Credit Cards

Save Money on Holiday Credit Card Interest

If you were counting on a holiday bonus or tax refund to pay off your holiday charges, you may not be able to. According to Hewitt Associates, 63% of companies surveyed don’t plan to give holiday bonuses this year. Due to the credit crunch, many businesses that previously offered bonuses have had to forgo them or scale them back. There’s a silver lining – many companies are switching…
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Four Ways to Maintain Active Credit Cards

If you have an older or high-limit credit card that you don’t carry a balance on, you run the risk of having it cancelled by the issuer, most likely without warning. Unfortunately, losing that card will damage your FICO score by reducing your utilization ratio and shortening your credit history. Even if you prefer not to use credit, it’s important that you keep an older credit card active…
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How a Reduced Credit Limit Affects You

If you have a credit card, then you’ve likely heard stories of credit issuers drastically reducing credit limits and wreaking havoc on credit scores. So far, I had been spared, until today when I received the dreaded letter. My case wasn’t as severe as most, but I still called the bank to see if I could get it raised. Here’s what happened. The Background First, the background. I’ve…
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Watch Your Credit Card Bill for Small Fraudulent Charges

A recent story about the spate for credit card fraud involving small charges reminded me of something that happened to me recently. My Potential Credit Card Fraud Scam I don’t actually know that this was fraud, but I know that American Express settled the dispute within four days and neither my husband nor I made the charge. I don’t check my credit card statement frequently, because my husband does. However,…
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What Does the CARD Act Mean for Credit Scores?

I mentioned some of the new rules that were put into place with the CARD act, so you may be wondering, “Will these new rules affect my credit score?” In a word, no. Of course, it’s not entirely that simple, but the rules were not intended to improve your credit score. They were intended to improve the credit atmosphere and curb lender abuses. Some of those may help your…
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Are Credit Cards Evil Traps?

Today USA Today ran a familiar story about various people who are choosing not to use credit cards.  I’ve seen similar stories in The Los Angeles Times, Money Magazine, and various blogs. The quotes are similar – we didn’t want to be slaves to debt, we spend more with credit cards, bank are evil. Personally, I don’t understand this fear of credit cards, but what I found even more interesting…
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Get a Free Credit Report if the Bank Cancels Your Credit Card

Last week I got a letter from Chase informing me that they were canceling my former Washington Mutual card. The result? A free credit report! The Initial Shock of Having a Card Canceled I’ve had several credit cards canceled due to inactivity over the last year or two. I didn’t find out about the gas card or several of the store cards until I tried to update my address when…
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That Makes Me Stabby: Credit Card Annual Fees

Last week, the news was abuzz about that Bank of America and Citigroup had followed through on their threats to impose new annual fees. Several other banks rushed to announce that they won’t be imposing fees. The very idea that one of my cards could slap me with a new fee just for having the card in my wallet and not using it really makes me stabby. My Policy about Annual Fees…
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Consumers Get a Break on Credit Cards – Finally

First the bad news: these rules don’t take effect until July, 2010. Under the new rules for the good news: today the Federal Reserve Board issued strict new rules barring the deceptive and punitive practices of many credit card issuers. The policy statement is quite extensive, but these are the rules I think are most important: The Interest Rate on Existing Balances Can’t Increase For the most part, the interest…
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How Many Credit Cards Do You Need?

With all the news that credit card companies are closing accounts and cutting credit limits left and right, my first reaction was to get incensed. How dare they reduce my credit? How dare they deny me what I’ve “earned”? Then I realized that my first reaction upon receiving my credit limit increase letters was laughter. There was no way I needed as much credit as they wanted to give me.…
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