Secured Credit Cards: Navigating the Minefield & Building Back Your Credit

Secured credit cards are a necessary evil for those wishing to re-build credit after a financial calamity, like bankruptcy, job loss, or marrying the wrong person. They represent some of the worst credit card deals we’ve ever seen, but they are often times a vital stepping stone on the way to rebuilding credit.

Secured Credit Cards
Creative Commons License photo credit: roujo

Do not despair! We will walk you through (i) how secured credit cards work, (ii) whether a secured credit card is the right choice for you, (iii) choosing a secured credit card, and (iv) why the internet is a terrible place to look for the best secured credit card.
[Read more…]

What Happens if You File Your Bankruptcy

Guest Post by Miranda Marquit

Filing for bankruptcy is normally a very difficult decision. While there are those that file for bankruptcy in an attempt to avoid paying their obligations, many bankruptcy filings come after months of agonized consideration as a person attempts to gain relief from a debt situation that has become untenable. One of the main causes of a bankruptcy file is medical bills; these expensive obligations can often push someone over the edge. However, even if you feel that bankruptcy is the only way out for you, it is important to carefully consider your options, since a bankruptcy has far-reaching effects on your financial history.

Discharging your debts

The point of bankruptcy protection is to discharge some of your debts to creditors. However, if you have secured debt (a home or a car), you have to reaffirm that you plan to pay this debt if you want to keep the item in questions. As long as you are current on your mortgage or car payments, and you reaffirm that you will continue to make payments on this debt, these possessions will remain with you. (Note: This is why it is so important to make payments on your secured debt before your unsecured debt.) For smaller items, such as computers or TVs from rent-to-own places, creditors have the right to ask for the item back — especially if you have been using credit cards to make your regular payments.
[Read more…]

How Identity Theft Destroys Your Credit Score

This is a guest post by Carrie Davis who is a personal finance blogger at

Some cases of identity theft are pretty minor. Maybe you notice a couple transactions you didn’t make on your credit card statement, and a quick call to your bank about the fraud resolves the issue. But other forms of identity theft can be a nightmare to recover from, and can wreck your credit score in the process. Here’s how it happens.

[Read more…]

How to report the loss of your credit card in case it is stolen

Have you reported the loss of your stolen credit, ATM card or debit card? Luckily, I’ve been fortunate to have never had my wallet stolen so I haven’t had to mess with it.  I have had two minor cases of identity theft, and that was a nuisance in itself.   This guest post is by Debbie Brown and she shares what to do when your credit card is stolen or lost.

Credit card is the most common financial accessory that people possess. Whether they are buying from stores or shopping online, credit cards are an integral part of our lifestyle. But are you aware that your credit card is like a key to unlock your account details? Yes. There are numerous scammers hovering around you to take a sneak peak into your purse or hack your card details online perhaps with a deadly Trojan!

Most credit card holders feel that they are smart enough to spot a scammer. However the fact remains that within a bat of an eyelid or might be within a click of your mouse, your credit card will be ripped off. FBI has surveyed and found out consumers have to incur a heavy loss of around $125.6 million as seen in the last year due to these swindles. During this economic turbulence, when money is scarce and people are running into debts, it is essential that you become careful. Recession has increased these fraud activities. As a result it is you who will run of money. So if you are using credit cards or ATM cards or debit cards, you must know about certain things in case your cards are stolen. Did you know that the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) offers a number of procedures for the safety of your cards?
[Read more…]

The New Reward Credit Cards

You’ve heard about new laws on credit cards for 2010 in the media during the past couple months, and while it can be rather confusing on what everything is all about, the credit card industry is changing, and it’s changing fast. If you’re like me, and you can’t keep up, I wanted to show you what’s changing in terms of reward credit cards, since I’ve been working with them for a few years now.

Credit Card Reward Points

Credit Card Reward Points

[Read more…]

5 Tips to Help You Beat Post Holiday Debt

For millions of Americans, the real holiday hangover hits when the credit card bill arrives. After springing for airline tickets, gifts for everyone from parents to friends to coworkers, a new outfit and some bottles of bubbly to ring in the New Year, few people can afford to pay off their full balance in January. In fact, a recent poll conducted by Consumer Reports found that about 12 million Americans had not paid off the previous year’s holiday shopping bills. Wow!  Here are five tips to keep you from falling in the holiday debt trap again.

Creative Commons License photo credit: erin m

[Read more…]

Top Tips for Holiday Credit Card Spending

MOA Christmas 2009

As shoppers gear up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we’d like to offer you a story on how they can use their credit cards wisely and keep their spending in check.

The majority of Americans are going to use their credit cards this holiday season:

  • more than half will be shopping online where credit cards are the primary means of payment
  • half of us will use our best credit cards for in-store purchases

The temptation to sign up for a retailer’s promotional credit card to score a better deal is high, but what shoppers don’t know is not all cards are equal— many of the promotional interest rates and rewards won’t match the long-term benefits of non-seasonal cards.
[Read more…]

Credit Card Tips that Make Good Financial Cents

Credit Card Tips to help out the average consumer that make good financial cents.

This is a guest post from Mr Credit Card from Mr Credit Card reviews credit cards and knows the ins and outs of the industry. In this post, he is going to discuss some sound principals in managing your credit cards. Mr Credit Card has compiled a list of the best credit cards available. If you are looking to apply for a credit card, you can head over to his site to do your research.

Firstly, I would like to thank Jeff for giving me the opportunity to write this post. Managing and using credit cards wisely is all part of sound financial management but it seldom gets discussed because advisers and clients. So I would like to reveal some of my thoughts on how to go about managing your cards wisely.

Getting the right credit card for yourself and using them wisely involves some principals that are common to sound investment policies and money management. Here are some of them.

Understanding the purpose of the different types of credit cards

Many folks do not get the proper credit cards for themselves. The reason is that there are just so many credit cards available that researching is just too cumbersome for most people. I like to look at different credit cards just like asset allocation. Credit cards fall broadly into two camps.
[Read more…]

A Look Inside The Credit Card Act of 2009

Credit Card
Creative Commons License photo credit: barsen

A new law that places significant restrictions on credit card companies’ ability to increase interest rates and charge a variety of fees was passed swiftly by Congress earlier this year. Consumers will begin seeing new protections take hold by this fall.  Following is a brief rundown of the bill’s key provisions and what they might mean for the millions of Americans who carry balances on their credit cards from month to month.

Highlights of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 include:
[Read more…]