Dear Creditnet: I just turned 18 and I'm finishing up my freshman year of college in May. My parents are already stressing to me that I need to start thinking about building credit in my name. They're willing to co-sign on a student credit card for me, but I'm pretty much clueless on what to look for in a card. Do you have any suggestions? And what's the most important thing I should consider in a card? Thanks! - Jenna from San Francisco, CA
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written on Apr 08, 2013 by Jason Bushey
written on Dec 06, 2012 by Jason Bushey
Dear Creditnet: Is there any difference between giving someone a prepaid debit card or a gift card this holiday? I've given gift cards before, but I'm curious if there's any benefit to giving my kids a prepaid debit. Thanks! - Tim L. from VT
Answer: The short answer is yes - a prepaid debit card is a good gift idea for your son or daughter this holiday. The long answer, however, is a little more complicated. Let's start with your first question...
How are gift cards and prepaid debit cards different?
written on Sep 24, 2012 by Joshua Heckathorn
Dear Creditnet: I have cleaned up my credit for the most part, but I still have a few old credit cards with balances that are reporting as collections on my credit reports. I could pay these off in full now, but the creditors are offering me settlements for about 30% of the actual balance. Will it help my credit scores more if I pay these off in full, or should I just accept the settlements and save the extra money? - Angela M. from AZ
written on Sep 17, 2012 by Joshua Heckathorn
Dear Creditnet: I pulled all 3 of my credit reports for the first time in 5 years because I plan to apply for a mortgage within the next few months. On two of my credit reports, I was surprised to find several credit card accounts and an installment loan that are still reporting as open and active. The other credit report shows them as closed. I know for a fact that these accounts are all closed. They have been for years. Could this be hurting my FICO scores in any...
written on Sep 10, 2012 by Joshua Heckathorn
Dear Creditnet: It looks like the longest 0% interest credit card promotion available right now is for 18 months. Are there any credit cards out there offering something longer? I have some old credit card debt I want to pay off at 0% interest, but I'll probably need about 24 months to get it paid off completely and I don't want to deal with transferring the balance twice. What do you recommend? - Leslie H. from WA
written on Aug 29, 2012 by Joshua Heckathorn
Dear Creditnet: My college-age son had good credit, but then he got sick and was unable to work for a long time. He got behind on all of his obligations, so my husband and I are attempting to help get him back on track and rebuild his credit. We would like him to have a credit card in his name that we will be responsible for paying, but we're not sure what kind of card he could get approved for with bad credit. We would rather not co-sign unless it's absolutely necessary. What do you suggest? - Mary B. from CT
written on Aug 15, 2012 by Joshua Heckathorn
Dear Creditnet: I have good credit scores and plan to apply for a new cash back credit card sometime this month. I've already chosen the card I want, but how can I get a feel for what kind of credit limit I'll receive? I'm worried about canceling my old card if my new credit limit won't be high enough to support my regular spending habits. So is there any way to find out what credit limit I'll get beforehand, or is it always a shot in the dark?
written on Jul 23, 2012 by Joshua Heckathorn
Dear Creditnet: I'm trying to buy a house this summer and my credit scores are just a bit too low to qualify for the best possible interest rate. My mortgage broker is suggesting we do something called a "rapid rescore" in order to quickly improve my credit before we close, but I don't understand how this works. Can a rapid rescore actually improve my credit scores, and how can I be sure that it will help me get approved for the loan? - Max S. from OR
written on Jul 17, 2012 by Joshua Heckathorn
Dear Creditnet: I recently incurred $5,000 in surprise dental expenses and had to charge it on a credit card I've used since 1982. I've never had another credit card in my life, but now I'm interested in exploring my options so I can transfer this balance to a new 0% interest card and pay it off. I would like the card to have no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, a long no-interest balance transfer promotion and great customer service from a reputable outfit. I'm not really interested in airline rewards or cash back, and I do have excellent credit....
written on Jul 11, 2012 by Joshua Heckathorn
Dear Creditnet: I have a bunch of private student loans totaling about $25,000 in debt, and I've been diligently making payments on time for the past five years. I unfortunately lost my job six months ago and I'm worried about keeping up with all of my payments in the coming months. Is there some way I can consolidate all of these loans right away so I only have to worry about making one payment to one company? Would this allow me to lower my payments and save some money while also buying additional time to land a new job? - Jackie S. from TX