This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Superstorm Sandy Can Teach Us Some Valuable Credit Card Lessons.

With everyone focused on Hurricane Sandy -- sorry, the renamed Superstorm Sandy -- it seems like a good time to do a run through a few dos and don't of using credit cards before and after a disaster.

Do get some cash before seeking shelter, if there's time.

True, not all disasters give you advanced warning. I was in California's Northridge earthquake of 1994, sound asleep, when suddenly my apartment was invaded by a stampeding herd of maniacal elephants, or so it seemed at the time, but if a hurricane or blizzard is expected, say tomorrow, grabbing a little cash at the ATM before you hunker into your home (or evacuate) couldn't hurt. If neighboring businesses, like your grocery store, have lost power, they may only be taking cash as payment. With wireless service and mobile banking, yes, often the power being out isn't much of a factor, but as survivors of Sandy can tell you, in many of the worst hit areas, wireless service has been down. You don't want to find yourself without any cash and unable to use your credit card.

Don't freak out about the credit card bill.

I'm not saying you shouldn't pay it if you can, but when there's a serious disaster of a certain magnitude, many credit card issuers tend to cut consumers a little slack. Chase, Capital One and Citibank came out pretty quickly as Hurricane Sandy barreled toward the East Coast and said they would waive fees until October 31. Wells Fargo and TD Bank announced they wouldn't charge during that period as well. Since it's most likely evident from the address that a cardholder was actually in the midst of the chaos and without electrical power, my guess is that most people may be cut a little slack if their due date fell during this time of crisis, if they call their credit card issuer a few days after missing a deadline, even after October 31. But if nothing else, don't stress over that credit card bill during an actual natural disaster because, obviously, you have plenty else to worry about.

Do use your credit card when you're paying for natural disaster-related services.

Need services like that roof being repaired or getting your basement cleaned up? In a case such as that, you may benefit most from using a credit card instead of cash. Obviously there are plenty of honest contractors and small businesses out there, too, but just to protect yourself, you'll want to pay with a credit card to help create a paper trail, if you need to track down a contractor or business you've paid money to, and if you learn you've been scammed fast enough, and you'll likely be able to get your money back. If you get conned into paying someone cash, unless you can easily track that person down, you can pretty much forget ever seeing your money again. Then you'll have another disaster on your hands.


Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 18,030.21 +6.04 0.03%
S&P 500 2,081.88 -0.29 -0.01%
NASDAQ 4,773.4720 +8.0480 0.17%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs