Archive forBad Credit Credit Cards

Are Chip Cards Exposing You to a Deeper Form of Identity Theft?

Comments off

4 Ways You’re Making Your Credit Card Debt Even Worse

Credit card debt isn’t an easy thing to overcome, there’s no doubt about it. But as if that wasn’t enough, there are quite a few common financial mistakes out there that can make your debt situation even worse! So, to help keep you from exacerbating your credit card woes, take heed of these four things that can worsen your debt scenario.

1. Only Making Minimum Payments

While making minimum payments on time will help you avoid getting hit with late fees, it won’t do much to help you out of debt. In fact, sticking exclusively to minimum payments might only make your debt situation worse. If your credit card has a high interest rate, minimum payments will only drag out your debt repayment process, resulting in more interest payments and, in the end, costing you more money. (You can calculate the lifetime cost of your debt here.)

Free Credit Consultation – Call 844-346-3296
Repairing Your Credit With Lexington Law Can Help You Save Money

Get Help Now
Privacy Policy

Try to contribute as much as you possibly can to help pay down your debt. If you can’t come up with the cash, consider reassessing your budget or picking up a side hustle to help free up cash flow. The sooner you pay off your credit card debt, the less interest you have to pay and the more you’ll save!

2. Using Your Cards While Paying Down Debt

After paying off a good chunk of your balance, you might feel tempted to utilize a little of the space you’ve freed up on your credit card. Unfortunately, this tends to be a slippery slope for folks working to pay off debt. Even if you intended to make only a small purchase with the card here and there, this type of spending behavior could wind up erasing all your hard work.

If you’re paying off debt on a credit card, you may want to consider opting for a cash-only budget instead. Limiting yourself to a set amount of cash each week can help you stay on budget and keep you from tapping into your credit. Leaving credit cards at home, or with a trusted family member or friend, can also help you fight off the urge to spend.

3. Ignoring Your Statements

When it comes to credit card debt, burying your head in the sand is one of the worst things you can do. While they may be a bummer to look at, ignoring credit card statements keeps you from seeing valuable information regarding your credit card account. Your payment due date, total balance, interest, and penalty fees are all included on your monthly statement. Not only that, but checking your statement is the best way to make sure your charges are correct and that you haven’t fallen victim to identity theft.

If you want to keep your credit card debt from evolving into an even bigger mess, you may want to attempt to get into the habit of checking your statements regularly. Most credit companies offer paperless statement options, so if you find it easier to pay attention to your email as opposed to snail mail, that may be the right option for you. Plus, seeing your balance decrease statement after statement can really be a big boost to your morale!

4. Not Changing Your Financial Habits

More often than not, debt is the result of poor fiscal practices. Whether it was your spending habits, failure to build a proper emergency fund, or a lack of financial knowledge, debt is too often the byproduct of bad behavior. And regardless of how much debt you’re able to overcome, if you aren’t able to adopt good financial habits, you’ll quickly find yourself falling back into debt or, alternatively, making your current debt situation even worse!

Old habits may die hard, but they aren’t entirely impossible to overcome. One helpful tool is to refer to your financial restraint in a positive light. When you can’t go on a shopping spree, it’s not because you “can’t afford it” it’s because you’re putting that money to better use. You’re not “losing money” to your savings account, you’re building yourself a helpful nest egg. Regardless of how you decide to go about it, adopting positive financial habits can really help when trying to keep your debt problem from worsening.

Remember, your debt level can directly affect your credit score. As you work to pay down your credit card debt, you can check your progress and see two of your credit scores for free every month on

When it comes to getting out of credit card debt, dedication is key. Once you’ve devised your get-out-of-debt battle plan, it’s important to stick to the rulebook no matter how tough times may get. While it’s going to be a struggle at times, you’ll find yourself feeling significantly more confident and positive about your financial future once you’ve pulled yourself out of debt.

More on Credit Cards:

  •’s Expert Credit Card Shopping Tips
  • How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit
  • An Expert Guide to Credit Cards With Rewards

Image: iStock

Comments off

You’re Not a Grown-Up Until You Have a Credit Card. Here’s Why

A lot of people hate credit cards, and for good reasons. They make it easy to overspend and end up in very expensive debt. If youve had the experience of paying off credit card debt or watched someone struggle through it, perhaps youve come away from it thinking, Im sticking to cash.

That seems to be the mindset of younger consumers. Facebook analyzed financial conversations, conducted surveys and reviewed audience data of users ages 21 to 34 and collected the findings in a white paper titled Millennials + money: The unfiltered journey. According to the paper, the majority of millennials (57%) prefer to use cash or debit cards instead of credit cards, and the generation seems greatly attached to the goal of living debt-free. They were asked to define financial success, and 47% said it was to be debt-free. Their most common financial priority (43%) is to pay down debt.

Free Credit Consultation – Call 844-346-3296
Repairing Your Credit With Lexington Law Can Help You Save Money

Get Help Now
Privacy Policy

Point taken. Millennials dont like debt. Thats likely a huge reason theyre relying on cash and debit cards for their everyday purchases.

But dismissing credit cards could be a big mistake for young consumers, and they might not realize why. Nearly a third (30%) of millennials say they are not sure how credit cards could be helpful, the Facebook paper said. Well, heres how.

You Can Build Credit

You dont need credit to participate in the economy and live happily, but it can make things a heck of a lot easier. Your credit rating comes into play with big financial decisions, like buying a house or car (unless youre only using cash), but it affects a lot more than that. Bad credit or no credit could make it harder or more expensive for you to rent housing, set up utilities, get a cellphone or get insurance. It could even affect your job prospects. There are a lot of situations in which a good credit score comes in handy.

But how do you get a good credit score? One way is to use a credit card responsibly. You can start with a secured credit card (weve reviewed the best secured credit cards here) or ask a close friend or relative to co-sign your card application. Try to use very little of your available credit and make the payments on time. Those two things are the foundation of a good credit score.

You Dont Need to Go Into Debt

The interest rates on credit cards tend to be much higher than they are on other credit products, like personal loans, auto loans or mortgages. That being said, you can use a credit card without ever having to pay interest. In other words, you can improve your credit score without debt.

If you pay your credit card bill in full every time its due, you can take advantage of whats called a grace period — the time between when you make a purchase and actually take the money from your bank account to pay for it. During that time, youre technically borrowing money from your credit card issuer, but the grace period allows you to borrow that money without accruing interest on it.

On one hand, its a great tool: Youre building credit without going into debt. But be careful: If you miss a payment, you can lose your grace period, and your credit card issuer can start charging you interest for the outstanding balance. To make debt-free credit card use work for you, you need to pay very close attention to how much youre spending (so you can cover the bill) and make sure youre paying bills on time.

Credit cards can be both helpful and hurtful, which is why some people take the cautious route and avoid them. Unfortunately, that can make things more challenging for you at some point. This isnt to say everyone should have credit cards, but if you want to minimize the challenges of major adult milestones like buying a home or new car, you might want to give them a (careful) try to build your credit. You can check your progress and see two of your credit scores for free every month on

More on Credit Cards:

  •’s Expert Credit Card Shopping Tips
  • How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit
  • An Expert Guide to Credit Cards With Rewards

Image: gpointstudio

Comments off

Does It Pay to Open a Credit Card With Your Current Bank?

Browsing credit card options can be overwhelming, especially if you have good credit and can qualify for a wide variety of products. One way to start your search could be to look at what your bank offers. Because customer experience can make a huge difference in how much you like or use a credit card, working with a bank you already know (and presumably have no issues with, if youre still a customer) could be a good choice.

There are some great advantages to brand loyalty, but that doesnt mean your bank is going to be the best option for all your financial needs. Here are some things to consider when deciding where to apply for your next credit card.

Yes! Theres a Credit Card for Every Level of CreditEarn rewards, transfer balances, get the best terms
Find Your Card Now

1. Ask About Extra Perks for Loyalty

If youre looking for a credit card, you can ask the bank where you have your checking or savings account if they have any special rewards for loyal customers. After all, if they want your business, they should give you a reason to stay, right?

For example, Bank of America has programs that allow credit cardholders who also have other Bank of America accounts to earn more rewards or redeem more cash back than cardholders without other accounts. In their Cash Rewards program, Bank of America offers cardholders who also have a BofA checking account an additional 25% to 75% on bonus points or cash-back redemptions. (Where you fall on that 25%-to-75% spectrum depends on your account balances.) So you could have earned enough for $100 cash back, by standard card terms, but youll get $125 to $175 for being a Cash Rewards member with a BofA account. For people who use rewards credit cards, having the potential to earn more without spending more can be very valuable.

That is a key benefit of building a strong relationship with the bank, said Betty Riess, a Bank of America spokeswoman. If somebody is shopping for a credit card, it always makes sense to talk to your financial institution.

Wells Fargo has a similar program, where checking and savings account holders can get relationship bonuses with Wells Fargo credit cards. In its Propel credit card suite, accountholders can earn a 10%, 25% or 50% bonus on rewards points, depending on the kind of qualifying deposit account they have, said Natalie M. Brown, vice president of consumer lending communications at Wells Fargo, in an email to

To find out if your bank has similar perks, just ask.

2. Are There Better Deals Elsewhere?

Bonus rewards just to stay loyal to your bank may sound appealing, but if those arent high on your priority list, it makes sense to look around. You should also compare all sorts of credit cards to find the one that suits you best, because some cards are better for one type of consumer, and you might not fit that profile. For instance, if youre in debt and looking for a balance transfer credit card or a card with a low interest rate, a rewards card (and extra rewards for bank loyalty) might not be the best fit. Thats not to say you shouldnt get a card at your bank. Instead, you can identify what you want, and find a card that meets those priorities.

3. Check Your Credit 

One thing you have to do before applying for a credit card is see where you stand. Whether you have good credit, bad credit or excellent credit, there are credit card options for you — you simply have to know what you should look for. You generally want to avoid applying for credit cards youre not likely to qualify for, since each application generates a hard inquiry on your credit report and could subsequently ding your score. You can check your credit (and get a better idea of what factors are driving it) by viewing your free credit report summary, updated each month, on

Comments off

How Do I Get My Bank to Fix a Credit Card Error?

You may have heard by now that, should you discover an error or, worse, a fraudulent account on your credit report, you need to immediately contact the major credit reporting agency and creditor in question to have it removed or reversed. Notifying the bureau can be often be fairly straightforward, given their contact information is often available on the credit report already in hand or via their website. (It helps that consumers can also file disputes through and all three agencies currently allow consumers to upload supporting documentation when they file disputes online.)

Under federal law, once a dispute has been formally filed, credit bureaus generally have 30 days to investigate your claim and remove the item, unless, of course, they believe the dispute to be frivolous. (You can learn more about why errors often appear on your credit report and how to go about getting them removed on

For A Free Credit Consultation, Call 1-844-346-3296Repairing your credit with Lexington Law can help you save with better interest rates on loans and credit cards.
Get Help Now

But What About Your Creditors?

While their specific processes may vary, financial institutions follow similar parameters when it comes to dealing with reports of fraud, identity theft and other disputes, said Nessa Feddis, senior vice president and deputy chief counsel at the American Bankers Association.

This is partially because the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires data furnishers (aka your bank or credit card issuer) provide accurate information to credit reporting agencies and also that they investigate consumer disputes regarding said info. If youre disputing an item with the creditor directly, they, like the bureaus, have 30 days to investigate and respond. If the creditor is notified about a dispute by the credit reporting agency, they generally have to work within the 30-day window kicked off by the consumers contact with the credit bureau, per the Federal Trade Commission.

Keep in mind, financial institutions must also abide by Regulation Z or the Truth in Lending Act, Feddis said, which protects you against unauthorized purchases and limits credit cardholders fraud liability to $50.

Getting the Problem Solved

Once you spot errors on your credit report or fraudulent information on your credit card statements, you should immediately notify your issuer. Their contact information should be on your credit card or the financial institutions website. Some issuers may have designated landing pages or hotlines for fraud complaints, Feddis said. You might also be able to dispute a fraudulent charge directly on your online statement or account, with the financial institution potentially allowing you to upload supporting documentation regarding your dispute. Some banks or issuers may also follow up with requests for supporting documentation once the dispute has been filed.

Whether youre making a phone call or filling out paperwork online, typically, it’s not a bad idea to follow up in writing, Feddis said.

If youre having difficulty getting an issue resolved, you can escalate your dispute by filing whats known as an executive complaint, said Thomas Nitzsche of ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions.

You send a notification to the office of the president of whatever company you’re dealing with, he said. This information, too, should be available somewhere on the financial institutions website. These complaints generally get forwarded to a special group that handles escalated complaints, Nitzsche said. You’re going to have a lot better luck if you go that route, if it really was an error.

Consumers struggling to get legitimate errors fixed can also consider contacting outside agencies, like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, their state Attorney General or a consumer attorney, to get the issue resolved, he said.

As always, it helps if you contact financial institutions as soon as the error occurs. Thats why its so important to continually monitor your statements and your credit reports. You can check your credit by pulling your credit reports for free each year on and viewing your credit scores for free each month on

More on Credit Reports amp; Credit Scores:

  • What’s a Good Credit Score?
  • How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report
  • How Do I Dispute an Error on My Credit Report?


Comments off

4 Times Your Credit Score Could Be Wrong

  • Our Experts
  • Comments off

    The Quick Guide to Last-Minute Holiday Shopping

    The harsh reality? Christmas is a few days away, and for many consumers, gift shopping is not yet complete. But you don’t have to put procrastination on your list of holiday stressors; finishing up won’t be as bad or as harmful to your finances as you fear as long as you keep a few things in mind.

    Shopping is Just a Click Away, But

    Many of us turn to online shopping for the convenience, but, as you place your orders, be mindful of shipping times and fees. E-commerce sites should have these times and charges prominently displayed this week, but do a little digging if the info isnt front and center. You’ll find that many sites will offer free or discounted expedited shipping to ensure your packages arrive on time. However, there still could be some snags in the process. so unless you’re ordering a digital gift certificate, you might just have to go to the store.

    Yes! Theres a Credit Card for Every Level of CreditEarn rewards, transfer balances, get the best terms
    Find Your Card Now

    Dealing With the Crowds

    If you need to hit the stores, you should make a list – and not in just your head. It’ll be hectic out there and you’ll want to stay on track. You can use a note-taking app like Evernote or an old-fashioned piece of paper will do! If you have to work this week, check store hours. You’ll find that many stores open early and stay open late to accommodate shoppers like yourself.

    Keep Your Cool

    Whether you are shopping online or in-store, try not to get swept away by deep discounts. While deals are exciting and enticing, remember that 50% off means that youre still spending as much as youre saving. If a discount can be applied to the items on your list, go for it, but otherwise, you may want to just walk away.

    If you’re out of ideas or out of time, you can also consider the following options. 

    • Gift Cards.Your grocery store and your local drugstore chains will have lots of gift cards available for retailers. These cards can also be purchased online and they usually come with an option to notify the recipient via email. Just remember to read the terms and conditions carefully as some gift cards may have fees attached to them.
    • Memberships/Subscriptions. Museum or zoo memberships or a subscription to a favorite magazine are always appreciated.
    • Do-it-Yourself gifts. If you’re at least a half-decent baker, you can whip up a batch of your “famous” cookies or muffins and package them in a gift box. Better yet, you can give them a nice one they can re-use.
    • Say it with Booze. Pick something up at the liquor store. Most liquor stores even carry decent gift bags that you can purchase in a pinch.
    • Photos. Some chains have online photo centers that can help you put together a quick present. CVS Photo, for instance, offers a service where you can order prints, cards and even photo books in as little as an hour. Walmart Photo offers a similar service where you can choose from cards and various prints – including collage prints and mounted prints – to be created for you in an hour.

    Remember, high credit card balances can hurt your credit scores. You can see how your holiday shopping may have affected yours by viewing your free credit report summary

    More Money-Saving Reads:

    • What’s a Good Credit Score?
    • What’s a Bad Credit Score?
    • How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life

    Image: dolgachov

    Comments off

    What’s a ‘Good’ Debt?

    Thanks to the economic downturn and its lingering effects, the word debt predominantly carries a negative connotation. But you may have heard in the midst of balancing your budget or planning for retirement, that not all financing is created equal. In fact, some debts, experts suggest, may be good for you. But what exactly does this mean?

    What Is Good Debt?

    Simply put, good debt is any debt that offers a return on the investment, Rod Griffin, director of public education for credit bureau Experian, said. For instance, a mortgage is often considered good debt since in normal times, [the home associated with it] has some gain in equity, he said. Other examples of good debt can include student loans (with the return being the higher salary and improved job prospects you could command with an education) or even low-interest lines of credit you take on in order invest in stocks or retirement funds.

    Yes! Theres a Credit Card for Every Level of CreditEarn rewards, transfer balances, get the best terms
    Find Your Card Now

    What Is Bad Debt?

    Bad debt, on the other hand, is debt thats going to land you in financial trouble, Griffin said. Its any credit that youre taking out or utilizing without a clear-cut plan of how to pay it back. Using a high-interest credit card to cover a shopping spree or taking out a payday loan to make extra holiday purchases are examples of bad debt.

    Does My Credit Score Reward Good Debt?

    Technically, no. Most credit scoring models do reward you for having a diverse portfolio of accounts and revolving debts (like credit cards) are often weighted more heavily than installment loans (like auto financing) because you determine how much credit you are going to use and pay off each month, Griffin said. But determining whether debt is good or bad is more of a financial management concept — not a credit scoring standard.

    Scores don’t distinguish between what we define as good debt and bad debt, Griffin said. Instead, they look at how well youre managing all your credit lines. Making on-time payments and keeping balances low is important whether or not theres a long-term investment to recoup on the financing. You can see how your current debts are affecting your credit scores by viewing your free credit report summary each month on

    How Can I Avoid Taking on Bad Debt?

    First off, remember that you dont have to take every credit offer that comes your way, Griffin said. Instead, ask yourself before formally applying if you will be able to pay off the debt, when you will be able to pay off the debt and what you will be giving up to take on the new liability.

    Look at your overall financial picture, Griffin said. If you don’t have a plan to pay something off, it’s probably a bad debt.

    More on Managing Debt:

    • The Debt Management Learning Center
    • How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt
    • 5 Tips for Consolidating Credit Card Debt

    Image: Fuse

    Comments off

    An Extra Holiday Credit Card Perk: Mall Lounges

    Having access to an airport lounge is a well-known perk of airline rewards programs and some credit cards, but you might want to see if your credit card has another way for you to escape the chaos this holiday season: Shopping mall lounges.

    Like at an airport, finding a relaxing space at a mall is difficult to come by, particularly during such a busy shopping time. If youre lucky, you might have access to an exclusive lounge at an upscale shopping center near you, all because of a little piece of plastic in your wallet.

    Yes! Theres a Credit Card for Every Level of CreditEarn rewards, transfer balances, get the best terms
    Find Your Card Now

    Chase United Cardmembers

    Consumers with Chase United credit cards not only get rewards with the airline, they also get to VIP Lounges at two shopping centers. Each cardholder is allowed to bring three guests into the space.

    The Westfield San Francisco Centre has a lounge for Chase United cardholders from 11 am to close now through Christmas Eve. The Mall in Short Hills, NJ, has the same thing. Perks include bag and coat check, snacks, beverages, Wi-Fi and gift wrapping services. Additionally, cardholders can donate new toys to Toys for Tots on December 8th or 15th and get a United Club pass in exchange (you can bring two toys for two passes). The lounges also play football games on Sundays.

    Citi Cardmembers

    Citi cardholders shopping in the Miami area can gain access to the Citi Lounge at Aventura Mall, with exclusive beauty, fashion and food tasting events taking place through Jan. 2. Cardholders will also get special discounts at certain stores in the mall, which they can wander through well-caffeinated, thanks to the complimentary coffee in the lounge. From December 11 through Christmas Eve, theres complimentary gift wrapping for purchases made that day up to three. (Full Disclosure: Citibank amp; Chase advertise on, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.) 

    MasterCard Members

    If youre doing holiday shopping in New York City and have a MasterCard, you can visit the Holiday Lounge at the Shops at Columbus Circle Time Warner Center. You can check your bags and coat, and enjoy complimentary refreshments through December 24, though there are some special events scattered throughout the month.

    You never know what perks your local shopping center may have to offer, so it cant hurt to check. Things like exclusive lounges and clubs can make certain credit cards extra appealing, but there are many more things to consider when deciding to get a credit card.

    Before applying, its important to look at your credit scores and get an idea of what products you might qualify for (there are cards specifically for good credit, bad credit and so on), and pay close attention to the terms and conditions. For example, if you plan to use the card to finance a purchase, maybe look at one with a 0% APR period or one with a low interest rate. You can see where your credit stands and how credit cards affect your credit scores by getting your free credit report summary every 30 days on

    At publishing time, Chase, Citi and MasterCard products are offered through product pages, and is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for their cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

    Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

    More on Credit Cards:

    •’s Expert Credit Card Shopping Tipst
    • An Expert Guide to Credit Cards With Rewards
    • How to Get a Credit Card With Good Credit
    Image: kicsiicsi

    Comments off

    The Hidden Bonus of Paying Off Credit Card Debt

  • Our Experts
  • Comments off

    « Previous entries