Holiday Gift Guide For Your
Money-Conscious Friend

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They’re known by a variety of names (some more flattering than others): money-savvy, thrifty, cheap. They inspire you to make a budget, they frustrate you by never picking up the check, and they puzzle you when it comes holiday gifting. What do you buy for the person who hates spending? We can help.       1. I Will Teach You To Be Rich Ramit Sethi provides a no-frill approach to financial fitness. The book includes a 6-week plan for getting your finances in shape including sections on banking, saving, budgeting and investing. It’s the perfect gift for someone who’s just starting his/her financial journey and is looking to do a full overhaul.   2. Envelope system wallet To the extreme budgeter in your life, the envelope system is a sacred ritual. … [Read more...]

3 Easy Credit-Building Steps for Recent College Grads

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Establishing credit when you’re just starting out can be a bit of a catch-22: to establish credit, you need to get credit; to get credit in the first place, you need to have an established credit history. It’s an infinite loop of frustration (one you should get familiar with if you’re a recent grad—to get a job, you need work experience, which you can only get if already have a job . . .).   Luckily, breaking free of this paradox isn’t as hard as it initially sounds if you know where to start and know what to do once you get going. Establishing a credit history right out of college is one of the most important first steps you can take toward your financial future—it can help you get approved for car loans and mortgages and qualify you for better interest rates that will save you … [Read more...]

Word on the Web: Spending + Saving Smart

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Saving money isn’t just about frugality. It’s all about making smart choices at smart times. As we head into the season of spending, take a minute to focus on spending wisely. This month’s Word on the Web features tips and tricks to help you make smart financial decisions and save money in the end!       Read This to Maximize Your Rewards and Cash Back This Holiday Season You can actually come out ahead this holiday season if you play your cards right – literally. Wisebread provides a list of creative ways to maximize your credit card rewards while you’re crossing off items on your gift list. (http://www.wisebread.com/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season)   Saving Money on Bills It’s the continual payments and bills … [Read more...]

How to ask for a credit limit increase
(and make sure you get it)

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Ever since the financial crisis, credit issuers have become increasingly judicious about giving out credit limit increases. It wasn’t unheard of to be granted an astronomical increase to your credit line by merely asking.   Now issuers are being a little more thorough when processing requests for limit increases. There’s no surefire way of getting that credit limit increase you want, but there are steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of receiving one when you ask for it. This guide can help.   1. Ask yourself why   There are good and bad reasons for wanting a credit limit increase.   One good reason is wanting to improve your credit utilization ratio in the hopes of raising your FICO® Scores. If you have a $2,000 balance on a credit card … [Read more...]

How Identity Theft
Can Impact Your Credit Scores

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When people think about identity theft, they often focus on credit card fraud—someone racks up fraudulent transactions on your debit or credit card. This type of identity theft can be extremely frustrating, but luckily, credit card companies and banks have security measures and processes in place to keep your cards protected. It’s the other types of identity theft you have to worry about.   Other types of identity theft show symptoms slowly. You might not know about the theft for weeks, months or even years after it occurs. Most victims, a whopping 72%, don’t even know where or when the theft occurred (http://www.identitytheftassistance.org/pageview.php?cateid=47).   And then one dismal day, you’ll discover that an identity thief has opened up loans, taken on a … [Read more...]

Black Friday Shopping the Smart Way

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Another Black Friday is upon us. This year some retailers are electing to open their doors to the inaugural waves of holiday season shoppers as early as 6:00 am Thanksgiving morning. Don’t be surprised if in the near future the sheer gravitational force of Black Friday pulls the entire Gregorian calendar a full day ahead.   While every year the holiday shopping season seems to be getting an incremental head start on the holiday season itself, one thing always remains the same: if you want to make it to the new year with your financial health (and sanity) intact, you’ll have to be smart about how you shop.   Here’s your guide to smartly and safely navigating this year’s Black Friday landscape.   Shopping online? Shop safe. Good news! Getting the best … [Read more...]

4 Surprising Things
That Cause A Hard Inquiry

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When you’re focusing on improving your credit, every bit of credit activity is crucial. You’ve been tirelessly working to pay off debt and manage your credit responsibly. The last thing you need is for a hard inquiry to hit your credit report and potentially impact your FICO® Scores.   What’s an inquiry? Inquiries occur when someone checks, or inquires about, your credit. They are often also called credit checks. There are two categories of credit inquiries—one that your FICO Scores consider and one that your FICO Scores don’t consider.   A “hard” inquiry occurs when you authorize a lender or other entity to view your credit reports and FICO Scores.  Since you authorized this inquiry, it’s often called a “hard” inquiry. Hard inquires can impact your FICO Scores as … [Read more...]

With threat of data breaches,
5 tips to shop secure this holiday season

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Last year during the holiday season, Target suffered its notorious data breach exposing the personal information of over 70 million victims. At the time, it was the largest data breach we had seen yet.   Since the Target data breach, we’ve seen major retailers including Neiman Marcus, Kmart and Home Depot face a similar fate. Even just a few days ago, the US Postal Service announced1 a data breach that may have affected over 800,000 employees and a not-yet-disclosed number of customers.   What do all of these data breaches mean to you? So far, over 78 million identity records2 have been exposed — things like credit card numbers, email addresses and Social Security numbers of innocent victims. If you’re information was exposed, the impact could be minimal or … [Read more...]

Word on the web: Prepare to shop!

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  Holiday shopping season is here! Unfortunately, this is also the season of broken budgets, dwindled savings accounts, data breaches and identity theft. We should be enjoying the festivities instead of wallowing in anxiety over the best way to cross off every item on your shopping list. To help you shop smart this season, we’ve rounded up some of the best blogs on the web about data breaches, holiday shopping and more.   5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Credit Card Data Breaches Hackers steal and use all types of identity information including email addresses, passwords, Social Security numbers and more.  But the easiest piece of information for hackers to leverage immediately is credit card numbers. Learn how to protect your accounts with these 5 steps from Wise … [Read more...]

Why credit scores matter

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When you apply for a loan, you’re probably thinking about your brand new house or car. When you apply for credit, you’re probably thinking about what you’re going to purchase. Maybe, just maybe, you’re thinking about your monthly payments. What you’re probably not thinking about is your FICO® Scores. But your lender most likely is.   The loan process often has multiple steps, and only a few seconds on the radar is the part where you agree to a credit check. But that’s a very important step! In fact that little step could have a substantial impact on your monthly payment.   90% of top U.S. lenders use FICO Scores when making lending decisions, and your scores can have a substantial impact on your loans. Here are a few reasons why your FICO Scores … [Read more...]

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by a credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of a credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a credit card issuer. This site may be compensated by credit card issuers mentioned on the site by such companies.