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Ask Creditnet: Will a Loan Modification Hurt My Credit Scores?

Dear Creditnet: I'm thinking about applying for a loan modification so I can hopefully continue to afford the mortgage payments on my home, but I've heard it will really hurt my credit scores. Is that true? If so, what kind of hit can I expect my scores to take? -Wendy in CA

Auto Sales Up on Easier Credit

auto sales

Auto sales were up nearly 30 percent in May over the same month last last year. Meanwhile, the stock market saw its worst month in two years, consumer confidence weakened, and unemployment rates were still pitiful.

Yet, in spite of all the negative news, for some reason Americans ran out and snatched up 1.3 million cars and trucks. Why?

The Risks of Piggybacking

If you didn't already get the memo, piggybacking still works! I know I've written about this topic before, but this is just one of those posts that needs to be resurrected every now and then. In fact, for those that have no credit at all, piggybacking remains one of the fastest ways to add positive credit history to credit reports and give your FICO scores an immediate boost.  I recommend it quite often to parents and spouses who are interested in helping a child or significant other build credit from scratch, even though the practice continues to receive a lot of bad press. But while I consider piggybacking to be a rather safe credit-building technique, it's also important to understand that it's not risk free.  Especially if you're the one seeking to build credit, there's one big risk to consider before you're added as an authorized user on anyone's account. What if the account holder responsible for the card eventually racks up a bunch of credit card debt and stops paying?  How would that affect you?

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?

Capital One Discontinues Orchard Bank Credit Cards

If you haven't heard yet, Capital One announced that it closed on the purchase of HSBC's U.S. credit-card business earlier this month. Capital One paid a little over $31 billion in cash and received just over $28 billion in credit card receivables following the acquisition. It really was a win for HSBC as they desperately wanted out of the volatile credit card business in the U.S., and it also happened to be a perfect strategic fit for Capital One who continues to aggressively grow its domestic credit card portfolio. Part of the deal included HSBC's well-known Orchard Bank credit cards too, which have consistently ranked for years among the best credit cards for people with bad credit. If you have great credit scores, you've probably never even heard of this card. However, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone with bad credit who hasn't at least considered an application for an Orchard Bank credit card at some point in time.

Ask Creditnet: What No Pre-set Spending Limit Really Means

Amex Credit Cards Dear Creditnet: I get credit card offers in the mail all the time that say they have no pre-set spending limits. Does this mean that if I'm approved for one of these cards I can charge as much as I want? I run a small business out of my home and have had trouble getting a credit card with a high enough limit to cover my monthly expenses, so a card with no pre-set spending limit sounds like it could be the perfect fit. - Rebecca from NC

Citi Diamond Preferred Review - 18 Months 0% Interest

The Citi Diamond Preferred Card is all about the 0% interest promotion. Beyond that, there's really not much else for cardholders to get excited about, unless a little VIP treatment from time to time will float your boat. Let's be very clear here. If you're looking for a new credit card that's going to reward you for your monthly spend, this isn't the card for you. There are plenty of other rewards credit cards on the market that offer much better deals. But if you're simply looking for the longest 0% interest promotion available without having to pay an annual fee, you might want to take a closer look at what the Citi Diamond Preferred Card has to offer.

Ask Creditnet: Best Way to Get Cash When Traveling Overseas

foreign currency exchange

Dear Creditnet: I don't like carrying cash when traveling, but I'm about to take a trip overseas and I know I'll need plenty of cash while I'm there to cover expenses I won't be able to pay for with my credit card.

How can I get local currency at the best possible rate? Should I use a my credit card or debit card to withdrawal cash at an ATM, or should I plan on exchanging dollars for local currency when I get there?

Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses for Summer Travel

One of the best ways to make this year's summer vacation easier on the bank account is to take advantage of some lucrative credit card sign-up bonuses. By simply signing up for a new credit card and meeting a reasonable spending threshold within the first few months, consumers with good credit scores could rack up more than $500 in free travel awards to use this summer! Not sure where to start searching? Don't worry, because we've already reviewed hundreds of card offers this year in order to find the very best travel rewards credit cards with the most generous sign-up bonuses. Check out our top 5 credit cards for summer travel below and start planning your next free vacation today.

Chase Sapphire® Card Review: Flexible Rewards & No Annual Fee

It's becoming increasingly difficult these days to find no annual fee credit cards that offer flexible yet competitive rewards programs. Chase, however, with its launch of the Sapphire Card a few years ago, is doing its best to fill the void. And while this card probably isn't for the hardcore frequent flier who only cares about one thing - racking up serious miles to redeem for free travel - the Chase Sapphire® Card is definitely a great option for consumers with good credit who want to use their card for travel while retaining the ability to trade points in for cash, gift cards, or other merchandise.

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