The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, January 28, 2021

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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 »

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 You Should Always Avoid

8 Credit Mistakes You Should Always 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 »

Charlie: An AI-Based Chat Platform that Helps Consumers Save Money, Create Goals, and Make Better Financial Decisions

Charlie: An AI-Based Chat Platform that Helps Consumers Save Money, Create Goals, and Make Better Financial Decisions

In a Nutshell: Charlie is a chatbot-based penguin that learns the personal money habits of users and serves up advice and notifications to improve their financial well-being. The platform works via text message and through a web interface and doesn’t require an app or software download. Users submit data anonymously, and Charlie keeps track of balances, creates financial goals, and answers financial questions in a pressure-free environment. Chatbots rose to prominence several years... read more »

MoMath: The National Museum of Mathematics in NYC Helps Adults and Children Better Understand the Universal Language Behind Finance

MoMath: The National Museum of Mathematics in NYC Helps Adults and Children Better Understand the Universal Language Behind Finance

In a Nutshell: New York City’s National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) has welcomed more than 1 million visitors since its grand opening in late 2012. The Museum provides a fun and engaging atmosphere for adults and children alike to develop a love of math. The institution hosts regular events and programs that cater to a wide variety of demographics — from toddlers to CEOs. And it fosters new ways of thinking about how math affects our everyday lives — and what it makes... read more »

What Is a Credit Card Utilization Rate?

What Is a Credit Card Utilization Rate?

The world of credit is filled with countless terms and acronyms that you probably will not hear in normal conversation. One such term you’re likely to come across when reading about credit scores is “credit card utilization rate” or, more formally, “revolving utilization ratio.” For the purposes of this article, let’s agree to refer to it as your utilization ratio. Although utilization ratio may sound confusing on the surface, it’s actually not at all difficult to... read more »

6 Smart Money Moves for Couples

6 Smart Money Moves for Couples

Money and romance don’t always mesh. In fact, fights over finances are often the main cause of tension in a partnership and can lead to resentment and breakups. Considering most people find managing their own personal finances stressful, it’s no surprise that throwing another person into the mix can make things more emotional and complicated. In fact, a survey on relationships and personal finances from LendEdu found that around 50% of individuals reported finances to be the... read more »

RBC and ACCES Prepare Immigrants for Employment and Financial Success in Canada

RBC and ACCES Prepare Immigrants for Employment and Financial Success in Canada

In a Nutshell: Canada is currently a top destination for employment for a globally mobile workforce. But newcomers may discover finding a job to be a bigger challenge than they may have assumed based on the employment gaps. Longtime partners Royal Bank of Canada and ACCES Employment have announced a new webinar series to help new immigrants to the country prepare for the job hunt — and for life in Canada. The interactive events will educate newcomers before and after their arrival,... read more »

The Council for Economic Education Provides Resources to US K-12 Teachers that Aim to Raise Student Financial Literacy

The Council for Economic Education Provides Resources to US K-12 Teachers that Aim to Raise Student Financial Literacy

In a Nutshell: Only 43% of 12th-grade students tested at or above proficient on the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) economics assessment. That startling lack of financial literacy among young adults is one of the reasons the Council for Economic Education (CEE) exists. CEE was founded shortly after World War II and has spent nearly seven decades providing US K-12 teachers with professional development opportunities and classroom resources designed to help... read more »

From Games and Comics to Financial Literacy Guides, Visa’s Practical Money Skills Program Educates Canadians of All Ages

From Games and Comics to Financial Literacy Guides, Visa’s Practical Money Skills Program Educates Canadians of All Ages

In a Nutshell: Taking advantage of modern technology, popular credit card network, Visa, is working to make learning about money more accessible and interactive. With its Practical Money Skills program, Visa offers a range of financial education resources designed to motivate and inspire, from adult-geared guides and tools for key topics, including budgeting and mortgages, to its child-friendly comics and video games, like FIFA World Cup™ Financial Soccer and Peter Pig’s Money... read more »

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