Tag Archives: credit union MasterCard

More Fraud Protection, A Big Party and Default Renewals

More Fraud Protection for Credit Cards

A heads up if you have a Credit Union MasterCard. Their fraud management system has been upgraded and strengthened to detect suspicious activity. The software identifies unusual spending patterns and will trigger an automated call from their fraud department.

If you get the call, it will only ask you to verify you date of birth and a list of some recent transactions it will supply. If you’re not home, the MasterCard will be blocked until you call them to verify the transactions.

You will never ever be asked for any financial information, passwords, the three digit security code, or anything else. If you’re asked for that – it’s an identity theft attempt. Hang up the phone and call the number on your credit card.

What’s your budget for a celebratory party?

If you’re having a big celebration with five of your friends, what would be your budget? Somehow I’m guessing it’s not $26,000 a person. But it was for six Boston Bruins players the week after they won the Stanley Cup. The six drove across the state line to the Foxwoods Resort & Casino in Connecticut to celebrate. To celebrate a lot…with a tab of $156,679, not including tips. True, it included one bottle of champagne for $100,000, but it was a 30 litre bottle. It was one of only six of these Ace of Spade Champagne bottles in the world! Quite the party…and quite the dent on these players’ credit card!

Default Renewals

In the last two weeks I’ve had three e mails from really mad people. All three had purchased a new vehicle. The depreciation they paid right off the bat should have made them mad, but that wasn’t actually it. The vehicle came with free satellite radio for a few months.

But in order to activate it, they had to supply their credit card information. When the free subscription ended, they found charges on their credit card where the satellite radio company had automatically started them on a pay subscription that they didn’t want, order, authorize, or request.

You have to know that every company that sells you any kind of subscription wants your credit card information. You think it’s because of convenience, but it’s way more than that. Lots of companies include a clause in your agreement that you give them the automatic right to renew your subscription when the term expires without notice.

That default renewal is perfectly legal. It shouldn’t be – but there’s not going to be any help from the government to outlaw this. So you have to ask up front, or read the fine print. It will outline how you can stop it, but you will have to follow that procedure. Most of the time you need to notify them 30 days before your term runs out or you’re in for another year, or another subscription term.

If that happens, your first call should be to their customer no-service to dispute the renewal. Your second call needs to be to your credit card issuer to dispute the charge.

Your E-mail Segment

Here are a couple of e-mails from listeners. Chance are if one person e mails, there are lots of others who have the same questions:

Hi George: We are going on vacation to Mexico. The question is what do you suggest as far as taking money? I have asked lots of people and everyone has a different opinion. Some people say use your debit card (that sort of scares me aside from charges), some say Visa/MC, others say strictly US cash or take Canadian and exchange it down. I am confused…

This isn’t worth your brain power. I only answer questions as to what I would do, and in this case, you’re dealing with a pretty amount of money. You’re not buying a house down there, so we’re talking about the exchange on about $400 or $500. Whatever it is, it’s a $5 to $7 decision. I don’t pull out my debit card – that’s way too risky, unless it’s at a bank ATM. Not many places want our crappy Canadian dollar, and it’s a giant pain to find a bank to exchange it at. In the US, by the way, most banks now won’t even do an exchange unless you are a customer. They can’t recognize counterfeit foreign money and don’t give a hoot about non-bank clients anyway.

Take what you think in US cash. If you’ve got a credit union MasterCard, use it, because it has the least foreign exchange rip off, most others are 2.5% or more, there’s a chart in the back of the It’s Your Money book on everything credit card related, or you can call the 800 number on the back of your credit card and ask.

Hello George: In the It’s Your Money book, you talk about getting debt free by paying off the smallest debt to the largest debt. Wouldn’t it be more logical to pay the highest interest rates first?

Yes and no. You’re presuming that getting into debt and paying it off are logical decisions and three-quarters of it isn’t logical – it’s emotional. Is it logical to charge something on a 20% credit card? Is it logical to take a car loan over 7 years when you’ll always owe more than it’s worth? Is it logical to take a 6-months don’t pay that reverts to 29% right back to the get-go? No way.

Just like getting a car unstuck in the snow you need to get traction. Traction and extra cash comes from paying off the smallest bill. It’ll take a month or two, tops and frees up the payment that was going on that bill, as well as creating a huge self-confidence feeling that one is gone forever.

Rolling that money into the next smallest bill makes it go twice as fast, and so on. In the book is an example of $25,000 debt and how quickly it’ll get paid off with some huge interest savings. Remember that interest isn’t a rate thing – it’s interest dollars which we can control.

Besides, when it’s a single-minded focus to get rid of your debt it’ll happen really quickly. So the rate doesn’t matter that much when it’s only being paid for a year or so.