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Credit Score

Dec 07, 2017 It's not always easy to keep up with our spending. Sometimes, before you know it, you've ignored your credit card bill for way too long and your issuer sends the debt to collections. That's gonna hurt your credit. But how long does negative information stay on a credit report? The exact length of time is determined by the Fair Credit Reporting Act and some state laws. Read More...

Oct 17, 2017 Many recent graduates struggle to transition from college to the real world. As independent adults, they may be making major decisions concerning different aspects of their lives, including their finances, for the first time. If they want to buy a home and make other large purchases, they'll probably need to have good credit. But many students don't have the chance to establish a credit history before leaving college. If you're a recent graduate who wants to build credit for the future, here are some ways to get started. Read More...

Jun 27, 2017 Being turned down for a credit card or a loan is never a pleasant experience. But it could happen, particularly if your credit score isn't up to snuff. A rejected application can be a setback, but it doesn't have to permanently prevent you from buying a home or making another major purchase forever. Here are five steps you'll need to take if you've been denied credit. Read More...

Feb 07, 2017 When it comes to borrowing money, your credit score can make or break you. A high credit score can help you qualify for more favorable loan terms. And a low credit score can leave you with an expensive interest rate. Even if you have good credit, you'll need to be careful. Here are three mistakes you should avoid making if you don't want your credit score to fall. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Maintaining a good credit score isn't always easy. Maxing out credit cards, making late payments and failing to pay off your student loan debt are just a few moves that can hurt your credit. Even selling your home could potentially have an impact on your credit. Before you get to the closing table, here's everything you need to know about home sales and credit scores. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 If you're a little confused about how credit scores are calculated, you're definitely not alone. Credit scoring models can be difficult to interpret, which isn't very helpful when you're trying to improve your credit. But don't worry - we're here to help. We'll dive into what you need to know about two popular credit scoring systems: the FICO scoring model and the VantageScore model. Read More...

Aug 03, 2016 Hunting for a new apartment? Don't be surprised if your landlord says that she needs to check your credit before you sign a lease. In addition to contacting references, landlords often run credit checks to make sure potential tenants are responsible. If you're curious to know what landlords look for when reviewing credit reports, read on to learn more about their credit-checking process. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 If you're nearing retirement (or you've already retired), you might think that your credit score doesn't matter all that much anymore. You might be surprised, however, to learn that your credit score can affect your financial life even if you're no longer working a 9-to-5. Here are four good reasons to keep your credit score on track after deciding to leave the workforce for good. Read More...

Mar 25, 2016 Planning for the arrival of a new baby is exciting, but you'll probably have to face some major financial changes. Between buying baby gear and planning for medical expenses, your budget can easily get blown out of the water. Plus, you could put your credit score at risk without even realizing it. If you've recently brought home a new bundle of joy or you've got one on the way, you can't afford to let your credit slide. Here's how to make sure your score doesn't take a dive. Read More...

Nov 15, 2017 Your credit shapes just about every major financial aspect of your life, from your ability to rent an apartment to your chances of getting a mortgage. Establishing a solid credit history in your 20s can put you on the right path, but that's easier said than done. According to a recent survey from Credit Karma, 68% of adults wreck their credit before age 30. If you don't want to fall into that category, check out these five credit rules for 20-somethings. Read More...

Feb 06, 2017 Building credit is somewhat of a catch-22. You need a credit history to qualify for new credit but you often can't establish that history without having debt. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, about 26 million Americans have blank credit reports. For these people, even something like getting a cellphone contract or utility service might require a big deposit. Read More...

Dec 19, 2016 Credit scores are pretty mysterious. Your score can change overnight and vary by credit bureau. While there's no secret formula to obtaining a perfect credit score, there are certain actions you can take to give it a boost. On the other hand, there are some moves that actually won't help your score at all. Read More...

Nov 25, 2015 It's that time of year again and as much as you might dread it, the holiday shopping season can't be avoided. Whether you're planning to head out to the stores on Black Friday or do all of your shopping online, keeping your financial details safe is a must. Before you get caught up in the holiday rush, it's important to make sure you're following these rules to protect your accounts. Read More...

Dec 19, 2016 Achieving a perfect credit score is an impressive feat. But only a tiny percentage of consumers ever hit the 850 mark. Getting a perfect score requires a lot of hard work. And while it'll make you a shoo-in for a loan, a perfect score isn't necessary to qualify for financing. If you're focused on nailing that elusive perfect score, here's why might want to rethink your strategy. Read More...

Feb 01, 2017 Identity thieves and hackers seem to show very little mercy these days. Anyone can become a target and have their personal information stolen and used illegally. That goes for minors, too. As a parent, it's important to monitor your own credit report, bills and bank accounts. It's just as important to be vigilant and ensure that your son or daughter doesn't become a victim of fraud. Read More...

Jun 27, 2017 When it comes to personal finance, it's natural to wonder how you compare to others. Want to know if your credit score is average? You've come to the right place. The good news is that American credit scores are on the rise. It seems we all learned something from the Great Recession. If your credit score is still below average, that means you have serious competition for the best interest rates on mortgages and more. Read More...

Dec 19, 2016 Your credit score can affect everything from whether you can buy a home to whether you can refinance your  student loans. Maybe your score is low because you've recently applied for multiple credit cards. That's okay - it's never too late to adopt better habits. Before you apply for more credit, let's take a moment to discuss the difference between hard and soft inquiries. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 College grads leave school with plenty of knowledge, but personal finance is one area where they tend to fall short. If you don't actually know the difference between a credit report and a credit score, it's time for a crash course. Here are the most important credit rules new grads need to follow to avoid being turned down for a home or car loan in the future. Read More...

Dec 19, 2016 Credit scores are very important when it comes to your finances but ironically, they're also widely misunderstood. From how they're calculated to what they're used for, many consumers are getting it all wrong. If you're a little vague on the details of how credit scores work, these are some of the biggest misconceptions you need to steer clear of. Read More...

Jun 25, 2018 Improving your credit can take time and you might have to really pay attention to the choices you're making to see a big payoff. If you're diligent about reducing your debts and paying your bills on time, attaining a credit score in the 750 or higher range can be an achievable goal. Once your credit hits that mark, it can open the door to some new possibilities. Read More...

Feb 07, 2017 Establishing a great credit score isn't rocket science. But for so many Americans, it continues to be an elusive goal. If you dream of seeing your score hit the 850 mark, it's going to take some time and work to get it there. In the meantime, you can commit to good financial practices. It's important to start doing the following five things now if you want your credit score to climb. Read More...

Oct 17, 2017 A low credit score is more than just a number. It affects the interest rate you'll pay on a home mortgage - and whether you can get a mortgage at all. If your credit score is lower than you'd like, there's hope. Rebuilding your credit takes time, but it's doable. Let us help put you on the path to a higher score right now. Here are some tips on how you can rebuild your credit. Read More...

Dec 19, 2016 A good credit score can really go a long way these days, especially if you're planning on refinancing your home or applying for a mortgage or new car loan in the near future. Having a black mark or two appear on your credit report can work against you and it can be especially frustrating if your score drops because of some accidental error or inaccuracy. Read More...

Nov 09, 2017 Having your identity stolen can be devastating, especially when the thief racks up thousands of dollars of debt in your name and leaves a trail of unpaid bills that wreck your credit. The only thing worse than the theft itself is finding out that the person behind it all is a close friend or family member. Not only are you stuck trying to figure out how to repair your credit, but you also have to decide whether you want to try to salvage the relationship. If you've discovered that someone you trust has been abusing your credit information, you've got to have an action plan for dealing with the financial and emotional fallout. Read More...

Jun 28, 2017 A good credit score is vital to your financial health, especially if you're planning on making a major purchase, such as a home or a new car. While most people know that the higher your score is, the better, they may not realize that they actually have more than one. While FICO scores are probably the most recognizable, there are a number of scoring systems that lenders use to decide how fiscally responsible you are. If you're curious about how the different credit scores compare, here's a rundown of the basics. Read More...

Nov 09, 2017 The holiday season is underway and savvy shoppers are on the hunt for all the best deals. One of the ways you can potentially save big is by using a store credit card to purchase some of the items on your list, but there are some pitfalls to consider. While these cards often come with lots of incentives, the cost of using them tends to be higher than a traditional credit card. Shoppers who are planning on using a retail card over the holidays should be well-versed in how they work before hitting the stores. Read More...

Dec 05, 2014 The holidays will be here before you know it, and the stores are already prepping for the shopping rush. It's easy to let yourself get carried away when you're buying gifts for all of the people on your list, but you can potentially save some money by using your credit card rewards to foot some of the bill. If parting with less of your hard-earned cash this holiday season is music to your ears, then here are some tips for wisely using all those points or miles you've racked up. Read More...

Jan 09, 2017 The holidays are upon us and shoppers are heading out in full force to scoop up deals on everything from toys to clothes to electronics. 'Tis the season for spending big, and for some, that means using plastic to pay for all the items on their shopping list. There are definitely some advantages to using credit for holiday gift-giving expenses, but it's easy to get in trouble if you're not careful. Whether you're out fighting the crowds or shopping from the comfort of home, you don't want to make any of these seven credit card mistakes. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 Credit cards are part-convenience, part-curse for those who don't use them wisely. Pulling out the plastic to pay for things you can't really afford and only paying the minimum each month is the easiest way to land yourself in debt. When the bills grow to the point where you can't pay, you may be tempted to just turn your back on them altogether. Yet while skipping out on a credit card bill isn't quite as serious as defaulting on a mortgage, you'll pay the price in more ways than one. If you've fallen behind on your monthly payments, here's a look at what you can expect. Read More...

Nov 09, 2017 Divorce puts a serious strain on your emotions, but there's also the potential for long-lasting damage to your finances. If you and your former spouse racked up a significant amount of debt together during the marriage, untangling the mess can be a challenge. When you owe credit card bills, car loans or mortgage loans jointly, it puts both your credit scores at risk if they go unpaid. On that note, if your credit has taken a hit because of a divorce, there are some things you can do to repair the damage. Read More...

Feb 08, 2017 The three-digit number college students are usually most familiar with is their GPA, but there's another one that's just as important: your credit score. Good credit is essential if you want to buy a car or a home down the road, so it's important to start building your score as early as possible. If you're headed off to college for the first time or you're already a seasoned student, here are six important credit score lessons to learn. Read More...

Nov 09, 2017 Building a strong credit score is no simple feat, but it may be getting a little easier thanks to a new bill recently proposed in Congress. Dubbed the Fair Credit Reporting Improvement Act of 2014, it would make broad changes in how credit scores are calculated. It follows the Fair Isaac Corporation's announcement last month that it would be tweaking its scoring model to reduce the amount of weight given to collection accounts and medical debts. Read More...

Oct 21, 2014 Credit cards are out and cash is king, at least among millennials. According to a recent survey, 63% of young adults ages 18 to 29 don't have any major credit cards at all. That figure reflects the more conservative attitude millennials seem to have when it comes to managing their money. While avoiding credit card debt is certainly good for your financial health, sidestepping credit cards altogether may have some unintended consequences that could hurt your wallet. Read More...

Dec 29, 2016 When you're strapped for cash or you need to borrow money for a big purchase, taking out a loan can help close the gap. Banks and credit unions are great options if you need something short-term with a low interest rate, but it's hard to get approved if your credit's not that great. If your credit score has taken a hit, you may be forced to explore some less attractive lending options. Bad credit loans are designed for people with a less than optimal credit history but there are some serious drawbacks to consider before signing on the dotted line. Read More...

Dec 29, 2016 Sometimes paying in cash is inconvenient, difficult or impossible - that's where credit card issuers come in. According to payment systems research firm the Nilson Report, $4.765 trillion in payments were made in plastic across the world last year. And most of those transactions were conducted through a handful of companies that dominate the credit card industry. Here, according to Nilson, are the biggest credit card companies in America by the percentage of the market they control. Read More...

Feb 06, 2017 Credit cards are a convenient way to pay for things and even earn rewards for your purchases. They also come in handy when you're trying to establish a solid payment history or improve your credit score. If you've never had one, you might think that all cards are more or less equal but that's far from the truth. When you're choosing your first piece of plastic, it pays to do your homework and be selective. Read on for our guide.  Read More...

Dec 29, 2016 Identity theft has become a hot topic in the news, especially after major retailers like Target and Michael's were hit by large-scale security breaches. Keeping your personal information safe is more challenging than ever. Identity thieves are using increasingly sophisticated tactics to gain access to your data. Initiating a credit freeze can be an effective way to prevent certain forms of identity theft but there are some potential drawbacks. Here's a brief rundown of what it means to freeze your credit and things to keep in mind if you're considering one. Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 Summer is over and travel deals abound. Maybe you're planning a blow-out end-of-the-season international trip before the cold weather arrives. But before you head to the airport, make sure that you've completed your credit card prep. Read More...

Nov 09, 2017 If you've ever been denied for a credit card or loan, you know how important a good credit score is. The higher your score, the better the odds of getting approved and the less you'll pay in interest on what you borrow. Late payments are usually the biggest score-killer but unpaid medical bills can do their fair share of damage. In an effort to make getting access to credit easier for certain borrowers, FICO has announced that it's making some key changes to its scoring model. Read More...

Dec 19, 2016 You've probably heard the common advice for improving your credit score: Pay off as much debt as possible. Pay all your bills on time. Close any credit card account that you're not using. Well, it might be time to reconsider that last part. Closing unused credit card accounts isn't nearly as beneficial to your three-digit credit score as you might think. In fact, it might even hurt your score. Read More...

Aug 27, 2014 When you see stories in the news about identity theft they usually revolve around large-scale operations involving millions of victims. But that doesn't paint the whole picture. Although it hasn't received as much attention, medical identity theft is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways for criminals to hijack your personal information. Read More...

Feb 07, 2017 Getting out of debt is never easy and for some people, filing bankruptcy is the only light at the end of the tunnel. Nearly 1.1 million Americans filed bankruptcy in 2013, with the majority of cases involving individuals seeking Chapter 7 protection. If you're being hounded by debt collectors or you simply can't pay, this can be a fast way to get some financial relief. The downside is that once your case is complete your credit score looks pretty abysmal. Improving your credit after bankruptcy is often a long slow climb but there are some things you can do to speed the process along. Read More...

Dec 28, 2016 Aside from the damage it can cause to your credit, one of the worst consequences of leaving a bill unpaid is the being hounded by a debt collector. While some creditors use an in-house agent to track down outstanding accounts, others will sell the debt for pennies on the dollar to a debt collection agency. Once this happens, you may be subject to a flurry of phone calls and letters, all demanding that you pay up. Fortunately, federal law protects consumers from harassing or harmful behavior. If you've been subject to collection actions, it's vital that you understand your rights. Read More...

Aug 05, 2014 Your credit score tells lenders a lot about you, like how well you pay your bills on time and how responsible you are when it comes to managing debt. FICO scores, Beacon scores and Plus scores are all calculated using different criteria and people often have misconceptions about what they are. Knowing what does and doesn't impact your score can help you avoid any potentially damaging mistakes. Here are six things that won't help to improve your credit. Read More...

Dec 29, 2016 If you're planning to buy a home or apply for a car loan, it helps to know what potential lenders are looking for. Your credit history and credit score play a significant part in determining whether you'll be approved. Understanding what goes into your report and how your score is calculated can make the process easier. We've broken down six of the most common credit myths to help you separate fact from fiction. Read More...

Dec 19, 2016good credit score is essential to your financial picture. It can get you lower interest rates on your auto loan, mortgage, credit cards, and various other forms of consumer debt - it can also keep your car insurance premiums down, and improve your chances of landing a job. So, if your score isn't up to snuff, you've got some work to do. Fortunately, there are plenty of moves you can make to improve it. Read More...

Jun 06, 2018 When you've gotten in over your head with credit cards or medical bills are piling up, you may think going bankrupt is your only way out. According to the U.S. Court System Administration Office, there were 936,795 bankruptcy filings in 2014, the majority of which were individuals claiming Chapter 7. While going this route allows you to wipe the slate clean, it also has a devastating impact on your credit. Bankruptcy is meant to be a last-resort option but there are certain situations when filing may be your best bet. Read More...

Dec 29, 2016 When you apply for a loan or a credit card, the first thing lenders look at is your credit score. While it may seem like a small thing, this three-digit number determines whether you get approved for new credit and what kind of interest rates you'll pay. The higher your number the better, but it takes time to build up a solid score. Read More...

Nov 09, 2017 Anyone who's ever experienced a serious illness or injury knows that those doctor bills can really add up, especially if you don't have insurance. Working out a payment plan can keep the debt collectors at bay but if you've racked up thousands of dollars in medical debt it could take years to pay off. In the meantime, those hefty medical bills could be slowly destroying your credit score. Read More...

Nov 15, 2017 Rewards, points, and cash, oh my! If used responsibly (paid-off in-full on-time) credit cards can be very rewarding. Who doesn’t like an extra? Not all rewards are created equal. If there are annual fees, the rewards might not even be worth it depending on your spending habits. When I was choosing a new credit card, I was firmly anti-annual fee. From there I had to decide which reward I wanted and my thought process was this: Read More...

May 28, 2014 We've all seen the news stories lately about virtual identity thieves hacking unsuspecting customers' credit card accounts but there's another growing scam you may not be aware of. Skimming is becoming an increasingly popular way for crooks to access your credit and debit card information which can then be used to pilfer your accounts. Read More...

May 16, 2014 Most people’s first venture into establishing credit is opening a credit card. Unfortunately, many of those people are young, on their own for the first time, and still figuring out how to handle their money. This can lead to a number of problems, often eventually leading to poor credit. However, opening a credit card does not have to spell disaster and can actually set you up for having and maintaining a good credit score - if you know how to handle them properly. Here are five common credit card mistakes to avoid. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 Financial experts always tell you to read your credit report. And this is good advice. By studying your report, you can determine whether someone has opened a credit-card account in your name or whether your lender mistakenly says that you missed a car payment when you've never paid one even a day late. Read More...

May 27, 2015 Planning for your financial future can seem like a daunting task, but it does not have to be. Finances can be confusing and there is a bit of a learning curve, but there are a few key things you should do if you are trying to secure your financial future. You do not have to be rich or extremely wealthy to have a secure financial future. However, you do need to pay attention to your finances and be willing to make changes when needed. Here are four things you should have to help ensure a secure financial future. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 As the high profile security breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus have demonstrated, identity thieves are becoming more savvy than ever when it comes to accessing your private information. With just a few keystrokes, hackers can steal your bank account and credit card numbers, creating a financial nightmare for unsuspecting victims. If you think your identity's been stolen, taking action as quickly as possible can go a long way towards minimizing the damage. Here are some key moves to make if you've become the target of identity theft. Read More...

Dec 19, 2016 With all the talk about hurting or helping your credit score these days, there are probably a lot of confused consumers out there.  Most credit monitoring companies try to portray your credit as a mythical entity but managing your credit doesn't have to be a mystery. Read More...

Dec 31, 2014 You've done your taxes and instead of getting a refund it turns out you owe Uncle Sam even more money. Asking for an extension gives you more time to file but it won't get you off the hook for any penalties or interest that accrue on your tax bill. If you're short on cash but you don't want to be in debt to the IRS you could use a credit card to close the gap. Paying your taxes with a credit card can actually work to your advantage in certain situations but it's not the right choice for everyone. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you pull out the plastic. Read More...

Oct 06, 2014 Credit cards can be a double-edged sword and if you don't handle them carefully, it's easy to do serious damage to your finances. Charging purchases is certainly convenient and you can even score big rewards, like cash back or airline miles but there's always the danger of racking up high-interest debt. As long as you're paying your card off in full each month, how much you charge may not matter. Read More...

Mar 12, 2014 Need a new credit card? It might be easier to get one today, even if you’ve missed payments in the past. But even if you can qualify for a new card, you need to watch out for potential traps. Read More...

Sep 25, 2017 According to the American Association of Credit and Collections Bureau, more than 75 million people in the U.S. reported having trouble paying their medical bills. That’s a staggering number, and it's one that has been increasing. In 2005, only 53 million people reported having medical debt. And this isn't something you can ignore. Medical debt is the most common type of debt in collections and dismissing your medical bills can be detrimental to your credit score. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 Many parents are in the middle of filling out their student's FAFSA form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This can make you and your child a prime target for scammers and identity thieves. Think about it, your child has either no credit or limited credit and doesn't check his or her credit report on a regular basis. Here are five things you can do to reduce the risk of you and your child falling victim during the financial aid process. Read More...

Dec 29, 2016 There was a time when a trip to the supermarket ended with the question from the cashier – paper or plastic? The cashier was of course asking about what type of bag you wanted your groceries packed in. While paper bags fell into disuse the phrase of paper or plastic stuck around but the meaning changed to cash or credit card. Read More...

Apr 13, 2018 Getting into debt easy. Digging your way out, on the other hand, is usually a much tougher challenge. Whether you've got credit cards, student loans or a car, eliminating your debt requires discipline, a little sacrifice and a solid strategy for paying it down. If you're just blindly throwing money at your bills each month, chances are you're not making much of a dent in what you owe. It's possible that you could even be sabotaging your debt payoff by making some of these common money mistakes. Read More...

Feb 07, 2017 Rewards credit cards offer not only convenience but the potential to earn some major perks like free travel, merchandise, gift cards or even cold hard cash. The smarter you are about using your card, the bigger the payoff will be. Before you pull out the plastic, take a look at these six strategies for making the most of your credit card rewards. Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 Carrying around high interest debt is like living in a financial black hole. You throw money at credit card bills each month but the balances never seem to go down. You want to sock away extra money for retirement and other financial goals, but there just never seems to be any cash left once you're done feeding the debt monster. Read More...

Feb 07, 2017 There are those, myself included, who will tell you that having no credit is worse than having bad credit. While this is largely anecdotal, it seems that creditors don't like virgins, credit virgins that is. It's like looking for your first job where positions are listed as entry level but employers really want someone with experience. Read More...

Feb 08, 2017 Shopping with a credit card is a smart way to rack up rewards on just about everything you buy, but not all cards are created equally. Retail credit cards, for example, offer discounts and other incentives to shoppers who favor a particular store. But using one doesn't always guarantee you'll get the best deal. Read More...

Dec 19, 2016 Keeping your credit score high isn't as simple as paying your bills on time (though that helps!). There are many other factors to consider. I was always under the assumption that you want to close old credit cards that have no value to you. Read More...

Dec 29, 2016 If you're not taking the time to read over your credit card statement carefully each month, you could be in for an eye-opening experience. Your bill could be loaded with extra charges or sneaky fees that you're not aware of, which are slowly siphoning your cash. Here's everything you need to know about grey charges and how to avoid them. Read More...

Sep 25, 2017 Your credit score is more than just a number, it's a report card of sorts. It tells lenders how well you manage your finances. The better your credit score is, the more likely you can be approved for loans, credit cards or other types of credit. A higher credit score can also mean you get better interest rates. It doesn't take much to damage your credit. But building your score back up takes time. If your credit's less than stellar, here are five tips to repair your credit. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree - but they also say one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. According to a new study from the American Institute of CPAs and the Ad Council, 25-34 year olds base their financial decisions on friends, not elders. More than three fourths of young adults say their financial habits are dictated by their peers. The source seems to be peer pressure. Millennials are pressured to keep up with their friends' lifestyles from housing and clothing to restaurants and gadgets. Read More...

Nov 12, 2017 There are so many credit cards to choose from. It can be overwhelming picking between travel rewards, cash back options, and interest rates. But it's just confusing to hear that some are free and other credit cards come with an annual fee. Does it make sense to pay for the privilege of using a specific card? We've got the answer. Read More...

Jun 26, 2017 In the past few years we've seen a resurgence of point-earning credit cards and handsome sign up bonuses. There are a number of ways to earn credit card points and miles. However, redeeming those rewards for things you actually need and want is a whole another game in itself. 50,000 points won't do you a whole lot of good if you can never use them. Read More...

Dec 19, 2016 There are some facts that are immutable: 1. The modern world as we know it runs on credit. 2. Access to credit is governed by credit scores. 3. Crime is driven by greed. The first two facts above drive a particular type of the third. Scams, cons, hustles, and plain old fraud are some of the terms used to describe the types of crime that are the product of need for credit. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 Bills, bills and more bills.  We all have them. But when you're struggling financially, they can really be a burden on your financial health and well being.  Even though you might not necessarily live paycheck to paycheck, if you were to suddenly lose your main source of income would you know which bills you should pay first? Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 You've done your best to keep up with your debt payments but find yourself falling further and further behind. Debt collectors are calling about unpaid bills and some are even threatening to sue. So what do you do? Read More...

Oct 17, 2017 A good credit score is the key to getting approved for the best interest rates. But building a solid credit history takes time. Using a credit card is one of the easiest ways to improve your score but it can be hard to get approved, especially for young adults who are just starting out or for people with damaged credit. If you're looking to beef up your score but you can't or don't want to use a credit card, here are a few alternatives that can help get your credit on the right track. Read More...

Feb 08, 2017 Student life is busy: school, internships, part-time jobs, friends, dating, and staying involved on campus. It may seem easier to worry about grades than your credit score, but college is a great time to start building credit. The key is to take calculated steps in becoming financially independent. Using a credit card can be a way to do that.  Here's a list of tips for college students who are ready to begin establishing credit. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 If you're drowning in credit card debt, you may think bankruptcy is the only way to dig yourself out. While filing bankruptcy can give you a clean financial slate, it can also cause serious damage to your credit that may take years to repair. Settling your debts is an easier way to get out of the hole. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Credit cards can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you use them. If you're charging more than you can pay off each month or you're using your cards to shuffle your debt around, it's probably time to put them away for good. On the other hand, there are some benefits to paying with credit if you're using your cards wisely. Depending on what you're buying, you may be able to take advantage of special deals or discounts, earn rewards for every dollar you spend or get added protection for your purchases. Here are just a few things that you may be better off buying with plastic. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 I'm reasonably confident that when Benjamin Franklin wrote that time is money back in 1748 he was not talking about the relationship between the term of a loan and the cost of money being borrowed. However, that doesn't mean we can't appropriate the sentiment when we discuss car loans. The credit report agency Experian reported in March that the average term for a new car loan jumped to a record of 65 months for the fourth quarter of 2012. They reported nearly a 20 percent increase in loans ranging from 73 to 84 months over the same quarter the year before. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 Having less than perfect credit shouldn't be an invitation to being taken advantage of but it often is. The fact is that the worse your credit is the worse it can get if you're not careful. The reason is that when you agree to bad terms because you desperately need a car often results in late or missed payments or still worse default. Read More...

Dec 22, 2014 If credit drives the world of personal finance what happens when your credit report has a flat tire. From credit cards to home mortgages and car loans, even career opportunities are driven by credit reports. These are some of the reasons why maintaining an accurate credit report should be such an integral part of our financial life. Read More...

Jun 19, 2018 There is no magic bullet to repairing your credit score. It often takes a lot of hard work and a long time to repair years of damage to your credit score. There is no silver bullet answer that will raise your credit score hundreds of points overnight. But, there are a few small changes that you can make that can increase your credit score in a very short amount of time. If you are going to be buying a house or even taking out a loan on a new car, increasing your credit score a few points can put you in a better category in your lender’s eyes. This often results in a lower interest rate. Read More...

Jul 05, 2018 These days it seems like you need a good credit score for just about everything.  Whether you want to buy a new car, apply for an apartment or even get a job, they all want to know what your credit score looks like.  It’s obviously important to maintain a good credit score but at a certain point, you’re going to have to use that score to apply for a line of credit or prove that you’re a worthy tenant. Read More...

Mar 14, 2018 Imagine there is a knock on your front door and when you answer a complete stranger says I want $3.23 and I’ll be back again tomorrow for another $3.23 and the day after that, in fact I’ll be back every day for the next 5 years for my $3.23. You would probably slam the door in his face and maybe even call the police. You would be even more upset the stranger demanded $9.40 a day and you might be driven to rage if he insisted that you fork over almost twenty bucks a day! Still if you are an average American with less than outstanding credit you are giving away $5, $10, $20 or more every day to complete strangers. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Establishing a good credit rating is one of the most important things you can do to get ahead financially. If you intend to buy a car or home, the financing will be both easier and considerably cheaper if you have a good credit score. If you have no credit history yet, you need to be strategic about establishing and maintaining it. If you have a negative credit history, take immediate steps to repair it. Once you are in good standing, time will be your best friend. One of the ironies of credit is that debt is considered a positive thing. If you have no debt, you would think lenders would see you as low risk. But the opposite is true. What lenders look for is a history of timely repayment on debt. Read More...

May 18, 2018 Shopping and banking online occur constantly in the Internet marketplace. Unfortunately, online fraud and identify theft occurs just as frequently, thanks to clever thieves and sloppy consumer Internet shopping habits. Online transactions always carry some risk, but consumers can do many things to increase their security on the web. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 People with damaged credit or bad spending habits will try anything to protect themselves from poor decisions. Of course, there is always some corporation there ready and willing to offer you a product marketed to look like something that can help you. Enter the prepaid debit card. The prepaid debit card can be used anywhere a credit card can be used. You can only use the funds that have been deposited into the account attached to the card and it can be replenished at any time. The reason why this type of card is sold at all is because of the perceived theory that people with bad credit can only qualify for this and that it will help build and repair a person’s credit. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Marketers and advertisers learned long ago that no other word sells more than Free. Sell, free, isn’t that an oxymoron. Technically no, but it is an apparent contradiction and the terms do appear to cancel each other out and yet the fact remains that the word free is a great marketing word Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 When it comes to building credit, many of us are confused as to how to actually build good credit, and the major details that make up a credit card contract or a credit report. This information is extremely important to be aware of, especially when starting out or trying to rebuild your credit after a financial set back. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Do you want to buy a house or car in the future and your credit has been less than perfect? Have you broken some of the rules of credit and afraid it will come back to haunt you? Having good credit is essential, especially in this economy. Banks and lenders are becoming more stringent about who they extend their credit to and people with questionable scores who may have qualified 5 years ago, may not now. Our ten credit commandments will help you keep your credit score high, so you won’t be left out in the dark when you need a loan. Read More...

Dec 19, 2016 Recently, VantageScore Solutions and the Consumer Federation of American conducted a survey to find out how many people were knowledgeable when it came to credit scores and their affects on finances. The majority of people knew what a credit score was all about, how to increase it, and that they needed to pay on time to maintain reputable credit. There were some aspects of the in’s and out’s of credit scores however, that left some scratching their heads. Here is a summary of the major facts people were unaware of. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Once upon a time there was a young man who was working full time while also going to school. He was making good money for a kid that age, and although he was paying his own way through school, he still had plenty of excess income to have fun on the weekends. When he started receiving credit card offers, he thought he had really made it. Despite warnings from his father, he filled out those applications, and when those little pieces of plastic came in the mail, the journey down “Bad Decision Way” began. Despite having some extra money, he started using that card, and when an emergency came and he really needed it, his card was already too far gone to help. Read More...

Dec 18, 2014 Credit makes the world go ‘round. Good credit makes borrowing money less expensive and that opens to door to all sorts of perks. On the other hand poor credit may not close doors but it certainly makes them a lot more expensive to open. Keeping your credit nose clean, metaphorically speaking is all you need to do. If only it were that simple! Read More...

Jan 13, 2016 Credit card fraud is a traumatic event on so many levels. Not only is the act of theft a frightening breach of security. There’s also the short-term loss of funds, which can happen at any inopportune moment. On top of that are the longer-term effects, such as identity theft and credit damage. Consider your credit card information one of the most valuable proprietary items in your possession. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 It's clear that debt can impact your credit score. There are few things that cause more stress than the looming specter of debt.  Even when you are meeting monthly payments and staying afloat, that silent ball and chain still drags behind you, clinking now and then to remind you that you are not really free. It seems logical to assume that the psychological burden debt carries could adversely affect one’s mental health.  I did a little investigating to find some hard numbers on this phenomenon and see what science has to say about the relationship between debt and mental health. Read More...

Feb 27, 2017 Some platinum credit cards are free and accessible to consumers with solid credit history. For example neither Wells Fargo nor Discover's platinum cards require fees. However other platinum credit cards require annual fees up to $450. So what makes having a platinum credit card so special and are the steep fees really worth it? Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 Many of us have a family member or friend who seems to be unable to get it quite right with their finances. Whether they are our children, and are just starting out or an older relative or parent who has taken a financial hit, if they come to us for help, we want to be able to give them the help them the help they need. This help can come in the form of cosigning for a loan. Read More...

Dec 21, 2016 Debt free people aren’t born, they’re made. It’s easy to look at people without debt with stank-faced envy as you spend your days paying off student loans, car payments, or the speedboat that solved your midlife crisis. However, becoming one of them might not be as complicated as it seems. Read More...

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