Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Selecting the Right Credit Card For You

If you are like most people, your mailbox is overflowing each week with credit card applications. It is no secret that credit card companies are actively seeking new credit cardholder and, as a result, many are offering some pretty good deals to those looking for a new credit card. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean all of the credit card offers are best for you. Therefore, you need to take a few things under consideration in order to make certain the credit card you apply for is the right one for you.

Take a Look at Your Financial Situation

Your current financial situation is one factor you should consider when trying to decide on the right credit card. If you have a tendency to carry a balance from month to month, for example, you should look for a credit card with a low interest rate. This way, you will pay as little as possible in finance charges each month.

Choose the Right Rewards Card

If you do pay your credit card in full each month, you should apply for a rewards credit card. With a rewards credit card, you will be able to earn points or other benefits every time you make a purchase with your card. These credit cards tend to have a higher interest rate when compared to non-reward credit cards, but that won’t be an issue if you continue to pay the credit card in full each month.

Of course, you also need to consider the type of rewards credit card you should apply for. By considering your lifestyle and examining your spending habits, you can choose the credit card that will provide you with the most rewards possible. If you tend to spend a lot of money at restaurants, for example, you should choose a rewards credit card that provides you with a greater return on these purchases and rewards you with gift certificates to your favorite restaurants.

Help Build Your Credit

If you have poor credit, you might want to consider applying for a pre-paid credit card. With a pre-paid credit card, you send money to the card ahead of time and the amount of money you send to the card becomes your available spending limit. These cards often have fees associated with them, however, so be certain to shop around in order to find the one with the lowest fees. In addition, make certain the card reports cardholder activity to at least one of the three major credit reporting bureaus. Otherwise, using the card won’t help you rebuild your credit. If the card activity is reported, on the other hand, responsible use of the card can help you rebuild your credit rather quickly.

Although many credit card offers may contain attractive introductory offers, you should take time to consider your options before you actually complete an application. In this way, you can find the credit card that is best suited to your lifestyle and that will help you keep your finances properly under control.

About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for www.reliacredit.com . For more info and to order your credit report with FREE credit score please visit www.reliacredit.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tips for Avoiding Filing for Bankruptcy

Are you struggling to pay your bills on time? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the debt? Do you feel as if your only choice is to file for bankruptcy? If so, you might want to take a few steps in order to avoid having to actually file. Filing for bankruptcy is a serious issue that will haunt you for years to come. Therefore, you should do as much as you possibly can before you take such an extreme measure.

Contact Your Creditors

One of the most important steps you can take is to contact your creditors directly. Many people facing financial problems choose to ignore the phone calls and to throw away the reminder notices sent by their creditors. Pretending you aren’t in debt won’t help you with the situation. Rather, you need to take a proactive approach. Don’t wait for your creditors to contact you. Instead, call them and try to work out some sort of payment plan. Most creditors will work with their clients if they explain their situation and present a repayment plan to them. Not only will this make your bills more manageable, it will also help prevent you from having to file for bankruptcy in order to get out from under your debt.

Consolidate Your Debt

In many cases, you can make it easier to repay your debt I you consolidate the debt you currently have. Consolidation can help you reduce the amount you have to pay each month and you can potentially get a lower interest rate than what you are currently paying on your debt. In order to get the best interest rate, however, you should look into consolidating your debt before you have started to fall behind on your bill payments. This way, you will still have a good credit rating and you will qualify for a better interest rate.

Talk to a Credit Counselor

If you are struggling with making arrangements with your creditors or if you are unable to consolidate your debt, you might want to consider obtaining the services o a credit counselor. A credit counselor can help you take a closer look at your current financial situation and find ways for you to overcome your debt. In addition, a credit counselor may be able to work with your creditors and find ways to reduce your interest rate or your payment amounts. This way, you will be able to get your finances back on track.

Filing bankruptcy is a decision that can cause you problems for years to come. It can make it difficult or even impossible to obtain a loan or a credit card. In addition, it can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in extra finance charges because of the higher interest rates you will pay when you do get a loan. Follow these simple steps and prevent bankruptcy from happening to you.

About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for www.reliacredit.com . For more info and to order your credit report with FREE credit score please visit www.reliacredit.com

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tips for Increasing Your Credit Score

Are you planning to apply for a loan or new credit card any time soon? If so, you might want to check out your current credit rating before you complete that application. After all, if your credit rating is poor, you may find yourself spending a huge amount of money on finance charges and interest payments. In order to avoid tossing your money away because of a low credit score, you should put off the loan for a little longer and build up your credit score. By following these simple tips, you can build up your credit score faster than you may have thought possible.

Tip #1: Pay Your Bills on Time

The single most important thing you can do in order to increase your credit score is to simply pay your bills on time. Just one late payment can truly wreak havoc on your credit score. Even unusual bills, such as late fees to your library for books you returned late, need to paid. Otherwise, your failure to pay may be reported to the credit reporting bureaus and your credit score will be negatively impacted.

Tip #2: Check Your Credit Report

The federal government has determined that everyone is entitled to receive free copies of their credit reports. You can order yours by going to AnnualCreditReport.com. After you receive your free credit report, look it over for errors. Even a seemingly small error, such as showing a lower credit limit than you really have on your credit score, can have a negative impact on your credit score. Be certain to report any errors you find to the credit reporting agency as soon as possible. That way, the bureau can look into the error and make any necessary changes.

Tip #3: Pay Down Your Credit Cards

Your credit score is partially determined by your debt to credit limit ration. The more debt you have as compared to your available credit, the greater risk you become. For example, if you have a credit card with a $2,000 limit and you are carrying a debt of $1,800, this will actually hurt your credit score more than if you had a credit limit of $6,000 and you were carrying the same balance. Similarly, it is usually better to have $1,000 of debt spread over two credit cards than to have $1,000 in debt on one credit card.

Tip #4: Don’t Cancel Credit Cards

Although we all know that having too many credit cards in your wallet can be financially dangerous, it is a bad idea to cancel the credit cards that you already have. When you cancel your credit card, you lose all of the credit history you have acquired through the card. As a result, your credit rating will take a downward spiral.

Tip #5: Don’t Open New Credit Card Accounts

It is important to resist the temptation to open up several new credit card accounts. The more your credit report is accessed by lending institutions, the more your credit score is damaged. It is easy to get caught up in the thrill of applying for department store credit cards – particularly since they often provide very attractive benefits to new applicants – but the inquiries into your report makes it look as if you are trying to gather as much credit as possible. This makes you an increased credit risk to potential lenders. Therefore, you should hold off on these applications until after you have received the loan you are really wanting to acquire.

About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for www.reliacredit.com . For more info and to order your credit report with FREE credit score please visit www.reliacredit.com

Friday, April 4, 2008

Tips for Getting the Most from Your Rewards Credit Card

Are you thinking about getting a reward credit card? If so, you are not alone. A growing number of people are deciding to take advantage of the perks that rewards cards provide. When used properly, rewards credit cards can put some extra money in your pocket. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to take full advantage of their rewards credit cards and are actually losing more money in the process. By following these few simple tips, however, you can manage to get the credit card companies to pay you for using their card.

Tip #1: Pay the Balance in Full Each Month

This first tip is probably the most difficult one for many people to follow. A number of people have grown to depend upon their credit cards and are accustomed to carrying a balance from month to month. If your current financial situation has you in a crunch and you have to carry a balance, don’t carry one on your reward credit card.

Reward credit cards generally have a higher interest rate than credit cards without any frills. Although you may be getting a 1% cash back rebate with the purchases you make with your credit card, you may be paying 5-10% more in interest. As a result, you will actually be losing more than you gain when you use your reward credit card. If you can’t pay off all of your expenditures each month, you should only charge what you can afford to pay on your rewards credit card and place the remaining charges on a credit card with a lower interest rate.

Tip #2: Know How to Make the Most Money with Your Card

If you have more than one reward credit card, make certain you know how you can earn the most money with each one. For example, some reward credit cards pay a higher percentage of return on gasoline purchases while others pay more when you purchase groceries or travel-related items. Know the specialty area of your credit card so you use the one that will pay you the most when you make your purchases.

Tip #3: Take Advantage of Special Program Offers

Some reward credit cards specialize in offering “no hassles,” but most of these types of cards do require paying special attention to specific guidelines. For example, you might have to sign up in order to participate in some cash back programs. With some cards, you might have to sign up every three months in order to be eligible for a higher percentage rebate. If you don’t sign up, you may still receive a smaller cash back award but you won’t get as much from your credit card as you could be getting.

Tip #4: Spend Your Points Wisely

Depending upon the reward credit card, you may have the option to spend your points in a variety of different ways. For example, you might be able to get cash back with your credit card points or you might be able to trade in your points for gift certificates or other types of rewards. When you trade in the points for something other than cash, you often get a greater value for your points. For example, 1000 points may be enough to help you earn $10 but those same points may be traded in for a $20 gift certificate to a restaurant. If you enjoy eating at one of the available restaurants, trading in your points for a gift certificate will help you stretch your points further.

Tip #5: Pay Your Monthly Bills with Your Credit Card

Look over your monthly bills and see if you have the option to pay them with your credit card. By paying your regular monthly bills, such as your utilities, cable or satellite and telephone, you can make some extra cash with your reward credit card. Since you already have planned a budget that will allow you to pay these bills, you should have no problem paying off the balance at the end of each month. Paying off your utilities with your reward credit card is almost like getting free cash!

For more info and to order your credit report with FREE credit score please visit http://www.reliacredit.com/

Selecting the Right Credit Card For YouTips for Avoiding Filing for BankruptcyTips for Increasing Your Credit ScoreTips for Getting the Most from Your Rewards Credit Card ~ ReliaCredit.com - How's Your Credit? - Blog