Most credit cards give you the ability to add an authorized user. If you're the parent of a teenager or young adult, you might have considered making your child an authorized user to help boost their credit score and to give them access to your credit card account.
Adding your child as an authorized user on your account is a big step. If you add them prematurely, you'll suffer the consequences since the account is your name.
Make sure your child is responsible, understands the concept of money, and has a reputation for following the rules before you consider adding them to your credit card.
The cost of debt goes beyond the dollars and cents you may spend on interest and fees. The true cost of debt is in the opportunity cost - the things and experiences you miss out on because you're too much in debt to enjoy them. Think grad school, vacation, early retirement.
Paying off your debt faster might let you get back to enjoying life - the way you did before debt crept in. Read What is Debt Really Costing You to get an idea of how much you could be losing because of debt.
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Your financial troubles are probably on the top of the list of things you don't want your employer to know about, right up there with marital woes and other family issues. Naturally, you don't want your personal issues to negatively influence your employer's impression of your ability to perform at work. But, debt collectors could threaten your job security if they were to contact your employer about your debt.
It's in the collector's best interest that you keep your job. Your being let go because of a debt collection would ruin any chance the collector has at getting paid. Fortunately, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act specifically defines the situations that a collector can contact your employer and they're generally NOT allowed to let it slip that you owe a debt. Here's more information about whether debt collectors can contact your employer.
Dealing With Debt Collectors
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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has ordered Bank of America to refund $727 million to consumers who were victims of deceptive marketing and unfair billing practices for the card's payment protection and credit monitoring services.
Bank of America joins American Express, Discover, Capital One, and Chase in the lot of credit card issuers who've been been ordered to refund millions of dollars to cardholders because of their deception in marketing add-on products.
For about two years, Bank of America representatives marketed credit card payment protection services to cardholders with an initial 30-day free period. However, the company started charging cardholders right away. Cardholders were enrolled in services immediately despite that they'd only agreed to receive additional information. Finally, Bank of America telemarketers misrepresented the benefits of the payment protection services.
In addition to misleading customers about payment protection services, Bank of America unfairly charged cardholders for its identity protection services. In this case, cardholders were billed for the credit monitoring services before the services actually began. Some cardholders were charged interest on the unfairly billed services and others incurred a fee for exceeding their credit limits.
In addition to the $727 million refund to consumers, Bank of America is required to pay a $20 million and $25 in civil penalties to the CFPB and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Previous refunds required by the CFPB for deceptive marketing of add-on products (like credit card payment protection):
In late 2013, GE Capital was required to refund $34 million to consumers for deceptive enrollment practices of its CareCredit medical credit card.
The CFPB is serious about cracking down on credit card issuers who take advantage of consumers. CFPB Director Rich Cordray says in a statement, "[...] We will not tolerate such practices and will continue to be vigilant in our pursuit of companies who wrong consumers in this market."