credit card interest rates http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10373/all en-US Get Out of Debt? Why? http://www.wisebread.com/get-out-of-debt-why <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-out-of-debt-why" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3017263513_6ce985841a_z.jpg" alt="woman shrugging" title="woman shrugging" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I spend a lot of time writing about why debt is bad news. As a result, I&rsquo;ve actually gotten a lot better at avoiding debt in my own life and paying off any debt I do take on as quickly as possible. I guess I believe in my own advice. But sometimes I have to wonder &mdash; I know a few people who carry a lot of debt, and it just doesn&rsquo;t seem to faze them that much. They have a nice life, a lot of nice things, and they pay for it all in installments. Is that really so bad? If carrying debt doesn&rsquo;t bother them, why would they bother making it go away?</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a good question, and it&rsquo;s one a lot of people are faced with. After all, when life is good, why on earth would anyone want to switch to austerity mode? If you have a lot of debt, paying it off will not be nearly as fun as racking it up &mdash; and it&rsquo;ll probably take a lot longer too. But there are still some really good reasons why you should suck it up and pay it off. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-start-fighting-debt-today">How to Start Fighting Debt &mdash; Today</a>)</p> <h3>Debt Is a Self-Imposed Pay Cut</h3> <p>If you carry a lot of debt &mdash; especially high-interest debt on credit cards &mdash; it costs you money each and every month. Let&rsquo;s say you have the same balance as an average American with a credit card, $15,596. At a typical 18% interest rate, you&rsquo;ll pay more than $9,000 in interest before you pay off the debt, assuming you make a minimum montly payment of 4% (which, if you don&rsquo;t aim to pay that debt down, is the most likely course of action). That&rsquo;s $9,000 for absolutely nothing. If your employer took that off your paycheck, you&rsquo;d be screaming bloody murder. So why would you do it to yourself?</p> <h3>You Can&rsquo;t Borrow a Backup Plan</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re carrying a debt with a manageable payment, it&rsquo;s a cycle that can often be perpetuated for a very long time &mdash; pay it down a bit, rack it up a bit, and repeat. But that cycle can quickly collapse in the face of emergency. What if you lose your job, get sick, or run into a major unexpected expense? The likely result is that you&rsquo;ll fail to make your payments, and possibly default on your loan. That&rsquo;s bad news for you credit and, ultimately, its bad news for you. Not only will you be cut off from borrowing for a while, but bad credit can even get in the way of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-you-should-and-shouldnt-rent">renting an apartment</a> or securing a job.</p> <h3>More Debt, Fewer Options</h3> <p>And being in debt doesn&rsquo;t just have negative consequences &mdash; it can also keep unexpected opportunities just out of reach, such as the chance to travel, invest, or start your own business. If you&rsquo;re debt free or, better yet, have some cash in the bank, you&rsquo;ll have a lot more freedom to be spontaneous and embrace life&rsquo;s good surprises while creating the financial security you need to keep the bad ones from destroying you.</p> <h3>Debt Drags You Down</h3> <p>You know that churning feeling you get in your stomach when you get your credit card statement in the mail? That&rsquo;s not indigestion; it&rsquo;s stress, and it can seriously affect your health. A 2008 poll by the Associated Press and AOL Health showed that people who were dealing with mountains of debt were more likely to report health problems such as ulcers, migraines, anxiety, depression, and even heart attacks. It&rsquo;s easy to swipe that credit card and forget about it, but there&rsquo;s always a point where a debt becomes too big to ignore. Unfortunately, by the time you feel the heat, you&rsquo;re probably already in very hot water. If you can, get out of debt before it starts to keep you up at night. By the time it gets that bad, it may already be too late.</p> <h3>Why Get Out of Debt?</h3> <p>Whether you make the move to get out debt is up to you, but don&rsquo;t fool yourself into thinking that your debt isn&rsquo;t a problem. Just like the charges on your credit card, you can only defer the consequences of carrying too much debt for so long. Eventually, it&rsquo;ll be time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-your-credit-card-debt-cost-you">pay the price</a>.&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-out-of-debt-why">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">The Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-use-savings-to-pay-off-debt">When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tips-for-improving-or-starting-a-budget">8 Tips for Improving or Starting a Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management credit card debt credit card interest rates emergency fund options Tue, 08 May 2012 10:00:14 +0000 Tara Struyk 927927 at http://www.wisebread.com The Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_piggy_bank_000019734047.jpg" alt="Young woman saving money piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The only thing more challenging than managing credit card debt is getting out of it. To accomplish this important goal you need a sound budget, plenty of discipline, and a credit card with the lowest possible interest rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=seealso">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Cards</a>)</p> <h2>How to Find the Lowest Interest Rates</h2> <p>Every bank is legally required to clearly disclose each card's Annual Percentage Rate, or APR. This is the rate you will see in the black and white box when you click on the &quot;terms and conditions&quot; link.&nbsp;While you might think these disclosures make choosing the lowest APR an easy task, it is not that simple.&nbsp;Most banks will disclose a range of possible rates, with each applicant being offered a particular APR according to his or her credit rating. Therefore, the lowest rates available will be granted only to those applicants with the highest credit scores, with all other cardholders receiving higher rates.</p> <p>Another important aspect of a credit card interest rate is that nearly all of them will have a variable rate. The good news is that the CARD Act of 2009 prevents banks from arbitrarily raising their rates on cardholders in good standing. What you will find is that nearly every card on the market will offer a variable APR that is based on the Prime Rate. This rate, determined in part by the Federal Government, has stood at a record low of 3.25% since December of 2008. Nevertheless, the variable interest rates quoted by the credit card issuers will rise when the Prime Rate does. For example, if the Prime were to rise to 8.25%, as it did in June of 2006, cardholders would see their interest rate rise by 5% from the current rates.</p> <p>Finally, the best interest rates offered for a particular card can vary based on the link you use to apply for it. I have even seen different rates for the same card depending on which browser I used!</p> <h2>The Five Lowest APR Cards on the Market</h2> <p>These cards currently have the lowest interest rates.</p> <h3>BankAmericard&reg; Credit Card</h3> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/bankamericard-0523.jpg" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" alt="BankAmericard Credit Card" width="154" height="98" /><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=16&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xcard" target="_blank" style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" class="img-exempt img-button" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=16&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xname" target="_blank">BankAmericard&reg; credit card</a> offers a competitive 11.49%-21.49% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers, with a 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on balance transfers made in the first 60 days. This no-frills card does not offer any rewards, but it can be a worthwhile tradeoff for people who want a low-interest card in case they have to carry a balance from time to time. <strong>There is no annual fee.</strong><strong><br /> </strong></p> <p><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=16&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xend" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the BankAmericard&reg; Credit Card today!</strong></a></p> <h3>Chase Slate&reg;</h3> <p><img alt="" src="http://www.imgsynergy.com/191x120/chase-slate-060216.png" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" class="img-exempt" border="0" width="154" /><a style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=39&amp;pp=2&amp;uv= xcardbutton" title="Chase Slate&reg;" alt="Chase Slate&reg;" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="img-exempt img-button" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" /></a>With the <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=39&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xname" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Chase Slate&reg;</a>, you'll enjoy 0% intro APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers, and the intro balance transfer fee is $0 when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days of account opening. After the introductory periods end, a variable APR of 15.49%-24.24% applies on balance transfers and purchases, and there will be a fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. There is no penalty APR &mdash; paying late won't raise your interest rate. <strong>There is no annual fee, either.</strong></p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=39&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xend" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Click here to learn more and apply for the Chase Slate&reg; today!</a></strong></p> <h3>Capital One&reg; VentureOne&reg; Rewards Credit Card</h3> <p><img alt="Capital One&reg; VentureOne&reg; Rewards Credit Card" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" class="img-exempt" src="http://imgsynergy.com/product_creatives/2fa80042d1ea11bad91144b1ff7453f4.png" width="154" height="98" /><a target="_blank" style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=33&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xcardbutton"><img alt="" class="img-exempt img-button" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" /></a>The <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=33&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xname">Capital One&reg; VentureOne&reg; Rewards Credit Card</a> offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months; after that, a variable APR of 12.49%-22.49% applies. Besides a great intro purchase rate, you'll also get unlimited 1.25 miles for every dollar you spend on purchases, which you redeem for travel purchases, statement credit, gift cards, and more. And if you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months of approval, you'll earn a one-time 20,000 miles bonus &mdash; that's equal to $200 in travel. <strong>There is no annual fee.</strong></p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=33&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Capital One&reg; VentureOne&reg; Rewards Credit Card today!</strong></a></p> <h3>Citi Simplicity&reg; Card - No Late Fees Ever</h3> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/CitiSimplicityCard-0601.jpg" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" alt="" border="0" width="154" /><a style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=54&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xcardbutton" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" alt="Citi Simplicity&reg; Credit Card" title="Citi Simplicity&reg; Credit Card"><img alt="" class="img-exempt img-button" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=54&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xname" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Citi Simplicity&reg; Card - No Late Fees Ever</a> offers 0% intro APR on purchases and balances for a whopping 21 months! After the intro period, the variable APR will be 14.24%-24.24%. While there is a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater), there are no late fees, no penalty APR, and <strong>no annual fee</strong>. It doesn't get simpler than that.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=54&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xend" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Click here to learn more and apply for the Citi Simplicity&reg; Card - No Late Fees Ever today!</a></strong></p> <h3>Capital One&reg; Quicksilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card</h3> <p><img style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" class="img-exempt" src="http://imgsynergy.com/product_creatives/3a30b5b007d6e1c0aae8ed36b26a29d0.png" align="right" border="0" width="154" height="98" alt="" /><a style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=27&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xcardbutton"><img alt="" class="img-exempt img-button" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" /></a>The <a rel="nofollow" target="blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=27&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xname">Capital One&reg; Quicksilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card</a> has 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 9 months (a 3% fee applies to each balance transferred). After the intro period ends, a variable APR of 13.49%-23.49% kicks in. Besides low interest rates, this card also offers simple rewards: earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. Plus, get a one-time $100 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months of approval.</p> <p><strong><a rel="nofollow" target="blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=27&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xend">Click here to learn more and apply for the Capital One&reg; Quicksilver&reg; Cash Rewards Credit Card today!</a></strong></p> <h3>BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Credit Card</h3> <p><img alt="" style="float: right; margin: 0px 5px 5px 10px;" class="img-exempt" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/BoA_Cash_Rewards-154.jpg" border="0" width="154" /><a style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=17&amp;pp=6&amp;uv=xcardbutton"><img alt="" class="img-exempt img-button" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" /></a>The <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=17&amp;pp=6&amp;uv=xname">BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; credit card</a> has an intro offer of 0% APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 12 billing cycles, then a variable APR of 13.49% - 23.49% applies. You earn 3% cash back for gas, and you earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter).<strong>There is no annual fee.</strong><strong><br /> </strong></p> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=41&amp;pid=17&amp;pp=6&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the BankAmericard Cash Rewards&trade; Credit Card today!</strong></a></p> <p>Although the best way to use a credit card is to avoid paying interest, most Americans are unable live up to this ideal. If you do have to carry a balance, your primary goal should be finding a card with the lowest interest rate. Doing so will help you to minimize the amount of interest that you owe, making it easier to pay off your credit card debt as soon as possible.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/personal-finance/credit-cards"><strong>Back to Credit Card Offers</strong></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The 5 Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-no-balance-transfer-fees">5 Best Credit Cards with No Balance Transfer Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores">The 5 Best Credit Cards That Offer Free Credit Scores</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-to-wipe-out-holiday-debt">The Best Credit Cards to Wipe Out Holiday Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-dont-love-capital-one-how-to-get-a-lower-apr-or-possibly-not">How to Get a Lower APR, or Possibly Not</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Debt Management best credit cards credit card balance transfers credit card interest rates lower interest rate Fri, 23 Dec 2011 11:36:15 +0000 Jason Steele 828360 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Save Money in the New Year http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-money-in-the-new-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-save-money-in-the-new-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/scott_change_jar_new_year.jpg" alt="Change jar" title="Change jar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="160" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What better way to start 2011 than with an action plan on how to save money? Here are five easy ways you can save money without changing your lifestyle.</p> <h3>1. Use Your Smartphone for Deals</h3> <p>Do you have a smartphone? If so, be sure to download apps that will search for mobile coupons. For the iPhone, download <a href="http://www.getyowza.com/">Yowza!!</a>, <a href="http://www.mobiqpons.com/">MobiQpons</a>, and <a href="http://www.savebenjis.com">Save Benjis</a>. With these apps, a barcode appears on the screen of the iPhone, and the cashier will scan the barcode and give you the discount. No need to print the coupons! For the Andriod, download the <a href="http://www.google.com/mobile/shopper/">Google Shopper</a> app, which allows users to scan the barcode of any item in the store and the app will compare prices among different retailers. And for the BlackBerry, visit <a href="http://8coupons.com">8coupons.com</a> and <a href="http://couponwinner.com">CouponWinner.com</a> (if you have Internet on your BlackBerry).</p> <h3>2. Improve Your Credit Cards</h3> <p>Call up your credit card companies and ask them to lower the interest rates on your credit cards &mdash; ask to speak to a supervisor if necessary. By making this phone call, your rates should be lowered by 3-5%.</p> <p>Also, if you have <a href="http://helpsavemydollars.com/2010/05/how-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt-2/">credit card debt</a>, try to pay more than the minimum payment on your credit card bill, even if it's only a few dollars. This will get you out of debt sooner and you'll save money on interest payments.</p> <h3>3. Track Your Expenses</h3> <p>Do you know how much money you spend each month? In order to begin to save money, you need to know exactly, to the penny, how much money you spend. This will allow you to determine where you are wasting your money. For example: Are you spending $150 month on coffee each month? Are you spending $200 each week by eating out at restaurants? To help you figure out how much money you spend, use this free <a href="http://helpsavemydollars.com/2010/11/expense-calculator/">Expense Calculator</a>. Also, if you have an iPhone, for $4.99 you can download the <a href="http://www.ixpenseit.com/">iXpenseIt</a> app, which enables users to take a picture of their receipts after they make a purchase. The app stores the receipt's data, allowing users to easily track their spending.</p> <h3>4. Shop with Cash Only</h3> <p>When shopping, leave your credit cards at home and use cash instead. At some point, you're going to run out of cash, which will force you to stop shopping, whereas with credit cards, there are no boundaries and you can easily rack up thousands of dollars without even realizing it. Plus with cash, you don't have to worry about interest rates, late fees, or <a href="http://helpsavemydollars.com/2010/05/credit-scores/">damage to your credit score</a> by accumulating debt or by not paying the bill on time.</p> <h3>5. Set Goals</h3> <p>You probably have a few New Year's resolutions. If it isn't already, make one of your resolutions for 2011 to save money and be conscious of your spending. Challenge yourself! For example, promise that you're going to use cash only for the next three months. After completing that challenge, chances are you'll stick to cash and never go back to credit cards, which is a huge financial success.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/scott-gamm">Scott Gamm</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-money-in-the-new-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-one-favorite-frugal-living-tip">My One Favorite Frugal Living Tip</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smartphone-apps-to-help-you-save-big">6 Smartphone Apps to Help you Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">The Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/read-ageproof-living-longer-without-running-out-of-money-or-breaking-a-hip-to-live-your-best-life">Read &quot;AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip&quot; to Live Your Best Life</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living credit card interest rates goal setting smartphone apps tracking spending Fri, 14 Jan 2011 15:00:12 +0000 Scott Gamm 431207 at http://www.wisebread.com Comparing Savings Rates: U.S. vs Japan http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-savings-rates-us-vs-japan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/comparing-savings-rates-us-vs-japan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000004252982XSmall.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the past 3 years, we Americans have seen an interesting shift in our economic and social patterns. First, we&rsquo;ve seen credit card use decline, not by any conscious choice made by spenders, in a lot of cases. Credit card companies have rejected a good number of applications, and have even decided to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-getting-your-credit-card-canceled">cancel the accounts of existing cardholders</a> due to single late payments, credit risks not associated with their products, and higher-than-ever credit qualifications.</p> <p>For instance, while balance transfer credit cards do exist, they are no longer the fad they once were, and have lost some favor with credit hungry consumers, given the stricter requirements and stipulations they now have that govern their 0% APR offers. Combine all this with higher than ever interest rates on many popular credit cards, and guess what? We get people who want to start saving money again. While this may be simplifying things, it seems that as credit card companies began to shift their policies in response to a tighter credit environment, Americans have reacted by tightening their belts and adjusting their spending. The economic recession and subsequent changes in the credit industry have resulted in a silver lining; these changes have had an effect on consumers, even encouraging many of them to shun credit card debt and to avoid using credit cards as a lifestyle choice.</p> <h3>The American Way</h3> <p>In real numbers, there is proof that our attitude towards money has changed. In particular, we have begun to save money to the tune of 5%-7% of our disposable income. Check out <a href="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/PSAVERT">this graph</a>, which illustrates the increase from 2007 to now, according to research done by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u11/PSAVERT_Max_630_378.png" alt="" /></p> <p>If you&rsquo;ll notice, the 2nd quarter of 2009 shows the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/americans-savings-rate-up-to-almost-7-who-benefits">American savings rate</a> lingering at 5%, which is higher than the rate registered at any other time in the last 5 years. That&rsquo;s a pretty noticeable shift in savings (and consequently, spending) when you consider the fact that many Americans had little to no savings 5 years ago, and relied heavily on credit cards. This is happening despite the current dismal returns of many so-called high interest savings accounts these days &mdash; especially when you're lucky to get 2.00% to 3.00% on certificates of deposit.</p> <h3>How Is Japan Doing?</h3> <p>Meanwhile, there is a different and opposite trend going on across the ocean that is completely contrary to our current patterns, yet similar to our economic trends that occurred 4-5 years ago (but for different economic reasons). In Japan, savings rates have declined sharply. They have fallen drastically from &ldquo;11.4% of aggregate disposable income to just 2.2% in the decade ending December 2007&rdquo;. Since 2007, disposable income in Japan has remained pretty stagnant, resulting in the <a href="http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/economics/japan-savings-ratio/">decreased savings trend</a>.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u11/saving-ratio.gif" /></p> <p><strong>What is causing the downward savings trend in Japan?</strong> There are many factors, not the least of which can be attributed to income stagnation and an aging population, not unlike our &ldquo;Baby Boomer&rdquo; generation, a group that tends to do less saving and more spending, especially of their retirement funds. In addition, there are economic reasons that have accounted for the stagnant income, including an expensive housing market. The housing bubble phenomenon is something that isn't uncommon to many industrialized countries.</p> <p>In comparing our two economic macro situations on a broad level, it&rsquo;s easy to see some comparisons and trends that relate to each other. We see similarities in housing climates, spending trends by an aging population, and distribution of money, or lack thereof among generations.</p> <p>It will be interesting to see how the trends will play out in both Japan and the United States. <strong>Here are a few questions that can add some food for thought:</strong></p> <ul> <li>What do you think of these new savings and spending trends?</li> <li>Do you think credit card spending will continue to increase just as it has in the past?&nbsp;</li> <li>Do you think Japan will follow suit and see a massive consumer credit bubble?</li> <li>Any predictions on the economic outlook for the U.S. and Japan?</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/silicon-valley-blogger">Silicon Valley Blogger</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-savings-rates-us-vs-japan">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-money">The 10 Biggest Lies We Tell Ourselves About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-football-teaches-us-about-money">9 Things Football Teaches Us About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit card interest rates investing saving Wed, 03 Feb 2010 14:00:02 +0000 Silicon Valley Blogger 4978 at http://www.wisebread.com Best of Personal Finance: Credit Where Credit Is Due Edition http://www.wisebread.com/best-of-personal-finance-credit-where-credit-is-due-edition <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-of-personal-finance-credit-where-credit-is-due-edition" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit cards.jpg" alt="Stacked." title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to this weeks Best of Personal Finance round-up!</p> <p>Ah, credit. What would we do without it, besides live simpler lives with smaller televisions? </p> <p>We here at Wise Bread are fans of Credit Karma, and we're not alone.<a href="http://frugalbabe.com/2009/03/23/credit-karma/"> Frugal Babe</a> gives the<strong> free credit score service</strong> a try, and reports her findings.</p> <p>Believe it or not, the US government is fighting overdraft fees by reforming some banking legislation that you've never heard of (OK, that I've never heard of). And Uncle Sam is soliciting your feedback on the matter, reports <a href="http://www.usnews.com/blogs/alpha-consumer/2009/3/26/uncle-sam-wants-your-opinion-on-card-fees.html?s_cid=rss:alpha-consumer:uncle-sam-wants-your-opinion-on-card-fees">Alpha Consumer</a>.</p> <p>You might think that only people with lousy finances get their credit limit slashed, but even financially well-off people are finding that credit card companies are willing to take away their credit limits, as <a href="http://www.walletpop.com/credit/article/_a/bbdp/credit-limit-slashed-be-very-afraid/396490">Wallet Pop</a> notes.</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2009/03/20/debt-reduction-vs-retirement-savings/">Five Cent Nickel</a> is asked if one should pay off debt or save for retirement first.</p> <p>WSJ blog <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/wallet/2009/03/25/bofa-drops-spending-caps-on-upromise-credit-card/?mod=rss_WSJBlog">The Wallet reports that Bank of America is taking over the Upromise credit card</a> (the credit card that supposedly helps parents help save money for their children's college tuition) from Citigroup, and may lift the cash back limits on the card.</p> <p>Even if you have credit cards with zero balance that you aren't using, you don't want to close the accounts, and <a href="http://www.moneyunder30.com/closing-credit-card-accounts-fico-score">Money Under Thirty</a> is here to tell you why.</p> <p>Then again, <a href="http://www.askmrcreditcard.com/creditcardblog/should-you-close-your-credit-card-once-you-pay-it-off/">Ask Mr. Credit Card says that your credit score will probably recover </a>if you simply hate the thought of having old, unused accounts lying around.</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2009/03/25/the-low-interest-debt-debate/">The Simple Dollar </a>explains why taking out a low-interest car loan may be a better idea that paying all of the money upfront in one huge chunk.</p> <p>One of the few good things about AmEx (and other major credit card companies) is their chargeback (refund) policies, which tend to favor the consumer. <a href="http://consumerist.com/5185159/woman-who-missed-obamas-inauguration-starts-10000-amex-chargeback">Consumerist </a>writes about a woman who submitting a chargeback for 10k that she spent to secure a spot at the Presidential inaguration in January, which she never got to see.</p> <p><a href="http://www.richcreditdebtloan.com/9-steps-for-establishing-credit/">Rich Credit Debt Loan</a> discusses how to establish credit, assuming that you are one of the few people left in the world without a line of credit (or a young adult, just starting out in a world of owing).</p> <p>Breaking the credit card habit can be hard, but <a href="http://www.ncnblog.com/2009/03/19/how-to-break-the-credit-card-habit/">No Credit Needed </a>was up to the challenge.</p> <p><a href="http://www.doughroller.net/book-reviews/debt-cures-kevin-trudeau/">Dough Roller </a>looks at Kevin Trudeau's Debt Cures and finds them lacking.</p> <p>What do you do if your credit report shows a delinquent account that you never opened and you can't get the collections agency to talk to you? Readers respond at <a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2009/03/help-a-reader-credit-report-problem.html">Free Money Finance</a>.</p> <p>And although this is not related to credit cards, it is a blog post simply too awesome to pass up: Trent at The Simple Dollar offers <a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2009/03/26/most-time-management-is-rubbish-here-are-ten-things-that-work-for-me/">honest-to-goodness productivity tips that really work</a>. For him, anyway. See if they work for you.</p> <p>If you have a suggestion for the next edition, please <a target="_blank" href="../../../../../../forums/bloggers-corner/best-web-suggest-link-718.html#post5984">share them in the forum</a>!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-of-personal-finance-credit-where-credit-is-due-edition">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/uk-banks-are-blocking-customers-credit-cards-will-the-usa-be-next">UK banks are blocking customers&#039; credit cards. Will the USA be next?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-the-best-way-to-get-out-of-debt">What&#039;s the Best Way to Get out of Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/funding-your-401k-when-youre-in-debt">Funding your 401(k) when you&#039;re in debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-we-really-need-help-in-getting-more-debt">Do we really need help with getting more debt?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management amex APR credit card interest rates credit cards debit debt finances interest rates loans MasterCard VISA Thu, 26 Mar 2009 22:40:29 +0000 Andrea Karim 2980 at http://www.wisebread.com Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/reduce bills.JPG" alt="cell phone" title="cell phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">Are your <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">credit card</a> interest rates getting to you? Are those monthly <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-ways-to-stay-in-touch-on-the-road">cell phone</a> bills a pain in the wallet? How about <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-monthly-expenses-we-dont-realize-we-dont-need">cable TV</a>? Internet? Even the power bill? Would you like to reduce these charges without the hassle of changing suppliers? Read on, my frugal friend.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">As <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-personal-finance-tips-you-dont-always-hear-about">Tisha recently pointed out</a>, most suppliers will not be forthcoming with you about less expensive suppliers in the marketplace or new options within the same company that could save you money and be a better fit for your needs. But this does not mean that you aren&rsquo;t entitled to save this money. You just have to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-in-style-for-free">ask for it</a>.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Once my contract was up with my cell phone provider, I did a little shopping around for new plans. I didn&rsquo;t actually <i>intend </i>to change carriers; I was just doing some research. As a matter of course, I was able to find another carrier that on the surface appeared to provide a better deal.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p>Armed with information, I toddled off to the telephone and called my cell phone supplier. In a friendly and conversational tone, I suggested that there were other providers that could match or beat my current plan. In the next breath I said that I would prefer to keep my business with this company, since I believe in loyalty and since they have given me no reason to leave. I finished off with the big question: <b>&ldquo;What Can You Do For Me?&rdquo;</b> And then I let them talk.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p>On that day, I received $150 towards a new phone, 100 free minutes per month, and a substantial reduction in my monthly charges. All simply by asking.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">After this experience, I thought &ldquo;this is too easy!&rdquo; and looked for other ways to save money.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p>I called my credit card company with a similar pitch and ended with &ldquo;What Can You Do For Me?&rdquo; I hung up the phone with my annual fee eliminated and my interest rate reduced by 6%. Again, simply by asking.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p>I repeated the same procedure with my cable tv company, and walked away with a cable and internet package that far surpassed what I was previously getting, saving me over $40/month between the two.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Reducing your bills and getting <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-discount-every-time">discounts</a> is really as simple as asking for it. When I had to get new tires for my car the other day, I was quoted a price and immediately asked if they could give me a discount for paying with cash. They reduced their rates by $10 and threw in free installation, rotation, and balancing.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>If you want to save money on your bills, here are a few pointers to get you started:</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><b>Do Your Research.</b></h3> <p>By understanding the going rates across the market, you are in a better position to evaluate both what you are currently paying, and what is being offered to you when you call. Knowledge equals negotiating power.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><b>Be Prepared to Walk</b>.</h3> <p class="MsoNormal">If you are calling with a &ldquo;holier than thou&rdquo; tone of voice, suggesting that another carrier will give you a better deal, then you need to be prepared to walk if you really believe the other supplier is better. Calling with a bluff is bad form. Besides which, if you aren&rsquo;t offered a deal and you say you are canceling your plan, a whole new wave of &ldquo;please stay, we need your business&rdquo; discounts sometimes become available as a result.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><b>Ask for the Manager.</b></h3> <p>Sometimes the customer service representative you are speaking to doesn&rsquo;t have the power to provide the discount you would like. Thank them for their help, tell them that you have no problems whatsoever with how they have dealt with you, but that you would like to speak to a manager to see if you can strike a better deal. They are usually cordially helpful in this manner, and the further up you travel on the company food chain, the deeper the discount possibilities are.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><b>Be Nice! </b></h3> <p class="MsoNormal">Even if you call to complain, be nice. You stand a much better chance of achieving what you want by treating the customer service representative like a human being. I once called to lodge a complaint about an online order mistake, and because I was nice about it, the representative (who had obviously endured a brow-beating day of nasty complaints) was so overtly surprised that our conversation was pleasant that she sent me $40 in coupons in addition to fixing the problem right away. <o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><b>Anything is Discountable.</b></h3> <p class="MsoNormal">Truly &ndash; you can negotiate just about anything. Just because a website advertises specific rate packages does not mean that you cannot bend the rules. I recently signed up for internet access with a new supplier; in so doing I researched the packages available online, and then called to ask if they had any promotions available. Between the two people I talked to, I saved over $400 in posted connection fees, received 50% off the posted monthly rates, and got a $10 monthly reduction in my telephone bill too. None of these discounts were posted online, and I don't believe they would have become available to me if I had not asked.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <h3><b>Target Suppliers you have been with for a While. </b></h3> <p class="MsoNormal">The longer you have been with a supplier, the better a case you have for getting a discount to stay with them. Don&rsquo;t be afraid to point out how long you have given the company business before asking what they can do for you.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I do believe that the &ldquo;squeaky wheel gets the grease&rdquo; as the adage goes. But I also don&rsquo;t believe that the squeaky wheel has to be a whining, moaning, bitching one. You can pipe up, ask for a discount, and get exactly what you want quite effectively using these tips above and by keeping a smile on your face. Try it &ndash; and reduce your credit card interest rate and phone bills in the meantime.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? 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