Tag Archives: Credit Cards

This One Ratio Is the Key to a Good Credit Score

Source: Lendingmemo.com

Source: Lendingmemo.com

A credit score is a bit like the Da Vinci Code; it’s a serpentine web of myth and mystery that’s hard to crack. But there is a Holy Grail of sorts here too. Of all the different factors that feed into your credit score, many experts believe that there is one factor that stands above the rest in keeping your score high. The fact that this one ratio is so important is a little counterintuitive, so simply understanding its importance can unlock the higher credit score you’ve been looking for.

So what is it? It’s called the credit utilization ratio. Learn more about it in my new post on WiseBread.

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The 10 Commandments of Credit Card Use

Flickr/401(k) 2013

Flickr/401(k) 2013

Some people will argue that credit cards are an irredeemable financial evil. They certainly do lead a lot of people down the path of overspending, debt, and even bankruptcy. But I don’t think the problem is the credit cards themselves — it’s how we use them. And if you follow a few key rules, you can enjoy their convenience and their benefits without the financial fallout. You can start by faithfully following 10 credit card commandments. Check them out in my new post on WiseBread.

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6 Credit Card Fees You Never Saw Coming

Flickr/reallyboring

Flickr/reallyboring

The fact that using a credit card is expensive is hardly shocking news. If you’ve ever carried a balance, the hefty interest rate quickly bears evidence of the compounding cost. Unfortunately, credit card interest is only the start of what a credit card can cost you. In fact, many credit cards have fees you’ve probably never even considered.

The good news: Federally regulated institutions (your bank) are required to tell credit card holders (you) about the fees being charged. More so, credit card applications and agreements must include this information, and consumers must be updated any time these fees are changed.

The reality: Most people don’t pay much attention to the fine print.

With this in mind, I combed through the more obscure and easy-to-overlook credit card fees, so you won’t have to find out about them the hard way…when they land on your statement. Check it out in my new article on GoldenGirlFinance.com.

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Baby They’ve Got Your Number: A Credit Score’s Secret Sauce

Flickr/See-ming Lee

Flickr/See-ming Lee

Hey, excuse me. Your credit score is showing. Your bank can see it. So can lenders and landlords. Perhaps even your employer’s had a look. Unfortunately, much like that persistent piece of toilet paper that sticks to the bottom of your shoe, you might not be aware of it – and what it’s saying about you.

If you’ve ever applied for a loan, you know that your credit score counts. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know much about the shadowy numeric score that can literally determine our financial fate. Find out what you need to know about this important number, and what you can do to ensure it’s telling it like it is in my new article on GoldenGirlFinance.com.

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Credit Cards: Know the Rules – and Your Rights

Flickr/largeprime

Flickr/largeprime

Using a credit card is easy, but understanding the rules and fine print that come along with it is anything but. That’s no accident. Credit cards are ruled by complicated contracts with all kinds of caveats, and they’re all designed to do one thing: Ensure that the credit card company gets its money. Fortunately, the tides turned a little in consumers’ favor in 2009, when the Credit CARD Act was signed into law. This law laid out federal guidelines to help protect consumers from some of the tricks credit card companies had come up with to boost profits at the expense of consumers.

So what does your credit card company have to do? And what rights do credit card holders have? Understanding the rules and your rights is the first step to ensuring that you don’t get stuck paying more than the law says you have to. Learn about both in my new article on Dividend.com.

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A Common-Sense Guide to Credit Cards

Flickr/meuritz

Flickr/meuritz

There’s a lot of credit card debt in the U.S., about $5,000 per person according to figures released by TransUnion in November 2012. As a result, what we often hear about credit cards is how bad they are for our finances. To be fair, credit cards are designed to entice consumers to spend more – and more than they can afford. If they weren’t, the credit card business just wouldn’t be profitable. That said, a credit card can be a handy financial tool when used mindfully. Get some tips to help you enjoy the convenience of credit – and keep your cash too – in my new post on Dividend.com.

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How Electronic Payment Is Changing the Way We Think About Money

Flickr/Todd Huffman

Money used to be a tangible asset – one that people counted, carried in their pockets and hid under their mattresses. But with the advent of credit cards – and now, contactless payment systems – cash is becoming somewhat of a rarity; rather than holding it in our hands, we exchange it electronically. And while this is certainly convenient, it’s not such a good thing when it comes to our spending.

In fact, studies suggest that using a credit card drastically affects our spending behavior. Debit cards have a similar – although less powerful – effect. Now just imagine what happens when a transaction becomes little more than a flick of a smartphone. It’ll feel sooo easy. And that’s exactly the problem.

Unlike the cold, hard cash people used to carry around, today’s money isn’t real; it’s just a number in a computer somewhere. Not only can we spend it almost unconsciously, but when it’s gone, we aren’t even left with a physical reminder like an empty wallet – just a negative balance and another card that we keep right on swiping. This is why consumers need to break new ground in how they think about their digital money.

Check out some of the psychology behind paying with plastic and get some tips on how you can triumph over your brain’s budget-breaking tricks in my new article on GoldenGirlFinance.ca: http://bit.ly/SgX94L

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