bills http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1800/all en-US How to Handle a Sudden Loss of Income http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fired_from_work.jpg" alt="Fired from work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life happens. Sometimes, life can throw a sudden job loss or drop in income your way. Beyond saving up an emergency fund, you'll need to make a few key moves while you stay afloat. These steps will help minimize the damage and stabilize your finances, quickly.</p> <h2>Alert the people who need to know</h2> <p>There are some exceptions to this rule, but it usually pays to be proactive and honest about your financial situation. If you make the first move and have an honest talk with your landlord, for example, you might be able to negotiate a reduced rent for a few months, set up a split payment agreement, or mutually decide on a later due date for the payment. If you wait until the rent is overdue, and your landlord's patience is already stretched thin, those negotiations might not go so well.</p> <p>It can be intimidating to initiate these conversations; there's no guarantee they'll go your way, and it's humbling to admit that you're struggling financially. However, it's worth the effort. The worst you'll get is a, &quot;No.&quot; In the best case scenario, you may gain some extra time, waive some late fees, or find a much-needed reduction in what you have to pay.</p> <h2>Put payments on hold</h2> <p>If you have automatic payments, particularly large ones, call your bank and put them on hold. While your income is low, you need to assess and prioritize each payment you make, rather than let things flow automatically. You'll also avoid potential overdraft fees by holding those automatic transfers or payments.</p> <p>Some banks charge a fee for putting payments on hold; if that's the case, see if you can put the payment on hold from the payee-side of things rather than through the bank. In other words, if you have an automatic payment scheduled to your insurance provider, for example, and the bank will charge you to put a hold on that auto payment, call your insurance provider and cancel the automatic payment plan until you're ready to reinstate it.</p> <p>Be sure that you keep a spreadsheet or other record of all the payments you put on hold; they still need to be paid. You're just going to manually send those payments according to the best timing for each one. Don't lose track of the payments that need to be sent: Note the amount, the payee information, and the due date for each payment.</p> <p>If you know you'll be late on a bill or payment, call ahead. You may be able to negotiate a temporary, reduced payment plan for credit card debt, car payments, or other bills. Most companies would rather have some money than no money and will work with you, at least to some extent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</a>)</p> <h2>Reduce your expenses</h2> <p>Take a good look at your budget and cut out all but the essentials. This usually means that you're paying bills and handling necessary expenses such as food and fuel in the car. Every other expense goes on hold: clothing, travel, entertainment, and so on need to wait. You can &mdash; and should &mdash; still have fun, but now is the time to opt for free activities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-budget-overhaul-tricks-for-the-recently-unemployed?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Budget Overhaul Tricks for the Recently Unemployed</a>)</p> <p>For the time being, pay for your expenses in cash. First, you'll stay more aware of what you're spending if you're handing over a stack of bills. Second, you won't be buying things you can't really afford if you're paying cash. You either have the cash, or you don't; no cash, you don't buy it. This is a very simple way to reduce your expenses to the essentials, only.</p> <p>Remember that this is a temporary state of being. It's stressful to deal with income loss, and having to do without your favorite luxuries can make it even more difficult. However, reducing your expenses is key to getting your finances under control. Splurge on free experiences that help you relax and enjoy the moment, such as watching the sunset, taking a walk, meditating, listening to music, or volunteering.</p> <h2>Get money coming in</h2> <p>Now is the time to polish up all your side-hustle skills. You may not be able to get back to your original income level, but you can definitely pay some bills. There are numerous ideas for side gigs; you might start by offering your professional skills within your network. You can tutor, write, advise, consult, pick up a weekend job, do yardwork, become a virtual assistant, or any combination of those. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Best Side Jobs for Fast Cash</a>)</p> <p>Side work will help your mentality; it's important to keep working and be active rather than sink into helplessness. And more importantly, side work will bring in some money.</p> <h2>Don't panic</h2> <p>Last, but certainly not least: Don't panic. It's scary to watch your income plummet and your savings dwindle. But a sudden loss of income is not a reflection of your value as a person. It does not define you, and it does not limit your potential or your future. Many people have walked through the financial fire before and come out stronger than ever on the other side. By taking some of these smart steps now, you can start moving along that path yourself.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income">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-7"> <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/how-to-come-up-with-1000-in-the-next-30-days">How to Come Up With $1,000 in the Next 30 Days</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/youve-been-saving-money-all-wrong-heres-why">You&#039;ve Been Saving Money All Wrong. Here&#039;s Why</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-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency">6 Fast Ways to Restock an Emergency Fund After an Emergency</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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</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/the-financial-basics-every-new-grad-should-know">The Financial Basics Every New Grad Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills budgeting cutting costs expenses job loss loss of income negotiating payments side jobs Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Annie Mueller 2003785 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Signs You're Making All the Right Money Moves http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_boy_nerd_saves_money_in_his_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Young Boy Nerd Saves Money in His Piggy Bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've worked hard to build up your savings, pay off your credit card bills, and boost your credit score. But how do you know that this hard work is paying off?</p> <p>There are several ways to tell if you are making the right money moves that will help boost your financial security, secure the lowest interest rates on loans, and give you access to the best credit cards with the most generous rewards programs. Want validation that your money moves are the right ones? Look for these signs.</p> <h2>1. You've built an emergency fund</h2> <p>Emergencies constantly pop up: Your car's transmission might blow. Your home's furnace might conk out in the middle of winter. If you don't have adequate savings, you might have to turn to high-interest rate credit cards to pay for these emergencies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Decide if It's a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a>)</p> <p>But you won't have to do this if you've built an emergency fund. A fund stocked with plenty of cash is one sure sign that you're making the right money moves.</p> <p>Financial experts recommend that you have at least six months' worth of daily living expenses saved in an emergency fund at all times. If you've met this goal, be proud: You're doing something right financially.</p> <h2>2. You're getting better credit card offers</h2> <p>It's rare for a week to go by without some bank or credit union stuffing your mailbox with an application for a new credit card. But take a closer look at these applications. Has the quality of your credit card offers gone up? If so, that's another sign that you're making smart money moves.</p> <p>If you're saddled with tons of debt, or if you've made late payments or skipped payments entirely, your mailbox will be filled with offers for credit cards that come with high interest rates and no rewards &mdash; if you receive any credit card offers at all.</p> <p>If, however, you've <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt" target="_blank">cut down your credit card debt</a> and pay your bills on time each month, banks will send you applications for credit cards that come with generous rewards programs, enticing sign-up offers, and low interest rates. So watch your mailbox: If banks are trying to lure you to their plastic, you can bet that you're becoming a savvy financial operator.</p> <h2>3. Lenders are happy to give you lower interest rates</h2> <p>Were you surprised when you were approved for an auto loan at the low interest rate your lender quoted? That's another sign that you are making sound financial decisions.</p> <p>Lenders check your credit reports and your FICO credit score before deciding what interest rate to assign to your mortgage, auto, student, and personal loans. If your credit score is high &mdash; 740 or more &mdash; you can expect to qualify for lower interest rates.</p> <p>Your credit score is based on several factors, including your history of paying bills on time and your debt levels. If you have these financials under control, your score will be higher.</p> <p>You can check your credit score &mdash; usually for a price of $15 by ordering it from one of the three national credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax). Your credit card company might also provide your score for free each month. Just make sure it's your actual FICO score and not an alternative version. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">FICO or FAKO: Are Free Credit Scores From Credit Cards the Real Thing?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Your credit card debt has disappeared</h2> <p>Credit card debt is the worst type of debt you can have: The high interest rates that come with it mean that your debt load grows steadily each month that you carry a balance. If you open your credit card bill and you <em>don't </em>have a balance, that's one of the most positive signs that you are becoming financially mature. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pay-less-interest-on-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pay Less Interest on Your Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. The monthly bills don't make you sweat</h2> <p>When you rip open the cable, utility, or gas bill each month, do you immediately wonder if you have enough money in your checking account to pay them on time? If you do, that's a sign that you're living paycheck to paycheck.</p> <p>If, though, the monthly bills don't make you cringe, and you always have enough money in your account to cover them, know that you're doing something right with your finances.</p> <h2>6. Your checking account balance is growing each month</h2> <p>The goal is to make enough money so that you can pay your bills each month and have dollars leftover, money that you can invest or save. If you notice that you have more money in your checking account at the end of every month, be happy: That's another sign that you're making smart money decisions.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Signs%2520Youre%2520Making%2520All%2520the%2520Right%2520Money%2520Moves.jpg&amp;description=6%20Signs%20Youre%20Making%20All%20the%20Right%20Money%20Moves"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Signs%20Youre%20Making%20All%20the%20Right%20Money%20Moves.jpg" alt="6 Signs You're Making All the Right Money Moves" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">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/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</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-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own</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/heres-how-often-your-credit-score-gets-calculated">Here&#039;s How Often Your Credit Score Gets Calculated</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/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</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/5-steps-to-getting-excellent-credit">5 Steps to Getting Excellent Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills credit history credit score debt emergency funds good signs money moves saving money Wed, 02 Aug 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 1986886 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior http://www.wisebread.com/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_screaming_papers_599701902.jpg" alt="Man&#039;s bills varying based on credit behavior" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your financial life. Because it incorporates data about your past behavior with credit &mdash; how much credit and debt you have and how good you are at paying those bills off &mdash; it's deemed as a good predictor of how you'll behave with future bills.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-credit-score-mean-good-bad-or-excellent" target="_blank">low credit score</a> can hurt you in many ways: It makes it more difficult to qualify for mortgages, car loans, or credit cards. And when you do qualify for a loan or credit card, you'll be stuck with higher interest rates and the higher monthly payments that come with them. Poor credit behavior can also cost you money each month in the form of higher student loan and insurance payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</a>)</p> <p>Most lenders today still consider a credit score of 740 or higher to be a strong one. Anything at 640 or lower, though, is considered weak.</p> <p>Here's a look at five monthly bills that you'll pay more for if your credit score is low.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage payment</h2> <p>Your credit score has a big impact on your mortgage payment. If your score is high, odds are good that you'll qualify for a lower interest rate, which will, in turn, lower your monthly mortgage payment. If your score is low, the opposite will happen.</p> <p>Here's an example of the difference that a high or low interest rate can have on your monthly mortgage payment: If you take out a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan of $200,000 at an interest rate of 3.80 percent, you'll have a monthly payment of about $931, not counting what you might pay for homeowners insurance and property taxes.</p> <p>If you take out that same loan with a higher interest rate of 4.80 percent &mdash; which you may have gotten due to a low credit score &mdash; your monthly payment, again not counting taxes and insurance, will be about $1,049. That's $118 more a month, or about $1,416 a year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-smart-ways-to-lower-your-monthly-mortgage-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Smart Ways to Lower Your Monthly Mortgage Payment</a>)</p> <h2>2. Auto loans</h2> <p>You'll face the same situation when applying for an auto loan with a lower credit score. Auto lenders, like mortgage lenders, rely heavily on your credit score. If they see a low score, they'll protect themselves financially by charging you a higher interest rate. This higher rate will result in a higher monthly payment.</p> <p>The higher rates make sense if you look at your loan from your lender's point of view. A lower credit score means you have a history of making bad financial choices, whether that means paying bills late or missing them entirely. Lenders then levy a higher interest rate to make up for the danger of lending to riskier borrowers.</p> <h2>3. Credit cards</h2> <p>Interest rates on credit cards can be high &mdash; 20 percent or higher in some cases. But if your credit score is high, you'll increase your chances of qualifying for a lower rate on your cards. This is important: If you carry a balance on your cards each month, a lower interest rate will mean a lower required minimum monthly payment. It also means your debt will grow at a slower rate.</p> <p>How you use credit cards has a big impact on your credit score. If you always pay your cards on time, and if you don't run up too much debt on them, you will steadily boost your score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-pay-less-interest-on-your-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pay Less Interest on Your Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Student loans</h2> <p>There are two types of student loans: federal and private. Your credit score won't affect your interest rate on federal loans. But lenders originating private student loans will look at your credit score. If your score is low, they'll charge you higher interest rates and fees. This will result in a higher monthly student loan payment.</p> <h2>5. Homeowners insurance</h2> <p>Insurance companies don't rely on your credit score to set your homeowners insurance rates. They do, however, use a similar metric known as an insurance score. This score includes information about your past payment history, your debts, and your number of open credit accounts, just like your credit score. It can also include information about any safety features &mdash; such as fire alarms and security systems &mdash; protecting your home and whether you've made a high number of insurance claims in the past.</p> <p>If your insurance score is high, you'll qualify for a lower insurance bill. If that score is low, you can expect to pay more for your homeowners insurance.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Monthly%2520Bills%2520That%2520Vary%2520Based%2520on%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Behavior.jpg&amp;description=5%20Monthly%20Bills%20That%20Vary%20Based%20on%20Your%20Credit%20Behavior"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Monthly%20Bills%20That%20Vary%20Based%20on%20Your%20Credit%20Behavior.jpg" alt="5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior">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/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</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/what-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card">What to Do if You&#039;ve Signed Up for a Terrible Loan or Credit Card</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/8-valuable-rights-you-might-lose-when-you-refinance-student-loans">8 Valuable Rights You Might Lose When You Refinance Student Loans</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/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</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/the-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance auto loans bills credit score fico homeowners insurance interest rates mortgages payments student loans Tue, 01 Aug 2017 07:47:46 +0000 Dan Rafter 1990977 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/casual_man_paying_bills_at_home_with_laptop.jpg" alt="Casual man paying bills at home with laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might think that all your debts are equal. In your mind, there might not be any difference between your auto loan, student loan, and credit card bills.</p> <p>But there is one major difference: Some of your debts are unsecured, and some are secured. It's important to know the difference if you run into a financial crisis and you don't have enough money to pay all your bills on time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Pay These Bills First When Money Is Tight</a>)</p> <p>If you stop paying secured debt, you might lose your home, car, or other assets. If you stop paying unsecured debt, your credit score will take a major hit, but you won't lose your shelter or your car.</p> <h2>Secured vs. unsecured debt</h2> <p>Secured debt is tied to an asset. Think of mortgages and auto loans.</p> <p>In a mortgage, the money you borrow is connected to your home, which your lenders consider collateral. If you stop making your payments, your lender can start foreclosure proceedings to take possession of your home.</p> <p>In an auto loan, your car serves as collateral. If you stop making payments on this debt, your lender can take possession of your car.</p> <p>The collateral on secured debts is a way for lenders to protect themselves when passing out large loans. Borrowers aren't as likely to stop making payments if they know doing so could cost them an asset. And if borrowers do stop making payments, lenders can recover some of their losses by taking possession of the collateral and selling it.</p> <p>Unsecured debt does not have any collateral behind it and is not tied to any asset. The most common kind of unsecured debt is credit card debt. Student loan debt and medical bills are also examples of unsecured debt.</p> <p>If you fall behind on unsecured debt, your lenders generally have no collateral to take over.</p> <h2>The consequences</h2> <p>This doesn't mean that falling behind on your unsecured debt payments comes without consequence. First, your credit score will take a hit. If you make a credit card payment or payment on another unsecured debt more than 30 days past due, your payment will be considered officially late. You can expect your credit score to fall by 100 points or more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <p>This is a big deal: Lenders rely on your credit score to determine if you qualify for loans and at what interest rate. If your score is too low, you'll struggle to earn approval for loans. And if you do get that approval, the higher interest rates will make borrowing money more expensive.</p> <p>Lenders can also take steps to force you to start paying what you owe on unsecured debts. They can hire a debt collector. They can also sue you to garnish your wages or put a lien on your assets to get you to pay.</p> <h2>Which should you pay first?</h2> <p>If you are hit with a financial crisis, and you can't pay all your bills on time for the month, it usually makes sense to pay your secured debts first. You don't want to take the chance of losing your home, car, or other assets.</p> <p>Secured debts tend to be larger, too. For most people, the mortgage payment is the biggest bill they pay each month. It can be more difficult to catch up on missed payments if you fall behind on these larger bills.</p> <p>The most common type of unsecured debt, credit cards, also come with more flexibility. You only have to pay the minimum required monthly payment on your credit card debt to avoid being hit with a late fee. You might pay off your secured debts first and then have enough money to pay at least the minimum on your credit cards.</p> <p>Interest rates might play a role, too. Unsecured debt generally comes with higher interest rates. If you fall behind on these payments, the amount you owe can build quickly because of these higher rates. Skipping two or three credit card payments can quickly boost your overall debt on your cards.</p> <p>Ideally, you'd never have to prioritize unsecured or secured debts, but would rather pay all your bills on time each month. But if you must make the difficult decision of which bills to pay and which to wait on, knowing the difference between secured and unsecured debt can help you make that call.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Know%2520the%2520Difference%2520Between%2520Secured%2520and%2520Unsecured%2520Debts.jpg&amp;description=Why%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20the%20Difference%20Between%20Secured%20and%20Unsecured%20Debts"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20the%20Difference%20Between%20Secured%20and%20Unsecured%20Debts.jpg" alt="Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">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/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</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-monthly-bills-that-vary-based-on-your-credit-behavior">5 Monthly Bills That Vary Based on Your Credit Behavior</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/5-things-you-should-know-about-debt-relief-lawyers">5 Things You Should Know About Debt Relief Lawyers</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/what-to-do-if-youve-signed-up-for-a-terrible-loan-or-credit-card">What to Do if You&#039;ve Signed Up for a Terrible Loan or Credit Card</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/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management assets auto loans bills Cars credit score late payments mortgages secured debt unsecured debt Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Dan Rafter 1988258 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Smart Reasons to Pay Your Credit Card Bill Before It's Due http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-reasons-to-pay-your-credit-card-bill-before-its-due <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-smart-reasons-to-pay-your-credit-card-bill-before-its-due" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_with_a_credit_card_buying_online.jpg" alt="Girl with a credit card buying online" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know there can be dire consequences if you are late in paying your credit card bill. But is there also a benefit to paying your bill early?</p> <p>It may seem unnecessary to pay your bill any sooner than required, but there are some advantages to sending in your payment earlier.</p> <h2>1. It frees up your credit</h2> <p>Most credit cards have a limit to the amount you can charge. But you can actually charge more if you pay off any spending right away. This is helpful if you plan to use the credit card to make a big-ticket purchase. It also makes sense if you plan to travel, because hotels, airlines, and rental car companies can place holds on your card that may last several days, or even as long as a week.</p> <h2>2. It can improve your credit score</h2> <p>The easiest way to prove to the credit bureaus that you are creditworthy is to pay your bill, and paying it off early can only help. Moreover, credit bureaus base your debt on the total at the end of the statement cycle. So if you can pay off debt before the cycle even ends, it reduces the debt reported. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>3. You'll do a better job of tracking spending</h2> <p>If you get in the habit of paying off credit card charges as they come in, you will likely check your balance more frequently. By doing this, you will be more aware of how much you are spending, and on what.</p> <h2>4. It reduces the interest you are charged</h2> <p>If you've carried over a credit card balance from the month before, interest is charged each day, so it can accumulate over the course of the month. If you pay part (or all) of your bill early, that means you will have a smaller average daily balance and lower interest payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate</a>)</p> <h2>5. You'll chip away at debt faster</h2> <p>Consider this: If you direct money to pay off your credit card bill as soon as you can, that means your money can't be used anywhere else. In essence, you are preventing yourself from spending cash on something that might be wasteful. You are making a commitment to use money to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay off debt</a> rather than add to it.</p> <h2>6. You'll be less likely to forget about it</h2> <p>When you pay bills only after you see the final monthly statement, mistakes can happen. Bills can get lost in the mail. You can set it aside but lose it between the couch cushions. But if you are in the habit of checking your credit card balances and making payments frequently, you'll be less likely to have a problem. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Never Make a Late Payment on Your Credit Card Again</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-smart-reasons-to-pay-your-credit-card-bill-before-its-due&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Smart%2520Reasons%2520to%2520Pay%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Bill%2520Before%2520Its%2520Due.jpg&amp;description=6%20Smart%20Reasons%20to%20Pay%20Your%20Credit%20Card%20Bill%20Before%20Its%20Due"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Smart%20Reasons%20to%20Pay%20Your%20Credit%20Card%20Bill%20Before%20Its%20Due.jpg" alt="6 Smart Reasons to Pay Your Credit Card Bill Before It's Due" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-reasons-to-pay-your-credit-card-bill-before-its-due">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/what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-a-huge-credit-card-bill">What to Expect When You&#039;re Expecting a Huge Credit Card Bill</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/how-to-build-credit-without-using-credit-cards">How to Build Credit Without Using 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/6-moves-to-make-before-cutting-up-your-credit-card">6 Moves to Make Before Cutting Up Your Credit Card</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/10-things-you-think-affect-your-credit-score-but-dont">10 Things You Think Affect Your Credit Score — But Don&#039;t</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/what-happens-when-your-credit-card-debt-is-charged-off">What Happens When Your Credit Card Debt Is Charged Off?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards bills credit balances credit score debt early interest payments revolving debt tracking spending Wed, 05 Jul 2017 09:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1977308 at http://www.wisebread.com What to Do If Your Paycheck Bounces http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-your-paycheck-bounces <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-to-do-if-your-paycheck-bounces" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/photo_of_a_young_woman_receive_bad_news.jpg" alt="Photo of a young woman receive bad news" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>British actor Noel Coward said it best: &quot;If you must have motivation, think of your paycheck on Friday.&quot; All the hard work that you put in day after day really pays off when that paycheck hits your bank account.</p> <p>But what happens when you get the &quot;insufficient funds&quot; memo from your employer, of all people? Here's your play-by-play on what do if your paycheck bounces.</p> <h2>1. Contact your employer right away</h2> <p>Go straight to the source and politely explain what happened. In the best case scenario, your employer or payroll administrator will apologize for the mistake and cut you a new check within a few days. If not, then you'll need to complete a few more steps to get your hard-earned dollars.</p> <p>Write down who you talked to, when you talked, and what you both agreed to. Remain calm at all times and ask if you can get a written confirmation that you'll receive a replacement check by a <em>specific date</em>. This is important.</p> <h2>2. Inform your bank</h2> <p>While you wait on your replacement check, call your bank's customer service line and explain the situation. You'll need to do this because depending on your type of account and balance at the time of deposit, your financial institution may hit you with an overdraft or insufficient funds fee. These fees can range from $27 to $35.</p> <p>Here's when that written confirmation from your employer will come in handy: Request a one-time waiver of that pesky fee for depositing a bad check. Your bank is legally entitled to deny your request, but it's worth a shot when you have a clean record or have been a customer for several years. Once again, write down who you talked to, when, and what was said (aka The 3W's).</p> <h2>3. Make sure that bills get paid</h2> <p>This is particularly important if you had any automatic payments that were timed with your paycheck. Immediately contact all people and organizations to which you were going to pay using your paycheck. If you set up automatic bill payments online, you may be able to cancel some or all of them through your customer portals as long as they haven't been processed already.</p> <p>If those payments have already been processed, then your best bet is to contact customer service right away over the phone. Explain the situation to your rep and ask for options to arrange alternate forms of payment, including paying at a physical location, providing a routing number and checking or savings account over the phone, or mailing a check (FYI, that mailing address may be available on your statement). Remember to track The 3W's for all of these calls.</p> <p>Don't forget to politely request to have any applicable penalty fees waived or reversed. Some companies are able to stop the fee from hitting your account at all and others will revert a fee generally within 48 hours. If you're still hit with a penalty, document it.</p> <h2>4. Gather proof that the check had insufficient funds</h2> <p>Just in case you may have to lawyer up, start a &quot;Bad Check&quot; folder. Include in this folder:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Notes from your initial talk with your employer.</p> </li> <li> <p>Notes from the visit or call with your bank.</p> </li> <li> <p>Notes from your talks with people and companies that were counting on that payment;</p> </li> <li> <p>Proof that the check bounced (printout of your bank statement, physical paycheck mailed back to you, or photo from check with insufficient funds stamp if available on your statement or online portal).</p> </li> <li> <p>List of fees applied from your bank (if any).</p> </li> <li> <p>List of fees applied from companies (if any).</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. Check back with your employer on the promised date of payment</h2> <p>Hopefully, you don't have to wait until the very day of payment. But when you do, then you have every right to remind your employer about the deadline.</p> <p>Got your payment? Good.</p> <p>Is your employer &quot;ghosting&quot; you? Then, keep on reading.</p> <h2>6. Beware over 15- to 30-day late payments</h2> <p>If there's a major bill that you just can't cover, such as rent, car loan payment, or mortgage payment, be proactive and reach out to those companies.</p> <p>Why?</p> <p>For starters, these companies may have a higher amount due when you pay past a certain date. For example, most mortgage lenders make payments due by the first of the month, allow a grace period until the 15th of the month, and start charging a higher amount on the 16th of the month and on. Once your payment becomes 30 days past due, your creditor will report it to the credit bureaus.</p> <p>When there's potential for a 30-day late payment, inform your creditor in writing and request that your potential late payment not be reported due to a situation outside of your control. Send a letter explaining your situation via certified mail, keep a copy for your &quot;Bad Check&quot; folder, and expect a response within 30 days (also for your folder).</p> <h2>7. Notify your state's Department of Labor</h2> <p>Still waiting? Contact your employer again and inform them that you require payment or you will be forced to contact the U.S. Department of Labor. In case of no response, then report your employer to your state's <a href="https://www.dol.gov/dol/location.htm" target="_blank">Department of Labor office</a> backing up your statements with your &quot;Bad Check&quot; folder.</p> <p>Once your complaint has been filed, you're highly likely to get your paycheck &hellip; and possibly a bit extra. In Hawaii, for example, employers who fail to pay wages have to pay back a sum equal to the amount of unpaid wages and annual <a href="http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol07_Ch0346-0398/HRS0388/HRS_0388-0010.htm" target="_blank">interest rate of 6 percent</a> from the date that the wages were due. In addition, nonpaying Hawaii employers who can't provide a reasonable explanation are also subject to a fine ranging from $100 to $10,000 and imprisonment up to one year.</p> <p>The employer may also have to provide remedies to cover additional costs, such as late fees and reasonable attorney's fees. Labor laws and filing fees vary by state, but one thing is certain: You'll get paid.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-to-do-if-your-paycheck-bounces&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520to%2520Do%2520If%2520Your%2520Paycheck%2520Bounces.jpg&amp;description=What%20to%20Do%20If%20Your%20Paycheck%20Bounces"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20to%20Do%20If%20Your%20Paycheck%20Bounces.jpg" alt="What to Do If Your Paycheck Bounces" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-if-your-paycheck-bounces">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/build-a-secure-future-starting-with-your-next-paycheck">Build a Secure Future Starting With Your Next Paycheck</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/how-to-handle-a-sudden-loss-of-income">How to Handle a Sudden Loss of Income</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/10-important-signs-that-your-job-sucks">10 Important Signs That Your Job Sucks</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/6-ways-to-deal-when-youre-way-behind-at-work">6 Ways to Deal When You&#039;re Way Behind at Work</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/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career Building bills bounced check department of labor employer insufficient funds overdraft fees paycheck work Wed, 05 Jul 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Damian Davila 1974322 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Fix Your Finances After Missing a Payment http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-your-finances-after-missing-a-payment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-fix-your-finances-after-missing-a-payment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/portrait_of_an_attractive_woman_at_table_grabbing_her_head.jpg" alt="Portrait of an attractive woman at table grabbing her head" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No matter how much you plan ahead with your finances, sometimes you'll mess up a payment. Whether you miss a due date or bounce a check, take a deep breath. It's not as bad as you think.</p> <p>Let's review what you can expect to happen, how to fix the problem, and how you can make sure this doesn't happen again.</p> <h2>Missing a credit card payment</h2> <p>According to research from the Urban Institute, one in every 20 Americans is at least 30 days behind on a credit card payment or other nonmortgage type of debt. But you don't have to be that late to suffer consequences. Simply forgetting about a due date by a few days can land you in trouble.</p> <h3>What you can expect</h3> <p>Miss a credit card payment by as little as one day and you can be hit with a penalty fee. Late fees are capped by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at $27 for the first time you miss a due date; $38 for subsequent late payments within a six-month period. Those caps are adjusted for inflation every year.</p> <p>But fees aren't the only penalty for late credit card payments. Most credit card issuers will also hike up your APR, typically to between 20 percent and 35 percent. The Credit Card Act of 2009 requires the issuer to send you a notice saying why it is increasing your rate 45 days in advance of the rate hike, and the issuer can only apply the penalty rate to purchases made 14 days after the notice was sent. However, if you don't make at least the minimum payment within 60 days of the due date, the penalty APR can be applied to your <em>existing</em> balance as well as any future transactions. There is a chance to reverse that, though, if you make the next six payments on time.</p> <p>One silver lining exists for late payers: If your payment is less than 30 days past due, it will not be reported late to the credit bureaus.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>If you make at least your minimum payment within 48 hours past the due date, your credit card company may credit you back any late payment fees.</p> <p>Many credit card companies offer a 24-hour or after-hours customer service line to accept late payments, but you will most likely need the routing and account numbers of your bank account to make the payment immediately. If that's not an option, then make the payment through the credit card's website. A last resort is to use the mailing address for courier deliveries provided on your credit card statement, if available, and overnight a check to the card issuer.</p> <p>Once you make your payment, request your credit card company waive or credit back your late payment fee and keep your standard APR (don't forget about that second item!). If approved, most credits may take up to two business days to be reflected in your balance.</p> <h3>How to prevent it</h3> <p>Your best bet is to set up automatic, recurring payments by no later than the bill's monthly due date. You can do this through your online banking platform, but payments made that way can take longer and are not as flexible as payments made through the credit card website. When you set up autopay with the card issuer, you can choose whether you want to pay the balance in full every month, make the minimum payment, or pay some other amount.</p> <p>If your current due date is causing you problems, call your credit card company and request a new date that's a better match with the timing of your incoming cash flow. Just be aware that this change can take two to three business cycles to take effect. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2>Missing a utility payment</h2> <p>Forgetting to pay the electric, gas, or water bill can threaten your service and may even harm your credit score.</p> <h3>What you can expect</h3> <p>Utility companies don't typically report payments directly to the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). But there's a wrinkle: If the companies send unpaid bills to collection agencies, then those agencies will <em>definitely</em> report the debts to the credit bureaus. How badly a debt in collections will hurt your credit score depends on how high your credit score is when the collections agency reports it. If you have a higher credit score, you'll lose more points.</p> <p>Most utility companies won't turn off your service for one late payment within 30 days, but they may do so after several missed payments. Consult your service agreement for applicable late payment fines. Before a utility company can shut down your service, it must have attempted to reach you and provided a final termination notice several days (or even weeks, in some states) in advance.</p> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>Don't ignore the bill. Pay it in full right away, or at least ask if your service provider will agree to a payment plan. As long as you're making agreed minimum payments, you'll continue to have access to the service and prevent the company from turning your debt over to a collector. Utility companies are usually willing to work with you to arrive at a solution. Taking initiative will prevent further headaches (and fees!) and keep the utility company from demanding a security deposit from you to continue service.</p> <h3>How to prevent it</h3> <p>Set up a recurring, automatic payment either directly with your utility company or through your financial institution. It's best to pay with a bank account rather than a credit card because many utility companies charge a convenience fee for processing credit cards, if they allow it at all.</p> <p>When using your bank's bill payment service, check the processing time for payments. Some institutions mail out physical checks to your payees, so you may have to account for mailing times.</p> <p>Don't have access to either option? Then consider a third-party bill payment service, such as <a href="http://www.mint.com" target="_blank">Mint</a>, <a href="http://paytrust.quicken.com" target="_blank">PayTrust</a>, or <a href="http://www.billgo.com/" target="_blank">BillGO</a>.</p> <p>Last but not least, consider finding ways to limit your water and electricity use to give your budget some breathing room. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill?ref=seealso" target="_blank">34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill</a>)</p> <h2>Bouncing a check</h2> <p>You wrote a check thinking you could cover it because a deposit you'd been waiting on had finally cleared your bank account, but it didn't. Now, your bank has sent you a notice that your check bounced.</p> <h3>What you can expect</h3> <p>First, let's talk about the actual payment: Your payee may or may not receive the money. Some banks won't process the payment at all. Other banks may ding your payee with an annoying fee. If the recipient of the check is a friend or family member, you may just get an earful. If it's a company or service provider, then you may have to pay them a fee.</p> <p>On top of that, your bank will charge you a fee. Depending on your type of account, you can expect one of these fees to kick in:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Overdraft fee: When your checking account comes with overdraft privilege, the charge is covered and your bank charges you an overdraft fee (average $32.13 in Q4 2016).</p> </li> <li> <p>Insufficient funds fee: When your checking account lacks overdraft protection, your check won't clear and your bank charges you an insufficient (or nonsufficient) funds fee (average $31.86 in Q4 2016).</p> </li> </ul> <h3>How to fix it</h3> <p>As soon as you notice the problem, make a deposit into your account to cover the amount of the bounced check and the applicable fee. If you have money in another account with the same bank, the fastest way to do this is by logging on to your bank's website or app and doing a transfer. If you don't have another account with the same bank, then head to your bank to make a cash deposit (a check deposit will take longer to clear).</p> <p>After making the deposit, contact your financial institution to request a one-time waiver of the overdraft or insufficient funds fee. Most banks are willing to credit back one of these charges to clients in good standing. Keep in mind, however, that they're under no obligation to do so.</p> <h3>How to prevent it</h3> <ul> <li> <p>Know the processing time for different types of deposits coming into your bank account. For example, some mobile check deposits can take up to three business days before they clear and the funds are available in your account.</p> </li> <li> <p>Keep track of your checks. Some checks, such as tax payment checks, are usually cashed after several days or even weeks. Forgetting about these may give you the illusion that you have a higher account balance than the one you actually have.</p> </li> <li> <p>Set up an emergency fund in a separate account with the same bank. That way you'll be able to tap into that account to cover that bad check right away.</p> </li> <li> <p>Sign up for mobile banking. This enables you to check and make transactions without stepping foot in a brick-and-mortar branch.</p> </li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-fix-your-finances-after-missing-a-payment">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/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</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/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</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/8-credit-repair-mistakes-that-will-cost-you">8 Credit Repair Mistakes That Will Cost You</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/5-financial-mistakes-that-wont-hurt-your-credit-score">5 Financial Mistakes That Won&#039;t Hurt Your Credit Score</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/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills bounced checks collections credit report fees late payments missed payments past due penalties Tue, 30 May 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1955480 at http://www.wisebread.com Can Too Many Credit Cards Hurt Your Credit Score? http://www.wisebread.com/can-too-many-credit-cards-hurt-your-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-too-many-credit-cards-hurt-your-credit-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_woman_with_credit_cards.jpg" alt="Business woman with credit cards" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're checking out at your favorite department store when the cashier asks if you'd like to apply for the store's credit card. Doing so will save you 10 percent on your purchase. Should you fill out the application? Or will having too many credit cards in your wallet ding your three-digit FICO credit score?</p> <p>According to myFICO.com, there is no &quot;golden number&quot; of credit cards that will hurt or help your credit score. What matters most is how you use those cards &mdash; namely, paying your bills on time. Still, there are a few important things to remember when you have multiple credit cards.</p> <h2>Inquiries ding your credit score</h2> <p>Whenever you apply for a new credit card, your FICO score will fall slightly. The creditor behind the plastic will order a copy of your credit report from one of the three national credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. This inquiry will then show up on your credit reports.</p> <p>An inquiry will temporarily drop your credit score because whenever you apply for new credit, there is a risk that you will borrow more money than you can afford to pay back. How much your score will drop varies, but myFICO says that for most people, a single inquiry will result in a drop of five points or less.</p> <p>The drop in your score might be steeper, however, if you apply for several credit cards in a short period of time. There's a statistical reason for this: myFICO says that people who have six or more hard inquiries on their credit reports &mdash; inquiries made by a lender with whom you've applied for credit &mdash; are up to eight times more likely to declare bankruptcy than consumers who have no inquiries. Hard inquiries remain on your credit reports for 24 months before falling off.</p> <p>The smart move is to apply for new credit if you need it and plan to use it. Don't apply for new credit cards just to get a store discount you'll use a few times.</p> <h2>Use your cards wisely</h2> <p>What's more important than the number of cards you have is how you use them. Paying your credit card bill late will send your FICO score tumbling, usually by 100 points or more. Your creditor will report a payment as officially late to the three credit bureaus if you're more than 30 days past due. That shouldn't be an excuse to regularly miss your due date (especially because most cards will charge you a late fee if you're even one day late), but it does mean you don't need to panic if you're only a few days behind.</p> <p>Making credit card payments on time is one of the surest ways to boost your credit score. Use your credit cards sensibly throughout the month, and whenever possible, pay the balance in full by the due date. That way, you won't have to pay interest. If you can't pay off the entire balance, at least pay more than the minimum. You'll still pay interest, but it'll be much less than if you only made the minimum monthly payments.</p> <h2>Keep unused credit cards open</h2> <p>You might think that closing a credit card account you never use will help your credit score. It won't. Actually, it can cause your score to fall.</p> <p>It all comes down to your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score" target="_blank">credit utilization ratio</a>. This measures how much available credit you are using by dividing your total credit card balances by your total credit card limits. For example, if you have $12,000 of available credit and a balance of $3,000, your credit utilization ratio is 25 percent. Credit utilization accounts for approximately 30 percent of your credit score, and many experts agree that the ratio should not exceed 30 percent. The lower, the better.</p> <p>Using more than 30 percent of your available credit will hurt your credit score. By closing a card, you're removing that line of available credit &mdash; therefore increasing your credit utilization ratio.</p> <p>Say you have $30,000 of available credit and you owe $10,000 on your cards. If you close a credit card with a $10,000 credit limit, you'll lower your total available credit to $20,000. That will bump your credit utilization ratio from 33 percent to 50 percent. That doesn't look good on your credit reports.</p> <p>Don't close a credit card just because you think you have too many cards. Even if you never use it, you might inadvertently hurt your credit score.</p> <h2>Older credit is better for your score</h2> <p>When it comes to credit cards, the longer you've had them, the better. The length of your credit history accounts for 15 percent of your FICO score. The older your credit history &mdash; paired with a history of making on-time payments &mdash; the better your credit score will be.</p> <p>If you apply for several new credit cards at once, you'll lower the overall average age of your credit accounts. That could have a slight downward pull on your credit score.</p> <p>Again, though, what matters most is not how many cards you have, but whether you pay them on time each month. Don't overanalyze the number of cards you are carrying. Instead, concentrate on never missing a payment.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-too-many-credit-cards-hurt-your-credit-score">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-7"> <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/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</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-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</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/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</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/5-steps-to-getting-excellent-credit">5 Steps to Getting Excellent Credit</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/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance age of credit bills credit reports credit score credit utilization ratio monthly payments payment history too many credit cards Mon, 29 May 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1954617 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Biggest Ways Procrastination Hurts Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/7-biggest-ways-procrastination-hurts-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-biggest-ways-procrastination-hurts-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-621987808.jpg" alt="Woman learning biggest ways procrastination hurts her finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Remember those days in college when you'd put off studying until the night before a big exam? You'd stay up all night, desperately trying to cram everything in at the last minute. If only you'd taken the time earlier, you'd have walked into your test rested, calm, and most importantly, prepared.</p> <p>Those bad habits can cost you a lot more in real life if you carry them into the way you handle money. Here are seven situations when procrastination really hurts your bottom line.</p> <h2>1. Investing: Your money has less time to grow</h2> <p>It's one of the basic rules of smart investing: Invest as early as you can and for as long as you can. Some of the most successful investors are those who had relatively modest incomes, but started investing young and stayed in the markets for decades. Compounding interest worked in their favor, and they enjoyed a sizable nest egg later in life. Even a delay of five to 10 years can make a significant difference in how much money you have by retirement. Quite simply, the more you procrastinate, the less money you'll have.</p> <h2>2. Saving: You continue to spend more than you earn</h2> <p>You're aware that you're spending more money than you're bringing in, but you tell yourself that you'll start cutting back after the holidays. The holidays come and go, so then you tell yourself you'll start saving after your big spring break trip. After spring break, you promise you'll start after your cousin's wedding in July. There's always some reason to put off saving, but the best time to start tightening your belt is right away. Devising an arbitrary future start date for financial prudence only means you're spending money you shouldn't in the interim.</p> <h2>3. Debt payoff: Your balances balloon</h2> <p>That credit card bill keeps getting bigger, and it comes on top of your student loans and car payments. You're getting crushed by debt, but it's so overwhelming you can't bring yourself to come up with a plan to tackle it. Every moment you wait to address your debt problem is a moment that allows that debt to grow. Devise a repayment strategy now, before your debt ruins you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Taxes: You might make a costly mistake</h2> <p>Tax Day seems so far away, but before you know it, it's the middle of April and you haven't even gotten started. You may think your taxes are simple, but rushing through the process increases your chances of forgetting income, missing out on deductions, or making a silly error.</p> <p>No one says you have to file your taxes immediately at the beginning of the year, but at least give yourself a few weeks to file your return carefully. A rush job could mean you pay too much, or you may end up with penalties due to mistakes.</p> <h2>5. Bills: You miss payment deadlines</h2> <p>There are consequences to paying bills late, usually in the form of fees and interest charges. If you're the type of person who doesn't even open a bill until it's nearly due, you're putting yourself at risk of extra expenses.</p> <p>Late fees and interest aren't merely one-time charges. Miss your payments by enough days and it can hurt your credit score, impacting your ability to borrow. It's best to pay bills right away when you get them &mdash; or put them on autopay &mdash; so they don't threaten your finances further. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2>6. Job applications: You don't get that better-paying position</h2> <p>You found a job that you think you'll like, and it pays considerably more than your current one. But instead of applying right away, you wait. And wait. And wait. Before you know it, the position is filled. This is a total wasted opportunity.</p> <p>Yes, applying for a job, reworking your resume, writing cover letters, and going through interviews are all tedious and time-consuming. But when you're stuck sitting at your current gig, underpaid and unhappy, you'll really be kicking yourself for not putting in the work to get yourself unstuck.</p> <h2>7. Raises and promotions: You miss out for another year</h2> <p>It's hard to know the precise time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-you-should-demand-a-raise" target="_blank">ask for a promotion or a raise</a>. Often, we wait until annual review season, but by then, personnel decisions may already have been made. The best thing is to approach the subject sooner rather than later. Your boss may not be in a position to respond right away, but you've planted the seed so they know your wishes.</p> <p>Besides, simply asking for a raise or promotion may force your employer to look more closely at your work, and hopefully recognize what you bring to the table each day. If you wait too long to ask, you may have to wait for an entire budget cycle to get another shot.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-biggest-ways-procrastination-hurts-your-finances">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-3"> <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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</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/are-your-emotions-costing-you-money-take-this-quiz">Are Your Emotions Costing You Money? Take This Quiz</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance asking for raise bills debt investing jobs last minute procrastination promotions saving taxes Tue, 23 May 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1949205 at http://www.wisebread.com We Do the Math: Save for Retirement or Pay Off Credit Card Debt? http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-514332608.jpg" alt="Couple wondering if they should save for retirement or pay off debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Should you save for retirement or pay off credit card debt? If you're carrying a card balance, you may be wrestling with whether to put all your resources into attacking the debt, or start building your retirement nest egg while you slowly pay off debt.</p> <p>Which one will give you a better net worth? There's no simple answer. For some people the situation may warrant clearing credit card debt first; for others, it's better to start investing right away. To figure out which scenario is better in a given situation, we'll need to do some math. Don't worry, we'll show you how to do it in a few easy steps.</p> <h2>Step 1: Gather important numbers about your debt and your retirement plan</h2> <p>First, look through your credit card statements and accompanying information to pull up the following numbers:</p> <ul> <li>Credit card debt. You'll find this on the front of your credit card statement.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Credit card interest rate, or APR (Annual Percentage Rate). You'll find this further down on your statement, in a section labeled &quot;Interest Charged&quot; or something similar.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment. You'll find this in your card's terms and conditions, under a discussion about how minimum payments are calculated. It will probably be a percentage, but there may also be a flat sum.</li> </ul> <p>Next, consider any retirement plan you are enrolled in or have available. What is the average annual return? You can identify past returns by reviewing your retirement account statements. For example, your 401(k) plan account may list your annual return. Note that past returns don't guarantee or predict future returns, but we'll use the average annual return as a proxy for future returns in this case, knowing that if our portfolio takes a long-term downward turn, our calculations will change.</p> <p>Finally, how much extra do you have in your monthly budget that you could put toward credit card payments, retirement investments, or both?</p> <p>Follow along as we consider a hypothetical debt situation and retirement opportunity. Let's say there's $500 in our monthly budget, which equals $6,000 annually ($500 x 12 months = $6,000) to put toward debt or retirement.</p> <p>Currently, the balance on our credit card is $5,000. Our APR is 22%. Our minimum monthly payment is 3% of our outstanding balance or $25, whichever is greater.</p> <p>Our employer offers a 401(k) plan. For the sake of keeping this illustration simple, we'll say our employer doesn't match employee contributions and we choose to make taxable contributions with a Roth designated account within the 401(k).</p> <p>In reality, you might choose instead to make tax-deductible contributions to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-set-up-an-ira-to-build-wealth?ref=internal" target="_blank">traditional retirement account</a>. With a Roth 401(k) there are no immediate tax benefits, which makes our calculations simpler and therefore better suited for this purpose.</p> <p>We'll say the default investment in our 401(k) is a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-best-investments-for-lazy-investors?ref=internal" target="_blank">target-date mutual fund</a> with an average annual return of 6.3% since its inception. We know that future performance is unpredictable. But to run the numbers for the retirement vs. debt decision, we'll apply an annual return of 6% to our retirement account.</p> <p>We'll look at the retirement account and credit card balance after five years to compare the two choices: 1) making minimum payments on our card balance so we can start investing right away, or 2) putting all our extra money toward our credit card debt before we consider retirement investing.</p> <p>In both scenarios, we'll assume that we won't make additional charges on our credit card. In addition, we'll contribute to our retirement account when we have money available to invest.</p> <h2>Step 2: Calculate net worth if you prioritize retirement savings over paying off credit card debt quickly</h2> <p>In this scenario, we'll see what happens if we only make minimum payments on our credit card so that we can get started investing for retirement right away. Your credit card statement should state very clearly how long it will take to pay off your balance if you make minimum payments.</p> <p>You can also find an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.calcxml.com/calculators/how-long-will-it-take-to-pay-off-my-credit-card" target="_blank">online calculator</a> to help you with these calculations. Here's the information we'll enter for our example (you can put in your own numbers from your real-life situation):</p> <ul> <li>Current credit card balance: $5,000<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Annual percentage rate: 22%<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Proposed additional monthly payment: $0<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment percentage: 3%<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment amount: $25<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Skip December payment when offered? No</li> </ul> <p>Results indicate that we'll carry this debt for more than 17 years (205 months) and pay more than $7,000 in interest during this time. Click the button that says &quot;Detailed Results&quot; to see a breakdown of the payments. Make sure that under the Assumptions tab, you've asked for a monthly table display.</p> <p>In the first month, our payment is $150 and this amount slowly diminishes until we're paying the minimum amount of $25 for the last several years.</p> <p>Since we're making minimum payments on the credit card, we'll be able to put $350 of our total available $500 toward retirement in the first month ($500 - $150 = $350). The second month and subsequent months, we'll be able to increase the amount we invest, as our credit card balance dwindles. Every month we also earn some interest (6%/12 months), so our retirement account balance grows in that way, too.</p> <p>After five years (60 months), our credit card balance will be trimmed to less than $2,500.</p> <p>At the end of five years, our retirement account grows to just over $27,300. Considering our debt and retirement balances, our net worth is $24,800 ($27,300 in assets and $2,500 in liabilities). Note that investment returns are not guaranteed; the 6% rate is for illustration purposes only.</p> <p>You can&nbsp;<a href="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/Rains_We Do The Math Spreadsheet - Sheet1.pdf" target="_blank">download the spreadsheet</a> with these calculations.</p> <h2>Step 3: Calculate net worth if you pay off credit card debt completely before investing for retirement</h2> <p>In this scenario, we'll apply all of our extra income to credit card debt first. When the debt is paid in full, we'll begin to contribute to the retirement account.</p> <p>We enter this information to learn how quickly we'll pay off the debt with $500 per month (again, enter your own information to get personalized results):</p> <ul> <li>Current credit card balance: $5,000<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Annual percentage rate: 22%<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment percentage: 0%<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment amount: $0<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Proposed additional monthly payment: $500<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Skip December payment when offered? No</li> </ul> <p>To keep the credit card payment at $500 per month (and pay off credit card debt first), we'll enter the minimum payment percentage as 0% and the minimum payment amount as $0 &mdash; even though the actual terms of the credit card agreement will most likely specify a percentage of 2% or more and a minimum payment of $10 or more. When we view the results, we find that the payoff happens in 12 months. We'll make 11 payments of $500 and one payment of $74.</p> <p>After we finish paying off the credit card debt, we can begin investing. We'll invest $426 in the twelfth month ($500&ndash;$74) and $500 in subsequent months. Consider using a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.calculator.net/future-value-calculator.html" target="_blank">Future Value calculator</a>, to determine how much your retirement account will be worth at the end of five years.</p> <p>Here's the information we entered into the Future Value calculator:</p> <ul> <li>Number of periods: 48. (We'll invest for four years, or 48 months.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Start amount: $426. (We'll start with the first month's contribution as the balance in our account.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Interest rate: 0.5% (6% annual rate divided by 12 months).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Periodic deposit: $500.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Deposit made at the beginning or end of the period: End.</li> </ul> <p>If we earn 6% annually on our investments, our retirement account grows to $27,590 in five years. In addition, our credit card debt is paid off. Our net worth is $27,590 &mdash; that's $2,790 <em>more </em>than if we had prioritized retirement savings first and stuck with only paying the minimum on our credit card debt each month.</p> <h2>What else to consider</h2> <p>These calculations are a starting place. Your situation may be similar to this scenario, but it might not be. For instance, if your APR is considerably lower and your retirement returns higher than in the scenarios above, you may very well find that you're better off investing in the market while reducing your credit card debt slowly. Changes in one or several of these factors could alter results:</p> <ul> <li>Larger or smaller credit card balances;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Higher or lower credit card APRs;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Better or worse investment performance;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Availability of a company match on your 401(k);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Administrative fees associated with your 401(k);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Choosing to invest in a traditional 401(k).</li> </ul> <p>If you opt for a traditional 401(k), your contributions come out of your pretax income, thereby reducing your taxable income, which could result in a lower tax liability and a higher tax refund. A tax refund could be applied to your credit card balance, allowing you to more easily pay off debt while also saving for retirement.</p> <p>To calculate the immediate tax benefit of saving within a traditional 401(k) account, multiply the contribution amount by your marginal tax rate. In addition, you could be eligible for a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-savings-contributions-savers-credit" target="_blank">saver's credit</a>, which further increases the benefit of retirement savings.</p> <h2>How to get started with either scenario</h2> <p>Whatever path you choose, you may need help taking first steps. Consider these ways to get started:</p> <h3>Debt payoff</h3> <ul> <li>Consider transferring or consolidating your balances on a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% balance transfer card</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Consider a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-a-one-month-spending-freeze?ref=internal" target="_blank">no-spend week or month</a> in which you don't spend on anything except essentials.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Apply cash gifts from family to credit card balances.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Work a part-time job to pay down balances.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Find ways to spend less on everyday expenditures and apply savings to debt payoff.</li> </ul> <h3>Retirement saving</h3> <ul> <li>Consider enrolling in your employer's retirement plan, if offered. You may have the opportunity to contribute to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/403b-vs-401k-how-are-they-different?ref=internal" target="_blank">401(k) or 403(b) account</a>, for example.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set up an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-retirement-account-whats-available-and-what-s-best-for-you?ref=internal" target="_blank">IRA</a> with a brokerage account or&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers?ref=internal" target="_blank">robo-adviser</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Start an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-sep-ira-is-how-the-self-employed-do-retirement-like-a-boss?ref=internal" target="_blank">SEP-IRA</a> if you have self-employment income.</li> </ul> <p>When considering your choices, keep in mind that credit card interest rates are relatively fixed, whereas investment returns tend to be much more variable. The main instances in which credit card rates fluctuate these days are when the Federal Reserve raises the federal funds rate, or when you make late payments and are charged a penalty interest rate.</p> <p>The point is, if your card's APR is 22%, you could be certain to save at least 22% of your balance by paying off credit card interest early. In contrast, the precise benefit of early investing is less certain.</p> <p>Should you save for retirement or pay off credit card debt? Doing the math can help you make a decision.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwe-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWe%2520Do%2520the%2520Math-%2520Save%2520for%2520Retirement%2520or%2520Pay%2520Off%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Debt-.jpg&amp;description=We%20Do%20the%20Math%3A%20Save%20for%20Retirement%20or%20Pay%20Off%20Credit%20Card%20Debt%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/We%20Do%20the%20Math-%20Save%20for%20Retirement%20or%20Pay%20Off%20Credit%20Card%20Debt-.jpg" alt="We Do the Math: Save for Retirement or Pay Off Credit Card Debt?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt">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/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</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/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings">Half of Americans Are Wrong About Their Retirement Savings</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/should-you-pay-down-debt-first-or-invest">Should You Pay Down Debt First or Invest?</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/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning">How to Face 4 Ugly Truths About Retirement Planning</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/all-the-ways-minimum-payments-are-evil">All the Ways Minimum Payments Are Evil</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Retirement 401(k) APR bills calculating comparisons interest rates nest egg Paying Off Debt Thu, 18 May 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Julie Rains 1949201 at http://www.wisebread.com Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-503389404.jpg" alt="Man paying certain bills when money is tight" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Is your money situation a little tight this month? It happens to the best of us. What if you don't have enough money this month to pay every bill by its due date? For the time being, you might need to prioritize your payments.</p> <p>This isn't the ideal solution. Far from it &mdash; paying any bill late could result in a late fee. But thanks to a bit of leeway when it comes to credit reporting, paying bills <em>just a bit late </em>might not hurt your all-important FICO credit score.</p> <p>This makes it a bit easier to determine which bills you absolutely <em>must</em> pay on time, and which bills you can more easily tackle after their due dates pass.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage</h2> <p>It's important to keep the roof over your head. And not paying your mortgage payment on time can send your credit score plummeting by 100 points or more. Credit scores are important: Lenders rely on them to determine if you qualify for a loan and at what interest rate.</p> <p>There is some leeway, though, with mortgage payments. First, lenders can't report your payment as late to the credit bureaus until you're at least 30 days past due. This means that paying your bill one, two, or three weeks late won't hurt your credit score.</p> <p>Second, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, lenders usually won't start the foreclosure process until three to six months after your first missed mortgage payment.</p> <p>Even though these safeguards are built in, you don't ever want to take the chance of losing your home. Make sure to pay your mortgage as soon as you can.</p> <h2>2. Rent</h2> <p>If you're renting an apartment, do everything you can to pay this bill on time. Your landlord can send you an eviction notice if you're just one day late with your rent payment. Now, actually evicting you will take time, and most landlords probably won't file a notice that quickly. But you don't want to give your landlord any excuse to start this process in motion.</p> <h2>3. Car payment</h2> <p>As with your mortgage, there is a grace period before your late car payment starts to affect your credit score. Your auto lender can't officially report your payment as late to the credit bureaus until that payment is more than 30 days past due.</p> <p>However, you need to be aware that if you stop making car payments, your vehicle can be repossessed. If this happens, your credit <em>will </em>suffer the consequences &mdash; by up to 100 points. Auto lenders can repossess your vehicle quickly, too. In fact, in most states they have the legal right to repossess your car as soon as you miss a single payment. It's unlikely that your lender will move to take your car that quickly, but why take that risk? If you're prioritizing your bills, this is definitely one to move to the top of your list.</p> <h2>4. Utility bills</h2> <p>Typically, you'll receive plenty of advance warning before your utility providers shut off your services. But you will have to pay these bills eventually to keep them on. Put these bills at the top of your priorities list.</p> <p>If you are struggling to pay these bills, don't ignore them; call the utility company. Utilities will often work with homeowners who are struggling financially. They might lower your bill for a period of time or defer your payments for a few months to allow you to rebuild your finances.</p> <h2>5. Student loans</h2> <p>Student loan debt is a financial burden for many, but you might be able to work out a new repayment plan with your lender if you are struggling. This is usually easier to do with federal student loans. You might qualify for a deferment, depending on your financial situation. But even if you are struggling to pay private student loans, call your lender. The company issuing your loans might be willing to work with you to keep you from falling into default. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-to-pay-off-your-student-loans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Surprising Ways to Pay Off Your Student Loans</a>)</p> <h2>6. Credit cards</h2> <p>Yes, your credit card issuer can hit you with a late fee if you miss a payment. And yes, your card's interest rate might then soar. But credit cards don't need to be at the very top of your priorities list if you are struggling with critical bills like your mortgage.</p> <p>Your credit card provider can't throw you in jail if you miss payments, and it can't take your house or car. So paying this provider <em>after</em> making your mortgage and car payments is OK in a financial pinch.</p> <p>It typically isn't a smart move to pay only the monthly minimum on a credit card, because it's often such a small amount. However, if you're really struggling with money, this is another temporary option you can take. This will keep you current on your bill, and you can always boost your payments back up again once you've regained financial footing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fpay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FPay%2520These%25206%2520Bills%2520First%2520When%2520Money%2520Is%2520Tight.jpg&amp;description=Pay%20These%206%20Bills%20First%20When%20Money%20Is%20Tight"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Pay%20These%206%20Bills%20First%20When%20Money%20Is%20Tight.jpg" alt="Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">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-8"> <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/5-financial-mistakes-that-wont-hurt-your-credit-score">5 Financial Mistakes That Won&#039;t Hurt Your Credit Score</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/prioritize-these-5-bills-when-youre-short-on-cash">Prioritize These 5 Bills When You&#039;re Short on Cash</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/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</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/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</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/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Debt Management bills car loan credit score late fees late payments mortgage rent repossession student loans utilities Fri, 31 Mar 2017 08:00:16 +0000 Dan Rafter 1915858 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Mistakes That Won't Hurt Your Credit Score http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-mistakes-that-wont-hurt-your-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-mistakes-that-wont-hurt-your-credit-score" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-623515998.jpg" alt="Learning which financial mistakes won&#039;t hurt your credit score" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Certain financial mishaps can cost you dearly when it comes to your FICO credit score. Pay your credit card bill more than 30 days late, and your score can drop by 100 points. Declare bankruptcy or lose a home to foreclosure? Your score will fall by even more.</p> <p>In general, lenders today consider a FICO credit score of 740 or higher to be a very good score. They consider anything over 800 to be excellent. Keeping your score in these ranges requires that you pay your bills on time each month and keep your credit card debt low.</p> <p>But here's a secret about FICO scores: They don't measure all of your financial activity. It's possible to suffer a few financial setbacks, or make some money mistakes, without seeing your credit score take a dive.</p> <p>Here are five financial mishaps that, though they might cause problems in your daily life, won't hurt your credit score.</p> <h2>1. Paying your credit card bill just a little late</h2> <p>You should always <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay your credit card bills on time</a>. And ideally, you should pay off your cards in full each month. But if you miss your deadline by two days or three weeks, it won't impact your credit score.</p> <p>Your credit card provider will only report a payment as late to the three national credit bureaus &mdash; Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; if you are at least 30 days late on it. As long as you pay before that 30-day deadline passes, your credit score will remain intact. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</a>)</p> <p>Of course, this doesn't mean that you won't take a financial hit. Your credit card provider could raise your card's interest rate and levy a late fee &mdash; usually around $35 &mdash; against you.</p> <h2>2. Forgetting to pay your doctor's bill</h2> <p>Not all bills are equal in the eyes of your credit score. Pay your credit card or mortgage payment more than 30 days late, and you can expect your FICO score to plunge. Do the same with your doctor's or dentist's bill, and your credit score won't budge.</p> <p>That's because medical providers don't report late payments to the credit bureaus. So paying your dentist bill 40 days late won't hurt your credit score.</p> <p>Again, though, you need to be careful. Paying your medical bills late could have other financial consequences. Your medical provider might tack on additional fees to your bill if you don't pay on time. And if you put off paying that bill for too long, your medical provider might send a collections agency after you. This <em>will</em> be reported to the credit bureaus, and it will cause your credit score to fall.</p> <h2>3. Not paying your phone or utility bill on time</h2> <p>Your phone, electrical, gas, water, garbage, and cable bills are much like your medical ones: The providers of these services don't report to the credit bureaus. You can pay these bills late without suffering a hit to your credit score.</p> <p>Again, be careful. You don't want your utility company shutting off your service or sending your late bill into collections, something that will hurt your credit score.</p> <h2>4. Paying your apartment rent late (usually)</h2> <p>It used to be that apartment rent payments were never reported to the credit bureaus. Today, that is slowly beginning to change, with some services popping up that will report on-time, and late, rental payments to credit bureaus.</p> <p>But the majority of renters still don't see their monthly rent payments reported to the credit bureaus. That's bad news for renters who pay their rent on time each month; those on-time payments could boost their credit scores if they were reported. It's a better deal for those renters with a history of late payments, as these financial mistakes won't hurt their credit scores.</p> <h2>5. Losing a job</h2> <p>You might be surprised to learn that your annual income has no impact on your FICO credit score. Your credit score only tracks how well you pay your bills and manage your credit. It does not care whether you make a $1 million or $10,000 a year.</p> <p>If you lose your job and your income suddenly dips, your credit score won't budge.</p> <p>If your reduced income causes you to run up your credit card debt or start paying your bills late, though? That will hurt your credit score.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-mistakes-that-wont-hurt-your-credit-score">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-6"> <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/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</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/heres-why-you-shouldnt-freak-out-if-you-miss-a-payment-due-date">Here&#039;s Why You Shouldn&#039;t Freak Out If You Miss a Payment Due Date</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/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</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/why-you-need-to-know-the-difference-between-secured-and-unsecured-debts">Why You Need to Know the Difference Between Secured and Unsecured Debts</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-credit-repair-mistakes-that-will-cost-you">8 Credit Repair Mistakes That Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills collections credit score fico financial mistakes late fees late payments utilities Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:00:11 +0000 Dan Rafter 1911510 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Myths About Credit Cards That Won't Go Away http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-credit-cards-that-wont-go-away <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-myths-about-credit-cards-that-wont-go-away" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-637754848.jpg" alt="Woman learning myths about credit cards that won&#039;t go away" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The idea of evaluating a person's creditworthiness goes back as early as 1899, when Equifax (originally called Retail Credit Company) would keep a list of consumers and a series of factors to determine their likelihood to pay back debts. However, credit cards didn't make an appearance until the 1950s, and the FICO score as we know it today wasn't introduced until 1989.</p> <p>Due to these timing differences, many U.S. consumers hold on to damaging myths about credit cards. Let's dispel five of these widely held but false beliefs and find out what to do to continue improving your credit score.</p> <h2>Myth #1: Closing unused cards is good for credit</h2> <p>Remember when United Colors of Benetton used to be all the rage and you shopped there all the time? Fast forward a decade; you don't shop there anymore, and you're thinking about shutting down that store credit card. Not so fast! Closing that old credit card may do more harm than good to your credit score.</p> <p>Your length of credit history contributes 15 percent of your FICO score. If that credit card is your oldest card, then closing it would bring down the average age of your accounts and hurt your score. This is particularly true when there is a gap of several years between your oldest and second-to-oldest card. Another point to consider is that when you close a credit card, you're reducing your amount of available credit. This drops your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization ratio</a>, which makes up 30 percent of your FICO score.</p> <p><strong>What to do:</strong> Keep those old credit cards open, especially when they are the oldest ones that you have. Just make sure that you're keeping on top of any applicable annual fees and they're not tempting you to spend beyond your means.</p> <h2>Myth #2: Holding a credit card balance is good for credit</h2> <p>The amount you owe lenders accounts for 30 percent of your FICO score. The smaller your credit utilization ratio (the amount of debt you hold compared to your total available credit), the better your score. This means if you can avoid carrying a balance, you should do so. However, responsible use of a credit card allows you to buy big ticket items, such as a kitchen appliance or laptop, that you can't pay off all at once. So, sometimes you will have to carry a credit card balance. When you do, credit lenders recommend that you keep your credit utilization ratio below 30 percent -- the lower, the better. Keeping a low credit utilization ratio demonstrates that you're more likely to be able repay your debts, positively affecting your credit score.</p> <p><strong>What to do:</strong> Pay back your credit card balance in full every month as much as possible. When you're not able to do so, then seek to maintain a debt-to-credit ratio below 30 percent across all your credit card debts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>Myth #3: Paying the cellphone bill builds your score</h2> <p>Since some cellphone carriers may run a credit check to decide whether or not to approve you for financing, you may think that those cellphone carriers report your on-time payment history back to the credit bureaus. Payments to service companies, such as cellphone carriers, electricity providers, and natural gas providers, aren't reported back to the credit bureaus. (However, Experian does provide eligible renters the option to make their rent payments count toward their credit history.)</p> <p><strong>What to do:</strong> Don't sign up for a cellphone plan thinking you'll get a boost in your credit score. Do continue paying your cellphone bill (and all other bills!) regularly on-time. If your cellphone account were to be sent to collections, then the cellphone company would surely report that info to all credit bureaus.</p> <h2>Myth #4: Choosing a popular card will benefit you</h2> <p>A 2016 study of 20,206 credit card users by J.D. Power found that at least one in five credit card holders have a card which has fees or rewards not aligned with their actual purchase habits.</p> <p>In the hunt for bigger and better rewards, 20 percent of credit card holders end up with a card that doesn't match their needs and would be better served by a different rewards card, or even one without any without rewards at all and a lower interest rate. Here's an example from the study: One of the reasons that 44 percent of airline co-branded card holders appear to have the wrong card is that those individuals aren't spending at least the necessary $500 per month to gain enough rewards to cover the average annual fee of $75. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a>)</p> <p><strong>What to do:</strong> You don't just want to follow the crowd when choosing a credit card. Stack up your current credit card against others and figure whether or not it's time to find a new card more suitable to your lifestyle. Check out our guides on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=internal" target="_blank">how cash back cards really work</a> and choosing the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-the-best-travel-rewards-credit-card-with-this-guide?ref=internal" target="_blank">best travel rewards credit card</a> to find the card that fits your lifestyle.</p> <h2>Myth #5: Believing there's only one credit score</h2> <p>That <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores?ref=internal" target="_blank">free credit score</a> on your credit card statement may not be the same one used by a lending officer reviewing your application for a mortgage or car loan. Did you know that there more than 50 different types of FICO scores? Lenders have several options to choose from depending on their industry and preferred credit reporting agency.</p> <p><strong>What to do:</strong> If you get a free credit score through your card, check with the card issuer whether or not that score is a FICO score and what type of FICO score it is. This will help you know whether or not you can do an apples-to-apples comparison with the one used by your lender. Also, inquire with your lender if they can give you a target range for your loan to be approved. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fico-or-fako-are-free-credit-scores-from-credit-cards-the-real-thing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">FICO or FAKO: Are Free Credit Scores From Credit Cards the Real Thing?</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-credit-cards-that-wont-go-away">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-7"> <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/5-steps-to-picking-the-best-airline-credit-card-for-the-most-rewards-value">5 Steps to Picking the Best Airline Credit Card for the Most Rewards Value</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/are-airline-or-travel-rewards-credit-cards-the-better-deal">Are Airline or Travel Rewards Credit Cards the Better Deal?</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">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-airline-rewards-programs-for-trips-to-europe">The Best Airline Rewards Programs for Trips to Europe</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/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees">Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards bills credit history credit scores credit utilization ratio debts fico miles myths rewards Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:31:11 +0000 Damian Davila 1907103 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Money Moves to Make Before Moving Out on Your Own http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-640229364.jpg" alt="Making money moves before moving out on her own" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Today, it's not uncommon for young adults to continue living with their parents well into their 30s. A report released in 2015 by the Pew Research Center said that 32.1% of adults from the ages of 18 to 34 were living in their parents' home in 2014, the most common type of living arrangement for people in this age range.</p> <p>But there does come a day when it's finally time to leave the nest. And before you do that, you need to be financially healthy enough to make it on your own.</p> <p>Here are five money moves you need to make before you leave your parents' home.</p> <h2>1. Practice Paying Bills</h2> <p>Paying a mortgage or rent is an important financial responsibility, but it's not the only bill that adults face when moving out on their own. There are groceries to buy, car loans to pay off, utilities to cover, and transportation fees that eat into monthly budgets.</p> <p>To prepare for the rigors of paying these bills, you should practice being financially responsible before moving out of your parents' home. This might mean paying monthly rent to your parents while you continue to live in their home. You should also ask if you can contribute financially in other ways, perhaps by paying part of the monthly utility or garbage pickup bills.</p> <p>By paying at least some of the bills that your parents face each month, you'll get a much more accurate taste of what it's like to live on your own.</p> <h2>2. Create a Budget</h2> <p>No one enjoys making a household budget. But a budget serves as a blueprint that tells you how much you can spend each month. Without one, it's easy to run up debts as you spend more dollars than you can afford.</p> <p>Before you leave your parents' home, you need to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=internal" target="_blank">make a budget</a> of your own. This budget should include all the money you expect to make each month, along with a list of regular monthly expenses and bills, such as rent, utilities, transportation, phone bills, student loan payments, and car payments.</p> <p>A budget should also include guidelines for costs that vary each month. This includes everything from groceries to dining out to going to the movies.</p> <h2>3. Create an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Financial experts say that all adults should have six months' to a year's worth of daily living expenses saved in an emergency fund. You can then tap this fund if a financial crisis, such as a job loss, hits. An emergency fund can also be used to cover unexpected major expenses, such as the cost of replacing a car's transmission or a blown water heater.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund?ref=internal" target="_blank">Starting an emergency fund</a> doesn't have to be painful. Simply set aside $100, $200, or more each month to slowly build that fund. Smart savers will have at least some money stashed in an emergency fund before they move out on their own.</p> <h2>4. Pay Off Those Debts</h2> <p>Moving out with loads of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card debt</a>? That's not the smartest financial move. It can be hard to pay off this high-interest debt when you're saddled for the first time with monthly rent or mortgage payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>The smart move is to set aside as much extra money as you can to pay down your credit cards before moving. That way, you can start your independent life with a clean financial slate.</p> <h2>5. Build a Solid Credit Score</h2> <p>FICO credit scores matter today. Lenders use them to determine who qualifies for auto loans, mortgages, and other loans. Most lenders today consider a FICO credit score of 740 or higher to be a top-tier score. Scores under 640 give lenders pause.</p> <p>Before you head out, you should take steps to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly?ref=internal" target="_blank">build your credit score</a>. The best way to do this is to pay all your bills on time every month and to pay off as much of your credit card debt as possible. By making on-time payments on credit cards or auto loans, you'll steadily build your credit score. Then, when it's time to move, you'll be doing so with a healthy credit score attached to your name. This will help you whether you're looking for a place to rent or even getting a job. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-before-moving-out-on-your-own">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-6"> <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/6-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</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/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</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/10-ways-you-disrespect-your-money">10 Ways You Disrespect Your 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/its-never-too-late-to-fix-these-5-money-mistakes-from-your-past">It&#039;s Never Too Late to Fix These 5 Money Mistakes From Your Past</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/7-smart-money-moves-for-empty-nesters">7 Smart Money Moves for Empty Nesters</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bills budgeting credit score debt emergency funds living with parents millennials money lessons moving out young adults Fri, 10 Mar 2017 10:30:40 +0000 Dan Rafter 1902840 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-620738574.jpg" alt="Man learning ways to never make a late credit card payment again" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've ever paid your credit card bill late, you've likely endured both hassle and expense. Not only are you charged $27&ndash;$37 for each late payment, but your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit score could take a hit</a>, too. If your payment is behind by 60 days or more, your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-didn-t-understand-about-credit-card-interest-grace-periods-and-penalty-aprs?ref=internal" target="_blank">penalty APR</a> might also kick in &mdash; causing your interest charges to skyrocket overnight.</p> <p>One way to avoid this mess is to shun credit completely and use debit or cash instead. The downside here is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-credit-is-safer-than-debit?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit cards provide protections and conveniences</a> debit cards can't. Plus, you'll miss out on the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=internal" target="_blank">myriad perks only credit cards offer</a>, such as purchase protection, price matching, rental car insurance, and extended warranty programs.</p> <p>The better solution for most people is to find a way to pay all credit card bills early or on time. That way you can leverage credit for the perks and rewards without ever having to worry about fees, surging interest rates, or credit score dips.</p> <p>Often, this is a matter of getting organized and making payments automatic. Check out these five ways to foolproof your finances so you'll never pay late again.</p> <h2>1. Set Up Auto-Pay<strong> </strong></h2> <p>If you're worried you'll forget your payment due date altogether, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-set-up-automatic-payments?ref=internal" target="_blank">setting up automatic payments</a> is smart. Most credit card issuers offer this payment option, but you can also set up auto-pay through your bank. When you sign up with your card issuer, you'll get to decide when and how much you want to pay. For example, you can choose to have your checking account automatically debited on your due date, or on some day before then. You can also opt to pay the full bill amount, a fixed dollar amount, or only the minimum payment.</p> <p>Obviously, this strategy comes with huge advantages. Since your bill is paid automatically, you don't have to worry about remembering to pay it. That means you should never be charged a late fee or have a late payment show up on your credit report. Even if you set up the system to pay only the minimum payment, you can always log into your account and pay your full bill later.</p> <p>On the flip side, paying your credit card bill automatically does come with drawbacks. If you have a history of overdrafts on your bank account, for example, setting up automatic payments may be hazardous to your finances. For automatic payments to work, you need to have the money in the bank to cover your payments every time they're deducted from your bank account. Otherwise, you'll be hit with a fee from the bank for insufficient funds, a late fee from your credit card, and possibly an additional fee for a payment not going through from your credit card as well.</p> <p>Setting up auto-pay may also be a bad idea if it lulls you into not looking at your bill every month. Not only can you miss fraudulent charges on your account, but if you're struggling with debt, the last thing you need to do is avoid seeing your bill every month. If you set your account so the minimum payment is paid automatically, you may not even realize if your situation gets worse.</p> <h2>2. Pay Your Credit Card Bill Multiple Times Per Month</h2> <p>If you're fairly good at remembering your credit card bill but lax when it comes to your actual due date, paying your card off several times per month might be the answer. For some people, it's easier to get into the habit of paying their bill once a week, or whenever they think about it, rather than waiting for one due date at the end of the credit card billing period.</p> <p>The convenience of the Internet and mobile bill pay has made it possible to pay your bill at any time and any place of your choosing. By paying your balance every time you get the chance &mdash; and whether it's due or not &mdash; you can avoid late payments altogether. And since you're constantly aware of your growing balance this way, you might be more inclined to stay on budget as well.</p> <p>The downside to paying your bill several times per month comes when you get busy and forget. If you can't remember to pay your bill on your due date but still want to pay multiple times per month, it might be wise to set your account to pay your minimum payment automatically as a stopgap measure. Then, you can log into your account and pay your full bill each time you get the chance.</p> <h2>3. Change Your Due Date</h2> <p>If you have several bills and each has a random due date, it can be hard to stay organized and keep each bill on track. Fortunately, most credit card issuers will move your due date to any date of your choosing. Most of the time, all you have to do is ask.</p> <p>This strategy can come in handy if you have another major bill you can't afford to forget. If your rent payment or mortgage is due on the 4th of the month, for example, you could move your credit card bill to the same date and pay them simultaneously.</p> <p>The benefit of moving your due date is you're more likely to remember to pay if the due date coincides with other important bills. The downside, however, is that you will have to have funds to cover several payments at the same time. If you're living paycheck to paycheck, it may be hard to cover a large sum at one time.</p> <h2>4. Try Debitize</h2> <p><a href="http://www.debitize.com" target="_blank">Debitize</a> is a free service that helps consumers enjoy the benefits of credit without risking late payments or debt. It works by linking your checking account with your credit card accounts, and then automatically setting aside funds as you make purchases with credit.</p> <p>Once your accounts are linked and Debitize starts deducting amounts equal to your credit purchases from your bank, your credit card works more like a debit card. The fact that Debitize &quot;turns credit into debt&quot; in this fashion makes it immensely helpful for anyone who wants to avoid late payments and stay out of debt.</p> <p>Debitize also offers additional protections that can help consumers avoid an overdraft. For starters, you can set a minimum balance on your checking account so you always have enough money left to get by. Second, Debitize lets you set up custom notifications so you're alerted when you reach a certain spending threshold or if unusual activity is reported. Lastly, Debitize pays your bill automatically for you, leaving zero room for error on your part.</p> <p>The notable downside to using Debitize is the fact that you're surrendering some control. You may not like having a third party deduct money and pay bills on your behalf. If that's the case, you might be better off using one of the other recommendations on this list.</p> <h2>5. Sign Up for Payment Alerts</h2> <p>If you're afraid you'll forget about your credit card bill and need a reminder, consider setting up some automatic nudges. Through your bank &mdash; or through a service like Mint.com &mdash; you can get automatic payment alerts on certain dates of the month or when your payment is almost due.</p> <p>This strategy can be truly beneficial for someone who is financially responsible yet prone to forgetting their bills. Once they receive their automatic reminder via text or email, they can log into their account and pay their bill right away.</p> <p>Obviously, setting up payment alerts can only take you so far. If you're someone who forgets easily, even setting up a reminder may not be enough to help you foolproof your credit card bills. After all, you still have to physically log into your account and pay your bill yourself.</p> <p>In that case, you may be better off setting your bank account to pay your minimum monthly payment automatically as well. That way, you're covered even if you forget.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment">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/6-smart-reasons-to-pay-your-credit-card-bill-before-its-due">6 Smart Reasons to Pay Your Credit Card Bill Before It&#039;s Due</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/how-late-payments-affect-your-credit">How Late Payments Affect Your Credit</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-secrets-to-mastering-the-debt-snowball">6 Secrets to Mastering the Debt Snowball</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/pay-these-6-bills-first-when-money-is-tight">Pay These 6 Bills First When Money Is Tight</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/6-things-you-should-never-do-when-applying-for-a-credit-card">6 Things You Should Never Do When Applying for a Credit Card</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards alerts automatic payments bills due dates late fees reminders Tue, 28 Feb 2017 10:31:29 +0000 Holly Johnson 1898300 at http://www.wisebread.com