Joe Taylor Jr. has covered personal finance and business for over two decades, and has written and researched for CardRatings.com for over three years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, Fox Business, and ABC News. Previously, Joe worked as a marketing and customer service training advisor for three of the country's leading consumer lenders. He recently completed a personal finance book entitled The Rogue Guide to Credit Cards; (Rogue Guide Books, 2012). When not writing about business, Joe serves as a corporate communications advisor for a Fortune 500 company.
Even though many zero-percent-APR introductory offers have been getting longer lately, a low-interest credit card can help you prepare for an emergency expense or for a moment when you might not qualify to surf your balance interest-free. PenFed Promise Visa Card Although credit unions don't have to ramp up interest rates to
Cash-back credit cards are a valuable financial tool because they provide rebates on typical everyday purchases. The market's best cash-back cards offer higher-than-average rebate rates, relatively low annual fees, and easy redemption options. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card Although this card's 1.5 percent cash back isn't the biggest of the
Although we celebrate college life as a relatively safe place to survive poor decisions, a blemish on your credit history can actually cause more damage than a drunken, late night tattoo. That's because the relationship you build with banks during the first few years of your adult life directly impact the
Although credit card companies jockey for position in the wallets of business travelers, summer vacation offers banks a chance to build new relationships with mainstream consumers. According to research from the U.S. Travel Association, more than three out of four domestic trips are taken for leisure purposes. In fact, the
Even though it sometimes sounds absurd to pay money for the privilege of borrowing money, a handful of major credit cards add enough value for cardholders to justify the cost of their annual membership fees. $: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express In exchange for this card's modest annual fee,
When credit cards emerged as a viable replacement for cash in the middle of the 20th century, travelers had already developed an elaborate ritual for overseas visits. If you planned ahead, you could order foreign notes from your bank. Otherwise, companies like American Express could issue travelers' checks in foreign
The typical American plans to spend more than $800 on holiday shopping this year, according to data collected by the National Retail Federation. More than half that amount will go toward gifts, NRF researchers say, and about half of that gift-buying budget will get spent online. That's a big reason
Not so much, unless you carry the original. American Express "invented" the Platinum Card in 1984 as an attempt to fight off competition against its premium Gold Card. Instead of letting other companies poach their most valuable customers, executives at AmEx loaded up their invitation-only card with some of the industry's
The answer can vary, depending on a variety of life events you can expect to happen over the next few months or years. Home or car purchase on the horizon? Wait until you lock in your loan. Your credit score plays the biggest role in your financial future when you're about to
That really depends on how you're managing your current credit and who's checking your report. According to our contacts at FICO, the company that helped originate the credit scoring process, inquiries on your credit report fall into two broad categories: A "soft pull" happens when a company you're already dealing with wants
Building a solid credit history now can help you qualify for a pre-approved mortgage at some of today's lowest rates. In our current, bizarre real estate market, having your financing squared away before you make an offer is pretty much essential. However, with a thin credit file, lenders may require
Years ago, you wouldn't have been shocked to see first-year college students get starter credit cards just for setting foot in the nearest dining hall. Banks assigned lower-risk categories to students, assuming they'd earn higher-than-average incomes after graduation. But, the realities of a post-recession economy and pressure from consumer advocates
Like me and millions of other consumers, it sounds like you used a credit card at Target sometime between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, 2013. During that time, one or more fraudsters gained access to Target's point-of-sale database and collected payment card details from as many as 40 million customers.
There's an important distinction between the "insurance" you can purchase from a shipping carrier and the purchase protection you get automatically from your credit card. Shipping insurance provides a cash payout if your order arrives damaged, and it's especially useful if you're purchasing one-of-a-kind items on auction sites or from
Nearly two out of three bankruptcies in the United States happen because of medical bills, unexpected job losses or other reasons outside consumers' control. If you managed credit cards effectively before you were forced to declare bankruptcy, you don't have to give up their security or convenience for long. A
Maybe, but there's no hard and fast rule about when or why a bank might "charge off" your credit card balance. Under typical conditions, most banks classify an unpaid balance as bad debt after a borrower misses four or five consecutive monthly payments. Some lenders will also shut down an account
Ever since the recession caught consumers at all income levels by surprise, state officials have taken stronger stances to ensure their residents don't get crushed under the burden of old debt. However, just because a lender can no longer pursue a "time-barred debt," that doesn't mean it can't haunt your
Welcome to the credit card marketplace's new normal. Before 2008, a credit score of 720 or higher would have guaranteed you access to most of the best credit cards on the market. Today, you'll need more than 800 points on most credit-scoring systems to get your pick of the best deals.
Getting new credit cards after a divorce can be tremendously difficult, especially if your wife didn't maintain any lines of credit under her maiden name. Not knowing the details of your breakup, I'll can only assume positive intent here. Like many other women in the same situation, your ex-wife may
According to data collected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the typical American household spends close to $3,000 each year on gasoline. That's just under 4 percent of the average pretax household income. Fortunately, with the right gas rewards credit card, you can earn some of that back each year