Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.

Choose a Prepaid Debit Card Carefully

In this age of electronic transactions, it’s hard to shop without plastic. Credit cards and debit cards make life much easier, allowing you to swipe for purchases instead of counting up the dollars and cents needed to take care of your balance. Unfortunately, past financial problems make it hard for some people to get access to a credit card and sometimes even a debit card. For those consumers, prepaid cards are an alternative. But, these cards...
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Rewards Cards Restrictions to Watch Out For

The saying “It’s too good to be true” is never more evident than with credit card reward programs. Clever marketing makes many credit card reward programs seem like you’re getting a great deal, but there’s typically a catch that you won’t realize unless you dig deeper. Tiered Rewards and Thresholds The tiered reward system is common with cash back rewards credit cards. The cards promote a certain percentage, say 3%, but you only earn that highest...
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Nine Credit Card Habits to Break

Many financial problems are either a symptom of or directly caused by bad credit card habits. Getting rid of the worst credit card habits will save you money and help your credit score. Here are nine bad credit card habits you should break before they break you. Not paying attention to your due date. After the Credit CARD Act of 2009, there’s no reason you shouldn’t know your credit card payment due date. Your due date...
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Why There Are Variations in Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a three-digit number that essentially grades the information in your credit report. It’s the number creditors and lenders use to decide whether to approve your application and at what interest rate. Many people have wisely pulled their credit scores before applying for a loan only to find out the lender has a different, possibly lower credit score. Or, you may check your credit score across all three major bureaus and notice there...
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How to Keep Your Good Interest Rate

A low credit card interest rate is hard to get and easy to lose. If you have a good enough credit history to qualify for a low interest rate, make sure you keep up the good habits required to keep that good rate. Make your payments on time. One of the easiest ways to avoid losing your interest rate is to make your payments on time. Thankfully, the 2009 credit card law gave consumers more leniency...
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Six Actions That Won't Hurt Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a mighty number that’s influenced by many of your financial decisions. Fortunately, not everything plays a factor in your credit score. Some negative actions may cost some extra money, but they won’t hurt your credit rating. Bouncing a check or overdrafting your checking account could result in an expensive overdraft fee. But, this type of action isn’t reported to credit bureaus and it won’t hurt your credit score. You can avoid overdraft...
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Steps to Dispute Credit Card Statement Errors

Credit card billing statements are handled electronically, but that doesn’t mean they’re error free. Billing errors - including uncredited payments or returns, finance charge calculations, and unauthorized charges - are more common than you might think. In a November 2011 report, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that credit card billing disputes were the top complaint received from consumers. So, if you’re dealing with a billing error, you’re not the only one. But, before you...
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How to Prevent Bad Credit

Recovering from a bad credit score is tough. It can take several years of hard work to bring your credit score out of the pits and back to a place that makes you an attractive borrower. While your credit score is still in pristine condition, you can take steps to make sure it stays that way. Here’s what you can do to prevent bad credit from happening to you.Pay all your bills on time. The most...
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When Your Credit Card May Not Have a Grace Period

With credit cards, you have a certain amount of time that you can pay your balance in full and avoid paying interest on your credit card balance. That time period is known as the grace period. The Credit CARD Act of 2009 requires grace periods, on credit cards that have them, to be at least 21 days long which gives you have enough time to pay your balance in full and avoid interest. Grace periods vary...
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Some Pros and Cons of Retail Credit Cards

Retail or store-branded credit cards are often the go-to credit card for people who are just starting out with credit or people trying to rebuild a bad credit score. Even if you’re not on the market for a new credit card, you’ll be asked to sign up for some retail card almost every time you go shopping. While sales clerks will try to entice you to apply with promises of 10% to 15% on-the-spot discount, be...
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