Friday Grab Bag – 1/22/2010

CARD Act comedy

Instead of putting an end to credit card company shenanigans, the CARD Act has prompted a myriad of new ways to weasel money out of consumers. Cartoonist Mark Fiore pokes fun at this unfortunate boomerang effect in his animated short, which I fear may give creditors a few more tricky ideas to put up their sleeves (“Left-handed Cardholder” and “Air-breathing” fees? Somehow they wouldn’t surprise me.) Thanks to our friends at CreditNet for calling this one out.

$1 for your monthly paper credit card statement

Credit card companies are crying poor, saying they have to cut back somewhere if they’re expected to comply with the regulations laid out in the CARD Act. In the case of Ann Taylor, Victoria’s Secret, and 90 other store credit cards, that means charging customers a $1 monthly fee to receive a paper statement in the mail. I love this quote from Shelley Whiddon (spokesperson for Alliance Data who issues these retail cards): “We had to increase the amount of paper, production and ink, as well as the whole technical aspect of reconfiguring, reprogramming, and recalibrating how we issue monthly bills [to comply with the CARD Act].” Really? It’s going to cost a whole $1 per customer statement to clearly explain to account holders the terms of their credit cards? I just don’t buy it – sounds like just another revenue-generating fee to me.

This guy doesn’t dread debt collectors, he sues them

Drowning in debt and out of work, you’d think someone like Craig Cunningham would be dodging calls from debt collectors. Instead, he sits by the phone, waiting for it to ring. Cunningham uses the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act to his advantage: the second a debt collector crosses the line, Cunningham sues. Suprisingly, this sue-happy attitude has produced a nice little side income for Cunningham. Deadbeat debtor or just a savvy suer who knows the law? I’m kind of torn on this one…

READ  Friday Grab Bag - 7/10/2009

Collecting credit card debt: America’s favorite pastime

This cool infographic, created by, offers a quick snapshot of some pretty interesting credit card facts. One that especially caught my eye: the average American has $16,635 in debt, not including mortgages. How do you compare?

“123456” most popular password

The new Imperva Consumer Password Worst Practices study shares the 10 most common passwords, based on an analysis of 32 million of them. Sadly, the list is mostly made up of really idiotic ones, like “abc123.” “Rockyou” and “iloveyou” are a little more surprising, but still weak. By now you should know some basics about strong password protection: Use a combination of letters and numbers (preferably not consecutive), and leave your dog’s name, your birth date, and your sweet nothings out of it. Hackers are just getting more savvy, so our password-creation skills really need to move out of the dark ages.

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