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Prepaid Cards for Teens:
Tool or Trap?

Prepaid credit cards are marketed as a great tool for training teens about credit. But critics point to a long list of steep fees and penalties. That leaves parents to figure out if the credit lessons are worth the money. Here's what to consider before buying that card.

December Sales Will Warm Merchants' Hearts

Shoppers didn't disappoint merchants, buying presents at both low- and high-end prices, from jewelry to shoes. Most analysts predict sales will show year-over-year increases of 3% to 4% on Thursday, when major chains post December figures and holiday totals.

The Early Line on Holiday Retail Sales: Up a Merry 5.5%

Shoppers did their part this holiday season, spending more on clothes, jewelry and luxury items than last year, according to new sales tallies from MasterCard SpendingPulse, which tracks purchases by credit card, cash and other payment systems.

Consumers May Get Hit With Higher Debit Card Fees

New rules proposed by the Fed for debit card transactions may mean that consumers end up paying much more for using their cards, while big retailers save billions. The proposed rules would sharply limit the transaction fees sellers have paid, which could push banks to recoup that money directly from buyers.

MasterCard and Visa May Face Legal Battle Over WikiLeaks

MasterCard (MA) and Visa (V) may face a legal challenge to their decision to cut ties with WikiLeaks DataCell, a data-hosting company based in Iceland, says that the two companies%u2019 refusal to process donations to WikiLeaks are costing it revenue. DataCell had previously facilitated the donations.

More People Repaid Credit Card Debt in October

U.S. credit card delinquencies fell in October to the lowest levels of the year as more people were able to restart payments on their consumer debt, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing company filings.

Amex Sued by Feds for Anticompetitive Merchant Rules

The Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against American Express Monday, alleging that the financial institution has been engaging in anticompetitive practices. Justice also said it reached a proposed settlement with Visa and MasterCard over similar charges.

Visa, MasterCard Close to Antitrust Settlement

Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) are close to settling an antitrust case with the Justice Department over credit-card acceptance rules, The Wall Street Journal reported. The settlement could allow merchants to steer customers towards cheaper forms of payment, a setback for a credit card industry that is already gearing up for new regulation, The Wall Street Journal said without naming its sources.

Credit Card Debt Plunges 13.4% in Second Quarter

Credit card debt fell sharply in the second quarter as more consumers paid down debts. Average credit card debt fell 13.4% to $4,951 in the second quarter, the lowest since 2002, analysis company TransUnion said in a statement. The state with the highest average credit card debt was Alaska, with $7,148. The lowest was in Iowa, with $3,792.

AT&T and Verizon to Take on MasterCard and Visa

AT&T and Verizon Wireless are planning a big move into wireless electronic payments, a sector currently dominated by PayPal, Visa, MasterCard and American Express. The plan comes as mobile carriers look for more ways to make money in the U.S. as subscription growth slows.

Weekly Preview: What to Watch for in Earnings

After the crunch of quarterly reports over the past two weeks, things will be fairly quiet on the earnings front Monday, with Loews and Vulcan Materials the key names reporting. But the crush resumes Tuesday, with reports from Coach, MasterCard, Molson Coors, Pfizer and Parker Hannifin.

Goodbye Credit Cards, Hello Smartphones

The smartphone revolution is about to upend another business: credit card processing. With Google's new Android app that allows you to literally pay by phone, and Square's new hardware that turns any iPhone into a transaction processor, your plastic could become obsolete.

Banks May Have 12 Years to Implement Volcker Rule

Banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. may have as long as 12 years to cut their stakes in private-equity units and hedge funds under the new financial reform bill, Bloomberg News reported. The time-frame in the bill, combined with provisions that would allow banks to apply for extensions, make it unclear exactly how quickly banks would have to reduce their investments. Estimates cited by Bloomberg News range from seven years to 12 years.

Congress Steps Up the Battle Over Card 'Swipe Fees'

An increasingly heated debate about so-called swipe fees, the estimated $48 billion that merchants pay to banks and credit card companies for the use of those ubiquitous debit card terminals, is taking place in Congress as it considers a package of reforms that could limit how much merchants can be charged for debit card transactions.