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How to Get a Credit Card That Will Maximize Savings

How To Get A Credit Card

With well over 1,000 credit cards on the market, advertisements bombarding us online, on TV and through the mail, and mountains of fine print to confuse us, it can be understandably difficult to find the right credit card. It’s a worthwhile endeavor, however, given how financially beneficial a complementary credit card can be and how it can help you avoid some of the biggest mistakes that credit card users make.

Credit card use is a responsibility, after all. Credit cards report information to the major credit bureaus on a monthly basis. If this information is positive, reflecting responsible use or even zero balance, your credit standing will gradually rise, helping you qualify for attractive loan and credit card rates in the future as well as making it easier to rent an apartment, lease a new car, or be eligible for certain jobs. If, however, the information reflects misuse – such as missed payments or high credit utilization – it could lead to expensive debt, credit score damage and assorted other difficulties across your life.

Discover Rewards Program Review, Tips & More

Discover

Discover’s new-look credit card rewards program – branded Cashback Bonus – offers members the ability to earn cash back on every purchase as well as to choose from a variety of redemption options, ranging from statement credits to gift cards and online merchandise.

While Discover once featured several different rewards cards (some of which belonged to a different rewards program), they recently restructured and replaced their suite of offers with a line of ‘Discover It’ cards, which operate solely in the Cashback Bonus program. The change has simplified Discover’s rewards program, giving consumers one comprehensive cash back system and eliminating middle-man rewards currencies like points or miles.

Bank of America Reward Programs Review, Tips & More

BofA1

Bank of America boasts four different credit card rewards programs. Extending coverage to both business and consumer cardholders, these programs vary in terms of what type of rewards currency is issued, as well as the system with which members earn and redeem for perks.

For example, some programs only offer cash back as a redemption option while others allow members to redeem for gift cards, travel accommodation or charity donations. Furthermore, depending on which program you’re a member of, you may be eligible to earn more rewards currency (up to 75%) by opening up a Preferred Rewards bank account.

International Credit Card Guide

International Credit Card Guide

Differences in international monetary standards make spending money abroad often confusing and even downright difficult. When it comes to traveling overseas, consumers must not only determine the acceptable methods of payment for the countries they plan to visit, but also figure out a way to avoid foreign transaction fees and get the best exchange rates.

On the other hand, international businesses—tasked with tackling the logistics of accepting international credit cards—often need to establish international merchant accounts and join international credit card processing networks. Given the obvious importance of international spending in our global society, we have constructed this International Credit Guide to help you learn about and avoid the pitfalls of international credit card use.

Penalty / Default APR Explanation & Tips

Default Interest Rate

The Penalty (or Default) APR is the interest rate that is applied to either a portion or the entirety of your balance once your credit card is in default.

The rules for when the Penalty APR applies are different for general consumer credit cards and small business credit cards, as the latter were excluded from the Credit CARD Act of 2010. Below you will find separate explanations of how the Penalty APR works for both types of credit cards.

Types of Debit Cards

Types Of Debit Cards1

When most people think of debit cards, their minds immediately jump to the plastic consumers use to withdraw cash from their bank accounts at an ATM. That is indeed the most common use of the term, but with the banking landscape evolving significantly in recent years and a variety of new financial products hitting the market, it is not the only one.

There are actually a variety of different types of debit cards on the market – all enabling you to spend only what you load – and we’ll do our best to break down the various options below.

Car Rental Without a Credit Card: Company Policies & Tips

Car Rental Without Credit Card

Yes, you can typically use a debit card, a prepaid card or even cash to rent a car. However, each rental company has its own rules about acceptable payment options – which often vary by location – and not paying by credit card often carries certain ramifications.

For more on which particular payment methods you can use with each rental company as well as a breakdown of their policies and potential pitfalls you may encounter, continue reading below.

Wells Fargo Rewards Review & Insider Tips

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo’s credit card rewards program allows members to earn points or cash back with every dollar they spend. Featuring worthwhile products like the Wells Fargo Rewards Visa® Card, the program enables cardholders to redeem for benefits ranging from gift cards to plane tickets to the newest piece of merchandise.

Like certain other issuers’ rewards programs, including American Express Membership Rewards, Wells Fargo Rewards is divided into three sub-programs – each catering to a different type of customer:

Medical Credit Card Comparison, Alternatives & Tips

Medical Credit Card

Medical credit cards are financing deals, typically accompanied by a dangerous deferred interest feature, that many health care professionals offer to their patients. They are used to pay for out-of-pocket, elective health care expenses (including veterinary services) that are not covered by insurance — serving as an alternative to more traditional payment plans. However, these cards only work for certain health care expenses and with specific types of medical providers, and they cannot be used for any other types of expenses.

One could argue that medical credit cards are filling a desperate need for economically distressed consumers, considering the steep cost of health care that Americans face. But high interest rates and conflict of interest concerns regarding health care professionals steering patients toward specific financing vehicles has brought the medical credit card industry under significant scrutiny.

Capital One No Hassle Rewards Review: Tips for Earning & Redeeming

Capital One No Hassle

Capital One’s No Hassle Rewards program enables its customers to earn either miles or cash back, differing from many other rewards programs which strictly operate on a points system. Featuring some of the most lucrative and popular rewards cards on the market, like the Venture® Rewards and Quicksilver® Rewards, the program allows members to redeem for useful and convenient perks like gift cards and travel.

Similar to the Citi ThankYou Rewards program, Capital One’s No Hassle Rewards also extends its coverage to checking account users. Not only is this option rewarding for individuals who do not own credit cards, but it also helps credit cardholders boost their earnings even more.

Do I Need a Credit Card? When It’s Required, Myths & Alternatives

Credit Card Required

No one truly needs a credit card. While credit cards make certain types of transactions much easier and safer to complete, in addition to providing a host of other benefits, you can generally get by with cash or a debit card.

With that being said, common misconception holds that credit cards are indeed required in certain instances, so let’s examine that claim in order to determine if the luxury provided by plastic ever borders on necessity as well as how you can skirt supposed credit card mandates should they ever present themselves.

Citi ThankYou Rewards Review: Tips, Transfer Partners & More

Thank You From City

Citibank’s rewards program, branded as Citi ThankYou Rewards, features several popular cards like the Citi PrestigeSM and the Citi Forward®. Using ThankYou points as its rewards currency, the program enables customers to redeem for perks ranging from travel accommodations and gift cards to benefits as specific as student loan reimbursements.

One distinguishing factor of this particular rewards program is that its coverage extends beyond credit card users to the company’s banking customers, also enabling folks to earn points by enrolling in certain monthly banking services (such as direct deposit of their paycheck). This represents a great way for institutionally-loyal customers to supercharge their earning power.

Amex Membership Rewards Review: Tips, Transfer Partners & More

Amex Rewards

American Express aptly operates its credit card rewards program under the brand name of Membership Rewards. This program features several of the most prominent cards currently on the market – the Amex Platinum Card, for example – but does not actually include all of the rewards cards offered by Amex, as you’ll see below.

Unlike most rewards programs, Amex’s Membership Rewards is also broken down into three distinct tiers:

Using Merchant Category Codes To Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards

Merchant Category Code

Merchant category codes, or MCC’s, are often overlooked – in fact, not many consumers even know they exist. Essentially, merchant category codes are 4-digit numbers that credit card networks – such as VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover – assign to businesses in order to classify them into certain industries. Because these codes are based upon the types of goods and/or services a merchant provides, they can range from industries as broad as “groceries” and “fuel” to those as specific as “wig and toupee stores.”

Though MCC’s were originally created by card networks to assist the IRS in tax reporting, they have since been used for other purposes, such as assisting the networks in determining interchange fees (as networks charge less in certain industries than others). However, from a consumer’s perspective, merchant category codes are most important as they pertain to credit card rewards. Many credit cards provide different rewards earning rates for purchases made in different spending categories – such as gas, groceries or dining – which makes the way a given merchant is classified very important. For instance, if you have a credit card that offers extra rewards on purchases made at grocery stores but your local Walmart is classified as a department store, you won’t be earning the bonus perks you might assume you’re getting.

Annual Percentage Rate: What It Is, How It Works and What to Avoid

Annual Percentage Rate

 

The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the approximate yearly cost of borrowing money from a financial institution.  It reflects the interest and/or fees assessed in conjunction with your balance and serves as a basis for choosing between similar financial products (e.g. between multiple credit card offers or mortgages).

Types of Gift Cards

Types Of Gift Cards

We’re all familiar with gift cards; they’re basically ubiquitous. After all, there were an estimated $126 billion in gift cards sold during 2014, which means U.S. consumption of gift cards is more than the GDP of 133 countries. Gift cards aren’t all created equal, though. They differ from one another based on their issuer and the manner in which they are delivered. Understanding how your gift card is structured will enable you to maximize its value.

Types of Gift Card Issuers

Store Gift Cards: Most stores these days have their own gift cards. Consumers can typically purchase them in store or online. Many credit card companies also enable you to redeem rewards points or miles for store-issued gift cards. These gift cards can only be used at the stores whose branding they bear.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Review: Tips, Transfer Partners & More

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase currently operates its credit card rewards program under the brand name of Chase Ultimate Rewards, which replaced the “Flexible Rewards” moniker just a few years ago. The Ultimate Rewards program features some of the most popular cards on the market, such as the Sapphire Preferred Card and the Ink Plus Business Card. Enabling cardholders to earn points with every dollar they spend, the program’s versatile nature allows its members to redeem for rewards ranging from travel amenities to gift cards for the biggest stores around.

It is important to understand the specific ins and outs of an issuer’s rewards program as it helps you extract maximum value in terms of both earning and redemption. In this review, CardHub will break down Chase’s program in order to help you do just that.

Credit Card Declined: Why It Happened, Declined Codes & Next Steps

Credit Card Transaction Declined

We all know how embarrassing it can be to hear the words, “Sorry, but your card just got declined.” Most people tend to assume it’s because they missed a payment or have “maxed” out their credit line.

However, contrary to popular belief, these reasons are among a multitude of factors that can cause a declined transaction – and this is precisely why it happens frequently with so many people. Even President Obama recently had his credit card declined when dining at a fancy New York City restaurant.

Credit Card Application Declined: Why & How You Can Fix It

Credit Card Transaction Declined

Like with any other type of rejection, having a credit card application get declined can be rather disheartening. However, it’s important to recognize that one denied application does not signal the end to your quest for a credit card. Not only might there be a way to reverse this initial decision, but there are also steps that you can take to improve your odds of approval the next time around.

This guide will teach you how to respond to a declined credit card application by explaining the different possible reasons for denial, as well as the immediate and long-term measures you can take to improve your credit profile.

Pay Taxes with a Credit Card: Pros & Cons

Pay Taxes With Credit Card And Other Alternatives

The IRS does indeed accept payment by plastic – a fact which leads many people to wonder about the viability of paying their taxes with a credit card. There are various arguments to be made both in favor of and against such a strategy, and we’ll do our best to lay them out below.

Pros:

  • Buy Yourself Some Time: Paying your taxes with a credit card is one way to buy yourself some extra time in order to come up with the cash needed to pay off Uncle Sam. It is important to note, however, that your credit line is not the only such tool at your disposal . The IRS offers a number of options to people who cannot pay their full tax burden by the deadline, including a 120-day extension and an installment plan. It is very important that you carefully consider each option, including any and all associated costs, in order to determine which would be most advantageous based on your circumstances.
  • Shift Your Obligation from the IRS: Many people simply do not want to mess with the IRS. Paying with a credit card solves that problem by enabling you to pay Uncle Sam in full and effectively shift your balance to your credit card issuer. This may prove especially important for people who are in dire financial straits, as taxes paid by credit card become dischargeable in Chapter 13 bankruptcy (not the case with Chapter 7, however).
  • Long 0% Intro Terms are Available: Credit cards now offer 0% introductory interest rates for up to 18 months, which means you can prevent your tax obligation from growing while you find the cash to pay it by simply using the right card. You may even wish to use a 0% credit card if you have the requisite cash, just so you can leave your money invested for longer.

    You simply need to make sure that you’ll be able to pay off your balance before high regular rates take effect and eat away at your savings. A credit card calculator will be a big help in that regard.

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Our content is intended for general educational purposes and should not be relied upon as the sole basis for managing your finances. Furthermore, the materials on this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you have any legal questions, please consult an attorney. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.