Credit-card users will not get a break in high rates


Though overall interest rates have fallen, credit card users won't soon see their finance charges drop.

That's because more cardholders are paying their credit card bills late or are filing for bankruptcy to avoid payment, industry executives said last week at a meeting in Dallas.

"No, [card rates] are not going to come down," said Alex Hart, president of MasterCard International, the San Francisco-based credit card company. "Fraud has virtually doubled in the last year, chargeoffs [amounts a bank believes won't be repaid at all] have risen about 30 percent in that time, and delinquencies are up."

* If you have insurance-related questions, call the National Insurance Consumer Helpline. Trained professionals can advise you on resolving insurance-related disputes. The line is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call (800) 942-4242.


Domestic workers who come to your home and are paid at least per quarter must be treated as employees for tax purposes. This means that you, as an employer, should be withholding state and federal taxes to be remitted quarterly. Failure to comply could bring penalties, but the IRS is not actively pursuing most cheats, said Saul Epstein, of Ernst & Young, an accounting firm.

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