The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Sunday, July 5, 2020

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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 »

How to Check Your Credit Reports

How to Check Your Credit Reports

Your credit reports and credit scores have a tremendous influence over your financial life. Good credit can open doors to competitive financing, inexpensive insurance premiums, and even job opportunities. Bad credit, on the other hand, can make it difficult for you to qualify for even the most expensive extensions of credit. Even if you do qualify for financing or services with existing credit problems, you’re going to pay more. It is critical that you check all three of your... read more »

8 Credit Mistakes to Avoid

8 Credit Mistakes to Avoid

No one is born knowing how to manage credit, and the topic is rarely taught in high schools and colleges. If you didn’t learn about it at home, odds are you did through trial and error. But why not avoid problems before they happen? Here are eight of the most common credit mistakes that you should — and can — avoid. 1. Pursuing the Wrong Account Excellent credit use begins with getting the right card for your circumstances, but many people apply for credit cards randomly. If... read more »

3 Ways to Protect Your Credit Scores

3 Ways to Protect Your Credit Scores

Lower interest rates, better loan terms, and more affordable insurance premiums — these are just a few of the perks you may earn when you have good or great credit scores. A solid credit score can save you money and simplify your financial life in many other ways, in addition to paying less to finance your purchases. If you have put in the effort to earn good credit, kudos on a job well done. But your work certainly isn’t done yet. In addition to earning good credit scores,... read more »

Soft Inquiry vs. Hard Inquiry — What is the Difference?

Soft Inquiry vs. Hard Inquiry — What is the Difference?

When you apply for credit, a lender is almost always going to access one or more of your credit reports. Lenders do this as part of their risk assessment and underwriting procedures. This process is formally referred to as a credit inquiry, which is actually both a noun and a verb. Differences | Exceptions | Credit Score Impacts What is a Credit Inquiry? Before we dive into the specifics of the different types of credit inquiries, it helps to understand more about them. A... read more »

How Credit Card Companies Make Money

How Credit Card Companies Make Money

Americans love credit cards — why pay now if you can pay later and earn rewards for doing so? Unfortunately, poorly managed accounts can quickly deflate your bank account and end up costing you more than you charged to the card in the first place. That’s because credit card companies charge interest on the balance you carry every month. But this isn’t the only way card companies make money. In addition to the fee you pay for borrowing their digital dollars, you may be on the... read more »

How to Build Credit as an Authorized User

How to Build Credit as an Authorized User

Wouldn’t it be nice if people were just born with excellent credit?  Unfortunately, credit is something you must establish, build, and maintain over time. And, if you believe you don’t need credit, think again. A healthy credit score is your ticket to reaching many life goals — whether that’s buying your dream home or starting a business. Even if you just want to rent an apartment, own and insure a car, or open a credit card that offers a cool travel rewards program, you... read more »

Variable APR vs. Fixed APR — What’s the Difference?

Variable APR vs. Fixed APR — What’s the Difference?

When you’re shopping for a new credit card, you probably pay close attention to the annual percentage rates (APR) of the cards you’re considering. The APR is important because if you choose to carry a balance from one month to the next, the APR is used to determine the cost of servicing your debt. What you may not realize, however, is that your APR can possibly change over time. Whether your credit card features a fixed APR, meaning it likely won’t change, or a variable APR,... read more »

APR vs. Interest Rate: Is There a Difference?

APR vs. Interest Rate: Is There a Difference?

Borrowing money often involves fees. One such fee is interest, which is calculated as a percentage of the amount you owe. The percentage is the interest rate. For example, if you borrowed $1,000 for one year with an interest rate of 4%, you'd owe $40 of interest. An interest rate that's calculated on a yearly basis is known as an annualized percentage rate (APR). An APR always includes interest. It may also include other fees related to the loan. For example, if you applied for a... read more »

Understanding Credit Cards: A Beginner’s Guide

Understanding Credit Cards: A Beginner’s Guide

Similar to your first job, car or apartment, your first credit card is an important milestone on your journey from youth into adulthood. To do adulting right, you'll want at least one card in your own name. While you can manage your personal finances without any cards, you'll find life in the grownup world is much easier with them. Cards can help you shop online, rent a car, book an airline ticket, reserve a hotel room, set up cellphone service, and more. Cards for beginners... read more »