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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky delivery of essential credit card basics
QUICK SUMMARY: This quirky, mildly humorous, quick-reading book provides a wealth of information for anyone willing to spend an hour reading it. Taken to heart, the information and tips could save you or someone you love a lot of money and heartache. Highly recommended!

*** What I LIKED:

- The book succeeds in helping ANYONE understand credit...
Published on March 8, 2010 by William W. Davis

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money.
Not only is the text painfully small but it's as though you're trying to read a bad mimeograph copy. As for content, this is credit card 101 not instruction for "mastery". I was painfully disappointed.
Published on February 28, 2011 by Irene E. Legend


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky delivery of essential credit card basics, March 8, 2010
QUICK SUMMARY: This quirky, mildly humorous, quick-reading book provides a wealth of information for anyone willing to spend an hour reading it. Taken to heart, the information and tips could save you or someone you love a lot of money and heartache. Highly recommended!

*** What I LIKED:

- The book succeeds in helping ANYONE understand credit cards
- In spite of the low-tech stick figures it employs, the book succeeds in creating a storyline that keeps the reader reading
- It humorously delivers its important messages
- It can be read in about an hour, yet the information and wisdom it imparts can guide a person for a lifetime
- It explains the "Rule of 72" and the FICO credit score
- It's up-to-date with the recent federal law changes that were passed in 2009
- It defines words like "median" and "algorithm", so it doesn't talk over the reader's ability to understand
- It takes a neutral stance on the debate whether people should EVER use credit by presenting a variety of viewpoints from well-known gurus like Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman and Liz Pulliam Weston.
- It has a good "Further Reading" section at the end of the book
- It concisely names "15 Important Points" about credit cards at the end of the book

*** What Could Be Better:

- The book sometimes cites its sources for the statistics it shares, but often times, it doesn't. I like to know the source of any statistic.
- It lacks an Action Plan at the end of the book that tells the reader the next steps to take (especially if the reader is in credit card debt)
- No index. Even this book would benefit from an index.
- Stick figures are, quite simply, unimaginative and boring to look at!

I plan on requiring my 14yo son to read this book, so we can talk about credit cards now, in his formative years, so he is well-equipped to use and understand how credit cards work and the danger of misusing them.

Highly recommended!

Full Disclosure: As an Amazon Top Reviewer, I received a free copy of this book title. However, my reviews are always my honest reflection of a product, and the publisher made no effort to influence my review.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Investment in Peace of Mind, April 17, 2010
In easy to understand non technical terms Jim Randel discusses the complex issues associated with credit card financing. "The Skinny of Credit Cards" helps the reader understand how to avoid the pitfalls of incurring credit card debt and how to make the credit card a tool for enhancing their lifestyle.

Jim Randel narrates the story of Billy and Beth, a typical young couple, who have run up $ 25,000 in credit card debt. Using the familiar format of the "Skinny On" series the book uses illustrations created by Malinda Nass to accompany the narrative with stick figure drawings, humorous dialog, and summary statements which give concise, yet a comprehensive distillation of hours of research and reading. The quotes and references are well documented and include a list of resources for future reading or study.

Key principles are presented, reviewed, and reiterated in summary statements. I am impressed with the amount of information I have assimilated and retained in each of the "Skinny On" books which I have read. I find the books ideal for ready reference in my home office library.

I highly recommend "The Skinny On Credit Cards" for anyone wanting to:
Escape from credit card debt, improve their credit score, lower their interest rate, avoid paying fees, and identify credit company tricks. I consider reading and applying the principles presented in the book as an investment in peace of mind.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Knowledge is Power" when it comes to using credit cards, May 24, 2010
A Kid's Review
Among my first experiences with credit cards was in the early 1990s at weekend Mets games. A credit card marketing firm had set up several tents festooned with Mets beach towels and t-shirts around Shea Stadium.

The towels and t-shirts were not for sale, but for filling out a credit card application. The nice young people manning the booths were quick to point out that there was no obligation to use the card. "There is no catch," one of them said.

All you had to do was fill out the application and they would immediately present you with a towel or t-shirt. And if your application was approved, the new credit card would shortly arrive in the mail.

I had a feeling that there was a catch. I took one of the applications, and between innings, I looked at the fine print. Once you charge an item, there was a 28-day grace period where you would not be charged interest. However, if you didn't pay the full amount, you would hit with an annual 21% finance charge. I tore up the application.

I didn't fall for the ploy. However, I saw plenty of other folks signing up and walking away with Mets beach towels and t-shirts. They may have been free for that day, but I would bet that they would turn out to be the most expensive towels and t-shirts they had come to own. I am sure that many of the naive baseball fans would never have applied for the cards if they understood the fine print.

Too bad these folks didn't have a copy of The Skinny on Credit Cards. Unlike many personal finance books that use long paragraphs to explain the perils of credit card debt, this book uses the "Power Point" slide approach. In a page or less it explains how APRs work, why it's important to pay in full every month, and why credit card companies are not your friend.

This book is geared towards both young and old consumers with short attention spans and little time to read. I read it in an evening. It is well worth the purchase price and is an excellent gift to a college student or young person who is just starting out as well as a guide for those mired in credit card debt looking for a way out.

Author Jim Randel mentions Sir Fancis Bacon's famous quote, "Knowledge is Power" several times in the book. Indeed, read this book and you'll understand credit cards and why you should avoid using them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on credit cards!, April 12, 2010
By 
Tommy Sixx Morais (The Great White North) - See all my reviews
Credit cards are a tricky subject; they are rather complicated and hard to understand. Many people would like to learn more about them and pick up some advices along the way to make things easier. Jim Randel's "The Skinny On" series takes a complicated subject and gives you the knowledge you need in a book that you can read in less than two hours. After all not everyone has time to read a very long book and find the courage to read it so it's for the better truly. Credit cards were a good subject for a new book in this series and once again it worked. By the way was given a copy by the publisher and I thank him for it!

You can never have too much money, well sort of. Credit card are an easy way of payment, they are direct and you don't have to carry money, in today's world everybody is getting them. Almost any individual of who applies for a card can get one and that might be a problem, young adults who have no idea how a credit card works are often given one by companies and then suffer huge debts latter in life. Credit card companies earn a lot of money from their customers; some of them could even be you. Those companies can change their rates at anytime and just like the credit cards their contracts are difficult to understand, plus it can be hard to get out of debt, those are is the bad side. They attract you and suck you into the credit card system where it's very easy to be in debt. The facts are present in the book, as an example the average credit debt in American households is of $7.066! For instance making the minimum payment each month keeps you in debt, nothing new here but paying in full each month will decrease not only debt but also the interest that you own the credit card companies so that each payment you make decreases more and more debt than the one before. According to Randel it's easier to pay with a credit card because technically it's not your money whereas if it was paper money you'd consider purchasing an item twice, it's only plastic cards but they have some power on us!

We once again have the story of stick figures Billy and Beth and this time they are in debt because of their credit cards. Turns out they have too much credit cards, buy useless things, don't know how to lower their debts and are in need of help, now here comes author Jim Randel to rescue once again! The presentation in stick figures, the examples, the story makes this a very interesting book to read and an informative one. I love the format of the book, it looks great and I think that it's a very good way of getting the message across. I would recommend anyone who has a teenager with or without a credit card, to anyone who is in debt and to everyone who has a credit card. Unless you are very educated on the subject I just know that you will learn with this book.I am giving The Skinny On Credit Cards five stars, it deals with an uneasy subject in the easiest way possible. This is not my favorite book of the Skinny On series but it's another good one be assured. If you are looking for something that is simple, gives you the information you need. You can do absolutely no wrong by picking this up this book, in fact I bet you will learn a lot of things and earn good advice from this. The book doesn't do it for you it's a guideline and Randel doesn't claim to be an expert on credit cards even if he has a good knowledge of them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gave it to my kids, May 20, 2009
I took Jim's book and immediately had both of my kids read it. Some of the "traps" he covers hit home with both of them. I think it's a must read for everyone, and especially for parents to help them prepare their college age kids for the potential costs of "easy" credit.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money., February 28, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Skinny On Credit Cards: How to Master the Credit Card Game (Kindle Edition)
Not only is the text painfully small but it's as though you're trying to read a bad mimeograph copy. As for content, this is credit card 101 not instruction for "mastery". I was painfully disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good job at teaching financial literacy, November 21, 2012
By 
Paul Lappen (Manchester, CT USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Here is a simple, but not simplistic, look at the world of credit cards.

Beth and Billy are your average married couple who suddenly find themselves with a lot of credit card debt. Billy feels that as long as he pays the minimum payment each month, everything is fine, but Beth is not so sure. Along comes Randel, the author, to explain to them the reality behind credit cards.

Credit card companies want cardholders to pay just the minimum payment each month. That way, they can charge interest on the unpaid balance, raising your overall bill. If that particular ard was never used again, it can take years to pay your total bill by paying just the minimum amount. You will also pay the credit card company more than you originally owe, because of the accumulated interest on the unpaid balance.

Credit card companies can, and will, raise your APR (Annual percentage Rate) whenever they want; the Cardholder Agreement says so. They can also be very sneaky about setting the cut-off time for receiving payments. For instance, they can set the cut-off time for 10 AM, when they receive their daily mail delivery at noon. Even if your payment was received that day, it is still late, which means that they can charge a late fee. College students are a goldmine, because they are probably financially illiterate, and think of credit cards as free money.

What can the average consumer do about it? Pay off as much of your bill each month as possible; forget about paying just the minimum payment. Call your credit card company, and ask them for a lower interest. It could shave months, or years, off the time needed to eliminate your debt. If you have a large debt, look for a one-time infusion of cash to reduce the debt. Consider a low-interest credit card as a place to which to transfer your balances.

This book does a wonderful job at teaching the financial literacy not taught in school. get past the stick figure illustrations, and this book is highly recommended for everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on credit card use for the novice, November 21, 2011
This is a great book for the credit card novice and pro alike. This book should be handed out with every new credit card! This book will save you an incredible amount of money over a lifetime. In this day and age we live and die by our FICO scores, be wary of anyone who insists on paying cash because it's easier and they don't trust themselves with credit cards. You must master credit and this book is a great start in that plan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this book before you let credit cards ruin your life, January 8, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wish I read this book when I was 18 when I got my first credit card. I honestly did not know much of what was in this book and I was one of those people who thought creditors were my friends. 10 years later, I have a ridiculous amount of debt, I have accepted the fact that creditors don't really like me, and only now have I constructed a plan to get out of my mess. I got into debt because I was uneducated about credit cards. Don't do what I did.

This book will benefit anybody but I think it is most effective for those who are getting their first card (18 year olds or college grads too) and those who have very good credit. Some of the advice here on special balance transfer cards and negotiating lower interest rates will be of no use to people with poor credit or if you have crappy credit cards with fixed higher rates. That doesn't mean that people with less than stellar credit can't get out of debt without a bankruptcy. It just means that they will be working harder than others. Anybody can get out of debt and use the information in this book to start anew and use credit responsibly. Credit cards are like most anything else in life, they become trouble when they get abused.

There were a few interesting points in here that I previously had no idea about. For example, ever wonder why your credit card company is located in some obscure place like the Dakota's or Utah? I'll give you a hint, it's not because they don't like New York or sunny California. I also like how the author says that most people (professors included) cannot decipher the credit card small print. I used to think I was stupid because I couldn't understand the small print. They make it like that for a reason.

The book however is easy to read and is structured very well. I like the use of stick figures and the summary at the end put it all together. There is also a page on recommend additional readings.

As far as content, I would say this book gives you the "big picture." The big picture is that credit card companies don't care about you and only YOU can ruin YOUR life with credit cards; credit card companies don't ruin lives. To combat that, become educated and be disciplined in your spending. Credit card companies are legalized loan sharks.

For an introductory book, you cannot ask for more than is given here. I wish there were more examples with math. Sometimes all this will hit you harder when you see the math and how much you actually end up paying the credit card companies and how long you have to pay them. Other than that, I think this title hits on most everything you need to know about how credit cards work.

I gave it four stars because it is rather pricey considering the information is basic and someone could probably explain this stuff to you for free if you asked them. This is not a book like Total Money Makeover that gives you any plans to get out of debt or really stay out of debt. So if you are looking for any major advice on how to get out of outstanding debt, you will have to supplement this title. All in all it's a great book that will clear up a lot of the cobwebs about credit cards and how they work.

If you love your kids, give them this book. Take it from me, credit card debt will zap the joy out of your life. Don't let that happen to you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Skinny, September 29, 2010
By 
Dr Adam Weiss (Buffalo Grove,IL.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
A great starting point for students or for those who need to address their credit card use and scores. Laid out in an easy manner that everyone can read and learn from.
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