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Ask Creditnet: What Credit Limit Will I Receive?

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?

What's a Bad Credit Score?

A few weeks ago I wrote about what "fair credit" means in the credit-scoring world, so I thought it would be a good idea to follow up on that post with a brief explanation of what "bad credit" means as well. After all, there's often a very fine line these days which separates the two categories. If you have bad credit, you're probably aware of the fact that your credit isn't stellar. But just how bad is it? Is it bad, poor, fair, or just below average? Well, to answer these questions you first need to take a close look at your real FICO scores.  I'm not talking about all the so-called "free" credit scores you can get your hands on by signing up for some random credit monitoring product or paying a few extra bucks to the credit bureaus after pulling your free credit reports.  Those scores are practically worthless and should only be used if you can get the scores for free too.

Why Your First Credit Card Shouldn't Have An Annual Fee

Next to payment history and your credit utilization ratio, "length of credit history" is the most important factor in determining your FICO credit scores.  In fact, it accounts for approximately 15% of your overall credit score, so it's definitely something you can't ignore. So what does this have to do with choosing your first credit card?  A lot!   You see, your length of credit history is primarily determined by the amount of time that's passed since your first credit card was opened, which means you want to keep your very first credit card open for as long as possible. That may sound easy in theory, but it's actually quite difficult for many credit card users.

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 Does "Fair Credit" Mean?

Your credit scores aren't horrible, but they aren't spectacular either. And while there's no denying you've had some credit issues in the past, at least you've finally taken the necessary steps to get your personal finances back on track. Things are definitely heading in the right direction. So where should you begin looking when you're ready to get a new credit card that'll be a good fit for your current credit situation?  You know you want to avoid credit cards for bad credit unless there are no other options available, but your gut also tells you there's no way you'll ever get approved for some of the more appealing rewards credit cards you've found online.

Amex Prepaid Card Giving Away Free $10

I love free money, even if it is just 10 bucks. If you love free money too, and you're willing to spend a few minutes jumping through some hoops this weekend, there's still time to take advantage of this promotion from Amex and score yourself a complimentary $10 gift card. Here's what you'll need to do in 3 easy steps:

Would You Pay Extra to Use Your Credit Card?

It's always the consumer that gets hosed in the end. In case you haven't heard yet, Visa and MasterCard recently reached a hefty settlement with a number of retail groups as a result of a class-action lawsuit initiated back in 2005. Not only will Visa and MasterCard pay over $7 billion to these retail groups, but part of the agreement gives merchants the ability to charge consumers an additional fee for using credit cards to make purchases. Wonderful.