Business & Finance » Personal Finance » The Federal Reserve Bank And Your Credit Card

The Federal Reserve Bank And Your Credit Card

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You may get bargains at the store checkout. You may get an award or "cash back" for using your credit card. You may get a store rebate. What you may not get is a low credit card interest rate because the Federal Reserve Bank keeps increasing your borrowing costs. The bench mark interest rate is known as the "prime rate." When the Federal Reserve Bank raises the federal funds rate, your bank will ratchet their prime rate. Your bank's prime rate plus a margin rate your bank charges above prime determines your credit card charges. Many consumers do not want to read the fine print of their bank's credit card agreement. Often confused by the terms, we accept them with gratitude because we can borrow money.

You may not like or even know about Alan Greenspan or his successor. You may dislike all Republicans or harbor disdain for Democrats. Whatever your political leaning, the U.S. government helps to educate and to protect you as a credit card holder. The Federal Reserve Bank raises and lowers rates. It also educates and protects. Education diminishes fear; knowledge gives you courage. Take a look at these free resources:

When the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee increases interest rates, demand for products decreases, When we have money, economic booms increase; when, as buyers, we do not have money, "For Sale" signs blow in the wind. The seven Federal Reserve Bank members bankers study how we spend, what "things" cost, and decide what is best when we buy or sell. During the past year, the Federal Reserve nudged interest rates twelve times.

The Federal Reserve's actions are not keeping us away from store counters. We spend at a frenzied rate. As a result, U.S. citizens have the lowest savings rate in the Western world. Someday our wallets may be squeezed by higher interest rates, expensive gasoline, and home heating costs.

We can become wise customers when we understand the math and the adjectives of advertising and sales. Calculating what the store offers and what you will pay is the math of buying. The sign, "Sale! 50% off until 12 midnight" manipulates you to buy now; this is the adjective of sales. In most instances, this means you use a credit card. Wisdom seeks the shedding of all burdens while celebrating what money cannot purchase and debt cannot take away.

"A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry, and money is the answer for everything." - Ecclesiastes 10:19

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About The Author - A. Raymond Randall

Ray Randall serves clients as a registered investment advisor with his firm, Ethos Advisory Services, Essex, Massachusetts Ethos Advisory Services. He has wide experience within the financial services industry, writes a weekly newsletter for Ethos Advisory Services, and coordinates the developments at

Ray holds a Masters Degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Hamilton, MA. You may call Ray (617-275-5565)

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