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Visa 4Q profit rises 14 percent on heavy card use

Increased use of debit and credit cards throughout the world pushed Visa Inc.'s fiscal fourth-quarter profit up 14 percent. But its quarterly revenue came in shy of Wall Street expectations, in part because because the company has been cutting deals with merchants to hold onto or attract business as it tries to cope with new regulations.

Financial Trick or Treat: Sweet Deals, Scary Mistakes

The world of personal finance is a lot like Halloween: Filled with treats if you're good (and clever), but rife with tricks if you're not careful. Here's some savvy advice that will keep your money tree from getting TPed, and help you bring home a pumpkin full of sweet rewards.

Should You Cash in an Annuity to Pay Off Your Debts?

Stacy is on a fixed income. She could free up more cash if she paid off her credit cards and mortgage. Should she cash in an annuity to make that happen? DailyFinance's Laura Rowley explains the key factor Stacy should consider in making the decision.

Transfer Your Credit Card Balance Right Now

Cheap credit is making a comeback, at least for some people: Credit card companies' fierce competition for new, low-risk customers has them ramping up their 0% interest rate offers again, and offering those teaser rates for longer. So if you have the FICO score to qualify, it's time to take advantage.

A Reader Asks: How Can I Increase My Credit Limit?

A reader named Crystal wanted to increase the limit on her credit card, but got denied -- and she found the explanation the card company gave her cryptic. DailyFinance's Laura Rowley decodes the message and offers tips on accessing credit.

Will the Layaway Revival Come Back to Bite Retailers?

Layaway became obsolete in the bubble years, an anachronism from bygone times when many consumers couldn't access credit. In today's rough economy, layaway is making a comeback for the holidays. But for investors who hold certain retail stocks, this may mean lumps of coal in their portfolios.

What to Do When Credit Card Bills Devour Your Paycheck

Credit card debt is tough to avoid -- and tougher to escape. We received an email from a reader who owes $20,000 on her cards, and spends a third of her income on those payments. Credit expert John Ulzheimer offers a legitimate method for her to reduce monthly costs and get out of the red.

How to Score the Right Credit Card for You

Credit card banks know plenty about you -- but what do you really know about them? CreditKarma.com wants to give you the inside scoop on which cards cater to whom, so you'll be able to find the best fit for you -- and avoid having your credit report dinged by turn-downs.

Helping a Caregiver Climb Out of Debt

Joe did right by his mother in her declining years, but half a decade of expensive care for her has left the 53-year-old in a financially precarious position. Money and Happiness columnist Laura Rowley offers him a step-by-step plan to get out of debt and back on track for his own retirement.

Paying Off Our Plastic Is Killing the Economy

Here's the good news: American consumers are finally starting to reduce their reliance on credit and pay off their high-interest debt -- a positive development for their financial futures. The bad news: More money in people's pockets means less overall spending in the economy, which desperately needs the cash right now. How might the tension be resolved?

Americans Ring Up 'Mind Boggling' Debt in Q2

Habits are hard to break: Just when you think you're firmly in control, you backslide again. According to CardHub.com, U.S. consumers accumulated a staggering $18.4 billion in credit card debt in the second quarter -- 66% more than they accumulated in the same quarter a year ago.

Advice for a Compulsive Shopper

A compulsive shopper splurges on her credit cards and then hides the purchases from her spouse. She wants to stop. Dr. David Krueger, a former psychiatrist and author of the new book "The Secret Language of Money offers" some advice.

What to Do First: Save or Pay Down Your Debts?

For many households, it's a personal fiance dilemma: Should they try to pay down debt first, or build up savings? In the aftermath of the Great Recession, opinions have clearly tipped toward the ditch-your-debt side. But that's not always the right answer.

Online Pawn Shop Polishes Up an Old Lending Idea

Two-year-old Pawngo bills itself as a more upscale pawnshop for the digital age, catering to a new breed of pawn customer -- not desperate, just temporarily cash-strapped. The company wants to dispel the stereotype of sketchy storefronts dealing in fenced goods -- and so far, it has had a fair amount of success.

Less Need Now to Read Your Credit Card's Fine Print

It appears that complaints from consumers and regulators about the lack of credit card transparency at banks have not fallen on deaf ears. According to CardHub.com's 2011 Credit Card Application Study, the 10 biggest issuers of plastic have significantly improved transparency this year.

Are You Photoshopping Your Finances?

It's one thing to use Photoshop to make your waistline look slimmer in your snapshots. Many people also take a distorted view of their finances, fooling themselves about the health of their balance sheets. Here are some common self-deceptions.

How to Dig Yourself Out of Credit Card Debt

U.S. credit card debt shrank 5% in the second quarter from a year ago, approaching 10-year lows. It's not just due to banks, which have written off uncollectible debts. Consumers have been taking control of their finances, tightening their belts and working second jobs to pay off their credit card bills.

Keeping Your Credit Card Numbers Safe

With all the hackers in the headlines, you might be feeling more hesitant to offer up your credit card numbers while doing your online shopping. Virtual credit-card numbers, provided by many banks and credit-card issuers for free, can help. Here's how to use them -- and why you should still remain vigilant about checking your account if you do.

How to Avoid Credit Card Fees on Utility Bills

It's summer, a season of warm days and scary air-conditioning bills. Want to pay your bills with plastic so you can get reward points? Well, the credit-card fees utilities charge could change your mind. SmartCharge offers some customers a way to avoid those fees.

How Paying the Wrong Bills Costs You Money

Should you pay the last $100 on credit card with 10% annual interest, or $100 of a card with $1,000 and 15% interest? Paying off higher-interest card first saves you money, but consumers often choose to close out cards with the smallest balance anyway.

Money 101: How to Save Cash in College

With college costs rising, it's more important than ever for students to be financially savvy. Here are 15 things you need to know to graduate with a bank account at the top of your class.

Prepaid Cards: Which Ones Are Worth the Fees

CardHub.com recently put five of the most well-known prepaid card issuers under the microscope to see how useful their products are based on fees and features. Which offers the best deal? The answer might surprise you. But the real question is should you use a prepaid card at all.

How Colleges Are Still Getting Rich Off Your Kids

For years, credit card companies have targeted college students to gain access to a lucrative source of profits: student debt. And despite laws designed to stop the practice, colleges and universities are still taking huge payments from card companies -- at your kids' expense.

Citi's No-Penalty, No-Fee Card: What's the Catch?

Citigroup announced Monday its new no-fee, no-penalty Simplicity credit card, designed for the very creditworthy person who might once in a while forget to make a payment on time. No gotchas in your credit card bill sounds like a great idea, right? Well ... maybe.

Can't Get Credit? You May Be Living in the Wrong State

Credit is ever so personal, and ultimately it's your responsibility -- but it's not solely about you. Your state's creditworthiness can impact you too. For that reason, CardRatings.com's recently released rankings of the 10 Best and Worst States for Consumer Credit is worth a look-see.

Five Reasons You Shouldn't Cut Up Your Credit Cards

Recently, Wall Street Journal columnist Brett Arends wrote about how he's giving up credit cards and going all cash. He cited some compelling advantages to dumping his plastic, but it may not be right for you. Here are five things you give up by switching to an all-cash lifestyle:

The Do's and Don'ts of Credit Card Balance Transfers

If your credit is great, or even just in fairly decent shape, you may regularly receive offers for credit card balance transfers in the mail. But whether or not you should accept a balance transfer deal depends on many factors.