Money Minute: Target Takes Aim at New Card Technology

Target moves to a new technology to protect consumers from having their personal information stolen again.

Target (TGT) is still trying to recover from the loss of consumer confidence after the security breach last year that affected about 100 million customers. It will become the first major American retailer to adopt a credit card technology that's popular in Europe. Turn over your credit or debit card and look at the magnetic strip along the back. Well, that's going away. It will be replaced next year by a chip and PIN system considered far more secure. The chip makes it harder to make counterfeits and the PIN makes it more difficult for a thief to use your card. Target is also switching to MasterCard (MA) from Visa (V).

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Target's main rival, Walmart Stores (WMT), is also making news. It's going into the car insurance business -– teaming up with the website, which allows consumers to comparison shop among six insurance carriers. This is Walmart's second foray into financial services this month. It also plans to offer store-to-store money transfers.

Sprint (S) and a group of partners are working on a new product to appeal to audiophiles who are unhappy with the sound quality of the music they get from their Apple (AAPL) iPods and other music players. HTC makes the smartphone and audio equipment company Harmon restores the highs and lows lost when music is compressed on current devices. And the new HTC One will come pre-loaded with Spotify's music streaming service.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 86 points Tuesday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) added 9, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) gained 29 points. Both the Dow and S&P are within 1 percent of their all-time highs.

Watch shares of Twitter (TWTR) today. The little blue bird is likely to get crushed after the company reported disappointing growth in the number of people using the messaging service, and when you're supposed to be a growth company, that's trouble. Twitter shares are far below where they began trading back in November.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

10 Easy Ways to Pay Off Debt
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Money Minute: Target Takes Aim at New Card Technology
"Your daily habits and routines are the reason you got into this mess," writes Trent Hamm, founder of "Spend some time thinking about how you spend money each day, each week and each month." Do you really need your daily latte? Can you bring your lunch to work instead of buying it four times a week? Ask yourself: What can I change without sacrificing my lifestyle too much? 
Remove all credit cards from your wallet and leave them at home when you go shopping, advises WiseBread contributor Sabah Karimi. “Even if you earn cash back or other rewards with credit card purchases, stop spending with your credit cards until you have your finances under control,” she writes.
If you do a lot of online shopping at one retailer, you may have stored your credit card information on the site to make the checkout process easier. But that also makes it easier to charge items you don't need. So clear that information. "If you’re paying for a recurring service, use a debit card issued from a major credit card service linked to your checking account," Hamm writes.  
Reward yourself when you reach debt payoff goals. "The only way to completely pay off your credit card debt is to keep at it, and to do that, you must keep yourself motivated," Bakke writes. Just make sure to reward yourself within reason. For example, instead of a weeklong vacation, plan a weekend camping trip. "If you aim to reduce your credit card debt from $10,000 to $5,000 in two months," Bakke writes, "give yourself more than a pat on the back." 
“Establish a budget,” writes Money Crashers contributor David Bakke. “If you don't scale back your spending, you'll dig yourself into a deeper hole." You can use personal finance tools like, or make your own Excel spreadsheet that includes your monthly income and expenses. Then scrutinize those budget categories to see where you can cut costs.    
Sort your credit card interest rates from highest to lowest, then tackle the card with the highest rate first. "By paying off the balance with the highest interest first, you increase your payment on the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate while continuing to make the minimum payment on the rest of your credit cards," writes spokeswoman Hitha Prabhakar.
To make a dent in your debt, you need to pay more than the minimum balance on your credit card statements each month. "Paying the minimum -– usually 2 to 3 percent of the outstanding balance -– only prolongs a debt payoff strategy," Prabhakar writes. "Strengthen your commitment to pay everything off by making weekly, instead of monthly, payments." Or if your minimum payment is $100, try doubling it and paying off $200 or more. 
If you have a high-interest card with a balance that you’re confident you can pay off in a few months, Hamm recommends moving the debt to a card that offers a zero-interest balance transfer. "You’ll need to pay off the debt before the balance transfer expires, or else you’re often hit with a much higher interest rate," he warns. "If you do it carefully, you can save hundreds on interest this way."
Have any birthday gifts or old wedding presents collecting dust in your closet? Look for items you can sell on eBay or Craigslist. "Do some research to make sure you list these items at a fair and reasonable price," Karimi writes. “Take quality photos, and write an attention-grabbing headline and description to sell the item as quickly as possible." Any profits from sales should go toward your debt. 
If you receive a job bonus around the holidays or during the year, allocate that money toward your debt payoff plan. "Avoid the temptation to spend that bonus on a vacation or other luxury purchase," Karimi writes. It’s more important to fix your financial situation than own the latest designer bag.
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