Weekly Tips

Weekly Tips

What's a "Good" Credit Score?

Everyone seems to care what your credit score is these days. Even insurance companies and employers are taking a look at your credit history to determine if you are a "risk" worth taking. You may pull your credit report regularly and know what your credit score is, but what does that number really mean? The problem is every lender sets its own criteria, so a good credit score to one company may be a fair credit score to another. The key is to know your FICO score, the 800 pound gorilla in the industry, and then shop around for the best deal.

on Thu, 2008-07-10 17:00

Reduced Credit Card Limits Hurt Consumer Credit Scores

We spend a great deal of time in the credit industry educating consumers about credit utilization and explaining why it's important to understand the term. As banks and other card lenders are currently reducing credit limits for tens of thousands of consumers across the country, we are once again reminded of the important role credit utilization plays in determining FICO scores.

on Sat, 2008-07-05 17:00

Beware of Excessive Debit Card Holds at Gas Pumps

If you are a fan of using your debit card to make everyday purchases, you may want to think twice before filling up this July 4th weekend. Consumers have been complaining across the country about excessive holds on debit card transactions at gas stations. For instance, if you purchase $25 in gas using a debit card at the pump, there may be a hold placed on your account for $100 until the transaction clears with the bank. This process could take up to 3 business days to complete, and you will be unable to use the funds for any other purchases during that time.

on Wed, 2008-07-02 17:00

How to Save 15-75% on Meals

If your busy life forces you to eat out often, then you should know just how painful it can be on the pocketbook. In fact, eating out is by far the biggest variable expense most families have each month. Take a moment this week to review your credit card statement and determine how much you are spending on dining out. You may be surprised that the number surpasses your rent or mortgage payment!

on Thu, 2008-06-26 17:00

Experian Implements New Credit Scoring Model: Authorized User Accounts Dropped

The announced a major change in 2007 to their credit scoring formula, which ignited quite a bit of controversy and anticipation throughout the industry over the past year. The lending world does not see these types of changes often, so one can imagine the amount of hype generated by the official announcement that individual credit scores would no longer benefit from authorized user tradelines.  What does this really mean for you?

on Thu, 2008-06-26 17:00

ID Theft Tops FTC's List—Are You Protecting Your Good Name?

For the eighth year in a row, identity theft led the way in 2007 as "the number one consumer complaint category".  The also reported that the most common form of identity theft was credit card fraud, which accounted for a large portion of the $1.2 billion in consumer fraud losses last year.   While credit card identity theft clearly continues to increase, you can safeguard your good name by trying these five simple tips:

on Thu, 2008-06-12 17:00

How to Ease Your Pain at the Pump!

The media was talking about the "$50 fill-up" like it was an anomaly just a few years ago. With the average national price for regular gas hitting $4 for the first time, a "$50 fill-up" these days probably means you still had a half-full tank when you pulled into the local Costco gas station!

on Sun, 2008-06-08 17:00

Beware of Credit Card Currency Conversion Fees!

As credit card issuers continue to look for additional ways to boost fee revenue in the midst of the credit crisis, consumers traveling overseas should pay special attention to foreign currency-conversion fees. Virtually every credit card charges a transaction fee for processing a purchase made outside the United States. First, Visa and MasterCard charge a 1 percent processing fee for converting your foreign-currency purchase into US dollars. And second, most credit card issuers then add fees on top of the 1 percent fee levied by Visa/MasterCard simply because they can.

on Sun, 2008-06-01 17:00

I never use my first credit card anymore - Should I just close the account?

Closing out your oldest credit card immediately shortens credit history and negatively affects your credit score. Length of credit history accounts for approximately 15% of your credit score, and lenders naturally tend to view borrowers with short credit histories as riskier than those who have responsibly held credit for a longer period of time.

So, you will want to keep that first credit card around forever, and remember to use it from time to time. Some credit card issuers, such as Citibank, will automatically close down an account after a period of inactivity.

on Sun, 2008-05-25 17:00

The Fed Cracks Down on Credit Card Companies - Too Little Too Late?

In early May the Fed issued several new proposals designed to protect consumers by restricting various credit card billing practices and requiring more clarity in disclosure of costs. The Chairman, Ben Bernanke, stated the proposals are "intended to establish a new baseline for fairness in how credit card plans operate.

on Sun, 2008-05-18 17:00