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Secured credit cards offer a helpful route to the real thing

The horror stories about credit cards are real. Far too many people have used them irresponsibly and dug themselves a deep, deep financial hole that takes years or decades to get out of. But those unfortunate tales shouldn’t overshadow the very real fact that credit cards have revolutionized how we live, arguably doing for commerce what the automobile did for travel and what the mobile phone has done for communications. Just imagine the pre-credit card days when travel, shopping or going to a restaurant meant carrying around a wallet full of cash or traveler’s checks. Read More

Are There Rewards for Responsible Repayment?

We all have numbers that, for better or worse, define us. Age is an obvious numerical marker, but so too are the ones that your doctor hectors you about – weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. In the realm of personal finance, the number that arguably matters as much as any other is your credit score. While the figure that is attached to you – be it 567, 680 or 750 – may not instinctually resonate, make no mistake that your credit score has big and very meaningful implications. Why? In the most basic terms, it’s because a good credit score (and higher is better) means that when you have to borrow money to buy a car or a boat or a house, a lender will not only be willing to fork over the money but they’ll do so at a better interest rate. In other words, a good credit score can significantly reduce the cost of borrowed money over the life of a loan. Read More

Experian Reporting Rental Payments on Credit Reports

In times past, the only time rental history would show up on a credit report was when a property management company would turn it over for collections. But in December 2010, that all changed when Experian became the first credit bureau reporting rental payments on consumer credit reports. Not only is this is great news for the millions of displaced homeowners looking to get back into the housing market, but it also gives consumers the ability to benefit from meeting their monthly obligations on time, instead of penalizing the ones that don’t. This opens up a world of possibilities for millions of consumers seeking to improve their credit rating. Read More

Three Alternatives to Traditional Credit Cards

Imagine walking into a restaurant and being told that a menu is not needed because there’s only one dish being served. From time to time that happens – set price, or prix fixe, menus pop up at fancy restaurants and around holidays – but for the most part it would prompt many of us to head for the door. We all like choices. Read More