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Credit Scoring Myths

I’ve been hearing a lot about credit scoring myths these days in our Credit Talk forum. You've probably heard many of the ones I'm thinking of too: "quick and easy ways" to magically add points to your credit scores in a short period of time. Usually they're the same ones that have been circulating around for years, like these two favorites:

  • Close any credit card accounts you don’t use, increase your income, and your credit score will increase too!
  • Just use cash to pay for everything and your credit will be perfect!

I hope you haven’t fallen for any of these. If you have, I’m happy you're taking the time to visit this site and educate yourself about credit cards and how to use them responsibly. It's definitely a step in the right direction.

Soaring Health Care Costs Increase Appeal of Medical Credit Cards

Medical professionals want to get paid up front for their services, but more and more people can barely afford to pay their regular monthly bills these days. So what’s the solution for health care expenses you can’t afford or overdue medical bills that are about to get sent to collection? Why not handle it the American way? Charge it! Just kidding. While this may be a superb deal for health care providers, it’s generally not the best option for consumers who will end up paying higher interest rates on medical expenses they already can’t afford – and ultimately end up in dire need of debt help.

30-Yr. Fixed Mortgages Hit Record-Low 3.4%

Just when I was beginning to think interest rates were finally bottoming out, rates on 30-year fixed mortgages dropped again to an all-time low of 3.4 percent last week. According to a press release issued by Freddie Mac last Thursday, "all mortgage products, except the 5-year ARM, averaged new all-time record lows."

Citi Price Rewind: Is It Worth the Extra Effort?

If you're already a Citi cardholder, you may have heard of a free service Citibank provides called Citi Price Rewind. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I've used Citi credit cards for a long time, yet I had never heard of this card benefit until a few months ago when I saw it advertised on Citi's website. If you aren't familiar with the service, here's how it works:

Ask Creditnet: Settling vs. Paying in Full

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

Discover Offers 5% Cash Back for Online Shopping until 2013

It's not even October yet, but the competition for your holiday credit card spending has already begun. First up—Discover. Effective last Friday, September 14th, Discover More credit cards are now offering 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases at department stores and on all online shopping through the end of December. That's up to $75 of cash back in your pocket to help offset the cost of your ever-growing holiday shopping list.

Annual Fees: Pay Up or Move On?

I love credit cards that don't have an annual fee. Why? Because there isn't much that makes this credit card junkie happier than racking up rewards for nothing. Don't get me wrong. I carry plenty of cards with annual fees too, but the no annual fee credit cards are the ones that generally stick around in my wallet for the long run. Unfortunately, as credit card companies continue to face stricter government regulation and lost revenues, there's one thing they can always fall back on to increase their bottom lines—the mighty annual fee.  That's why millions of cardholders across the country have been receiving notices of new annual fees for cards that have always been considered "free" to use. Personally, I not only received notices of new annual fees, but I also watched several of the annual fees on my favorite rewards cards get jacked up by as much as $50 per year!

Ask Creditnet: Should I Dispute Open Accounts That are Really Closed?

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 way? And if so, should I contact the credit bureaus to let them know that these accounts have already been paid off and closed? - Randy D. from CO

Amex Starwood Preferred Guest Card: Why Many Travel Junkies Still Like It

Update: This credit card offer may have changed since this article was published. Check out the credit card details page here for up-to-date information: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

Let's be honest, the 25,000 point sign-up bonus for the Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express (SPG) isn't anything to write home about. You can earn a quick 10,000 points by making your first purchase, and then an additional 15,000 points after spending $5,000 on the card within six months. It's OK, but nothing spectacular. So, if you've got your mind set on landing the biggest sign-up bonus on the market for a new travel rewards credit card, check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card instead. It's a much better deal. Having said that, there are a lot of travel junkies out there who still love keeping the SPG card handy in their wallets. Here's why:

Amex Business Gold Card: 75,000 Bonus Available Today!

This offer is only good for today, Sept. 12th, so make sure you take advantage of it if you've been looking for a new business credit card with a nice sign-up bonus. With this offer you'll get 75,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 during the first 4 months, which is better than the current public deal which only offers 50,000 points after a $5,000 spend within 3 months.

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