Banks get stingy with credit card rewards, but maybe that's good for your wallet

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Faced with mounting writedowns, credit card issuers are looking to cut costs any way that they can.

According to The Associated Press, "Just as interest in cashing in points for the latest iPod model or airline tickets is likely to ratchet up, the banks that issue cards are making it harder to redeem those points."

Now you'll have to spend more money to get rewards.

But that's not such a bad thing: Studies have shown that paying with a credit card induces shoppers to spend more money and rewards programs exacerbate that. There are a few people who are so disciplined in their spending that rewards won't make them overspend but think about it: The banks spend billions on these reward programs because they make it up in increased revenue.

The best solution is to forget about the rewards programs and get a card with no fees (Use BankRate.com to find one) and, if you must carry a balance, a low interest rate. Pay for stuff with cold hard cash whenever you can.

The savings you'll get from that will provide you with more than enough money to buy that iPod.
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