Toy stores are full of specially designed piggy banks promising to teach kids how to save. According to a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Affairs, however, parents may want to hold off on purchasing a brand-new piggy bank -- or opening a savings account in their child's name -- until their kids are old enough to benefit.

While we may not be able to completely deter hackers from going after our digital data, better understanding the threats -- and attacks -- they make against large companies is a good first step to slowing down their progress and federal lawmakers are tackling that task this week.

Some people get less from a degree than they put into it. But you can improve the odds of educational success by looking up a school's default record on student loans.

A family in Lexington, Massachusetts has come up with an unusual game for teaching their 11-year-old son about money: Every month, they hand over a wad of receipts and the family's monthly credit card statements and ask him to look for unusual charges.

While compromised health care data may not specifically include credit card numbers or banking information, this type of breach has the potential to create longer lasting, more significant damage, opening the doors to all sorts of identity theft issues -- medical and financial alike.

Credit card payment protection programs that charge a lot for skimpy benefits have received a thorough shaming from regulators. But some of them still quietly siphon money from the accounts of unwary cardholders.

According to banking executive Kevin Tynan, bankers may be wasting their time worrying about the cash-strapped millennial generation. Millennials don't spend enough to be profitable and they're more likely to change banks if they find one they like better.

A new survey found that millennials are more inclined to use reloadable prepaid cards than other age groups, favoring the payment cards for their budgeting assistance and security perks.

Are you one of the lucky ones getting a tax return this year? Here are four rules for using your extra income in ways you'll enjoy without derailing good financial habits:

Despite the hype surrounding the Apple Watch, Disney's MagicBands are already delivering on the promise of wearable payments -- and more. But there are still glitches.

It's not that I don't trust him. My husband is better at handling money than anyone I know. But I still peek at the card offers he gets, and keep tabs on his bill paying. But that's me -- and the millennial generation, according to a new study from J.P. Morgan Chase. The study says a surprising number of Americans are hiding their credit scores from their partners, and openness about credit matters is associated with age: The younger you are, the more open you are.

It's entirely possible to build a positive credit history by using credit cards while living paycheck-to-paycheck, but you have to tread carefully. Here are five tips to help you do just that:

I've been thinking pretty seriously lately about applying for my first American Express card after receiving some tempting offers. But with all the bad press the card issuer has been getting over the past few months, I'm starting to wonder: Are American Express cards as valuable as they used to be?

A March 2015 study by Principal Financial Group found that 63 percent of millennials started saving for retirement at or before age 25, but less than one-third are saving enough to secure a strong retirement later on.

The convenience checks from my credit union arrived just as I'd been musing about all the things we could do or buy once our savings account again reached critical mass. Temptation beckoned, but then I remembered that convenience comes at a cost.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau intends to issue regulations on prepaid cards' high-priced overdraft loans, so, as usual, it opened up an avenue for public comment. The outcry, however, is far from usual, as more than 500 customers of the prepaid company Netspend -- after some prompting from the company -- flooded the CFPB with comments. Nearly all pleaded to keep their high-priced loans, often with a tinge of desperation.

It's now easier than ever to see your credit score for free thanks to a growing number of credit card providers offering cardholders free scores. But according to a study from the credit bureau TransUnion, access hasn't brought clarity. Despite easier access to their scores, the three-digit numbers still mystify.

Paying down debt too quickly can be just as stressful as holding debt in the first place, or so I recently learned.

The next time you visit a store, think twice about the direction of your gaze when comparing different products. According to a forthcoming study in the Journal of Consumer Research, retailers could influence which products you prefer -- and how much you're willing to pay for them -- simply by placing them higher, or lower, on the shelf.

As the clock for the EMV fraud liability shift deadline ticks away, will your favorite mom-and-pop shop be ready to process your new chip card? Probably not, and numbers show they're not likely to be ready any time soon despite transition-assistance programs.

While clipping coupons and hunting for deals is more fun than sticking to a budget, you'll save more cash if you create a budget before you shop, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Griping to my credit card got me nowhere. Griping to the federal consumer protection bureau got me a $400 credit for rewards that were previously denied.

According to a growing body of research in a field of science called genoeconomics, the size of your bank account -- and the amount of credit card debt you carry -- may be partially determined by your genes.

Even though a recent FICO survey revealed that millennials are more likely to use mobile wallets than other age groups, I'm perfectly happy swiping my old-fashioned plastic cards. Here's why:

Having more money in the bank won't make you feel happier on a day-to-day basis, according to a new study. But it might make you less unhappy -- especially if you have enough cash stashed away to feel like you have some control over your circumstances.

Though we didn't hear it often during his reign as the chain-smoking, bed-haired, cardigan-clad enfant terrible of Seattle's grunge rock scene, a few hoarse chuckles from the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain are no doubt hovering over the latest celebrity online auction. If anything could tickle Cobain's funny bone, it would have been the sight of his old SeaFirst Bank Visa credit card going to the highest bidder at "Legendary: Memorabilia from Rock Gods & Pop Stars," presented by auctioneer Paddle8 through Feb. 26.


They're the pieces of plastic we love, and love to hate. Get the latest news, tips, research and more from the staff.


Other Voices and Blogs

Useful Links

Subscribe to Taking Charge