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Ask Creditnet: Do Lenders Use PRBC Credit Reports & Scores?

PRBC

Dear Creditnet: I just read Creditnet's article about the credit bureau, PRBC, and it sounds like a great thing...long overdue. My question is, when applying for a loan or credit cards, do most (or any) lenders check with PRBC along with the 3 major credit bureaus?

Also, does the PRBC report information to any of the big 3, and if not, can we request that they do so?

Answer: Since the PRBC, which now stands for "Payment Reporting Builds Credit", is another credit reporting agency, they don't actually report any information to the other big 3 credit bureaus- Equifax, Experian, and TU. What the PRBC is doing is independently verifying "nontraditional" payment data, such as rent and cell phone bills, and then providing this information in their own separate credit report that lenders can use to supplement the underwriting process when applicants have otherwise "thin" credit reports.

Saving For College with 529 Plans

We’ve all heard the seemingly exaggerated expectations for the cost of a college education in 20 years. “A four year college is going to cost you $500,000 (if our currency still exists then) and one hovercraft!”  Seriously...hovercrafts? It seems ridiculous, and I’m certainly hoping that something is done to stem the dramatic increase in tuition costs and our future dependence upon hovercrafts as currency.  But given that both of these things seem out of my hands, I wanted to be as prepared as possible to help facilitate my kids’ college education.

Ask Creditnet: Secured Credit Cards and Interest Rates

credit cards Dear Creditnet: I have interest in applying for a secured credit card. I found one that I really like and it says that for every 3 months I pay my bills on time my interest rate will be reduced. The confusing thing is that there is also a 7-month 0% APR period. My question to you is will my interest rate be reduced during that 7-month introductory period as I make payments on time?

To Pin or Not to Pin

chip and pin credit cards If life takes Visa, and Mastercard covers everything except those priceless moments money can’t buy, then all I need to enjoy my trip overseas is my credit card, right? Not necessarily, as some Americans have found during trips abroad over the past few years by getting stuck in train stations or embarrassed in restaurants and shops when their credit cards are declined. This can happen even when travelers take the recommended precautions, like making sure their accounts are in good standing and contacting their card issuer before the trip to make sure fraud detection safeguards aren’t activated by the first overseas purchase.

Top 5 Ways to Say No to Retail Credit Cards

"Would you like to save 10% on your purchase today?" You're going to hear this question a lot this holiday season, so avoid the awkward silence and be prepared with a quick comeback to throw the cashier off guard.  Here are 5 of my top favorites:

Discover More Card Offers $150 Holiday Bonus

Update: This offer is no longer available.

I reviewed the Citi Diamond Preferred Card last week because they're running a special holiday promotion that offers $200 cash back after you spend $500 online during the first 3 months.  While this a great sign-up bonus, I personally wouldn't use the card for anything more than scoring a free $200 on Cyber Monday. Beyond the $200 cash back, it doesn't offer any rewards program and is really more of a balance transfer credit card due to its long 0% interest period.  Since I never carry credit card balances and am a self-professed rewards junkie, that makes the card pretty much worthless to me in the long run.  Many of you may feel the same.

British Airways Switching to New Avios Program Tomorrow

Many of us, myself included, took advantage of the British Airways Card 100,000 mile promotion earlier this year. What we soon found out was that rewards flights from North America to Europe on British Airways carried hefty fuel surcharges of $500 or more! Our dreams of jaunting to Paris in 2012 courtesy of BA quickly faded. Effective tomorrow, British Airways Executive Club miles will be replaced by Avios points, which has a lot of cardholders even more concerned about the future value of their miles. Unfortunately, no one knows exactly what the new rewards program will entail because British Airways has refused to release any details.

Ask Creditnet: Using Credit Cards to Finance Medical Expenses

Dear Creditnet: I want to get eye surgery, but I was told I need to have a credit card to be able to set up a payment plan. Unfortunately, I'm already in debt, have bad credit, and I can't seem to get approved for any credit cards right now. I do have a stable job, but $7,000 is too much to pay in one lump sum. I really need to get this surgery. Is there any credit card that will approve me?

Last Day to Get Southwest Rapid Rewards Card 50,000 Bonus

The 50,000 point signup bonus for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Card is unfortunately flying away just as fast as it flew in last month. I doubt the promotion is getting the axe due to lack of popularity.  In fact, my guess is this card offer has been extremely popular among the millions of consumers searching for ways to bring down the cost of their holiday travel this year.  It's difficult to turn down over $800 in free money for travel, even if there is a $69 annual fee attached to the card!

Citi Diamond Preferred Card Review: $200 Cash Back Holiday Promo

If you drool all over yourself when thinking about the deals you'll score this coming Cyber Monday, Citi has yet another deal for you to help kick off the holiday shopping season. $200 cash back, in the form of a statement credit, for spending just $500 online within the first 3 months on the new Citi Diamond Preferred Card. That's a 40% return on your initial $500 spend, which is an awesome deal for a no annual fee credit card. Most other card offers will require at least a $1,000 spend during the first 3 months to qualify for signup bonuses, so this is especially great if you plan to spend less this year on your shopping but still want to enjoy an attractive cash back bonus. While it's not entirely clear how purchases will be categorized as online or not, any shopping you do on sites like Amazon or Etsy should obviously count as online purchases. However, If you do purchase something from a store that has brick-and-mortar locations as well, I would make sure you check your statements closely to verify that all the transactions are properly categorized as "online" purchases.  There are bound to be mistakes.

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