The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Monday, October 25, 2021

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When Does Interest On a Credit Card Start?

When Does Interest On a Credit Card Start?

Interest charges for credit card purchases don't have to cost an arm and a leg — or even a finger or toe. With its relatively high interest rates, credit card debt can be among the most expensive debt you'll ever experience. But a few smart habits can set you up to never pay a penny of credit card interest, which can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars that you can reallocate to higher priorities, such as living expenses, savings, and investments. The first thing you need... read more »

14 Types of Lenders You Should Know About

14 Types of Lenders You Should Know About

The United States has no shortage of available lenders. Some are financial institutions that offer many different products and services, while others are more narrow in scope. They may be for-profit, nonprofit, or even peer to peer.  It is important to approach the best lender for your needs and credit rating when you want to borrow money. Thankfully, you have plenty of options from which to choose.  Here are 14 types of lenders you should know about and why you would... read more »

Positive Coaching Alliance: Card Reward Donations Can Support Positive Youth Sports Experiences

Positive Coaching Alliance: Card Reward Donations Can Support Positive Youth Sports Experiences

In a Nutshell: Positive Coaching Alliance provides resources and guidance to youth athletic coaches. The resources are designed to help coaches and parents foster positive athletic environments where participants can have fun, build skills, and learn valuable life lessons. The organization offers an online series of self-paced courses, and it also delivers content through live workshops held in person or via Zoom. The educational materials are supported largely through charitable... read more »

When Were Credit Scores Invented?

When Were Credit Scores Invented?

Credit scores are an important part of everyday financial life in America. Do you want to buy a house? Do you need to finance a new or used vehicle? Are you looking for a loan, credit card, or insurance coverage? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, it's almost certain that some business will use a credit score or several of your credit scores to evaluate whether it's a safe investment to work with you. That same business will also probably use a credit score to... read more »

Soldiers’ Angels: Card Rewards Donations Can Help Military Service Members, Veterans, and Families in Need

Soldiers’ Angels: Card Rewards Donations Can Help Military Service Members, Veterans, and Families in Need

In a Nutshell: When Patti Patton-Bader began sending care packages to her son deployed in Iraq, she learned he was giving most of the supplies away to service members who weren't so lucky. That sparked her idea for Soldiers' Angels, a care package charity that has grown into a massive support network for military members. Active duty service members, veterans, and families can register on the Soldiers' Angels site and connect with volunteers and services in the U.S. and abroad. And... read more »

How to Read a Credit Card Agreement

How to Read a Credit Card Agreement

Credit cards can be hard to resist, thanks to enticing sign-up offers from free cash back to zero-percent interest for the first year on purchases to enough miles that could cover a couple of roundtrip tickets to an exotic destination. Some even extend a one-time discount off your store purchase or may provide a rebate when booking a hotel. Though all these rewards and promotions seem great on the surface, spending time to understand a credit card’s terms and conditions is more... read more »

Your Money Geek Takes On Pop Culture, Responsible Credit Use, and Smart Financial Living

Your Money Geek Takes On Pop Culture, Responsible Credit Use, and Smart Financial Living

In a Nutshell: Money gurus often point to the little things that affect a person’s budget. But while it's true that small daily indulgences — like the millennial penchant for avocado toast —can add up, Michael Dinich of Your Money Geek shows readers to look at the big picture, and not sweat the small stuff. That’s because a bad credit score can have such a broad negative impact that skipping brunch doesn't begin to make a dent. Readers of Dinich's popular blog can learn... read more »

6 Steps to Take After Graduating From Secured to Unsecured Credit

6 Steps to Take After Graduating From Secured to Unsecured Credit

A secured credit card can be a terrific option when your credit rating isn’t high enough to qualify for a traditional unsecured credit card. To get a secured card, you put down a cash deposit that acts as collateral, and the issuer provides you with a credit line equal to -- or perhaps even greater than -- your deposit. This deposit is kept in a separate custodial account. All parties come out ahead with these tools. The issuer assumes little risk in lending you money because, if... read more »

How Long Does It Take to Build a Credit Score?

How Long Does It Take to Build a Credit Score?

Credit scores are the go-to tool used by lenders to assess the risk of doing business with you. Good credit scores mean good financing deals. Poor credit scores mean less attractive offers and terms. And while many consumers focus, rightly, on building a credit history, it’s also important to focus on building a credit score at the same time. There’s no universal answer to the question, “How long does it take to build a credit score?” Instead, the time frame is going to be... read more »

What is a Credit Card Grace Period?

What is a Credit Card Grace Period?

Credit cards come with many pros and cons that can positively or negatively shape your financial situation. On one hand, credit cards provide many benefits, such as extra layers of purchase and fraud protection, and the ability to earn valuable rewards in the form of cash back, gift cards or even free flights and hotel stays. On the flip side, those who aren’t paying attention to what they’re charging can easily rack up a credit card balance that’s too high to pay off and end... read more »

Can My Card Issuer Change the Terms of My Account?

Can My Card Issuer Change the Terms of My Account?

In the United States, some 220 million consumers have a credit report with one or more of the credit reporting agencies. Of those 220 million, around 170 million consumers have one or more credit card accounts, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. These common financial tools can make your life easier in many ways: portable capacity, iron-clad fraud protection, rewards programs, credit building capabilities, the list of benefits just seems to go on and on. When... read more »

Ways to Make Money Using Credit Cards in 2021

Ways to Make Money Using Credit Cards in 2021

It’s amazing to discover how many ways you can make money using credit cards. We think of credit cards primarily as a convenient alternative to cash when we shop in stores, in apps, and online. But these nifty plastic rectangles can actually help you earn and save money without creating credit card debt, as long as you pay your full balance each billing cycle and only charge what you can afford. Earn a Signup Bonus Earn Cash Back Convert Points to Cash Plan Purchases... read more »

Disaster Avoidance Experts: Goal-Driven Resources and Training for Sound Credit and Business Planning

Disaster Avoidance Experts: Goal-Driven Resources and Training for Sound Credit and Business Planning

In a Nutshell: According to the team at Disaster Avoidance Experts, the most successful credit and business planning strategies rely on goal setting and systematic analysis. However, that type of decision-making doesn't come naturally to many people or businesses. That’s why Disaster Avoidance Experts provides science-based training that empowers leaders to set emotions aside and focus on achieving the most optimal personal and business outcomes. When people want to improve their... read more »

Credit Card Issuers Holding You Hostage? Negotiation Tips from The Black Swan Group Can Pay Off

Credit Card Issuers Holding You Hostage? Negotiation Tips from The Black Swan Group Can Pay Off

In a Nutshell: The same skills professionals use to take the next step in their careers or make great deals can also help people negotiate better outcomes with credit card issuers, according to the team at The Black Swan Group. The group teaches clients how to negotiate successfully and has more than a decade of experience working with individuals and corporations. The Black Swan Group's proven methodology has helped thousands of negotiators enhance their skills and achieve their... read more »

10 Things Your Credit Card Issuer Reports to the Credit Bureaus

10 Things Your Credit Card Issuer Reports to the Credit Bureaus

When you open a credit card, you are required to agree to certain terms and conditions associated with the account. Somewhere among all that fine print, there’s a section that addresses credit reporting. Essentially, your credit cardholder agreement discloses that the card issuer will report information about you and your account to the credit reporting agencies. This process is formally referred to in credit reporting nomenclature as furnishing. If you want a credit card from... read more »

Are Credit Card Signup Bonuses Taxable?

Are Credit Card Signup Bonuses Taxable?

Credit card reward programs have come a long way over the past decade, offering more opportunities than ever before to earn miles, points, and cash back on a variety of purchases. In fact, one study by ValuePenguin found that three of the biggest credit card issuers -- American Express, Discover, and Capital One -- issued a combined $12.9 billion in rewards to cardholders in 2017. This is a 59% increase from what these companies spent on rewards just six years earlier in 2011. ... read more »

What is Deferred Interest & How Does it Work?

What is Deferred Interest & How Does it Work?

Nothing in this world is free, especially when it comes to borrowing money. Although some credit card companies and retailers want you to believe you’re getting a loan or making a purchase sans fees by waiving interest for a promotional period, it comes with a catch -- and one that many people are unaware of. Deferred interest doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for paying interest. On the contrary, deferred interest means that interest charges will be postponed for a certain... read more »

Why Some Accounts Appear On Your Credit Reports And Others Don’t

Why Some Accounts Appear On Your Credit Reports And Others Don’t

Your credit reports are filled with information about your financial experiences. But have you ever wondered how all that highly sensitive information about your personal accounts end up on your credit reports in the first place? You certainly didn’t give anyone explicit permission to share your information. None of us did. Add to that the fact that some of your accounts appear on your credit reports and others do not. It can all be very confusing. The good news is that the... read more »

The History of Credit Cards: 2000 B.C. – 2021 A.D.

The History of Credit Cards: 2000 B.C. – 2021 A.D.

Credit cards -- or at least the concept of them -- are not 20th-century payment tools. In fact, the ability to purchase what you want or need and then be presented with a bill for what you bought later has deep roots in the past. Here is a brief history of credit arrangements and instruments — and a little taste of what the future will bring. 2000 BC: Clay Tablets Roughly 5,000 years ago, trade in Mesopotamia (today Iraq, Syria, and Turkey) and the Harappan civilization... read more »

The 3 Credit Bureaus: How and Why to Contact Them

The 3 Credit Bureaus: How and Why to Contact Them

The three most recognized credit reporting agencies or credit bureaus in the United States are Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Each of these companies maintains credit report information on over 200 million Americans. The amount of information these companies collectively house is staggering, and, as such, errors can occur. In fact, according to a 2013 credit file accuracy study performed by the Federal Trade Commission, the most recent study of its type, 1 in 5 people have... read more »

The FICO Credit Score Range and How It Applies to Your Credit Cards

The FICO Credit Score Range and How It Applies to Your Credit Cards

From the moment you apply for your first apartment lease, loan, cellphone, or utility account, you will start to understand the importance of your credit scores, especially their importance to your lenders and service providers. Solid credit scores lead to more opportunities from mainstream lenders and can help you save money on fees and interest. Poor credit, on the other hand, can make it harder to qualify for the financing and services you want and will make your options less... read more »

The BusyKid App and Card Help Parents Teach Money Management Skills

The BusyKid App and Card Help Parents Teach Money Management Skills

In a Nutshell: Today's kids tend to experience money as plastic, not as physical cash, which makes it harder to teach them that money must be earned and managed for the future. The BusyKid app is fixing that. BusyKid lets parents assign chores to their children and compensate them every week as if they were receiving a paycheck, automatically allocating portions of the funds for saving, sharing, and spending. BusyKid, and the BusyKid debit card, are convenient ways for parents to... read more »

How Many Credit Cards Does the Average American Have?

How Many Credit Cards Does the Average American Have?

Even in the era of touchless pay, the credit card remains one of the most popular methods of payment in the United States consumer credit environment. In fact, many, if not most, touchless pay options are tied to a credit card account. So, while there is no physical plastic being exchanged, a credit card is still being used to buy goods and services. You're not at all atypical if you use several credit cards. In fact, you should consider yourself to be an average Joe. Credit card... read more »

How the CARES Act Impacts How Credit Cards Are Reported

How the CARES Act Impacts How Credit Cards Are Reported

The Coronavirus pandemic and subsequent nationwide containment efforts have affected the livelihoods of millions of Americans. In fact, it would be hard to say that anyone has been spared some form of disruption to their lives as a result of the global pandemic. At the beginning of June 2020, the number of unemployed workers in the country exceeded 20 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In response to the pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and... read more »

4 Misconceptions About Credit Card Rates

4 Misconceptions About Credit Card Rates

Misconceptions can be maddening. You think you know something, but it turns out that what you thought you knew wasn't true. In the case of credit card rates, misconceptions can not only be maddening, but they can also be costly. What you think you know isn't just wrong — it's also potentially expensive. With that in mind, here are four misconceptions about credit card rates and the facts you should know instead. Misconception #1: The Federal Reserve Sets Card Rates The... read more »

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