Why do you apply for a credit card?

What do people want in a credit card? Last fall, Bankrate surveyed 1,803 readers to learn what is important to them when shopping for a credit card. Is it a low interest rate? Great rewards program?We thought we’d share some of the results with you. Do you agree with these cardholders? Back to the 2010 Credit Card Guide table of contents.

Related Articles:What is the best credit card?Find the best credit cardShould you transfer a balance?Plastic Rap blogRelated Links:8 benefits of new credit card lawHow to compare rewards cardsHow can I improve my credit score?Should you get a secured card?How many cards?2 of 8Survey results0 cards: 5%1 card: 23%2 cards: 37%3 cards: 19%4 cards: 9%5 cards: 8%With rumors that credit card issuers may begin to charge an annual fee for cards that are “dormant” or infrequently used, it may be important to rotate several cards on a monthly basis in order to avoid fees.<< Back to the 2010 Credit Card Guide table of contents. [Read the full article]

Haiti’s catastrophe has triggered an outpouring of support for the American Red Cross, which has raised more than $203 million for its Haiti Relief and Development fund in just three weeks, far more than any other charitable organization.

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But, is the American Red Cross worthy of such generosity given its mixed record of performance during the past decade?

After the attack on the World Trade Center, the Red Cross confronted public outrage when the media learned of plans to divert donations to the Red Cross Liberty Disaster Fund for other purposes, forcing the Red Cross to backtrack. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the Red Cross was blamed for poor coordination of relief efforts.

Local Red Cross chapters have been victims of embezzlement. And two years ago the Red Cross had to turn to Congress for a $100 million infusion after its emergency response fund was depleted. [Read the full article]

Humans are programmed for self-preservation. Ironically, that doesn’t mean we’re instinctively inclined toward wealth preservation.

Sure, some people are inveterate savers — reveling in their ability to ignore consumerism and sock away 30% of their gross income. But then there are the rest of us, who manage to sock away just 4% of our income, according to recent savings rate figures.

We all know better. We might even think, right as we open our wallets, “I really should max out my IRA before I buy this dress/tool/Clapper, but I … can’t … stop …”

If consumption control is a problem for you, or you just haven’t developed the habit of saving, here are some tricks you can use to increase your net worth.

Trick No. 1: Hide it before you can spend it.Out of sight is out of mind. When it comes to money, out of sight means in the bank — and in sight eventually means out of the wallet.

So, put your money out of reach before you can spend it. [Read the full article]

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Signs of strength in the housing market pushed the Dow Jones industrial average to its second straight gain of more than 100 points.

An increase in the number of people with contracts to buy homes and the first profit at homebuilder D.R. Horton in three years raised hopes that one of the weakest parts of the economy is improving.

The Dow rose 111 points Tuesday, boosting its two-day gain to 230 points and extending a recovery from a slide in January. It was the biggest back-to-back advance for the Dow in three months.

The National Association of Realtors, a trade group, said its index of sale contracts rose 1 percent in December. It was the ninth improvement over the past 10 months as buyers scrambled to take advantage of a first-time homebuyer tax credit before it was set to expire in November. [Read the full article]

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