Kim writes in: My dad told me that the best way to pay off a credit card is to pay it all off at once so I have been saving up the money to do that. My boyfriend argues with that saying that the best way to do it is to make the biggest possible
Here’s some food for thought for those of you out there raising children and hoping to teach them good lessons about money. I was at the store recently with my seven year old son. When it’s just the two of us, he’s very quiet and observant of what’s going on around him (he can be
A few days ago, one of my close friends shared a harrowing story with me regarding identity theft. The person had their checking account compromised and found themselves spending a great deal of time working closely with their bank to resolve all of the issues. That person was not entirely sure whether everything was cleaned
I am frequently asked what my views are on credit cards and their usage. Do I need to have a credit card? Is it okay not to have one? How does one use a credit card in a financially responsible lifestyle? How does a credit card help my overall credit rating? What are some good
Almost every day, I’ll get an email or two from a reader wanting me to evaluate a particular credit card with a rewards program associated with it. “Is the Chase Amazon card a good deal?” “Does that Target Visa really pay off?” “Is the points program on this card better than the points program on
Jennifer writes in: Yesterday, I received a notice from [my credit card company] that my credit limit had been lowered from $10,000 to $4,000 on my primary credit card. I was immediately worried that my credit had been damaged by identity theft, so I checked it on annualcreditreport.com and there was nothing there at all.
Earlier today, I read with interest the comments on this Get Rich Slowly article about Suze Orman and the “cash only” movement. In a nutshell, the article advocated (as Suze apparently does now) that people should abandon credit cards because the credit card issuers have been raising interest rates. To put it simply, the raising
You’ve finally paid off that credit card. It’s sitting there with no balance on it and you regret ever owning it. It’s got a high interest rate and no rewards program and you will never use it again. But should you close it? This is an interesting debate that often comes up in personal finance
Samantha writes in: I don’t understand why I need credit at all. Credit just gets you into debt and you wind up paying interest to other companies. What’s the point of throwing my money away like that? Samantha asks a really good question here – and in some respects, she’s spot on. Poor use of
The Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009 Is Here: What Does It Mean For You – And What Might It Mean for the Future?
On Tuesday, the Senate passed the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009, an act that will quickly be passed into law with the signature of President Obama, likely within the week. This bill has a huge number of ramifications for credit cards – for users who are late on their payments, for those
A reader recently pointed me towards an interesting article at MSN MoneyCentral on the topic of restricting the access that teenagers have to credit cards. Much of the article discusses the proposed Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 (S. 414, sponsored by Chris Dodd, and often called the Credit CARD Act of
A very long time ago, I wrote an extremely brief article covering the difference between charge cards and credit cards. That article really didn’t answer the question, though, because I still have conversations and receive emails where people use the phrases “charge card” and “credit card” interchangeably. Along those same lines, Tim writes in recently:
Sasha writes in with a typical question: A lot of different personal finance bloggers have different ways that they use credit cards. Some of them don’t use them at all. Others seem to use them a lot. Where do you stand and why? I started off answering this question for the reader mailbag, but then
When I was near my financial low point, I was literally paying hundreds a month in finance charges on my credit cards. That money was an enormous burden at the time, since I didn’t have any savings built up and I was also dealing with the “startup” expenses of having a new baby in the
This week, The Simple Dollar is taking a deeper look at five common personal finance debates. Several people I know have made the active choice in their life to completely avoid the use of credit cards. In the modern era, this seems like an almost shocking choice. Credit cards seem like the foundation of basic
Jon writes in: I have a bunch of credit card debt spread across several different cards and I’m having a hard time getting started paying them off. You’ve offered a lot of little solutions for debt removal, but I need a plan I can execute to deal with these credit cards. How can I get
Jenelle wrote in recently and described her way of using credit cards: Unlike your advice to minimize your credit cards, I actually have eight open credit cards that I use all the time. These cards cover all of my purchases but each one has a particular bonus program that I can take specific advantage of.
One of the most frequent negative comments I get on The Simple Dollar relates to credit card usage. I often advocate using credit cards for their purchasing convenience and rewards points, then paying off the whole balance each month. In effect, this means that I use a credit card as an extension of my checking
On a fairly regular basis, I suggest to my readers that they cancel unused credit cards except for their oldest one. In fact, I often suggest that you reduce your credit cards to one or two that you use for regular purchases and your oldest one – cancel the rest. This advice is often criticized,