Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Insurers turn to technology to woo drivers. Also in the news: Beemers, Benzes and other luxury used-car bargains, 7 tactics to help car-buying newbies bargain like a boss, and credit cards still charge interest after you die.

Insurers Turn to Technology to Woo Drivers
Gadgets that can keep your rates down.

Beemers, Benzes and Other Luxury Used-Car Bargains
Luxury for less.

7 Tactics to Help Car-Buying Newbies Bargain Like a Boss
Don’t let them see you sweat.

Credit Cards Still Charge Interest After You Die
Inescapable interest.

Q&A: Do credit scores punish you for not carrying debt?

Dear Liz: I am fortunate to be able to afford homeownership without having to obtain a mortgage. The same is true of owning cars without a car loan. I pay my credit card bills in full each month. In short, I do not carry any debt.

However, it seems to me that I am being “punished” by not carrying a load of debt. My credit score is reduced by this lack of debt and I am wondering why this is.

Answer: The most commonly used credit scores don’t “know” if you’re carrying credit card debt or not. The balances used in credit score calculations are the balances the card issuers report to the bureaus on a given day (often your statement balances). You could pay the balance off the next day, or carry it for the next month, and it would have no impact on your scores.

A small part of credit scoring formulas measure your mix of credit, or whether you have both revolving accounts (such as credit cards) and installment loans (mortgages, car loans, student loans, etc.) You may get higher scores if you added an installment loan to your mix. If your scores are low, it can be worth adding a small personal loan to boost them. If your scores are good, though, it may not be worth the effort and interest expense.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: This could be the biggest blow to your retirement. Also in the news: How one couple ditched their debt, why good credit is essential when remodeling a home, and how to apply for a credit card with no credit.

This Could Be the Biggest Blow to Your Retirement
The battle with healthcare costs.

How I Ditched Debt: ‘It Became Like a Game to Us’
One couple’s story.

Remodeling Your Home? Good Credit Offers a Strong Foundation
The better the credit, the better the offers.

How to Apply for a Credit Card With No Credit Score
Exploring the options.

Q&A: Credit freeze may be inconvenient, but it’s effective

Dear Liz: Is freezing one’s credit reports the safest bet even though it’s inconvenient to get it temporarily unfrozen? Plus you have to pay a fee. At my son’s urging, I had my credit reports frozen since the Equifax incident but I find it very inconvenient whenever some financial firms need to look into my credit score.

Answer: Credit freezes remain the best way to prevent new account fraud, which is when criminals open up bogus credit accounts in your name.

It is somewhat inconvenient to have to remember to thaw the freezes when you apply for credit or other services, and you have to keep track of the personal identification numbers (PINs) that allow you to do so.

The good news is that the fees for instituting and thawing freezes will go away as of Sept. 21. The Dodd-Frank reform that Congress passed this spring included a clause requiring credit bureaus to waive those fees.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How your credit card can help you save on summer travel. Also in the news: 7 steps to save on hardwood flooring costs, how not to be a knucklehead on Venmo, and how to boost your benefits at work.

How Your Credit Card Can Help You Save on Summer Travel
Using credit card rewards to pay for vacation.

7 Steps to Save on Hardwood Flooring Costs
How to keep your budget grounded.

How Not to Be a Knucklehead on Venmo
Don’t make things uncomfortable.

Boosting your benefits
Don’t leave money on the table.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: The benefits of a just-for-debt credit card. Also in the news: July’s stock market outlook, bogus organic fruit, and how long it takes your credit score to recover from a drastic drop.

Just-for-Debt Credit Card: It Has One Job
Use this card for only one thing.

Stock Market Outlook: A Market That Giveth and Taketh Away
Buckle your seat belts.

$6 Million in Bogus Organic Fruit Sold to U.S., Costa Rican Report Finds
Bogus pineapples fill the shelves.

How Long It Takes Your Credit Score to Recover from a Drastic Drop
Be prepared to wait.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Impact investing – using your dollars to make change. Also in the news: How Alexa and Google can aid in your travel planning, 5 ways to save at summer music festivals, and how your credit card APR could double.

Impact Investing: Using Your Dollars to Make Change
Connecting your dollar with your values.

How Alexa and Google Assistant Can Aid Your Travel Planning
Putting your digital assistants to work.

5 Ways to Save at Summer Music Festivals
No more $12.00 bottles of water.

How Your Credit Card APR Could Double

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Your store credit card wants to be your everyday card. Also in the news: Weathering life’s storms with an affordable disaster kit, how to wring the most business value from a personal loan, and which industries could feel the bite of a trade war.

Your Store Credit Card Wants to Be Your Everyday Card
Making the rewards more enticing.

Weather Life’s Storms With an Affordable Disaster Kit
Don’t be caught unprepared.

How to Wring the Most Business Value From a Personal Loan
Making a personal loan pay off.

These U.S. industries could feel the bite of a trade war
Is yours one of them?

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to break free from credit card inertia. Also in the news: How to travel like a minimalist and save big, paring down the price of a move to a new state, and the 401(k) fees you need to know.

How to Break Free of Credit Card Inertia
Evaluating your cards.

Travel Like a Minimalist and Save Big
Avoid the tourist traps.

Pare Down the Price of a Move to a New State
Cutting costs each step of the way.

401(k) Fees You Need to Know
Tracking the fees charged by your mutual fund manager.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What is synthetic identity theft? Also in the news: The top 5 places to invest in for new grads, why more credit cards are helping you speed through airport security, and what you don’t know about foreign transaction fees.

What Is Synthetic Identity Theft?
Imaginary applicants with very real data.

New Grads: Here Are the Top 5 Places to Invest
Where to put your money.

Why More Credit Cards Help You Speed Through Airport Security
Skipping those long TSA lines.

What You Don’t Know About Foreign Transaction Fees
All of your overseas purchases could be racking up fees.