credit http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7505/all en-US 6 Important Credit Card Lessons Your Parents Didn't Teach You http://www.wisebread.com/6-important-credit-card-lessons-your-parents-didnt-teach-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-important-credit-card-lessons-your-parents-didnt-teach-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-594938216.jpg" alt="Learning credit card lessons parents didn&#039;t teach you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Our parents taught us many of life's important lessons, but did they adequately prepare us for smart credit card use? Maybe not. Here are six credit card lessons your parents might not have taught you.</p> <h2>1. Credit cards offer more fraud protection than debit cards</h2> <p>Credit cards offer a much greater level of protection against fraud than debit cards. Many credit companies come with $0 fraud liability, meaning you aren't responsible for any reported fraudulent spending. In most of these cases, the creditor will credit your account immediately. However, with debit card purchases, it can take the bank up to two weeks to refund your money, and even then you might still be held responsible for a certain percentage of the charges. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-credit-is-safer-than-debit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Reasons Credit Is Safer Than Debit</a>)</p> <h2>2. You must be proactive to build your credit</h2> <p>A common myth is that an open credit card account is all you need to build your credit. Credit scores reflect an individual's relationship with debt management. Lenders and creditors want to see how you interact with finances, especially if you are going to take on more debt. This doesn't mean you need to be in debt to have a good credit score. Instead, a credit score is established through paying your bills on time, whether that be your credit card bill or your mortgage.</p> <p>One of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-things-with-the-biggest-impact-on-your-credit-score" target="_blank">biggest factors in determining your credit score</a> is your credit utilization ratio. Lenders want to see how much debt you have versus how much credit you have access to.</p> <p>Build your credit by using and paying off your credit card, making payments on time, and asking for credit line increases. (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. Keep your credit utilization ratio as low as possible</h2> <p>Generally, it is important to have a credit utilization ratio of 30 percent or less. For example, someone with $500 of debt on a $1,000 total credit line will look worse to creditors than someone who has $5,000 debt with a total credit line of $30,000.</p> <p>Calculate your credit utilization ratio by dividing your debt total by your credit line total. For example, $500 of debt divided by a $1,000 credit line would equal a 50 percent credit utilization ratio, whereas $5,000 of debt divided by a $30,000 credit line is just over 16 percent. Remember, your credit line total is the combination of all lines of credit you have open.</p> <h2>4. Interest payments can make debt hard to pay off</h2> <p>A few thousand dollars of debt can feel like an impossible hurdle if you try to pay it off in minimum payments only. You will feel like you are making zero progress on your debt when you have to pay interest. Interest makes anything you purchased with a credit card more expensive. Did you really mean to pay double for that clearance shirt? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Fastest Way to Pay Off $10K in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. Differences in interest rates do matter</h2> <p>Perhaps your parents didn't make a big deal about the difference between an A and A-, but when it comes to interest rates, the difference is noticeable. Even a half of a percent can make a big difference when it comes to your monthly payments on a loan. Getting a $20,000 car loan for three years at 4 percent doesn't seem much different from the same car loan at 3.25 percent, but it is. The difference is $6 a month, or $216 in the lifetime of the loan. Wouldn't you rather that money go to something necessary or fun instead of an interest payment? The same is true of paying interest on a credit card. (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>6. Rewards don't negate debt</h2> <p>We know your mom always told you to look at the bright side of things, but credit card rewards are not the bright side. If you are constantly running up credit card debt to benefit from rewards points, then you will be sorely disappointed by their rate of return. There is no credit card on the market with a reward program that makes going into debt worth it.</p> <p>Pay off your monthly credit card bill to ensure you benefit from the rewards, but aren't being burned by the interest rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-credit-card-reward-tips-many-people-dont-follow?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Credit Card Reward Tips Many People Don't Follow</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-important-credit-card-lessons-your-parents-didnt-teach-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reduce-your-credit-limits-to-manage-your-spending">Reduce Your Credit Limits to Manage Your Spending</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/whats-the-best-way-to-get-out-of-debt">What&#039;s the Best Way to Get out of Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees">The 5 Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees</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-tricks-to-save-money-with-credit-cards">10 Tricks to Save Money with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-save-loads-of-money-using-credit-cards">7 Ways to Save Loads of Money Using Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit debt fraud protection interest payments money lessons parents rewards Wed, 12 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1925376 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 52 Money Mistakes You Need to Stop Making http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-52-money-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-52-money-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_no_money_489081790.jpg" alt="Man making money mistakes he needs to stop making" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Too much credit card spending. Not having an emergency fund. Waiting to save for retirement. Making a money mistake or two like these is fine early on, and is probably not the end of the world as you get older, but at a certain point, you need to clean up your finances and start making responsible money choices. Here are 52 money mistakes you need to stop making.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/man_piggy_bank_000072626017.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-money-mistakes-everyone-makes-but-no-one-talks-about?ref=fbf">20 Money Mistakes Everyone Makes But No One Talks About</a> &mdash; We all make money mistakes. We forget to budget, we underestimate tax bills sometimes, or go broke from a pricey college education. But the key to recovery is acknowledging the problem, so start talking about these rarely talked about money mistakes, and you'll be on your way to fixing them.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50?ref=fbf">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</a> &mdash; Being reckless with your finances close to retirement age is not a good look. So start putting those irresponsible money moves behind you so you don't reach age 50 lost in a sea of debt.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/woman_piggy_bank_000035836870.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-savings-mistakes-even-smart-people-make?ref=fbf">8 Savings Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a> &mdash; You think smart people are immune to poor money choices? Nope! Intelligence helps you manage your money, but it doesn't mean you won't screw up. And there's something oddly comforting about knowing the smartest among us struggle sometimes.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make?ref=fbf">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a> &mdash; Ok, so you've got a 401(k). That's great! But just having one isn't enough. Make sure you aren't making these mistakes &mdash; that even smart people make &mdash; because you could be destroying your retirement.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/finances-135546859.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-worst-money-mistakes-married-people-make?ref=fbf">The 7 Worst Money Mistakes Married People Make</a> &mdash; Once you recite those vows and become a married pair, you should probably get your money in check. You're a team now, and you shouldn't avoid those tough financial conversations, or hide major purchases from each other.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-7-basic-budget-mistakes?ref=fbf">Stop Making These 7 Basic Budget Mistakes</a> &mdash; The work that goes into maintaining a budget is never done. You constantly need to adjust your goals to align with your financial needs. But please stop making these basic budget mistakes. You're only hurting yourself.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-52-money-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making">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/time-is-money-budget-them-both-out">Time Is Money: Budget Them Both Out</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/flashback-friday-72-brilliant-ways-to-stretch-20">Flashback Friday: 72 Brilliant Ways to Stretch $20</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/flashback-friday-23-mental-tricks-thatll-help-you-save-money">Flashback Friday: 23 Mental Tricks That&#039;ll Help You Save 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/flashback-friday-76-new-years-resolutions-thatll-make-2017-your-year">Flashback Friday: 76 New Year&#039;s Resolutions That&#039;ll Make 2017 Your Year</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/flashback-friday-38-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-celebrities">Flashback Friday: 38 Money Lessons We Can Learn From Celebrities</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting credit fbf flashback friday money money mistakes Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1923221 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Pay Your Bills With a Credit Card? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-your-bills-with-a-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-pay-your-bills-with-a-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-635966758.jpg" alt="Woman wondering if she should pay bills with a credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the smartest &mdash; and easiest &mdash; ways to earn more credit card rewards is to charge as many regular bills as makes sense. By using credit instead of your checking account to pay bills you normally pay anyway, you can increase your rewards without spending money you don't have.</p> <p>First step: Get out your monthly bank statements and make a list of expenses you pay on a regular basis. These might include utility bills, insurance premiums, and even rent.</p> <p>Next, determine whether you can pay these bills with credit. Using a credit card to pay your bills allows you to rack up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards?ref=internal" target="_blank">hotel points</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">airline miles</a> a lot faster, but there are some downsides you need to consider, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why I Use My Credit Card for Everything</a>)</p> <h2>Beware of Fees<strong> </strong></h2> <p>While some businesses let you use a credit card without an added fee, others might charge a fixed or percentage-based convenience fee for using credit. This is because companies are charged a fee for processing credit card payments.</p> <p>If a fee is involved, it's usually not worth it to put the payment on your credit card. That additional fee would cancel out (and sometimes be more than) any rewards you'd get for the charge.</p> <p>Let's say you want to pay your $100 cellphone bill with a credit card, but your service provider charges a flat $1.95 fee for doing so. If your credit card offers 1% back for each dollar you spend, you would earn $1.00 in rewards for a $1.95 fee. You'd clearly be better off using some other payment method.</p> <p>On the other hand, if you have a rewards card that offer 5% back on cellphone purchases, you'd earn $5.00 in rewards on that $100 cellphone bill in exchange for a $1.95 fee. That's still a pretty good deal.</p> <h2>Don't Get in Debt for Rewards</h2> <p>No matter what, you should never charge bills you can't afford to repay right away. There is no amount of rewards that would be worth the interest credit cards charge for carrying a balance. Before you charge any bill, you should make sure you have the cash to pay your bill in full when it's due.</p> <h2>Don't Use Convenience Checks</h2> <p>Don't think you can bypass the fees by using those convenience checks credit cards send you, either. Those are considered cash advances, and you will not only not earn rewards using them, but you will be assessed interest the moment they are cashed. The interest on cash advances are much, much higher than the standard APR, too. So never, ever use those checks to pay your bills!</p> <h2>Overlooked Bills You Can Pay With Credit</h2> <p>With all of those caveats in mind, consider this list of bills you might not currently be paying by credit card:</p> <ul> <li>Cable/Internet/cellphone bill &mdash; Depending on which telecommunications service providers you use, you may be able to charge these bills to a credit card online or over the phone.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Car/homeowners/renters insurance &mdash; Most providers of these types of insurance let you pay your premiums with a credit card, though you may have to pay a fee. This is true whether you pay your bill monthly or just once or twice a year.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>College tuition &mdash; Not all schools accept credit cards for tuition, and many that do charge a fee. For all the rest, charging your bill to a credit card can help you earn points and miles quickly. Because this tends to be a large bill, it's especially important to point out that this only pays off if you can pay the credit card charges in full at the end of the month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-college-students?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for College Students</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Day care &mdash; Many larger daycare centers let patrons charge their weekly or monthly day care expenses. Smaller providers may also accept credit cards, though they are more likely to charge a convenience fee.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Electricity, gas, water &mdash; More and more utility companies let consumers charge their bill payments to a credit card.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Health insurance &mdash; If you buy your own insurance on the open market or through the exchanges, you may be able to pay for your premiums with a credit card. Although some large health insurance companies have dropped this option, there are still some providers who allow it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Income taxes &mdash; The Internal Revenue Service authorizes three providers to accept and process <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/pay-taxes-by-credit-or-debit-card" target="_blank">federal income tax payments by credit card</a>. All of them charge fees, but at least part of the fee may be tax deductible. If you want to charge state income taxes, you'll need to check with your state for rules and additional details. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-ever-pay-your-taxes-with-a-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Ever Pay Your Taxes With a Credit Card?</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Kids' sports and activities &mdash; If your children are in baseball, ballet, or any other activity, don't forget to charge their activity fees or dues. You may also be able to charge equipment rental and uniform fees.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Offerings at your house of worship &mdash; An increasing number of churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship accept credit card donations. If you tithe or regularly contribute to the offering plate, this is an expense to consider charging, keeping in mind that part of your donation will go to pay for credit card processing fees.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Rent &mdash; For a few lucky tenants, paying rent with a credit card is an option. Some landlords provide this service for free. Otherwise, there are companies that will accept your credit card payment and then pay your rent or mortgage by check, but the fees are almost always greater than any rewards you could earn.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Subscriptions and membership dues &mdash; You can usually charge your fees for a gym, video streaming service, dating service, magazine, and other subscription services. Most large organizations will also let you pay for membership dues with a credit card.</li> </ul> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fshould-you-pay-your-bills-with-a-credit-card&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FShould%20You%20Pay%20Your%20Bills%20With%20a%20Credit%20Card-.jpg&amp;description=Should%20You%20Pay%20Your%20Bills%20With%20a%20Credit%20Card%3F" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Should%20You%20Pay%20Your%20Bills%20With%20a%20Credit%20Card-.jpg" alt="Should You Pay Your Bills With a Credit Card?" 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/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-your-bills-with-a-credit-card">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-important-credit-card-lessons-your-parents-didnt-teach-you">6 Important Credit Card Lessons Your Parents Didn&#039;t Teach You</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-myths-about-credit-cards-that-wont-go-away">5 Myths About Credit Cards That Won&#039;t Go Away</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-with-annual-fees">The 5 Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees</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/7-ways-to-save-loads-of-money-using-credit-cards">7 Ways to Save Loads of Money Using Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-back-on-track-when-youre-behind-on-your-bills">How to Get Back on Track When You&#039;re Behind on Your Bills</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards autopay bill pay bills budgeting credit rewards utilities Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:30:36 +0000 Holly Johnson 1893287 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Credit Card Mistakes That Could Be Ruining Your Credit http://www.wisebread.com/6-credit-card-mistakes-that-could-be-ruining-your-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-credit-card-mistakes-that-could-be-ruining-your-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-585795908.jpg" alt="Woman learning credit card mistakes that could be ruining her credit" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's difficult to overstate how important your credit record and credit score are. Not only will <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-a-good-credit-score-range?ref=internal" target="_blank">good credit</a> enable you be approved for the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-people-with-excellent-credit?ref=internal" target="_blank">most attractive credit cards</a>, it's vital for receiving the lowest rates on a car loan, a mortgage, and on home and auto insurance premiums. It can even make the difference in whether you get the apartment or job you want, since both landlords and employers often run credit checks on applicants. (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>Unfortunately, many credit card users are making big mistakes that are ruining their credit. Since it can take years for some of the most negative items to drop off your credit report, it's crucial to avoid making these mistakes in the first place. Here are six credit card mistakes that could be ruining your credit.</p> <h2>1. Paying Late<strong> </strong></h2> <p>The most important factor in your FICO score &mdash; the most popular credit score lenders use to evaluate you &mdash; is your payment history. It makes up 35% of your score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-things-with-the-biggest-impact-on-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Things with the Biggest Impact on Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>If you are using a credit card, your first priority should be to <em>always </em>pay your credit card bill on time. While one bill paid a few days late won't cause lasting damage to your credit score, paying late frequently will hurt more. On top of that you'll usually be subject to late fees.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are many tools to help you pay on time. Most credit card issuers offer automatic payments to ensure that you never pay late. You can also request a specific payment due date so you can arrange all your bills to be due at the same time each month. That way you can sit down and pay bills just once a month rather than keeping track of various bills as they come in. Additionally, you can sign up for payment reminders by email or text.</p> <h2>2. Paying Less Than the Minimum<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Paying just the minimum payment on your credit cards will <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/all-the-ways-minimum-payments-are-evil?ref=internal" target="_blank">hurt you financially</a>, but paying below that is even worse &mdash; much worse.</p> <p>To avoid being considered delinquent on a credit card account, you not only have to make your payments on time, but the payments must be <em>at least </em>the minimum amount required, which is stated on your bill. If your payment is below the minimum, it doesn't matter if it was on time. The payment will still be considered late, causing a hit to your credit score.</p> <h2>3. Failing to Pay<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Miss a payment for at least 60 days and your creditors start wondering if you're going to pay at all. That's why you'll start to see more serious consequences than a single lapse of a few days would cause. After two missed billing cycles an issuer can impose a high <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 interest rate</a> on the account, on top of late fees. And while those charges alone are costly, your credit will also start to really suffer.</p> <p>A payment that's 90 days overdue is extremely damaging to your credit score and takes seven years to fall off your credit record. At 120 days late, your debt will likely be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-when-your-credit-card-debt-is-charged-off?ref=internal" target="_blank">charged off</a> and sold to collectors, which harms your credit score even more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-if-you-cant-pay-your-bills-on-time?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do If You Can't Pay Your Bills on Time</a>)</p> <p>If you are unable to pay your credit card bill for any reason, you should reach out to your card issuer to let them know. You may be able to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-negotiate-credit-card-debt" target="_blank">negotiate a debt repayment plan</a>.</p> <h2>4. Having High Balances<strong> </strong></h2> <p>After payment history, the second most important factor in your credit score is how much you owe. It accounts for 30% of your FICO score. Maxing out your credit cards, or coming close to it, hurts your credit score.</p> <p>Ideally you want 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> &mdash; the amount of debt you have divided by your total available credit &mdash; to be below 30%. The lower you can get it, the better off your credit score will be. The best way to lower it is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay off your balances quickly</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off" target="_blank">5-Day Debt Reduction Plan: Pay It Off</a>)</p> <h2>5. Not Having Enough Credit Cards<strong> </strong></h2> <p>The other way to lower your credit utilization ratio is to increase the amount of available credit you have. If you have just one or two credit cards, and you are using up most of the credit lines available on them, you may benefit from having another card &mdash; but only if you can resist the temptation to ring up a bunch more debt on it. Remember, raising your credit line only to add more debt will drop your credit score.</p> <p>Pick a basic, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-no-annual-fees?ref=internal" target="_blank">no-annual-fee card</a> and then use it once a month or so for a small purchase, such as a tank of gas, that you can pay off immediately. That will keep the account active without putting you in debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-these-7-questions-to-help-choose-the-perfect-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Questions to Ask to Help Choose the Perfect Credit Card</a>)</p> <p>Similarly, you could request a credit line increase for the accounts you already have. If you've been paying on time, chances are you can get a credit limit increase by simply calling your issuer and asking.</p> <p>Just be aware that credit card issuers will pull your credit report before approving you for a new credit card, and usually for a credit line increase, too. This will result in a hard pull on your credit, which will ding your credit score. Even a few points could be important if you're about to apply for a mortgage, so wait to ask for new credit until after you've done that.</p> <h2>6. Canceling Your Oldest Credit Cards<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Closing any credit card will raise your credit utilization ratio, but closing your oldest accounts harms a different part of your credit score. Your length of credit history accounts for 15% of your FICO score. While an account in good standing will remain on your credit report for about 10 years after you've closed it, it will eventually be removed and hurt your score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-okay-to-close-a-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Times It's Okay to Close a Credit Card</a>)</p> <p>If you don't need to use a card, it may be better to put the card in a secure location, but keep the account open. If the account has an annual fee, you can ask to have the fee waived, or the account changed to a different card without the annual fee.</p> <p>Don't let these credit card mistakes ruin your credit. (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 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-credit-card-mistakes-that-could-be-ruining-your-credit&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20Credit%20Card%20Mistakes%20That%20Could%20Be%20Ruining%20Your%20Credit_0.jpg&amp;description=6%20Credit%20Card%20Mistakes%20That%20Could%20Be%20Ruining%20Your%20Credit" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Credit%20Card%20Mistakes%20That%20Could%20Be%20Ruining%20Your%20Credit_0.jpg" alt="6 Credit Card Mistakes That Could Be Ruining Your Credit" 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/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-credit-card-mistakes-that-could-be-ruining-your-credit">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-13"> <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/need-a-game-to-learn-to-manage-your-credit">Need a game to learn to manage your credit?</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-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps">How to Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Simple Steps</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-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score">5 Ways Life Is Amazing With an 800 Credit Score</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-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve 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/how-to-avoid-getting-your-credit-card-canceled">How to Avoid Getting Your Credit Card Canceled</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards budgets credit credit rating credit report credit score money mistakes Tue, 21 Feb 2017 10:31:29 +0000 Jason Steele 1892848 at http://www.wisebread.com Should You Sign Up for That Store Credit Card? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sign-up-for-that-store-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-sign-up-for-that-store-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-510513339.jpg" alt="Woman wondering if she should sign up for a store credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Shop at enough chain retailers and you'll eventually be offered a chance to apply for a store credit card. Often it comes with a tempting discount on your purchase, and maybe even a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/same-as-cash-store-offers-vs-0-intro-apr-credit-cards-which-is-right-for-you?ref=internal" target="_blank">promotional financing offer</a>. But how good are store credit cards, and should you get one?</p> <h2>Benefits of Store Credit Cards</h2> <p>Store credit cards do have some upside to consider.</p> <h3>Get Discounts<strong> </strong></h3> <p>Retailers usually offer a discount on your day's purchases when you apply for their credit card right at the register. If you are making major purchases, the savings could be significant. In addition, many store credit cards promise to send you coupons and advance sales notices throughout the year.</p> <h3>Earn Rewards</h3> <p>Another benefit that a store card may offer is a rewards program that lets you earn points every time you buy something from the store. Rewards are often in the form of credits toward future purchases. The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/store-credit-cards-that-dont-suck?ref=internal" target="_blank">best store cards</a> offer rewards or discounts of up to 5% of the amount spent.</p> <h3>Build Credit</h3> <p>Retail credit cards typically have much lower qualifications for approval than other credit cards. If you have a poor credit score or a limited credit history, you might be able to qualify for a store credit card before you can be approved for other cards. In this way, retail credit cards can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-need-credit-and-how-to-build-it-from-scratch?ref=internal" target="_blank">build a credit history</a> from scratch, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps?ref=internal" target="_blank">rebuild your credit</a> after financial setbacks. (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>Disadvantages of Store Credit Cards</h2> <p>Now, the downsides.</p> <h3>High APR</h3> <p>While it's easier to be approved for a store credit card, it will likely have less competitive interest rates than other cards. While the average credit card has a standard APR of about 15%, it's not uncommon to find store cards with rates in the high 20s or even the 30s.</p> <h3>Limited Use</h3> <p>A store credit card may not be part of a larger payment network such as Visa or MasterCard, either. If so, then you will only be able to use your card for purchases at that store and its website, not at other merchants.</p> <h3>Lower Rewards</h3> <p>Retail credit cards may not even offer very strong rewards programs. Some store cards offer rewards valued at just 3% or 4% of your spending, which is not much higher than you could expect from one of the most competitive reward credit cards. Also, a store card's rewards will usually be in the form of store credit, which is never as valuable as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back rewards</a>.</p> <h3>Opportunity Cost</h3> <p>You always have to consider the opportunity cost of applying for a retail credit card. Since you can't practically apply for <em>every </em>credit card you are offered (and even if you could, too many applications hurt your credit score), you have to consider if a store credit card is a better deal than the best offers available elsewhere.</p> <p>For example, another credit card could offer you a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-bonus-cash-for-sign-up?ref=internal" target="_blank">sign-up bonus</a> worth far more than a one-off discount on your day's purchases. And a store credit card rarely has a rewards program that's as good as the most competitive reward cards. Additionally, there are credit cards available directly from banks that feature <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% interest on new purchases</a>. That's superior to the promotional financing offers available from most store credit cards.</p> <h3>When It's Okay to Sign Up for a Store Card</h3> <p>If you find that you are consistently buying from one particular store, it may be worthwhile to consider whether rewards and discounts from its store credit card will put a dent in your regular spending there. But don't impulsively agree to signing up at the register for a one-time discount. Smart spenders don't just consider their purchases carefully; they also choose their payment options wisely.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sign-up-for-that-store-credit-card">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/7-ways-to-save-loads-of-money-using-credit-cards">7 Ways to Save Loads of Money Using Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</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-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</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/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</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/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping bad deals credit deals department stores discounts offers saving money Fri, 17 Feb 2017 10:31:23 +0000 Jason Steele 1893290 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Make These 6 Credit Card Sign-Up Bonus Mistakes http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-6-credit-card-sign-up-bonus-mistakes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-make-these-6-credit-card-sign-up-bonus-mistakes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-626262030.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are few things as rewarding as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">generous sign-up bonus</a>. Credit card issuers offering you hundreds of dollars worth of points, miles, or just plain cash back can seem irresistible. But at the same time, earning these bonuses may not be as easy as it appears. There's plenty of room for error along the way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-bonus-cash-for-sign-up?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards That Offer Cash Bonuses</a>)</p> <p>The next time you are looking to score big on a credit card bonus, be careful to avoid these six mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Failing to Reach the Minimum Spending Amount<strong> </strong></h2> <p>When it comes to sign-up bonuses, credit card issuers advertise the rewards in big bold print, but describe the minimum spending requirements in tiny type. Most credit cards require you to spend a certain amount within 90 days of account opening in order to earn the bonus. Calculate how much you'll need to spend each billing period and whether you are confident that your regular budget and spending can accommodate it. You'll have to plan ahead and make a list of all the places you'll need to change your payment method (recurring subscriptions and other payment accounts). Do it as soon as possible so you don't miss a charge.</p> <h2>2. Missing the Minimum Spending Deadline<strong> </strong></h2> <p>When credit card issuers offer bonuses that must be earned within 90 days, it's easy to misunderstand when the clock starts on the offer. The 90 days is based on when the account was opened, which is when your application was approved. Considering that it can take up to a week from issuing you a card to actually getting it in the mail, you may already be down 10 days by the time you have the card in hand. To be extra careful, you can ask your card issuer to confirm your account opening date as well as the last date that you can make a purchase toward the minimum spending qualification for the sign-up bonus. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Steps to Getting a Free Vacation With Credit Card Bonuses</a>)</p> <h2>3. Overspending to Earn a Bonus<strong> </strong></h2> <p>It's tempting to use the large bonus to justify some extra purchases. You might even see it as a discount, since you're getting rewards for it. But it's never a good idea to go into debt to earn rewards, no matter how big the offer. Paying off your balance every month is the number one rule of using rewards cards. If you find yourself consciously or subconsciously overspending to earn rewards, then you should probably take a break from reward credit cards and focus on sticking to a budget. You'll never come out ahead if you're paying a drop of interest on those purchases.</p> <h2>4. Making Returns That Affect the Spending Amount<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Part of the fine print of any bonus offer is that you must make a certain amount of <em>net</em> purchases in order to earn the rewards. Net purchases means the total amount of purchases you make, minus any returns. This prevents people from buying and returning a big-ticket item in order to get around the minimum spending requirement.</p> <p>That's not to say you shouldn't return an item you're unsatisfied with. But if you do happen to return an expensive purchase such as an appliance or a new television while qualifying for a bonus, then you have to realize that it won't count toward your card's minimum spending requirements.</p> <h2>5. Not Reading the Exclusions for Past Cardholders<strong> </strong></h2> <p>In recent years, credit card issuers have been cracking down on customers who repeatedly apply for the same cards in order to earn multiple sign-up bonuses. As a result, some credit card applications now have language that excludes bonuses for applicants who have received a bonus for that card within the last 24 months. What's more, some issuers will deny bonuses to anyone who has <em>ever </em>had the same card in the past. Look at your records to make sure you haven't had the card before, and if it's been a long time, you can call the issuer to check if you'd still qualify for their new offer.</p> <h2>6. Trying to Pool Offers That Don't Mix<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Let's say you're trying to pool together a large amount of points to get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">free trip for your family</a>. If you have good credit, you might be able to get approved for multiple offers within a short period of time. But this isn't as easy as just adding points from one card to the points of another card. You need to understand how each card allows points to be redeemed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a>)</p> <p>Some points are only redeemed as a statement credit toward travel purchases. Others allow you to purchase travel with points but only through their exclusive portal. And others allow you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles?ref=internal" target="_blank">transfer points to travel partner</a> programs. For example, both Chase and American Express allow you to transfer points to Singapore, Virgin Atlantic, and Air France/KLM. In any case, you have to know what your travel plans are to ensure that you won't waste bonus points because you weren't able to use them all together effectively.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-6-credit-card-sign-up-bonus-mistakes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees">The 5 Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees</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/7-things-you-should-never-do-with-your-travel-rewards-credit-cards">7 Things You Should Never Do With Your Travel Rewards 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/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</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-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free Travel</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/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit miles minimum spend points rewards sign-up bonus Thu, 16 Feb 2017 10:30:33 +0000 Jason Steele 1889841 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Save Loads of Money Using Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-save-loads-of-money-using-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-save-loads-of-money-using-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-514475258.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to save money using credit cards" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many people, credit cards are simply a payment method. But savvy users take advantage of the additional benefits and services that only credit cards offer. A credit card may give you cash back, free travel, insurance, and other services worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. Check out some of the most significant ways you can save money by paying with credit cards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-reasons-to-always-use-your-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Reasons You Should Always Use Your Credit Card to Pay</a>)</p> <h2>1. Get an Interest-Free Loan for a Large Purchase</h2> <p>If you can't afford something, it's always best to either forgo it or save up for it before making the purchase. In some cases, however, you don't have the option of waiting. Your refrigerator dies just when you need a new transmission, or your dentist orders a root canal, stat. If you are disciplined, you can swing free financing on that fridge or dental work by getting a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card with a promotional 0% APR on purchases</a>. These cards allow you to make new charges and carry a balance with no interest for an introductory period &mdash; in some cases, as long as 21 months. After that, your purchases will be subject to the card's standard interest rate. As long as you make your payments on time and clear your balance within the intro period, you'll stay out of debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/same-as-cash-store-offers-vs-0-intro-apr-credit-cards-which-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Difference Between Store Credit Offers and 0% Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get a Break From Interest on Debt</h2> <p>Sometimes bad decisions in the past continue to haunt us. Interest that continues to accrue on current debt makes it even harder to make up for those bad decisions. Once you've decided to put your financial life back in order and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?ref=internal" target="_blank">create a debt repayment plan</a>, one of the best tools you can use to help <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">pay off debt faster</a> is a balance transfer to a card <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">offering an intro 0% APR</a>. These offers allow you to take a break from your interest charges so that you can devote 100% of your monthly payments toward paying down the principle. These interest-free offers can last up to 21 months, giving you the time you need to finally pay off your debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article" target="_blank">When to Do a Balance Transfer</a>)</p> <h2>3. Earn Cash Back<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Are you diligent about paying off your credit card bill each month? If so, getting a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back card</a> is a no brainer. You can get a card that gives a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-offer-flat-rate-rewards-for-all-spending?ref=internal" target="_blank">flat rate percentage for all purchases</a>, allowing you to get unlimited cash back. Or you can get a card with a higher return for the category that you spend the most in. For example, certain cards offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=internal" target="_blank">big cash back rewards for groceries</a>. There's no reason you shouldn't get <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-everyday-purchases?ref=internal" target="_blank">rewarded on your everyday expenses</a>.</p> <h2>4. Get Free Travel</h2> <p>You can score hundreds of dollars worth of free travel by using a travel rewards credit card that gives you points or miles every time you use the card &mdash; again, assuming you clear your credit card balance every month. There are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-the-best-travel-rewards-credit-card-with-this-guide?ref=internal" target="_blank">different types of travel rewards cards</a>. Some allow you to use rewards to get a statement credit for any type of travel purchase you make on the card. Others let you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles?ref=internal" target="_blank">transfer points to airline or hotel</a> loyalty programs so you can claim award flights and stays. Many offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">valuable sign-up bonuses</a> that can get you free flights fast, and money-saving travel perks such as free checked bags and even exclusive <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-free-airport-lounge-access?ref=internal" target="_blank">airport lounge access</a>. The best travel rewards card for you depends on your travel preferences and habits. Need more advice? Check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">our favorite travel rewards cards</a>.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">12 Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Had</a></p> <h2>5. Use Free Travel Insurance</h2> <p>Credit cards can be essential when you are traveling not just for their <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal" target="_blank">security and convenience</a>, but because they include important insurance. For instance, you can decline your rental car company's expensive optional insurance and use your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card's collision damage waiver policy</a> instead. Some credit cards also have coverage that reimburses you for additional expenses in the event that your trip is delayed or canceled, your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-airline-lost-your-luggage-now-what?ref=internal" target="_blank">luggage is lost</a>, or you're <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-exactly-does-travel-accident-insurance-cover-on-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">hurt while traveling</a>. Just be sure to check with your card issuer to find out which policies your card has, and what they cover. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Types of Travel Insurance Your Credit Card Includes</a>)</p> <h2>6. Protect Your Purchases</h2> <p>Many credit cards come with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-credit-cards-protect-your-purchases-from-damage-or-theft?ref=internal" target="_blank">valuable purchase protection policies</a> that repair or replace your purchase if it's damaged or stolen, typically within 30&ndash;90 days of when you buy the item. In addition, most cards offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-free-extended-warranty-from-your-credit-card-issuer?ref=internal" target="_blank">extended warranty</a> programs that add up to two years to your manufacturer's warranty. That can save you a bundle on expensive service plans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-free-extended-warranties-work-on-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Free Extended Warranties Work on Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Some cards even offer return protection policies, meaning they'll accept your return if the store won't. You'll need to ask to make the return within 90 days of purchase, but that's still longer than many stores allow for refunds.</p> <p>All this is included as long as you pay for the purchase with a card that offers these features. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About</a>)</p> <h2>7. Get a Price Match</h2> <p>Not only can your credit card protect your purchases from theft or damage, it may also provide <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-price-match-through-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">price matching services</a>. If the price goes down on a purchase you made (within a specified amount of time), your card may reimburse you for the difference. Different cards have different policies, but usually you don't have to do anything more than submit a claim. Sometimes the card will even track prices for you and automatically issue you a credit for the price difference. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/citi-credit-card-offers-applications-reviews?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Citi Credit Cards and Benefits</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-save-loads-of-money-using-credit-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sign-up-for-that-store-credit-card">Should You Sign Up for That Store Credit Card?</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/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</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-important-credit-card-lessons-your-parents-didnt-teach-you">6 Important Credit Card Lessons Your Parents Didn&#039;t Teach 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/reduce-your-credit-limits-to-manage-your-spending">Reduce Your Credit Limits to Manage Your Spending</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">The 5 Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping big purchases borrowing credit deals offers rewards Wed, 15 Feb 2017 10:30:23 +0000 Jason Steele 1892610 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Use Credit Cards Responsibly During the Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-responsibly-during-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-use-credit-cards-responsibly-during-the-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-525827989.jpg" alt="use credit cards responsibly during the holidays" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans enjoy Christmas so much, that they often get carried away. It's one thing to go all-out decorating a tree or preparing the ultimate Christmas dinner, but some take the holiday spirit too far when they charge so much to their credit cards that they begin the New Year under a mountain of debt. At the same time, credit cards are a very secure and convenient method of payment, and shoppers can earn valuable rewards for their holiday spending.</p> <p>Before you pull out the plastic this year, consider these tips for using your credit cards responsibly during the holidays</p> <h2>1. Set a Budget</h2> <p>If you had unlimited money, then you could simply buy everyone you know anything they want, and not worry about the cost. But the reality is that we all must live within our means, or face crippling debt and costly interest charges. Regardless of how much money you make, it's best to set a budget for your holiday spending and stick with it. Start with an overall figure for how much your household can afford to spend during the holidays, and then split that budget among your different expenses like gifts, decorations, parties, and travel.</p> <h2>2. Watch Your Credit Utilization Ratio</h2> <p>Your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization</a> ratio is the amount of total debt you have divided by the total amount of credit you've been extended. A rule of thumb is that you don't want to use up more than 30% of the credit that you've been extended on any one of your cards, or on all of your credit cards as a whole. The lower that percentage, the better. If you find yourself having to keep an eye on your credit limits, you can pay down your balances before you receive your statements. Also, you can apply for new credit cards or ask for credit limit increases on your existing cards. However, you want to have very low balances when you apply for new credit. As the old saying goes, banks only want to lend money to those who don't need it.</p> <h2>3. Use Your Credit Card Account's Alerts</h2> <p>It's because credit cards are so convenient to use that it's so easy to overspend. However, nearly all credit card issuers now offer ways to configure email and text alerts. You can set alerts to notify you when your payments are due, or when you've reached a certain spending threshold. Many card issuers also allow you to configure an alert that notifies you when one of your authorized users spends a certain amount. And best of all, you can use these alerts for free.</p> <h2>4. Look for Holiday Promotions</h2> <p>The credit card industry is intensely competitive, and each card issuer is trying to give you a reason to use its card over its competitors' cards. One of the ways it does this is to offer special promotions throughout the holiday season. Check if your credit card offers exclusive discounts for spending at certain stores. For example, some issuers have a shopping portal where if you click to a partner site through their portal, you will get a discount (or extra rewards) for your purchases. Others might have a Twitter feed that offers discount codes, or another program that requires you to sign in and sign up for offers. However, be careful not to make unnecessary purchases just to receive a discount.</p> <h2>5. Maximize the Value of Your Rewards</h2> <p>If you are using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">rewards credit card</a>, then you may have many choices when it comes time to redeem your points, miles, or cash back. If you are paying interest on your holiday debt, then the best thing that you can do with your rewards is to redeem them for statement credits to pay down your debt. But if you are able to avoid interest charges by paying off all of your statement balances each month, then you might be able to redeem your points and miles for travel rewards that are worth more than the cash back offered. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Ways to Use Your Points and Miles for Holiday Gifts</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-responsibly-during-the-holidays">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-important-credit-card-lessons-your-parents-didnt-teach-you">6 Important Credit Card Lessons Your Parents Didn&#039;t Teach You</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/reduce-your-credit-limits-to-manage-your-spending">Reduce Your Credit Limits to Manage Your Spending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-the-best-way-to-get-out-of-debt">What&#039;s the Best Way to Get out of Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tricks-to-save-money-with-credit-cards">10 Tricks to Save Money with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-solid-credit-score-saves-you-money">How a Solid Credit Score Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards budget Christmas credit debt Holidays shopping Fri, 16 Dec 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Jason Steele 1855411 at http://www.wisebread.com The Self-Employed Person's Guide to Getting Credit http://www.wisebread.com/the-self-employed-persons-guide-to-getting-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-self-employed-persons-guide-to-getting-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_drinking_coffee_97144221_0.jpg" alt="Man finding financing when he&#039;s self-employed" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You work for yourself. And most times, that's great. But when you're trying to qualify for a mortgage loan or apply for a credit card, it can be a real struggle.</p> <p>That's because lenders prefer loaning their dollars to borrowers who have a steady income that stays the same each month. That isn't what happens with most people who are self-employed. Your income can rise one month, and fall the next.</p> <p>There is good news, though: Plenty of people who work for themselves finance homes and cars, and plenty have credit cards in their wallets. How can you join their ranks? Here are four tips for convincing lenders that just because you're self-employed doesn't mean you're a risk to default on your loans.</p> <h2>Prove That Your Income Has Been Steady for Years</h2> <p>It's far easier to qualify for financing or credit cards if you can show lenders that the income you've made as a self-employed worker has been steady or rising each year. If lenders see that what you made last year was similar or better to what you made the year before, they'll be less nervous about loaning you money.</p> <p>To prove that your income is consistent, you'll have to provide lenders with at least the last two years of your income tax returns &mdash; returns that should show that your income during these last two years did not swing wildly up or down.</p> <p>What if you haven't been working for yourself long enough to show at least two full years of self-employed income? Or what if your self-employment income hasn't been consistent and has soared high and fallen low? You'll struggle to qualify for a loan. It might be best to wait until you can show those two consistent years of income before applying.</p> <h2>Build a Top Credit Score</h2> <p>Your FICO credit score is a key number when applying for a loan or credit card. It's especially important for self-employed borrowers, who can rely on a high FICO score to help lessen the anxiety lenders often feel about loaning money to those who work for themselves.</p> <p>Lenders today consider a FICO score of 740 or higher to be an excellent one. Such a score shows that you have a history of paying your bills on time. Such a history can put nervous lenders at ease and improve your odds of qualifying for a credit card or loan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-people-with-excellent-credit?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Best Credit Cards for People with Excellent Credit</a>)</p> <p>Building a good credit score is simple: Pay your bills on time and pay off as much credit card debt as possible. Just don't close a credit card account after you've paid it off. That can actually hurt your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-increase-your-credit-score-quickly?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seeals&amp;utm_campaign=article">7 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score Quickly</a>)</p> <p>And if your FICO score is low? You might need to wait until you build it up to apply for a loan. Being self-employed and having a low score is no way to convince lenders that you're a good risk.</p> <h2>Build Your Savings</h2> <p>Lenders like all borrowers to have plenty of money saved. This way, if these borrowers should suffer a financial crisis, such as a job loss, they'll have some reserves to make at least a few mortgage or auto loan payments until they can resolve their financial struggles. Having cash reserves is especially important for self-employed borrowers. If you can show lenders that you have money in the bank, they'll be less nervous about the prospects of your self-employment income suddenly drying up.</p> <p>How much savings you should have varies by lender. But most lenders want at least two months of mortgage payments saved up. If you're self-employed, saving even more than this can only help your efforts to qualify.</p> <h2>Come Up With a Larger Down Payment</h2> <p>If you're applying for a loan, coming up with a bigger down payment is one way to convince otherwise reluctant lenders to work with you. Lenders like to work with borrowers who have what they call &quot;skin in the game,&quot; meaning that they are willing to invest more of their own money upfront when financing a home or car.</p> <p>Consider applying for a mortgage loan: It's possible, depending on lender and loan program, to qualify for a mortgage while putting down just 3% of a home's final purchase price. If you're self-employed, though, you might have better luck convincing lenders to work with you if you can come up with a down payment of 10% or 20% of a home's down payment. Lenders think you're less likely to stop making mortgage payments if you've already invested more of your own money into the home.</p> <p><em>Are you self-employed? Have you struggled to find financing?</em></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/the-self-employed-persons-guide-to-getting-credit">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-10"> <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/whats-the-best-way-to-get-out-of-debt">What&#039;s the Best Way to Get out of Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-get-a-bank-loan-8-other-ways-to-finance-your-business">Can&#039;t Get A Bank Loan? 8 Other Ways To Finance Your Business</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-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10 Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</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-things-you-need-to-know-about-credit-scores">5 Things You Need to Know About Credit Scores</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-6-biggest-financial-decisions-in-your-20s">The 6 Biggest Financial Decisions in Your 20s</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Entrepreneurship credit down payments financing freelancers income loans savings self-employed Thu, 14 Jul 2016 09:31:21 +0000 Dan Rafter 1749904 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Things You Need to Know About the Federal Reserve http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-federal-reserve <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-federal-reserve" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000073573727.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The mention of the Federal Reserve brings to many Americans the image of a super powerful organization in charge of keeping the economy operating smoothly. And to a certain extent that isn't too far from reality: The Fed develops and implements economic and monetary policies that affect not only U.S. citizens, but also individuals around the world.</p> <p>Let's take a closer at what is the Fed, what it does, and how those actions impact people everyday.</p> <h2>What Is the Fed?</h2> <p>Created by the U.S. Congress on December 23, 1913, the Federal Reserve System became the first formal organization to study and implement monetary policy. In other words, it is the central bank of the United States.</p> <p>Currently there are <a href="https://www.federalreserveeducation.org/about-the-fed/structure-and-functions/districts/">12 regional Federal Reserve Banks</a> located throughout the nation in major cities, including Boston, Dallas, and San Francisco. Each one of these locations serves a district formed by entire or portions of several U.S. states and territories. For example, the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank serves the Eighth Federal Reserve District, which consists of Arkansas and portions of six other states: Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.</p> <h2>Who Makes Up the Fed?</h2> <p>While the most well-known figure of the Fed is the chairman of the Board, currently <a href="https://www.federalreserve.gov/aboutthefed/bios/board/yellen.htm">Janet L. Yellen</a>, the Fed is headed by a Board of Governors. Each one of the seven members of the Board of Governors is appointed by the president and serves for a 14-year term. The board is led by a chairman and a vice chairman, both also appointed by the President but approved by the Senate for four-year terms.</p> <p>Some interesting facts about the Fed's chairmen:</p> <ul> <li>While Alan Greenspan is often thought to be the longest-serving chairman, that title goes to William M. Martin with 18 years and 9 months, from 1951 to 1970. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-pearls-of-financial-wisdom-from-alan-greenspan?ref=seealso">3 Pearls of Financial Wisdom From Alan Greenspan</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The current vice chairman, <a href="https://www.federalreserve.gov/aboutthefed/bios/board/fischer.htm">Stanley Fischer</a>, is the author of many classic economic textbooks, which you may have used (or are currently using) in college.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>On February 3, 2014, Janet Yellen became the first female chair of the board of governors. She was also the first female vice chairman during her 2010&ndash;2014 appointment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The only former Fed chairman on social media is Ben Bernanke, who you can follow at <a href="http://twitter.com/benbernanke">@benbernanke</a> on Twitter.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>While a chairman is appointed for four years, some resign before their full term. For example, Roy Young resigned in the middle of his last four-year term.</li> </ul> <p>The Fed chairman has less unilateral power than the title might suggest. The chair counts as just one vote among the total seven votes of the board. Additionally, the chairman doesn't automatically become the chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which is the Fed's monetary policymaking body formed by the seven members of the board and five Reserve Bank presidents on a rotating basis. The FOMC controls the federal funds rate, the primary lever of U.S. monetary policy. The Fed chair also only counts as one vote in the FOMC.</p> <h2>What Does the Fed Do and How Does It Affect You?</h2> <p>All of the responsibilities of the Fed fall under four general areas and they all have an effect on your financial activities.</p> <h3>1. Influence money and credit conditions in the U.S. economy in pursuit of full employment and stable prices.</h3> <p>By setting the target federal funds rate, the Fed establishes a benchmark for many short-term interest rates and, consequently, influences credit conditions throughout the economy. Through open market operations (the purchase and sale of U.S. government securities), setting the discount rate (usually lower than the federal funds rate and used for short-term loans from a Federal Reserve Bank to a regular bank), and minimum reserve requirements that banks must adhere to, the Fed aims to maintain its announced target federal funds rate.</p> <p>The Fed's monetary policy affects the supply of reserves in the U.S. banking system, indirectly affecting longer term interest rates, such as mortgages, and ultimately aiming to achieve full employment and low inflation.</p> <p><strong>How It Affects You</strong>: For good reason, economists keep a close eye on the target federal funds rate. It affects all forms of credit. For example, the interest rate on 30-year mortgage loans are highly correlated to the yield of a the U.S. Treasury 10-year bond, which depends on the Fed's target rate. Another example is that banks set the interest rates on their loans and deposit accounts based on the federal funds and discount rates. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-important-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-housing-market-in-2016?ref=seealso">6 Important Things You Need to Know About the Housing Market in 2016</a>)</p> <h3>2. Supervise and regulate banks and other important financial institutions to ensure the safety of the nation's banking and financial system.</h3> <p>The Fed shares banking supervisory authority with other agencies, including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in the U.S. Treasury Department. All nationally chartered banks have to be members of the Federal Reserve System and are subject to on-site examinations and off-site monitoring by their assigned Federal Reserve Bank. An example of an examination is the stress test, which requires financial institutions to have enough deposits on hand to withstand potentially large losses.</p> <p><strong>How It Affects You:</strong> The Fed establishes minimum requirements for banks to have cash on hand so that you can actually withdraw your money. If there were no minimum requirements, an unscrupulous bank could hold all deposits hostage by lending them all out. At the same time, it prevents banks from closing shop for the day for not having enough cash after a very large withdrawal.</p> <h3>3. Maintain the stability of the financial system by containing systemic risk.</h3> <p>No matter how much you diversify your portfolio, you can never get rid of systemic risk &mdash; the risk of collapse on the entire financial system. The Fed seeks to minimize that systemic risk as much as possible.</p> <p>The Fed can act as a &quot;lender of last resort&quot; to provide liquidity to the banking system during emergency situations. For example, on the day after 9/11 the Reserve Banks provided loans directly to depository institutions to restore confidence in the U.S. financial system and allow those institutions to meet their short-term obligations.</p> <p>Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the Fed has authority to subject systemically important nonbank financial institutions, such as bank holding companies with over $50 billion in assets, to heightened supervisory standards.</p> <p><strong>How It Affects You:</strong> You're willing to put your money in banks and invest in the stock market because you trust that the financial system is here to stay. The Fed plays a key role in maintaining that trust by by enabling banks to make payments even in the event of emergencies and regulating activities of key financial institutions.</p> <h3>4. Provide certain financial services to the U.S. government and other major official institutions and operate the nation's payment systems.</h3> <p>The Fed distributes all bills printed by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C., and Fort Worth, Texas, and all coins produced by the U.S. Mints in Philadelphia and Denver to its 12 Federal Reserve Banks. In turn, these 12 banks distribute all bills and coins to depository institutions throughout the U.S. to meet public demand.</p> <p>The Fed's Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) processes about three fourths of the <a href="http://www.frbsf.org/education/teacher-resources/what-is-the-fed/payment-services">nation's electronic transactions</a>, which include direct payroll deposits, Social Security benefit payments, and tax refunds. Additionally, the Federal Reserve Banks handle a wide variety of financial transactions for U.S. agencies, including processing of food stamps and handling of postal money orders.</p> <p><strong>How It Affects You</strong>: The Fed makes sure that your payroll deposit and tax refund arrives in a timely manner to your checking account. The Federal Reserve Banks virtually touch almost any payment that you send out or any deposit that you receive through a bank.</p> <p><em>What do you think is the most important role of the Fed? </em></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/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-federal-reserve">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/3-reasons-the-fed-is-keeping-rates-low-and-what-it-means-for-you">3 Reasons the Fed Is Keeping Rates Low (And What It Means for You)</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-fed-raised-rates-then-something-weird-happened">The Fed Raised Rates — Then Something Weird Happened</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-bailbondsman-approach-part-deux-fiscal-stimulus-no-gonna-workie">The Bailbondsman Approach Part Deux: Fiscal Stimulus No Gonna Workie</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/this-is-how-much-the-feds-interest-rate-hike-might-cost-you">This Is How Much the Fed&#039;s Interest Rate Hike Might Cost You</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-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps">How to Rebuild Your Credit in 8 Simple Steps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking alan greenspan americans Ben Bernanke credit federal reserve janet yellen stanley fischer the fed u.s. economy Wed, 25 May 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Damian Davila 1717155 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Steps to Take When Bankruptcy Is Your Only Option http://www.wisebread.com/11-steps-to-take-when-bankruptcy-is-your-only-option <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-steps-to-take-when-bankruptcy-is-your-only-option" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000021941715.jpg" alt="Learning steps to take when bankruptcy is the only option" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Filing for bankruptcy can provide a welcome solution for anyone who simply cannot keep up with their debts and credit obligations. But it's never something that should be taken lightly. Bankruptcy can remain on your credit for up to 10 years, making it nearly impossible to apply for credit in the meantime. Having a bankruptcy on your record can even affect your ability to get a job.</p> <p>That's why we've covered the main steps you'll need to take if you're filing for bankruptcy. Consider them before deciding whether bankruptcy is right for your situation.</p> <h2>1. Get Serious About What Bankruptcy Means</h2> <p>Before making the decision to file for bankruptcy, make sure you've explored all other options, like debt consolidation or credit counseling. You will also need to determine if Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for you (as opposed to Chapter 11, 12, 13, or 15). Most individuals choose Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which will release the debtor from some, or all, financial obligations.</p> <p>According to LegalZoom, the entire bankruptcy process should take four to six months to complete. However, keep in mind that a discharge is not guaranteed. Even after filing your petition in bankruptcy court and going through all the motions, your creditors can still object to your discharge. You might also not receive a discharge if you don't fill out all the necessary documents correctly and on time, if you fail to attend any required credit counseling courses, or if you did not fill out the paperwork truthfully.</p> <h2>2. Complete the Means Test</h2> <p>It is important that you complete what's known as the <a href="http://www.uscourts.gov/forms/means-test-forms/chapter-7-means-test-calculation">means test</a>. This standard test will compare your income to your debts to help you determine if you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.</p> <h2>3. Hire an Attorney, if Necessary</h2> <p>A bankruptcy lawyer can be invaluable when you're filing your case. A lawyer can explain your options, answer your questions, make informed recommendations, and even fill out the forms for you and make sure they are filed before the court deadlines. At the very least, call a bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation. You will definitely have questions throughout the process and probably need some form of advice.</p> <p>But you don't necessarily need a bankruptcy attorney for the entire process, and many people are able to successfully file for bankruptcy on their own. Filing on your own can save money on attorney's fees, but first consider whether it's the best course of action in your case.</p> <p>Filing for bankruptcy on your own can be very difficult and confusing. There are a number of complicated legal concepts and terms, as well as regular court requirements that you need to keep up with. A bankruptcy attorney can help you get through the process in far less time and stress. Use a free consultation to determine whether you'd benefit from hiring a bankruptcy attorney.</p> <h2>4. Pay the Fees</h2> <p>While bankruptcy can help to eliminate your debt, it can be an expensive process in and of itself. For starters, you'll be responsible for filing the application fees. On average, debtors who file for bankruptcy on their own can expect to spend approximately $300&ndash;$500 filing for bankruptcy. On the other hand, debtors who file for bankruptcy with an attorney usually spend around $2,000 total. Once you schedule your free initial consultation, you can get more information on the fees and when you would be responsible for paying them.</p> <h2>5. Assemble Your Information</h2> <p>Regardless of whether or not you hire an attorney, you'll need to have all of your financial information gathered and organized. You need to analyze your income, expenses, assets, and debts, and determine your property exemptions. You will also need to have basic information like your average monthly income during the previous six months.</p> <p>In order to have a debt discharged, it needs to be listed on your bankruptcy forms. If it is not listed, you may still be responsible for it after the bankruptcy. This is why it's so important to carefully assemble your financial information before you ever file paperwork or attend any credit counseling programs.</p> <h2>6. Determine Which Debts Are Excusable</h2> <p>Bankruptcy can wipe the slate clean when there is simply no way you can pay off your obligations. However, there are still some debts you may be responsible for, such as student loans, child support, and tax debt. It is also important to keep in mind that anyone who cosigned or guaranteed a loan for you will still be obligated to pay.</p> <h2>7. Attend a Credit Counseling Program</h2> <p>Within six months before filing your petition, you will need to attend a credit counseling program at a court-approved agency. The counseling can usually be completed online or over the phone and will only take about an hour or so. There is a fee for credit counseling, but it is usually under $100. When you file your petition, you will need to provide proof that you have completed this program.</p> <h2>8. File the Forms</h2> <p>There are a number of <a href="http://www.uscourts.gov/forms/bankruptcy-forms">bankruptcy forms</a> that need to be correctly filled out and filed on time. Once the packet of forms (also known as a bankruptcy petition) has been filled out, the debtor will normally receive a discharge of their debts approximately a few months later (if your petition is accepted).</p> <h2>9. Automatic Stay</h2> <p>Once you have filed all the necessary paperwork, an automatic stay will go into effect. This prohibits almost all creditors from continuing collection actions against you.</p> <h2>10. Attend the Meeting</h2> <p>Chapter 7 bankruptcies rarely go to court. However, you will need to attend a mandatory meeting (also known as a 341 meeting) with the creditors and court-appointed trustee. During this meeting, your trustee will ask questions pertaining to your bankruptcy petition and finances. Your creditors may also choose to attend the meeting to question you or the trustee, but this usually doesn't happen. If all goes well, you can expect a bankruptcy discharge within approximately 60 days after the meeting.</p> <h2>11. Post-Bankruptcy Obligations</h2> <p>Once you have successfully filed for bankruptcy, you will need to attend post-bankruptcy credit counseling. This is to help you more successfully manage your debts going forward so that you are not in the same position again. They can also help you rebuild a healthy credit history. Once you have completed the debtor's education course, you will get your discharge. At this time, the automatic stay will end and your case will be closed.</p> <p><em>Do you have any other advice for debtors considering filing for bankruptcy? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-steps-to-take-when-bankruptcy-is-your-only-option">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-the-best-way-to-get-out-of-debt">What&#039;s the Best Way to Get out of Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/uk-banks-are-blocking-customers-credit-cards-will-the-usa-be-next">UK banks are blocking customers&#039; credit cards. Will the USA be next?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt">Peak Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-times-bankruptcy-is-the-right-move">3 Times Bankruptcy Is the Right Move</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance bankruptcy chapter 13 chapter 7 credit debt fees means test Fri, 11 Mar 2016 10:30:33 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1660233 at http://www.wisebread.com How Credit Inquiries Affect Your Credit Score http://www.wisebread.com/how-credit-inquiries-affect-your-credit-score <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-credit-inquiries-affect-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/woman_reading_paperwork_000062937852.jpg" alt="Woman learning how credit inquiries affect her credit score" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you noticed inquiries on your credit report? Not sure what they mean? Soft and hard inquiries are the result of potential creditors assessing your credit report after you've applied for things such as a credit card, mortgage, or car loan. Hard and soft inquiries each affect your credit differently. Read on to learn more:</p> <h2>What Are Soft Inquiries?</h2> <p>Soft inquiries typically occur when your credit report is pulled for a background check. This can occur when you are applying for a new job, getting pre-approved for lending offers, and even when you check your own credit score.</p> <p>While they will usually show up on your credit report, this isn't always the case. Plus, they won't affect your credit score, so you don't need to be concerned about them.</p> <h2>What Are Hard Inquiries?</h2> <p>Hard inquiries occur when a lender pulls your credit report to make a lending decision. This takes place most commonly when you apply for a loan, credit card, or mortgage. However, there are other reasons that your credit may reflect a hard inquiry, such as when you request a credit limit increase. They can, in some cases, lower your FICO score by one to five points and can remain on your credit report for up to two years. Typically, the more hard inquiries on your credit report, the likelier it is to affect your score.</p> <p>Multiple hard inquiries in a short period of time can cause significant damage to your credit. When multiple hard inquiries come through at once, the credit bureaus assume you are desperate for credit or can't qualify for the credit you need. Any future creditors may also take this information and assume that you are a high risk borrower, which will reduce your chances of getting the credit you need. In fact, according to <a href="http://myfico.7eer.net/c/27771/93942/2185">myFICO</a>, people with six hard inquiries or more on their credit are up to eight times as likely to file for bankruptcy, compared to people with no inquiries &mdash; meaning that more inquiries usually means greater risk.</p> <h2>Exceptions to the Rule</h2> <p>There are certain instances that are gray areas, which may result in a soft or hard inquiry depending on the situation (such as when you rent a car or sign up for new cable or Internet service). If you aren't sure about whether your actions will result in a soft or hard inquiry, you can simply ask the financial institution you are requesting financing from.</p> <p>Another exception is when you are rate shopping. Generally, your FICO score will only record one single inquiry within a 14&ndash;45 day period if you are shopping for the best mortgage, auto loan, or student loan rates. By doing all of your shopping for the same type of loan within a two-week span, you can reduce the effect on your credit.</p> <h2>Disputing an Unauthorized Inquiry</h2> <p>If a hard inquiry occurred without your permission, you may be able to dispute it. This can be done by calling or writing the creditor and asking them to remove the unauthorized hard inquiry from your credit report. You can also dispute them directly with the credit bureau. Otherwise, if you've authorized the hard inquiry, it can take up to two years to disappear from your credit report.</p> <h2>How Inquiries Will Affect Your Future</h2> <p>As is the case with anything that negatively affects your credit score, inquiries can affect your ability to get good loan rates. More hard inquiries means a lower credit score, which means fewer credit options or a higher interest rate. This will ultimately mean you will pay more over the life of the loan.</p> <h2>How Will Your Credit Recover?</h2> <p>The good news about a hard inquiry is that if you aren't doing them often, they aren't going to have a big effect on your credit. For instance, factors like your payment history, credit history, and credit utilization rate are weighted much more heavily. Continue monitoring your credit every month to ensure that there are no unauthorized hard inquiries or other issues so that you can continue to maintain the highest score possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-to-negatively-affect-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">10 Surprising Ways to Negatively Affect Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>On the other hand, if you already have bad credit, then an additional hard inquiry can have an even greater impact on your score. Try keeping your hard inquiries to only one or two a year, if possible.</p> <p><em>Do you have unusual experiences with inquiries on your account? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-credit-inquiries-affect-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-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/13-things-you-dont-know-about-your-credit-report-but-should">13 Things You Don&#039;t Know About Your Credit Report — But Should</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/4-credit-report-mistakes-that-could-be-costing-you-big">4 Credit Report Mistakes That Could Be Costing You Big</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-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-800-credit-score">5 Ways Life Is Amazing With an 800 Credit Score</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/flashback-friday-52-money-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making">Flashback Friday: 52 Money Mistakes You Need to Stop Making</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/whats-the-best-way-to-get-out-of-debt">What&#039;s the Best Way to Get out of Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit credit report fico scores hard inquiries soft inquiries Mon, 07 Mar 2016 10:30:25 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1668044 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Smart Auto Finance Options http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-auto-finance-options <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-smart-auto-finance-options" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/buying_new_car_000033988744.jpg" alt="Learning smart auto finance options" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Finding the right auto financing is one of the most important parts of the car buying process. But how do you figure out which option is right for you? We've come up with some general guidelines to help you find the best financing for your budget, credit, and personal needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-car-salesmen-dont-want-you-to-know?ref=seealso">17 Things Car Salesmen Don't Want You to Know</a>)</p> <h2>1. Direct Lending Options</h2> <p>Some of the best sources for direct lending include banks, credit unions, and private online dealers. You may want to start your search with any bank or credit union that you already have a relationship with. If you have good history with them, they will likely have special offers on auto financing. If you receive offers from private online lenders or dealerships that you aren't familiar with, make sure to look them up on the Better Business Bureau to ensure they are reputable.</p> <p>When you get a loan directly from a bank or credit union, you may have more flexibility with the dealership. They might work harder to beat the deal you have and offer even better rates. By having an auto financing deal set up before you visit the dealership, you can focus on getting the best price for your new car and the highest price for your trade-in, rather than having to worry about haggling for better financing offers.</p> <h2>2. Benefits of Going With the Dealership</h2> <p>According to the Center for Responsible Lending, eight out of 10 car buyers choose to finance with the dealership. That's partially because choosing the dealership's financing can provide more than just a better APR. For instance, it will be easier for you to negotiate a lower price if you are also working with the dealership on financing. Your business will be even more important to them, so they may be willing to work with you on the total cost of the vehicle, or even throw in some free upgrades.</p> <p>It is often easier to get approved for a loan through a car dealer. However, they don't always have the best rates available, so you may save more with direct lending through a bank or credit union. Before you head into the dealership, it's helpful to have another financing offer in hand. Even if you choose to go with the dealership's financing, you'll have a rate for them to beat.</p> <p>The dealer may be able to offer special manufacturer incentives, such as lower APR, no down payment offers, or cash back. You may also be able to negotiate the APR, loan term, or monthly payment. Even if you do decide to finance with your dealership, going in empty-handed will make you an easy target.</p> <h2>3. Know What You Can Afford</h2> <p>When comparing auto financing offers, there are certain things you will want to take note of, including:</p> <ul> <li>Annual percentage rate (APR): A lower rate will save you more money.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Loan term: A shorter term means higher monthly payments, but less interest paid overall, and possibly a lower APR. Most dealerships offer loan terms between 36&ndash;60 months.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Down payment: The higher your down payment, the shorter your loan term will be, and you may possibly enjoy a lower APR.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Monthly payment: This will be affected by the APR, loan term, and down payment.</li> </ul> <p>Keep in mind that determinants like the length of the loan term and how much of a down payment you can afford will change your monthly payment and the APR. For instance, if you can put down a larger down payment or pay off the loan faster, the interest rate will likely go down.</p> <h2>4. Know Your Credit Standing</h2> <p>Your credit is a huge determining factor of how good a financing offer you will receive. If you aren't sure of what your credit is looking like, visit AnnualCreditReport.com for your free credit report. If you notice any errors, make sure to have them corrected before you apply for auto financing.</p> <p>If you have bad credit or no credit at all, there are still loan options available to you. However, you may not be eligible for favorable rates or loan terms. If you need a car now, consider getting the best loan available to you at the moment and then refinance it in the future when your credit has improved. You might also consider applying with a co-signer.</p> <h2>5. Shop Around</h2> <p>Don't settle for the first offer you find. In fact, you should have at least three offers in hand before visiting a dealer. Make sure you have done your homework and compared various offers before stepping foot into the dealership. This will give you more bargaining power and a greater understanding of what to expect.</p> <h2>6. Lease It</h2> <p>When all else fails, you can lease. This is similar to a long-term rental agreement. This is a great option if you aren't concerned about owning a car, or if you like to frequently upgrade your vehicle.</p> <p>You will receive various leasing offers from the dealership based on your credit and ideal loan term. Be sure to consider the number of months and miles that you need the vehicle for. At the end of the lease agreement, you may be able to buy the vehicle at an agreed-upon discounted price, or you can simply return it and pay any remaining fees.</p> <p><em>Do you have other tips for finding the right auto financing offers? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-auto-finance-options">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/7-easy-ways-to-calculate-your-new-car-budget">7 Easy Ways to Calculate Your New Car Budget</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/17-things-car-salesmen-dont-want-you-to-know">17 Things Car Salesmen Don&#039;t Want You to Know</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/a-used-car-salesman-reveals-dirty-tricks-and-how-to-beat-them">A Used Car Salesman Reveals Dirty Tricks (and How to Beat Them)</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-you-need-to-know-before-leasing-a-car">What You Need to Know Before Leasing a Car</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/whats-the-best-way-to-get-out-of-debt">What&#039;s the Best Way to Get out of Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation auto financing car dealerships credit leasing loans price comparisons Tue, 22 Dec 2015 22:00:04 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1621621 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things You Should Never Do When Applying for a Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-should-never-do-when-applying-for-a-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-you-should-never-do-when-applying-for-a-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_credit_cards_000034382550.jpg" alt="Woman learning things to never do when applying for credit card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're ready to move up to a better credit card, one with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">lower interest rate</a> and a generous rewards program. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Cards</a>)</p> <p>But how do you boost your chances of actually qualifying for one of these credit cards?</p> <p>Here are six mistakes to avoid if you want banks to approve you for new credit.</p> <h2>1. Make a Late Payment</h2> <p>Don't ever pay a bill late if you want a new credit card. Every late payment will cause your credit score to fall, often by as much as 100 points. They will also remain on your credit reports &mdash; you have three, one each maintained by the national credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; for seven years.</p> <p>Don't panic, though, if you're a day late on a credit card payment, auto loan payment, or mortgage payment. Late payments usually aren't &quot;officially&quot; late until they are at least 30 days past due. Most lenders won't report late payments to the credit bureaus before you hit that 30-day mark.</p> <p>The lesson is clear, though: Do not let a late payment linger. Credit card providers will take a long look at your credit score and credit reports. A late payment can make you look irresponsible.</p> <h2>2. Run Up the Balances on Your Other Credit Cards</h2> <p>If you use too much of your available credit, your three-digit credit score can take a tumble, making it less likely that financial institutions will approve you for a new credit card.</p> <p>If you have three credit cards with a total available credit limit of $20,000 and you owe charges for a total of $18,000, you are using far too much of your available credit &mdash; giving you a dangerously high credit-utilization ratio. The providers of credit cards generally want to see your credit-utilization ratio at 35% or lower.</p> <h2>3. Cancel Your Other Cards</h2> <p>Along the same lines, it's never a good idea to cancel existing cards (even if you have no balances on them) when applying for a new credit card. Again, this goes back to your credit-utilization ratio. If you cancel a card that you're not using, you will automatically lower this ratio.</p> <p>Say you have four credit cards with a total available credit of $30,000, and you have $5,000 worth of charges spread across three of those cards. Say, too, that your fourth credit card, which has no balance, has $10,000 worth of available credit. If you close that card, you now have $5,000 worth of charges against just $20,000 of available credit &mdash; a less attractive credit-utilization ratio in the eyes of credit providers.</p> <h2>4. Apply for Too Many Credit Cards at Once</h2> <p>You might think it makes sense to apply for several credit cards at once. You can then pick and choose from the resulting offers to find the card with the strongest rewards program and lowest interest rate.</p> <p>But applying for five, six, or more credit cards at once could actually cause providers to consider you too much of a risk.</p> <p>When they pull your credit, providers will see the recent credit inquiries made by other financial institutions. When they see several inquiries all at once, that raises their suspicions. Are you shopping for the card with the best interest rate or are you applying for scads of new credit because you are struggling financially? You never want to give credit card providers a reason to wonder about your motives.</p> <h2>5. Co-Sign on a Loan</h2> <p>You might think of co-signing on a child's car loan as a nice thing to do. But doing so can trash your credit score, and ruin your chances of qualifying for a credit card.</p> <p>If the person who takes out the loan defaults on its payments, it will damage your score. That's because when you co-sign, you are telling a lender that you agree to be responsible for the loan, too.</p> <p>The lender behind the loan will also come after you if the primary borrower stops making payments. That's bad, too. But when it comes to applying for a credit card, the damage that a co-borrower can do to your credit score is the bigger problem.</p> <h2>6. Skip Ordering Your Credit Reports</h2> <p>There is no reason not to check your three credit reports for errors before you apply for a credit card. You can order one free copy of each of your three reports once a year from AnnualCreditReport.org.</p> <p>Doing so is important. Your credit report could contain errors. Maybe it lists a late auto loan payment when you know you've always paid your car bill on time. Or maybe it lists a Chapter 13 bankruptcy on your report that should have dropped off it years ago.</p> <p>These mistakes can cause your credit score to drop, and lower your chances of qualifying for a new credit card. If you do spot errors on your report, contact the offending credit bureaus by email. Ignoring mistakes can consign you to a lower credit score than you deserve.</p> <p>Looking for a great cash back credit card? Here are our favorite cards for getting you the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">most cash back rewards</a>.</p> <p><em>How are you keeping your credit in good shape?</em></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-things-you-should-never-do-when-applying-for-a-credit-card">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/whats-the-best-way-to-get-out-of-debt">What&#039;s the Best Way to Get out of Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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/should-you-pay-your-bills-with-a-credit-card">Should You Pay Your Bills With a 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/5-strategies-to-wipe-out-your-credit-card-balance">5 Strategies To Wipe Out Your Credit Card Balance</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/worried-about-debt-tips-on-managing-your-loans">Worried About Debt? Tips On Managing Your Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards bills co-signing credit late payments loans Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:01:30 +0000 Dan Rafter 1616757 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times Credit Cards Are Smarter Than Cash http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-credit-cards-are-smarter-than-cash <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-credit-cards-are-smarter-than-cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_000021011264.jpg" alt="Woman deciding that credit cards make more financial sense " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all heard the admonishments about over-reliance on credit cards. If you don't dutifully pay-off your bill in full every month, debt can quickly mount, and wreck your budget &mdash; along with your credit.</p> <p>Assuming you use credit prudently, however, it can often be a better bet than cash. In fact, the benefits of careful credit card usage are so great, that they often outweigh the simplicity of cash. Here are five solid reasons why credit cards can make more financial sense than cash.</p> <h2>1. They're Safer Than Cash</h2> <p>There are some who feel that cash is safer than cards, but what happens when your cash is stolen or misplaced? There is no getting it back. There is 100% liability on your end and all is lost. Credit cards, on the other hand, offer myriad protections, giving you peace of mind when your card is lost or stolen. You're also able to track purchases and spending more efficiently, and spot fraud or card misuse.</p> <p>Sure, hackers can steal your credit card information, and a lost card presents challenges of its own. But there's no financial institution ready to help when you lose cash. Credit cards come with the backing and help of professional staff trained and equipped to handle such situations.</p> <h2>2. They Help Build Credit</h2> <p>As much as we fear over-using credit, not having any credit can have its own repercussions. Lack of credit can hamper your ability to take out necessary loans (such as auto loans or mortgages) and even limit more basic things, such as rental car options. Have you ever thought about renting a car, but all you had was a debit card or cash? From my experience, many companies such as Hertz or Enterprise will do a soft credit check to see if you are eligible for the rental. Plus, having established credit also gives you a shot at better interest rates and expedites approvals on loans. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>3. You Can Earn Cash Back or Travel Rewards</h2> <p>Many credit card companies offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal">cash back incentives</a> &mdash; some as much as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cashing-in-at-the-supermarket-blue-cash-preferred-card-from-american-express-review?ref=internal">6% on grocery purchases</a>, or even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-discover-it-card-attractive-cash-back-awards-for-shoppers?ref=internal">5% on shopping purchases</a>. Cash back incentives add up and you'd be amazed after 90 days just how much cash back you've earned. That cash is yours to keep &mdash; no strings attached. (Check out one of our favorites: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/citi-double-cash-rewards-card-pays-you-to-pay-off-your-debt?ref=seealso">Citi Double Cash Card</a>)</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal">travel rewards credit card</a> can get you even more value from your purchases. Redeem your earned miles for free flights, stays, and upgrades. In addition, many cards include travel perks like priority boarding, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-free-airport-lounge-access?ref=internal">exclusive lounge access</a>, free checked baggage, and more. (Check out our favorite travel card: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-sapphire-preferred-review-500-signup-bonus?ref=seealso">Chase Sapphire Preferred Card</a>)</p> <h2>4. There Are Insurance Protections</h2> <p>Credit cards also offer insurance perks. Just by using your credit card you have access to multiple insurance options, such as supplemental insurance, lost luggage insurance, travel and accident insurance, and more. Plus, some credit card companies also give you the ability to halt or reduce payments during periods of change or difficulty &mdash; such as a relocation, new baby, new job, unemployment, or death in the family.</p> <h2>5. Cards Offer Purchase Tracking and Customer Service</h2> <p>Credit cards enable you to more efficiently track your purchases, and let you dispute payments should problems arise. Plus, credit card companies' customer service hours extend well beyond those of your local bank branch, allowing you to resolve issues at any time. And though ATMs can be used 24 hours a day, for larger purchases, credit cards facilitate bigger spends at any time of day.</p> <p><em>When else do you prefer to use cards over cash?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-credit-cards-are-smarter-than-cash">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-important-credit-card-lessons-your-parents-didnt-teach-you">6 Important Credit Card Lessons Your Parents Didn&#039;t Teach You</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/10-reasons-why-i-prefer-credit-cards-over-cash">10 Reasons Why I Prefer Credit Cards Over 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/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees">The 5 Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees</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/citi-double-cash-card-18-month-bt-offer-pays-you-to-pay-off-your-debt">Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 Month BT Offer Pays You to Pay Off Your Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-with-your-travel-rewards-credit-cards">7 Things You Should Never Do With Your Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards cash cash back credit payment methods rewards Fri, 07 Aug 2015 13:00:12 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1511547 at http://www.wisebread.com