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Ask Creditnet: Is it Worth Paying Off Debt in Collections?

Dear Creditnet: What's the advantage of paying off credit card debt that's still within the statute of limitations but already charged off and sold to a collection agency? If it's not going to help improve my credit scores right away, I'm beginning to think I might be better off just keeping the cash in my own pocket. -Adam from VA

Chase Slate: No Balance Transfer Fee and 15 Months 0% Interest

0% interest credit card promotions with no balance transfer fees haven't come along too often during the past few years.  In fact, I think the last one we saw hit the market was for the Discover More card over a year ago. And while we don't know how much longer this latest deal from Chase will last, the good news is that the Chase Slate Card is still offering 0% interest on balance transfers for up to 15 months with no balance transfer fee.  This offer was launched towards the end of 2011 and has been quite popular among consumers since all the other balance transfer credit cards on the market right now are either charging 3% or 5% balance transfer fees.

5 Ways to Save Money with Credit Cards

Credit card issuers proved to us in 2011 that they are once again prepared to compete for the best customers by offering some amazing sign-up bonuses. Based on what we've seen so far this year, I think we can expect to see more of the same throughout 2012, but taking advantage of sign-up bonuses and earning rewards for the money you spend aren't the only ways you can profit from credit cards. Here are 5 ways credit cards can actually help keep more cash in your bank account this year:

Spring Clean Your Credit in 5 Easy Steps

Spring is a time of renewal and rejuvenation. For many, there's just something about the spring season that makes us want to declutter life and move forward with a fresh start. This might include scrubbing the entire house from floor to ceiling or finally getting around to cleaning out piles of junk from the old attic. But what about all the financial clutter that makes its way into our lives? Shouldn't it get some attention too?

Would You Pay the Mortgage or Credit Cards?

Here are some interesting credit facts to contemplate while you take your Friday-morning coffee break. Prepare yourself, because I know you're excited! According to TransUnion's most recent Credit Risk Index (CRI), the amount of credit risk taken on by consumers is rising for the first time since its peak in 2009, and the driving factor is mortgage delinquency. Apparently the numbers of homeowners who were at least 60-days late on their mortgage began to rise again during the 4th quarter of 2011. Check out the chart below which shows how the CRI has moved since 2005.

New Data Shows Inquiries Have Little Effect on FICO Scores

It's true that too many credit inquiries can have a negative effect on FICO scores, but my experience has been that most people focus WAY too much on this small factor in the FICO credit-scoring model. In fact, I receive emails quite often from both readers and personal friends who are concerned about something as simple as applying for a new airline miles credit card because they're planning on financing a new home or a car in the next 12 months. Their reasoning is they don't want to risk taking any sort of unnecessary hit to their credit scores before applying for a major loan, and I completely understand that. I wouldn't apply for new credit within a month or two of closing on a home loan either.

Ask Creditnet: Should I Close My Son's First Credit Card?

Dear Creditnet: I wanted my son to have a credit card in his name when he went off to college. However, the only way we could get him a card was to apply for one in my name and add him as an authorized user. He used the credit card responsibly for the last four years and upon graduation was able to open a new credit card in his own name. We'd like to close the old one now, even though it doesn't have an annual fee, but we're concerned about how this might affect both of our credit scores. Should we just close it since we don't plan on using the card again?

62% of Adults Don't Check Credit Reports

Each year I look forward to checking out the National Foundation for Credit Counseling's Consumer Financial Literacy Survey. The NFCC has been sponsoring this report for six years now, and the results are generally released around the beginning of April in recognition of National Financial Literacy Month. As in previous years, the 2012 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey includes some pretty alarming statistics surrounding credit reports and credit scores. Here's what really caught my eye as I perused the key findings in this year's report.

Book 4 Tickets to Hawaii for $20 with British Airways Visa Signature Card 100,000 Bonus

The British Airways Visa Signature Card is back again with another 100,000 mile promotion. While it's not quite as good as last year's deal, which offered 100,000 bonus points after simply making one purchase and spending $2,500 during the first three months, the latest promotion still provides new cardholders with the opportunity to earn up to 100,000 bonus Avios points during the first year. The main difference between the two deals is that you'll have to spend a lot more this time around to bank all the sign-up bonus points, which means you may even need to make the British Airways Card your go-to credit card for most of the year. Here's a quick breakdown of what you'll need to do to earn the full 100,000 point bonus:

Ask Creditnet: Can Paying Taxes Late Hurt My Credit Scores?

IRS tax extension

Dear Creditnet: I've procrastinated filing my income tax return and just found out from my CPA that I'll probably owe a lot more than expected this year.

I know I'll have to pay penalties and interest if I file an extension and fail to pay what I owe in full by the 17th, but can paying taxes late hurt my credit scores too? I want to buy a home later this year and simply can't risk hurting my credit.

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