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The 3 most exciting trends in credit cards

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If you’re anything like the 482,754 FICO Forums members(1) who visited our credit card board last month or the 167 million American adults with at least one credit card(2), you’re always on the lookout for a credit card that offers fantastic, unique terms and features. Over the past few years, we’ve seen an explosion of rewards, points and features never seen before in the credit card industry. And it keeps getting better. Here are some of the most exciting trends in credit cards that you can cash in on right now.   1. More ways to use your points Most credit cards offer some form of points or rewards – travel points, gas points, shopping points, etc. Collecting points is great when you actually intend on using them, but sometimes you rack up a ton of points at a store you’re … [Read more...]

Not all millennials are saying “no” to credit

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Recently, we published an article about millennials using less credit than their age group did in the past. While it’s true that the amount of younger millennials (under 30) opting out of credit usage has increased, the population as a whole hasn’t shunned credit altogether.   There’s a persistent theory that millennials (those U.S. individuals between 18-34 years old) have turned away from many aspects of their parents’ lifestyle.  Preferring instead to live in urban areas versus the “burbs”, use public transportation instead of owning a car and avoid credit — instead, opting for cash or debit cards.   While some research findings support these themes, with an estimated 75 million millennials in the U.S., there are bound to be large numbers within this segment who … [Read more...]

3 Things you should know about your new chip card

6 ways to maximize your Credit card

Since we last wrote about the upcoming U.S. shift to EMV “smart” cards, banks and credit card companies have continued gradually issuing microchip-embedded cards to their customers. Chances are you’ve already gotten your hands on one of these new chip-based credit cards as the EMV rollout picks up ahead of the October 1st liability shift deadline, when merchants without chip-card readers will have to eat the costs of magnetic stripe card fraud. If you haven’t received chipped EMV cards to replace your existing credit cards, you can probably expect your issuers to send them soon (or you can simply give them a call and ask for the chipped replacements).   Either way, as magnetic stripe cards start getting phased out, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the new EMV … [Read more...]

Word on the web: Don’t let the warm weather put your finances off track

With the energy and joy only warm weather and sunshine can inspire, we’re entering summer with a pension for vacations, beaches, barbeques and fun. See ya later winter. But before you start charging plane tickets and breaking your budget for a brand new grill, let’s take a few minutes to refocus on financial and credit fitness. Here are 4 articles  to help you get focused.   Consumer tips for dealing with debt The first step in managing your debt is acknowledging that you have a problem. The Dollar Stretcher walks you through 9 ways to identify the debt problem and 9 ways to fix it.   How to apply for student loans while minding your credit Applying for student loans certainly won’t ruin your FICO Scores, but it’s important to think about how student debt could have a … [Read more...]

Millennials are saying “no” to credit cards. They’re making a mistake.

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Recent studies by FICO and Bankrate point to a growing trend among Millennials: they're not big on credit cards. To be specific, according to credit data gathered by FICO, the number of 18 – 29-year-olds who didn’t have a single credit card doubled from 8% to 16% between 2007 and 2012. Add to that a survey conducted by Bankrate last year in which a whopping 63% of the 1,161 respondents—also 18 – 29-year-olds—said they don’t have a single credit card.   It shouldn’t come as a surprise that younger Americans are shying away from the prospect of taking on more debt. Millennials are already saddled with over $1,000,000,000,000 in student loan debt (that’s one trillion dollars for those of you who’ve never seen so many zeroes strung together). Consider, also, that they’ve been … [Read more...]

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...]

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 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...]

The major 2015 credit card change you need to know about

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Magnetic stripe credit cards are going to start getting phased out. Here’s what you need to know.   All that plastic in your wallet might look a little different come this time next year. That’s because by the end of 2015 a projected 70% of all U.S. credit cards and 41% of U.S. debit cards1 will come equipped with an embedded microchip based on the global “EMV” smartcard standard.   At this point, you might be wondering what exactly an “EMV smartcard” is, or why the U.S. is suddenly making the shift to this new credit card standard. And you’re probably wondering what this all means to you, anyway. So here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming nationwide shift to new credit card technology.   Meet EMV   EMV—which stands for Europay, … [Read more...]

Should I transfer my credit card balance to another credit card?

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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.   First thing: You can’t actually pay off credit debt with credit. Unfortunately, none of the major credit card issuers allow credit card debt payment by credit card.   And … [Read more...]

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