As more and more savvy shoppers log onto the Internet to save time and money, they may want to take a side trip to the newly re-designed version of MasterCard International’s educational web site, Creditalk.com, which features tips and information on credit card and money management.
Just in time for the holidays, Gerri Detweiler, personal finance expert, author, and educational advisor to the Debt Counselors of America, will host two chat sessions in which she will answer specific questions about credit and money management. The chat sessions will be held at [http://www.Creditalk.com] on Friday, December 17, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. EST and again from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. EST.
Detweiler will address a variety of critical money management topics from budgeting basics, to securing your privacy, to avoiding scams and identity theft. The new version of the web site will also contain advice columns authored by Detweiler, excerpts from her new book, Slash Your Debt, and an opportunity to sign up for a free personal finance newsletter.
“With the holidays upon us and the spirit of giving around us, it’s easy to put our personal finances on the back burner,” Detweiler said. “By using the Internet to reach a broad range of consumers and by making the web site more interactive, MasterCard is providing an excellent vehicle for consumers to access information and to ask important questions about managing money. Creditalk.com is useful to anyone who wants to learn how to establish sound spending habits and save money,” she said.
These additions, along with several others coming in the very near future, are designed to broaden the web site’s appeal, according to Catherine Cummings, MasterCard’s Vice President of Consumer Affairs. Creditalk.com has several interactive features, including:
A credit calculator that projects savings made by increased credit card payments; A budget worksheet to create a personalized plan to control spending; Links to credit bureaus to obtain a credit report; Links to consumer sources for credit counseling; and A glossary of terms to explain credit card features, rates and the significance of a credit report.
“We initially developed Creditalk.com to provide younger audiences and new users of credit with information they would need to establish good money management skills,” Cummings said. “With these new enhancements we believe the site is now useful to all kinds of consumers — generally anyone who wants to keep an eye on their finances during a very active time of the year.”
Another upcoming Creditalk.com feature is a link to “Online University,” developed in conjunction with Debt Counselors of America, which houses an interactive financial fitness test. The test serves as an early warning system; by assessing an individual’s money management practices, it can help determine if he or she is headed for financial problems.
“With all of its new features, Creditalk.com is valuable for both the first-time credit user and the experienced credit card holder looking to reduce debt,” Cummings said. “We believe this site has something for everyone, and we will continue to look for ways to make it even more relevant and helpful for card users.”
Creditalk.com is a non-commercial consumer education web site developed by MasterCard International. Links are provided to not-for-profit consumer credit counseling services. Creditalk.com does not include credit card solicitations on its pages.
Gerri Detweiler is a nationally recognized credit and personal finance expert. She is a co-author of Slash Your Debt, Save Money and Secure Your Future (Financial Literacy Center, 1999), a first of its kind book providing consumers with information about how to manage debt, and the author of The Ultimate Credit Handbook (Plume, 1993, revised 1997), which was featured in Money magazine as one of the five best new personal finance books of the year when it was first released. Ms. Detweiler is also the former Executive Director of the non-profit consumer education and advocacy group, Bankcard Holders of America and co-author of Invest in Yourself: Six Secrets to a Rich Life (Wiley, October, 1998). Currently, Ms. Detweiler serves as the education advisor to the Debt Counselors of America, the nation’s first Internet-based non-profit counseling agency.
MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. With 23,000 member financial institutions, serving consumers in 220 countries and territories, MasterCard is the industry leader in quality and innovation. Nearly 700 million MasterCard(R), Maestro(R), Cirrus(R) and Mondex(TM) cards are in circulation today. With more than 16.2 million locations, no card is accepted in more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard card. In 1998, gross dollar volume exceeded $650 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at [http://www.mastercard.com].