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BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | October 24, 2004
NEW RESEARCH by the Federal Reserve Board should set off alarm bells for anyone considering applying for a home mortgage. Behind your back, your credit card company could be hurting your credit standing by withholding key information from the national credit bureaus. That could depress your credit scores and raise the interest rate you're charged on your home loan. Three Federal Reserve staff economists studied a nationally representative, random sample of the credit files of 301,000 people and found that 46 percent had files from which at least one credit limit had been withheld by a creditor.
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BUSINESS
Eileen Ambrose | April 30, 2013
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has revised rules on the 2009 CARD Act, paving the way for non-working spouses and partners to qualify for credit cards. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act was designed to rein in some of the egregioius practices of card issuers, such as handing out lines of credit to college students who didn't even have jobs. The banks counted on mom and dad to step in if junion got in over his head. One of the provisions of the law, though, was that a card company had to make sure consumers had the ability to pay before issuing them a credit card or raising their credit limit.
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BUSINESS
By Ken Harney and Ken Harney,earthlink | August 3, 2007
A major credit-card company is ending a long-standing, controversial practice that critics say raised many of its customers' borrowing costs when they applied for home mortgages and equity loans. Capital One Financial Corp., based in McLean, Va., says it will now report all cardholders' credit limits to the three national credit bureaus - a step that could boost the FICO credit scores of some of its 50 million card customers by 40 to 80 points or more within a few months. Higher FICO scores, in turn, will allow Capital One cardholders to qualify for lower mortgage interest rates when they buy or refinance homes.
NEWS
Marta H. Mossburg | January 29, 2013
The O'Malley administration is all for enforcing infractions on state residents - but holds itself to an entirely less stringent moral and legal standard. The push to double E-ZPass fines is a case in point. The Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA) would like to increase late fees for E-ZPass infractions to $50 and potentially suspend vehicle registrations for nonpayment in legislation yet to be introduced this session. For starters, the proposed punishment far exceeds the crime.
BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | January 2, 2005
HOW FAR can your credit score plummet when your credit-card issuer withholds your credit limit in its reports to the three national bureaus? And how costly could that be when you apply for a home mortgage? The answer to both questions: A lot more than you might suspect. Consider this recent case documented by the software and technology firm CreditXpert Inc., of Towson, Md. A loan applicant, a woman who lives in a suburb of Baltimore, had what is known in the mortgage industry as a "thin file" - a relatively small number of banking accounts on file, including only one credit card.
BUSINESS
By Bill Atkinson and Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF | February 29, 1996
MBNA America Bank yesterday introduced a premium credit card with a limit that can give consumers who qualify enough cash to put a hefty down payment on a house.The nation's second-largest bank card issuer behind Citibank is offering the no-fee MBNA Platinum Plus Visa or MasterCard, which has a credit limit of up to $100,000.The new card should be in consumers' hands within four to six weeks, said Peter Osborne, a spokesman for the Wilmington, Del.-based company."We are constantly surveying our customers and this is something they told us they wanted," he said.
BUSINESS
Eileen Ambrose | September 23, 2011
So, do you fit the profile of a Victoria Secret's or WalMart Discover cardholder? You can find out even before you apply - and before you possibly get rejected - by checking out the new Credit Card Statistics feature from CreditKarma.com. The site has information on dozens of cards and their customers. At Victoria's Secret Angel Card, for instance, the average credit score is 658, the typical approved credit limit offered by the lingerie palace is $766 and the annual household income of a card customer runs around $60,006 and the age of the cardholder averages out to 37. The averages for WalMart Discover cardholders: 702 credit score, $2,982 credit limit, $59,793 household income and age 48. Here are the cards with the highest averages in the following categories: Credit limit awarded - PenFed Visa Classic, $15,625 Annual household income - Barney's New York, $108,179 Credit score - Towers MasterCard, 775 Age of cardholder - Haband, 60 Orchard Bank Visa had the lowest average credit score at 555. It also had one of the lowest credit limits: $339  
BUSINESS
By EILEEN AMBROSE | October 20, 2009
Theodore Casser has been a loyal Bank of America credit card customer for about 10 years. But the prospect that the bank might start charging him an annual fee because he pays off his balance monthly has the Baltimore software developer ready to sever that relationship. "I take it almost as an insult," says Casser, who hasn't heard yet if he will be among the small percentage of unprofitable Bank of America customers to be charged a $29 to $99 fee starting next year. "I'm happy to take the hit to my credit rating to cancel the card."
BUSINESS
By Eve Mitchell and Eve Mitchell,Contra Costa Times | May 18, 2008
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Most people who use credit have more than one card. But just how many cards are too many? Some experts believe there is no set number to shoot for when it comes to how much plastic to have in your wallet. It's not the number of cards, but how the cards are used that's important. Others say how cards are used is indeed important, but so is having just a few cards as part of a strategy to help achieve or maintain a good credit score. In the United States, the average cardholder has seven credit cards and two debit cards, according to www.cardtrak.
BUSINESS
By McClatchy-Tribune | March 25, 2007
Federal law dictates that credit-card issuers can't hide fees from customers. But does that mean you're not paying any fees you don't know about? Not necessarily. You could be missing the fine print - and the many fees that come with everyday transactions (or blunders). In fact, Americans pay about $31 billion in credit-card fees each year. The ones most commonly overlooked: The late fee Banks charge as much as $39 (on top of finance charges) if your payment doesn't arrive on time. If you're prone to forgetting, schedule automatic payments.
BUSINESS
Eileen Ambrose | March 14, 2012
Ben Woolsey of CreditCards.com warns against the pitfalls of using your credit or debit card at the gas pump. The first problem:   Woolsey says station owners sometimes put limit on transactions of $75 to $125. Given fast-rising gas prices, it's possible some gas guzzlers won't be able to fill up. The other problem: Your card company can put a block or hold on your card - reducing the credit limit - when you're making a purchase at the pump. The block is temporary, lasting up to $72 hours, but limits your line of credit by $75 to $100, Woolsey says.
BUSINESS
Eileen Ambrose | September 23, 2011
So, do you fit the profile of a Victoria Secret's or WalMart Discover cardholder? You can find out even before you apply - and before you possibly get rejected - by checking out the new Credit Card Statistics feature from CreditKarma.com. The site has information on dozens of cards and their customers. At Victoria's Secret Angel Card, for instance, the average credit score is 658, the typical approved credit limit offered by the lingerie palace is $766 and the annual household income of a card customer runs around $60,006 and the age of the cardholder averages out to 37. The averages for WalMart Discover cardholders: 702 credit score, $2,982 credit limit, $59,793 household income and age 48. Here are the cards with the highest averages in the following categories: Credit limit awarded - PenFed Visa Classic, $15,625 Annual household income - Barney's New York, $108,179 Credit score - Towers MasterCard, 775 Age of cardholder - Haband, 60 Orchard Bank Visa had the lowest average credit score at 555. It also had one of the lowest credit limits: $339  
HEALTH
By Annie Linskey and Julie Bykowicz, The Baltimore Sun | April 12, 2011
Less than 12 hours after the confetti dropped on Maryland's 2011 legislative session, Gov. Martin O'Malley signed legislation Tuesday morning to limit access to credit reports, allow police to use wiretaps to investigate human trafficking and to prepare the state for the federal health care overhaul. In the first signing ceremony of the year, O'Malley endorsed about a quarter of the 707 bills passed by the General Assembly during the 90-day session that ended Monday. Not on his desk Tuesday was legislation to extend in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants or to raise the sales tax on beer, wine and liquor from 6 percent to 9 percent.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun | October 25, 2010
The last of the credit card reforms kicked in just two months ago, but get ready soon for reform version 2.0. The Federal Reserve last week released proposed amendments to the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act to clarify language and close a loophole that could allow subprime lenders to charge high, upfront fees. "The CARD Act, ever since it was introduced, has needed clarity," says Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com. "There are a lot of gray areas.
BUSINESS
By EILEEN AMBROSE | January 17, 2010
The credit card industry will undergo its most sweeping overhaul in history when new regulations kick in next month. The new rules coming Feb. 22 don't go so far as to prevent card issuers from raising your interest rate. But there are many things for consumers to applaud. Fees for breaching credit limits, for example, will no longer be forced on consumers. Payments will be applied to balances in a way that limits interest paid. Interest rates won't go up in the first year an account is opened, with a few exceptions.
BUSINESS
By Eileen Ambrose and Eileen Ambrose , eileen.ambrose@baltsun.com | December 13, 2009
By now, you're probably aware of the wide use of credit scores, and how this three-digit number can determine whether you get credit and under what terms. But there is a lot of misinformation about scores, too, and what you don't know can hurt you. You could end up unnecessarily paying interest on credit cards or lowering your score in attempts to improve it. Here are some of the myths: Myth: You must carry a credit card balance for a good score This fallacy is prevalent.
BUSINESS
By Liz Pulliam and Liz Pulliam,LOS ANGELES TIMES | November 14, 1999
I have a platinum MasterCard. I went over my credit limit because the card issuer said it did not receive my last payment in time to be posted. I use a postage meter, and the payment was sent to the company two weeks before the due date, for an amount that was triple the minimum payment.The company claims it did not receive my payment until a week after the due date. It slapped me with an "over credit limit fee" of $125, plus a late fee. When I called, the phone representative said that the company does not consider postmarks on envelopes, even if registered, as the date payments were received.
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