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Showing posts from 2010

New Rules for ATM and Debit Card

New Rules for ATM and Debit Card Overdrafts New Federal Reserve rules give debit and ATM card users additional options regarding overdrafts. Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions must offer you
the ability to make decisions about overdrafts for transactions made with your debit or ATM cards.

Expect your bank to send you an explanation about how it treats overdrafts; Here  are some key things you need to consider when reading the notice:

The basic facts
An overdraft occurs when you make a purchase or ATM transaction but don't have enough money in your account to pay for it. For a fee, your bank will cover you when you become overdrawn. This fee can apply each time you overdraw your account. Generally, banks can cover your overdrafts in one of two different ways:

* Standard overdraft practices. Your bank will cover your transaction for a flat  fee of about $20-30 each time you overdraw your account. For example, if you make a purchase with your debit card for $150 b…

Special Report: How to Make Money in Bad Economy

Over the past year hundreds of people have asked my opinion about various business opportunities for making money from home so I have been looking closely at what is out there and trying to separate the good from the bad. There is a lot of bad out there but I have uncovered a few gems. One in particular caught my attention because it involves a gentleman I've known of for several years. His name is Bill Bartmann.

On their cover, Inc Magazine called Bill Bartmann "The Billionaire Nobody Knows." What is even less known than Bill himself is his story, which is arguably the most astounding "rags-to-riches" development in U.S. business history.

Bill Bartmann went from...

- Homeless (lived under a bridge viaduct)
- Gang member
- High-school dropout
- Alcoholic
- Paralyzed (and told he'd never walk again)
- Completely bankrupt with cars repossessed become the 25th wealthiest American, with a net worth at the time that exceeded the likes of Donald Tr…

Officials in 50 states launch foreclosure probe

State officials are finally investigating what is looking more and more like a major fraud and cover up. Either bank employees were completely ignorant of State and Federal laws governing the mortgage and foreclosure process or they were complicit with their employers in knowingly approving foreclosure paperwork that was not properly verified and accurate. One mortgage company lawyer has already admitted to signing thousands of documents without reading anything.

This is a major story and one that we will follow closely. For the past two years a handful of lawyers across the country have been working on behalf of people facing foreclosure and using the "show me the note," defense in making the case that foreclosing entities did not have the right to do so based on not having original and accurate paperwork.

Last Friday the largest bank, Bank of America, ceased all foreclosure sales until it sorted out its situation in regard to having proper paperwork and procedures in place…

Understand how your credit score is determined

Your credit score is usually based on the answers to these questions: Do you pay your bills on time? The answer to this question is very important. If you have paid bills late, have had an account referred to a collection agency, or have ever declared bankruptcy, this history will show up in your credit report.

What is your outstanding debt? Many scoring models compare the amount of debt you have and your credit limits. If the amount you owe is close to your credit limit, it is likely to have a negative effect on your score. How long is your credit history? A short credit history may have a negative effect on your score, but a short history can be offset by other factors, such as timely payments and low balances. Have you applied for new credit recently? If you have applied for too many new accounts recently, that may negatively affect your score. However, if you request a copy of your own credit report, or if creditors are monitoring your acco…

Have you changed your Spending Habits?

A recent study of current consumer spending habits found 33% of consumers plan to maintain reduced spending habits, while 43% are undecided.

Based on the results of the study, it's clear many consumers are either sticking with their "new normal" or are still forming their new spending habits and don't plan to fully return to their old spending habits.

The study of over 1500 US consumers by market research firms Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies found that although 24% of consumers only made minor cutbacks to their spending during this economic downturn, another 33% who reduced their spending plan to continue with their new slimmed down budgets even during an economic comeback. The largest group is the 43% of consumers who have reduced their spending and have not yet decided if or to what extent they will go back to their old spending habits.

The study identified four distinct spending categories:

1) Investments in My Quality of Life (vacatio…

Ask the DebtBuster

Q: Mike, I attended your seminar twice at Workforce One and really enjoyed it. I heard on the radio  that there was a new legislation for credit cards that was just released - if your interest rate on a card is high and high due to a reason, you can request to lower it down.They also said if you are late on a payment and your minimum payment is $20, your late fee will be no more than $20. 
How true is all this? I have never been late in my life. My credit cards used to be at a low of 7.99% or 9.99% fixed but they went up about 1 or 2 years ago after that last credit card act where the credit card companies could raise your APR% and make it variable instead of fixed. Can I call my Credit Card company to get a lower interest rate?
A: Yes, the last phase of the CARD Act went into effect on August 22. It restricts how much credit card issuers can charge in penalty fees to no more than the amount of the violation. For example, if a consumer is late paying a $10 minimum payment, the late fee…

Citi Credit Card Numbers indexed and shown by Google

In yet another episode of inferior security by a company that is aggregating consumer information, new social networking site Blippy apparently failed to protect  users’ credit card numbers. As reported on several web sites, "Blippy allows users to see what friends are buying and comment on their purchases. Apparently, it also let Google index the purchase information, including credit card numbers."

Blippy's co-founder has responded to the issue on the company blog. They are understandably downplaying the problem.

Alert!! If you are a Blippy user—especially if you have a Citibank card—keep an eye on your account and look for unfamiliar charges. Contact Citi and tell them your account may have been compromised on Blippy and ask for a new card and account number as a proactive measure.

Always on the lookout for you!

Mike about Money

Happy National Financial Literacy Month!

National Financial Literacy Month is recognized in the United States in April in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.

In 2000, The Jumpstart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy began promoting April as Financial Literacy for Youth Month and in 2003 the United States Congress showed its support. Senate Resolution 48 and House Resolution 127 asked President George W. Bush to declare April as Financial Literacy for Youth Month. April was named National Financial Literacy Month by the passing of Senate Resolution 316 with unanimous consent, championed by Daniel Akaka D-HI.

Student Loans getting SAFR?

The new Health Care bill contained overlooked legislation that will affect the finances of millions of American parents and College students.

As I just discussed at length on Jesse Menendez' show on Chicago Public Radio's 89.5 FM, (hear the podcast of the interview at,  The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act was signed into law March 21 and cuts out Private Lenders from originating federal student loans as of July 1, 2010. Private lenders still get to service loans made by the government, so, while private lenders lose money originating loans, they'll surely make up losses on back end service revenue.

All new federal student loans will be originated through the Department of Education's Direct Loan program instead of through the federally-guaranteed student loan program. The government will no longer subsidize and insure new private loans, a change expected to save taxpayers $61 billion over ten years according to the Congressional Budget Office. At t…

Debit Card Fraud on the Rise

In my "Give Yourself Credit" workshops, we talk about Identity theft being the fastest growing crime in America. We also discuss the dangers of using Debit Cards for transactions and the difference in fraud protection afforded users of credit cards vs. debt and ATM card users.

And no, the debit cards that have a Visa or Mastercard logo don't receive extra fraud protection like credit cards. This is a common misconception, in fact, people I coach often refer to them as credit cards but the money for purchases comes directly out of you checking account on these cards.

Investopedia offered this tip to detect debit card fraud today
The easiest way to spot problems early is to sign up for online banking, if you haven't already. Check your balance and recent transactions daily. The sooner you detect fraud, the easier it will be to limit its impact on your finances and your life. If you see unfamiliar transactions, call the bank right away. If you're the forgetful type, …

A reprieve for Doctors and Seniors!

The U.S. Senate voted March 10 to delay the 21 percent Medicare physician payment cut, postponing it until Oct. 1. The delay follows a March 2 U.S. Senate vote to postpone the reduction until April 1.On March 1, all physicians accepting Medicare faced a 21 percent rate reduction and seniors faced a loss of doctors who accepted Medicare, longer lines at those who did take the insurance payments, and a complete loss of confidence in Congress.

You didn't really think the Senate would pass this measure during an election year did you? Medicare is a federally funded health insurance program for people age 65 and older. Guess who comes out in droves to vote? People 65 and older. To even bring this up is virtual political suicide next in line only to messing with Social Security.

My guess is that the date will be changed again to sometime in 2011, well past the 2010 fall elections but before the 2012 presidential elections.

Advice to seniors needing medical care. Schedule those appointme…

Spring into Spring with a fresh start on managing your money!

It is finally starting to warm up where I live! Ok, I live in Florida, so I can't really complain,  but, we did have snow this year. My friend Kurt in Colorado is laughing at me was cold to us.

As it does warm up across the nation, this is a great time of year to create a new beginning when it comes to family finances.

Tough times with money are like a long, cold winter; dreary and difficult to deal with day after day, month after month. There often seems no end in sight, which can be depressing. But, just as with the weather, a new season starts eventually.

As the cold weather turns to warm, let’s use this as our cue to warm up to our personal financial management and begin to oversee our money the way we’ve always dreamed of doing; with confidence and in control at all times.

This is also a good time of year to begin summer planning if you’ve not done so already. Before long, the kids will be out of school and many will be traveling on vacation. Don’t let those expenses sne…

Mike and Mark back together again

I am thrilled to be back "on the air" with radio legend Mark Larsen on his new daily PodCast, "Mark in the Morning."

Mark and I have been talking money and the economy on the radio every week for the past 6 years. Listen for the Money Segment every Friday morning and start making smarter financial decisions. We will be linking to Mark's show from Money Talk Network as well.

Mike Schiano
The Debtbuster

Mike Schiano picked as a Top Talk Radio Personality for 5th Straight Year

Orlando, FL – Talkers Magazine, the Talk Radio Industry’s leading publication, has selected Mike Schiano to its prestigious “TOP 250″ list of the most important Talk Radio Personalities in America for the 5th year in a row.

“I’m excited to be selected, once again, to be part of such a talented group of broadcasters who do such entertaining and important work every day. I want to thank Michael Harrison, the founder and publisher of Talkers for his support over the years. Being selected this year is really special,” said Schiano.

Mike has made the “Talkers 250″ list since 2006 and is celebrating his 28th year as a professional broadcaster and personality.

During the last 6 years he was a regular on The Morning Magazine show on Tampa’s 820 WWBA, he’s hosted several nationally syndicated programs, and, as a personal finance expert, is a popular guest on radio and TV shows across the country. His program, “the Money Minute with Mike” was sndicated on over 400 radio stations and was nomin…

No Sand in Haiti!

According to the Associated Press,  Haiti's government is banning the use of quarry sand from structural construction in an attempt to improve building safety.

Poor construction is blamed for the collapse of many buildings in the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people. read the full story

I suggest you visit if you are in the construction industry to learn more about the new Job opportunities in Haiti. According to Haiti's Prime Minister, it will take three years just to remove the rubble! Then another 10 years to rebuild. Other experts have estimated the construction project may continue for 20 years or more. Meanwhile, construction jobs in the US dropped by 75,000 in January.


Deceptive and Unfair Practices... Aren't we ALL victims?

2700 people in Florida will be getting a check in the mail for $6000! These "Foreclosure Relief Payments" are the result of a lawsuit filed by the State of Florida on behalf of "distressed homeowners," to help them save their homes from foreclosure.

"The settlement was based on a July 2008 lawsuit filed against Countrywide, one of the nation’s largest mortgage companies, for what the government said were deceptive and unfair trading practices. According to the lawsuit, Countrywide put borrowers into mortgages they couldn’t afford or loans with rates and penalties that were misleading."read the entire story

That's great for those 2700 people, but I can't help but think that all of us have been victims of deceptive and unfair practices of some financial services company or companies over the years haven't we? According to President Obama, the new Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, "marks a turning point for Ameri…

Lowe’s Expands Year-Round Discount for Military

Lowe’s Expands Support of the Military with Year-Round Discount 10 Percent Discount for Active, Reserve, Retired and Disabled Military Personnel and Immediate Family Members

MOORESVILLE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Lowe’s Companies, Inc. announced today it will expand its support of the military by offering an all day, every day 10 percent discount to all military personnel who are active, reserve, retired or disabled veterans and their family members, with a valid, government-issued military ID card.

    “Lowe’s was founded on the heels of World War II by veterans Jim Lowe and Carl Buchan and has always been a supporter of the military”

All other military veterans will receive the discount on the Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day weekends.

“Lowe’s was founded on the heels of World War II by veterans Jim Lowe and Carl Buchan and has always been a supporter of the military,” said Larry D. Stone, Lowe’s president and chief operating officer. “The year-round discount program is one…

A Champion and a Dad

This shot from the AP will go down as one of the great sports pictures of all times. Any father who has played sports and envisions greatness for his children will appreciate this picture! And to think, my beloved Miami Dolphins could have had Drew Brees and blew it. Then again, they had Dan Marino for 17 years and couldn't win a Super Bowl so I guess it all worked out in the end. Especially for Drew Brees and his family and the New Orleans Saints.

The Cost of a Kiss

According to the National Retail Federation, couples will spend less this year on Valentines Day gifts.

According to its recent survey, Couples will spend an average of $63.34 on gifts for their significant other or spouse. The average person will spend $103.00 on traditional Valentine’s Day gift purchases this year, similar to last year’s $102.50.

But the spending won't stop there. Look at all of the other people who are on the gift list this year, and every year. The average person will spend $5.37 on friends, $4.29 on classmates and teachers, and $2.84 on co-workers. Do you really buy your coworkers Valentines gifts??

The average person also says they'll spend $3.27 on family pets, up from $2.17 last year. Spending on family members will remain the same $20.94.

This example illustrates the importance of creating a very detailed Spending Plan (Budget). Even someone who spends a great deal of time on their finances probably left Rover's Valentines Day gift out of the Februar…