramel macchiato.

If you simply must have one of the $400 cards, your best bet now is eBay, where the price runs in the four digits.

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Grab teachable moments when you can for teen money tips

Connie Prater

“Would you like to save 5 percent on your purchase today?” the Target store checkout clerk asked on a recent visit.

I answered automatically to the credit card offer, “No, thank you,” and signed the electronic signature pad for $71. My teenage daughter, who was standing next to me at the register, asked a question that led to a 20-minute teachable moment about personal finance: “Why did you say ‘No’?”

I never take the retail store credit card offers, I tell her. As we walked out of the store, bags in hand, I explained that store credit cards almost always have higher interest rates. Even though I don’t carry a balance and I pay my credit card bills off in full each month, that 5 percent savings still isn’t worth it to me to sign up.

Why? Unless they are co-branded with a Visa or MasterCard logo, you can only use them at the store that issued the card. I couldn’t buy gas with the Target card or use it to pay for meals at restaurants.

My daughter nodded and, I hope, absorbed what I was saying.

Financial literacy experts tell parents they need to find teachable moments to share their wisdom about money and finances to their children. Since she had asked, I took the opportunity to elaborate. I think she tunes me out when I offer unsolicited advice (parents, you know what I’m talking about).

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Confessions of a first-time credit card rewards redeemer

Julie Sherrier

Due to the nature of my job as editor of hundreds of articles on how to maximize credit card rewards programs, you’d think I’d become adept at playing the frequent flier miles/points credit card game. Not.
In fact, after almost a decade of accumulating miles/points here and there on one frequent flier program (American Airlines AAdvantage) and on a newly acquired Capital One Venture card, I have never redeemed them for a “free” flight. I always saved them, thinking that someday I would really, really need to use them for emergency airfare.
That emergency happened last week.
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