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Have a credit card you haven't used in the last year or so? It might be canceled.
Numerous credit card companies are cutting costs by closing accounts due to inactivity, and they're doing it without warning.
Can this ding your credit score? The simple answer is: Yep.
"This is their legal right, but it can also negatively affect your credit score," Jonathan at My Money Blog reports.
Great. That's all you need right now, with more lenders
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Here's what Jonathan suggests you do (but first read his explanation of how your credit score is calculated, as well as this MSN Money story, which details new changes to the FICO credit score):

  • Review your credit card information. If you think you may have accounts you've lost track of, a free credit report from will show which accounts are still open.

  • Rank them. Jonathan writes that "credit cards with high limits and long histories are the best. Newer credit cards with low limits are least important" to your credit score.

  • Use the cards you want to keep. We don't suggest you run to the mall. Use the cards to pay regular bills or to buy gas -- and pay off what you owe each month.

Jonathan suggests you may be better off canceling the cards you don't want to keep, heading the credit card companies off at the pass. He says it may look better to lenders who pull your credit reports to read "closed by consumer" rather than "closed by creditor."
If an account you want to keep has been closed, Jason at Frugal Dad says you can call and ask that it be reopened.
Related reading:
New threats to credit scores
Credit card cutbacks hit consumers hard
Feds ban ‘unfair' credit card rules
New Citi rates: Should you opt out?
TradingMarkets contributing writer Keith O'Toole describes the long term fallacy of trading Forex with too little knowledge, and discusses ways traders can broaden their sources of trading information for maximum benefit.
The big question you need to probe when a money manager is having a really rough patch is whether it's more than a one-time event. Here's why I kept a manager and am glad I did.

The news continues to be apocalyptic for retailers as newfound consumer frugality leaves many with no choice but bankruptcy.
According to the Commerce Department, retail sa
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les fell for the sixth consecutive month in December. Excluding autos, sales were down 3.1% month-over-month and 6.7% year-over-year. The fall was more than twice the consensus estimate. Excluding autos and gasoline, the drop was a slightly more respectable 1.5%.
Philippa Dunne of the Liscio Report notes that December's results are the worst since 1947 (mirroring last week's similarly horrible employment data). John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics knows window dressing when he sees it: "Horrendously negative numbers would have been even worse but for the muting effects of downward revisions to prior-period reporting."
With weak revenue, pinched profitability, and swollen inventories, many retailers simply cannot bear the pressure any longer. Clothing chain Gottschalks (GOTT) has filed for bankruptcy protection with plans to restructure. Privately held Goody's, which was desperately fighting for survival after a Chapter 11 filing back in June, has decided to call it quits and liquidate all of its 282 stores. A total of 8,200 people will likely lose their jobs as the 50-year-old retailer closes its doors forever.
Things could have been a lot worse. Of the $9.4 billion cumulative sales drop between November and December, more than half was due to the rapid fall in retail gas prices. Breaking the results down by category, building materials and garden equipment was hit the hardest (as you would expect), with sales down nearly 3%. Clothing sales fell 2.5%. Electronics sales were down 1%.
So where do we go from here? In the near-term, there is no question that losses from inventory liquidation will continue. The Commerce Department reported that business inventories in November, though down a slightly from October, have swelled 3.3% compared to last year. With sales falling off a cliff, the inventories/sales ratio has spiked.

With a 1.58 reading, retailers have the most inventory stock relative to sales at the moment. Before companies in this sector can recover, this ratio must start heading down. It will be a fight for survival as mall anchors, specialty stores, and discount shops use hard discounts to attract a dwindling supply of consumer dollars. In other words, profitability isn't coming back anytime soon.
Contrarian investors should continue to look for well capitalized companies that can go to market with a strong value message and snatch market share from fallen competitors. See my previous post for a few ideas. Those looking for short ideas should check out this piece on which retailers are likely to enter bankruptcy next. Bon-Ton Stores (BONT) looks especially vulnerable.  
Disclosure: The author does not own or control shares in any of the companies mentioned.
Anthony Mirhaydari is a contributor to the Strategic Advantage investment newsletter. He can be contacted at [email protected]. Feel free to comment below.
Related reading:
Macy's turns out the lights
Holiday 2008: The kiss of death for retailers
JC Penney boss gets stock bonus; workers stay up late
A year to remember: 6,100 stores closed
You may be on the verge of becoming a major victim of identity theft if small charges you can't account for -- often under a dollar -- appear on your credit card.
Blogger Andrea luckily noticed some strange charges when she reviewed a rarely used credit card account online. She described how she thwarted identity thieve
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s in a post at Fools and Sages.
Andrea explained that the crooks may have been testing the waters -- if the small charge goes through, they'll go on a major spending spree. Sometimes, she said, thieves accumulate a lot of loot by making small charges on thousands of cards.
(She said this should not to be confused with legitimate services that make a small charge -- and then refund it -- when you sign up.)
In Andrea's case, she happened to check the account to review reward points. "Imagine my surprise when two charges showed up. Neither was huge. I think one was around $20 and one was $10," she said. (In fact, one was for a green-tea supplement that was actually delivered to her house.)
Andrea called the merchants to report the problem and have the money returned. She also reported the theft to the credit card company. "Had I not caught it pretty much the same day that it happened, within a week there would have been charges probably in the thousands of dollars range ...," she wrote. (Consumers in such cases are responsible for only the first $50, if that. The royal pain is straightening out the mess and repairing any damage to your credit.)
How can you prevent this? You probably can't, she said. But you can limit the potential damage. Sign up for online access to your credit card accounts and monitor them once a week. Make sure your computer connection is secure and that the computer's firewall and other security are up-to-date.
Related reading:
Tough times are ripe for ID theft
Will new rules stem identity theft?
Identity protection: Worth paying for?
Should you freeze your credit report?
The market's a mess, but this corner of the investing world offers superlative returns. And you can keep the bonds' extra risk in check by investing through funds.
I'm exiting my position in the yen as the US market rallies. But cash remains a fine safety net for investors.
You can't control the stock market or fix the credit crunch, but there's still plenty that you can do to get into better financial shape for the coming year.
"NCN" at No Credit Needed has been debt-free for three years. Now a friend of his has taken up the challenge. By way of inspiration, NCN penned "20 things that rock about being debt-free."
We have a friend who has decided to do the same thing, and we're going to share NCN's 20 reasons with him. H
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opefully freedom from debt is catching on.
Honestly, don't these sound attractive? No more credit card fees and finance charges, and who cares if the credit card companies increase their rates. Plus, NCN no longer dreads opening the mail. Interest, after all, is something he earns, not something he pays.
He can make big plans, buy nicer things for his wife, serve as a role model for his kids, and donate time and money to help others. Financial security is real, and his peace of mind has immeasurable value. (Notice we didn't say "is priceless"?)
Read his entire post to see all 20. But this is essential: He's also learned how not to go back into debt. He writes: "I am now acutely aware of the value of a dollar. In the past, if I could make payments, I could afford it. Now, if I can't pay for it, I can't afford it. This basic shift in thought has radically changed my life."
Need more inspiration or feel the urge to be creative? Take up Frugal Dad's challenge to explain why you hate debt in five words or less. NCN wrote, "Limits freedom, binds to past." "It robs my children," wrote DoodlesPlace.
Related reading:
The worst kind of debt: Charging the groceries
You can live without borrowing money
9 money rules to live by
How we paid off $30,000 of debt
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