Credit Cards Aren’t Bad, They’re Misunderstood

Credit Cards Aren't Bad, They're Misunderstood

If you read a lot of articles about personal finances, you’ve likely seen many that recommend against credit cards. They act like credit cards are the enemy and cause people to go into debt. Credit cards are neutral at the beginning and whether they become good or bad depends on who is using them and how they use them.

If used correctly, a Credit Card can be a great way to have purchasing power, build good credit, and even offer rewards, as long as they are used responsibly.

A credit card is also an important part of daily life, as it is necessary for many services. Have you tried to rent a hotel or car lately? They all want you to put a credit card on file before they let you sign up.

So, instead of thinking credit cards are a bad thing, you need to learn to use credit cards properly, pay your credit card bills on time, avoid credit card debt and don’t make the mistakes that can lead to bad credit.

Use credit cards responsibly – Just because you have been approved for a credit card doesn’t mean you should rush out on a shopping spree and spend as much as you can. That’s a path to overwhelming credit card debt.  You should use a credit card as if you were shopping with cash. Make intelligent purchasing decisions and have a realistic plan in mind of how you are going to pay it off at the end of the month.

Make payments on time – When those credit card bills come in, they need to be paid. Making your credit card payments on time is one of the most important things you can do to protect your good credit. If you miss a payment not only will you be hit with a finance charge, but you will also likely have your interest rate increased, and the credit card company will report to the credit bureau that you did not pay on time. That can negatively affect your credit rating.

Take advantage of rewards – If you are going to use credit cards instead of cash, you should try to get something back for your usage. Many credit card companies offer rewards programs. From airline miles and cash back to gas rebates there are a number of perks that are being offered on credit cards these days. Before you jump on the rewards card bandwagon, make sure you know how much the card will cost (many have annual fees) and that you will be getting more in rewards from the card than you are paying in fees.

Why Credit Cards Are Better Than Loans

Why Credit Cards Are Better Than Loans

If you are like many people who are still looking to clear our a lot of that debt that you racked up at Christmas time, you may be considering getting a loan to consolidate your debt and try to get things back under control. While a debt consolidation loan may well do the trick, you should realize this is not the only way to get out of debt.

Credit Cards can also be used as a path to getting out of debt. Many people think credit cards are the reason they ended up in debt in the first place, so how will they help?

The reason you got into debt in the first place was that you got drawn in by all those department store credit cards that offered to give you 10 or 15% off of your Christmas shopping total. You thought that was a great deal at the time, and may have even decided to buy a little more than you were planning on, thinking you would get a great savings.

What you didn’t take into account was all the money the credit card company was going to get in interest. That started becoming evident as the credit card bills rolled in and you realized you were starting to get buried under credit card debt.

Now, you find yourself in a position where you don’t want to turn your good credit into bad credit, and also don’t want to spend the rest of the year paying off last years Christmas presents. So, you are considering a loan.

While the stack of credit card bills may have you thinking credit cards are no good, the reality is that credit cards can be great for getting out of debt, if you choose the right ones.

You need a 0% or low interest credit card to consolidate your current credit card debt into one monthly bill. In many cases, no or low interest credit cards are a better deal than a loan.

When you get a debt consolidation loan, you will begin to pay interest on the purchases immediately. When you consolidate all of your credit card bills onto a 0 interest credit card, you will have that introductory period (Often 6 months or more) to pay off the debt amount, without being charged any interest.

That translates being able to get out of debt sooner, and being able to save up a little more money towards this years Christmas shopping list.

Common Credit Card Errors to Avoid

Common Credit Card Errors to Avoid

Do you appreciate just how powerful those pieces of plastic in your pocket are? Very few people think about all of the powers and repercussions that are related to credit cards.

We are so accustomed to having Credit Cards, no one really thinks about how important these cards are.  Here’s what to keep in mind.  Using credit cards responsibly can help you build good credit and have great buying power. Incorrect credit card usage can lead to credit card debt, overwhelming credit card bills, and a bad credit record that can take years to restore.

The best way to keep your credit cards on the good side of your financial life is to not make the common mistakes that may turn them to the dark side.

Don’t Have Too Many – How many credit cards do you have? Many people sign up for every card offered by each gas station, department store, and other lender that comes along. They think it’s impressive to have more cards. But in reality, a lot of credit card accounts can have a negative effect on your credit report.  Credit cards, in your credit report, are all counted as liabilities. The more you have, the more of a risk you become, and therefore the lower your credit score. In order to stop too many credit cards from giving you bad credit, you need to close some of those accounts.

Control Spending Habits – It’s easy to get used to being able to say ‘charge it’. Many people figure a few charges here and there are not a big deal, but if you do the math you’ll see things differently. A $7 breakfast on Monday, $6 specialty coffee on Tuesday, $5 snack on Wednesday and $14 for a movie ticket, popcorn and a drink on Friday comes up to $32 a week. Do that every week of the month and you’ve added $128 to your credit card debt each month.

Know what you’re paying – Once you start to pay more attention to what you are charging on your card, it’s time to pay more attention to what you are paying on your card, in charges from your credit card company. From interest to other finance charges, you should find out what you are being asked to pay by the credit card company. Learn your grace period and try to pay off your balance in this time frame, so you are not hit with interest charges.

Online Credit Card Applications – Security and Technology

Online Credit Card Applications – Security and Technology

You may be wondering if it is safe to apply online for a credit card. The answer to that question is yes. New technology that is being used is known as SSL encryption and protects you the consumer when filling out online credit card applications.

This credit card technology is also known as (SSL) Secure Socket Layer technology and is now used by all of the banks for all transactions and personal information that is to be kept secured. Many banks and credit card companies want to keep you as a customer so they ensure that when you are applying online that you have a secure experience to keep you as a customer and to get your future business.

All major Banks are working hard to keep your information as secure as they possibly can in regard to filling out online credit card applications. Many of the larger banks require two forms of identification or two separate pin numbers for accounts. When you call a bank operator any more via the phone, they will normally ask you a series of questions to ensure your identity and to verify it is really you that they are speaking to. Banks also take online security very seriously and take great measures via encryption and other methods to keep your information safe online.

The credit cards these days also have fraud protection, which makes you feel a little more comfortable just in case something would happen. This is really great protection especially when traveling or in an unusual environment.

Online Credit Card Applications save you time and money and make you a more educated consumer when it comes to these matters. Many credit cards are very powerful in regard to purchasing power and benefits as well as the low interest rate credit cards. There is little risk to applying online with one of the banks credit card applications to get the best rate and benefits you deserve.

Top Credit Card Do’s and Don’ts

Top Credit Card Do's and Don'ts

Whether you are taking the step to get your first credit card, or are thinking of getting another line of credit, there are a lot of do’s and don’ts that go with this territory.

Looking for a Credit Card

Do compare your options – There are a number of credit card offers on the market these days. They are different and come with various pros and cons. Don’t jump at one card before you compare and contrast the best looking deals.

Do check interest rates – Unless you are going to pay off your Credit Card balance every month, the interest rate is a very important variable to keep in mind. The higher the rate, the more money will be added to your balance each month you are unable to pay the card off.

Do learn about penalties – If you are late with a payment, even once, there could be hefty consequences. Find out what the late fees are and what a late payment will do to your interest rate. Many companies hike the rate by 10-15% for one late payment.

Don’t forget about annual fees – Many cards, especially rewards and cash-back cards, have an annual fee. If you are considering this type of card, make sure you will be able to get enough back from the reward aspect of the card to warrant the fee they are imposing.


Do spend wisely – When you first get a credit card in your hand it’s easy to have things get out of hand, with all that spending power. Remember, all those little charges add up. Whether it’s a muffin and a cup of coffee on day and a movie ticket the next, at the end of the month all those little charges can add up to be one very large bill.

Do keep copies of your receipts – This way you can compare the charges on your card at the end of the month to what is on your statement and look for any unauthorized charges.

Don’t forget to print out receipts for your online purchases – It is important to track all your spending, even internet spending so you remember these when you are going over your monthly statement.


Do copy your information – Make a copy of all your credit card account numbers and expiration dates. Also, write down the phone number to your credit card company. If your card is ever lost, you will know whom to contact to stop any unauthorized charges from going through.

Don’t give out your credit card information too easily – Online, make sure you are using a secure site before you enter your information. Also, double-check to make sure you are dealing with the right company. Many copycat sites will pretend they are another company to get your credit card information

Don’t fall for e-mail scams – There are a number of e-mail scams that will tell you your account has been compromised. They ask you to click on a link from the e-mail and enter your account information to sort it all out. If you do, you will have just given the con artists access to your credit cards.

Credit Card Key Terms and What They Mean to You

Credit Card Key Terms and What They Mean to You

How well do you read those credit card offers that you are always getting in the mail? If you are like most people, you look at the larger print items. You may know there is no interest, for the first six months, that there is a balance transfer special, that you can get cash back, but what about the real legal description of the card?

When you are shopping around for the best credit card, the more you know about cards, the better decision you will be able to make.

Here’s a rundown of many of the terms you will see on those credit card offers and what they meant to you:

Introductory Rate – You will get this interest rate when you initially sign up for the card. With many companies, this is 0%. They want to get you in the door with a great rate. You need to make sure you know how long this great rate will last and what the permanent rate will be after that time. A high rate down the road may negate a low rate in the short term.

Annual Fee – While you would think credit cards would be free to have and use, that is not the case. Many credit cards have annual fees associated with them. These fees, often on rewards and cash-back cards, are essentially fees for being a member of their program. Find out what these fees are and if you will be getting enough in rewards to make sense in paying them.

Pre-approved – It sounds great to hear you are pre-approved for something. Unfortunately in credit cards, this does not always mean what you think it should. When you see pre-approved on a credit card offer, that’s not a guarantee. It simply means you seem to be within the general guidelines of the people they are looking to convince to get their card. However, you won’t know if you are really approved until you sign up and they look at your credit report.

Grace Period – Essentially the grace period on your credit card is the same-as-cash time-period. If you make a charge and pay it off within this time, there will be no interest charged on the purchase. Grace periods differ by company. Some offer no grace period; others will give you a full month to pay before they start adding finance charges.

Transfer and Transaction Fees – Many credit cards offer great deals if you want to move a balance from another credit card to the new one. Often they will put this new debt on the card at 0% interest for some time. While you may think this is great way to stop accruing interest, make sure you are not paying a ‘transfer fee’. These can often be higher than the interest would have been if you were paying off the initial debt at a good pace. Also many cards offer cash advances, to make purchases. While the idea of being able to write a check off of your credit card is nice, there are often fees attached to this kind of transaction. Read the fine print of the card you are considering.

Ways to Use your Credit Cards in Unstable Economic Times

Ways to Use your Credit Cards in Unstable Economic Times

There is a lot of hype out there about the current economic situation. With banks being bailed out and others going under, it seems there is not a lot of stability within the economy. This has many people starting to panic. They are pulling their money out of the banks, cutting out all spending they can and hoarding everything just in case another depression is coming.

While this may be a natural reaction for some, if you are smart you won’t panic. Instead, you will take some intelligent steps to make sure you are in a good personal financial situation, no matter what the situation is for the rest of the world. Part of the answer lies in the best balance transfer Credit Cards and the best rewards credit cards on the market.

Here’s how to do it.

Know your debt – Do you even know how much debt you have? From credit cards to car loans, student loans and other places you may have borrowed money, it is important that you know just how much you owe. Only when you know what you have can you have a solid plan to pay it off.

Pay Down Your Debt – The next thing to do is to start to get rid of some of that debt.  The better control you have over your financial situation, the less likely you will be one of those people who is desperate for a financial bailout from anyone who will give it to them. If you have too much debt and don’t see a clear path to paying it off, you may want to look for the best balance transfer credit cards available. The reason you want the best balance transfer credit cards is many of these cards will allow you 6 months to a year or more of 0% interest on the balance transfer amount that you move to the card.

Know Your Credit Limit – Just in case you haven’t done the math in a while, it would be a good time to know how much of a line of credit you have available. While no one wants to live on their credit cards, it’s good to have an idea of how long you could survive on your credit cards were something bad to happen, such as losing your job.

Earn With Rewards Credit Cards – When you have to spend your money, don’t you wish you could get more back from it? Well you can if you are using the best rewards credit cards out there. From points towards trips and shopping to cash back credit cards, there are plenty of options to make the most of the money you have to spend. If you are smart, you will move as many of your household bills as you can to the credit cards, pay them off as you would pay the regular bill and enjoy the perks of the card without paying any interest.

Your Credit Card Company Will Help You Through Bogus Charges

Your Credit Card Company Will Help You Through Bogus Charges

Have you learned the good habit of watching your credit card statement at the end of the month? If so, you are one step closer to avoiding being a big victim of credit card fraud.

Want to do a better job of it? Keep a closer eye on your account. Most credit card companies will let you log online to check on your account and see any recent transactions. You should try to log in and do this at least once a week. This way charges will be fresher in your mind, and you will more quickly notice if something is a miss.

So, what would you do if you were to find a charge that did not belong on the card? Not taking the right steps can let more bogus charges through and end up costing you in the long run.

Call Your Credit Card Company

As soon as something seems out of the ordinary, call your Credit Card company. It is possible the credit card company may have noticed something out of the ordinary and already called you.

The best credit card companies will work together with you to go over the charge that is in question. You need to carefully consider whether you could have made the charge. It is important to realize that many charges you make online may come out of accounts with a name other than those you may have thought you bought from. With the influx of individual owned online businesses you may think you are paying a business name when in fact your money is going to an individual person, which is how it will come up on the statement.

The best thing to do is put a hold on your account while you and the credit card company sort out the charge. Just in case it is a bogus charge, this will stop the crook from being able to put any more through.

The company will then be able to do some research to get you more information about the charge in question. Often they will be able to get a full receipt for you to look at.

If you find that your account has been compromised, you should ask your credit card company to close that account and open a new one for you. This is a very common thing and can be done in minutes.

Additionally, you need to ask them what type of recourse you have against the charges that were made without your knowledge. With many of the best credit card companies as long as you have alerted the company quickly you may be able to completely recoup the fake charge.

Some of the Best Credit Cards Can Help In Holiday Shopping

Some of the Best Credit Cards Can Help In Holiday Shopping

Yes, it’s that time of year again. The holidays are quickly approaching, and if you are like most people you haven’t even begun to sort out what you should be purchasing for everyone on your list.

Once you start to make the list you may start to wonder just how you are going to come up with the money to purchase all the items for all those family members and friends. This can be a stressful time for many people, but if you know the secrets of putting your best credit cards forward to save on holiday shopping you don’t have to deal with the stress.

While many people are afraid to use their credit cards around the holidays, thinking they will be in debt well into the new year, if you know how to use them wisely you may be able to save a bit of money by using them. Here’s a look at some of the most popular ways to use the best credit cards to save:

Travel Rewards Credit Cards – Whether you are the one with a travel bug or someone in your family has been talking about that place they would love to visit, you can use your travel rewards credit cards to make someone happy this holiday season. If you have been using the card all year you may have enough miles to give that special person a ticket or accommodations to their dream destination. If you’re the travel enthusiast, you should be putting a lot of charges on this card and then cashing in on the free trip from doing spending you were going to do regardless.

Catalog Credit Cards – If you never wanted to leave your house to do your holiday shopping that would not be too tall of an order. There are so many catalogs that start pouring in through the holidays that you could shop for nearly anything and everyone on your shopping list. But why not take advantage of some of those extra deals they are offering. Many catalogs are offering special deals if you sign up for and use their catalog credit cards. This is a great way to get even better deals on holiday purchases and many of these cards offer special rewards for purchases that you can take advantage of.

Cash Back Credit Cards – If you prefer the hands-on approach to shopping, you may want to just have cash in hand to get it done. You can have this if you have been using your cash back credit cards all year long. These cards are the ones that will keep putting money into an ‘account’ for you as you spend. If you’re smart, you have been putting household bills on these cards, then paying them off at the end of the month, and letting the cash rewards build up.

Using Credit Cards to Insure Your Car Rental

Using Credit Cards to Insure Your Car Rental

The next time you take a trip somewhere away from home are you going to get a rental car? If so, what is your answer going to be when they ask if you need their insurance coverage.  There are three possible choices you can choose from for your answer:

No thanks, I have my own insurance – If you have a decent auto insurance policy that you are paying for, it will likely cover any damages that you may do to the rental car you want to use. You should find out what the rental companies requirements are for coverage and see if your policy fits the description. If it does you can say ‘thanks but no thanks’ to their policy and save yourself a little money.

Yes, I need your insurance coverage – All car rental dealerships work with an insurance company to cover their vehicles when they are taken off the lot. They are more than willing to tack this coverage onto your rental policy, should you need it. But, you will have to pay for it. Some rental companies charge up to $25 a day to cover you while you have their rental car.

No thanks, my Credit Card will cover me – This is a very little known fact for many people, but your credit card just may be able to cover your rental car insurance. Many of the best credit card companies today offer a series of extra services, which may include rental car insurance coverage. This policy will cover everything that the dealership is trying to sell you will and often more. You should check with your credit card company to see if they offer this type of service.

Now that you know about this extra option in rental car insurance, you may want to keep it in mind the next time you are shopping for credit cards. Many of the best credit cards have a series of travel offerings, not just insurance, but also trip cancellation coverage, reimbursement for lost luggage and even 24/7 roadside assistance services.

While these extra coverages are most common on travel rewards credit cards, more and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon and offering extra perks to their customers who travel. The key is to look for them. Not all credit card companies make a big deal out of these extras, but if you are in need, and they are available, they will be a big deal to you.