The Cities with the Highest Vacancy Rates
The three top cities are located in the Sunshine State.
Use your credit cards without creating debt problems.
Even if you’re not struggling to stay afloat, you’re still missing out.
Credit card use is surging once again – and so is credit card debt. Here’s what to do (and not do) about it.
The stores are trying to make money off you – but you may be able to flip the script.
Regular rewards cards often pay out more per gallon.
They keep them for big-ticket items, and pay cash for cheap things.
Compared to their elders, millennials have a lot to learn about credit.
If you have bad credit or none at all, here’s how you can still get a credit card.
People sign up for them without knowing what they are and pay for it later.
Tired of making your credit card company rich while you stay broke? Turn it around.
Credit cards are powerful tools that can help you build excellent credit — but they can also sink your finances.
Some credit myths are just that – myths, and they do more harm to your credit than good.
People subconsciously spend twice as much with plastic than cash.
“Practice what you preach,” they said. When it came to my monthly statements, I did just the opposite.
The average credit card has at least four fees, and they add up faster.
Using scissors, needles, and pie tins, you can earn lots of extra cash.
It’s easier than you think.
These cards will cost you time, money, and aggravation. Stay away.
Many Americans are letting valuable points go to waste.
The most recognizable credit card in the world is no longer a world-beater.
And how does it compare to Costco and Sam’s Club?
Sounds weird, but there’s a credit card that doesn’t feel like making money off you.
They can really cost you. But you can outsmart them – and even profit from them.
Consumers are paying much more in cash advances than what they take out. Here’s a breakdown of the costs.
Turns out that 24 percent of higher-earning and lower-earning Americans are equally likely to snoop on the credit report of someone they share an account with.
The credit cards we use aren’t actually the best ones for us. In fact, they’re mostly wrong.
When a computer says no, sometimes a human being says yes.
This ridiculous fee cost you big, even though it didn’t cost your credit card company anything.
Not many credit cards automatically double your rewards. This one does.
Costco and JetBlue are dumping Amex, and that might affect you — even if you’ve never owned their cards.
Kroger’s 1-2-3 Rewards Card doesn’t stack up to better credit card offers.
A credit card with no late fees? No balance transfer fees? No fees at all? Yup, it’s a Promise.
Earn major miles without a major headache, plus double and triple points on gas and groceries.
Good news: the most cash back. Bad news: the dumbest way of doing it.
One of the first credit cards ever is accepting new members for the first time in years.
The maligned card has a cult following — for good reasons.
You need to avoid these cards at all costs, or they’ll cost you big bucks.
These chips protect you from theft, but they aren’t common in the United States. Here are the best ones so far.
I’ve used one of those risky credit cards designed specifically for medical bills before, and I don’t regret it. Here’s why.
Credit card debt? Consider a zero-percent APR promotional financing offer.
Maybe you know what your credit card’s “grace period” is. But do you know how you can convert it into cash?
Your credit card will nickel-and-dime you to death — unless you do this.
Sure, you can get a credit card that gives you free gas or airline miles. But these cards show you the money.
Don’t pay to use a credit card. Make sure your credit card pays you every time you use it: Use the best rewards cards.
Is there a credit card that rewards students for being financially responsible? No. There are five.
If you don’t pay off your debt in-full at the end of each billing cycle, you offset any rewards you earn with interest charges. That’s true whether you earn 1.5% cash back on everything, 5% on specific things, airline miles or points. Since credit cards have such high interest rates, it doesn’t take long for 22% APR to eat up that 5% you earned on groceries.
Let’s say you have a credit card that offers 1.5% cash back on everything. You make a big $1,000 purchase for a new TV on that card. Great, you just earned $15 cash back. However, the card also has 19% APR.
The only way to avoid the offset is to use an account that started the billing cycle with a zero balance. If you pay off the $1,000 within that first billing cycle, you don’t incur any interest charges. But the instant you let the balance carry over to the next billing cycle, you just wasted that cash back you earned.
Introductory or promotional periods on new accounts are extremely beneficial. You can pay off your debt interest free for a period of time. This can be useful for big-ticket purchases like that TV from the example above. It can also help you to pay off debt quickly if you consolidate with a balance transfer credit card.
However, you need to be very aware of when your introductory periods end. At that point, interest charges will apply to whatever balance you have on the card. If you consolidated to pay off your debt fast, you want to finish before this period ends. Otherwise, you’re essentially right back in the situation you were before you transferred the balances.
Also be sure to check if the interest is simply set to zero during the introductory period or deferred. If interest is deferred then you absolutely can’t afford to let the balance carry over at the end of the promotion. With deferred interest, you must pay interest charges on the full balance even if you just have a small percentage of debt remaining.
Purchase acceleration is where you spend more on a credit card specifically for the purpose of earning rewards. It often drives people to go over budget and buy things they really don’t need. You make extra purchases at the airport to earn more miles. You charge incidentals to a credit card because you’re close to a certain point total. This is not a wise way to use credit, so recognize that it happens and avoid it.
If you miss a payment by more than 30 days, federal law requires the issuer to report it. They notify the credit bureaus and you get popped with a negative item on your credit report. This negative item remains on your report for seven years from the date the issuer reported it.
You get a new penalty at 60 days, 90 days and 120 days. Then the creditor writes off the account and moves it to charge-off status. This is typically when you encounter collectors.
If you miss a payment by a few days, you usually don’t have to worry about credit damage. It’s usually only when you’re late by 30 days or more.
Creditors don’t set minimum payment schedules to help you pay off debt effectively. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Interest charges are how creditors earn revenue from you. So, it’s in their best interest to keep you in debt as long as possible. More months in debt means more opportunities for interest charges. That’s why they let you pay $20 on a $1,000 for 169 months. They end up making more money than what you initially charged.
Always try to set up your own repayment schedule to pay off outstanding balances faster.
Check the terms on your credit card agreement carefully to see how and when penalty APR may apply. Penalty APR is a higher rate that a creditor charges once you make a late payment. In some cases, it can be double your regulate rate. This quickly piles on interest charges on the debt you owe.
In normal circumstances, APR eats up about one half to two thirds your monthly payment. If you have 15% APR, it’s about half; at 20% APR it’s two thirds. So, if you double that rate you can get into a bad situation with negative amortization. This is where the minimum payment doesn’t cover the accrued interest charges on the account. As a result, you can make a payment and end up with a higher balance than when you started.
By law, a creditor must remove penalty APR if you make 6 consecutive payments on time. Then the creditor restores the original rate on the account.
Speaking of rates, it’s a good idea to check what’s happening with average credit card APR frequently. You want to know where average rates sit so you can negotiate effectively with your creditors. Negotiation is key, because your creditors will never volunteer to give you a better rate.
They increase your rates when the Fed raises their rate. They’ll give you a better credit limit so you can spend more money. But they won’t just offer you a lower rate, even if you have perfect credit. You have to call to ask.
One final trap to note is the idea that you have to pay what you owe using traditional means. It’s the idea that if you have $7,500 of debt to pay back at 23% APR that you’re stuck slogging through that with traditional payments.
It’s not true! As long as you pay back the principal– i.e. the original debt you incurred – it doesn’t cause credit damage. You can negotiate for lower APR, restructure your debt payments or consolidate. If the solution you use pays back the amount you borrowed, your credit shouldn’t be hurt. This is why a debt management program can help you build credit by paying off your debt. However, a debt settlement program hurts your credit because you only pay back a portion of what you owe.
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