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American Express is banking that its new low-fee card will be a game changer in the prepaid card market.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 15, 2011 11:07AM

This post comes from Seth Fiegerman at partner site MainStreet.

 

American Express has launched a prepaid debit card in what the company claims will be a "game-changing move" that brings prepaid cards into the mainstream.

 

The card, which can hold as much as $2,500, charges no activation or maintenance fees, with the only fee being a $2 charge each time users withdraw funds from an ATM. There is also no charge to reload the card, the money does not expire, and it is protected in case the card is lost or stolen.

 

Making too many mistakes in a game -- and in real life -- can get you benched. Here's how to avoid them.

By Stacy Johnson Jun 15, 2011 10:16AM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.

 

Everybody makes mistakes. But while nobody's perfect, there's no reason to needlessly waste hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

 

Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson -- who has shared his own 10 dumbest money moves -- names five of the biggest financial fouls in the video below. Then read on for more common money blunders.

 

Website's calculator isn't perfect, but it will help travelers make their decision.

By doubleace Jun 15, 2011 8:55AM

This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.

 

It's summer, and that means vacations, and that means the annual dilemma: automobile or airplane.

 

Because of fuel prices, both will be more expensive than last year, but walking from Chicago to Disney World in Orlando is only for masochists, and you don't look good enough in spandex to bike. Trains and buses don't appeal to you either. 

 

To help, BeFrugal.com, which humbly bills itself as "Your No. 1 resource for stretching your hard earned dollars," has come up with its Fly or Drive Calculator to help you make your decision.

 

Let's test-drive/fly this sucker to see how it works for a family of four: 

 

Winners should never have to send money to claim their prize.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 14, 2011 7:20PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site ConsumerAffairs.com.

 

Some consumers writing to ConsumerAffairs.com in recent years have claimed they were scammed in a Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes.

 

"Just wanted to say that Publishers Clearing House said I was a winner, to send my information in and of course I did, but I had to pay $501 for delivery," Jennifer, of Philadelphia, wrote.

 

But Jennifer was not dealing with Publishers Clearing House, it turns out.

 

Would you be able to retire comfortably, let alone survive, without help from Social Security and Medicare?

By MSN Money Partner Jun 14, 2011 5:11PM

This post comes from Joe Mont at partner site The Street.

 

In the unlikely event the government slashed all support for retirees, could you survive without Social Security or Medicare? How far can "self-reliance" take you?

 

The most conservative of politicians have advocated that Americans could, and should, develop the personal responsibility to prepare for their future needs without interference or aid from the government. That conversation has progressed with renewed vigor amid talk of the ballooning national debt and deficit.

 

Getting a grip on what you would need to save in a post-government retirement world is a multistep process.

 

More than ever, people are digging into these retirement funds early. The odds aren't in their favor -- most who have a loan against their 401k end up defaulting.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 14, 2011 2:10PM

This post comes from Adam Bold at partner site U.S. News & World Report.

 

 U.S. News & World Report on MSN MoneyIs it a good idea to borrow money from your 401k plan? In an emergency, yes. Otherwise, no.

 

Unfortunately, many people treat retirement savings as a rainy-day fund. At the end of 2010, almost 28 percent of people with 401ks had loans against them, according to a study from consulting firm Aon Hewitt. That's a record number and continues an upward trend.

 

Getting a better room at no extra cost is not as simple as it used to be. Here's how to pull it off.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 14, 2011 1:16PM

This post comes from Seth Fiegermanat partner site MainStreet.

 

During the recession, travelers could have walked into most hotels and motels in the country with a reservation for a standard room and easily talked their way into an upgrade, so desperate were these companies for customers. But that has changed in the past one to two years as consumer demand for travel has picked up.

 

"It's not as good a climate now for hotel upgrades as it was a couple years ago at the peak of the recession," said Bob Diener, co-founder of Hotels.com and Getaroom.com and a hotel industry expert.

 

A reader says she's ready to move on to new credit cards. But will that help or hurt? And how many credit cards should she have?

By Stacy Johnson Jun 14, 2011 1:01PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.

 

I recently received a question regarding credit cards. Actually, it's a statement followed by a question. The statement: I hate my credit cards. The question: Should I close these accounts and get more?

 

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