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.
There’s an endless supply of theories on how to manage your debt in a healthy, responsible way. Some believe not to get into debt at all while others rack up credit card after credit card with little consideration. Neither extreme will likely have a positive impact on your FICO® Scores, but luckily most people fall somewhere in the middle.
If you’ve been stuck on the credit card debt treadmill for a while, struggling to make anything more than the minimum monthly payments, you’re probably looking for a way out. Maybe at some point this brilliant idea occurred to you (maybe it was in the middle of the night and it came to you in a dream and you shot straight up like they do on TV and said it aloud): “I know what I’ll do! I’ll pay off my credit card with another credit card.”
Yes, you can use one credit card to pay off your balance on another — though it isn’t all that simple and comes with a few caveats.
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?
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.
Nobody likes to face a debt collector. A call from a debt collector could be a symptom of financial hardship, or it could simply be an irritating reminder that you forgot to pay your doctor bill. Either way, you’re not happy.
Even so, you should definitely pick up the phone. A bill going to collections can have a substantial impact on your FICO® Scores. It’s possible for a debt collector to start calling you before the collections has hit your credit report. So if you pick up the phone and pay off the debt immediately, you may be able to avoid an impact on your FICO Scores.
The three major U.S. credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax— are soon going to change the way they handle credit report errors and unpaid medical bills.
The credit bureaus maintain data on millions of U.S. borrowers—data that is used to generate your FICO® Scores—so overhauling the way disputes are handled to make fixing credit report errors easier could be good news for your scores.