Walter B. McKenzie_digital vision_GettyImages

Walter B. McKenzie_digital vision_GettyImages

You know the drill. When a new credit card arrives in the mail, you have to activate it before you use it. That means calling the number or visiting the website on the sticker and then entering the account number and other verification information.

But come consumers are reporting that they’ve received live, sticker-less cards in the mail; these pre-activated cards are usable straight out of the envelope. One of our employees received the Chase Sapphire Reserve pre-activated, for example.

We reached out to issuers to learn about their policies – and to identity-theft experts to see how worried you should be about a live card landing in your mailbox.

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Gas stations get a break on EMV chip compliance

"paying for gas, small DOF. Other images from this series:"


2017 was supposed to be the year that fueling stations would be required to join other merchants and upgrade their pumps’ card readers for EMV — or pay for fraudulent transactions. The deadline was Oct. 2017. But Visa and MasterCard (who call the shots when it comes to the EMV transition) have pushed that deadline back three years to Oct. 1, 2020.
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Can you check your credit report without hurting your score?

The following post is a guest blog by Stacy B. Miller of Want to write a guest blog for us? Read our guidelines.

checking credit reportDo you avoid checking your credit report in fear of hurting your credit score? If so, here’s some good news — you can check your credit report without lowering your score.

In fact, you can check your credit reports as many times you want. It won’t affect your credit score — at least negatively. Rather, you’ll get a chance to improve your score.
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Avianca LifeMiles credit cards review

Our ratings

Vida card ($59 annual fee)
2.5 stars 2.5/5

Avianca planeVuela card ($149 annual fee)
3 stars3/5

See explanation of our ratings system

See breakdown of these cards’ ratings

Avianca (the Columbian airline that primarily serves Latin America) severed ties with U.S. Bank, its former U.S. issuing partner, in mid-2016. In Nov. 2016, it announced two new cards for U.S. consumers – this time issued by Puerto Rican bank Banco Popular.

In this review, we’ll go over the benefits of both products to help you decide if they’re worth adding to your collection.
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Can I lock my credit card if I misplace it?

Locked credit cardsYour card isn’t in your wallet where you thought it was, and now you have a dilemma. Either you call the bank immediately and cancel it (only to inevitably find it in your coat pocket an hour later), or you retrace your steps to search for it while buying a potential thief more time to take your card shopping.

Luckily, a growing number of banks understand this predicament and are giving cardholders the ability to remotely lock and unlock their cards via their banking apps. Card missing? Turn it off (to block new purchases) while you hunt for it. Find it? Turn it back on (no need to request a replacement).

Read on for a list of cards that have an on-off switch.
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