Consumer questions: Economy, credit cards

May 12, 2008 4:26:50 PM PDT
Michael Finney answers questions on surviving bad economic times, store credit cards and more.

Benefits of store credit cards?

Question: I live in San Francisco and we operate a business in the city and we do not offer store credit cards and I just wondered if there were any benefits? What are the benefits if there are any at all? At this point I don't see any need for it, but it would be interesting to have your opinion.

Answer: It's a benefit to store owners in that they can make the interest off of you, if set up correctly, and they can attract you into the story when maybe you would go somewhere else. But where they really make the money is when they sell your credit card information and account to someone else.

Financial tips for bad economy

Question: We are trying to find out some good tips in this time of bad economy to keep us from suffering financially.

Answer: Get rid of the stuff you're not using. Call your cell phone provider and find a cheaper plan. Look at your monthly expense like cable or satellite. Cancel your TiVo or recorder-type device if you're not using it. Call up your insurance agent and look for ways to save on your plan. All of this combined can save you a few hundred dollars per month.

How much money should you save?

Question 3: How much money do I have to save to have a bank account?

Answer: Most banks do not require a minimum amount to open an account, but you do have to have a minimum to avoid paying a monthly fee. The monthly fee is generally between three and five dollars. Usually $200-$300 will be enough to avoid the fee.

For more of Michael Finney's consumer stories and advice, visit 7 On Your Side.


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