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Credit Cards

Feb 09, 2017 A credit card can be a great tool for someone who wants to build their credit or earn rewards. But at some point, you may need to get rid of one of your cards. While closing a credit card can hurt your credit, in some cases, canceling a card might make sense. For example, ditching a card could be a good idea if you're trying to keep your spending to a minimum. Read More...

Oct 17, 2017 Think a credit card is only good for building up your credit score and helping you borrow money when times are tight? Think again. Credit cards these days come with more rewards and perks than many people realize, and we're not just talking about cash back and points. Here are five credit card perks you might not know you have.  Read More...

Sep 26, 2017 If your landlord won’t accept your personal check or you're sending cash to a family member, you may need a money order. Like checks, money orders can be used to pay for just about anything. They're essentially a type of prepaid payment that you can purchase using a debit card, a check or an electronic payment. Can you buy a money order with a credit card, too? Before we answer that question, let's explore how money orders work and when to use them. Read More...

Feb 24, 2017 March can seem like the light at the end of the tunnel for anyone waiting for winter to end. That's what makes the month of March an excellent time for a getaway. You can explore places near the equator or head to the southern hemisphere for a taste of the fall season. Whether you’re looking for a family vacation or a new spring break spot, here are the 10 best places to travel in March. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 Credit card companies will do almost anything to get you to sign up for their cards. Some offer travel miles and others use sign-up bonuses to entice customers. No doubt those incentives sound great and they may have tricked you into applying for a credit card or two. There are plenty of benefits to earning rewards. But there's one downside that you'll have to consider: Your credit card rewards may be taxable. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 Secured credit cards can be perfect for anyone trying to establish or rebuild their credit. But there will come a time when the secured card has served its purpose and you're ready to move on. While it may be tempting to keep your secured credit card, you probably don't want to be stuck with a small credit limit and high fees forever. Depending on your situation, it might make sense to close your secured card and graduate to a traditional, unsecured credit card. Read More...

Aug 07, 2018 Appliances are usually major purchases. After all, replacing a broken stove or freezer probably won't be cheap. While you could shop for new appliances during any month of the year, timing your purchase carefully could save you some money. Read on to learn about the best time to buy appliances for your home, including refrigerators and air conditioning units. Read More...

Sep 21, 2017 Running a small business isn't easy. In fact, it's a risky undertaking - especially from a financial perspective. Even allowing your customers to make purchases using credit cards can put your business in jeopardy, especially if the cost of processing credit card transactions eats into your profits. Finding the right credit card processing company can take time. If you need help getting started, here's everything you need to know about choosing a credit card processor. Read More...

Jan 09, 2017 Getting a credit card cash advance can put money in your pocket when you desperately need it. But you'll need to be careful. If you don't fully understand how a credit card cash advance works, it could easily become a very costly way to borrow money. Before you get a cash advance, read along so you'll know what potential pitfalls to avoid. Read More...

Feb 24, 2017 Feeling a little burnt out? We bet you’re not too tired to go on vacation! A February getaway can be the perfect opportunity to decompress after a busy holiday season and a stressful January. Prices tend to drop in February giving travelers a number of affordable destinations to visit across the globe. Here are the best places to travel in February. Read More...

Aug 30, 2017 If you came close to maxing out several credit cards this past holiday season, you're probably wondering whether you'll ever be able to pay off all your debt. Paying your credit card bills may take time. But if you pace yourself, you may be able to do it a lot sooner than you think. Here are several steps you'll need to take if you're trying to knock out credit card debt after the holidays. Read More...

Nov 12, 2017 Consumers across the country are burdened by credit card debt. A recent report from ValuePenguin found that 38% of U.S. households have credit card debt that they need to pay off. Among households who carry a balance from month to month, the average credit card debt is around $16,048. And those with the lowest net worth have the highest credit card debt burden, on average. Read More...

Apr 14, 2017 Do you ever wish your credit limit was just a little bit higher? If you had a $5,000 credit line instead of a $2,500 limit, you could pay for the shoes you've been eyeing for months or take the vacation you've been planning for years. Believe it or not, it's possible to ask your credit card issuer to raise your credit limit. But the issue is whether that's a good idea. Here are five times when it might be okay to ask for a credit limit increase. Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 Credit cards come in many different flavors. There are secured credit cards that you can use to build credit and rewards credit cards that allow you to earn miles, points or cash back. There are also charge cards. While they're technically a type of credit card, charge cards and standard credit cards aren't the same. Let's look at the differences between charge cards and credit cards. Read More...

Jun 27, 2017 Having bad credit or no credit at all can make taking out a loan, getting an apartment or buying a house more challenging. But fortunately, it's possible to establish a credit history and make up for past credit mistakes. One way to do that is to apply for a secured credit card. Read on to find out what a secured credit card is and how getting one may help you build credit. Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 There are pros and cons to having a store credit card. These kinds of cards typically come with special perks. But store credit cards often have high interest rates and low credit limits. And consumers often get tricked into signing up for them during the holiday season. While applying for a store credit card could be a bad idea, here are three times when it might make sense. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Interested in getting a new credit card? You could easily apply for any of the cards that pop up in your mailbox every week. But maybe you want a specific kind of card, like a rewards credit card or a credit card without an annual fee. In that case, it's a good idea to do some research. Before applying for a card you might wonder, "How long does it take to get a credit card?"  Read More...

Dec 21, 2016 The possibility of bad weather combined with the huge number of passengers trying to get around makes the December holiday period one of the worst times of the year to be an airline passenger. If you are one of the many Americans who have tried to get home for the holidays and been thwarted by a delayed or canceled flight, you are not alone. Read on as we delve into the flight data from America’s busiest airports to find the worst airports to fly out of during the holidays. Read More...

Nov 06, 2017 January is a prime time to get away. There's nothing like starting off the new year with a relaxing vacation. And since there are few people who travel the world after the holiday season wraps up, it's easy to find discounted flights and cheap hotel rates. Whether you want to escape to a warmer climate or revel in the snow, here are the best places to travel in January. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 When you go shopping for a credit card, one of the most important factors you should consider is the amount of interest you’ll pay on outstanding balances. How is credit card interest calculated? To find out, you need to know your current annual percentage rate, or APR, and your average daily periodic balance. You could do the figuring using an online credit card interest calculator, a spreadsheet or a good old pencil and paper. Let’s go over some basics before we see how to apply the credit card APR formula. Read More...

Sep 25, 2017 Wondering how you can improve your credit score? Using a credit card to build credit might be the solution. While credit cards often get a bad rap, they can be incredibly powerful credit-building tools. Read More...

Dec 12, 2017 One way to raise your credit score is to pay your credit card bill in full every month. Of course, not everyone can do this and depending on your financial situation you may have to carry a balance regularly. At the very least, your card issuer expects you to pay the minimum amount listed on your credit card statement. But where does this number come from? Read on as we explain how credit card companies calculate your minimum payment and what can happen if you only pay that amount. Read More...

Mar 26, 2018 Traveling outside of the country doesn't have to be expensive. There are ways to save on everything from plane tickets and food to hotel accommodations. One easy way to cut costs when you're abroad is to avoid paying unnecessary fees. For example, if you can avoid a foreign transaction fee, you can save between 1% and 3% on international transactions. Here are five ways to dodge foreign transaction fees and international ATM fees. Read More...

Dec 12, 2016 It is easier for Americans to travel to Cuba than it's been since the establishment of the economic embargo over 50 years ago. And this has not gone unnoticed. According to Cuban reports, the number of American visitors to the country increased by 50% last year. Despite this, figuring out how to travel to Cuba can still be a daunting process. Read on for a guide on understanding the ins and outs of who is allowed to go, how to get there and what to be prepared for once you're on the ground. Read More...

Jun 27, 2018 Frequent flyers often travel around the world at reduced rates or sometimes even for free. When it comes to earning miles and other travel rewards, many of these folks are pros. They know how to find great deals that can save them money and other travelers can learn a lot from them. Here's the lowdown on some of the tricks that the savviest travelers use to score the best discounts on flights. Read More...

Dec 12, 2017 All debts aren't created equal. Many scoring models, including the FICO® scoring model and the VantageScore, distinguish between two types of debt when calculating your credit score. In other words, they treat revolving credit and installment credit accounts differently. If you have no clue what we're talking about, here's a breakdown of what revolving debt is and how it can affect your credit. Read More...

Nov 06, 2017 Whether you’re a frequent flyer or you're new to the travel game, you've probably heard about the biggest revolution in travel accommodations: short-term apartment and home rentals. Thanks to companies like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway, you can live like you do at home while you're on vacation. But since these options aren't always cheaper than hotels, sometimes it’s difficult to decide where to stay while you're traveling. Let's take a look at the benefits of booking a hotel room versus renting out a temporary space. Read More...

May 21, 2018 When do you pay off your credit card bill? Some people pay their full balances every month by the due date listed on their credit card statements. Others carry a balance from month to month but make the minimum required payment at some point before the deadline. So when's the best time to make a credit card payment? Before we discuss that, let's review why you should at least pay your bill by the deadline. Read More...

Oct 31, 2017 We all know about the shopping and credit card frenzy that follows Thanksgiving on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The one day of giving thanks turns into a weekend of searching for the best deals on clothing, appliances and television sets. Enter Giving Tuesday, celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Here's everything you need to know about the movement created to make the holidays more about giving back. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 Black Friday is one of the most exciting (or terrifying) days of the holiday season, depending on how you look at it. Some people prepare for the day months in advance while others couldn't care less about it. Whether you plan to camp outside of a store on Thanksgiving night or make your way through the crowds on Friday afternoon, here are the six best things to buy on Black Friday. Read More...

Oct 17, 2017 When people think about Thanksgiving, they may imagine an extended family enjoying a feast of turkey, squash, corn and pumpkin pie. That's certainly a key part of the American tradition, but it doesn't tell the whole story around the holiday weekend. With the advent of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, new Thanksgiving traditions have developed around shopping and consumerism in general.  Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Many credit cards come with enticing rewards. Some promise to give consumers cash if they spend a certain amount of money within the first few months. Others offer sign-up bonuses in the form of miles or points. To take advantage of as many of these perks as possible, some people engage in credit card churning. Read on as we explore the benefits and drawbacks of this technique. Read More...

Nov 11, 2016 The holiday season is approaching and people are paying close attention to their bottom lines. Booking flights for holiday travel and buying gifts for all your friends and relatives can leave you with a serious financial hangover. And in some cases, you might be wasting money unnecessarily. Here are six costly mistakes that you should avoid making during the holidays. Read More...

Mar 22, 2017 Pitching a tent in the woods is one option if you're ready for a vacation. But if comfort is something that's important to you, going glamping might be a better idea. Glamping (or "glamorous camping") is an emerging travel trend that's catching on with people who like spending time outdoors but want to do so in style. But all-inclusive glamping packages can be expensive. If you're working with a small budget, here's how to go glamping without breaking the bank. Read More...

Dec 12, 2017 Credit scoring models take multiple factors into account when assessing your credit risk. The FICO® scoring model, for example, looks at your payment history and your credit mix. Another important factor that it considers is your credit card utilization rate. If you're not sure what your credit utilization ratio is, we'll explain how to calculate it and how it affects your credit score. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Your credit score can determine whether you get the mortgage you need for your dream home or whether you qualify for cheap car insurance. There are many factors that influence your credit score and one you might not think about is the number of credit cards you have. So how many credit cards do you need? We'll go over what you should consider in order to answer that question. Read More...

Mar 26, 2018 Planning a trip to Mexico? Whether you're planning to see the ancient Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza or relax on a beach in Cabo San Lucas, you have a lot to look forward to. If you're traveling to the country for the first time, you may have a lot of different questions and concerns. Read on for a guide on everything you need to know about traveling to Mexico. Read More...

Oct 07, 2016 A trip to Canada can be an exciting experience. Whether you want to study abroad or spend time with your loved ones, you're bound to have a great time. If you want to avoid running into problems while you're abroad, it's important to plan ahead. We'll tell you what you'll need to do before embarking on your trip and how to get around the city or town you're visiting. Read More...

Oct 05, 2016 A credit card grace period gives you a chance to pay your credit card bill before interest and fees kick in. There's always a little time between when your billing cycle ends and when your payment is due to the credit card company. That's the credit card grace period. If you miss that grace period, interest will accrue on the unpaid balance.  Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 In 2005 the American consumer landscape looked pretty different than it does today. Some once-ubiquitous items like Motorola Razr cellphones and Livestrong bracelets have all but disappeared. Changes in taste over time are expected as trends go in and out of fashion, but data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that American consumers in 2015 made some significantly different spending decisions than they did in 2005. Read More...

Feb 08, 2017 Unless you're big on luxury hotels, you probably want to spend a modest amount on lodging when you're traveling. Wondering how to get cheap hotel rates? If you're really committed to scoring the best deals, it's a good idea to use multiple tools. Read on for our best advice on getting cheap hotel rates.  Read More...

Sep 17, 2018 APR stands for annual percentage rate. The APR on a loan or debt gives you a more complete picture of how the debt will accumulate than you would get from the interest rate alone. But what is a good APR and how can you get one? The answer to that depends on your credit score and on the type of debt in question.  If you want professional advice related to APR and matters of credit and debt, check out SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool to get paired with a financial expert. Read More...

Aug 26, 2016 People around the country have discussed the pros and cons of America becoming a cash-free society. While the vast majority of businesses still take cash, we could soon see more and more companies spearheading a movement and requiring customers to use credit cards. Check out some of the reasons why business owners may or may not want to go cashless. Read More...

Dec 12, 2017 If you want to buy a house, it's important to have a good credit score. But new underwriting rules from Fannie Mae are throwing some would-be buyers a curve ball. Instead of just looking at your credit score and your credit report to make sure you meet the minimum requirements, Fannie Mae is now incorporating trended credit data into their loan approval process. Read More...

Feb 07, 2017 Choosing the right credit card can be intimidating. After all, there are lots of different ones to choose from. Generally, it's a good idea to avoid credit cards that charge high fees. But in some cases, paying an annual fee might be worth it, especially if your card comes with great benefits. Check out four reasons why getting a credit card with an annual fee can pay off in the long run. Read More...

Sep 08, 2017 Cyber attacks seem to be occurring more frequently as hackers become more sophisticated. Many companies have experienced data breaches and the average cost of each hacking incident is now $4 million. If you've become the victim of a breach, it's important to act fast to minimize the damage. Here are five things you should consider doing following a data breach. Read More...

Jun 29, 2016 Not everyone can afford to travel. Depending on where you want to go, traveling to a distant land or a tropical beach might require you to cut back on how much you are putting toward savings or even dip into savings marked for another financial goal (as always, it's best to save up for the vacation ahead of time). And when you have kids, planning a vacation that doesn't leave you feeling financially strapped can be incredibly difficult. That's why we took the time to find the most affordable U.S. travel destinations. Read More...

Jun 27, 2017 Using a travel rewards card to pay for your next trip could be a smart move. This is especially true if you want to rack up miles, points or cash back on what you're spending. The key to getting the most mileage possible out of your travel rewards is avoiding flubs that could diminish their value. Here are the most common travel credit card mistakes that could leave you feeling shortchanged. Read More...

Jun 27, 2017 While you prepare for a vacation, it's a good idea to know how you're paying for your trip. Using a rewards credit card could be a great way to earn back some of what you spend. Choosing a card that comes with built-in travel protections could also come in handy. Check out five credit card perks that you might want to have in case disaster strikes. Read More...

Apr 16, 2018 A well-planned summer vacation starts with working out the financial details so you don't go over budget. One of the things that vacationers often forget to factor into their calculations are the sneaky fees that can pop up along the way, like baggage fees, ATM fees and booking fees. Knowing how to avoid them can help you ensure that your getaway doesn't break the bank. Read More...

Feb 08, 2017 Summer is right around the corner. If you haven't already figured out how you're going to spend your days off, now's a good time to start planning. Besides figuring out where you want to jet off to, you'll need to think about how you're going to pay for your trip. If you're torn between carrying cash and charging your credit card, here's what you need to consider before making a decision. Read More...

Feb 07, 2017 A rewards credit card can be a great way to earn points, miles or cash back on purchases, but not all rewards cards are the same. Many card issuers offer online shopping malls where you can snag bonus rewards, so it pays to be selective about how you use them. If your credit card offers a shopping portal, here's what you need to know in order to reap the biggest rewards. Read More...

Dec 12, 2017 When it comes to managing money, millennials set themselves apart from previous generations in more ways than one. They prefer online banks to the brick-and-mortar ones, they're comfortable with using mobile apps like Venmo and PayPal and according to recent reports, the majority of them would rather use a prepaid debit card instead of a credit card. Read More...

Feb 24, 2016 Trying to pay off credit card debt can be stressful. But switching over to paperless billing can make it easier to manage your payments. When you sign up for this service, all of your account information is available online, making it easy to save and print your documents. Learning more about the benefits and potential consequences of paperless billing can help you decide whether it's worth having. Read More...

May 21, 2018 By 2014, one of the telling indicators that the U.S. economy had bounced back after the Great Recession was that visits to Disney World had rebounded. American families were visiting the Magic Kingdom again, and spending more on their visits. Now that we're solidly into the post-Recession years, let's take a look at the economics of Disney World and how the park affects the wider economy. Read More...

Apr 04, 2018 1976 was a year that changed the wine world forever. On a spring afternoon in Paris, a British wine merchant brought together a panel of esteemed French sommeliers to hold a blind tasting comparing several French and Californian wines. It was an all but foregone conclusion that the French experts would prefer the French wines. But then the unthinkable happened: the sommeliers chose the American wines. Read More...

Jun 15, 2017 According to Transunion, in the third quarter of 2015 Americans with credit card debt owed an average of $5,232. While thousands of dollars of credit card debt may be manageable for some, for others it likely means minimum monthly payments and accruing interest charges. The problem can start to seem insurmountable. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 Every year when January rolls around, stores across the country put their merchandise on sale. Even though it's cold and dark in much of the country, retailers want to make room for new spring stock. If holiday spending hasn't already busted your budget, you might be planning to hit the January sales. Here's what you need to know about how to shop smart. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 When you don't have time to find the perfect gifts for all your friends and relatives or make your own, you can buy them gift cards instead. Since most restaurants and retailers offer gift cards, it should be easy to find something to suit just about everyone on your holiday shopping list. While you're looking around for gift cards to purchase, it's a good idea to keep the following guidelines in mind. Read More...

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. Buying holiday gifts for everyone on your shopping list doesn't come cheap. According to the National Retail Federation, the average shopper is expected to spend $805 this holiday season, with consumers projected to spend a combined total of $630 billion. Seeking… Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 If you've ever popped into a clothing chain for some cheap "retail therapy" you've participated in the fast fashion industry. With fast fashion, clothing brands have rejected the seasonal model of dressing in favor of a near-constant stream of new designs. The clothing is sold for low prices to tempt bargain-hunting shoppers, but what's the cost of fast fashion in terms of the economy and the environment? Read More...

Nov 23, 2015 The holiday season is upon us and retailers predict that shoppers will spend some serious dough on gifts. Many stores want you to use their store credit cards instead of cash. And while it's possible to save some money with store credit cards, it's important to be careful about how you use them. Before you open an account, it's a good idea to review our tips for picking the right card. Read More...

Feb 06, 2017 If you carry a balance on your credit card, the interest you're paying can add up pretty quickly. Choosing a card with a low rate can help you save, but there's no guarantee that your rate will stay low forever. In fact, the 2009 CARD Act spells out five specific situations in which your card issuer can raise your rate. Here's a look at when a rate hike can happen and what you can do about it. Read More...

Jun 27, 2017 Flying somewhere this holiday season? You won’t be alone. Nearly 1 million flights passed through U.S. airports in November and December last year. With air travel volumes still ascending, 2015 promises more of the same. That means higher ticket prices, longer lines at security and every traveler’s nemesis: overbooked flights. And big crowds are just one reason holiday travel can be a drag. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Your credit limit is the maximum amount of money you can charge to a credit card. That number might be $1,000 or $5,000 or more, depending on your credit history and your card provider. With a higher credit line, you could spend more money and bring up your credit score. If you wish you had more credit at your disposal, we've got the inside scoop on how to make that happen. Read More...

Feb 07, 2017 Working for yourself can make sense if you want a high degree of control over your career. Freelancing is a particularly hot option right now and roughly 53 million Americans have given up their day jobs to go solo. One of the most important rules to follow when you're self-employed is to keep your business and personal finances separate. Using a business credit card to cover your expenses can yield some big rewards, but it's not right for everyone. If you're a freelancer, here are three things to keep in mind before applying for one of these cards. Read More...

Oct 08, 2015 As of this month, merchants - not banks - face footing the bill for fraudulent credit card transactions. That's the deadline for upgrading merchants' systems to accept the new EMV chip cards. While EMV cards offer some enhanced protections against fraud, they're not 100% foolproof. If you've recently switched over to an EMV card, here's the rundown on how safe it really is. Read More...

Feb 08, 2017 Using a travel rewards credit card to cover your day-to-day expenses is a no-brainer if you want a chance to earn free frequent flyer miles or stays at a five-star luxury hotel. But things can backfire if you're not being careful. Making any of the following  mistakes could force you to miss out on rewards and possibly cause your travel plans to be grounded for good. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 Is sharing a credit card with your partner a recipe for financial disaster? Or is not sharing a credit card a bad sign for your relationship? We're not relationship counselors, but we can walk you through the pros and cons of getting a joint credit card. As with all major financial decisions, opening a new credit card is not to be taken lightly. After all, your credit score is at stake.  Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Credit cards can be powerful tools. Paying with a rewards card, for example, can be an effective way to save money if you're earning points, miles or cash back on what you buy. If you routinely carry a balance, however, you could be hurting yourself without realizing it. Here's what you need to know about the consequences of failing to pay off your credit card balance each month. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 When debt feels unmanageable, credit counseling can help you regain control. Credit counseling comes in different stripes, though. Some are non-profit credit counselors while others charge fees that can worsen your financial situation. To help you decide whether credit counseling is right for you we've put together this guide to the ins and outs of credit counseling. Read More...

Mar 17, 2017 Debt can keep you up at night worrying but it can also be the means to the home you always dreamed of or the education you need to get the job you want. In other words, not all debt is created equal. If you're already in debt or you're worried about going into debt, read on for our guide to the subject. Understanding debt is critical to both financial literacy and financial security. Read More...

Jun 27, 2017 If your credit score is in need of some rehab, don't worry. There are options for folks who need to rebuild their credit. Full disclosure: applying for a regular credit card if you have a bad credit score is not a great idea. You're likely better off sticking to a conservative credit-rebuilding plan that includes a secured card. But don't worry. We'll break it down for you.  Read More...

Mar 17, 2017 Coping with the loss of a loved one is difficult. As you mourn, you'll unfortunately have to think about the financial implications that come with the death. Besides wondering how much the funeral will cost, you might be wondering about the kind of life insurance your friend or relative had. You may also be thinking about the debt left behind and who will be in charge of it now. Read More...

Feb 06, 2017 Summer is here and if you're planning a vacation, a rewards credit card can pave the way to a smoother trip. Accumulating miles, points or cash back can be an easy way to save money, but you also could end up costing yourself some cash if you're not careful. Before you pull out the plastic, it's a good idea to take a look at the missteps that can make your summer getaway more expensive. Read More...

Jan 12, 2016 Summer's here and whether you're planning a quick getaway or a dream vacation, a travel rewards credit card can make your trip more enjoyable. Aside from earning points or miles that you can use to save on airfare and hotels, some cards come packed with extras. If you're on the hunt for a new card, here are four perks you might be able to find available (or ask for). Read More...

May 21, 2018 Credit cards can make shopping a breeze. You can go from store to store without carrying cash or accumulating jingling coins. It might seem like these pieces of plastic give you an endless amount of money to spend, but it’s important to remember that credit cards come with credit limits. And how close you come to reaching that limit has an effect on your credit score. Read More...

Feb 06, 2017 If you’re tired of dealing with your bank, you can look for a new one, stuff your money under your mattress or you can try a credit union. If you've never considered the last option before, here is some information. Joining a credit union could make it easier to get a loan, lower your fees and give you special incentives that you won’t see as a customer of one of the top ten banks. Plus, applying for a credit union credit card can be an easier route to good credit. But these cards do come with some costs. We've got all the details for you. Read More...

May 22, 2018 We all have a sense that more income and less debt are both good things. But what's the ideal ratio between income and debt? If your debt-to-income ratio is too high, any shock to your income could leave you with unsustainable levels of debt. Avoiding debt altogether has drawbacks, too (consider no-fee credit cards and  secured credit cards if you are scared of digging yourself in debt). Let us break it down for you with our guide to the debt-to-income ratio.  Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 Getting a cash advance is not generally anyone's Plan A. If you find yourself coming up short one month, you might need cash in a hurry. While a credit card cash advance is probably not the best way to bridge that gap, if you have already gotten one or are considering it for the future, it's good to understand it. Credit card cash advances usually come with fees and high interest payments. Let us explain. Read More...

Mar 17, 2017 Credit card debt is frequently on the news and on our minds. The average APR on a credit card is around 15%, but those with bad credit pay more (sometimes much more). That kind of interest can add up quickly, sometimes leading to bankruptcy. Of course, we all know that the best way to avoid credit card debt is to pay your bill in full each month. But what happens when that isn't possible? Read More...

Mar 17, 2017 You’ve been swiping your card all month. You bought jeans one day, groceries the next and then a last-minute birthday gift for your grandma – among other things. You weren’t tracking your spending and the time has come to face your statement. Maybe this is your first card and you don’t know how to read the bill. Or maybe you’re a seasoned cardholder who could use a refresher.  Read More...

May 18, 2018 If you're buying your first home or refinancing your mortgage, you'll need to make sure you've got enough money on hand to seal the deal. Closing costs typically make up between 2% and 5% of the purchase price and they have to be paid before the loan can be finalized. When you don't have the cash, you could borrow from family and friends or take an advance from your credit card. If you're considering a cash advance, it's important to be aware of all the potential downsides of that choice. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 If you normally use your credit card to earn rewards on the things you buy every day, charging your monthly rent payment can be a quick way to rack up even more points or miles. Paying your rent with a credit card is certainly more convenient than writing out a check each month, but it comes with certain drawbacks. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind if you decide to use plastic to cover your housing costs. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 It's the same story every month: Your credit card bill is due but your bank account is nearly empty. Maybe your regular pay day falls a week after your credit card due date. Whatever the reason, your credit card payment schedule is far from optimal. But here's some good news: You might be able to work with your credit card issuers to set new deadlines that better align with your monthly cash flow. Read More...

Apr 08, 2016 Summer's right around the corner and it's the perfect time to start planning your vacation. If you're dreaming of a major getaway but you're working on a limited budget, leveraging  credit card rewards can help you get to your destination. Here are four tips to ensure that you get the most out of those miles or points. Read More...

Oct 08, 2018 Rewards credit cards can come in handy when you want to earn points that you can use toward free travel or to put some extra cash back in your pocket. When you're comparing cards, it's important not to overlook all of the different ways you can redeem your rewards. If you've racked up a lot of points, miles or cash back, figuring out how to best use them ensures that they won't end up going to waste. Read More...

Jan 29, 2016 Beginning in October 2015, vendors across America were required to have card readers that could process transactions paid with EMV cards. These new chip cards are supposed to help prevent consumers from having their credit card numbers stolen by hackers and thieves. If you don't understand how these cards make shopping safer, read on to get answers to your burning questions. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Is having multiple credit cards a sign of financial savvy or impending financial doom? That's a tough one to answer, since there are pros and cons to toting more than one card. Let's review: Read More...

Jan 20, 2017 Debit cards feel like a safer choice than credit cards. You won't rack up interest with a debit card, and the money comes out of your account right away. We love these debit card features, but we also know that debit cards aren't perfect. Here are some potential problems with relying heavily on a debit card: Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 Paying interest isn't fun. And it's generally not a very good use of money. So a 0% percent interest offer can be quite tempting. These deals are probably most often seen as an introductory rate on a new credit card. But 0% interest offers are not always what they seem. In fact, in many cases you can still end up paying interest on a 0% interest purchase when all is said and done. Here are some things you should know before signing up for this kind of promotion. Read More...

Feb 07, 2017 There's a community of fierce credit card rewards-chasers out there. Are you considering seeing what all the fuss is about? If you still haven't committed to a rewards credit card, you're probably wondering whether it makes sense to go for one that offers cash back or one that gives points. The answer? It depends on what you need and how you spend. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 As long as you don't carry an unpaid balance, keeping a credit card you don't use won't hurt your credit. In fact, it's actually closing a neglected card that dings your credit score. But while having impeccable credit is great, there are still some times when closing a credit card makes sense. We've got the three times it's probably worth it to cancel your credit card. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 We've all heard the statistic that says the primary cause of divorce is financial. It takes more than love to keep a marriage intact, and unfortunately, many people don't realize that until it's too late. Marriage requires communication and honesty, as well as the knowledge that your life is no longer solely about yourself. Thus, any financial pitfalls made by your spouse will likely blow back on you. If you find yourself in a position in which your spouse is not upholding their end of the financial bargain, there are some steps you can take to deal with it. Here are five things to consider: Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 Prepaid credit cards can certainly be convenient- allowing you to use them as a bank account for your child or as a debit card at a store for yourself. What's more, you also aren’t required to have a background or credit check to get one. Yet although there are a few indisputable benefits for consumers who use prepaid cards, there are many hidden dangers, as well. Here are some of the biggest: Read More...

Nov 12, 2017 The recruiting letters are filling your mailbox and colleges want your child to attend their school next year. But how ready is he or she for freshman year? Students living on their own for the first time can have  serious financial problems, one reason is that it's easy to run up loads of credit card debt. And with exorbitantly high interest rates for college students, it's easy for them to let their balances soar. As a parent, you can look for clues that your child isn't financially ready to handle that first year away, and you can then take steps to remedy the issue before it's too late. Here are five signs your son or daughter doesn't yet know enough about finances for living on their own and isn't ready for that first Read More...

Nov 12, 2017 Hearing about major data security breaches can be scary. You can sometimes feel powerless. Credit card industry expert Matt Schulz joins us for this edition of SmartAsset Talks with tips on how to keep your personal financial information as safe as possible, even with the security breaches. (Hint: it may mean one less check of Twitter or Facebook!)  Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 In life there are the planned, predictable expenses, like rent or mortgage payments. Then there are the unexpected expenses, like the extra night in a hotel when your flight was canceled on the way home from vacation. But what about expenses we know are coming, but that have a flexible deadline? Read on for our top 4 tips on planning for major purchases. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 If you're like most of us, you have a relationship with at least one or two credit cards in your wallet. We tend to take credit cards for granted, but how well do you really know your cards? Do you understand how your APR works, for example? The following are some common terms that will help you better understand your relationship and maybe decide which ones you should reconsider. Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 Signing up for a credit card is one of the easiest ways to establish a new credit history when you're starting from scratch. Getting approved isn't always easy for college students, however. Thanks to the 2009 CARD Act, young adults under age 21 can't get a card without demonstrating sufficient income or enlisting the help of a co-signer. Asking a parent for help is usually the logical choice, but co-signing poses certain risks Mom and Dad need to be aware of. Knowing what's at stake beforehand can help you decide whether helping your child with their credit is a good idea. Read More...

Feb 08, 2017 The 2009 CARD Act brought big changes to the credit card industry, most notably with regard to what banks could and couldn't do when establishing account terms. Specifically, card issuers are now required to give consumers advance notice before any significant changes occur, such as an increase in the interest rate or a reduction of your credit line. If you've gotten a letter from your credit card company letting you know that changes to your account are on the way, it helps to know what your choices are for dealing with it. Read More...

Dec 18, 2017 Beyond just Black Friday, the holiday season is well known as a time for shopping. Stores swarm with deal-hungry shoppers who are eager to rack up points on their  rewards credit cards. You will find some big markdowns before Christmas but there are certain things you should wait until after Christmas to buy. And if you can wait for the after-Christmas sales, here are 10 things you should find at a great price. Read More...

Apr 11, 2017 Beverly Harzog knows the adrenaline rush that can come from spending money. But too much of that shopping left her owing about $20,000 to credit card companies. So she found a way to get that same thrill by paying down her credit card debt. Now she's helping others do the same. In this edition of SmartAsset Talks we caught up with award-winning author Beberly Harzog.  Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 We all know that eating at home is cheaper than eating out, although some might argue that it’s less convenient and more of a hassle to buy groceries, cook and clean up. If you know what to look for at the supermarket, though, you can save up to 50 percent off your food bills each month and cut down on the stress. You can eat healthier, save money and make it more convenient by avoiding the ways you overspend at the supermarket. Here's how: Read More...

Nov 06, 2017 As the holiday season approaches and we move into the new year, we always think about what we want to get our friends and family, but rarely do we think about what to get ourselves. So this time around, don’t forget to add one more name to your gift list: your own. That’s right, it’s time to be selfish. So read on for our list of the best gifts to give yourself this year. Read More...

Oct 17, 2017 The end of the year can be a hard time for your budget. The holidays are on the horizon and your wallet may be feeling the pressure. There are gifts to be bought, bills to be paid and parties to be had. Hosting a holiday gathering can be fun and rewarding, but it can also be a budget buster. However, there are ways to keep costs under control. Here are some simple tips that’ll help you have a memorable Thanksgiving without breaking the bank. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 Chances are you have your own shopping rituals that you use to save money, such as never Christmas shopping in any month that ends in "ber," or checking the clearance rack first. Some rituals are rooted in psychology, like never grocery shopping on an empty stomach, while others are advertising-driven, like Black Friday and late July back-to-school sales. If you're serious about savings, however, you need to kick it up a level and base your purchases not on ritual, but on the time of year. Read More...

May 18, 2018 This time of year, traveling by airplane can be a bit of a gamble. The biggest threat is bad weather: last year alone we saw an ice storm wreak havoc in Dallas just days before Thanksgiving, and blizzards repeatedly ravage the east coast and Midwest during the month of December. Even when the weather is good, however, there’s still plenty of opportunities for big headaches. Flight delays and cancellations can strike at any time, and if you only have a few days or a week to see your family or sit by the beach, disruptions to your itinerary can ruin your vacation. Read More...

Mar 15, 2018 The holiday season is set to get underway, and if you still have to make up your gift list, now's the time to get started. Having a plan makes sticking to your budget much easier, and it relieves a lot of the stress that goes along with holiday shopping. If you want to avoid getting caught up in the buying frenzy, here are some strategies that can save you some serious cash. Read More...

Mar 15, 2018 If you're like me, dining out is one of life's delicious little gifts that you give yourself. Don't get me wrong: I love to cook and eat my own spectacular creations. It's just that the grind can sometimes wear a little thin. The obvious downside to dining out is the cost, as the fact is, you can make that same $9.95 bacon and mushroom burger at home for less than $3. And let's face it: the expense of eating out can take the shine right off the apple of a great meal. That is, unless you have some frugalicious ways to save money without having to do dishes.  Read More...

Mar 15, 2018 The back-to-school sales have ended and Black Friday is still a few weeks off but that doesn't mean you can't score some great deals during the month of October. As the evenings get cooler, sales on certain items start heating up but there are a few things you might want to hold off on buying for a bit longer. Whether you're busy stocking up on Halloween candy or planning your holiday shopping list, take a look at October's best and worst buys. Read More...

May 03, 2018 Just about everyone's heard the old saying about how you have to spend money to make money. It turns out the same can be true when it comes to saving. There are certain things you can buy that may actually help you to trim your spending in the long run, making them worth the upfront expense. If you're looking for ways to save a few extra bucks here and there, take a look at these purchases that can help you save more money in your pocket. Read More...

May 21, 2018 With food prices steadily increasing, finding ways to trim your grocery bill might be at the top of your shopping list. Clipping coupons, cruising the sales and buying generic brands can save you big but the real answer to your food budget woes might be on your cellphone. There are tons of apps out there that are designed to help money-conscious shoppers cut their grocery costs but they're not all created equally. We've put together a list of the best apps to help you save the next time you head to the supermarket. Read More...

Mar 06, 2017 Being in debt drains your wallet and your energy as you struggle to keep up with your payments month after month. When a significant part of what you pay goes straight to the interest, it often feels like you're not making any progress at all. Moving to consolidate your debt can be a good option for people who want to lower their interest rates and simplify their monthly payments. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 Jason Steele is a freelance writer who specializes in credit cards and travel rewards. He has been featured in USA Today, Time and many publications for his expertise. Steele took the time to answer some of SmartAsset's questions: Read More...

Dec 12, 2017 Charging purchases to a credit card can be a great way to earn rewards and discounts on the things you buy but a high interest rate can quickly eat up any savings you earn. Transferring your balances to a card with a lower rate can help you pay your debt down faster, boost your credit score and help you hang on to more of your hard-earned cash but you have to know how to play the balance transfer game.  Read More...

Dec 12, 2017 The credit card industry is booming, with Americans racking up an estimated $900 billion in revolving debt as of April 2015. While that's less than the $916 billion consumers boasted in 2009, it appears that consumers won't be putting away the plastic any time soon. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 The teenage years represent the bridge between childhood and adulthood and the transition can be tough for parents and kids alike. While teens are learning to become more independent, it's up to mom and dad to help guide them in making smart decisions. One of the most important lessons young adults need to learn before they leave the nest centers on how to manage their money. Allowing your teen to have a credit card is a good way to teach them some fiscal responsibility but it can backfire if you're not careful. If you're thinking of getting your teen a credit card here are some questions to consider before handing over the plastic. Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 Whether you're trying to pay down debt, save for a dream vacation or beef up your nest egg, having a budget is a vital part of the plan. Learning how to budget your money is usually a pretty straightforward process but actually following it tends to be a bigger challenge. Buying a new outfit or splurging on dinner out may not seem like a big deal but all those extras can add up to a big budget leak over time. If you've worked out a spending plan but you're having trouble making it work here are some budgeting tips to help you stay on track. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Your credit score is more than just a three-digit number. It's an important financial tool that lenders use to determine how responsible you are when it comes to managing your money. There are several things that affect your credit score, including your payment history and the amount of debt you have, but your banking habits can also make a difference. While swiping your debit card or writing a check won't affect your score directly, how you handle your bank account can impact your creditworthiness. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 Many high school students are already used to using debit and credit cards. However, before they graduate from high school you should make sure your child understands that with adulthood will come an avalanche of free credit offers. Remember, your high schooler cannot get a credit card without your permission, but under the Credit CARD Act of 2009 they are fair game once they turn 21. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 If you're tired of carrying around a mountain of debt, you need a plan to get rid of it once and for all. Deciding which one to tackle first can be a challenge but you it's beneficial to cross them off your list in the right order. Here are a few tips to consider when choosing the most effective strategy to pay off  your debt. Read More...

Nov 12, 2017 Credit card debt is becoming a bigger problem. The latest numbers show the average American household carries more credit card debt than ever before. Read More...

Jul 10, 2018 Whether you like it or not, credit is important and it's here to stay.  Most of us know that you need good credit when applying for loans or apartments. But even employers are starting to check potential employee's credit history these days.  If you're stuck with bad credit, there usually isn't a lot you can do to fix it quickly.  It takes time which is why it pays to open lines of credit early, always make your payments on time and use a low percentage of your available limits. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 Just about everyone finds themselves unable to pay a bill at some point. If you're behind the eight ball you may turn to a payday loan to cover the gap. While this type of loan is convenient, payday lenders typically charge an exorbitant amount of interest and fees. If you can't pay the money back in time, a $500 loan could quickly snowball into $5,000 as the interest piles up. But there are other options. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 It’s tempting to whip out your credit card to fund your holiday shopping spree, but before you do – think. Do you really want to be paying for that “hot toy” of 2013 well into 2020? The problem is many people don’t think about putting small charges on a credit card. The reality is that those small purchases and holiday shopping adds up. Read More...

Apr 20, 2017 It's probably happened to most people once or twice in their life. Standing at the checkout counter minding your own business, you hear the cashier utters six simple words. "Your credit card has been declined." At this point, you can't do a whole lot.  Credit cards are denied all the time for various reasons. But we all still want to avoid the embarrassment of having our card declined in front of a bunch of strangers. Read More...

Jun 27, 2017 It’s a simple fact in today’s world: if you want to establish credit, you have to use credit. Not everyone realizes that until it’s too late though. You can probably get by paying for most major purchases with cash but what about when you want to buy your first house? That’s why it’s actually a good idea to open a couple lines of credit and use credit cards from time to time. That way, when you need your credit score, you’ll have a lengthy history of established credit use. Read More...

Nov 09, 2017 Black Friday is all about shopping. According to the National Retail Federation, 154.4 million people shopped over Thanksgiving weekend in 2016. (That's a lot of rewards credit cards getting a workout!) The average shopper spent about $290 and 74% of that money spent went toward gifts. It makes sense too. Retailers offer some of their best deals and lowest prices on Black Friday. That doesn’t mean you should do all your shopping on Black Friday though. You might find better deals for certain items if you wait a little longer. Read More...

Oct 17, 2017 Any serious hostess knows the importance of the Thanksgiving table. In my past life, I had a stint as a personal shopper at a luxury goods retailer. I would work with interior decorators hired specifically to create Thanksgiving tables for clients. Some people would spend thousands of dollars to create the perfect table – buying beautiful serving pieces and coordinating decorations.  Read More...

Nov 08, 2017 When most of us hear Black Friday, we think of an epic shopping day. We picture packed malls and mobs of shoppers all hunting for the best deals. It’s a day to flex our shopping muscles and rack up points with our rewards credit cards. But how did the day after Thanksgiving become such a big day for spending money? And why is it “Black” Friday? Other days in history, like Black Thursday and Black Tuesday, are days when the stock market struggled. So let’s take a look at this day’s origins. Read More...

Oct 17, 2017 Getting your friends and family together for Thanksgiving dinner can be a fun time. It can also be stressful and expensive hosting for all those people. Don’t worry – we have some tips to keep from going broke when hosting for the holidays. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 When I was 15, my parents gave me my first credit card. It was for emergency use only. Many people thought this was crazy. Most of my friends didn't have one. But it was a way to expose me to credit and teach me about financial literacy. Every time I used the card, I had to account for it and keep track. These are lessons I carried with me into getting my first job, starting college life and now as I ready to enter my career. Many people assume that young people should not be trusted to handle finances responsibly, but it's time to rethink this myth. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 Different retailers often try and talk their customers into signing up for store-branded credit cards. Many of them promise to reward account holders with exclusive discounts and perks. And applying for them can be tempting, especially when the holiday season is in full swing. Before you sign up for a store credit card, however, there are a few things you'll need to think about. Here are some of the pros and cons of applying for a store credit card. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Although man's obsession with gold goes back hundreds or even thousands of years, diamonds are a relatively new one.  Like any other gem stone, diamonds are valuable because they are rare and in high demand.  Without the demand though, they would be worthless.  So why is it that most American males must enter the prime of their lives spending thousands of dollars on a tiny piece of carbon? Read More...

Feb 21, 2018 Using a credit card to pay for everyday purchases can be a convenient way to cover your expenses but only if you're smart about how you use them. As long as you can afford to pay off your balance in full each month, you may be able to take advantage of some significant perks when you use your card. Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 In the past, prepaid cell phones have gotten a bad reputation as they were widely known as the preferred phones for drug dealers and criminals. Today a lot of people, including professionals and business owners are turning in their expensive contract phones for no contract or prepaid cell phones. Why are they making the change? Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 Continuing our series, we scoured the web once again to bring you a list of the best and worst items to buy in July. July marks the middle of summer, when Memorial Day sales have ended and Labor Day sales are still a couple of months away. Still, certain electronics and home items are as cheap as they can be found at this time of the year. Check out what SmartAsset found to be the best and worst buys for July. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Craft brewing, or more specifically home brewed craft beer has long been associated with beer nerds. You know, the kinds of people who spend a little too much time coiffing their mustaches, and breaking down the finer points of hops. For the longest time they were the ones at the very bottom of your dinner party invitation list. That is in until craft brewing became cool and exploded into a multi-billion dollar subset of America’s beer infatuation. The above is, of course, false- beer nerds have always been cool. Rather it's the tastes of American beer consumers that have changed leading to a mass revolt against the tyranny of blandness sold by two titanic beer conglomerates: AB InBev and SAB Miller. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Getting in shape can be expensive with all the pricey exercise class fads and fancy gear. But it doesn't have to be. There are some gyms out there where you can get the benefits of working out without draining your wallet. If you are looking for a place to work out that won't break the bank, check out these deals from the nation’s most popular fitness centers. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 "To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art."-- La Rochefoucauld. Eating well is hard. often because our lives are too busy with the stresses of work, family and obligations. Being constantly on the go, or unable to get away from the desk, means that most of our meals are eaten out of the home, a trend that makes it difficult (especially in a big city) to find food options that are both affordable and healthy. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Camping and hiking are wonderful, cheap ways to spend a weekend getting some exercise and enjoying the outdoors. Camping is a hobby that one can enjoy for his or her entire life. Getting out to the best campsites can be a daunting and expensive task, but only if you allow the costs to add up. Read More...

Feb 27, 2018 If you're struggling with credit card debt, you're far from alone. According to the latest statistics from financial website NerdWallet, in 2015, an estimated 46.7% of U.S. households carried a balance on their credit cards, averaging a hefty $15,863. Read More...

Jun 01, 2016 Credit card debt haunts many Americans. It can take months or even years to pay off balances. High interest rates and fees only make using credit more expensive. While you might be stuck with your interest rate (though you should try negotiating this every once in a while!), it’s possible to avoid racking up fees and additional charges. Check out 15 fees that you can dodge by paying your bills on time and knowing your card’s terms and conditions. Read More...

Dec 12, 2017 Sometimes closing a credit card account is a good idea. If you’re trying to cut back on spending, for instance, cutting up one of your cards might be the best way to regain some self-control. Just keep in mind that ditching a credit card might actually hurt your credit score. Check out 15 tips to consider when you close a credit card in order to protect your credit. Read More...

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