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...]

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...]

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...]

Your holiday shopping credit card guide

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The end of Halloween can only mean one thing: It’s time to start thinking about holiday shopping. Sure, all the merriment and festivities are fun. But let’s be honest, the holidays also have a tendency to strain your budget, rack up credit and cause financial stress.     This year, try to do things differently. Plan ahead and optimize your spending. Having the right credit card for your shopping goals is a good place to start. Here are a few questions to ask yourself.     Do you already have credit card debt? Consolidate and pay cash. If you already have credit card debt that you’re struggling to pay off, then don’t even consider adding to the problem. It’s not worth it. Your goal this holiday season is to spend responsibly and stay in budget. Find … [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.