Credit Cards

Common Credit Card Fees to Watch For

Before you finalize that credit card application, stop to read the fine print. Remember, credit card companies are businesses first and foremost. No matter how customer-friendly they are, their prime objective is to make a profit. Part of the way they do that is through fees. Does your credit card charge any fees you don’t …

Categories: Credit Cards

Examining Two Credit Card Repayment Strategies

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 …

A Seven Year Old Learns About Credit Cards

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 …

Tips To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

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 …

Good Credit Card Basics

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 …

Categories: Credit Cards

Some Thoughts on Rewards Cards

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 …

Categories: Credit Cards

Why Was My Credit Limit Lowered?

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. …

Categories: Credit Cards

Interest Rates Don’t Matter If You Don’t Carry a Balance: Some Thought on the Cash-Only Debate

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 …

Categories: Credit Cards

Should I Cancel a Credit Card That is Paid-Off?

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 …

Personal Finance 101: Why Do I Need Credit At All?

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 …

Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights Act of 2009

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 …

The Facts About Credit Cards For Teenagers

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 …

Categories: Credit Cards, Family

Personal Finance 101: Charge Cards vs. Debit Cards vs. Credit Cards

Understanding the Pros and Cons and Finding the Right Card for You 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” …

How I Use Credit Cards … And Why

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 …

Categories: Credit Cards

How To Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rates

When I was near my financial low point, I was literally paying hundreds a month in finance charges on my credit cards and needed to lower the interest rates. 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 …

The Big Debate #3: Credit Cards or Debit Cards?

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 …

Categories: Credit Cards

Got Credit Card Debt?

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 …

A Portfolio of Credit Cards for Specific Purchases?

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. …

The Credit Card Debt Holy Wars

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 …

Categories: Credit Cards

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