MONEY tech stocks

3 Ways Facebook is Crushing Twitter

150730_INV_FacebookOverTwitter
Alamy—© dolphfyn / Alamy

What Facebook has that Twitter wants: 1 billion more users and an advertising strategy.

Two companies are invariably mentioned in the same breath whenever the term “social media” gets thrown around: Facebook FACEBOOK INC. FB 1.44% and Twitter TWITTER INC. TWTR 1.4% .

But while both Silicon Valley giants create networks that allow you to engage with friends and celebrities, the two have less in common than you might think. That was plainly evident in both companies’ recent earnings reports.

While Facebook — which is now worth more than 10 times as much as Twitter — is still considered a story of rapid growth, Twitter is quickly losing its luster on Wall Street as it struggles to match its rival when it comes to user growth and ad revenue.

Here’s what their financial results revealed:

The Ad Gap

Facebook announced it had taken in about $3.8 billion in advertising revenue in the second quarter, up from $2.7 billion a year before — a 41% jump. And advertisers are lining up across the globe to reach Facebook users, as international ad revenue climbed to $2 billion.

Read next: What Twitter Needs to Do Next to Satisfy Investors

Yet there are still many more ways Facebook can leverage it’s popularity into future growth. For instance, Facebook’s popular photo-sharing app Instagram, with about 300 million users, and its instant communication tools Messenger (700 million users) and WhatsApp (800 million) have the potential to add meaningfully to revenue in the future.

Twitter reported some good news on the sales front too. The microblogging site surprised analysts this week with stronger-than-expected revenue growth, as ad sales jumped to $452 million from $277 million over the same period 12 months ago. This was certainly welcome news for investors who had endured a 25% drop in the company’s stock price in the first three months of this year amid disappointing revenue growth.

Still, Facebook generates twice as much sales in a quarter than Twitter does annually.

The User Gap

Facebook just has a staggering number of active monthly users. To put it in perspective, there are about 7.3 billion people in the world and about 1.5 billion of them — 21% — are on Facebook. There are roughly 213 million active users of Facebook in the U.S. and Canada out of more than 355 million people. American and Canadian users are particularly beneficial to Facebook’s bottom line, which takes in $8.63 in advertising revenue per user there compared to $2.61 worldwide.

This growth in popularity is crystallized when you look at mobile phone carriers. Those who only access Facebook through their handheld device jumped from 399 million a year ago, to 655 million now. Overall, 1.3 billion people access Facebook in the palm of their hands.

While Twitter impressed the street with its revenue numbers, the stock dropped double digits thanks to the company’s inability to significantly grow its user base. Chief financial officer Anthony Noto said in a conference call after the earnings release that it would be “a considerable time” before such growth occurred.

Twitter has 66 million monthly active users in the U.S., up from 60 million a year ago, and 250 million internationally. In other words, it is more than 1 billion users shy of playing in Facebook’s league.

The Valuation Gap

While Twitter theoretically has more room to grow than Facebook, investors have to pay a stiff premium when betting on Twitter’s future. The stock’s price/earnings ratio, based on projected profits, is 64, according to Morningstar. That makes Twitter shares considerably more expensive than Facebook’s, with a P/E of 37.

To add insult to injury, Twitter announced that it was cutting the range of what it expected to spend on capital investments this year from $500 million to $650 million to $450 million to $550 million. Facebook meanwhile spent $549 million in capital investment in the second quarter alone.

MONEY credit cards

Should You Get the Amazon Prime Store Card?

Amazon Prime website
Alamy

The answer depends on what kind of shopper you are.

Everyone is buzzing about the new Amazon Prime Store Card, which offers 5% cash back on all Amazon.com purchases for Prime members. It was actually released without much fanfare back in March, but is getting attention now because of the marketing push around Amazon Prime Day, the company’s attempt to create a Black Friday-style retail frenzy in the run-up to back-to-school season.

The reasons that Amazon is pushing the card are clear: For one thing, by adding new Prime membership perks, it hopes to gain more Prime members, at $99 a year each. Perhaps less obviously, Amazon pays lower interchange fees to transaction processing companies for purchases made using the Prime Store Card than it does on those made using a traditional Visa, MasterCard, or AmEx.

But is the card good for consumers? The answer to that really depends on their relationship to Amazon and their credit.

Card Benefits

The rewards structure is pretty simple: 5% cash back on all purchases if you’re a Prime member. While the card doesn’t technically have an annual fee, you have to pony up nearly $100 bucks a year for the two-day shipping and media streaming service.

There’s currently a limited time offer of a $40 gift card if you sign up for the card. And Amazon won’t take long to make a decision on your creditworthiness: You’ll receive a response within a quarter of a minute.

The card also comes with a tiered financing option that’s meant to help consumers buy large purchases over time without interest. On items larger than $149, for instance, you have the option to pay off the full expense over six months without interest. But there’s a catch on this: If the purchase isn’t paid off at the end of that period, you’ll be “assessed on the promotional balance from the date of the purchase,” according to the card’s terms and conditions. If you carry a balance on non-financed purchases, you’ll pay a variable interest rate that’s currently at 26%.

Also, don’t expect a normal-looking piece of plastic if you’re approved. “The card itself is made out of paper, like an auto insurance card,” says NerdWallet’s Sean McQuay.

Pros …

So is it worth it? McQuay, who says he has used the card himself, notes that “5% is a great rewards rate and is generally only seen on rotating categories. To get 5% back on all purchases at a store as varied as Amazon is a great deal.”

Other cards do allow you to save money on Amazon purchases, but with more restrictions. The Discover it, for instance, offers 5% cash back on Amazon purchases, but only from July to September and only for up to $1,500. (And the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card from Chase offers 3% back on Amazon purchases; 2% at gas stations, restaurants and drugstores; and 1% everywhere else.)

There’s also the simplicity: “The cash back appears on each statement balance automatically — no minimums, no opt-ins, no reminders,” McQuay adds.

And if you’re a heavy user who spends $200 a month at Amazon, using the card will earn you enough to cover the cost of Prime with some cash left over.

… and Cons

But the new card also has some serious downsides. For one thing, because the APR is very high, anyone who carries a balance should stay away. “A variable APR of 25.99% is horrible,” says CreditSesame.com’s John Ulzheimer. “If you carry a balance on the card then you’re funding your own rewards — and the rewards being enjoyed by others who are not carrying a balance.” By way of comparison, the Discover it’s APR ranges from 11% to 23%.

Another “benefit” could also get you in trouble, if you’re not disciplined enough. While the ability to pay for a big purchase without interest for at least half a year sounds appealing, you’ll end up with a much larger bill than you bargained for if you don’t pay off your new television on time.

Moreover, the credit limit might be much lower than you’re accustomed to. Matthew Goldman, the chief executive of credit card rewards site Wallaby Financial, received a credit limit that was a fraction of what he was offered on his other cards.

Even for the most creditworthy borrowers, a lower credit limit caps what you can earn in cash back. Moreover, using up a large portion of the available credit on an individual card can harm your overall credit score, says Goldman, making it more expensive to borrow in the future.

Finally, note that Amazon’s new product — unlike, say, the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card — can only be used at Amazon.

The Verdict

Only apply for this card if you are already a Prime member who shops at Amazon frequently, doesn’t carry a balance and can hold yourself to spending about 20% to 30% of your available credit each month.

And realize that this is a difficult task when buying that shiny new toy is only a click away.

If that doesn’t sound like you, find a card that will first do no harm.

Read next: Amazon Prime Membership Should Come With a Warning

MONEY credit cards

These Credit Cards Have the Best Perks

credit card with door cut out and red carpet
Yasu+Junko

Take advantage of lesser-known credit cards, and you'll feel like a VIP.

The full value of a credit card in your pocket can go far beyond the usual cash back and reward points. Rental-car insurance, free credit scores, and other freebies are there for the taking—as long as you know where to look.

Not everyone does, however. Jim Miller, J.D. Power’s senior director of banking, estimates that one-third of credit card users don’t know the benefits that come with their cards.

To make sure you’re not overlooking extras perhaps worth hundreds in all, read the disclosures on your issuer’s website to see what you’re due. Although you might not want to switch cards just for the perks, if you are in the market for a new card with better terms, why not pick one that gives you a little more? Here are some standouts.

CREDIT

THE PERK: Free credit information. The standard price to see your FICO credit score is $20 for a peek that’s bundled with a credit report from one of the three major credit bureaus. But issuers such as Citibank and Barclaycard will pass along your FICO score from one of the big three for free. “The giveaways are great,” says John Ulzheimer of CreditSesame.com.

MONEY PICK: Discover it. Like other Discover cards, this one—which MONEY named the best online-shopping card last year for its discounts—reports your FICO score from TransUnion. The card’s new Freeze It feature also lets you temporarily block one-time charges. So if your card is missing and you’re pretty sure it hasn’t been stolen, your Netflix autopay will go through, but no one will be able to use your plastic at Best Buy.

SHOPPING

THE PERK: Price protection. Say you buy something only to see its price drop within a few weeks. Some credit cards will return the difference. Electronics are most likely to qualify, says Ben Woolsey of CreditCardForum.com. Cars, event tickets, and jewelry usually aren’t covered.

MONEY PICK: Citi DoubleCash. A MONEY pick for best flat-rate rewards card, DoubleCash, like other Citi cards, features Price Rewind, a program that refunds up to $300 per purchase and $1,200 per year. Citi, unlike other issuers, doesn’t make you find the falling prices. Instead, Citi does the price checks for purchases you register. The average refund is now $35.

THE PERK: Free fast shipping. American Express cardholders get free use of Shop Runner, a $79-a-year service offering two-day shipping from over 100 online retailers. Stores include Lord & Taylor, Toys “R” Us, AutoZone, and drugstore.com (but not Amazon.com).

MONEY PICK: American Express Blue Cash Preferred MONEY’s top card for cash back on essential purchases returns 6% of your annual grocery spending, up to $6,000, and 3% at the pump. A $150 sign-up bonus for spending $1,000 within three months makes up for the $75 yearly fee.

TRAVEL

THE PERK: Primary rental-car insurance. While your card may offer insurance on rental cars, chances are it’s secondary to your own insurance: If your rental is totaled, your policy takes the hit. Some cards, though, don’t make you go through your regular insurer first, thus protecting your rates, says NerdWallet.com’s Kevin Yuann.

MONEY PICK: Chase Sapphire Preferred Pay for your rental with this card (MONEY’s best card for mileage hounds) and decline the rental company’s collision (or loss) damage waiver. You’ll be eligible for reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the car in case of a collision or theft. A caveat: Some exotic cars aren’t covered.

THE PERK: Less-stress travel. From planning your trip to keeping track of your flights, travel is a recipe for high blood pressure. Cards that enrich your trip and protect you from some of flying’s hassles (see chart below) can be the cure.

MONEY PICK: Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Master-Card This card gives you free use of the travel organization app TripIt Pro ($49 annually), which automatically creates your itinerary, sends real-time flight alerts, and can locate alternate flights. You also get access to a no-fee personal travel planner and discounts on hotels and events. The downside: an $89 annual fee, waived the first year.

Money

See all of MONEY’s Best Credit Cards

MONEY

These Credit Cards Will Hit You With the Most Fees

person pulling credit card from wallet
iStock

Plus, how to avoid other penalties that will cost you money.

Credit cards are powerful tools. There are products that let you earn a free flight; collect cash back on all purchases at a time when interest rates rest at next to nothing; or finance a big expense with a lengthy 0% APR introductory period.

But the advantages credit cards offer come at a price—in some cases, an abundance of fees. That’s why consumers need to be vigilant when it comes to selecting the credit card that’s right for their spending needs and behaviors.

That means steering clear of cards like First Premier Bank Credit Card and its Secured MasterCard, which have the potential to ding consumers for 12 separate fees, according to a CreditCards.com survey released today, based on the 100 credit cards used to calculate the site’s Weekly Rate Report. First Premier Bank Credit Card even charges you 25% of whatever increase you receive on your credit limit. Only one product in the survey was completely fee free: PenFed Promise Visa.

“This drives home just how much difference there can be between cards,” says CreditCards.com senior analyst Matt Schulz. “Banks make tons of money off fees, and the vast majority of them can be avoided by shopping around and setting up automatic payments to ensure that you don’t miss a payment.”

Credit card penalties generally fall into two categories: fees based on your actions and fees imposed by the card, such as annual or foreign transaction fees.

Almost all cards penalize you for behavioral mistakes. For instance, CreditCards.com found that all but one card assess a late fee, usually $35. More than eight in 10 will hit you for another $35 for returned payments, i.e. a bounced check. And all but two of the cards charged consumers a cash advance fee, which runs the greater of 5% of the advance or $10.

You can avoid late fees by paying your bill on time. Try setting up auto-payment on your credit card’s website if you’re bad with dates. Just because you’ve erred in the past doesn’t mean that you’re without recourse. In an earlier poll, CreditCards.com found that 86% of those who asked to have a late payment waived were successful in avoiding the fee. The problem is that only 28% of folks requested extra latitude. As more banks adopt instant messaging on their sites, cardholders shouldn’t be shy to ask for a fee to be canceled if they slip up once in a blue moon.

While you can eliminate a number of fees by staying on top of your finances, you’ll need to do some smart shopping to avoid others. Annual fees are relatively easy to shed: only 25% of cards have them, and 10% waive the fee the first year. (In some cases an annual fee is acceptable if the rewards are rich enough.) Nine of 10 cards that allow balance transfers charge a fee (the greater of either $5 or 3% of each transfer), but some, like MONEY Best Credit Card Chase Slate, won’t charge you anything. (You’ll need to make your transfer within two months of opening your Slate account to avoid the fee.)

Check out MONEY’s Credit Card Matchmaker to find a card that best fits your borrowing profile.

MONEY credit cards

Do You Have to Respond to a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Card?

Man checking out his credit card
Getty Images Man shopping online with credit card and laptop

Not necessarily, but you may regret it if you don't.

If you own a credit card, chances are you’ve experienced the disquiet that comes from an alert saying someone may have stolen your card.

Whether you got the bad news via text, email or an old-fashioned phone call, word of potentially fraudulent behavior on your credit card seems to be one of the pernicious downsides of shopping in the modern world. Given the sophistication of credit card thieves, this reality will likely still be a part of your consumer life even as issuers and stores transition to “chip and PIN” cards — plastic that’s embedded with computer chips and requiring a pin to be entered upon purchase — over the rest of the year.

Dealing with fraud alerts can be time-consuming, so you may be wondering if you have to respond to every single time, or whether your card company can just take care of the problem itself. After all, you’re shouldn’t be liable for charges that you didn’t actually make.

“You certainly have no obligation to respond to a credit card fraud alert or even a call from your credit card issuer’s fraud department,” says CreditSesame.com’s John Ulzheimer. “There’s nothing in your cardholder agreement mandating that you respond.”

Consequences Ahead

That said, not replying may have consequences. If you just ignore the messages, Ulzheimer says, “the issuer will likely disallow recent charges and suspend your credit line.”

One factor to consider: whether the charge is in fact fraudulent. “If the charge is legitimate, it’s not a bad idea to confirm that with your issuer,” says Credit.com’s Gerri Detweiler. “That helps them learn from your spending patterns and may help prevent them from flagging similar purchases in the future — or shutting down card use until you confirm you made the charge.”

And either way, if you want to keep using your card, you’ll probably need to check in.

Each instance of fraud is different, and issuers react to various circumstances on a case-by-case basis, but generally your card company will want to address the situation with you before new charges can be applied. “We can’t require a card member to respond to an alert, but they may be at higher risk of disruptions until the account concern is resolved,” says American Express spokesperson Ashley Tufts. “If we reach out, and ask you for your help verifying or declining a charge, then yes, we would need a response in order to resolve the issue.”

If American Express determines that there has been fraud and a new card is necessary, the company would notify the card member, “but no action would be needed on their part. A new card would arrive, and they could activate it.”

Discover has a similar approach. “There are varying circumstances that could initiate a fraudulent alert, but typically, at Discover, if a charge prompts a fraud alert, that charge will be declined and the card will not be active until the card member responds,” per Discover’s policy.

Changing Cards

If your issuer finds that someone made unauthorized charges with your card, you’ll almost certainly not be allowed to keep it — which means you’ll have to go through the hassle of reworking all automatic payments tied to that card. But “many issuers will overnight a new card to you, especially if you’re a good customer,” says Ulzheimer, who once had a card replaced within 24 hours while he was on vacation.

Whether you have to respond to the alert or not, credit card experts will tell you to contact your issuer immediately to determine if fraud did in fact occur. After all, credit card issuers aren’t in the business of disrupting legal spending.

“In general the contact you receive is just an FYI, and they will reverse the charge and/or issue a new card if the account has been compromised, [letting you follow up] with written correspondence explaining the details,” says CreditCardForum.com’s Ben Woolsey. “However, when I’ve had this experience I’ve felt compelled to call the issuer just for peace of mind and to understand what happened.”

MONEY

Don’t Let Greece or China Stop You From Investing Overseas

Stock prices at a brokerage office in Beijing, China, July 6, 2015
Kim Kyung Hoon—Reuters Stock prices at a brokerage office in Beijing, China, July 6, 2015

Despite all the bad news you've been hearing.

These are heady times for the global economy, and investors can be forgiven for wincing in terror as they stare at their nearest computer screen wondering why they even bother buying foreign securities.

Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy and possible exit from the euro, while China’s stock market seems to have burst. Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to add jobs at a solid clip, housing prices are jumping and consumer confidence is high. Why bother?

Despite recent developments, chances are you’re not invested enough internationally. In fact most American investors have a home bias, as Charles Schwab’s chief investment officer for equities Omar Aguilar recently told me. Now is no time for protectionism in your portfolio.

You’ve probably heard that investors have a nasty habit of buying high and selling low, as those who bailed out of stocks and into cash in 2009 can attest. This phenomenon tends to occur when well-meaning investors pay too close attention to noisy financial news and act on fear.

To be fair, folks are worried for a reason. Actually, multiple reasons:

Europe’s economic union is flux: On Sunday, the Greeks took to the polls and voted against a proposal offered by the nation’s creditors after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for the referendum as negotiations with European leaders of broke down. After a less-than-productive meeting yesterday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Europe has a plan to kick Greece out of the euro. Whether Greece and the rest of Europe can find a path to monetary coexistence remains a fifty-fifty proposition, which is slightly vexing given that no one understands the full impact of what a Greek exit will entail.

A bubble is bursting in China: The Shanghai Composite Index recently fell to a three-month low, despite strong governmental efforts to stem the decline. Close to a thousand companies have suspended trading, while the government has cut interest rates and announced plans to investigate short-sellers.

This pullback, though, comes after a dramatic increase in Chinese equities. Valuations are still frothy and the Shanghai Composite Index is up year-over-year. Chinese investors are experiencing market turbulence as national economic growth downshifts to around 7% growth, well below it’s pace ten years ago. Whether equities have more room to drop, or have found a bottom, remains to be seen.

Why no skip the dram? Because if you’re not investing overseas you’re missing out on a key element of your portfolio: diversification.

A little more than half of the stocks in the world are located outside of the U.S., yet U.S. mutual fund investors held only slightly more than a quarter of their portfolio in international stocks, according to a 2014 Vanguard study.

“The rationale for diversification is clear—U.S. stocks are exposed to U.S. economic and market forces, while stocks domiciled outside of the United States offer exposure to a wider array of economic and market forces,” says the study. Because one market can rise as another falls, investors holding between 20% to 40% of their equities in international funds experienced lower overall volatility.

Right now, it may appear obvious that the U.S. is the place to be. But other times, foreign markets outperform our own. In fact, that’s been the case for much of this year so far.

sp5

As MONEY’s Susie Poppick points out here, Greece is a tiny fraction of the world’s economy. And while China’s stock market free-fall may pose a larger threat to world finance, most stocks are owned by Chinese investors and most Chinese citizens don’t own stocks.

To get broad expsure to global market, look to a couple of MONEY 50 recommend funds. Fidelity Spartan International FIDELITY SPARTAN INTL INDEX INV FSIIX 0.03% offers investors access to blue-chip European fare like Nestle. Or if you want a one-decision fund, look to Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 VANGUARD TARGET RETIREMT 2035 FD VTTHX 0.11% , which mixes U.S. stocks, foreign stocks, and bonds. About a third of its stock portfolio is in foreign companies.

MONEY First-Time Dad

37% of Parents Are Making This Financial Mistake

Father and Son Playing Soccer
Nick Daly—Getty Images

The problem is easily overlooked, but also easily fixed.

I was once a young invincible. For the early part of my 20s, I arrogantly skipped health insurance and routine medical tests because I knew I was going to live forever.

Much has changed. I’m still enjoying the last year of my 20s, but with a wife and a 17-month-old child, I no longer feel indestructible. I still ache, for instance, from a kick to the ribs during a casual soccer game a couple of weeks ago; and it’s impossible to hide each morning from the grating reality that the top of my head carries less hair than it did before.

As you intertwine your life with another’s, you generally picture the positives: a lifelong partnership and family. You imagine all that you’ll experience together. You don’t quite realize, or at least I didn’t at first, that you slowly become dependent on your partner to afford your shared life.

Which is why I found a recent survey from Bankrate to be troubling: It found that 37% of parents with children under the age of 18 do not have life insurance. And among those who do, almost half carry policies with protection of less than $100,000 — barely more than two years of median household income.

Moreover, it’s not just an affordability problem: More than a quarter of those earning more than $75,000 don’t have coverage.

“This is a tough topic to talk about,” says Bankrate’s Doug Whiteman. “Life insurance is a reminder that we are mortal and don’t know when our time will be up.”

Of course, purchasing life insurance is perhaps the last thing on the minds of new parents — even in our least sleep-deprived moments, my wife and I certainly weren’t thinking about how much coverage we needed and what type. But this is a discussion you need to have with your family.

How Much Coverage?

Figuring out how large a policy you’ll need depends on a number of factors. As MONEY’s Kerri Anne Renzulli points out here, you’ll need to have a solid grasp on your debt, monthly spending, monthly savings, and your long-term savings goals before you know how much insurance to purchase. Ideally, your policy should cover immediate items like funeral costs as well as longer-term goals like college tuition, replacing future earnings you would have accrued.

Dallas-based financial coach and planner Katie Brewer recommends selecting a 20- to 30-year term policy that covers about 10 times your earnings. The calculator from Life Happens, which asks users to input future income needs, college expenses and debt, can help you gain a sense of how much you’ll need.

Chances are that you can find low-cost insurance options through your employer; you can also check out Mint.com’s life insurance calculator for more coverage selections. You can also hire a fee-only certified planner to walk you through your assumptions and calculations and help you find adequate coverage.

There are any number of financial obstacles you’ll incur throughout your lives that will be the source of stress and worry. How will you afford retirement in this low-rate world? Send your two kids to a good college? Withstand an unexpected career setback? In truth, these concerns can only be addressed with hard work, financial discipline, and a little luck.

But life insurance is different. It’s a relatively simple, pretty inexpensive mechanism to ensure that your loved ones needn’t worry for cash should something happen to you.

Not that anything ever will.

MONEY credit cards

3 Credit Cards That Will Save You Money on Summer Travel

two people on road trip
Jonas Jungblut—Gallery Stock

Make sure you have these pieces of plastic in your wallet before you head out the door.

Travel season is upon us—time to hit the road!

Americans drive an average of almost 1,000 miles a month—roughly the distance from New York to Orlando—from July to September, per a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and Urban Institute study. We take to the air more often as the weather gets warmer too. All that wanderlust doesn’t come cheap: A gallon of gas will set you back about $2.80, while the average domestic flight costs around $400.

So if you plan to do any traveling over the next three months, consider signing up for one of the following three rewards credit cards. You’ll enjoy 5% back at the pump, lucrative signup bonuses, and the chance to earn free flights. Of course, rewards are never worthwhile if you don’t pay your balance in full each month or utilize more than 30% of your available credit. But if you’re financially ready for a rewards card, these offer a way to save real money.

For Drivers

The card to use at the pump this summer is the Chase Freedom. Throughout the year, this rewards card offers 5% cash back on rotating categories including department stores and restaurants. From July through September, though, cardholders will earn 5% back at gas stations, up to $1,500. You’ll also receive a $100 signup bonus after spending $500 within three months of opening your account.

If you spend $250 a month on gas, you’ll earn about $38. Toss in the signup bonus, plus the cash back from filling up a second car, and you’re looking at a little more than $175. There’s no annual fee, so you won’t be penalized for keeping the plastic in your wallet when the categories change in the fall.

For Fliers

Every frequent flyer should consider one of these: Chase Sapphire Preferred and Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite. Both are reward-rich products that offer significant signup bonuses. Determining which card is right for you depends, in part, on what you value in a travel rewards card.

The best way to think about the Arrival Plus World Elite is that it’s a cash-back card for travel purchases. Cardholders rack up “miles” in a number of ways. For example, you’ll receive 40,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days; two miles per $1 spent; and a 10% rebate when you redeem miles for any kind of travel charges. A mile is worth a penny, so the signup bonus alone nets you $440 when used toward travel purchases (which include taxis, flights, and campgrounds.) You don’t have to deal with airline frequent flier programs or miles awards charts. Plus there’s no foreign transaction fee and you’ll receive your FICO score with every statement. The $89 annual fee is waived the first year.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a bit of a hybrid. You can apply your points as a credit on your card statement for travel at one point per penny, with a 20% discount for booking through Chase. That can boost the signup bonus—40,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months—to $500. But you can also transfer your points to frequent flier programs on partner airlines like Southwest and United at a one-to-one rate, so you can take advantage of a particular airline’s loyalty program. You earn two points per dollar spent on travel and dining and gain 5,000 bonus points after you add an authorized user who makes a purchase in the first three months. There is a $95 annual fee, waived the first year.

Check out the entire MONEY Best Credit Cards list here. Safe travels!

MONEY credit cards

Help! I’ve Fallen In Love With Someone Who Has Credit Card Debt

couple doing expenses
John Lund—Getty Images

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

It finally happened. After all the bad dates and heartbreak, at last you’ve met The One, and you’re ready to start down life’s road together. Except your new love is carrying one piece of baggage you hadn’t counted on: credit card debt.

You’re not alone. In a new NerdWallet/Harris Poll survey of more than 2,000 adults, 35% of those who combine at least some part of their finances with a partner brought credit card debt into the relationship. (Men are more likely to do so than women, by the way). Millennials are particularly likely to commingle I.O.U.s and romance, with 45% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 toting a revolving balance. In fact, millennials were more likely to have credit card debt than student loan or car payments.

On average, people entered relationships with $4,100 in credit card debt, and 25% of couples with at least one indebted parter reported experiencing negative consequences. One-sixth of respondents said debt kept them from doing something they planned on, such as buying a home or taking vacation.

The findings dovetail with MONEY’s research into couples and financial harmony. Our recent poll of 1,000 millennials and baby boomers found that two in 10 couples regularly fight about credit card debt. Millennials are more tolerant of debt than older generations, with 40% saying a lot of debt is a romantic turnoff, versus 60% of boomers who said the same.

If you—or someone you’ve fallen in love with—is struggling with debt, here’s how to keep it from ruining your relationship.

Don’t hide it. “Being open and transparent about your debt is very important,” says NerdWallet credit card expert Sean McQuay. “When you’re dating someone and you have the conversation about introducing them to your crazy parents, you also need have the talk about your debt.”

By opening up about debt early, you won’t cause a fissure down the line. And once you put your cards on the table, you and your partner can come up with a plan for getting out from under. One strategy suggested by Beverly Harzog, author of The Debt Escape Plan, is to start paying off the smallest balances first. The math may say to go after the card with the highest interest, but unless there’s a big difference in the two cards’ rates, it’s often more helpful to get the mental boost from clearing a debt so that you sustain your repayment plan.

Transfer your balance to a cheaper card. If you’ve squeezed every last penny from the budget and still can’t seem to make much headway, one powerful tool is a balance transfer card. MONEY recommends the no-annual-fee Chase Slate. Not only is there no interest on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, there’s also no balance transfer fee if you move your debt within two months of opening the card.

More from the Love & Money series:
Poll: How Boomer and Millennial Couples Feel About Love and Money
Why Couples Need to Get Financially Naked
The Single Most Important Money Talk for Couples
How Money Can Improve Your Sex Life (It’s Not What You Think)

MONEY First-Time Dad

What Millennials are Getting Right About Retirement

hand holding gold star trophy
Jeffrey Coolidge—Getty Images

And what this generation still doesn't understand about investing for their future.

I was born between 1980 and 2000. This simple fact, over which I had no control, means that I am a millennial — a term that seems to become more loaded with each passing day.

Depending on whom you ask, millennials are lazy, highly educated, entitled, outwardly focused, technologically savvy, impersonal, cheap, indebted. We also have sophisticated palates and an aversion to risk. We’re afraid to commit, apolitical, and unmoored to institutions. And we love craft everything.

Ascribing an ever-expanding series of contradictory descriptors, however, has the effect of making millennials seem alien. Yet the truth is, young professionals today are simply rational actors navigating significant financial hurdles while balancing short and long-term goals.

Take retirement. I’m about 36 years from turning 65, which means I have a number of competing interests. I know that every dollar I put away in my 401(k) will help me replace my income when I no longer work (especially if it’s matched by my employer). But each dollar saved is a dollar not spent on child care or rent or paying down student loan debt. My wife and I are conscientious about our finances, but our income can be stretched so far.

Other millennials are struggling with these choices too. But all things considered, we’re actually doing quite nicely — contrary to the prevailing narrative.

T. Rowe Price recently released its exhaustive Retirement Saving & Spending Study and found millennials are socking away 6% of their annual salary, while boomers saved 8%. Meanwhile four-in-ten millennials are saving a higher percentage of their income in their 401(k) compared to a year ago, compared to 21% of boomers. Moreover three-quarters of millennials track their expenses carefully and 67% say they stick to a budget, both higher than boomers.

Young savers are also more open to nudging than their older colleagues, a sign of our humility when it comes to financing retirement.

Almost half of millennials who were auto-enrolled into a 401(k) plan wished their bosses had penciled them in at a higher rate. (The prevailing introductory savings percentage is 3%.) Only about a third of boomers wished the same. More than a quarter of millennials said they wouldn’t opt out if the auto-enrollment level was set at 10% or greater.

What kind of investments are millennials being enrolled into? According to Vanguard’s How America Saves report, which looks at the savings habits of almost 4 million participants, eight-in-ten new retirement plan entrants were solely invested in a professionally managed allocation. That means they put their money in a professionally managed target date fund, a balanced fund, or a managed account advisory service that customizes investor portfolios.

And while auto-enrollment may put new workers at a measly 3% contribution, 70% of millennials increase contributions annually. Moreover almost 40% of plans default to 4% or more compared to 28% in 2010.

Of course, there is room for improvement.

Starting early is a necessary element of achieving your retirement goals, but not sufficient. If you save 6% of your income, according to Vanguard, you’ll take have about $275,000 by the time you hit 65 (assuming a 4% real rate of return and an annual salary growth rate of 1%.) Putting away 10% will net you almost $460,000. So millennials could stand to save more.

Millennials would also do well to have a firmer grasp of what it is they’re actually investing in. For instance, almost 70% of millennials who use target-date funds agreed with the statement, “Target date funds are usually less risky than balanced funds.” This isn’t really accurate.

How risky a target date fund is depends largely on what “target date” you choose. For instance the Vanguard Target Retirement 2050 Fund — designed for younger workers who won’t retire until around the year 2050 — consists of about 90% equities. A traditional balanced fund, on the other hand, generally holds about 60% to 70% in stocks.

Millennials also don’t appreciate the diversification offered by a target date fund. Because each target date fund invests in a wide array of stocks, bonds, and other assets, these vehicles are designed to be a one-fund solution. Yet almost 80% of those same millennials agreed with the statement “It’s better to hold additional funds in your 401(k) than just a target date fund.”

Then there are those millennials who aren’t saving at all.

While it’s easy to say they lack prudence and acquiesce to the immediate pleasure of money, it’s more accurate to note that they probably cannot afford to save. The median personal income of non-savers is $28,000, almost $30,000 less than savers. Non-savers are not only more likely to have student loan debt, but their balances are higher.

My wife and I don’t save nearly enough for retirement, but then again, we don’t save enough period. Raising a small child in Brooklyn doesn’t help, neither does our chosen professions in the notoriously high-paying education and journalism sectors.

But we do what we can and when other expenses fall off (like when our son starts school) or we enjoy a nice raise we’ll direct that cash flow into our retirement and emergency funds. Millennials, after all, are practical.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com