Getting Your First Credit Card? Read This First

overwhelmed with debt

When applying for your first credit card, you’ll need to know the responsibility that comes it. It means the start to your credit score and monthly bills, so you need to prepare yourself for what you’re signing up for. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is a Credit Card?

A credit card can get tricky when you’re new to it. It’s a card that allows you to borrow money from a bank to make purchases, as long as you pay it back within the period. The “grace period” is the 25 to 30 days you’re given to pay back the money you borrowed. If you don’t pay it back in the time, you’ll have to pay interest. If you’re good with your card and pay your credit balance in full on time each month, you won’t have to face being charged for interest. The whole goal of a credit card is to build your credit, not hurt it. The better your credit score is, the better the cards you can qualify for. 

How Credit Cards Work 

Credit card companies make money in various ways: transaction fees, interest payments, annual fees, and late fees. The ones you should worry about the most are the interest payments and late fees. It’s best to pay more than the monthly minimum payment due every month, however, you need to make sure to at least make minimum payments on time. Not making on-time payments will result in late fees and higher interest rates. That will negatively affect your credit score.

If You’re Just Starting Out

When you apply for your first credit card, you’ll need to work on building your credit first. You can then qualify for the best credit card on the market. You can also get a secured credit card. With a secured credit card, you are required to put down a refundable security deposit that which becomes your credit limit. Credit companies are more willing to give secured credit cars to people with credit or no credit, so it’s a good option to have if you’re just starting out. 

It’s also smart to find a co-signer when you apply for a credit card (a parent or a friend). However, the co-signer will be responsible for paying your debts if you fail to do so, so make sure you pay your bills efficiently and on time. 

If You Fall Into Debt

If you so happen to fall in debt after opening your first credit card, we can help. Consumers can connect with a live person who will provide reliable information and help with debt reduction. Learn how to pay off your debt faster. Our repayment experts are online now to assist you with your questions.

Three Key Things to Know About Balance Transfers

balance transfers

Credit card balance transfer is a commonly used financial tactic to transfer the debt from one credit card (which has a high rate of interest) to another credit card (which has a relatively lower rate of interest).

It is important to have a clear idea of what is a balance transfer if you are aiming to get rid of your credit card debt faster.

With a balance transfer, you can apply a larger part of your payments to the principal every month instead of the interest charges.

However, before you choose balance transfer credit cards, take a look at the following key points:

How to Transfer Credit Card Balance

When you are assessing balance transfer credit cards suitable for your needs, you need to carefully go through the terms and conditions and make sure balance transfers are allowed.

If the terms list an APR and a balance transfer fee, then it is clear that you can use the card to transfer a balance.

But if these costs are missing from the listed terms and conditions, you should check with the credit card’s customer service to clarify whether balance transfers are allowed.  

With a balance transfer credit card, two APRs need to be considered: the introductory or promotional rate and the regular interest rate that will become applicable once the promotional period ends.

You should compare the regular (post-promotional) rate of interest with the rate you already have on your existing credit card. Also, take into account the balance transfer fee, which will be automatically added when the balance is transferred.

Ensure the Balance Transfer is Completed Successfully

Credit card balance transfers are not as swift as making a credit card purchase. It may take a few days or even weeks for the balance transfer to be processed. You should continue to make your monthly payments due on your old credit cards until a zero balance shows up in your account statement.

People often make the mistake of ignoring billing statements as they assume that their balance would have been transferred.

If the balance transfer is yet to be completed or there is some error, you may end up missing a payment on your old credit card. This will result in a late fee as well as a late payment entry in your credit report.

Saving Money on Interest

If you pay the full balance while you are still in the promotional period, you will be able to save the maximum on interest charges.

You can simply divide the balance by the number of promotional months to determine the monthly payment you are required to make in order to pay off the balance and entirely avoid interest.

In case your credit has a different type of balance, such as a purchase balance, it may sometimes take a longer time to pay off a balance transfer.

Credit card issuers typically apply payments to the balance with the lowest rate of interest until the balance is completely repaid. You will pay interest only on the balance transfer until the lower interest rate balance has been completely paid off.

Get the Answers You Need

Get answers to your debt questions here. Our debt specialists are waiting to hear from you. Get in touch with us now.

Ten Times You Should Not Use Your Credit Card

times you should not use your credit card

When we want something, the temptation is to use our credit cards to get it, even if we know we shouldn’t. Sometimes, however, we should listen to our better judgment. Here are ten times you should not use your credit card.

When You Can’t Afford to Pay the Balance

When it comes to using credit cards, the number one rule you should always follow is never to use your card if you cannot afford to pay off the balance. Charging items, you can’t afford is a sure-fire way to tank your credit score.

If You Don’t Know Your Available Credit Balance

While many banks have replaced credit limits with spending limits, this does not mean you should exceed your credit balance. Exceeding your credit balance may lead to huge fees from lenders. Also, maxed-out credit cards hurt credit scores.

When You’re Near Your Credit limit

Always try to stay at least a few-hundred-dollars away from your credit limit, as otherwise, it may negatively impact your credit score.

If You Receive Notice That Your Interest Rate Will Go Up

When a credit card company sends a notice informing you that they are raising your interest rates, this is, in essence, a plea for you to stop using your cards foolishly. Should you receive a notice, stop using the card, call your credit card lender and negotiate a new rate, or switch cards.

If You Use One Card to Pay Off Another Credit Card

Paying one card off with another is debt swapping, which is bad for your credit score. If you swap debt every six months, this may impact your credit score.

When Your Only Concern Is Getting Reward Points

When purchasing with a credit card, rewards should never factor into a decision to buy or not. The reasoning behind this is that focusing on maximizing rewards often leads to overspending what you can afford.

On Foreign Websites

If you are shopping on a website with a different extension, always avoid using a credit card, as thieves may steal your details. Always be aware of who you are dealing with and be confident that the retailer’s site is secure and legitimate.

Impulse Buys

Impulse buys are one of the fastest ways to destroy your credit. Don’t just follow your heart, be careful with all credit purchases and take a step back and ask, “Do I need this?”

If You Are Trying to Build Your Credit for the First Time

Building credit is essential, but so is keeping your balance in check. If you are building credit, always be sure to pay off your balances in time, or else your credit score will decline, not rise.

If You Are Trying to Rebuild Your Credit

Similarly, be careful with your credit cards when you are attempting to build your credit score.  Always try to keep your credit spends below 10 percent of your limit and be prompt with all payments, otherwise, you won’t see the results.

Finding the Right Solution for Your Credit Card Problems

If you find yourself struggling with credit card debt, the good news is that help is out there. We can help and do all the tough work for you! Talk to one of our debt experts about how to get rid of credit card debt. Chat with one of our debt experts by calling 866-858-3384 and get started today.

The Best Ways to Use Your Credit Card

best ways to use you credit card

The best way to use a credit card to build credit is to use it responsibly. When used carefully, a credit card has many benefits and it a useful to help build your credit. Consider the following approaches to avoid financially adverse consequences of mishandling credit card usage.

Begin by Using Credit Card for Everyday Purchases

If you are new to using credit cards or are making a fresh beginning after having suffered the ill effects of credit card misuse, perhaps it may be best for you to start slowly.

Do not try to max out the limits on your credit card right away. In fact, avoid maxing out your credit card under all circumstances. Who cares what type of deals this clothing store is offering customers right now?

Instead, the best way to use a credit card is to make small charges on the card and pay the full balance every month.

The objective of having a credit card is not to indulge in purchases that you cannot afford to pay for in cash, but to use it as a convenient and safe means of payment.

If you begin by using your credit card to make low-cost everyday purchases, it will be easier to pay the monthly balance in full. This will help you stay below your credit limits, encourage you to practice good credit habits, and mark the beginning of your strong credit history.  

Make Larger Transactions When Ready

Once you have developed a positive habit of never exceeding your card limits and never missing payments, you may be now ready for making somewhat bigger purchases using your credit card.

Even when you are fully prepared, the best way to use a credit card to build credit is to keep your purchases well within your credit limit and leave an adequate margin for any unforeseen situation.

Whenever you make a significantly large purchase on your credit card, you should set aside the money for it so that you don’t end up spending it before the credit card bill arrives. Again, who cares what price that car dealership has that car listed for?

This way, when it is time to pay the bill, your payment would be ready. You may even pay soon after you have made the purchase, without even waiting for the bill.

When you continue to use your credit card with this level of responsibility, chances are that your credit card company will increase your credit limits. On the other hand, if you handle your credit limits irresponsibly, the limits could be cut back just as easily.

Self-Discipline is the Key

Using a credit card for everyday purchases is not the only best use of a credit card. The right way is to exercise financial self-discipline, regardless of what type of payment you have to make using your credit card.

In each case, you should be in a position to comfortably pay your credit card bill on time every month.

If you have a weak track record with credit management, consider making a fresh start with only one credit card.

This will help you monitor your payments and balances in a better way. Multiple credit balances and due dates could be difficult to manage and may damage your credit score somewhere down the line or lead you into a debt trap.

Help is Here

Learn how to pay off your debt faster. Our repayment experts are online to answer your questions. Start chatting now.

Budget-Friendly Traveling Tips That Won’t Push Your Credit Over the Edge

Traveling is an exciting part of enjoying life. Unfortunately, it can also prove disastrous financially – especially if you don’t plan ahead. Here are a few budget-friendly travel tips that won’t push your credit over the edge.

Figure Out a Fun Budget Ahead of Time

One of the best ways to ensure your vacation won’t break the bank – or destroy your credit – is to budget your finances carefully ahead of time. Budgeting wisely can help you with all aspects of your financial life – fun included. A great way to plan your budget is to use what is known as the 50/30/20 rule, which stipulates that 50-percent of your post-tax budget goes towards paying for the necessities, 30-percent goes towards things you want, and 20-percent goes towards either your savings or paying down existing debt. This plan allows you to save an impressive 30-percent of your income for exciting, fun things such as travel!

Get the Cheapest Deals on Flights

If you plan to travel far, you’ll need to book flights. To save money, always try to book with budget airlines, as they typically offer the best deals. Also, make sure to check some of the flight-tracker sites which offer up to the minute deals on the best prices. Newsletters, such as Scott’s Cheap Flights, provide insights as to when airlines hold sales or lower their rates, and are another great resource.

Use Public Transportation

When people travel to exotic locations, often they don’t speak the local language. This language barrier, along with the fear of getting lost in a new city usually leads to an aversion to taking public transportation. In reality, however, public transportation in most big cities is excellent and easy to navigate – even for novices. Before you travel, always take the time to research the local public transportation offerings, including printing out a map, downloading any local apps to your phone, or even getting a travel guide. Traveling with public transportation lets you experience more of the local flavor – and you may also find some out-of-the-way gems you never knew existed!

Don’t Waste All Your Money on Food

Part of the excitement of traveling is easing exciting new foods. Unfortunately, this is also one of the fastest ways to burn through your budget. Instead of continually dining out in trendy bistros and cafes, why not check out the local markets for budget meals that are big on taste? You can even get a better understanding of the local culture and try the delicious foods that the locals eat!

We Can Help You Get Out of Credit Card Debt

Debt consolidation is an excellent way to get out of credit card debt and free up funds for travel.  Imagine not having to make multiple card payments every month, only making one payment and saving the rest for fun things. We can help – and do all the tough work for you! Chat live with one of our debt experts about how to get rid of credit card debt. There’s no time like the present.

 

Five Creative Ways to Pay Off Debt

ways to pay off debt

We all dream of leading a debt-free life, but only a few of us actually manage to do so. A study by Northwestern Mutual shows that the average American carries approximately $38,000 in personal debt (excluding mortgage).

In many households, people spend most of their paycheck on debt repayments and are left with next to nothing for savings and investment.

The good news is that it is entirely possible to pay off debt – no matter how insurmountable it might seem to you now. Given below are five creative ways to pay off debt fast and improve your financial situation.

Itemize Your Deductions

If you are not itemizing your deductions, you might be paying more taxes than you need to. The IRS allows you to deduct a wide range of expenses – from medical expenses to mortgage interest.

If your itemized deductions are more than your standard deduction, you should definitely take advantage of it and save some money. Data from the IRS shows that the average tax refund in 2018 was $2,640, which gives you an extra $220 a month, which could be used to pay off debt.

 

pay off debt

 

Swap Your Credit Card Debt for a Personal Loan

If you have multiple credit cards and cannot keep up with the repayments, it might be a good idea to get a personal loan to pay off your credit card debt.

If your credit score is above 650, you might be able to get a loan with a lower interest rate compared to your credit cards. By doing so, you can save a lot of money on interest, which you can use to pay off your debts.

Rent out the Extra Space

If you have an extra room, garage, or parking space at your place, you can rent it out and earn some money. You can become an Airbnb host, rent out your spare room, and earn a steady stream of rental income.

There are also several websites where you can sign up as a host and rent out your driveway or garage for people who are in need of parking and storage space.

Save on Shopping

This is one of the most creative ways to pay off debt. Businesses tend to spend a great deal of time, effort, and money to turn first-time buyers and casual buyers into loyal customers.

 

creative ways to pay off debt

 

From special discounts to reward points, cash back offers, and members-only deals, you can find a wide range of offers using which you can save money on groceries, clothes, and essential household items. Make full use of these offers, save as much money as possible, and use it to pay your bills and debts.

Move In With Your Parents

This is an option that you might be hesitant to consider, but it can help you save a lot of money. By moving in with your parents, you can get rid of your rent payments and save a huge chunk of money, which you can put towards debt repayments every month.

Struggling with Debt? Talk to Us

If you are struggling with debt, it might be a good idea to talk to one of our debt repayment experts. By doing so, you can learn how to pay off debt faster. Paying off your debt is easier than you think. Start chatting now to find out how.

Can I Pay Off My Credit Card With Another Credit Card?

can i pay off my credit card with another card

If you are carrying a large amount of credit card debt, this question is likely to pop into your head from time to time.

While it is possible to pay off your credit card with another one, there are a number of things you need to know before you go down that route.

Paying Your Credit Card Debt with a Different Credit Card

There are two ways in which you can pay a credit card with another one.

  • Cash advance or convenience check
  • Balance transfer

Cash Advance or Convenience Check

A cash advance is the amount of money that you can withdraw from an ATM using your credit card.

There is usually a cap on the amount of money that you can withdraw using your credit card. You can withdraw the money, deposit it into your savings or checking account, and pay your credit card bill.

You can also use a convenience check, which is mailed to you by your credit card provider, to pay off credit cards. You deposit it into your savings or checking account and use the money to pay the bill.

 

pay off my credit card with another credit card

 

While it might sound really convenient, paying bills using a cash advance or a convenience check might be a really bad idea for two key reasons.

  • Credit card companies tend to charge a fee, which is usually a percentage of the amount you withdraw, for cash advances as well as convenience checks.
  • The money you withdraw from your credit card starts accruing interest right away and the rate of interest could be as high as 25 percent in many cases.

Balance Transfer

This is a better and cheaper alternative to a cash advance. In this method, you simply transfer your existing credit card’s balance to a new card, which typically has a lower rate of interest.

You can also take advantage of the low-interest or zero-interest offer provided by credit card companies. The offer usually lasts for a specific period of time, during which you will be charged a very low interest rate or no interest at all on the transferred balance.

Once the offer ends, you will be charged a higher interest rate, which is applicable to the total balance (the transferred balance from the old card and the balance on your new card).

 

can i pay off my barclaycard with another credit card

 

While a balance transfer is a better option than a cash advance, it has its own downsides as well.

  • The first thing you need to know about balance transfers is that they are not free in many cases. The credit card provider is likely to charge you a fee, which could be 2% to 5% of the balance you transfer.
  • Once the low-interest or zero-interest period is over, you will be charged the regular rate of interest, which could be anywhere from 14 to 22 percent. If you are unable to pay off your credit card debt within this period, you will find yourself in the exact same situation again.
  • Not everyone is likely to qualify for a balance transfer. If you have a poor credit score and a less-than-satisfactory repayment record, you could be declined.

Finding the Right Solution for Your Credit Card Problems

If you are a homeowner, a reverse mortgage might be a better option than piling up your credit card debt with more and more cards. Particularly, if you are a retiree, you are better off using the built-up equity in your house rather than adding more debt, which you might find it hard to pay off.

If you want to know how you get rid of your debts and be financially secure in your retirement, get in touch with us today.

Three Things to Do When Your Credit Card Bill Gets Out of Control

credit card bill out of control

You may have seen it coming – or not. Your credit card debt has gotten and higher, and now it’s out of control, stressing you out, and keeping you up at night. Something has to be done, before your financial situation becomes worse, impacting your credit score beyond measure. Fortunately, all is not lost. We can help you get your finances back on track and show you how to pay off high credit card bills. It’s time to tighten the belt!

Manage Your Credit Card Debt

Sounds like you need a plan to immediately start managing your credit card debt. You should begin by organizing your credit cards. Make a list of the cards and their balances, required monthly payments, and the interest rate charged for each card. Once that’s in place, check out these tips to pay off your credit cards:

#1: Tackle the Card with the Highest Interest Rate

The general rule of thumb is to pay off the card with the highest interest rate first. When you’re done paying that one off, tackle the next one in line, and continue this until they’re all paid off. However, another line of thought is to pay off the card with the smallest balance, which will give you a sense of accomplishment.  

 

how to pay off high credit card bills

 

You might also consider applying for a credit card with a low-interest rate or better yet – a credit card with a zero percent interest rate. You can then roll over the balance from the card with a higher interest rate, also called a credit card balance transfer. But be sure to read the small print.  Some cards offering low or zero percent interest rate, do so with a promotion. Be sure to pay off the balance, before the promotional period ends.

#2: Stop Using Your Credit Cards Immediately

This may sound like a no-brainer when trying to get out of debt, but many people have trouble letting go of their credit cards. You see something you want or need, so you whip out your credit card and buy it. Back away from the credit cards. Studies show that people tend to purchase more when using credit cards, as opposed to using cash.

#3: Consolidate Credit Card Debt

Consider getting a credit card consolidation loan. Here’s how it works: instead of making multiple monthly payments, you will have to make only one payment into an account. And get this – your overall debt will be lower because the company negotiates with your creditors to accept less than what’s owed, and then pays them from your deposited account until the debt is resolved. No more stress.

 

how to pay off credit cards

 

Call Experienced Debt-Relief Experts

If you want to learn more about how to pay off credit cards, contact the debt relief experts, and get help from one of our experienced financial counselors.  Call Your Consumer Services at 866-858-3384 and let us help you get started today. Erasing or reducing your credit card debt is just a phone call away. Imagine the good sleep you’ll start getting gain, once you know you’re handling your debt, the right way.

How to Live with Debt and Maintain Your Mental Health

debt and mental health

 

Struggling with lots of debt and wondering how you’re going to pay it off – or even down – can keep you up at night. And if you’re not careful, it can take a toll on your health – both your mental and your physical health. Something has to change. If you’re wondering how to get out of debt, we have answers and can help you manage. If it makes you feel any better, you’re not alone. Total household debt in America (mortgages, student loans, car loans, credit card, and other debt) is at record levels. Americans seem to be obsessed with credit cards, on average carrying a credit card average of $6,354. Many are having trouble keeping up with payments. Where do you fall in that category? Are you in too much debt and worry about how you’re going to pay your bills?

 

credit card debt and mental health

 

Signs That You’re in Financial Trouble

Sometimes the signs that you need financial help are obvious. In case you’re wondering where you stand, here are some red flags that you’re in over your head and should consider getting help with managing your debt load:

  • You’re missing payments. You don’t pay every bill, every month. You’re selectively paying bills across the board. Creditors are constantly calling you.
  • You’ve maxed out on your credit cards and can no longer use them, and the minute you make a payment, the balance increases or interest and late fees are eating up any “wiggle” room.
  • You’re getting cash from your credit cards or getting cash advances, which come with high interest rates and major fees.
  • You’re paying ridiculous amounts of money each month, due to high interest rates, late fees, or fees to restore your phone service or utilities.
  • You’re constantly borrowing money from family or friends.

How to Get Out of Debt

If you’re doing any of the above, you’re in financial hot water.  If you’re wondering how to pay off debt fast, we have some suggestions and solutions. Here are some tips to get out of debt:

  • Track your spending – A great way to do that is with a  budgeting app, many of which are free of charge.
  • Get an extra job – Look for part-time jobs that pay well.  
  • Downsize your lifestyle – Eat out less, and when you do go to a restaurant, consider splitting a meal. The portions are pretty big.
  • Entertain the family at home instead of going out and paying for expensive movie tickets.  
  • Cut back on your visits to the hair/nail salon.
  • Buy with cash instead of credit cards – We tend to spend more money when using credit cards.
  • Talk to us about how to get rid of debt.

 

student debt and mental health 10

 

We Can Help You Better Manage Your Debt

When you think about it, the majority of us will always have some type of debt. Believe it or not, you can live with debt and maintain your mental health. Call Your Consumer Services at 866-858-3384, and let us help you get started. The sooner, the better.  We can help you to stop worrying about your debt, so you can sleep more peacefully at night.

Five Rules to Live by If You Want to Get Out of Debt

get out of debt

 

It’s time to for you get serious about getting out of credit card debt. You may have been thinking about your big debt load for a long time, hoping that it will magically disappear. It won’t. Debt may be keeping you up at night. But not to worry. We can help you tackle your credit card debt, but we need your help. You’ll need to make a serious effort to buckle down and get your spending on track. We’re going to give you five rules to live by, which will help you towards getting out of credit card debt. You can do this! We have confidence in you!

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt

We know that you didn’t get in debt overnight, and some of it may have been out of your control. For example, you may have lost your job or had a medical emergency – both of which can put you behind the eight ball. You’re behind in payments for not only your credit cards, but also your student loans, medical bills, credit card bills – even your car payment.  You may have even tried negotiating credit card debt on your own – but to no avail.  And now you’re on a treadmill, with seemingly no way out. Unlike losing your job or experiencing a medical emergency which can be out of your control, you can actually control some other factors that got you into trouble, such as your spending habits. It’s time for some tough talk. You have a job and are getting paid regularly, so let’s make that money work to your advantage. Here are five must-follow rules to get out of credit card debt.

 

how to get out of debt

 

Rule #1: Stop Using Your Credit Cards

Do this, immediately. Put them away. People tend to spend more when using a credit card. And on a health tip, one study found that we buy more unhealthy food when using a credit card.

Rule #2: Think Before You Buy

Take a few minutes to breathe, and really think hard about the item you want to buy. Is it a want or a need? Is it a necessity, or can it wait?

Rule #3: Set up an Emergency Fund

We all need a rainy-day fund. Having an emergency fund will save you not only money down the road, but also the drama of trying to quickly find needed funds.

Rule #4: Get on a Budget and Track Your Spending

When you track your spending, you have a better idea of exactly where your money is going which can help you to cut back on your spending. An easy way to track spending is with a budgeting app, many of which are free of charge.

 

best way to get out of debt

 

Rule #5: Seek Professional Help if You Can’t Do It on Your Own

Curbing your spending and breaking bad habits can be a challenge. We get that. But there is help available. Have you considered debt consolidation?

We Can Help You Get Out of Credit Card Debt

Debt consolidation is an excellent way to get out of credit card debt.  Imagine not having to make multiple credit card payments each month. Instead, you’ll make only one low payment. We do all of the heavy lifting for you. Talk to one of our debt experts about how to get rid of credit card debt. Call Your Consumer Services at 866-858-3384 and let us help you get started. There’s no time like the present.