6 Ways to maximize credit card rewards

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In the credit card world, there’s really no better feeling than earning rewards for your spending. Who doesn't like getting a little bonus for purchasing everyday expenses with some plastic?   But lost in the excitement of air miles, cash back and gift cards is the fact that getting the most out of your credit card rewards requires some extra know-how and a bit of work. Want to squeeze every last drop of value out of that rewards card? Here are some tips.   1. Pick a rewards card that matches your lifestyle   Even the best of the best rewards cards will fall short for you if the rewards you’re earning are a poor fit. Not much of a traveler? Acquiring airline miles and hotel points won’t be of any use. Drive an electric car? A gas rewards card won’t do you … [Read more...]

Quiz: How well do you know FICO Scores?

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Happy credit education month! Think you know everything about FICO Scores? Now is your chance to test your FICO Score knowledge. Take this quick, fun quiz to see how well you know FICO Scores. Questions range from easy to a little more challenging, and most questions provide a detailed explanation of the answer. Quiz yourself, learn and share with your friends!     … [Read more...]

How student loans affect your FICO® Scores

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Here are some sobering statistics for anyone who recently graduated from college:   1. 70% of students graduating with a bachelor’s degree are leaving school with student-loan debt   2. The average class of 2014 graduate with student-loan debt owed $33,000—earning them the distinction of the most indebted class ever   3. 2014 graduates faced an 8.5% unemployment rate and 16.8 underemployment rate   Recent college grads are leaving school with more debt than ever and entering a job market with fewer opportunities for them to use their degrees and, in turn, pay back their loans.   It’s easy to forgive a young grad buried to the neck in student-loan debt for overlooking the impact of his loan repayment on his FICO Scores. The fact … [Read more...]

New FICO credit education video series: Understanding your credit

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We’re excited to introduce a new education video series from FICO—Understanding Your Credit. We created these three initial short videos to help you understand FICO® Score basics. Watch them and learn what a FICO Score is, how it’s calculated from your credit reports, how lenders use them to evaluate your credit risk, and plenty more!   What is a FICO Score?   Every day, thousands of U.S. lenders use FICO Scores to make more well-informed credit-granting decisions. But what does that mean for you? And why is it important to understand how lenders use them?   This video takes a look at what a FICO Score is and why it matters to consumers and lenders alike. Watch to learn how FICO Scores streamline the lending process, making it faster and fairer for … [Read more...]

5 Smart credit card moves that could help your scores

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We all know the consequences of using credit cards irresponsibly: crushing debt, late and missed payment fees, poor FICO® Scores, bad breath (okay, maybe not one of those).   Of course, using credit cards wisely comes with a number of benefits. In addition to being a secure and convenient way to make payments, credit cards can help you establish and build credit, give you access to valuable rewards, and can even help improve your scores. To help you play the credit card game wisely, here are 5 smart moves to make.   1. Ask for a credit limit increase   Your issuer might occasionally surprise you with an unprompted credit limit increase, but it never hurts to take matters into your own hands if you've been pining for a higher credit line. A limit increase … [Read more...]

How identity theft insurance works

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Becoming a victim of a crime is something we neither plan for nor even imagine when thinking about the future. That’s why we have insurance. If something does happen, you’ll have assistance. You insure your car against break-ins, you insure your house against burglary and you even insure other high-price items like engagement rings or your smart phone.   Now imagine if you become a victim of identity theft—and not just credit card fraud. Say you discover an identity thief has taken out 3-5 loans in your name and has sold your information on the black market so that it can be bought, sold, used and abused. Do you have a plan for when that happens? Think about all the time it will take to correct your credit profile, restore your identity and monitor for more attacks. It can be … [Read more...]

Why your brain is bad with money

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If I handed you a regular-sized sheet of paper and asked you to fold it in half eight times, do you think you’d be able to? Go ahead, give it a shot—I’ll be over here casually making some tea.   For those of you who actually gave this a go (kudos to you, by the way), you probably realized by the fifth or sixth fold—faster than it took me to casually brew my tea—that getting that thin piece of paper to fold in half eight times is basically impossible (the world record is actually thirteen times, but good luck trying this at home).   Now let’s just say we have an imaginary piece of paper that we can fold as many times as we’d like. How thick would this paper be if we folded it thirty times? Fifty times? A hundred? The answers, respectively, are 1) thick enough to reach … [Read more...]

4 FREE ways to entertain yourself this weekend

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Boredom has a way of eating away at your finances. The easiest way to spice up an uneventful Saturday evening usually involves spending money. A night out at the movies, going out for a drink with friends, catching a live sporting event—if you want to enjoy any of these you better be prepared dig deep into those pockets.   But entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it can even be totally free. Here are a few ways to keep yourself sufficiently stimulated, engaged, and entertained throughout the weekend without having to drop a dime.   1. Check out a book/movie/CD at the library.   It’s not as old-fashioned as it sounds. The library is a goldmine of free entertainment—it’s like if Netflix and iTunes got married, bought a brick and mortar … [Read more...]

How to Avoid Paying Credit Card Interest

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It’s no mystery that credit card companies charge interest on outstanding balances. And most credit card users are at least nominally familiar with their credit card’s APR (annual percentage rate). You carry a balance, you get charged interest—simple enough.   Beyond that, things start getting a little murky. How is your APR determined? How do interest charges get calculated? And at what point does your balance start accruing interest charges anyway?   Confusion spells costs when it comes to credit card use. It’s hard to avoid paying interest if you have no clue how and why it’s being charged in the first place.   So if you really want to minimize the cost of credit, you’ll have to understand how exactly credit card interest makes its way onto your monthly … [Read more...]

You’re ready for a relationship. But is your credit?

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If one of your New Year’s resolutions included finding that special someone to settle down with, you need to be ready and able for that special relationship. This includes your credit.   Talking about money issues with a romantic partner can be awkward, but once the relationship gets serious, it’s important to be able to be open and transparent with one another. Having money discussions is a great way to practice this important relationship skill.   Issues related to money are one of the top reasons for divorce, so sorting out all the money stuff before a lifetime commitment or marriage can give your relationship a much greater chance of surviving and thriving.   Now, I’m not a therapist or even a relationship specialist, but I have had relationships myself … [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.