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They are expected to take in a record $2.25 billion in fees and surcharges this year.

By MSN Money Partner 1 hour ago

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyCha-ching. That's the sound of each surcharge on your next hotel bill. Better get used to that sound, because hotel customers are paying for a growing list of chargeable services, from storing luggage to Internet use.


Hotel maid © Simon Jarratt/CorbisAccording to The Associated Press:

Guaranteeing two queen beds or one king bed will cost you, as will checking in early or checking out late. Don't need the in-room safe? You're likely still paying. And the overpriced can of soda may be the least of your issues with the hotel minibar.

Hotel charges vary, even within the same chain, which can make it difficult to figure out the cost of a hotel stay.


But small surcharges add up to big revenue for hotels, which will rake in a record $2.25 billion from extra fees in 2014, according to study by Bjorn Hanson, a professor at New York University's Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism. That's a 6 percent increase since last year and nearly double the revenue hotels took in from surcharges a decade ago.


"The study estimates that hotels can make a profit of roughly 80 percent to 90 percent on fees and surcharges, and that the amount collected has steadily climbed since charging fees became a widely embraced industry practice in the late 1990s," Time said.

 

A PayScale report identifies majors that produce graduates who are most likely to say they are underemployed.

By MSN Money Partner 1 hour ago

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneySelecting a college major seems to be a difficult proposition for many students. Liz Freedman of Butler University reports that anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of newly enrolled college students are undeclared majors, and an estimated 3 out of 4 students will change majors at some point.


College diploma © CorbisWhile we hate to put any more pressure on stressed-out students, we can't help but point out that a recent report from compensation website PayScale finds some majors may be destined to be underperformers. They sound good -- "Liberal arts degrees are so flexible!" -- but the harsh reality is you may end up underemployed and unhappy.


Here are the 10 bachelor's degrees PayScale says might be dogs. The job titles represent the occupations commonly held by those with that college major who said they are underemployed.


1. Criminal justice

Percent who say they are underemployed -- 62.4 percent.
Starting median salary -- $34,500.
Common job titles -- paralegal/legal assistant, security guard, police officer. 

The Internet helps broadcast dubious remedies and phony "cures." These unproven treatments take your money and sometimes your health, too.

By MSN Money Partner 2 hours ago

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyThe yearning for a cure is powerful, and poignant if you are struggling with illness. At those times, we can be most vulnerable to claims for cures that sometimes defy common sense.


The Internet is full of products that hold out hope when little or no scientific evidence supports it. Many of these products persist despite efforts by government agencies and scientists to debunk them.

 

Here's how to save money without sacrificing coverage when you add a young driver.

By QuinStreet 4 hours ago

This post comes from Marjorie Musick at partner site Insure.com.


Insure.com on MSN MoneyWhen parents of a teen first watch their baby take the wheel, they may be too busy seeing the years flash before their eyes to focus on insurance for the family's newest driver. Putting a new teen driver on the road can be scary -- and expensive.


Woman with license © Blend Images, SuperStock"Aside from the insurance aspects, parents need to appreciate their role as the risk manager for their teens who drive," says Greg Serio, managing director at Park Strategies LLC, who is also a former insurance commissioner of New York.


Limiting a teen's hours of operation, restricting the number of riders in a car, and prohibiting the use of cellphones or texting devices (which can be double-checked through the cell service bills) are all ways a parent can prevent or mitigate risks."


Adding a teen driver to an auto insurance policy

Some auto insurance companies will want you to add your teen when he gets his learner's permit; others will wait until he has his license. It's important to call your agent to check.


Ray Crisci, senior vice president and worldwide automobile manager for Chubb Personal Insurance, warns parents that they may not be covered if their teen gets in an accident before they have been officially added to the policy.


"My best advice is to call your agent or insurance provider when it's time to add a teen driver to your auto insurance policy. This is important because some insurers (but not Chubb) have a drop-down provision in their policies that limits coverage for operators that are not listed on the policy," says Crisci. "You should tell your insurance agent as soon as your teenager gets his/her permit."


Now down to the nitty gritty -- choosing coverage.

 

Banks offer confusing and conflicting information about overdraft protection, making it hard for customers to understand the real costs.

By MSN Money Partner 23 hours ago

This post comes from Krystal Steinmetz at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyThe costs and risks of overdraft protection are not well understood by many Americans. So it's no surprise that a new study using mystery shoppers found that big banks' explanations of overdraft protection programs are inconsistent and unclear.


Checkbook © Royalty-Free, CorbisThat was one major finding in a report (.pdf file) by the California Reinvestment Coalition, Woodstock Institute, Reinvestment Partners and New Economy Project. The four organizations are calling upon the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and federal banking regulators to toughen up consumer protections.


A little background: Banks used to automatically enroll customers in so-called overdraft protection, which enabled the bank to cover the overdraft and then charge the customer a fee. In 2009, a new federal rule said customers would have to choose or opt in to this overdraft program if they wanted it. It's clear that many people are still confused.


According to a press release about the report:

 

Your cyber love affair could be a threat to your bank account. Here are the warning signs to look for.

By MSN Money Partner Tue 1:18 PM

This post comes from Allison Martin at partner site Money Talks News. 

 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyAfter years of searching for love in all the wrong places, you've finally hit the jackpot. Prince Charming is only a keystroke away, and you found him via social media or at an online dating site.


Broken 'love' cookie © Ingram Publishing/SuperStockBut is he really "the one"? Online dating scams are common, and they cost victims more than $50 million a year, says ThreatMetrix, a cybercrime prevention company.


They come in several forms. A story reported by the BBC last week is typical: A woman in England became involved online with a man who claimed to be a United Nations medic in Syria. The BBC said:

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, met the man on an online dating site and developed a "close friendship."
In March he told her he was sending a package for her to keep, which he had been given by a Syrian sheik.
According to fake customs papers, the package supposedly contained 34 gold bars, which he was sending with his personal possessions.
 

Everyone makes an occasional misstep with the plastic. The key is to learn from your mistakes.

By Credit.com Tue 1:15 PM
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Credit.com.

Credit.com on MSN MoneyNobody's perfect. Even when you spend all day trying to learn everything you can about a subject, you still make mistakes.


Credit card © Fancy, Veer, Corbis For instance, even some of the top credit card experts have made some embarrassing moves, yet we were all willing to share them so that you can learn from our experiences.


Brian Kelly

Brian is the founder of The Points Guy, a website that teaches credit card users how best to earn and spend their credit card rewards. Here are some of his biggest mistakes:

 

The risk of earthquakes in the Golden State is rising, but homeowners buy less insurance than they used to.

By Money Staff Tue 12:52 PM

By Alyssa Abkowitz, Bloomberg BusinessWeek


Bloomberg BusinessWeek on MSN MoneyEarly estimates suggest the economic losses from Sunday’s 6.0-magnitude earthquake in Northern California, the largest quake to hit the Golden State in 25 years, could hit $1 billion. When it comes to rebuilding, much of the cost will come out of people’s own pockets.


The percentage of homeowners with earthquake insurance in California and across the U.S. has declined, despite rising estimates of the risk of an earthquake.


A crumbling facade at the Vintner's Collective tasting room in Napa, Calif. © Noah Berger/AP

A survey by the Insurance Information Institute, a nonprofit that’s funded by the insurance industry, found that 7 percent of U.S. homeowners have earthquake insurance, down from 13 percent just two years ago. In the West, ground zero for U.S. quakes, 10 percent of homeowners have coverage, down from 22 percent a year ago; in California, about 12 percent do, according to the California Earthquake Authority.


But as fewer people opt for earthquake insurance, the government is upping its assessment of the risk of a sizable shake. Last month, the U.S. Geological Survey updated its seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008. The update showed an increased earthquake risk for almost half the country. Parts of Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, among others, moved into the top two hazard zones. The San Francisco Bay area, for example, shows a 63 percent chance of one or more major earthquakes before 2036, according to the agency.


So why are people buying less earthquake coverage when estimates of risk are growing?

 

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