Credit Cards

Credit Cards

How to Choose the Best Balance Transfer Credit Card

Credit card companies desperately want the opportunity to just get a place in your wallet.  In fact, they're often willing to offer free money in the form of 0 percent interest credit cards and sign-up bonuses in hopes that they can convince you it'll be worth giving their new card a try. In addition, credit issuers know that many Americans are making a continued effort to pay down high-interest credit card debt, and one of the best ways to do that is by transferring old balances to no interest credit cards in order to pay off the debt while avoiding unnecessary interest charges. That's why you will always find a significant number of competing offers when comparing 0 percent interest credit cards online. Demand is high!

Is Credit Card Approval Ever Certain?

The time has come to ditch the old debit card and add a new rewards credit card to your wallet, but how can you be certain you'll get approved for the card you want? Is it even worth your time to fill out the application? I get these questions quite often from readers, and the answer is a simple one. There's absolutely no way to know. However, you can certainly improve your chances of getting a big thumbs up from the credit card company by making sure you know where your FICO credit scores stand before completing a card application. Once you pull your FICO scores and determine where you fall in the bad, fair, good or excellent credit range, you can then make a better decision regarding which credit card offers would be the best fit for your credit profile. Unfortunately, you're not entitled to free FICO scores each year like you are free credit reports, so you may have to settle for an estimate from a site like as CreditKarma if you're not willing to shell out cash for your scores.

How to Choose The Best No Annual Fee Credit Card

Choosing the right credit card is often all about keeping life simple, and for many consumers this means picking a credit card with no annual fee.  So what exactly should you be looking for when comparing all the no annual fee credit cards out there? There are certainly a lot of different cards to choose from. The first thing you should look for are credit cards with no annual fee that also offer some type of rewards program. What's there to dislike about no annual fee credit cards that offer rewards too? You get to use the credit card for free, and in return you'll receive miles, points, or cash back for every dollar you would have spent anyway. As long as you use the card responsibly, you really can't go wrong! It's an amazing perk for those with good credit.

Why Prepaid Cards Won't Rebuild Credit

The first thing we should clear up in this discussion is the fact that there's no such thing as a "prepaid credit card".  It simply doesn't exist.   If anyone references a prepaid credit card in a conversation with you, what they actually mean is a "prepaid debit card". The terms unfortunately get mixed up all the time, even though "debit" and "credit" mean very different things, but the fact is all of these cards are debit cards.  So now that we've got that confusing point cleared up, let's move onto how these prepaid debit cards work and how they affect your credit scores. Prepaid debit cards are actually quite simple financial products.  They basically work just like a debit card that's linked to your personal checking account, only there's no checking account to worry about.

Why "Bad Credit" Credit Cards Get a Bad Rap

Credit card companies that issue bad credit credit cards have been getting a lot of bad press over the past few years. Extremely high interest rates coupled with higher fees than your average credit card make them an easy target for those that believe these products are "evil" and should either be done away with for good or regulated even more than they already are. While credit cards for bad credit certainly have higher interest rates and fees than most consumer credit cards, the reality is that they actually provide a much-needed service for millions of Americans trying to rebuild their credit. Without them, a huge market of consumers would be left underserved.   But why do the interest rates and fees have to be so darn high?  It's not rocket science— the answer is quite simple to understand.

AMEX Prepaid Increases Gift Card Bonus to $25

A few weeks ago I wrote about Amex giving away $10 complimentary gift cards to cardholders who signed up for a new Amex Prepaid Card in July and loaded it with $50. Well, we recently received word that Amex has just upped the ante in August for those who are willing to load their new prepaid card with $200 at the time of order. Here's how the new deal works:

Credit Card Rewards: Are They Taxable?

We've seen some great credit card sign-up bonuses hit the market so far this year. In fact, some have been worth more than $500 to new cardholders.  Hopefully you've been able to take advantage of at least one and are expecting either a big cash back check or a free holiday vacation using all the rewards points you've banked. If you are expecting a large cash back check from your credit card company, you may also be wondering if Uncle Sam will want his piece of it next tax season too.  After all, if there's anything the government claims it needs more of these days, it would be tax revenues!  So, does the IRS actually consider your credit card rewards to be taxable income?

Why Credit Card Protection Plans Aren't Worth Jack Squat

Many credit issuers really push the sale of credit card protection plans on their customers.  Why?  Because they're extremely beneficial to the credit card companies' bottom lines. These plans basically claim they will help guard against an unexpected illness or job loss by paying off your credit card balance for you.  However, while the marketing spiel may sound good to your ears, the reality is that they are expensive and provide little value in return for most cardholders.

How to Rebuild Credit With Secured Credit Cards

The best thing anyone with bad credit can do to improve their credit scores is focus on building positive payment history.   In fact, payment history accounts for the largest percentage of your overall FICO score, about 35 percent, so its importance can't be ignored. Build recent positive payment history on your credit reports, and the old negative marks will have less of an impact on your scores. It's that simple. Unfortunately, if you have bad credit, there's a good chance you've had payment issues of some sort in the past.  Late pays, charge offs, and collections on your credit reports are all ultimate credit score killers!   But if you're reading this post, then I'll assume you're ready to put your past mistakes behind you and make a change for the better.  And that process begins with making timely payments and building positive payment history as fast as possible.

What's the Difference between Secured and Unsecured Credit Cards?

If you have poor credit or no credit history at all, secured credit cards are still one of the best ways to get actually get your hands on some credit and start building positive payment history again. Chances are high you will get approved, and most reputable card issuers will even report your payments to all three of the major credit bureaus. If a credit issuer doesn't report your payment history to all 3 major credit bureaus, take a pass on the card. There are plenty of other good options that do, and a secured credit card really loses its value to you if payment history isn't reported. So, what's the key difference between secured and unsecured credit cards?

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