Retailers love gift cards for many reasons, including the fact that a meaningful percentage of them are never redeemed.
Am I in danger of becoming obsessed with plastic cards? It's possible. But there is one type of card I have somehow managed to avoid discussing in 21 months of blogging.
That type is gift cards, the anonymous chits that are as good as money in one particular store. In their current form, they are a relatively recent innovation. When I was your age (20-plus years ago) stores sometimes sold paper gift certificates for specified amounts, but they were a one-use item. If you bought a $50 sweater with a $100 gift certificate, you generally got $50 in actual cash as change.
It wasn't until we entered the digital age that modern gift cards, each a miniature debit account, were born.
Sears and Target are pushing holiday sales early. But are they risking shopper burnout?
This post comes from Melinda Fulmer of MSN Money.
Will anyone care when Black Friday finally rolls around? It seems every retailer is pushing up its sale calendar, promoting early Black Friday deals or limited-time-only doorbuster specials.
Target has announced it is offering its own four-day Thanksgiving sale with discounts and coupons on 170 items starting the Sunday before Turkey Day, as well as a one-day online-only Thanksgiving Day sale.
What do you dislike about your credit cards and what features would you add or change?
What is the perfect credit card? Is there such a thing?
I'm not sure, to be honest with you, but today we're going to pretend and say yes -- there can be. We just haven't told the world what it is. So let's do something about that, shall we?
- Quick quiz: Do you know your credit scores?
Here is your form to fill out, which I stole from Dinks Finance because it is awesome and clever and all sorts of exciting for financial nerds like ourselves:
- I wish my credit card had _________.
Giant retailer's CrowdSaver unlocks discounts once enough customers 'like' a deal.
Look out, Groupon. Walmart.com is muscling into your space.
The retail giant has launched a deals app called CrowdSaver. It unlocks an online-only discount once enough consumers opt in, similar to the group deals Groupon has popularized.
Wal-Mart said it took less than 24 hours from the time it launched CrowdSaver until it hit the deal threshold of 5,000 "likes," which triggered a discount of 18% off a $500 plasma TV with wall mount.
They're designed to separate you from your money. How to come out ahead.
Looking for a good deal? How's 50% off sound? Once a bargain-basement super deal, getting half off is now about what shoppers can -- and should -- expect from a sale, experts say.
And in preparation for the holiday rush, stores have figured out how to give it to them and still turn a profit.
Many Americans think they'll be working past age 65 -- and some are OK with that.
This post comes from MSN Money's Liz Pulliam Weston.
France threw a collective hissy fit at the idea of moving that nation's minimum retirement age from 60 to 62.
Here in the U.S., we shook our heads in wonder. A recent survey by Sun Life Financial found 52% of respondents believe they'll have to work at least three years longer than originally planned because of economic conditions and lack of savings, with just as many expecting to retire at 70 as at 65.
Many of my readers despair of ever being able to retire, and those who think they will often pick age 70 as the point they'll quit work.
"I'm 57 and I'd love to retire now, but there's no way financially!" a reader named Pam Buford from Kearney, Mo., confided on my Facebook fan page. "I'll probably have to work until I drop!"
The right debt-relief agency can really make a difference. The wrong one will destroy your peace of mind and your credit.
You've probably seen the commercials on TV and heard them on the radio: "Debt-free in 24 to 36 months! One low monthly payment!"
These kinds of promises are often a lie. Not all debt-relief agencies are scams, but many aren't going to help you. In fact, they can seriously hurt you by wasting your time, your money, and potentially trashing your credit history.
Luckily, a new federal rule, which took effect this week, makes life more difficult for companies doing a reprehensible thing -- ripping off consumers seeking help with overwhelming debt. It's the very definition of kicking people when they're down.
A fast-growing salmon is on track to be the first genetically modified animal sold for human consumption.
A fast-growing genetically engineered salmon is a good bet for approval by the Food and Drug Administration. It would be the first genetically modified animal sold as food.
Dubbed "Frankenfish" by opponents, the new version of Atlantic salmon was developed by AquaBounty Technologies. It grows almost twice as fast as farm-raised salmon, thanks to one growth hormone gene from a chinook salmon and another from an eel called the ocean pout. The application has been pending before the agency for well over 10 years.
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