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.
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 Read More >>
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 Read More >>
That depends on how your bank reports your account to the credit bureaus. Many credit-scoring algorithms assign points based on the length of your overall account history, the age of your oldest open account, and the number of lenders reporting positive status. Because most banks treat unsecured and secured credit cards Read More >>
After years of quietly running branded airline credit cards for their marketing partners, Barclaycard has put its own name in the spotlight. And they're doing it with one of the most attractive sign-up bonus offers you'll see all year. Spend $3,000 or more in purchases in your first 90 days from Read More >>
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. Read More >>
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 Read More >>
According to data collected by the Federal Reserve, many American households carry between $7,000 and $15,000 in credit card debt. Finance charges on that kind of balance can sap some serious cash from your household budget every year. Fortunately, stronger competition among credit card issuers has led to a resurgence Read More >>
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 Read More >>
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 Read More >>
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. Read More >>
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 Read More >>
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 Read More >>
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 Read More >>
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 Read More >>
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 Read More >>
In this era of instant-approval credit card offers, it's easy to overlook the rule that a bank must supply you with a specific reason for declining your application in writing. You'll probably receive a letter from them in a plain envelope that most people might mistake for junk mail. However, Read More >>
That depends on your financial situation and your short-term goals. Your question gets a very different answer if you're trying to save cash right now than if you're trying to purchase a home in the next few years. Goal: Long-term credit score boost With a line of credit and a few credit Read More >>
CardRatings.com reviewed balance transfer offers from a selection of prominent lenders, reflecting the options a typical American consumer might find when shopping for the best credit card deal online. Of the 17 credit cards we surveyed, 15 offer a promotional APR of zero percent on balance transfers, a slight improvement Read More >>
Switching from retail credit cards to general-purpose accounts isn't just good for your credit score, it's good for your overall financial future. Sure, you can save lots of money with the special deals stores offer when you sign up for their cards. Because those cards usually only work with one Read More >>
Even though we're experiencing some of the lowest credit card APRs from the past few decades, you might still be able to save money on finance charges by asking the right question at the right time. Despite competition among banks, it's not always easy to qualify for a balance transfer Read More >>
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