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Ask The Expert Archive

If I stop paying my credit card, will the credit card company write off my balance?

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 when a borrower misses four [...]

Categories: Credit Card Debt Help
Will going from a secured credit card to an unsecured credit card improve my credit?

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 as entirely separate accounts, the [...]

Categories: Secured Credit Cards
My credit score is 743. Every time I apply for a credit card I'm denied. I'm told I have too many balances on cards. I have two credit cards only totaling less than $2,000. I'm not sure what the problem is. I own a home, I make $85,000 on my own and I also have income coming in from my husband. What am I to do? Good credit, almost no credit cards, and I'm never late with anything. Any suggestions?

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. That doesn't mean you're stuck [...]

Categories: Credit Card Approval
How long should I wait before applying for another credit card?

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 finance a major purchase. Locking [...]

Categories: Credit Scores / Reports
If I just filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of the year, when can I get another credit card to start building back my credit?

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 two-pronged recovery plan that includes [...]

Categories: Build / Rebuild Credit
I used my credit card at Target during the holidays and am worried the hackers got my card information. What can I do to protect myself?

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. It's one of the largest [...]

Categories: Credit Card Fraud / ID Theft
My ex-wife took her maiden name back. She has opened new credit cards with my last name and address on them but hasn't lived at my address for three years. What can I do?

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 have discovered that an instant [...]

Categories: Miscellaneous
If I buy jewelry online with a credit card, is the purchase insured if the jewelry does not arrive?

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 custom manufacturers. However, it's far more [...]

Categories: Miscellaneous
I am looking to establish good credit so I can buy a home for my family. What kind of credit card should I start out with?

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 higher down payments and/or steeper [...]

Categories: Build / Rebuild Credit
If my debt has passed the statute of limitations in my state, how do I get the debt off my credit report?

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 credit report. Time limits on debt [...]

Categories: Credit Scores / Reports

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