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Pedestrians walk pass a giant display of an Abercrombie & Fitch ad in May 2005, in New York City. The retailer may be slashing prices to compete with discount fashion giants such as Forever 21 and H&M. (Kiichiro Sato/AP/File)

Abercrombie may be lowering prices

By Angela ColleyGuest blogger / 03.13.14

The preppy clothing giant Abercrombie & Fitch is looking to slash prices on its expensive clothing lines. The announcement, which came during its earnings call late last month, indicates that the brand is looking to price its clothes more competitively in an attempt to revitalize a tired brand with a less than stellar reputation. In particular, competitive pricing will target women's clothing lines, especially those at Abercrombie's Hollister stores, which are already a cheaper alternative to the high-priced Abercrombie & Fitch line.

Lower Prices and More Sales Are on the Horizon

The new pricing scheme of "fast fashion" looks like a way to attract teens back to Abercrombie stores; it will capitalize on the trend of inexpensive and disposable products and clothing that American youth have flocked towards. This trend can be seen at stores like Forever 21 and H&M and other companies that offer inexpensive clothing, which teens can afford — and afford to throw away each season. Fast fashion keeps people coming back to stores.

According to analysts from the Switzerland-based financial services company, Credit Suisse Group, Abercrombie & Fitch's move is a positive one that indicates the company is willing to change. However, other analysts weren't sold on the idea, and drew attention to under-performing sales overseas. ( Continue… )

People check out computers at the Dell booth at the Rootstech Conference sponsored by Family Search in Salt Lake City, Utah, last month. A Dell Latitude laptop is among the options in today's roundup. (George Frey/Reuters/File)

Deals on tech, toys and Staples copy paper

By Donna DoyleGuest blogger / 03.12.14

Whether you're working hard on those memos or sleeping through to avoid the workload, we've found some useful freebies that will make your hump day a little less mountainous. We've spotted a 5-ream paper case and a sleep-tracking alarm iOS app for absolutely nothing! This loot, and more great deals are in today's list of five Editors' Choice deals that we found overnight and early this morning.

Top Freebie Deal
 Staples 8.5x11" Copy Paper 5-Ream Case
 Store: Staples retail locations
 Price: $0 (present this coupon in-store at purchase and enter the ID Number here for a $24.99 Easy rebate)
 Lowest by: $15
 Expires: March 15

Do You Need It?: Splashing out on home or office essentials is never exciting but an unfortunate, and often pricey, necessity. Staples however, is offering 5 reams of copy paper for absolutely nothing when you make the trip to your local outlet. That's a saving of at least $15, when compared to a similar case of paper at the next cheapest store. Although you need to part with cash initially, you will receive it every cent back after purchase via an online rebate.

Looking for an equally good deal on less paper? It also offers the HammerMill 8.5x11" Copy Plus Paper 500-Sheet Ream for $0 (a $6 low) when you purchase it in store for $7.99 and present this printable coupon. After purchase, enter your ID Number for a $7.99 Easy rebate. ( Continue… )

A Best Buy employee prepares to scan an iPhone 5S during the opening day of sales of the phone last September in Richmond, Va. Now is a good time to take advantage of falling iPhone 5S prices. (Steve Helber/AP/File)

IPhone 5S prices drop sharply; best deal at Virgin Mobile (+video)

By Marcy BonebrightGuest blogger / 03.12.14

There's nothing wrong with your phone per se, you just don't like it anymore. Call it a first world problem if you will, but sometimes we all just need a change. So not to worry, we're not here to judge! We've, in fact, rounded up five Editors' Choice smartphones to help you find a new handset to love. Save $150 on the LG G Flex, get $110 off an iPhone 5s, or score a Nokia Lumia 521 for just $29.

LG G Flex 32GB 4G LTE Android Smartphone for AT&T bundled with a $100 AT&T Bill Credit
Store: Amazon
Price: $149.99 with free shipping
Lowest By: $150
Is It Worth It?: If your smartphone's lost its cool factor, swallowed in a sea of iPhones and Galaxies, then it's time to reclaim your tech joy with the LG G Flex, an ergonomically curved smartphone. Although Engadget found the phone uncomfortable to keep in a pocket, the reviewer was impressed with the G Flex's neat design: "The phone's flexibility ... protects the device from external forces; its banana shape means the mic is closer to your mouth than it would be otherwise. Also, the curves allow for more sound to reflect off of other surfaces, so speaker volume gets a boost." Order the phone from Amazon for $150 and you'll bag a $100 AT&T bill credit, saving you $150.
The G Flex features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz quad-core processor, a 6" curved OLED 1280x720 display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 2.1MP front camera, 802.11n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, and Android 4.2.2 OS (Jelly Bean). Note that the credit will be applied to your account within two to three billing cycles. ( Continue… )

Visa credit cards are displayed in Washington. Visa estimates $11.8 billion was lost to friendly fraud in 2012. (Jason Reed/Reuters/File)

Friendly fraud? Yes it exists.

By Elizabeth HarperGuest blogger / 03.11.14

The words "friendly" and "fraud" may not seem to go together, but friendly fraud — also known as chargeback fraud — is a real problem for a lot of online merchants. Friendly fraud happens when a customer fraudulently reports to their financial institution that a charge on their credit card isn't legitimate; the customer will typically be refunded the money immediately, leaving the merchant on the hook for the cash.

Friendly fraud may be intentional theft, like shoplifting, but some customers may do it accidentally — reporting a charge because they don't realize another member of their household made the purchase or the charge information on their statement doesn't match up to a recognized retailer name, which can happen if the retailer uses a third-party payment system like PayPal. With identity theft at an all-time high and banks eager to reassure consumers that their identity (and their money) is safe with fraud protection guarantees, it's become increasingly easy for cardholders to use these protections to commit fraud.

Retailers Shoulder the Burden

Whether chargeback fraud is intentional or not, retailers are losing billions; Visa estimates $11.8 billion was lost to friendly fraud in 2012. For online merchants, who never physically swiped a card, it can be difficult to prove that a charge was legitimate — making chargebacks a game of he said, she said, where the customer usually wins. What's more, if a merchant has more than 1% of their charges reversed as chargebacks, they can find themselves shut down by Visa and MasterCard — which can mean going out of business entirely. ( Continue… )

Keep your feet warm and dry during your commute--there are deals to be had on all types of shoes this week. (Toby Melville/Reuters/File)

Shoe deals to kick off your week

By Marcy Bonebright / 03.09.14

Has your personality been feeling a little one-dimensional lately? Maybe you're always Good Guy Greg, and never Scumbag Steve? With this week's best shoe deals, we're highlighting footwear that'll let you unleash your inner bad boy or girl ... or rein them in. Save $140 on a pair of Steve Madden boots, get $39 off some L.L.Bean penny loafers, or score a pair of Body Central ballet flats for just $7.

  1. Steve Madden Men's Sulstice Boots
    Store: Steve Madden
    Price: $49.99 via coupon code "BONUS50" with $7.95 s&h
    Lowest By: $50

    Is It Worth It?: You're not exactly bad to the bone, but sometimes you want to be. Slip into your secret bad boy persona with the Steve Madden Sulstice boots in Black. These leather boots feature a worn-in look that says you do dangerous things all the time, and a 1" heel for extra confidence. Plus, coupon code "BONUS50" cuts them to $50, saving you $140 off list. They're available in sizes 10 to 13. ( Continue… )

Even Apple has occasional product discounts. Check out the rest of these top tech shopping myths from DealNews. (Kathy Willens/AP/File)

Best laptop deals: Speedy quad-core systems at unusually low prices

By Louis RamirezGuest blogger / 03.05.14

Quad-core laptops offer unparalleled performance at (usually) higher-than-average prices. However, this week's best laptop deals include four quad systems starting at $699. We've also found discounts on Sony's unique slider, the VAIO Duo 13, and a budget Inspiron from Dell. ( Continue… )

Benny the Spaceman and Astro Kitty blastoff in a retro 80s-something toy spaceship in this photo from toymaker Lego Systems. Lego products are among the discounts in this roundup. (LEGO Systems)

Editors' choice Disney digital camera, Lego sets from $17

By Marcy BonebrightGuest blogger / 03.05.14

Parents tend to stick to the birthday/Christmas gift schedule, but sometimes it's fun to just surprise your kid with a new toy. Turn your little one's ordinary day into an awesome day with this weeks' best toy deals. Get a Disney digital camera for just $7, save $25 on a Griffin RC monster truck, or get a Lego City set at $13 off. ( Continue… )

A screenshot from Candy Crush Saga. New research found that .15 percent of mobile gamers contribute to 50 percent of all in-app purchases. (

In-app purchases: not popular with gamers

By Marcy BonebrightGuest blogger / 03.02.14

The app markets are filled with so-called "free-to-play" or "freemium" games, and it's no wonder: the most popular free games, like Candy Crush Saga, can rake in millions of dollars per day. These apps generally make money through a combination of advertising and in-app purchases, in which players are encouraged to pay for items to improve their gaming experience.

However, a recent survey from analytics and app marketing firm Swrve found that most people aren't spending all that much on in-app purchases. Instead, "about 0.15 percent of mobile gamers contribute 50 percent of all of the in-app purchases generated in free-to-play games," VentureBeat reported. In truth, these microtransactions seem to drive most gamers crazy. So why do game developers keep including in-app purchases, if only a small number of gamers are spending a lot on them? Are we stuck with microtransactions forever, or is there another way? Read on as we take a hard look at this trend in mobile gaming.

Shocking: In-App Purchases Aren't Popular with Gamers

Ask a gamer what they think of microtransactions in freemium games, and you'll probably hear a tirade. Citing EA's Dungeon Keeper game, in which players can pay to have minions dig holes faster, blogger Thomas Baekdal said in-app purchases are hurting gamers: "What EA has done here has nothing to do with gaming, and the same is true for pretty much all other 'free-to-play + in-app purchase' games. We don't have a mobile gaming industry anymore. We have a mobile scamming industry." ( Continue… )

Merchandise on sale are displayed at a store in Chicago. has pulled together a list of deals on accessories this week. (Nam Y. Huh/AP/File)

Looking for some new accessories? Check out these deals

By Nancy BonebrightGuest blogger / 03.01.14

Accessories often get a bum rap and are relegated to the "unnecessary fashion" corner where we keep the experimental shoes and ballroom attire. But if you don't think about buying acc, you'll miss out on some really useful wearables. That's why we've rounded up the week's best deals on practical accessories. Save $19 on a pair of Gunnar gaming glasses, score an Alpine Swiss wallet for as little as $10, or pick up a cooling bandana for $5. ( Continue… )

Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles, sitting at second right, attends a press conference at the Justice Ministry in Tokyo Friday night, Feb. 28, 2014. The Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange in Tokyo filed for bankruptcy protection, acknowledging that a significant amount of the virtual currency had gone missing. Karpeles appeared before Japanese TV news cameras Friday, bowing deeply for several minutes. He said a weakness in the exchange's systems was behind the massive loss of the virtual currency. (Kyodo News/File/AP )

Mt. Gox files for bankruptcy: what to keep in mind when using Bitcoin (+video)

By Angela ColleyGuest blogger / 02.28.14

The largest Bitcoin exchange in the world appears to have gone belly-up after apparently losing hundreds of millions of dollars in Bitcoins after a long-term hacker attack. The fallout has resulted in an increased scrutiny of Bitcoin safety — leading more people to consider pulling their Bitcoins offline — and raises questions about how far this nascent unregulated financial market will go.

According to Wired, an exploit in Mt. Gox's website allowed hackers to siphon off millions of Bitcoins over a two year period. The crumbling of Mt. Gox, which lost around $350 million in Bitcoins, has prompted some Bitcoin investors to start storing their digital currency offline, according to MarketWatch.

Going Back to Paper for Digital Currency

And yes, you can store Bitcoins offline: each Bitcoin has a key, like a serial number, which allows the Bitcoin to be spent. Without the key, there's no Bitcoin. So some users have taken to printing out the key on paper, or storing the data on a device not connected to the Internet, or a 'cold' device. While some customers want security in lieu of this disaster, they are still operating within a completely unregulated market.

No Real Banks Means Little Safety

Printing out Bitcoins or keeping them offline isn't like pulling money out of a bank and storing it under a mattress because Bitcoin 'banks' aren't recognized as banks. A recent article by MarketWatch mentions one company that stores Bitcoins offline in a bank vault for a 2% annual fee. And while it's insured against theft, it's not a real bank. Another company, FlexCoin, claims it is the "world's first Bitcoin bank" but also states "technically we're not a licensed bank. We're a Bitcoin bank." A thumb drive can be lost, a hard drive fried, or a Bitcoin key trashed. Once a Bitcoin is gone, it's gone; there's no Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. covering your loss. ( Continue… )

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