Topics:Personal Finance Credit Score Credit Cards 101 Home and Credit Relationships and Finance Credit and Debt Credit Repair 101 Children and Finance Expert Advice Credit Repair Companies
Most friends, family, and coworkers love to give advice. If you've asked them for credit advice, however, you've probably heard some pretty terrible suggestions. There's nothing wrong with seeking advice about your finances, but make sure you do your research before you start implementing others' ideas into your own financial game plan. After all, following bad credit advice could dig you into a deep hole of debt and regret. Fortunately, you can fix your bad credit if you do happen to follow someone's bad advice. To help you determine the difference between good and bad credit advice, here are a few real accounts of the best and worst credit advice people have received: Adam Jusko — Founder and CEO of Proudmoney.com Best Credit Advice: "When I bought my first car, I was determined to pay it completely in cash. I mentioned my plan to an older co-worker, and he suggested that I instead make a big down payment but take out a small loan to pay the rest. That way, I’d have a track record of making payments responsibly. He’d paid for a car outright in his 20's and regretted it because when he went after a mortgage, later on, his lack of a strong credit history made the process more difficult. He also knew I was using almost every penny of my savings to buy the car, leaving me with little cash in case of an emergency. I followed his advice because rates were low and his experience made sense to me. I still paid for over 50 percent of the car upfront, though. Even with the low rates, I hated the idea of paying interest." Worst Credit Advice: "The worst credit advice I’ve ever received (and I still hear people give this advice) is that you need to carry a small balance on your credit cards to improve your credit score. The theory seems to be that carrying a balance shows you are using your credit without overusing it, thus showing some level of self-control and responsibility. In reality, carrying a balance is worse for your credit score because higher credit utilization is worse than lower credit utilization and you pay interest for no good reason." Makenzi Wood — Personal Finance and Frugality Blogger at Picky Pinchers Worst Credit Advice: "The worst credit advice I ever received came from my dad. To establish my credit, he helped me get several store credit cards in my name. He then instructed me to blow through the cards and spend up to my credit limit. I was 18, so he didn't have to beg me to splurge on myself with some retail therapy. Anyway, once I racked up all the charges, he said I could only pay the minimum payments moving forward. It took MONTHS to pay off all the debt with the minimums. He said it's important to 'let the companies make a little money on you' to boost your credit score." Janice Lintz — Freelance Writer at janicelintz.com Best Credit Advice: "The best advice I received was to pull all three credit reports for free to confirm the accuracy of the information before applying for a credit card. My statements incorrectly stated that I worked at a pizza shop and had a lien filed against me which I didn't. My FICO score dramatically increased after the data was corrected. The credit card companies could have denied me a credit card based on wrong information.” Dan Wesley — Founder of CreditLoan.com Best Credit Advice: "The best piece of credit advice I’ve heard is to not max out your card and make each payment in full and on time. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix to improving your credit. However, showing that you are a responsible borrower by keeping your utilization at a minimum and not carrying a balance is one of the easiest ways to improve your credit score." Worst Credit Advice: "One of the worst pieces of advice that I’ve heard is that you have to max out your credit card to show that you are able to pay it back. This is not sound advice. Your credit utilization rate makes up roughly 30 percent of your credit score, so you want to keep your overall use below 30 percent. If you have a $300 credit limit, try not to use more than $90/month." Jesse Harrison — Founder and CEO of the Employee Justice Legal Team Best Credit Advice: "The best credit advice that I got came from my best friend, and the advice was, "you need credit to live in this country." I am an immigrant and in my country, there is no credit, everything is cash. To buy a house, you need to have the entire price in cash. Since I did not grow up in the United States, I did not understand the value of having a credit history. I was still a believer in all cash. I did not want to buy anything unless I could pay for it in cash. I thought buying something on credit is irresponsible behavior, because after all if you don't have cash, why are you buying? My friend changed my mind by explaining to me that everything here works on credit and I could improve my financial situation by improving my credit. I finally got a credit card in my late 30's (before I only used my debit card) and slowly built my credit. I ended up purchasing my favorite luxury car and several properties based on my credit. Had it not been for my friend's advice, I would be struggling to buy my first property because I wouldn't have enough cash on hand to completely pay it off.” Sacha Ferrandi — Founder and CEO of Source Capital Funding, Inc. and Texas Hard Money Best Credit Advice: “The best credit advice I have received and given is to pay more than the monthly minimum whenever possible. With the average credit card interest rate being about 15.59 percent in 2017, paying the monthly minimum can quickly put you into a hole. According to NerdWallet.com, the average household with debt owes just over $15,500 on credit cards. That being said, if you were to pay a minimum 3 percent of the balance each month at an interest rate of 16 percent, it would take you nearly 21 years to eliminate the debt. In that time you would have paid almost $12,000 in interest. However, if you were to pay even just 2 percent more (5 percent) of the balance each month, you would pay just over $5,000 in interest and eliminate the debt in 19 years. Although this is still a significant amount of time spent paying off the debt, it can help cut the amount of interest paid over that time in half.” Holly Wolf — Director of Customer Engagement at Solo Laboratories, Inc. Worst Credit Advice: "Don't pay off your mortgage because it's tax deductible. Why pay a penny more interest than you need to and the government doesn't give it all back to you (from friends and coworkers). I ignored this advice and paid off our mortgage in five years for the first house and seven years for the second. Manage to a payment. So, instead of negotiating the price, say, 'I can only afford $X per month.' Okay, they'll finance those appliances for 10 years at 20 percent interest and your payment will only be $50 per month (from a coworker and a relative). I never took this advice." Jeff White — Staff Writer at Fit Small Business Best and Worst Credit Advice: "The best and worst credit advice I was ever given was to use a credit card every month. On the one hand, this builds my credit as I pay it off every month. However, if I were to lose my job then it would become very easy to continue the habit of using that credit card since it helps me get things I now can't buy any other way. That could easily put me in a hole when I'm using a card without the funds in my bank account. Using credit cards can be great for people to build their credit or overcome extremely short-term cash flow gaps that they know they can pay off in a week or two. However, they also can be damaging to your future if you misuse them in any way. You should treat that responsibility the same way you treat a 16-year-old getting their driver's license for the first time — it's a great responsibility." Your Credit Future When it comes to taking and following credit advice, first determine if the person giving you the advice is actually good with credit. For instance, if an aunt or uncle with a poor credit history gives you credit advice, let it go in one ear and out the other. Although it may be difficult to ignore bad advice coming from family members or close friends, your credit future will be much brighter if you only follow advice from those who expertly manage their credit and finances and if you do your own credit research.
Spring is on the way, and that means it's time to start airing out the house and dusting every surface in sight. While you're getting your home in proper order, why not take advantage of this cleanliness-oriented mindset to remove blemishes from your credit rating? A clean credit report is just as important as a clean house, after all. If you're ready to roll up your sleeves and go to work cleaning up your credit, these six strategies will make it shine and give your credit report that fresh, springtime feel. Break the Problem Into Manageable Pieces One of the biggest mistakes that people make with their debt is allowing the full extent of the problem to weigh on them until they are paralyzed in denial. Stay positive and believe that you can get your debt under control. Why? Because you actually can. Rather than thinking of debt as one big impossible problem, break it down into bite-size pieces. Visit a non-profit debt counselor who can help you make sense of your debt and how to deal with it. Pick One Debt and Attack It Head On If you are carrying balances on several cards or lines of credit, choose the one with the highest interest rate and pay down as much of it as you can afford. Why? Because paying off one debt could help your credit score. More importantly, it will get you out of the trap of paying mostly interest, reduce your overall debt and give you a sense of accomplishment. It will also get you into the good habit of making real payments as opposed to just moving debt around. After paying off the first debt, you can apply your new good habits to eliminating the next one, and so on. Make a list of your debts in order of interest rate from highest to lowest, and pay them off in that order. Raise Your Credit Limit Did you know that using a small portion of your credit limits can help your credit scores? As a general rule of thumb, keeping your balances below 30 percent of your credit cards' limits could be a good idea. Paying down balances, limiting how often you use credit cards, and making early payments on your card accounts can help. Another quick way to boost your credit score is to raise your borrowing limit. If possible, raise the limits on your credit cards and other lines of credit - but only if you can avoid using the extra credit, which will only add to your debt and render this strategy useless. Don't Cancel Credit Cards You may be tempted to cancel cards that are paid off or aren't being used. Sadly, this is not a good practice, because it increases your utilization rate -- the ratio between your debt and your available credit -- and could lower your score. You should always aim for as large a gap as possible between your balance and maximum credit limit. When you cancel cards, you are lowering your overall credit limit, which only decreases this gap. For example, if your total limit is $10,000 and you owe $3,000, you have a utilization rate of 30 percent. If you cancel a card with a limit of $2,000, your credit limit shrinks to $8,000. If your balance stays at $3,000, you are now using 37.5 percent of your available credit. Unless you're canceling the card because it has an annual fee or you tend to overspend with it, a better strategy may be to leave it in a drawer at home or cut it up but leave your account open. Communicate with Your Creditors When dealing with creditors, nothing is worse than dropping off the map. Remember that financial ups and downs are normal and common. Try not to think of credit repair as a personal failure, but simply as a task to be completed. Communicate with creditors and let them know you are sincerely trying to meet your financial obligations. Sometimes it makes no difference, but in other cases, it can get you an extension on a deadline, a lower interest rate, or some other kind of break that helps keep late payments and other negative marks from hurting your credit score. Just think - a single conversation could save you hundreds of dollars down the line. Isn't that worth it? Pay on Time Being late on your payments is a surefire way to lower your credit score - sometimes by as much as 100 points, according to FICO. Get organized with a calendar or reminder system. The single best thing you can do to clean up your credit is to establish a spotless history of on-time payments. This spring, clear out more than the closets - clean up your credit score! Remember that credit repair is a marathon, not a sprint. Credit repair is an opportunity for you to develop a credit report that can serve you well in the years to come. Develop a solid strategy and always be diligent in repairing your credit, and you'll quickly see the benefits of financial responsibility.
The credit repair industry faces many myths and misconceptions that result from illegal practices and unrealistic credit repair time frames. Over time, these myths have significantly tainted the credit repair industry's reputation, leaving many people wary of using credit repair services. Although there are, in fact, some credit repair companies that prove to be scam-driven, reliable companies in the industry still exist and strive to defy the myths. Potential customers looking to choose a professional credit repair service should first be aware of popular credit repair myths. Myth #1: Credit repair services are illegal This is false. First, legitimate credit repair companies, especially those that are well-known, wouldn't be able to stay in business if they were openly performing illegal actions. Second, if you understand the credit repair process that legitimate companies follow, then you can see that it is, in fact, legal. For example, reliable credit repair companies will take a look at your credit report and will work on disputing items that have caused your score to drop. The process can even be legally done yourself; however, it may prove more efficient to use a professional service. It's important to keep in mind before choosing a service that good credit repair companies will provide full disclosure. Myth #2: You get the same results if you do it yourself Although this is a popular belief, it is more often than not just a myth. Individuals and others who are working to compete against larger credit repair companies and services use the popularity of this myth to their advantage. Credit repair methods can be done by yourself; however, getting the help of a credit repair company can help you raise your score more efficiently. What you save in money, you lose in time and energy if you choose to repair your credit yourself. The best credit repair companies are designed to do what you can do on your own, but they require significantly less time, energy, and risk. Basically, you have nothing to lose if you choose a company with a money-back guarantee policy. Myth #3: Credit repair companies can guarantee fast results Some credit repair processes are quicker than others; however, true credit repair typically takes time, even with the help of a credit repair company. Companies that make time-specific promises are usually companies that are either inexperienced or scam-based, especially if they don't offer any type of refund policy. No credit repair company can give a 100 percent guarantee of raising your credit score in a specific amount of time. Myth #4: Hiring professionals means your score will raise The credit repair industry, although a major time and energy saver, cannot fully ensure that your credit score will raise. The same goes if you try to repair your credit on your own. Credit repair comes with some degree of the unknown. A credit repair company can dispute errors and other information that can raise your score, but there is no guarantee that your score will go up with every dispute. Thus, there is no way a company, service, or individual can promise you that your score will raise if you hire them. What you can do with this information Knowing the truth behind these myths can give you a better understanding of how the credit repair industry and its services can help you accomplish your credit score goals. Doing personal research, using online resources like Best Company, and knowing how to avoid scam-based companies can assist you in choosing the right credit repair company for your needs.
The average American's FICO score is at an all-time high of 695. Fewer people than ever (12.5 percent) are below a 550 credit score, and 19.9 percent of Americans are now over an 800 credit score. This trend from poor credit to good credit is likely due to the increased awareness of financial health best practices and more people experiencing the benefits of a higher credit score. So how can you improve your credit score? Follow these six tips and watch your credit score rise. 1. Keep your debt to credit ratio below 30 percent Your debt to credit ratio is the relationship between the credit offered to you and the amount of debt you owe. Credit utilization accounts for 30 percent of your credit score and is the second biggest factor. Keeping your debt to credit ratio below 30 percent will help raise your credit score. Having a difficult time paying down your credit cards? The following tips might help you pay them off sooner: Lower your interest rates Increase your credit limits on existing cards Pay more than the minimum payment Don't acquire new debt *Note that your credit score, the age of your account, and your payment history may be the deciding factor for lowering your interest rate or increasing your credit limit. 2. Don't close old credit lines The length of your history is 15 percent of your credit score. Keeping your oldest lines of credit open is important to keep the average length of history high. 3. Correct any errors on your report Make sure to get your free credit report every year and check for errors. If you believe there are errors on your report, you have a couple of options. You can try to correct these errors alone, which is tedious and requires a great deal of paperwork and time, or you can use a credit repair service. You may want to research these options before making your decision. If you are ready to contact a credit repair company for a free consultation, check out this list of top credit repair companies across the nation. 4. Pay on time every time Your payment history makes up 35 percent of your credit score and is the largest factor of your score. Your payment history is kept for seven years through the three credit bureaus. Making your payments on time is crucial to maintaining good financial health. 5. Acquire a variety of credit types Your credit mix is 10 percent of your credit score. A good credit mix has credit lines and loans. These loans could be auto loans, mortgages, student loans, or personal loans. If you don't have high enough credit to be approved for one of these loans, a credit builder loan or a secure credit card could help you build your credit. A credit builder loan is just what it sounds like, a loan to help build credit. These loans are typically between $200 and $1,000 and are considered easy to pay back. These loans help to build or boost your credit score by creating a mix and establishing some credit. A secure credit card is a card that requires a cash collateral deposit that becomes the credit line for the account. For example, if you put in $300, you can charge up to $300. This is a great way for people with no or bad credit to start improving their score. 6. Avoid applying for new credit Applying for new credit can shorten your length of history which hurts your score. Hard inquiries that come with acquiring new credit can also hurt your credit score for 24 months.
Engagement rings can be a symbol of promise, love, and in many cases, money. The average amount Americans spent on an engagement ring in 2016 was approximately $6,163, according to theknot.com. Although finding and purchasing the perfect engagement ring is important, it shouldn’t be a reason for your credit score to drop. Here are a few ways to purchase an engagement ring without taking a financial hit. Make a Budget Before shopping for an engagement ring, create a budget, and stick to it. Only look at rings that will help you stay within budget. If you go over budget, have a backup plan for additional financing. Choose Your Financing Carefully Although most jewelry stores will offer financing options, credit card financing is also an option. There are ways to make the credit card financing process a bit easier. Know your credit scoreTo finance a purchase as large as an engagement ring with a credit card, it is crucial to know what your credit score is and how the purchase will affect it. This can determine when you will pay it off and how long it will take you to do so. If your score will be negatively affected, then this might not be a good financing option for you. Repair score if necessaryIf you have major dings on your credit history, you'll want to repair it before adding an engagement ring purchase to the mix. Using a credit repair company may help you do this faster. Resources like bestcompany.com have a list of ranked and reviewed credit repair companies that can help you choose the right company for your situation. Open a new credit card account According to a lexingtonlaw.com article, the average American household is $16,748 deep in credit card debt. To avoid accumulating further debt, especially thousands of dollars from an engagement ring, moneyunder30.com recommends that people should consider opening a new credit card account. This could provide you an option for a lower interest rate and various sign-up bonuses. Learn about Credit Card Financing With credit card financing, there are a few things that you should be cautious about. It may be difficult for you to get a new credit card account if you have poor credit. Although this can be fixed by a credit repair company, it might take more time than expected to open the account and get the physical card in hand. If you're on a deadline to purchase a ring, this may not be the best option for you. If you do choose to finance your purchase with a credit card, make sure you aren’t late on payments. This can damage your credit history and cost you even more money in late fees and interest. Think Ahead You can avoid relying on your credit card when purchasing an engagement ring. A usatoday.com article suggests that people upgrade their engagement rings later rather than purchasing something they can’t afford at the time. This allows for greater financial flexibility and assures that you buy within your means. Don't Take on Too Much Stress Like every big purchase, buying an engagement ring can be stressful. However, remember that you have options. You can choose where you get the ring, how much you spend, and how you want to finance your purchase. Consider your options carefully and choose the one that will allow you to start the next stage of your life stress-free. After all, it’s good to keep in mind that the ring is not the only thing that matters.
As many know, having good credit is essential in today's world. With good credit comes several opportunities, from purchasing a home to obtaining amazing credit card rewards. Although credit is important in the United States, some people still have a subpar credit score, which can make life a lot more difficult. For instance, people with bad credit could be denied loans, have a buildup of debt, and may even lose out on certain job opportunities. Fortunately, there are options for those who struggle with bad credit. Multiple reliable credit repair companies offer assistance with repairing poor credit and give individuals the ability to reap the benefits of good credit. Not sure if credit repair is right for you? Take the quiz below to find out:
Kids can learn almost anything by simply observing their parents. Unfortunately, parents can unknowingly pass along bad habits along with the good. Parents should be practicing good financial habits and taking the time to teach their kids about credit. According to a WalletHub data report, the average household holds $7,849 of credit card debt. The future generation of credit card users is expected to follow this trend unless they are taught good credit habits. Parents can begin educating their kids about credit-focused financial responsibility with the following steps: Know what defines good credit habits Before teaching their children, parents must understand and practice good credit habits. According to money.usnews.com, some good credit habits that parents should practice include facing current debt head on, tracking expenses, paying bills on time and in full, understanding how many credit cards to use, and finding the right rewards card to use. Credit repair services might be required for parents who don’t already have good credit scores. One solid resource that lists the best repair companies to help parents fix their credit scores can be found at bestcompany.com. Explain what credit is Once parents have their credit in order, they can start teaching their children. They can begin by explaining what the credit is and how it affects the lives of everyone in the family. Although this can be a difficult concept to explain, there are ways to simplify the purpose of credit. The easiest way to teach them, according to learnvest.com, is by telling kids that when parents borrow money, the credit agency is informed about how good the parents were about paying the money back. The credit report is treated like a “report card.” Although credit is more advanced, this might be a good way to start the conversation, especially if younger kids are involved. Parents can also discuss what good and bad credit scores mean. Credit scores, as reported on usatoday.com, range anywhere from 300 to 850. Just like a report card, the lower the score, the worse credit someone has and vice versa with higher scores. Excellent scores range from 800 to 850. Explain to kids that the better the score, the more financial opportunity there is for big purchases like cars and homes. Teach by example After a brief explanation of what credit is, parents are advised to show kids when and how credit cards are used. As suggested by pennypinchinmom.com, one effective way to teach by example is taking kids shopping and using a credit card to purchase items. This allows kids to see the right time, place, and way to use a credit card. After the shopping trip, parents should show their kids how they pay the bill. When possible, parents should explain the step-by-step process as it is happening. Show that credit isn’t scary Any conversation about credit should include the topic of debt. Although debt, when handled incorrectly, can be an uncomfortable concept, kids should know that credit cards themselves are not positive or negative; they are simply a tool that can be used wisely or foolishly. Let your children see you using your credit cards, making payments, and discussing your financial goals with your partner. Older kids can even be a part of a family plan to pay down any debt. Being a part of the process can give children confidence and help them establish the same good financial habits.
The holidays are upon us once again, and for many of us, 'tis the season for a bit of indulgence. Both at the dinner table and the cash register, the holidays can mean overdoing it a little bit. Like those extra calories we’ll have to work off in the gym, we may have some spending missteps to attend to as well. No one wants to start the new year with a few unwanted pounds, and no one wants to start the new year with unintended credit problems. As we know, the holidays are a time for giving and receiving gifts—and shopping! In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, up to 30 percent of annual sales take place during the holidays. The malls this time of year can be downright frenzied, leading to issues like overspending and theft. With so much retail activity now taking place online, that theft can turn to identity theft, which can have a profound negative impact on your life and finances. The best answer to avoiding holiday spending mistakes is prevention. Before the holidays, follow these steps for financial safety: Set a budget for what you intend to spend, and ensure that budget is reasonable for your current financial situation. Be careful sharing your personal information. Avoid opening up any new accounts going into the holidays. New accounts and the additional available credit can increase the temptation to overspend. Opening new accounts can also have a negative impact on your credit score. Watch out for old-fashioned theft of your purse or wallet. It’s a bit old school compared to elaborate, online phishing schemes from some foreign hacker, but it’s one that unfortunately never goes out of fashion. If you’ve done all you can to prevent a holiday mishap, and something still happens, then what? First, contact the creditors directly for the affected accounts. They’ll close that account and open a new one for you, as well as work with you to remove fraudulent activity. Next, pull your credit reports and ensure there has been no damage there. If you haven’t pulled your credit reports in the last 12 months, you can actually get them for free. The Annualcreditreport.com site is set up by the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Make sure you get a report from each bureau because the information can vary among the three. You'll want to look for the following: New accounts opened without your knowledge. Balances on accounts that seem unreasonably high. Changes to your personal information. While you're looking over your credit reports, look for any other errors from the past. This is a great time to catch those too and address them. Errors on your credit report will likely affect your credit score and negatively impact your ability to get credit. What do you do if you find errors on your credit report? You can either enter the disputes with the three credit agencies yourself, or use a professional credit repair firm. A major advantage of using a good credit repair firm is that they can often expedite the process of getting errors removed from your credit reports. They know how to communicate with the credit agencies and have a proven, systematic approach for working through the dispute process. A reputable credit repair firm can advise you about what negative items can most readily be removed from your reports and which might be more intractable. The ability of a credit repair firm to help improve your credit report will vary quite a bit based on the quality of firm. Best Company is an excellent resource for researching credit repair agencies. The better agencies will be able to help with the following issues on your credit report: Late payments Charge offs Foreclosures Judgments Repossessions Personal identification changed or corrected Closed accounts Bankruptcies Negative settlements Liens Collection Whether you do it yourself or use a professional service, it’s important to protect your good credit, especially during the holidays!
Guest Blog Post from Guest Contributor at CreditRepair.com Being a member of the United States Military means making many sacrifices. Service members certainly deserve a debt of gratitude from their fellow Americans, as well as from the institutions with which they do business. It isn't uncommon for businesses to offer military discounts and perks—and credit cards are no exception. Depending on the credit card companies you’re doing business with, there are some benefits and rewards available to military men and women and their families. Of course, not all cards are created equally. Some cards are better suited for military personnel than for non-military consumers. These cards offer certain rewards and options military members may need in case of deployments or other circumstances. Taking advantage of these benefits can help ensure that you maintain a good credit score during your military service and deployment. The Role of the SCRA The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides credit benefits to those who are entering a branch of the military, or who are called into active duty or deployed in the military. The SCRA assists those in the military by placing restrictions on the amount of interest and fees credit card issuers can charge and on the terms to which they can hold active duty service members. For example, the SCRA prohibits lenders from charging more than 6 percent interest on debts incurred prior to active service. It’s important to note, however, that SCRA rules don't apply to debts incurred after entering active duty. While all creditors are bound by the SCRA guidelines, some go above and beyond, offering additional benefits to military service members. Take a look at five of the best credit card options currently available to service women and men. 1. USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card This card is a good choice for military members and their families. There is no annual fee, and it also extends the SCRA reduced interest rate period beyond the time of military service. USAA also offers a 4 percent APR on any balances that still exist one year after active duty has ended. Furthermore, USAA will rebate any finance charges accrued while on a “qualified military campaign.” Cardholders get 1.5 percent cash back and the card offers competitive travel benefits—most notably, zero fees for foreign transactions. The USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card is open to members and families of retired or active military. 2. PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card The Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) was created in 1935 to offer financial services to members of the military, defense industry employees, and their families. The credit union offers several credit cards, but its PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card offers no annual fee and unlimited 2 percent cash back on all purchases for current and former military members. PenFed also offers a $100 bonus statement credit for cardholders who spend $1,500 on the card in the first 90 days. It also offers no foreign transaction fees. 3. American Express Platinum® Card While the American Express Platinum Card doesn’t exclusively target military personnel, AMEX will waive the $550 annual fee for its Platinum Card for active duty service members. And the travel rewards are pretty compelling, too. Cardholders receive 5X Membership Rewards points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, 5X points on eligible hotels booked with American Express Travel, and one point for each dollar spent on other eligible purchases. AMEX Platinum cardholders can also get hotel and airport lounge perks. 4. Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum MasterCard® Navy Federal Credit Union offers its services to all military branches and employees of the Department of Defense and their families. While this Platinum card doesn’t offer a slew of rewards, it is a good option for those who carry balances on their credit cards. The card offers an APR that is consistently 1 percent lower than most other cards that cater to military service members. The card also offers no annual fee, no balance transfer fees, and a zero-liability policy for unauthorized purchases. 5. Capital One QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card This card is tailored to military service members with less than perfect credit. It offers many of the same perks afforded to those with good credit scores, including 1.5 percent unlimited cashback on purchases. The card has no foreign transaction fees, and its annual fee of $39 is waived during active duty. Like other cards, its interest rate is capped at 4 percent during active duty. Credit limits are increased once timely payments have been made for five months. Unlike other cards geared at military service members, Capital One QuickSilver One extends SCRA benefits beyond just traditional military members to include those in the National Guard, for example. As a member of the military, there are excellent credit card benefits available to you and your family. These cards can ensure that you pay the lowest interest rates and maintain a good credit standing during your time of active service. This peace of mind can be of great benefit to both you and your family. If you are a current or past member of the military, it’s important to review your credit report to make sure all of your credit accounts are in good standing. Keeping tabs on your credit will allow you to quickly identify any errors or fraudulent account activity that has occurred during your service or deployment so you can initiate any necessary credit disputes. Maintaining good credit can be difficult at times, so it's good to keep in mind that there are many credit repair options that can give you a second chance at having good credit.
Planning for a wedding can be so overwhelming that many brides and grooms never stop to consider how marriage may affect their credit. Once the honeymoon high wears off, however, the new couple should sit down and begin planning for their joint financial goals, including building and maintaining good credit. Why a Spouse's Credit Score Won't Affect Your Score A marriage is more than a union of two people; it's also the beginning of shared bank accounts, mortgages, car loans, and even bathroom counter space. One thing you won't have to worry about sharing, however, are your credit scores. Just like an individual's Social Security card and birth certificate, a credit score stays separate and distinct even after marriage. One common misconception is that the combination of one spouse's low credit score and the other's high credit score will result in an average score for the couple. Married or not, each person maintains a separate and distinct credit profile. Neither partner's score impacts the other's, even if one person changes a last name to match a spouse’s. How Credit Scores Can Affect Marriages Although one person’s credit score won’t have any effect on another person’s credit score, that doesn’t mean that the scores never affect the marriage itself. If a married couple wants to take out a loan together, like a joint mortgage or car loan, both credit scores will be considered. If one person has a lower credit score, then it might be harder for the couple to obtain the loan. One possible solution might be for the person with the better credit score to apply for the loan on their own, but this might not always work if their income is insufficient to finance the loan independently. How to Help Your Spouse's Credit Score If one person’s credit score is negatively affecting the marriage, there are many common ways to raise the score. For instance, one common option is to seek help from a credit repair company. Once you decide that you want to work with a credit repair company, you'll quickly notice that there are several credit repair companies out there, and it can be difficult to know which one will work best for you. Luckily, you can read the reviews on websites like bestcompany.com to see real customer feedback that can help you determine which one best fits your needs.
We're on a mission to empower consumers to make the best decisions and connect confidently with companies that deserve their business.