How This Couple Paid off $20K in Credit Card Debt — Making Less Than $70K/Year

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How This Couple Paid off $20K in Credit Card Debt — Making Less Than $70K/Year
It happened fast. In a little over a month, Wilmer and Kimberly Swerdfeger had accumulated $20,000 in credit card debt. “Everything went haywire,” Wilmer says. The 51-year-old Bakersfield, California, resident has been an emergency medical technician on a 911 ambulance for more than 10 years. Wilmer says both he and his wife, who’s a substitute teacher, are financially responsible. They earn a modest income, but they have near-perfect credit scores, and their cars are paid for in full. Heck, they don’t even like having more than $600 on their credit card. So when $20,000 in unexpected home repairs and emergency medical procedures hit all at once, Wilmer felt stressed. He went looking for a way out and found an online lender called Figure, which offered home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) of up to $150,000 with annual percentage rates (APR)  starting at 4.99%*. This could save him hundreds of dollars in interest each month and would leave him with a single manageable monthly payment — not multiple credit card bills due on different days. Plus, Wilmer could get a free quote in five minutes and apply online. It was worth a shot, right? How a HELOC Can Alleviate the Stress of Credit Card Debt If you own a home, a HELOC allows you to borrow money against its equity — that’s the money you’ve paid toward your mortgage. Use Wilmer as an example. He’s accumulated more than $200,000 in home equity over the 20 years he’s owned his home. He applied for a five-year HELOC through Figure, which granted him access to $24,000 worth of his home’s equity with an  APR of 5.75%. He could then use that $24,000 to pay off his high-interest credit card balances. With a HELOC, you can use the money for whatever you want — but that doesn’t mean you should. HELOCs (typically) come with lower interest rates than personal loans because they’re backed by your home. This is a huge perk. But that also means if you fail to pay back what you’d borrowed, you risk losing your home. Many experts suggest only opening a HELOC to consolidate and pay off high-interest credit cards (like Wilmer) or to increase the value of your home with repairs or renovations. Don’t Let Lenders Take Advantage of Your Bad Situation Before he found Figure, Wilmer contacted his bank and other lenders about opening a HELOC. But he quickly realized: “These guys were trying to take advantage of my desperation.” “A couple of banks told me I qualified for a $190,000 line of credit,” Wilmer says. “It’s taken me 20 years of hard work to build up that equity.” He didn’t need that much money, and when Wilmer told one lender that, the voice on the other end responded: “Go buy a new wardrobe! Take a vacation!” It’s taken me 20 years of hard work to build up that equity. That enraged Wilmer. He knew that was the last thing anyone should do with borrowed money. Other banks offered a HELOC with a draw period of nine years, meaning he’d have more chance to spend. It was unnecessary; Wilmer just wanted to pay off his debt as soon as possible. A Line of Credit Could Save You Hundreds Each Month Right when he reached peak frustration, he learned about Figure. It offered home equity lines of credit for up to $150,000, with APRs starting at 4.99%. But because he hadn’t heard of the company before, Wilmer had questions. He picked up the phone and called Figure… several times. Everyone he spoke with was friendly, helpful and patient; no one was pushy. Wilmer even asked about the history of the company. Skepticism now aside, Wilmer got a free quote from Figure, then applied for a HELOC from his phone. He got approved for a five-year line of credit for with an APR of 5.75%. It was way better than any previous offer he’d received. Whereas his bank told him he’d have to wait three weeks for approval and to receive his funds, Figure directly deposited the money he requested into his account the next day. And, unlike some lenders might have, Figure didn’t surprise him with fees. He paid an origination fee (typical), but he wasn’t charged an application fee and doesn’t face monthly maintenance fees. Moving on From Unexpected Credit Card Debt  Once Wilmer was approved for his line of credit, he says, “It was like, ‘Wam bam bam,’ and everything was paid off. Now I just owe Figure. It took a lot of stress off.” He’s no longer worried about making payments toward his wife’s emergency eye surgery. Or paying off that air conditioning system — his old one went kaput the day his wife came home from surgery, and California summers are hot. And he went ahead and paid off a lingering $4,000 he still owed on roof repairs. It took a lot of stress off. Now he’s left with two easy-to-manage monthly payments: His mortgage and his Figure payment. He’s even throwing some extra money toward his line of credit so he can pay it off early — Figure has no early repayment penalty. It only takes five minutes to check your rate with Figure. If you like what you see and your application is approved, Figure will initiate funding within five days*. Then it’s goodbye to high interest rates and credit card debt.   *Terms and conditions apply. Visit figure.com for further information. Figure Lending LLC is an equal opportunity lender. NMLS #1717824 Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Making the Most of the Uber Visa Credit Card

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Making the Most of the Uber Visa Credit Card
For serious foodies, the Uber Visa Card packs plenty of features, minus the surge pricing: The card’s annual fee is $0. To get the best performance possible from the card, here’s what to keep in mind. » MORE: Full review of the Uber Visa Card Scoop up the sign-up bonus Learn More The Uber Visa Card features the following welcome offer... Robin Saks Frankel is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rfrankel@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @robinsaks. The article Making the Most of the Uber Visa Credit Card originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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7 Surprising Things That Damage Your Credit Score

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7 Surprising Things That Damage Your Credit Score
The next time you check your credit score, you might discover it has taken a tumble because of a seemingly small mishap on your part. This happened to me once because I misplaced a bill for a whopping $12.70. My nonpayment ended up being reported to credit bureaus, also known as credit-reporting agencies. The result was an 80-point decrease in my credit score and several months of regret. [...]
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2 Programs for Homebuyers With Good Credit (but Not Much Cash)

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2 Programs for Homebuyers With Good Credit (but Not Much Cash)
Dreaming of becoming a homeowner?  While it may be fun to fantasize about what color you’ll paint the living room and which shower curtain will adorn the guest bath, there’s one important consideration to take care of first.  How are you going to finance it? Many mortgages require a sizable down payment — historically up to 20% of the full purchase price of the home. Of course, 20% of a six-figure price tag is a pretty hefty bill to foot, which is part of the reason the average homebuyer is putting down far less these days.  But not every lender will let you get your foot in the door for less cash upfront… which is why we want to introduce you to two mortgage programs that may just help you reach your homeownership goals even if a large down payment isn’t in your budget. Government-controlled corporations Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac both offer mortgage programs aimed specifically at candidates whose credit histories are good, but whose income might not allow them to save up a traditional down payment. Fannie Mae’s is called HomeReady, and Freddie Mac’s is called HomePossible.  Fannie Mae HomeReady and Freddie Mac HomePossible: How Do These Two Mortgage Programs Work? If you’ve got decent credit but don’t earn enough to have much wiggle room, one of these programs may be a fit. But how do they work — and what’s the difference between them? In a lot of ways, the two programs are very similar. Neither requires you to be a first-time homebuyer, and both allow you to finance up to 97% of the property value, which means your down payment can be as low as 3%, depending on your specific qualifications — and both make allowances that help you fork over even that small down payment from a variety of sources including gifts from relatives, government grants, or a second mortgage. And both have similar income requirements: You must make 80% or less of the median income in your area. Both programs allow non-occupant co-borrowers to help you apply for the loan, which can be helpful for those trying to help a family member relocate or buy their first home.  But as much as they share in common, there are some important differences between HomeReady and Home Possible that could help you decide which of the two to apply for. Fannie Mae HomeReady HomeReady is available to borrowers with a credit score of 620 or greater, though those with a score over 680 may get better rates.  If you have someone living with you who pays you rent, or a “boarder,” their income qualifies in determining your eligibility, as does the income of a non-resident co-borrower, which can be helpful if your earnings are low enough to endanger your approval. To qualify for Fannie Mae HomeReady, at least one borrower must complete the Framework online homeowner education program, which costs $75. According to the FAQ, your lender may provide a credit against closing costs to make up for this fee, but it’s not guaranteed. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, $75 is a pretty small price to pay for a financial product that could help you save money in the long run. Freddie Mac Home Possible Although Freddie Mac doesn’t publish its minimum credit score requirements, it does match Fannie Mae’s 3% down payment for the most qualified borrowers. However, only borrower income is counted when determining eligibility, so you can’t get a boost from the earnings of your co-borrower or spouse. (You may still be able to count your boarder or renter’s income, however.) Furthermore, the occupying borrower may own another residential property — even a financed one. And you can skip the homebuyer education requirement if at least one borrower on the loan application is not a first-time home buyer. If you are a first-time buyer and you need to meet homebuyer education courses, you can meet this requirement in a wider variety of ways: homebuyer education provided by HUD-approved counseling agencies housing finance agencies (HFAs) community development financial institutions (CDFIs) mortgage insurance companies or other programs that meet National Industry Standards for Homeownership and Counseling. There’s also an option for a free online homebuyer training offered through Freddie Mac itself called CreditSmart  – Steps to Homeownership.  FROM THE HOME BUYING FORUM 401k Loan 7/29/19 @ 10:35 AM B Knowledge Is Important When Buying A Home 7/22/19 @ 9:18 AM Can I buy a home with student loan debt? 6/12/19 @ 11:20 AM Fund my home 6/12/19 @ 1:11 PM C See more in Home Buying or ask a money question What About FHA Loans? There’s an alternative to Fannie Mae’s HomeReady and Freddie Mac’s Home Possible mortgages that you’ve probably already heard of: FHA loans.  In many ways an FHA loan is similar to the above-mentioned programs: You don’t have to be a first-time buyer, and you can score a down payment of as low as 3.5%.  And unlike the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac products, FHA loans allow buyers with lower credit scores to qualify — though if your score is between 500-579, you’ll have to cough up a full 10%. FHA loans may also offer lower interest rates than HomeReady or Home Possible, but they often have a longer appraisal process, and unfortunately, you’ll need to pay two types of mortgage insurance: an upfront premium at closing, plus monthly premiums. Mortgage insurance can generally be cancelled through both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs once your loan balance is less than 80% of the home’s value. One thing’s for certain: Buying a house can be complicated, especially if you don’t have the cash for a large down payment on hand. It’s worth shopping around and reaching out to different lenders directly to see how they can work with you and learn more about your specific rates and terms. Then, you can get back to the fun stuff — like comparing paint swatches and running your hands over carpet samples. Home, sweet home! Jamie Cattanach’s work has been featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Huffington Post, The Motley Fool and other outlets. Learn more at www.jamiecattanach.com. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Credit Freezes: A Powerful (and Free) Way to Fight Identity Theft

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Credit Freezes: A Powerful (and Free) Way to Fight Identity Theft
Another day, another massive data breach.  Equifax, Capital One, Marriott … the list seems endless.  And as more of our personal information is digitized, the risk of it ending up in the wrong hands rises, leaving us increasingly vulnerable to identity theft and trashed credit. But while the scope of these data breaches can seem overwhelming (1.1 billion identities were exposed in 2016 alone), the reality is that you are not powerless. You can defend yourself, and you don’t have to go off the grid and hide out in a bunker in New Zealand. One of the most powerful ways to defend yourself is a credit freeze. Setting it up is simple, and best of all, it’s free. What’s a Credit Freeze? Credit Sesame defines a credit freeze as “a process which locks down your credit file and prevents identity thieves and cyber criminals from opening credit in your name.” Basically, access to your credit file is inaccessible to everyone except you.  Creditors, such as banks and credit card companies, ask to see credit report before opening new accounts. Since they won’t be able to see your credit history, they won’t be able to extend you a line of credit. Makes sense, right? And no, it won’t negatively affect your credit score. When Should You Freeze Your Credit? Many people freeze their credit after their identities have been stolen, which is fine. However, you’re basically in a race against the criminal. Who can get to your credit report first? Steven Weisman, a Bentley University professor and author of the fraud and identity theft blog Scamicide, suggests freezing your credit now — and always. He thinks of the tool as a “preventative medicine.” “This is the single best thing someone can do to protect themselves from being a victim of identity theft,” he says. “Even if your Social Security number was in the hands of an identity thief, you’d still be protected.” If you’d rather not put your credit on perma-freeze, then you should also consider it under the following circumstances: You’ve been the victim of a data breach. (At this point, that’s nearly all of us.) You believe you may have become a victim of identity theft. You want to protect your child’s credit. Once your credit is frozen, you will still have access to your credit report, as will current creditors and debt collectors.  Employers — both current and potential — have limited access to your credit report, as do some government agencies.  What Does a Credit Freeze Cost? Credit freezes now cost nothing, thanks to the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, which became effective in September 2018. Prior to the law’s passage, credit freezes used to cost between $5 and $15 to set up, with a second charge to unlock the freeze.  (Victims of fraud were typically exempt from paying these costs.) This is the single best thing someone can do to protect themselves from being a victim of identity theft. The law also allows you to unfreeze and refreeze your credit at any time, at no cost. How to Freeze Your Credit It will take a bit of legwork on your part. You’ll need to request a credit freeze from each of the three main credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Each bureau has a slightly different process.  1. Contact the Three Major Credit Bureaus Have information like your Social Security number, birth date and most recent addresses on hand when you make your request. You can freeze your credit by mail, by phone or online. How to Freeze Your Credit With Equifax Online: https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/ Phone: 800-685-1111 Mail: Equifax Security Freeze, P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348 How to Freeze Your Credit With Experian Online: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html Phone: 888‑397‑3742 Mail: Experian Security Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013 How to Freeze Your Credit With TransUnion Online: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze Phone: 888-909-8872 Mail: TransUnion LLC, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016 Note: All three credit bureaus say requesting a credit freeze by mail is the slowest method, and so if time is of the essence, you should consider requesting the freeze over the phone or online. If you do opt to request a credit freeze by mail, make sure to include your full name, date of birth, Social Security number, last two addresses, a clear copy of a government-issued identification card and a clear copy of a utility bill, bank statement or other form of proof of address. 2. Receive Your PIN and Keep It Safe The credit bureaus will set you up with a PIN, which will allow you to manage your credit freeze. Once you receive this number, make sure you keep it in a safe place where you can always find it. You will need to use it if you ever need to unfreeze — or “thaw” — your credit, like if you decide to apply for a mortgage or open a new credit card. 3. Manage Your Credit Freeze Your credit freeze should be active one business day after you make the request online or by phone. (The time frame for mail requests is three days.) You can manage it by logging into the bureau’s site using the credentials you established when you requested the credit freeze. If you want to make any changes via phone or mail, you’ll need to have that PIN on hand. How to Unfreeze Your Credit The time may come when you will need to unfreeze your credit — say, to apply for a credit card or shop for a loan. To do so, go to the credit bureau’s website and use the credentials you set up to request the thaw.  The freeze should be lifted within an hour, as required by federal law. (If you choose to request your credit thaw by mail, your wait time will be considerably longer — at least three business days from the receipt of the request.)  You can also request to have the freeze lifted temporarily, which is especially helpful if you are looking to rent an apartment or applying for a job, and then want to go back into lockdown. Pro Tip If you know which credit bureau your future landlord, creditor or employer will be contacting, you can save yourself some time by requesting the freeze be lifted for only that credit bureau. Pros and Cons of Credit Freezes The pros of having your credit frozen are pretty straightforward: It prevents anyone from opening new accounts in your name. It won’t affect your credit score. Best of all, it’s free. However, there are some possible pain points you should consider before requesting a credit freeze: Requesting and managing credit freezes through three credit bureaus can be a pain. You’ll need to lift the freeze if you want to apply for a new credit product. It doesn’t protect your existing accounts. FROM THE CREDIT FORUM REBUILDING CREDIT AFTER BANKRUPTCY 3/24/19 @ 1:56 PM savings account 8/5/19 @ 1:35 PM C Were you affected by the Equifax Data Breach? 7/31/19 @ 4:42 AM Effective Methods to Get The Best Credit Rating 6/27/19 @ 1:01 PM See more in Credit or ask a money question What Else Can You Do to Protect Your Credit? As we said earlier, a credit freeze can be an incredibly powerful and effective tool to protect your identity and your credit, but you shouldn’t allow it to lull you into a false sense of secur [...]
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How to Pay off Credit Card Debt When You Have No Idea Where to Start

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How to Pay off Credit Card Debt When You Have No Idea Where to Start
We know how incredibly easy it is to rack up credit card debt.  More than 40% of American households carry a credit card balance, with an average balance of more than $9,000, according to a study from the financial data website ValuePenguin.  But here’s the tricky thing about credit cards: They only benefit you when you’re building credit and receiving perks — but not when you’re paying interest. If you’re paying a lot of interest on your balances, credit card companies are making money off of you. Your cards are using you, not the other way around. With average interest rates on new credit cards north of 17%, according to CreditCards.com, paying them off is a smart move. You can do it. And it’ll be worth it. 5 Ways to Pay off Debt From Multiple Credit Cards Before you start, try to stop using your credit cards altogether until you can use them without putting yourself in financial risk. Though the specifics will vary based on your situation, we only recommend using credit cards if:  You don’t have any debt outside of a mortgage or student loans. You have an emergency fund with three to six months of expenses saved. You can pay off your balance in full every month. However you do it, make paying off your credit cards — and learning to use them responsibly — a high priority.  First, determine how much credit card debt you have. You can do this using a tool like Credit Sesame, a free credit monitoring service.  Credit Sesame will also show you how to raise your credit score. James Cooper, a motivational speaker, raised his credit score 277 points following suggestions from the site. Then choose your weapons! We’ll go over five different methods for paying off your credit card debt. 1. The Debt Avalanche Instead of looking at your debt in its entirety, we recommend approaching it bit by bit. By breaking your debt down into manageable chunks, you’ll experience quicker wins and stay motivated.  Two popular ways to break down debt repayments are the debt avalanche and debt snowball methods.  Using the debt avalanche method, you’ll order your credit card debts from the highest interest rate to the lowest. You’ll make minimum payments on all your cards, and any extra income you have will go toward the highest-interest card.  Eventually, that card will be paid off. Then, you’ll attack the debt with the next-highest interest rate, and so on, until all your cards are paid off. 2. The Debt Snowball With the debt snowball method, you’ll order your debts from the lowest balance to highest, regardless of the interest rates on the cards. You’ll make minimum payments on all your cards, and any extra income will go to the credit card with the smallest balance. Starting with the smallest balance allows you to experience wins faster than you would with the avalanche. This method is ideal for people who are motivated by quick wins, but it has a downside: Those who choose it could end up paying more interest over the long term.    Here’s an example of how each method would work if you’re paying off four credit cards of varying balances and interest rates. $654 with 0% interest $5,054 with 15% interest $2,541 with 23% interest $945 with 17% interest If you followed the avalanche method, you’d pay off card No. 3 first, followed by No. 4, No. 2 and No. 1. If you followed the snowball method, you’d pay off card No. 1 first, followed by No. 4, No. 3 and No. 2.  Let’s say you have $600 per month to put toward debt. Using the snowball and avalanche comparison calculator from Dough Roller, you can see that it would take you 18 months to pay all of your cards off using either method.  The debt avalanche method would save you $105.73 of interest in the end, but you’d pay off your first card six months earlier by going with the snowball. Choosing the right method comes down to deciding whether you’d rather get quick results or save money on interest. We encourage you to check out Dough Roller’s calculator yourself, so you can calculate what each method would cost you. 3. The Balance Transfer  If you have good to excellent credit (typically a FICO score of 670 or above) and can feasibly pay off your debt within a year, a balance-transfer credit card is a great option. Balance-transfer cards can save you money on interest charges by letting you transfer the balance of a card with a high interest rate to a card with 0% interest.  Most of these cards offer 0% interest for 12 to 18 months with no annual fee. They generally have a 2% to 5% balance-transfer fee, but you can easily find balance-transfer cards with no fee. A higher credit score will help you qualify for a card with better terms. 4. Take out a Loan  You might look at getting a loan to consolidate and refinance your debts. If you get a loan with a lower interest rate and pay off your credit cards, that lower rate could potentially save you thousands of dollars in interest.  This is a realistic way to pay off credit card debt if you currently have little or no money to put toward it. Let’s look at two options here: A personal loan or a home equity loan.  Personal Loan  Online marketplaces will allow you to prequalify for a personal loan without doing a hard inquiry of your credit, so if you want to shop around, head there first. It won’t affect your credit score.  A good resource here is Fiona, a search engine for financial services, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs. It searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than a minute. Home Equity Loan  If you own a home with equity, you have three ways to borrow money against the value of your home: a home equity loan, home equity line of credit or a cash-out refinance. With a home equity loan, the lender gives you your money all at once, and you repay it at a fixed interest rate over a set period of time. With a home equity line of credit, you’re given a limit to borrow. Within that limit, you can take as little or as much as you need whenever you want. With a cash-out refinance, you refinance your first mortgage with a mortgage that’s slightly more money than your current one, and pocket the difference. For homeowners, these options will most likely offer the lowest interest rates. But they’re also the riskiest, because your home is the collateral — something you own that your lender can take if you don’t pay off the loan.  5. Debt Settlement The world of debt collections and creditors can be confusing, intimidating and sometimes even illegal. There’s a common misconception, for example, that someone can take your house or you can go to jail for not making your payments. But credit card debt is unsecured debt, meaning no one can put you in jail or take your house if you don’t pay it. If you’re being harassed by creditors or have circumstances that make your debt repayment confusing, don’t give up before finding out your options for assistance. Debt Management Program With a debt management program, a credit counseling company will handle your consolidation in hopes of getting you better interest rates and lower fees. You’ll be assigned a counselor, who will set up a repayment and education plan for you. This program is specifically for unsecured debt, like credit cards and medical bills. A debt management program pays your creditors for you to ensure you stay current on your debt payments. Your credit score may even improve during the program. But if you miss a payment, you can be dropped, and you’ll lose all the benefits you gained. Debt management plans usually don’t reduce your debt, but they may reduce your interest rates by as much as half or extend your payment timeline to make paying your debt more manageable. Credit Card Debt Settlement If you’re in more than just a temporary season of financial instability, and you can’t see yourself affording the amount of credit card deb [...]
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5 Things to Do When You Get the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card

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5 Things to Do When You Get the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card
You’ve applied for the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card and were accepted. Once you receive it in the mail, what should you do next? 1. Plan your next vacation over dinner Cardholders receive 2 points per $1 on travel and dining and 1.5 points per dollar on other spending. Enjoy a leisurely dinner... Amanda Johnson is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article 5 Things to Do When You Get the Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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5 Things to Know About UBS Business Credit Cards

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5 Things to Know About UBS Business Credit Cards
UBS Bank caters to wealthy individuals, institutions and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. So naturally, when the bank launched a trio of business credit cards in June 2019, the cards all came with princely perks and swanky benefits befitting the high-end clientele most likely to bank with UBS. Not everyone will be... Robin Saks Frankel is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rfrankel@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @robinsaks. The article 5 Things to Know About UBS Business Credit Cards originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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If Your Credit Score Is Under 700, Make These 3 Moves This Week

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If Your Credit Score Is Under 700, Make These 3 Moves This Week
You work hard to be a responsible credit user.  You pay your bills on time; you try to use your credit card only when you have to; and you have a few different credit accounts, all in good standing. You even know what a credit utilization ratio is and why it matters. That’s some next-level credit card management! But no matter what you do, your credit score never budges over 700.  And you are so, so frustrated by the whole dang thing. We don’t blame you. It’s hard to feel like you’re doing everything you’re supposed to, only to have an algorithm spit out a seemingly inexplicable three-digit number that brands you as “lesser than” in the eyes of the world’s financial institutions — especially when that three-digit number controls so much of your life. But don’t give up! These three moves might be the kickstart you need to get your credit score moving in the right direction — and best of all, you can do them right this week. 1. Write a “Goodwill Letter” to Your Creditors If your credit history is generally pretty good, save for a couple of missteps, then a well-executed goodwill letter may be one way to get those slip-ups removed from your report.  You’ll want to cover the following bases when writing your goodwill letter: Explain why and how long you have been a loyal customer of the creditor. Take responsibility for the mistakes that led to the blemishes on your credit history. Describe the steps you are taking to ensure they don’t happen again. Appeal to your audience’s sense of empathy. Show that you want forgiveness but also that you are determined to do better going forward. Show them you deserve this! Keep your letter concise, clear and to the point. Don’t forget to include important information, like your account number and the date and amount of the missed payment you want removed from your credit history. Once you’ve written your goodwill letter, address it using the information on the creditor’s website, cross your fingers for good luck, and drop it in the mailbox.   2. Check Your Credit Report for Errors Credit reporting agencies generally do a pretty thorough job of collecting your credit history, but that doesn’t mean they are infallible. In fact, one out of five credit reports has an error, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission. And those errors could mean the difference between a credit score in the 600s and one in the 700s. Jamie Cattanach saw this firsthand as a victim of identity theft. She pulled her credit report and saw her score had plummeted to just below 600 after someone opened an AT&T account using her information. She got to work disputing the errors, and after writing just one letter, she was on the road to rebuilding her credit. Within a few years, her credit score was well over 700. To keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and a “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. It breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how to address it. Because it simplifies everything, you should be able to spot any errors. For instance, if you find an “unpaid” credit card that you know you paid, or a bill in collections you know never existed, you can dispute the incorrect information and raise your credit score. The proof is in the numbers: 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.* 3. Consolidate Your Debt With a Better Loan So now you’ve appealed to the better angels of your creditor’s nature, and you’ve gone over your credit report with a fine-tooth comb and a magnifying glass in search of errors you can dispute. Now what? Your next step is to take your high-interest debt and consolidate it into a single loan with a lower interest rate. One payment per month is way easier to keep track of than three or four, right? That means fewer chances to be late on a payment, which means fewer opportunities for your credit score to take a hit. And best of all: The lower interest rate means you’ll be spending less money on your debt in the long run. Through Upgrade, you can borrow between $1,000 and $50,000, at interest rates of 7.99% to 35.89%, depending on your credit history. What if you’ve been turned down for a loan? Wouldn’t it be helpful to have access to advice on how to improve your credit to be approved next time? And wouldn’t it be nice to have free credit monitoring thrown into the deal? Those are some of the benefits of going with Upgrade, an online lending platform.  Upgrade will throw in free credit monitoring, alerts and educational features. If your loan application through Upgrade is denied, these credit tools will still guide you to improve your credit to help you get approved in the future. Now you’ve got three tactics you can use to get your credit score right where you want it. Good luck — you’ve got this! This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Give Your Kids the Gift of a Good Credit Score by Adding Them to Your Card

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Give Your Kids the Gift of a Good Credit Score by Adding Them to Your Card
Teaching your kids how to fail is one of those underrated parenting skills. By making mistakes in a controlled, safe environment, kids can learn coping skills before they incur real-world consequences. That’s particularly true when it comes to teaching kids about finance. Those lessons can have an important impact on your child’s future. A Penny Hoarder survey found that one-third of adult respondents did not grow up discussing basic personal finance topics, such as credit scores or debt. The result? For those with no early financial literacy, 40% had no savings at all, compared to 17% for the group that did discuss finances. One important lesson that you can teach your kids is how to use credit responsibly — before they get credit cards of their own.  Wondering if you should get your pride and joy a credit card? Here’s why and how to do it so they can learn how to handle credit responsibly. Should Your Kid Get a Credit Card? Although it might not seem like a priority, getting your child a credit card helps them build credit history. Pro Tip You can help protect your child’s credit score from identity theft by checking their score periodically, or at least by the time they turn 15, when the score may become more relevant. Credit history makes up 15% of your credit score, which will become important to your kids in the future if they want to finance a car, buy a house or possibly even get a job. And unlike other factors — like credit utilization or credit mix— there’s no way to improve your credit history other than with time.  But simply allowing your child to sign up for a credit card presents two problems:  They may not be ready for the responsibility of handling credit and could end up thousands of dollars in debt, thus wrecking the credit score you wanted them to build. They probably can’t qualify for a card … because they don’t have a credit history. That’s where you come in. You can cosign on your child’s credit card or even consider adding your child to your credit card to build credit. Which one should you choose? Should You Be a Cosigner or Make Your Child an Authorized User? Choosing between becoming a cosigner or making your child an authorized user starts with their age — you cannot apply for a credit card until you’re at least 18 years old, so that’s the earliest age you could be their cosigner. But becoming a cosigner on your older teen’s credit card makes you legally responsible for the debt if they miss a payment, according to Todd Christensen, an Accredited Financial Counselor and education manager with MoneyFit.org.  “The problem is, cosigners are not usually 100% involved in the billing process — they do not see, typically, the monthly bill,” he said. “So often, a cosigner will be contacted six to 12 months after a payment is missed, and then be requested to make all the back payments plus fees, and this is in the meantime hurting their credit.” Pro Tip The CARD Act of 2009 made it more difficult for people under 21 to get a credit card. However, there are plenty of cards that are marketed specifically to college students who can prove they can pay. Adding your child as an authorized user means they aren’t receiving the privileges (or reward points) of having their own card — they’re essentially just carrying your card. For most issuers, an authorized user doesn’t even get a separate credit card number. That also means your kids are depending on your credit history to build theirs. If your payment record isn’t so great or you have concerns about your ability to keep up with your credit card balance, you way want to consider the cosigner option when your kids get older. But if you’re ready to teach your kids by showing them what a responsible card holder looks like (that’s you), adding them as an authorized user is the better choice. Here’s why. Adding Your Child to Your Credit Card to Build Credit  By adding your child as an authorized user on your card, they can learn to handle a credit card in a low-risk way.  “It’s a great opportunity to build credit,” Christensen said. “It doesn’t cost [parents] anything. It doesn’t affect their credit at all.” The minimum age for adding your child to your credit card depends on your credit card company — many have no minimum age requirements at all — and some premium cards charge a fee for adding an authorized user, so check your issuer’s terms and conditions before adding your child. Pro Tip Seven years is typically the amount of time needed to establish a good credit history, so adding a very young child as an authorized user won’t do much to help their score. “I typically recommend it especially in the late teens,” Christensen advised. You can track your child’s spending instantaneously by setting up text alert messages for all credit card transactions or less frequently by checking your account activity daily. Still unsure if you can trust your kid with the plastic? You don’t actually need to tell them they’re getting the card.  “I’ve done that with my own kids,” Christensen said. “I had them as an authorized user on my wife’s and my card for several years, and they never knew it until they turned 18.” FROM THE DEBT FORUM Travel Trailer Debt 6/25/19 @ 5:31 PM Suze Orman says CAR LEASES are always a BAD financial move - do you agree? 4/18/19 @ 3:47 PM debt from a scam/fraud 6/18/19 @ 6:57 PM C credit card trouble again 6/24/19 @ 5:20 PM a See more in Debt or ask a money question Even though his daughter wasn’t aware she was building her credit history, Christensen noted that she ended up reaping the benefits of having that credit history. “When my daughter went to apply for a car loan after she moved out, one of the credit ratings had her in the 700s because she was an authorized user on our accounts,” he said. Additionally, if you’re using the card to teach your older kids about handling credit cards responsibly, by allowing them to be authorized users on your card, they can reap the benefits of building credit — and make a mistake without putting your own score in danger. Pro Tip As long as your child uses the card responsibly, don’t remove them as an authorized user until they get their own credit card and have had a few years to build that credit history. “If their credit goes south, it should not make it onto [your] credit rating,” Christensen said. “But even if it did, a simple dispute online will have it removed.” Ready to give your kids the chance to learn but aren’t sure where to start? Check out The Penny Hoarder Academy’s Credit Cards 101 course and this post on how to use a credit card as guides for teaching them about using credit in a responsible way. Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Spotted: A Bigger Southwest Credit Card Bonus for In-Flight Applicants

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Spotted: A Bigger Southwest Credit Card Bonus for In-Flight Applicants
Sometimes the most lucrative sign-up bonuses aren’t available online. We spotted this sign-up bonus for the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card in the wild world of in-flight reading materials. • Offer: Earn 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. • Seen: June 15, 2019,... Meghan Coyle is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: mcoyle@nerdwallet.com. The article Spotted: A Bigger Southwest Credit Card Bonus for In-Flight Applicants originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Alaska Airlines Credit Card Adds Discounts for Lounge Access, In-Flight Purchases

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Alaska Airlines Credit Card Adds Discounts for Lounge Access, In-Flight Purchases
Bank of America® and Alaska Airlines recently rolled out new perks for cardholders of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. New and existing cardholders get 20% back on Alaska Airlines in-flight purchases and a 50% discount on lounge day passes when they pay with their Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. Here’s what you... Meghan Coyle is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: mcoyle@nerdwallet.com. The article Alaska Airlines Credit Card Adds Discounts for Lounge Access, In-Flight Purchases originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Chase Launches Student Credit Card in Branches Only

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Chase Launches Student Credit Card in Branches Only
If you’re a college student who isn’t ready to throw a graduation cap into the air just yet, take a look at the hat Chase just tossed into the ring. A few months ahead of the new semester, the issuer has launched Chase Freedom Student, a credit card designed for those still in school. As of June 9,... Melissa Lambarena is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: mlambarena@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @LissaLambarena. The article Chase Launches Student Credit Card in Branches Only originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Got Credit Card Debt? Paying Biweekly Could Save You Hundreds on Interest

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Got Credit Card Debt? Paying Biweekly Could Save You Hundreds on Interest
It happens every month: The credit card bill is due. You dutifully send your minimum payment on the due date — but watch the balance grow ever larger. But what if you could pay half that amount every two weeks instead of one payment every month? More payments, you say? Thanks, I’ll pass. But what if the new payment schedule could save you hundreds of dollars? Biweekly payments are a simple way to reduce your balance and the amount you pay in interest. Here’s what you need to know. How Do Biweekly Payments Work? You may have already heard of — or received offers for — biweekly payment plans for debts like your mortgage. Here’s how one works: Let’s say your monthly payment for a debt is $500. If you pay that amount each month, you’ll make 12 payments each year for a total of $6,000. If you make biweekly payments, you pay $250 every two weeks. But because there are 52 weeks in a calendar year (thanks to that wacky Gregorian), you’ll make 26 half payments or 13 full payments each year, for a total of $6,500. That reduces your principal by $500 in one year and thus reduces the amount of interest you’ll pay on the remaining balance. Depending on how much you owe and how your debt is structured, you could shave months or years off of a payment plan. An amortization schedule is a table listing regular payments for the life of a loan. Each amount includes a little more toward principal and a little less toward interest as your balance goes down. You can check out your loan’s amortization schedule and online biweekly payment calculators to see just how much you’ll save by paying off principal early. How to Decide if a Biweekly Payment Plan Is Worth It There are three questions to ask about your debt before switching to a biweekly payment plan, according to Brian Walsh, Certified Financial Planner and manager of financial planning at SoFi, a personal finance company: 1. What is the interest rate on the debt? Before you start planning out a new payment schedule, you should first know if it’s worth your effort. That starts with knowing how much interest you’re being charged on a debt. “We consider good debt as anything with an interest rate below 7% and bad debt, anything with an interest rate above 7%,” Walsh said. Rather than paying off  “good debt” early, you can often put your money to better use by investing in IRAs, 401(k)s and other accounts that offer a higher interest rate than the one you’re paying. Pro Tip Considering biweekly payments for a student loan? Current interest rates on direct federal loans for undergraduates is 5.05%, while Direct PLUS Loans for parents or graduate students is 7.6%. So if you have a mortgage charging 5% interest and an IRA earning 8%, you’ll make more money in the long term by continuing with your current monthly debt payment plan and putting that extra money toward your IRA. But if you have an auto loan charging 9% interest, you should consider a biweekly payment plan to pay down that debt faster. 2.  Are there any prepayment penalties associated with the debt? Before starting a biweekly payment plan, review loan contracts to be sure it doesn’t include a prepayment penalty. If it does, you’ll be charged extra for paying off a loan or a large portion in a single payment, which could offset any benefits you reap in interest savings. 3. Can you apply the extra payments toward principal? This question typically requires you to simply tell your lender — via phone, email or letter — that you want extra payments applied toward your principal amount, not the interest. That allows you to pay down the debt faster and avoid paying extra in interest. When it comes to meeting all three criteria, there’s typically one debt that’s a clear winner, according to Walsh. “Whenever we come across credit cards, to me, that’s a no brainer,” Walsh said. “People should be setting up biweekly and more frequent payments when it comes to a credit card.” Why You Should Set Up Biweekly Credit Card Payments If there’s ever a chance you’ll carry over a balance from month to month on your credit card, biweekly payments can save you hundreds in interest, according to Walsh. A grace period is the time between when a statement closes and the due date. The 2009 Credit Card Act requires that if a credit card company offers a grace period, it must last at least 21 days. The problem with credit card debt is that unless you pay off the full balance every month, you lose the grace period credit cards typically offer and start accruing interest on a daily basis. By making biweekly payments, you’ll not only knock out more of the balance, you’ll avoid accruing additional interest in those 14 days between payments. Why Biweekly Mortgage Payments May Not Be Worth It So credit card biweekly payments may sound all well and good, but what about knocking out most people’s biggest debt, the mortgage? Not so fast, say the experts. Using a biweekly payment plan to pay down your mortgage typically isn’t the best financial decision, according to Jason B. Ball, a certified financial planner with Ball Comprehensive Planning in West Linn, Oregon. To illustrate this, Ball offered a scenario using the example of a house purchased for $300,000 with a down payment of $50,000 and an interest rate of 4.2%:   Traditional Monthly Payment Biweekly Payment Payment Amount $1,256.97 $628.49 Total Interest Paid $182,510.84 $153,169.81 Pay-off Date 30 years 25 years, 8 months Here’s how much you can expect to save by making a biweekly payment as opposed to a traditional monthly payment: Interest: $29,341.03 Time: 4 years, 4 months “In our example, it looks to save about four years,” he wrote in an email. “It is also interesting to note that most people do not live in their home that long. The typical buyer could be expected to stay in a single-family home roughly 12 years before moving out.” Yes, you’d save on interest (although not as much if you move out before you finish paying off the mortgage), but Ball notes that at 4.2%, you could put your extra payments to better use by investing that money in higher yielding investments like a 401(k). And although it might make you feel better about not having a mortgage hanging over your head (and there are other benefits to paying off your mortgage early), there’s a good chance a paid-off house won’t help you out that much financially even if you do decide to stay there when you retire. “If you put all your money into your mortgage, you may be house rich at retirement, but you need to look at how you will turn that asset into a monthly paycheck at retirement,” Ball wrote. “Typically, pre-paying the mortgage yields a lower probability of retirement success than other options.”   FROM THE DEBT FORUM What is the best way to consolidate my credit cards into one payment 6/5/19 @ 7:03 PM My townhome is just a money pit 6/4/19 @ 4:48 PM Senior Couple drowning in debt 1/22/19 @ 9:44 AM B Great Student Loan payoff apps. 5/8/19 @ 4:44 PM See more in Debt or ask a money question Should You DIY Biweekly Payments? So you’ve weighed the pros and cons, and you’re ready to put yourself on a biweekly payment plan. Now what [...]
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10 Purchases You Should Not Put on a Credit Card

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10 Purchases You Should Not Put on a Credit Card
wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com Many credit cards offer a slew of incentives to consumers who use them — from cash back and other rewards to zero liability in case of fraud. But credit cards are not always your best form of payment, especially if you aren’t great with debt. In many cases, you are better off keeping the plastic tucked away. For some readers, this advice comes too late. [...]
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NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards for Transit Spending

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NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards for Transit Spending
More than three-quarters of Americans commute by car, but millions of people also use public transit and other shared forms of transportation to get to work. Whether it’s bus/train/cab fare, rideshares, tolls or parking, you may spend hundreds of dollars a month just getting around. Thankfully, several credit cards offer bonus rewards specifically on those costs. Even general travel cards that... Sara Rathner is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: srathner@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @sarakrathner. The article NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards for Transit Spending originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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The Lowdown on New Tools to Jump-Start Your Credit

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The Lowdown on New Tools to Jump-Start Your Credit
The rules for achieving a decent credit score haven’t changed much since credit scoring was invented: Pay all your bills on time, don’t use too much of your available credit and build a long history of responsible behavior. But credit novices and those looking to rebuild after missteps now have two new tools they can... Amrita Jayakumar is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: ajayakumar@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ajbombay. The article The Lowdown on New Tools to Jump-Start Your Credit originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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These 8 Strategies Will Help You Pay Down Credit Card Debt When You Retire

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These 8 Strategies Will Help You Pay Down Credit Card Debt When You Retire
Ah, retirement. Lazy days in the hammock, bucket list trips to Europe, leisurely drives in your sports car. Wait, you’ve spent more time jettisoning ideas than planning jet-setting excursions? Despite your best savings efforts — and unexpected expenses — those idyllic retirement plans may have run into the stark reality that you didn’t end up with the nest egg you had planned on. In fact, you’re headed toward your golden years with credit card debt. Employee Benefit Research Institute.  In 1992, 53.8% of families with the head of household ages 55 or older had debt. By 2016, that number had climbed to 68%. Unfortunately, it’s a nationwide trend, as families just reaching retirement or those recently retired are more likely to have debt — and higher levels of it — than past generations, according to a study by the Without your former income, you may be starting to worry about making the growing credit card payments on a fixed income, particularly when the average Social Security monthly benefit is $1,461. Putting a dent — permanently — in credit card debt when you’re retired is possible, and we have seven ways to help pay off your debt so you can enjoy that hammock. 8 Ways to Help Pay Down Credit Card Debt in Retirement Retirement offers unique opportunities and challenges when you’re paying off debt. You may have new sources of income, like Social Security or a pension, and new expenses, like increased healthcare costs or fun stuff like travel. So here are eight post-employment strategies that can help you pay down debt. 1. Make a Budget Tackling credit card payment as you approach retirement starts by re-examining your budget. Making changes to your lifestyle and using your free time to save money is a good place to start, according to Joseph Valenti, senior policy advisor with the AARP Public Policy Institute, in Washington, D.C. “One thing we know from studies of retirement is that people have fewer set costs typically compared to when they were working,” he said. “If they have more time, maybe they will be preparing more meals at home.” If you need help creating your budget, check out our step-by-step guide to budgeting or learn the basics in our Budgeting 101 Academy course. Once you know where you stand financially, you can start looking for ways to cut the credit card balance. 2. Negotiate With Credit Card Companies The best way to know where you stand is to look at the numbers — in this case, the interest rate on your cards. It’s easier to pay down a debt if you’re accumulating less interest on top of the original amount (learn more about compound interest in our Credit Cards 101 Academy course). Asking your credit card company for a new rate is one option, particularly if you’re ready to commit to living credit card-free going forward, Valenti said. “In some cases, even if you close that card, they will let you pay it down for little or no interest over a period of time,” Valenti said. “That’s assuming you don’t need the card again.” Pro Tip When you call the credit card company, the first person you talk to may not be able to help you, even if they think they can. Ask to speak with a manager who handles settlement arrangements. Check out this post for more tips on negotiating credit card debt. And if you’re too overwhelmed to deal with the creditors themselves, consider reaching out to a credit counselor, who can help you organize your accounts and may negotiate a lower interest rate for you. 3. Transfer Your Balance to a New Card Loyalty isn’t necessarily rewarding. If you’ve had the same card for years, transferring your balance to a new card could give you a lower interest rate than you current provider can offer. Reap the most benefits by paying down as much debt as you can during the promotional period. When you’re considering which card to go with, compare this information for all offers: Fees (typically at least $5 to $10 or 3% to 5% of the balance) Interest (look for 0%) Duration of the promotional APR (usually 12 to 18 months) Credit score requirements (generally good or excellent) Credit limits (make sure it’s more than your current balance) Here’s what else to consider before transferring a balance. 4. Cut (Former) Work-Related Expenses Still hanging on to that gym membership, even though you only signed up because it was close to your office? By reviewing your monthly, periodic and annual budgets, you may discover work-related expenses that have become so habitual you’ve forgotten about them, according to Valenti, who gave transportation, clothing and cell phone expenses as examples. Cancel subscriptions to professional associations and other automatic billings associated with work (an ink cartridge subscription, for instance) to avoid unwanted surprises at the end of the month. If you have trouble keeping up with recurring payments, try using a subscription tracking tool. And if you still enjoy hitting the gym, cut costs by asking about senior discounts — AARP has many for its members. 5. Set Up Self-Imposed Limits Before retirement, those little expenses that broke your budget one month may have been easier to cushion with your regular paycheck. And remembering them all may have been a little easier a few years ago. To help you track the expenses and avoid unwanted surprises at the end of the month, Valenti suggested setting up alerts from your bank or credit card provider. “It’s one thing to find out instantly through a text that you’ve reached a limit — even if it’s a self-imposed limit — as opposed to a statement that’s going to shock you at the end of a cycle,” Valenti said. 6. Ask for Professional (Financial) Help If you’re overwhelmed by managing your day-to-day finances or fear forgetting to pay bills and sinking further in debt, consider hiring a daily money manager. In addition to tracking bills, daily money managers can help you with balancing your checkbook, collecting tax documents, dealing with medical bills and even avoiding scams. Pro Tip Your bank must protect two months’ worth of Social Security benefits from a credit card collector’s garnishment. If your account has more than that, the bank can garnish or freeze the extra money. Depending on where you live, a daily money manager may charge $75 to $150 an hour. However, the American Association of Daily Money Managers provides a list of state agencies that provide services to low-income and disabled seniors.   7. Make Extra Money on Your Empty Nest Now that the kids have moved out (hopefully), you’re stuck with that big, empty house. One option for making money is to sell it and downsize to a smaller place, then use the profits to pay off credit card debt. But moving still requires an outlay of cash and can add additional stress as you’re adjusting to retired life. If you’re seeking something a little less drastic, think about new ways to use your house — and its contents — to earn some cash today, advises Moira Somers, a wealth psychologist based in Winnipeg, Canada, and the author of “Advice That Sticks: How to Give Financial Advice That People Will Follow.” “Look at the resources you have and say, ‘Could this turn into money somehow?’” she said. “One of the cool things about this period in our life is that there are sometimes ways we can make extra money that wouldn’t have been possible even 10 years ago — the whole AirBnb thing, for example.” If you’re looking to make some money on your extra bedrooms, check out our post about how to become an Airbnb host. And don’t forget about all those buried treasures in the attic. (Did you know that Urban Outfitters sells five-packs of random VHS tapes for $40? Yeah. That’s a thing.) One of the cool things about this period in our life is that there are sometimes ways we can make extra money that wouldn’t have been possible even 10 years ago. Somers notes ta [...]
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HELOC: Understanding Home Equity Lines of Credit

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HELOC: Understanding Home Equity Lines of Credit
  A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is a second mortgage that gives you access to cash based on the value of your home. You can draw from a home equity line of credit and repay all or some of it monthly, somewhat like a credit card. With a HELOC, you borrow against your... The article HELOC: Understanding Home Equity Lines of Credit originally appeared on NerdWallet.   [...]
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