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Credit Cards

Mar 22, 2018 Are you wondering just how much it costs you to to carry a credit card balance? To understand how much you’re going to pay in interest, you will need to understand how your card’s annual percentage rate (APR) works. The APR is the yearly interest rate charged on a credit card. The higher the APR, the more interest you’ll pay when you carry a balance. Formulas for calculating a credit card’s interest do vary, but most credit card issuers use a daily periodic rate and average monthly balance to calculate interest charges. You can make these calculations on your own, so let’s walk through everything you need to know in order to calculate interest charges for your credit card.

Apr 11, 2018 Signing the back of your credit card is an important security step for protecting your card's information if it should fall into the wrong hands. Merchants are supposed to check that the signature on the card matches the signature on the sales receipt as a security precaution. If a card has no signature on the back, they aren't required to process the ensuing payment.

Feb 08, 2018 Credit cards can be a useful tool for managing your finances and accruing rewards. If you have credit card debt, you may be wondering whether a balance transfer could help you cut down on the interest you're paying on your credit card balance(s). In addition, if you're behind on payments, you may be paying a penalty APR. Read on to learn about penalty APRs and why they can pose a serious financial challenge for cardholders. 

May 14, 2018 You probably know that having a good credit score is key to getting low mortgage rates and credit card interest rates. But what exactly constitutes a good score? That's where the credit score ranges come in. Credit score ranges let consumers know how different credit scores stack up and which scores qualify as good or excellent, poor or average. 

May 16, 2018 If you've made a purchase online or over the phone, you're probably familiar with the three sets of credit card numbers you have to hand over. These numbers include the credit card number, the expiration date and the CVV. If you're an online shopping pro, you'll know where to find the CVV. But what exactly is the CVV on a credit card?

May 11, 2018

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

Apr 24, 2018

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

The term "cash back" likely brings to mind  credit card rewards, but there's also a second definition in reference to receiving cash back during a credit card transaction at a retail store, as well. Each of these can have an impact on your financial life if used correctly and at the right time, but you must know how each works before that can happen.

Apr 20, 2018

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

Credit card companies typically offer a plethora of rewards options for their cardholders to take advantage of. But cash back has long been a favorite of many, as it gives you the chance to earn cold, hard money for making everyday purchases. If you're confused about how cash back works, read on for a full explanation.

Feb 14, 2018 When you make a payment with a credit card not all of that money goes to the merchant. Your payment has to be authorized by multiple companies or banks along the way and some of them will deduct fees for their services. A portion of your payment goes to your card issuer’s bank, the merchant’s bank, the big payment networks such as Visa and Mastercard as well as payment processing companies. Here’s what you need to know about credit card processing fees.

May 21, 2018 Your credit affects just about every aspect of your life. It has an impact on whether you can get a loan, mortgage, apartment, car or credit card with great rewards. All of your credit scores and reports come from the information in your three credit reports. Credit bureaus maintain these reports and sometimes you'll need to reach out to a bureau about information in your report. They all offer online services (and prefer that you use their online forms instead of calling) but what if you don’t want to go through machines? Here’s how you can talk to a person when you contact a credit bureau.

Jan 08, 2018 When it comes to borrowing money, you have a few options like loans and credit cards. With a loan, you receive a lump sum all at once. You then have to repay that amount, plus interest over time. You also have the option of taking out a line of credit from a bank or credit union. A line of credit is more similar to a credit card than to a loan. Let's take a look a how a line of credit works exactly.

Apr 25, 2018

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

Jun 11, 2018 If you've ever gotten into a bad credit situation, you've probably looked for any way to fix it. One fix that you may see companies advertising is a CPN, but be very careful. A CPN stands for a credit privacy number or credit protection number. These numbers are similar to Social Security numbers, although they do not replace your SSN. They're typically used when you need extra security, like if you're under witness protection. Contrary to what many websites may tell you, you cannot buy a legal CPN on the internet to fix your credit rating. Do not fall for this scam!

Dec 19, 2017 There are a lot of things to think about when you get a credit card. Aside from getting the best credit card rewards, you’ll hear about things like balance transfers, credit scores and APRs. But what about a simpler question like how to pay your credit card bill? Read on as we explain the best time to pay and what do you need to know in order to do so properly.

May 03, 2018

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which SmartAsset.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). SmartAsset.com does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Dec 15, 2017 Frequent travelers know that making a purchase overseas can cost more than the price tag indicates. Unless you have one of the best travel credit cards, you usually end up facing a couple of fees when traveling. These include both foreign transaction fees and currency conversion fees. While these fees come up around the same transactions, they actually have to do with different components of the transaction. Luckily, you can avoid both.

Dec 13, 2017 Flying over the holidays is never an exciting prospect. December means snow in any many parts of the country, and snow means grounded flights, long delays and missed connections. Plus, it seems like just about everyone is flying somewhere making airports stressful places to be. But while the holiday-flying process is not exciting for anyone, some people have it worse than others. Below we analyze flight data to find the worst airports in the country to fly out of.

Dec 11, 2017 Credit cards offer a convenient way to build up a strong payment record and give a boost to your credit score. In turn, a good credit score can snag you better interest rates when you apply for a car or home loan. But it's crucial that you use your credit cards responsibly so they work in your favor.

Dec 07, 2017 When a bank or other lender runs a credit check on you, they will most likely look at your FICO score - the most widely used type of credit score - to determine your creditworthiness. According to the Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that creates the FICO score, “90% of top lenders use FICO scores to help them make billions of credit-related decisions every year.” Your score determines everything from whether a bank approves your for a credit card to your mortgage rate. That makes it important to understand what your score is and how you can keep it in the best shape possible.

Dec 08, 2017 Every so often, your credit card company may send you a few blank checks in the mail with your statement. You can use these checks to make a purchase like you would with a personal check or credit card. However, using these checks can come with their own heavy costs just for using them. These are convenience checks and it's important to know exactly how they work before you decide to use them.

Dec 04, 2017 Whenever you apply to borrow money, whether through a credit card or a mortgage, the potential lender will run a credit check on you. This credit check looks at your credit report and your credit score. Lenders want to make sure you're trustworthy enough to lend to. But what is a credit score exactly and how is it calculated? Let's take a look at this crucial piece of your financial outlook. 

Nov 24, 2017 Ever wondered where your credit report and credit score come from? These crucial tools in the financial world don't just spring up by themselves. They are created by credit bureaus, companies that collect, weigh and distribute your information. There are hundreds of credit bureaus in the U.S. However, it's the three major credit bureaus that matter the most: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Nov 21, 2017 If you're the victim of identity theft or you think you might be, you may want to consider a credit freeze. A credit freeze blocks new creditors from viewing your credit report. That makes it tougher for identity thieves to open new accounts, as creditors typically won't approve a new credit card account without first looking at your credit report.

Nov 20, 2017 Thanksgiving is traditionally known for spending time with family and eating delicious food. But more recently, time spent eating and giving thanks has been losing ground to time spent shopping. Black Friday is now just as much a part of the Thanksgiving tradition as turkey is. With this in mind, SmartAsset delved into the data to find the places with the most retail credit card debt in America.

Nov 10, 2017 Visa credit cards come with certain standard features that protect you as a consumer, but some cards offer additional benefits. Is your Visa credit card labeled as Signature? The Visa Signature program offers additional services, discounts and deals to cardholders. Unfortunately, many people don't know about or take advantage of these benefits. So what exactly can you gain by getting a Visa Signature card?

Jan 10, 2018 Credit is a huge part of your overall financial health. Having good credit can get you the best rates when it comes to credit cards or mortgages. Conversely, having bad credit or no credit can mean you miss out on financial products. To keep your credit in good shape, it's important to constantly check your report for mistakes or demerits. This, of course, takes some work. That's where a credit monitoring service can come in handy.

May 18, 2018 It's not always easy to keep up with your finances. Sometimes one late payment turns into two or three. When creditors feel that you'll never repay them, they often close your account and send your debt to a collection agency. This is known as a charge-off. If you've landed in this predicament, you can still get out of it. However, your finances will still be affected and fixing it will take some work on your part.

Oct 18, 2017 If you already have a credit card, hopefully you're happy with it no matter if it's Visa or Mastercard. But have you ever wondered what the difference between Visa and Mastercard is? While neither credit card company issues its own credit cards (that's done by banks), it's important to know what each offers. This can be especially useful if you're new to the credit card world. Read on as we examine Visa vs. Mastercard.

Oct 16, 2017 Your credit report is a huge factor when it comes to meeting your financial goals. Whether you want to get a high-earning rewards credit card or buy a home, you'll need at least a good credit score. But you don’t start with a perfect credit score. You have to earn it by slowly building your credit file. If you don't have any credit yet, don't worry. Everyone has to start somewhere, so read on to learn how to build credit.

Oct 21, 2017 Whether you use a Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Discover card, chances are you can get some free auto insurance coverage when you rent a car. Generally, in order to snag this feature, you have to use the credit card to pay for your rental car. You'll also have to forgo the rental company's own insurance. Beyond that, there are some exceptions and situations you should be familiar with. Let's take a look at rental car insurance basics and which cards offer this feature.

Oct 12, 2017 Have you ever used the term "credit card" when you actually meant your debit card? What about being unsure of which card to use? If so, you're not alone! Credit cards and debit credits cards look almost identical and offer similar services. So what’s the difference between credit and debit cards? Read on to learn about how they differ, plus the pros and cons of each.

Jan 30, 2018 Your FICO® score comes from the Fair Isaac Corporation and is represented as a three-digit number between 300 and 850. The higher the number, the better the score. Your score reflects creditworthiness and risk based on your credit history. More than 90% of the top lenders look at your FICO® score when making credit decisions. You'll always want to keep an eye on your credit score to make sure lenders and creditors are seeing the most correct version. Several credit card issuers provide free FICO® scores as an added card benefit.

Jun 06, 2018 With payment plans, buying a car can be a reasonably affordable venture. The average monthly payment for a new car is around $480, according to Experian Automotive. A used car, on the other hand, will set you back around $360 a month. But what if you want to pay your car loan with a credit card. Is that possible? The short answer is yes but the longer answer is more complicated. Allow us to explain.

Oct 06, 2017 You may have noticed a pesky charge on your credit card bill labeled “finance charge.” Ever wondered what the charge was? The finance charge is essentially how you pay for leaving a balance on your account. When you don’t eliminate the balance, it earns interest which you also have to pay. Now you’re probably wondering how to avoid credit card finance charges.

Apr 25, 2018

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

Have you ever shopped around to find the best deal before buying something? But then the next day you found an even lower price at a different store? If only there was a way for you to get a refund for the difference between what you paid and that lower price. Well actually, there is! Price protection is a free feature on some of the best credit cards. It helps ensure you never overpay on purchases again.

Oct 04, 2017 Visitors made 82 million trips to national parks across the United States in 2016, according to data from the National Park Service. That's 17 million more visits than were made in 2012. But which national parks are the most beloved by Americans? Read on as we delve into the data to find America’s favorite national parks.

Oct 04, 2017 You've probably heard about credit scores and how important they are. But what's a good credit score nowadays? Who calculates your credit score and how do they do it? Your credit report is a document that holds all the information that determines your credit score. On that document, you can see all your past loans, credit accounts and more. Luckily, finding your credit report isn't hard with AnnualCreditReport.com.

Jun 11, 2018 If you've landed on this page, chances are you're just as perplexed as a ton of other people as to why American Express isn't accepted at so many stores. It's a major credit card company with millions of customers around the world. So what gives? Why can't those millions of customers use their AmEx cards at so many places? Turns out, sometimes accepting American Express just costs too much for merchants to make it worth it.

Oct 02, 2017 Did you buy a new cell phone only to have it stolen a few weeks later? Did someone just spill coffee all over your brand new laptop? Well, your credit card may have you covered thanks to a benefit called purchase protection. This great feature can help you replace or receive reimbursement for stolen and damaged items. Let's take a look at what purchase protection can (and can't) cover.

May 21, 2018 Have you ever gone to pay your credit card bill and noticed that you have two balances: the statement balance and the current balance? Turns out each balance is different, but they can often be the same amount. If having two balances confuses you, don’t worry. You’re not alone! Below we’ll explain the difference between the credit card statement balance and the current balance, plus which one to pay to avoid interest charges.

Sep 28, 2017 There's no doubt that credit cards can be useful. With a credit card in hand, you don't have to carry cash everywhere. You can use a cash back credit card to earn extra cash on your usual spending or a rewards credit card for a quick getaway. With all these perks, it’s no surprise that the average American has multiple credit cards. However, credit cards can also lead to some serious debt.

Sep 27, 2017 It may not be on your mind day and night, but your credit report is one of your most valuable assets. Having a clean credit report helps you secure credit cards with better interest rates and can even make you a more appealing job applicant. But how do you know if your credit report is in good shape or not? And if it's not, how can you clean up your credit? Let's break it down into 10 steps.

Sep 25, 2017 It always seems to happen. You make an expensive purchase and everything works perfectly, until the day after the manufacturer’s warranty ends. You skipped out on the store's expensive extra warranty, so now you need to pay for a repair or replacement. Before you lose all hope, did you know your credit card might hold the answer? Many people don’t realize it, but credit cards can offer an extended warranty at no additional charge.

Mar 14, 2018 Credit cards are basically a staple nowadays. About 79% of Americans have at least one credit card, according to a 2016 Federal Reserve report. We take for granted that we can use credit cards at most retailers and some people even use credit card rewards for travel hacking. But when you think about it, credit cards haven't been around for that long. So how did we move from cash to small plastic rectangles? What did the first credit cards even look like? To answer these questions, let's take a trip through the long history of credit cards.

Nov 03, 2017 Debt can be a tricky thing. One day, you don’t have any debt and the next, you’ve missed one payment and owe that plus interest. While some creditors can be forgiving, others are not, inflicting penalties and higher interest rates. While repaying debt can be hard, you should do your best to avoid debt collections. For one, being hounded by debt collection agencies won’t be fun. Plus, debt collections on your credit report can damage your credit score. 

Oct 17, 2017 Most people have a budget in mind when they spend money. But people in different cities tend to spend in different ways. For example in New York, the population density means high housing costs, but the availability of public transportation means that people can save money on getting around the city. Below we analyze what Americans spend the most on.

Sep 05, 2017 Roughly a third of Americans have just one credit card. For some people, having one card that they use responsibly is all they'll ever need. For many others, a second credit card can look appealing when one credit card just doesn't cut it. A second credit card could mean more benefits, extra rewards and even an improved credit score. So if you’ve had one card for a while now, it might be time to consider getting a second. How do you choose your second credit card? Let's take a look.

Sep 06, 2017 There's no question that pizza is one of the most beloved foods in America. According to a USDA report, about one in eight Americans consume pizza on any given day. That number jumps to one in four if you limit it to American males. But where can you get the best slice without breaking the bank? Below we look at this and other factors to find the best cities for pizza lovers in America.

Sep 08, 2017 Many Americans strive every year to get their finances in order. That could mean working to get out of debt, making sure their  credit card bills are paid on time or making additional student loan payments. Residents in some places across America are doing a better job at taking control of finances than other places. Read on as we delve into the data to examine these places.

Aug 18, 2017 Any business that wants to accept credit cards as payment needs a credit card processor. The processor opens up the channel of communication between the merchant's store and the client's bank. It allows the payment to move from one end to the other. Read on as we explain what is a credit card processor and how to choose one.

May 03, 2018 Many Americans don’t manage to save much. According to a survey done by the Federal Reserve, 31% of respondents had no retirement savings at all. Whether it’s because of high student debt or climbing housing costs, Americans across the country are finding it hard to save. But not every place presents the same challenges. In some places, high housing costs make it hard to save, and in others, it's low salaries. We look at these and other factors to find the hardest places to save money.

May 21, 2018

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

If you're trying to figure out what credit cards does Sam's Club accept to make sure you bring the right one to the store, don't worry! Sam's Club accepts all major credit cards. A few years ago, the list of credit cards accepted by Sam's Club was limited, but more recently that has changed and now all cardholders can shop at Sam's Club with ease.

Aug 25, 2017 Credit scores across the country are on the rise. Up about 1% on average, according to Experian data. But does that fact hold for every generation? Millennials sometimes have a reputation for not handling their finances well, are their credit scores also rising? We decided to investigate and found the places where millennial credit scores have risen the fastest.

Mar 14, 2018 Credit cards are an incredibly convenient tool, and can be particularly beneficial when they come with rewards. However, their convenience and common usage comes with the inevitability of credit card fraud. Thieves have become creative with stealing credit card and personal information to create a financial disaster. Here’s what credit card fraud looks like and how you can prevent it from happening to you.

Aug 30, 2017 If you’re struggling with paying off credit card debt, then you may want to consider credit card consolidation. Credit card consolidation allows you to merge your separate debts into one single payment. You can consolidate your debt in a few different ways. One of these ways is to take out a loan. There are pros and cons with this option, so read on to find out if it’s right for you.

Nov 12, 2017 Paying off a large amount of credit card debt can be challenging. It is especially difficult when you are saddled with high rent costs and bleak employment prospects like some millennials are. How much are these two factors affecting millennials' ability to stay on top of debt? We looked at these and other metrics to find out where millennials are struggling with paying off their credit card debt.

Aug 02, 2017 At SmartAsset we talk a lot about the importance of maintaining a high credit score. An excellent credit score allows you to gain access to the best rewards credit cards, the lowest mortgage rates and other financial perks. But the benefits from increasing your credit score can be hard to quantify. With that in mind, we crunched the numbers to find the places where credit card users would benefit the most by improving credit scores.

May 21, 2018 If you're thinking about becoming a Costco member, one of the first questions you probably have is what credit cards does Costco accept? Costco is the largest members-only warehouse club in the country, and it has an exclusivity deal with Visa, the largest credit network in the world. For many years, Costco stores only accepted American Express cards. But in 2016, the warehouse chain made the switch to Visa. 

Aug 11, 2017 Credit cards are a powerful personal finance tool. Used correctly they can unlock tremendous rewards, worth thousands of dollars. Used incorrectly and they can lead to spiraling debt and thousands of dollars lost in high interest payments. With this in mind SmartAsset looked at which places of the U.S. are the most reliant on their credit cards.

Oct 31, 2017 Though credit cards can come in handy, using them carries a certain amount of risk. For one, you have to focus on paying each bill in full and on time. With everything else going on in life, keeping track of credit card balances and debt can be stressful. But sometimes you don't have to juggle multiple credit card debts. You might want to look into credit card consolidation and whether it's a useful option for you.

Jul 20, 2017 Are you thinking about applying for your first credit card? Or maybe you're trying to repair your credit history. Either way, you're likely to come across the term, "secured credit card." But what is a  secured credit card and how does it differ from an unsecured card? Each type of card targets a different set of users and poses different risks and benefits. Read on as we explain the difference.

Dec 12, 2017 Gallup polls from 2014 show that the average American has 2.6 credit cards and it isn't hard to see why. Credit cards lessen the need for hard cash. They allow you to take advantage of the ever-growing online shopping options. Plus, many credit cards offer a ton of great rewards you can earn. But how do you apply for a credit card? How do you know which credit card is best for your needs and lifestyle? Whether you're new to credit or you’ve been through the process but are still unsure, let's take a look at finding and applying for your next credit card.

Jul 13, 2017 Your credit score is important. It can help determine whether you get a credit card with a 0% intro APR or a 23% APR. It can also help determine if your mortgage interest rate is going to be 3.5% or 5.5% - or if you qualify for a mortgage at all. People in some cities seem to be doing a better job improving their credit scores as compared to people in other cities. Read on as SmartAsset looks at credit scores across the country to find the places where credit scores are rising the fastest.

Jul 28, 2017 Are you jonesing for a getaway but deterred by this cost? This may ring especially true for people with children. So what should you do if you want to scratch that travel itch without breaking the bank? Explore some of the beautiful and diverse cities right here in the United States! Read on for our picks for the most affordable travel destinations in the U.S. in 2017.

Jul 20, 2017 Identity theft is a major problem in the U.S. Over 15 million people were victims of identity theft in 2016, a 15% increase from the year before. While everyone is at risk of having their identity stolen, some people are at increased risk. This is especially true when you look at state data. Some states have more elderly residents, one of the most targeted groups for identity theft, or have wealthier households, another prime candidate for attempted identity theft.

Aug 11, 2017 Relying too much on credit cards to make ends meet is a bad habit to get into. Credit cards typically come with high interest rates and harsh penalties for late payment fees, meaning even small amounts of credit card debt can spiral out of control. Some states do a better job of staying on top of their credit card debt than others. Below SmartAsset looks at credit card usage data to find the states with the worst credit card habits.

Jun 14, 2017 Almost 10 years past America's most recent financial crisis, you can still hear the term in the news. Whether it's in regards to recovering from one, or the impending onset of another, it's a phrase that elicits dread in many people. Despite the prevalence of the term, it's not always well-defined. In order to better understand what is a financial crisis, we did a dive into recent and historic examples.

Jun 08, 2017 Most golfers have a course in mind when they think of their favorite place to hit the links. But what about certain cities? With plenty of warm sunny days, affordable housing and a wide range of golf courses, some cities are better suited for regular trips to the course. SmartAsset looked at these and other factors to find the best cities for golfers to live in.

Dec 12, 2017 Credit scores are the somewhat elusive but publicly available numbers that help lenders determine whether they want to offer you a loan. Up until 2006, there wasn’t a lot of competition to the Fair Isaac Corporation’s FICO® score. More recently, you may have noticed another score, the VantageScore. Read on for a full explanation of what this number is and how it differs from other systems.

May 22, 2017 The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has given nearly $12 billion back to consumers since 2011. In recent weeks however, President Trump has talked about firing CFPB Director Richard Cordray, and possibly getting rid of the bureau altogether. If this were to happen, consumers in some states have more to worry about than others. Below SmartAsset takes a look at CFPB data to see which states benefited the most from the bureau and therefore stand to lose the most if it disappears.

May 15, 2017 If you read the fine print of credit card offers, you'll notice that credit card companies say their interest rates are variable. That means they can change in response to changes in the Prime Rate. Are you on the lookout for a fixed-rate credit card? If so, you'll have a hard time finding one. Let us explain. 

Feb 28, 2018 Transferring money is easier than it used to be, but it can still be a difficult and expensive chore. When you're transferring money you probably want to maximize security and convenience while minimizing the fees you incur. If you're just transferring money between your checking and savings accounts, you can go online or use your app. Transferring to someone else is trickier.

May 02, 2017 If you're feeling frustrated with your financial company, you're not alone. Many consumers have bank complaints or credit card complaints. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was set up to help consumers lodge complaints about financial companies. The CFPB also publishes anonymized data of all the complaints it receives.

May 01, 2017 According to a 2016 World Bank report, $56.3 billion in remittances left the U.S. in 2014. What are remittances? Remittances are monies that someone living in a foreign country sends home. Let's take a closer look at remittances, how they work and why they can be politically controversial.

Apr 24, 2017 If your debts are getting you down you may be wondering if a debt settlement is the right move. Settling with your creditors can be a life-changing event, freeing you from debt collectors' calls and the weight of your unpaid bills. But is writing a debt settlement letter the right move for you? And if so, how do you going about writing a debt settlement letter? Let us explain. 

Apr 21, 2017 If credit card debt has got you down or you're committed to earning as many credit card points as you can, you may be wondering whether you can pay a credit card with a credit card. The short answer is no, you can't. However, there's a work-around that involves a balance transfer from one card to another. Let us explain.

May 09, 2017 All debt is not created equal. If you take on a mortgage to buy a house, that can be a smart move as long as you can afford it. Likewise, student loan debt is often considered to be "good debt" by experts, as pursuing a higher education degree has the potential to increase your lifetime earnings. On the other hand, going into credit card debt to finance a lavish lifestyle is generally viewed as an example of bad debt.

Apr 19, 2017 The Federal Reserve recently raised the federal funds rate for the second time in a few months. The Fed seems to be fairly confident about the direction that the economy is moving in. That means more rate hikes are likely to occur in the near future. Interest rate hikes affect consumers in different ways. For example, they tend to cause the prime interest rate to rise, which affects credit card and short-term loan interest rates. Here's everything you need to know about the prime interest rate and why it matters.

Apr 18, 2017 Tax season is a time of high stress for many Americans. It's also the time when some Americans receive an unexpected windfall in the form of a tax refund. According to the IRS, the average tax refund is $3,120 and almost 83% of all tax returns result in a refund. While your tax refund may feel like a gift, it’s important to remember that you earned that money just like you did your paychecks. With that in mind, it's a good idea to treat it like your other income. This includes creating a plan for the best way to use it. 

Aug 30, 2017 Many cardholders have access to hidden credit card benefits. For example, you may be unaware of the fact that your credit card company offers roadside assistance. So if your car suddenly breaks down or you find yourself with a flat tire, you can call someone for help. Credit card chargebacks are another useful tool for consumers. But for merchants, they're often a pain in the butt. Here's the lowdown on how credit card chargebacks work.

Aug 30, 2017 Have you ever wanted to make an online purchase but worried that your credit card number could fall into the wrong hands? If so, you might be interested in a virtual credit card. With a virtual credit card, you can complete an online purchase without using the credit card number associated with the real credit cards in your wallet. 

May 18, 2018 Your credit limit determines how much you can charge to your credit card before you start racking up interest. In combination with how much you spend, your credit limit also determines your credit utilization ratio. That's the ratio of the credit you use to your credit limit. Let's take a closer look at the average credit limit. The lower your ratio, the higher your credit score tends to be. Let's take a look at the average credit limit by credit score and age.

Jun 19, 2018 Reviewing your credit card statement every month is important. If you toss it in the trash as soon as you receive it, you may miss the chance to catch a mistake. A merchant may have charged you twice for the same item. Or there could be an unauthorized charge on your bill. Don't assume that challenging a credit card charge is a waste of time. Here are a few strategies you can implement if you're trying to win a credit card dispute.

Mar 30, 2017 The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) describes itself as "a U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly." To help the Bureau do its jobs you can submit complaints about financial companies you've dealt with. Here's how it works. 

Jun 27, 2017 Regardless of the kind of car we drive or the kind of credit card we use, we need gas to get around. But filling up the tank ­can get expensive, especially if we spend a large chunk of our time on the road. Luckily, there are a few strategies that you can implement if you want to get the best gas prices. Check out a few ways to ensure you never overpay at the pump again.

Jun 11, 2018 Some of us have too many credit cards. Depending on your lifestyle, it might make sense to have three or four cards in your wallet. And as long as you’re keeping up with your monthly bills, there’s nothing wrong with having multiple credit cards. But what if you don’t think you have enough cards? What if you want to apply for a new one? Let’s dive into the credit card application process and look at when it does (and doesn’t) make sense to apply for a credit card.

Apr 14, 2017 Credit card complaints can be difficult to address. Sometimes credit card companies are hard to reach or it's not clear who you should be complaining to. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, the federal government set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to help protect consumers. The CFPB government agency helps consumers address complaints they have with banks, credit unions, credit card companies, payday lenders and other financial companies.

May 18, 2018 Americans' debt levels tend to peak in middle age, while seniors tend to have lower debt levels. They've had more time to pay down mortgage, credit card and student loan debt. For many Americans, a debt-free retirement is a dream that feels very far away. Want to take a more focused look at the average debt by age? You've come to the right place. 

Mar 15, 2017 In 2015, 73% of Americans had credit card debt, according the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Credit card debt can sneak up on you. One month you're on top of it, making regular payments, and the next you find yourself behind and unable to catch up. Sometimes it’s an unexpected emergency that puts you behind. Data shows that overall people in some states are better at staying on track with their credit card payments than in other states. We looked at average credit card debt levels in each state and how they've changed from 2006 to 2015.

Apr 03, 2017 The 2008 financial crisis led to a noticeable dip in Americans' debt and spending levels. Since recovery began, however, Americans' debt levels have been creeping back up. In fact, recent indicators show that our total debt levels are almost where they were in pre-Crisis 2008.  

Apr 25, 2018

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which SmartAsset.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). SmartAsset.com does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Every month, our credit card expert surveys leading offers & compiles a list of the best credit products on the market. His goal is to locate deals that offer huge potential rewards or exceptional interest rate savings. Is credit card debt hanging over your head? You may be able to save money by transferring the balance on one card to a new card with a lower interest rate. If you're lucky, that new, lower interest rate could be 0%. Let's take a look at how you can save money with a 0% balance transfer. 

Apr 25, 2018

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which SmartAsset.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). SmartAsset.com does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Every month, our credit card expert surveys leading offers & compiles a list of the best credit products on the market. His goal is to locate deals that offer huge potential rewards or exceptional interest rate savings. The Bank of America ® Travel Rewards Credit Card could be a good credit card for avid travelers on a budget. It's easy to earn points for making everyday purchases. But racking up rewards might be difficult if you're not aware of all the promotions and perks that go along with using the card. Here's a look at some ways to maximize rewards with the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card®.

Feb 21, 2018 Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer. Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which SmartAsset.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). SmartAsset.com does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace. Chase Ultimate Rewards® is a loyalty program that rewards customers with flexible points and earnings. You can use a variety of Chase credit cards to earn rewards through this program. In fact, there's a credit card for almost everyone under this program. And Chase Ultimate Rewards® points never expire as long as your accounts are open and in good standing.

Mar 02, 2017 Calling all those bargain hunters with wanderlust! There is a lot of ground to be covered, literally, by judiciously using airline reward miles. For many people racking up reward miles has become a hobby. But it's not only about collecting the miles (often by choosing the best airline-specific credit cards), it's also in how you redeem them. It turns out where you live may affect whether you get the best deals. We looked at data from major airline reward programs and domestic flight data to see where your airline reward miles go the furthest.

May 21, 2018 Is a wine-soaked vacation on your bucket list? Ours too. If you're on a budget or short on vacation days, the good news is you don't have to head all the way to France or Italy to visit wine country. There are premier wine destinations right here in America. For the wine lovers who want to enjoy a refreshing glass of chardonnay or syrah stateside, we ranked the country's best wine destinations. Cheers!

Feb 27, 2017 Many of us don't get enough sleep. One in three adults are sleep-deprived, according to a Centers of Disease Control and Prevention study. Some hard-working people are too busy to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep. Others go to bed at a decent time, only to toss and turn for most of the night. If you fall into the latter category, your mattress could be part of the problem.

Dec 18, 2017 If you're on a mission to earn as many credit card rewards as possible, you'll need to be strategic. You'll need to understand how your rewards program works. And you'll need to know how to maximize your rewards. One tactic that may help you rack up miles and points involves double-dipping. Here are five ways to earn extra rewards from two different sources at the same time.

Nov 08, 2017 Most Americans receive their earnings via direct deposit to a checking account, or a paper check. Some, though, get paid via payroll cards. These cards function like pre-loaded debit cards and can be used at an ATM to take out cash. However, the fees on payroll cards make them a controversial feature of the American employment landscape. 

Jun 27, 2017 If you're like most adults, you probably receive mail from credit card companies regularly. In some cases, you might receive a notice about your latest credit card statement. Or you may get a letter that says you've been pre-approved for a card. Wondering whether you're guaranteed to get a pre-approved credit card? Read on as we explain what pre-approved credit card offers mean.

Feb 17, 2017 If you're a credit card-savvy consumer, you probably know that there are a few things you can do to make shopping for a credit card easier. You can boost your credit score so you have access to the best credit cards and the lowest APRs, for example. But there's something else that's worth doing before you commit to a new card. 

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