Understanding The True Rules of Your Credit Cards

If you want to own credit cards, you have to make sure that they don’t end up owning you. This means that in a nutshell, you have to understand the true rules of your credit cards. You have to make sure that you’re focusing on the bigger picture when it comes to credit cards. Are they evil? We don’t believe that credit cards are evil. As we’re fond of saying, that’s like assuming that the hammer in your shed is dangerous all on its own. That’s not a mentality that we ever want to really adopt.

The truth here is that yes, credit cards can do damage…if you’re not responsible with them. If you make sure that you don’t run up your card limits and spend well under your monthly budget, then you shouldn’t have any trouble. Look, everyone knows someone that has lost their job suddenly and had no recourse but to run up a lot of credit. That’s one situation that’s growing, and that’s a real shame. The truth is that you want to stave off the need to use credit by really investing in yourself. Before you eye something shiny or pretty for your collection, you need to be thinking about the emergency fund at all times. You have to be thinking about the type of life that you ultimately wish to cultivate for yourself.

Credit Cards

This brings us headfirst back into the world of credit cards. You have to think about why you’re using the credit card. Are you trying to live a lifestyle that’s well beyond your means? Then you definitely want to avoid credit cards. Otherwise you’ll have your own credit card horror story, and that’s not something that we would wish on anyone. It’s better to really think about the type of credit that you want to have, and then build that type of credit history.

Paying your bills on time has to be one of the top reasons why some people have great credit, while others don’t. You can’t assume that you’re going to be able to build a high credit score if you can’t even show the lenders that you can pay your bills on time. That would just be horrendous, and there’s no point in going down that road if you don’t have to. It would make a lot more sense to instead invest in getting better credit through properly managing your due dates.

The biggest reason why most people do not have good credit is that they pay late, but they pay late because they procrastinate. You probably already have the money just sitting around at payday — why not make sure that your bills are paid right then and there? That would avoid not only the late fees but the extra interest.

Interest is basically a fancy way of saying “profit for the credit card company”. And really, they’re not going to loan you their money without getting something in return. In a way, that’s the way that you need to look at credit. It’s something that’s going to affect you for a long time, so you might as well ensure that you’re not getting swept away. You might as well make sure that you’re reading the fine print.

Are you itching to get a rewards credit card, so you’re applying for any one that you can get? Be careful. You might not get your rewards card at all. The credit card company has every right in their agreement to switch your card to another type as long as you qualify to have a card in the first place. In short, what this means is that the rewards card you were hoping to get in the mail just isn’t the one you will end up with. It might be a basic card with a much lower limit.

Those shiny advertisements that you see in the mail and on TV are often ones that cater to people with very high credit scores. There’s nothing that says that you can’t have a very high credit score, but you have to be realistic. If you’re thinking that you’re going to magically have a top notch credit score with a bunch of late fees and even tons of inquiries on your report, you’re sadly mistaken. Keep in mind that you can have a high score at one credit bureau and a less than perfect score at the other. It’s all about who stores what information. If you try to just ignore the importance of credit, you’re going to get left behind.

There’s a big debate about whether credit is even necessary. Until people have the type of savings accounts that let them put down the full cost of the house they have always dreamed of — including closing costs — then they need to maintain good credit. Do you really want to be denied your dream of a house or a car just because you skipped out of the credit system?

As always, life is what you make of it, and we can only give you general advice. As long as you keep our tips in mind, you will understand more about the credit system than most!

Squeezing Out Every Bit of Potential In Your Credit Products

Your credit cards matter, but do you know what they’re actually offering you? Have you taken the time to compare credit cards UK to find the best interest rate and terms? Sometimes when we get that new credit card in the mail, it’s hard to keep from spending long enough to actually read what’s being presented to you. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make sure that you have everything together, but you will definitely need to make sure that you are looking at your credit products a little closer.[Continue Reading…]

Don’t Skip The Fine Print of Your Credit Cards!

This is probably going to be filed away in the “obvious” section of your brain, but here us out: if it didn’t happen, we wouldn’t have to say anything about it. We could just keep going on, telling you the things that you need to know about your credit and then some. However, there are indeed people that write to us saying that they didn’t know that their credit card company could do such things, and we are always surprised when we hear that. Didn’t these people read the fine print?

Of course, it’s not like the credit card companies really make it easy for you to do that. You will pretty much have to navigate the fine print on your own, unless you just happen to have lawyers for friends. However, there are groups online that tackle these types of things as a team, which means that you should at least try to go online and see if anyone’s detangled what’s going on.

Generally speaking, you need to know your interest rate, how your interest is calculated and compounded, and how your due dates are calculated. Knowing this information will help you really determine how long you’re going to keep your credit card. If you find that your credit card’s terms aren’t keeping up with your changing needs, then it’s definitely going to be time to give your credit card the boot and get another one.

Yes, it’s obvious, and we’ll acknowledge that all day long. However, consider this our best reminder to take back your life through your finances. The answer to your finances in any regard should never be “I don’t know”, because that’s how these companies get the best of us. Knowing the ins and outs of your credit card is going to help you enjoy it more and use it as a tool better than anyone possibly could.

That’s all we have on the subject today — go out there and check out your credit card’s fine print today. Oh, you don’t have that initial stack of paperwork? That’s okay — your card’s terms and conditions will probably be on your credit card company’s website. If they aren’t, you can call the company and ask them to send them to you or tell you how you can get them — they will respond, we promise!

Managing your Money with Credit Cards and Share ISAs

Managing money is something that we all have to do. It might not be the most thrilling thing in the world but it is certainly vital and makes good financial and common sense. There are a few different financial tools that you can use to help successfully manage your money and make the most of your finances. Two of these are credit cards and share ISAs. This article looks at a few of their main features and how they can help people who are looking for money management strategies.

Credit cards – interest free

When it comes to credit cards, interest free credit cards are a really good option if you are looking to get control over your finances. This is because, as their name suggests, interest free credit cards allow you to make purchases and then pay them off over an extended period without having to pay any of the interest you would normally be expected to pay.

This has the benefit of often helping people to pay off what they owe faster than they otherwise would have done. One thing to keep in mind with interest free credit cards is that the interest free period will normally be for a limited time only, and so it can be worth paying off your balance before this runs out to avoid accruing any interest on the balance of your card.

Credit cards – 0% balance transfers

0% balance transfer cards can also be a good way to help manage your money. For instance, it is estimated that there are more than 30 million credit card users in the UK with upwards of 58 million credit cards between them. This means that most people with credit cards have more than one, something that is fine for most people but some can find it harder to manage.

0% balance transfer cards are useful if you are looking to consolidate multiple credit cards down into one card. They allow you to transfer over the balance of existing cards and then pay off the balance at a 0% interest rate, so the only fee associated with it will be the administration costs of taking care of the balance transfer.

Again, this is something that is very useful in helping people to pay off what they owe faster and more cheaply than they otherwise would have done. Just remember that any other purchase you make on a 0% balance transfer card will be charged at the normal rate of interest.

Credit cards – limits and payments

Credit cards also have a few other benefits that can help people looking for a money management strategy. For instance, when you are accepted onto a credit card you will be given a credit limit that tells you how much you can spend on your card each month. Also, as a consumer, you have the right to ask for your credit limit to be lowered or to reject any limit raises that are offered to you. If you are trying to keep down the amount of money you are borrowing, this can be helpful.

Something else helpful about credit cards is that items that incur a higher rate of interest are paid off first. This helps to keep down the amount of interest you pay overall and can help pay off balances quicker. For instance, if you have a 0% balance transfer card and transfer over £500 at 0%, but then spend £250 at the standard APR, the £250 would be paid off by your credit card lender before the transferred balance would be.

ISAs – regular saving

Share ISAs are also helpful for many people. You are probably aware that ISAs are a tax-free form of savings; every year you are given a limit for how much you can save tax-free in an ISA. Cash ISAs are common, but if you go for a share ISA then you will be able to save more over the course of the year because as well as the cash element, there is also a stocks and shares element to the product. This means that ISAs are particularly good for people who like to save regularly and want to take advantage of the tax-free interest.

ISAs – potential for investment

Something else offered by share ISAs is the potential for investment: some of the money you invest will be put towards stocks and shares. While the stock market can naturally go down as well as up (meaning there’s a chance you could get back less than you put in), this investment choice can be a good option for people who are thinking about long term financial solutions and are interested in the potential offered by stocks and shares investments.

Get Behind Me, Credit Cards – How to Remove Yourself From the Junk Credit Offer Pile

No one really likes the idea of being on someone’s junk mail list, but if you’ve woken up and gone out to your mailbox, chances are good that you have a mailbox full of junk letters and credit card offers.

It’s not your fault, really — you’re just too tempting. The credit card company really wants to make sure that you’re going to take one of their offers. They want to sign you up for as many credit cards as possible, because even if you don’t carry a balance they’re making money in multiple ways — including sharing your information with trusted third parties. Don’t like it — tough it’s part of the whole experience. It can be difficult to deal with the idea of having to have your information scattered far and wide.

It also might be tempting to sign up for the offers, but the truth is that after the introductory honeymoon period is over, these credit cards may be more than what you bargained for. You can’t close them either — shutting down accounts can really mess with your credit score, and this is not a time where you want to have a lot of closed accounts. You really want to try to rebuild your credit as much as possible, but taking out a bunch of credit cards really isn’t the way to go.

You will definitely want to make sure that you opt out of the whole system, and that means being proactive instead of reactive. First and foremost, you will want to call the credit card companies that are constantly sending you their offers. You will let them know that you don’t want to receive anything else. There is also a website called OptOuitPreScreen.com that can help you actually stop the junk mail from all of the credit card companies in one go, but users have experienced mixed reviews. When you’re really trying to get out of debt, you don’t need to be surrounded by credit cards.

Overall, now is a good time to look at the offers you get. If they’re not benefiting your life, then now is a great time to just get rid of them, wouldn’t you say?

Should You Take Out a Loan From Your 401K For Credit Cards?

If there’s one question that people have when it comes to retirement, it’s how to actually balance their retirement needs with the other goals that they have with their financial life. For example, if you have heavy credit card debt but a nice nest egg, should you rob Peter Nest Egg to pay Paul Credit Card Debt? It’s a tough question, but there are some things that you might want to consider before you actually go through with taking out a loan from your 401K account.

First and foremost, you need to understand that it really is a loan — you will have to pay the money back with interest. That interest does indeed go back into your retirement account in some cases, but either way — it’s still due, and you will need to make sure that you actually pay it. If you don’t pay the loan back, it does become a withdrawal and unless you happen to be 59 1/2, it’s going to cost you 10% penalty plus having to pay income taxes on the withdrawal. It’s a pretty big bite:

Let’s say that you borrow 5,000 dollars, at a nominal interest rate. If you don’t pay back the 5,000, you will not only have penalties from the loan company, but you will also have to immediately take a $500 penalty (10%), plus you will have to roll the $5,000 into your total income — which can add substantial taxes to your bill if you’re not careful — $5,000 can be enough to push you from one tax bracket to another.

One of the reasons why we put money into our retirement account in the first place is to be able to actually save for the future. If you take money out of the account then you will naturally not have that compound interest magic working on that money. over time, this means that you will have a smaller nest egg than other people that actually held tight to their guns and got all of the money that were set out to receive.

Getting a loan from your 401(k) isn’t something that you can just get for free, either — you will have to still pay a fee, called a loan origination fee. This can range, which is why you will need to get a quote from the loan company to figure out how much money you will have to pay in order to get the loan. Now, this money will often be deducted from the total amount that you’re borrowing, so keep that in mind.

From an organization point of view, you also need to make sure that you realize that the money for the monthly payments will be directly taken from your paycheck every month. So you will need to adjust your budget as well — especially if you have things that are automatically withdrawn after your paycheck is deposited.

Now we have to come back to the original problem — should you do it in the name of paying down your credit card debt? Well, it depends on a few things. First and foremost, it depends on the amount of credit card debt that you’re trying to get rid of. If you think that you’re going to try to pay back all of them and they are all high interest cards, then you should definitely do that. On the other hand, if the credit card debt is manageable, it can be smarter to leave the money in the account and find another way to pay the credit card debt off early — like your tax return. It’s much better than blowing your tax return on a vacation that only takes you further from your financial goals.

Overall, this is something that you should definitely keep in mind if you really want to take a loan from your 401(k) to pay back credit cards.

Determining Your Goals with Credit Cards

Do you have goals for your credit cards? If you don’t, maybe it’s time that you actually built yourself a few goals to go with your credit cards. There’s no need to feel like you’re going to just have credit cards for the sake of having credit cards — having a goal makes it so much easier to know where you stand financially.

You see, when you set certain goals for your credit cards, you immediately know what you need to use your credit cars for and what you shouldn’t use your credit cards for. Far too often, the sight of a new credit card immediately makes us think about all of the things that we can spend our money on, but is this really the best attitude to have about our finances? Spending too much money can only hurt our financial futures more than it helps them — there’s only one way to really make sure that you will have no problem at all getting your finances taken care of, and that’s making sure that you set the proper goals.

So, what goals can you set when it comes to credit cards? Well, in a nutshell, there’s actually quite a few. For example, if you want to make sure that you are rebuilding your credit, you might decide that you will get a secured credit card where you will pay off the entire balance each and every month. A secured credit card is specifically designed for people that do not have good credit, as it lets them rebuild their credit in a very specific way. There’s no need to worry that you will not be able to get back to a better financial point, especially when you know how to use credit cards wisely.

It’s important to make sure that you’re remaining as disciplined as possible when you’re trying to pick up a secured credit card, because it’s still possible to get in trouble. Even though you will be putting up a secured amount, you will still need to make sure that you are truly getting things taken care of by paying off your balances every month. If you go late on your secured credit card, you will still face problems. The credit card company can seize your initial security, which means that you lose all of the money that you put up in order to get the credit card in the first place. In addition, the company can pursue collection efforts, which means that you will have someone calling you virtually around the clock. This can also lead to judgments and other negative credit reporting — all things that you neither want nor need.

You can also have a credit card designed only for emergency moments. Now, you might be thinking about what really consists an emergency — we mean emergencies that are life threatening or extremely stressful, such as car repairs. A half off sale on shoes is not an emergency that’s worth whipping out your credit card — don’t forget that, and you’ll be just fine!

Online Tools to Help You Keep Track of Your Credit Cards

When you’re working with your finances, it’s definitely okay to admit when you need a little help. Most people find working with their finances to be quite exhausting, but it’s a fact of life that you have to deal with money at one point or another. After all, everything works off of money, which means that you will need to get things in order fast if you want to achieve your financial goals. You might have already set up credit cards that have different goals, but you will also want to make sure that you get your credit cards organized. Now, you could sit down and write everything down on pen and paper, but this is obviously pretty inefficient. You will need to seek out a system that can get you on the rightly track.

Now, as you read this, you might think that you really don’t have extra money to take on such a task. However, that really may not be the case at all — believe it or not, you can keep track of your credit cards without spending a lot of money — even if you actually have to spend any money at all. You must remember that you have the entire Internet at your fingertips, and people like to build tools that simply make people’s lives easier. The fact that much of the Internet is ad-supported makes it easier for you to keep your finances on track without having a lot of problems with it. To start saving on the internet and compare broadband deals in order to keep track of you credit cards, visit uSwitch.com now.

Instead of spending money, you can look up quite a few free online tools. One of the most well known tools out there to manage your credit cards is Mint.com, and this is a free service. What makes this site so interesting is that you will be able to immediately see what is being done with your money. The site breaks down each and every dollar into percentages to make it a lot easier than ever before. There’s no reason why you should feel like you won’t be able to really get things handled properly, when you really have so many sites at your disposal.

Indeed, this is not the only site that you can use to really make things easier — there are plenty of other sites out there, and a quick look on any search engine will easily yield others.

No matter what site that you use, you will want to make sure that you’re actually stopping to use the right security protocols. Every finance-oriented site should have the right level of encryption — you will immediately want to avoid any site that doesn’t encrypt your information. If you use a site that doesn’t have this basic protection, you will end up only revealing your sensitive financial information to unauthorized parties that could end up charging up your credit cards. This is naturally the last thing you want to deal with, so you will need to make sure that you’re staying as vigilant as possible.

Of course, this information isn’t designed to scare you — you just need to make sure that you’re staying careful no matter what. Overall, online tools are there to help you manage your credit cards, so why not get started today?