Term: Credit Card
33 found

5 Credit Card Habits to Adopt in the New Year

By Steven Shaw on 12/29/2014

5 Credit Card Habits to Adopt in 2015

What are your credit card habits? If you are like most people, you probably just use your credit cards to purchase goods and services while paying little attention to the details of your credit card usage. And by doing so, you risk paying too much in interest and fees, and can miss out on value rewards and benefits.

So now is the time to take a fresh look at how you use your credit cards, and adopt these five habits for 2015:

Americans Are More Afraid of Credit Card Fraud Than Terrorism

By Steven Shaw on 11/3/2014

credit card fraud

As the holidays approach, more and more consumers are clutching their purses and wallets. But that anxiety has little to do with budgetary constraints. In fact, according to a recent Gallup spending forecast, retailers can expect an above-average shopping season this year.

Credit Card
Credit Card Fraud
Electronic Funds Transfer Act
Fair Credit Billing Act

Help! My Credit Limit Was Cut Without Warning

By Steven Shaw on 8/15/2014

Help! My Credit Limit Was Cut Without Warning

In an Amazon credit card forum, a customer posted about a dilemma: The poster uses an Amazon store card to finance book purchases for school, but when it came time to buy another semester’s worth of course materials, the consumer couldn’t complete the purchase. The card’s credit limit had been lowered to $1 less than the remaining balance, leaving no room for new charges.

Credit Card
Credit Limit

What Should I Do With a Credit Card I Never Use?

By Steven Shaw on 7/17/2014

What Should I Do With a Credit Card I Never Use? 

They are the knickknacks of your personal financial lives: those old credit cards you seldom use. You might dust them off occasionally and charge something, but they often remain tucked away in a drawer or wallet, unused and overlooked.

Close Credit Cards
Credit Card
debt usage ratio

A Surprising Balance Transfer Credit Card Mistake

By Steven Shaw on 7/15/2014

A Surprising Balance Transfer Credit Card Mistake 

If you go to the store to buy a furnace filter and then get home and discover it’s the wrong size, you can usually return it and buy the one you need. But if you get a credit card and realize it’s not going to do the job you thought it would, you don’t have a similar option. A reader, Rachel, applied for a new card but now realizes she can’t use a promotional offer the way she planned and she doesn’t want the card. But she is worried about what canceling that card and applying for a different one will do to her credit score.

balance transfer
Credit Card

Too Much Holiday Debt? Don’t Make It Worse

By Steven Shaw on 1/4/2014

Too Much Holiday Debt? Don't Make It Worse

As a credit card user, your main prerogative is to steer clear of racking up high debt (especially on a high-interest card). However, if you’ve tangled yourself in a messy debt situation, there are options to simplifying what you owe, as well as how much interest you’ll accrue. By opening a low-interest balance transfer credit card, you can get a break on your debt payments.

Credit Card
Credit Card Debt
Credit Card Utilization
pay off credit cards

How to Get a Credit Card If You Are a Student

By Steven Shaw on 12/5/2013

how to get a credit card if you are a student

Wanting or needing credit isn’t always as simple as filling out an application. Even college students, who have a lot of financial services marketed to them, may face obstacles when trying to get a credit card.

Why? A lot of it comes down to their credit history — or lack thereof. The length of your credit history has an impact on your credit scores — the longer your history of responsible credit usage, the better. Many 18-year-olds heading to college don’t have any credit history, which makes them an unknown to many lenders who may not be as willing to approve them for a credit card.

CARD Act
CARD Act of 2009
college students
Credit Card
student credit cards
students

How to Pick a Credit Card When You Have Few Options

By Steven Shaw on 11/18/2013

how to pick a credit card

There are all sorts of reasons that people find themselves ineligible for a credit card.

Some lack a credit history simply because they have never applied for a loan or put any bills in their name. Also, recent immigrants will find that their credit reports are blank slates, almost as if they had not existed before coming to this country.

Credit Card
Credit History
reloadable prepaid debit cards
secured card

4 Holiday Credit Card Strategies

By Steven Shaw on 10/28/2013

Credit Cards

4 Holiday Credit Card Strategies

Just as we can predict the arrival of winter each year, many Americans can foresee their increased spending needs throughout the holiday season. And of course, increased holiday spending on credit cards will mean higher payments, more interest charges, or both.

Yet consumers who know in advance that they will soon be charging more on their credit cards can manage their expenses in several different ways. Here are four of the most popular options:

1. Pay statement balances in full each month

Cardholders will always be better off when they can limit their holiday spending to an amount that they can pay off each month in full and on time. Doing so has several benefits: First, there is no need to worry about high interest rates being charged, because no interest is accrued at all, so cardholders will never pay it. In addition, cardholders enjoy an interest-free grace period on all their charges that is 20-50 days long, depending on when in  their statement cycle they made the charge.

2. Keep the same cards normally used

Cardholders who fail to anticipate the need to carry a balance may just keep the credit cards they normally use, and incur interest charges at the standard rate. Unfortunately, credit card debt is unsecured, and the standard interest rates can be high.

3. Find a 0% APR promotional balance transfer offer after the holidays

Once credit card users find themselves over their heads in debt, many will apply for an interest-free balance transfer offer early in the new year. While these offers will allow them to suspend interest payments for 6-18 months, nearly all of these cards charge a 3% balance transfer fee levied on the amount transferred.

4. Apply for a promotional financing offer before the holidays

Credit card users who anticipate future debt can apply for a credit card that offers interest-free financing on new purchases for a limited time. In this way, cardholders can carry a balance, while avoiding both interest charges and balance transfer fees. And since these offers can last as long as 18 months, cardholders could potentially finance their purchases in this holiday season and the next.

Which option makes the most sense?

The best way to manage credit card use is to pay off each statement balance in full each month. This means that your credit card is merely being used as a method of payment, not a means of finance.

Yet many credit card users carry a balance on one or more of their credit cards each month, and they are even more likely to do so during the holidays. For these cardholders, it will make sense to look for a promotional financing offer before the holidays for new purchases, rather than incur a 3% balance transfer fee necessary to receive interest-free financing on previous purchases. Furthermore, most offers that include interest-free financing on new purchases also have a 0% APR balance transfer offer. So cardholders can use one of these cards to finance their holiday purchases and to consolidate their existing debts.

The best way to use a promotional financing offer

Credit cards with promotional financing offers can be used to stretch out payments on existing debt, while justifying new purchases based on interest-free financing. Unfortunately, those who use these offers as an incentive to spend more and postpone paying off their balances can find themselves trapped in a cycle of debt for years to come.

On the other hand, cardholders can use these limited time offers as a means to focus their efforts on consolidating and paying off their debts before the promotional financing period expires. Credit card users can strive to pay a portion of their debt each month so that their entire balance is paid before the promotional rate expires and the standard rates apply. By applying for a promotional financing offer before the holiday season, cardholders save money on interest payments and work toward ending the cycle of debt.

By anticipating their holiday spending needs in advance, credit card users can choose the best strategy for their individual needs.

Compare balance transfer credit cards here.

Image: Comstock Images

Credit Card
holiday budget
holiday spending
holidays

How Much Does Your Credit Score Cost You?

By Steven Shaw on 9/4/2013

credit score

You’ve heard that not having a great credit score can be costly, and you probably know intuitively that it’s true. But how much can it cost you? An extra $4,000 a year? That’s not an exaggeration.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways your credit score can directly impact your pocketbook. We’ll use purely hypothetical borrowers: Jerry has excellent credit, Elaine’s credit score is fair, while George’s is poor. But the examples of the money they may save (or pay) are very real.

credit score
Auto Insurance
auto loan
Credit Card
Interest Rate
Mortgage