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July 9th, 2009

There Are Some Items You Should Never Charge

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Credit card companies are on the prowl. With new legislation limiting the likes of rate and fee increases just months away, and an economy that has nearly everyone pinching their pennies, credit card companies are examining your purchases like never before. Public Radio’s Marketplace has compiled a list of 10 purchases that “can be red flags to credit-card companies watching for signs of consumers with questionable finances”:

  1. Traffic Tickets: Marketplace says charging your traffic tickets make “You look reckless.” Not only will the ticket cost you money, it could make your insurance rise putting added pressure on your other finances.
  2. Bargain Buys: Shopping with your credit card at bargain retailers like Target and Wal-Mart can signal that you’re financially strapped. “Downshifting to lower-cost retailers — or shopping at places that attract financially pinched shoppers — makes it look like you’re worried about your finances or about your job. American Express has been accused of cutting people’s credit because they shopped at Wal-Mart.”
  3. Lottery Tickets: Does this even need an explanation? Playing the lottery isn’t a viable display that you’re planning for your financial future. Even if you don’t consider yourself a gambler, you don’t want your credit card company to think you are — “Oh yeah, don’t take your Visa to Vegas.”
  4. Cash Advances: Card companies loved cash advances because of all the money they made on interest charges. In today’s economy cash advances translate that you are desperate for cash (which you probably are).
  5. Alcohol: One of many types of purchases that signal to card companies that you may be stressed. “Carry cash to the bar, especially if you were there last night, too. Springing for too many drinks may be a sign of job stress, financial stress, or relationship stress.”

Click here to continue reading the rest of the list.

(hat tip: The Consumerist)

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2 Responses to “There Are Some Items You Should Never Charge”

  1. Mitch Says: July 29th, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I wrote somewhere about this topic also. I don’t think it’s fair for creditors to determine the kind of shopping you’re doing with their card as long as you pay your bills. I’ve always known they did it, but to use it against you is smarmy. I sure can’t wait until these regulations come in January.

  2. Tim Manni Says: August 3rd, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Mitch,

    So you’re excited about the credit card reform? We have had some mixed reactions on this blog.

    Yeah, it’s unsettling to know you’re being monitored and judged in that respect, but part of me feels, especially during times like these, it makes some sense.

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