Graduating Secured Credit Cards to Full Featured Products

In Mercator Advisory Group’s research on secured cards, we noted how the market changed since the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act) eliminated a series of unfair practices. Before the regulation, the market was filled with hard money lenders who took advantage of borrowers with sky-high interest rates and even worse junk fees. Things like application fees, activation fees, and risk fees tainted the product. The CARD Act cleaned up the business, and now top lenders, from Bank of America, Chase, Discover, and US Bank, offer worthwhile cards, with interest rates ranging from 11.65% to 24.99%, and reasonable, in-range fees.  Mastercard and Visa also came out with more rigorous standards for their franchisees. We peg the U.S. market at almost 5 million cards today, with the potential to embrace 500 percent more, given the number of low-banked, underbanked, and unbanked in the market. Working in credit for decades often brings friends and acquaintances with questions about “what is the best card for me to get?” Many times my answer is something along the lines of a Chase Freedom card, which I like because it carries an excellent reward str...

How to use the Shop feature on Instagram to buy products

If you are a frequent Instagram user, chances are you may have noticed some posts in your feed with a small shopping bag icon, tucked in the lower left-hand corner.  This is Instagram’s Shop feature, which includes products offered by hundreds of brands and retailers across the world — and it’s a wise investment from the social media platform.   Analysts told Business Insider that Instagram’s move to shopping will be so successful that it will generate $10 billion in revenue by 2021. Using the Shop feature is easy, too. Any post with a shopping bag icon has a product or products linked to it — just tap on the product name, and you’re taken to the description page where you can save it for later, or buy it now.  Some products are available to purchase without even leaving the app, while others take you to the retailer’s website to finalize the transaction.  Some retailers partner with Instagram to provide a check-out process within the app. Most of those retailers are featured on Instagram’s @shop account.  Instagram’s @shop account features many retailers that have items available for purchase on the app. Meira Gebel/Business Insider 2....

This story was written in collaboration with Forbes Finds. Forbes Finds covers products we think you’ll love. Featured

This story was written in collaboration with Forbes Finds. Forbes Finds covers products we think you’ll love. Featured products are independently selected and linked to for your convenience. If you buy something using a link on this page, Forbes may receive a small share of that sale. Yes, St. Barth has some superb hotels. But to truly appreciate the laid-back glamour and jet-set lifestyle of the Caribbean’s most luxurious island, it’s best to settle into a villa. These little private oases will do the trick just fine. Like the nearby Le Sereno hotel, these three magnificent villas were designed by Parisian legend Christian Liaigre. Each one has more than 7,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space and a private pool, all with dramatic views of the beach and the at Grand Cul de Sac. The villas provide ample privacy, but their guests also have access to the swimming pool and gourmet restaurant, as well as hotel services like butlers and concierges. The colorful, modern terrace that stretches the length of Villa Utopic and overlooks Gustavia Harbor is one of the prime selling points. In general, it’s an eye-catching luxury home for up to six guests built into the cliffs above C...

Twitch Is Celebrating Prime Day With a 2-Day Live Shopping Show

Livestreaming platform and Amazon subsidiary Twitch is hosting a live shopping show for its “favorite made-up holiday,” Prime Day, on its Twitch Presents channel, which it said “promises to be unlike anything you’ve ever witnessed…but, like, in a good way.” The two-day program, Twitch Sells Out, will stream two 12-hour broadcasts each day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. PT. It will be hosted by “(almost all of) our biggest streamers,” who will feature deals on gaming, electronics, kitchenware and related products—and who Twitch claimed are now “locked in a windowless room watching an almost unhealthy amount of infomercials to get ready.” “We’ve gone through every single item on sale for Prime Day and curated the best of the best for the Twitch community,” Twitch said in a blog post. A spokesperson said Twitch had no numbers to share. Content will also include “previously unseen demos and gameplay from some of the most anticipated video game releases of the year.” And the platform will even “shine the spotlight on some of Prime Day’s more…unusual items for sale,” the blog post read, teasing, “You’ll just have to tune in to see what we mean.” Customers will be able to buy directly from t...