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Saturday, December 20, 2014, 8:31 a.m.
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Helpful Hints

By Heloise

This article was published August 19, 2014 at 2:13 a.m.

DEAR READERS: Have you received a new credit card lately? Does it have a chip in it? These newer credit cards have a microchip as well as a magnetic strip. And they are more secure than the ones with just the magnetic strip.

The good news is that the microchip is very, very hard to counterfeit. Some even have a personal identification number (PIN) to punch in when using the card. This makes it extremely difficult for criminals to copy it. So take a look at your credit cards to see if there is a silver holograph on the front or the back. Yep, it has a chip. If you are uncertain, call the financial institution that issued the card and ask if the card has a microchip.

DEAR HELOISE: I started buying savings bonds for my nieces and nephews 20 years ago for their birthdays and holidays. These used to be popular gifts, but they don't seem to be as popular today.

My hint is to let people know that you can no longer buy savings bonds at banks. You can only buy them online now.

-- Charlie M.

in Connecticut

DEAR READER: I used to do the very same thing. As of Jan. 1, 2012, you can only buy electronic gift bonds online. Go to treasurydirect.gov for instructions on purchasing these bonds. You first have to open a TreasuryDirect account online. You need to know the recipient's full legal name and Social Security number or taxpayer ID number, and the recipient must have a TreasuryDirect account and number.

You can, however, buy paper Series I (as in "eye") savings bonds, using your income-tax refund. You need to fill out and attach Form 8888. You don't even need a checking account.

Frankly, for what you and I were doing, this sounds like it might be a little work, especially if the child is a baby. You can, however, open a savings account at most banks and other financial institutions for the child, but you control it until the child reaches an age you designate. Add a few bucks when you can, and it will add up.

P.S.: Don't worry if you have paper bonds. You still can redeem them at banks when needed.

DEAR HELOISE: When a pair of rubber gloves from the kitchen gets a hole or wears out, I don't throw out the entire glove. I cut off the fingertips. They can be used on the ends of brooms, mops or anything you place against a wall. I've even put them on the ends of pot handles for an extra grip (just make sure it is not a handle that gets hot).

-- Lily D. in Utah

DEAR HELOISE: I have found that a pair of long tongs with silicone tips works very well to reach items from the top shelf in the kitchen cabinet.

-- Angie P., via email

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Heloise@Heloise.com

Style on 08/19/2014

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