Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: More credit cards pile on rewards for mobile wallet spending. Also in the news: Dog-friendly designs attract home buyers and remodelers, new rules to help protect old Americans from financial fraud, and the reckless financial habit that will ruin your chances of ever finding love.

More Credit Cards Pile on Rewards for Mobile Wallet Spending
Perks for paying with your phone.

Dog-Friendly Designs Attract Home Buyers and Remodelers
Not your typical dog house.

These new rules will help protect older Americans from financial fraud
New protections put in place.

This reckless financial habit will ruin your chances of ever finding love
Show some restraint.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Before doing your taxes, gather these documents. Also in the news: 3 things to do when buying a house as an unmarried couple, how credit cards can help you save on buses and trains, and 4 money lessons every teenager needs to know.

Before Doing Your Taxes, Gather These Documents
Putting your paperwork together.

Buying a Home as an Unmarried Couple? Do These 3 Things
Buyer beware.

Credit Cards Can Help You Save on Buses and Trains, Too
Discounts everywhere.

4 money lessons every teenager needs to know
The sooner the better.

Q&A: How to get a higher credit limit after the card company turns you down

Dear Liz: I asked for a credit limit increase on my Visa card from $5,000 to $20,000. I was turned down because of not enough income. I was very disappointed and wonder what if anything I can do to reverse the situation.

I am a 77-year-old retired widow who owns my home with no mortgage. My annual income is around $50,000 from Social Security and my required minimum distributions from IRAs. I have no debt. My investments and savings obviously don’t count. I was about to charge $12,000 in airline tickets and wanted to take advantage of the cash back on the credit card. I always pay my credit card bill in full every month. I feel discriminated against.

Answer: Imagine you’re a lender and one of your customers suddenly demands that you quadruple the amount you’ve agreed to lend her, with the resulting credit line equal to 40% of her income. That might give you pause.

Or perhaps not. Credit card issuers have different policies about when to grant or deny credit, and those policies can change over time as they try to manage the risks of their lending portfolios. Also, issuers may be less generous to their longtime customers than they are to the new customers they’re trying to attract.

Understanding all that can help you formulate a game plan to get what you want. One option is to call the issuer, explain your situation and ask for a temporary credit line increase so you can book those tickets.

Another (and certainly more lucrative) option would be to apply for a new credit card with a fat sign-up bonus from a different issuer. Several cash-back cards offer rewards of $150 to $200 once you spend a certain amount within the first few months, and you would meet that requirement easily with your ticket purchases.

If you’re willing to consider something other than a cash-back card, you can check out travel rewards cards that offer points or miles. Several have bonuses that can translate into $400 or more of free travel.

Applying for a new card might temporarily drop your credit scores a few points, but that shouldn’t be a concern if you’re not planning to apply for a major loan in the next few months.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 tips to get back on budget after the holidays. Also in the news: Thinking twice about that in-flight credit card offer, how a Roth IRA works, and how paying your child an allowance can pay off in the long run.

5 Tips to Get Back on Budget After the Holidays
Reigning in the spending.

Think Twice About That In-Flight Credit Card Offer
Reading the fine print.

How Does a Roth IRA Work?
Know this important retirement tool.

Paying allowance can pay off, if you do it right
How much is enough?

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why you should hit the stores on the day after Christmas. Also in the news: Online colleges, tips to help you choose the right credit card, and how much you actually save when you write something off on your taxes.

Why You Should Hit the Store on the Day After Christmas
Putting those gift cards to good use.

Is Online College for You? Answer 5 Questions to Find Out
Weighing the pros and cons.

7 Tips That Will Help You Choose The Right Credit Card
Be selective.

How Much You Actually Save When You Write Something Off on Your Taxes
Calculating your savings.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 5 ways to reduce credit card interest. Also in the news: Holiday hosting tips to be safe, holiday tipping guide, and the pros and cons of using debit vs. credit cards.

5 Ways to Reduce Credit Card Interest
Escaping the interest trap.

Holiday Hosting Tips to Be Safe, Insurance If You’re Sorry
What’s covered under your homeowner’s insurance.

Holiday Tipping Guide: Whom and How Much
Showing appreciation.

Pros and Cons of Using Debit Vs. Credit Cards
Differences to keep in mind.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Is Bitcoin safe? Also in the news: How to buy better gifts with credit card rewards, must-have tools and tips for year-end retirement planning, and smart money lessons for kids that can last a lifetime.

Is Bitcoin Safe?
A roundtable debate.

How to Buy Better Gifts With Credit Card Rewards
Using your rewards strategically.

Must-have tools and tips for year-end retirement planning
Getting on the right track.

Smart money lessons for kids that can last a lifetime

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How ‘free’ credit cards can cost you. Also in the news: Plan, give and spend smart to avoid holiday debt, answers to 5 trick questions from car dealers, and 7 tips on becoming a ‘financial’ caregiver.

How ‘Free’ Credit Cards Can Cost You
Reading the fine print.

Plan, Give and Spend Smart to Avoid Holiday Debt
Giving wisely.

Answers to 5 Trick Questions From Car Dealers
Beat them at their own game.

Seven tips on becoming a ‘financial’ caregiver
Managing multiple households.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 6 reasons there aren’t enough homes for sale. Also in the news: 3 day trading tax tricks, a major tax hike could be waiting for grad students, and giving up your rights when getting a credit card.

6 Reasons There Aren’t Enough Homes for Sale
It’s getting tougher to find a house.

3 Day-Trading Tax Tricks
You could qualify for tax breaks.

Grad Students, Expect a Major Tax Hike If House Tax Plan Passes
College is about to get even more expensive.

Does your credit card force you to give up your rights?
All about arbitration.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Black Friday snafus and the insurance that fixes them. Also in the news: Holiday credit card promotions, how to skip long lines at the airport without spending a dime, and five things you shouldn’t buy on Black Friday.

Black Friday Snafus and the Insurance That Fixes Them
Protect yourself.

Are Holiday Credit Card Promotions Right for You?
Reading the fine print.

Skip Long Lines at the Airport — Without Spending a Dime
What you need to know.

5 things you shouldn’t buy on Black Friday
Hold out for real bargains.