Joshua Heckathorn's blog

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BillGuard Fights Unwanted Credit Card Charges

Have you ever looked at a charge on your credit card statement and thought "what the heck is that?" If so, you're certainly not alone. Double charges, hidden fees, unauthorized purchases, and zombie subscriptions that were canceled months ago can plague anyone's credit card bill.

Citi® Platinum Select® Card Review: Staying True to its Roots

[Update: This offer is no longer available, but Citi still features some of the very best credit card offers on the market today. Browse Citi credit card offers on Creditnet.com.]

Student Credit Cards: Do You Really Need a Co-Signer?

Amex Blue Card

The Credit Card Act of 2009 bans credit cards for young adults under the age of 21 unless they can show proof of sufficient income or secure a co-signer. Most students are aware of this change now that it's been a few years since the act was signed into law, but what's confusing is there are still plenty of student credit cards on the market that claim "no co-signer is required."

I was even confused the first time I saw this offered after the new rules took effect, so what's the deal? Are co-signatures really required or not for student credit cards?

Ask Creditnet: What's the Difference Between DOFD and DOLA?

debt calendar

Dear Creditnet: I'm trying to clean up my credit reports so I can get approved for a mortgage this year. While I've already removed a lot of errors, I still have a few old credit card debts I think are ready to drop off at any time.

What confuses me is how to determine exactly when these debts will fall off my credit reports. Should I be trying to determine the "date of first delinquency" or the "date of last activity", and can you explain the difference between the two terms?

United Mileage Plus Explorer Card Review

United and Continental merged both their reservation systems and websites over the weekend, which was essentially the last big step in their transition towards operating as one airline. As you might expect, there have been reports of some minor system glitches and delayed flights across the country today, but it appears that the transition has been an overall success for United. The successful merger of United and Continental also presented the perfect opportunity for Chase to launch a new version of its popular MileagePlus Card, which is now called the United MileagePlus Explorer Card. Here's a brief breakdown of the pros, cons, and my final take on how the United MileagePlus Explorer stacks up against its competition.

Ask Creditnet: Credit Card Options After Bankruptcy

Dear Creditnet: My FICO score has climbed to 668 after going through a bankruptcy in 2008, and now I'm looking to improve my credit even more by getting an unsecured credit card. However, I don’t want to apply and hurt my score if I'll just get an automatic rejection due to the bankruptcy. I know that I can probably go through Orchard Bank (HSBC) for an unsecured credit card, but are there are other viable options?

How Credit Builder Loans Work

I'm not a big advocate of credit builder loans because they essentially promote taking on debt for the sole purpose of building credit, and I don't think that's a very smart way to approach the credit-scoring game. However, credit builder loans might be a decent option for those who feel like their back is up against the wall because they've run out of traditional ways to build credit. If this includes you, here's a brief explanation of how credit builder loans work and why you might find them useful on your credit-building journey.

Will You Pay the Tax Man with Plastic?

IRS Form 1040 I pay for every expense I possibly can in life with my credit cards, but I've never paid taxes with plastic. Paying the tax man is painful enough in the first place, so I simply can't come to terms with handing over a dime more than I have to for the "convenience" of using a credit card. I'd rather use whatever free method of payment still exists. In fact, e-filing and setting up a free electronic funds withdrawal from my checking account feels just as convenient to me anyway.

Ask Creditnet: Chargebacks on Recurring Payments

MasterCard credit card

Dear Creditnet: I have unsuccessfully tried to cancel my contract with an alarm company. Although my 3-year contract ended, I've been told I automatically signed up for another year because I didn't give them one month's notice. I did call 2 1/2 weeks in advance to cancel.

I believe these guys are unethical since they continue to charge my credit card every month, so what happens if I initiate a chargeback through my credit card company? Is that the only way to get them to stop charging my card?

It's Not Presidents Day

If you look at the Federal calendar, you won't find a holiday called "Presidents Day". This is because according to section 6103(a) of title 5 of the U.S. code, the law which defines holidays for Federal workers, today is designated as "Washington's Birthday". But, wait a minute. George Washington was born on February 22nd, 1732, so why wouldn't we celebrate his birthday on February 22nd? We used to; however, Congress decided in 1968 that it would be a good idea to create several three-day Federal holidays for the convenience of workers. Along with Washington's birthday, Memorial Day and Veteran's Day were each officially moved to Mondays in 1971. Genius.

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