If you don't use your credit card number while shopping online, no one can steal it. That's the idea behind virtual credit cards.
The best way to protect your credit card number online might be to use a fake one.
Well, it's not actually fake -- it's "virtual." Yes, it's legal. It's also smart, and may be free depending on your bank.
- Quick quiz: Estimate your credit score
Virtual credit cards have been around for a while now, and the idea is simple. You can use the financial backing of your real credit card -- or debit card, or checking account -- to make all the purchases you normally would on a computer, but without using the card itself. Instead, you use an alternate, virtual credit card number, which is linked to your real one, but protected by computer encryption and other state-of-the-art security measures.
What can this 'luxury snack' teach us about hype and value?
Last week, Britain's Daily Mail reported that celebrity chef Martin Blunos had created a very unique sandwich with a menu price of £110. For those of you here in America, based on current exchange rates, that comes out to approximately $168.80.
According to Blunos, who happens to be a Michelin-starred chef, "We Brits are known to love our cheese sandwiches, and here's one that not only comes with a royal price tag but is fit for the banqueting table."
I know what you're thinking. Did he really say cheese sandwich?
I don't know about you, but if I'm going to pay $168.80 for lunch -- not counting my beer, plus tax and tip -- I want something a bit more substantial than a cheese sandwich. In fact, I would demand that my sandwich be loaded up with a couple pounds of thinly sliced Kobe beef. I'd also want a bag of chips and a lobster tail on the side with drawn butter.
And a pickle spear.
Should McDonald's share the blame for obesity and bad heart health, or are individuals solely at fault?
When public health advocates want to take aim at unhealthy fast food, McDonald's has become the target of choice. McDonald's is to fast food what Wal-Mart is to a retail industry that pays rotten wages and offers negligible benefits.
It's far from being the only offender, but it's the one that's singled out as a purveyor of too many unhealthful, fattening foods and not enough nutritious choices.
The latest group to take on Mickey D's is the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which is airing TV ads showing a pudgy dead guy on a gurney -- the victim of a heart attack, no doubt -- gripping a partially eaten burger.
You can give to others even when you're broke. Here's how.
For some people, charity and philanthropy can seem like stretching an already-tight budget even further. "If I donated $100 to the soup kitchen, I'd have to start using the soup kitchen," the thinking goes.
Money can be a very tight resource, but it's far from the only resource you have. We all have many things we can share with others. It only takes a moment of thought or effort to make a real difference in someone else's life.
Here are 20 things you can donate to make the world a better place without blowing up your budget. Even better, many of these ideas will help you clean out your closets and de-clutter your home a bit.
Customers spend more on wine at restaurants offering computerized wine advice.
The new iPad tablets are being used for wine lists at a handful of high-end restaurants, The New York Times reports, allowing customers to search for wines by type and read ratings by wine experts.
Much to the dismay of sommeliers who have spent their lives learning about wine, customers not only like the iPad wine lists, they find them more trustworthy. Though no one has done a scientific survey, restaurants using the iPad wine lists are seeing their customers spend more on wine.
How the Obama administration's new consumer protection adviser will help consumers.
Soon after word got out that the White House appointed Elizabeth Warren to serve as special adviser and help set up the new consumer protection bureau, Twitter and Facebook erupted with shouts of excitement from personal finance and consumer experts: "Yahoo!" exclaimed Beth Kobliner, author of "Get a Financial Life." "Elizabeth Warren's appointment is a huge victory for consumers!"
Warren, a Harvard law professor who has headed the Congressional Oversight Panel, is celebrated as a force of good in the consumer world. Before taking on public roles, she was best known for her book, "The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke," which explains why so many middle-class Americans feel so squeezed. She's also not afraid to stand up for "the little people." Last year, her congressional oversight panel criticized the Treasury Department for not doing more to help struggling families and called for greater transparency in the use of the bailout funds.
Only 35% of U.S. adults have cell phones with apps, and only two-thirds actually use them.
Yes, there's an app for that, but if you're like most cell phone users, you couldn't care less.
While there has been a proliferation of software applications, or "apps," for mobile phones that can access the Internet, adults using those phones apparently see little value in them, or haven't bothered to learn how to use them.
Cotton costs twice as much as it did a year ago, and supplies are at a 20-year low. Fortunately, you have a few months to stock up before clothing prices rise.
If you're planning holiday gifts of clothes -- or need to update a drawer full of threadbare underwear -- you might want to buy sooner rather than later.
The International Cotton Advisory Committee (.pdf file) is forecasting higher U.S. demand for cotton. While it's great for the economy when Americans are out buying clothes, the committee also reports that the world stock of cotton is the lowest it's been since 1990, mainly because of natural disasters in major producers like China and Pakistan.
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