Authors

Curtis Arnold
Curtis Arnold, Editor-in-Chief
Joe Taylor
Joe Taylor Jr., Reporter
Amber Stubbs
Amber Stubbs, Managing Editor

Featured Articles

  • Pumped up: Best credit cards for gas purchases

    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 in rebates or statement credits. Retail-branded [...]

  • Can you benefit from your credit card's mall?

    How can you earn extra cash-back rewards or airline miles simply for making purchases online? By using an online shopping portal, of course. The Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping Mall, Discover's ShopDiscover.com and Bank of America's World Points Mall are three of the biggest players in the click-through online shopping game. By offering customers additional cash-back rebates [...]

  • Most data-breach victims take no action

    What do you do if you've been the victim of a data breach, and your personal or account information has fallen into the hands of criminals? That's not as theoretical a question as you might hope. Some 41 percent of American consumers have experienced just card fraud -- let alone other losses -- in the [...]

  • In the military? 5 ways to protect your finances while protecting our freedom

    Military families have many worries that other families do not have. And a recent study from National Federation of Credit Counseling of active duty military personnel showed that military families have one more worry on their plate -- financial instability. The survey showed the 77 percent of respondents have financial worries and 55 percent feel [...]

  • Processors vs. issuers: What consumers should know

    Believe it or not, whenever you use your credit card, there is a lot going on behind the scenes of each transaction. While a lot of it might seem as exciting as reading a legal document, it does benefit you as a consumer to understand the major players involved in your financial business. Here, we break [...]

  • Best credit cards for college students

    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 kinds of job offers you'll [...]

  • Yes, credit score and credit report are two different things

    Many people use the terms credit score and credit report interchangeably. Everyone from journalists to consumers often refer to a credit score when they mean credit report and vice versa. Credit reports and credit scores contain different information, are used for different purposes and are accessed by different companies. What is the difference between a credit [...]

  • Christmas in July: Five financial to-dos to make your holiday season merrier

    It's hot. The laundry room is filled with towels from afternoons at the pool. My current goal is to see how many meals I can cook on the grill and not turn on the oven. And my days are filled with trying to stay in our air-conditioned home as much as possible and entertain children [...]

  • Handing your credit card to someone else? Be smart about it

    It can happen in an instant. Employees at your local department store, repair shop or supermarket just have to turn their backs to you for a fraction of a second to swipe your credit card with skimmers connected to their belts. Once they do, they have your credit card information. They can then do with [...]

  • Credit cards, calories and computing: America's modern addictions

    Is your mail carrier experiencing back pain as a result of hefting your monthly credit card statements into your mailbox? No? Well count yourself lucky. A recent poll commissioned by CardRatings.com reveals roughly one in seven Americans saying they're unable to go more than 24 hours without using their credit cards. And that's more than [...]

  • Best credit cards with no foreign transaction fees

    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 currency. Last minute travelers often [...]

  • Best credit cards for summer vacation

    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 American vacation travel market often [...]

  • 6 reasons credit scores aren't always fair

    Your credit score is one of the most important numbers in your life. If it's too low -- say, under 640 -- you'll struggle to qualify for a mortgage loan. And if you do get a loan, you'll have to pay higher interest rates.And here's the unfortunate truth: Your credit score can be low even [...]

  • Best credit cards for cash-back rewards

    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 bunch, Capital One's innovative Purchase [...]

  • Small-business owners can reap benefits of credit card use

    It's no secret that a sizable percentage of small businesses are financed with credit cards, but there's enough to think about when starting your own business without having to sift through the tons of business credit cards currently on the market. We talked to a few entrepreneurs and did some digging of our own into [...]

  • DC: Capital of cash back

    Your credit card company owes you one, perhaps in the form of a drink at the end of the working week, a round of golf or a spa treatment. You may not immediately associate credit card companies with such generosity, but it's true -- your next outing could be their treat! And there may be many [...]

  • 5 tips for a debt-free prom

    The list of prom essentials seems endless -- young ladies need the perfect dress, a glamorous hairdo, flawless makeup, matching shoes and evening bag. Young men need a suit, shoes and a corsage for their date. Don't forget about prom tickets, dinner and transportation to the dance. According to a recent study by Visa, the [...]

  • Best credit cards for the annual fee

    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, you'll earn Starpoints on eligible [...]

  • Should you get a credit card after bankruptcy?

    If you've recently had a bankruptcy discharged, your mailbox may be filling with new credit card offers. Although it seems counterintuitive, some companies actually seek out and market their cards to recently bankrupt individuals. That may be due in part to the fact that once you've declared bankruptcy, the law limits how quickly you can [...]

  • How the Target data breach made me worst mom of the year

    Target's recent data breach hit a little too close to home for my family. Why? I found myself stranded at a restaurant without a working credit card my kids had to eat the dreaded veggie plate at school because their lunch account was frozen for nonpayment I didn't get to read People magazine after my online magazine account [...]

  • Are your credit card rewards points taxable?

    It's bad enough we have to turn over anywhere from 10 to 40 percent of our hard-earned income to the federal government at tax time, but some unlucky cardholders may have also received tax forms for their credit card rewards this year. The question of whether credit card rewards are taxable has been the subject of [...]

  • 5 best low-interest credit cards

    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 please shareholders, very few of [...]

  • How my mom lost $640 in credit card rewards

    When I cash out my reward points, it's generally for a $50 Gap or Home Depot gift card. I don't have the patience to let it build up for years and years -- I want it now. Since I do almost all of my banking and bill paying online, I keep pretty close tabs on [...]

  • What type of credit card user are you?

    You may not give much thought to how you use your credit card, but your issuer sure does. Credit companies know that you fit into one of three distinct credit card personality types. Here's a rundown of all three. Type 1: the Revolver Let's get this out of the way first -- if you're a Revolver, your [...]

  • Want to improve your credit score? Think like an insider

    There's little doubt that Americans with higher credit scores get better deals on core consumer items like mortgages, auto loans and credit cards. So why do so many U.S. consumers know so little about their credit scores? According to the Consumer Federation of America, 40 percent of Americans didn't know that credit card companies use credit scores [...]

  • 5 ways to earn that credit card sign-up bonus

    If you've never had your own rewards credit card, chances are that you might be missing out. That's because, as Lauren Gensler recently pointed out in Forbes, some of the biggest banks around are trying to build their credit card customer base by reaching out to their own customers. To make the sale, writes Gensler, [...]

  • House of cards: 7 signs your household is too dependent on credit

    In the popular Netflix series "House of Cards," Kevin Spacey plays a character who builds a career by carefully layering one deception on top of another, much like someone building a house of cards. For too many American households, the tools of deception are not playing cards but credit cards, and it is the worst [...]

  • You bought what? 8 crazy credit card purchases

    Have you ever done anything crazy with a credit card? Most Americans have, according to a new study conducted by Op4G on behalf of CardRatings.com. From weddings to weed, people charge the darnedest things. This would be mildly amusing if it were not for the tremendous cost. According to the Federal Reserve, credit card balances have been [...]

  • 5 ways to play cupid with credit cards this Valentine's Day

    Want to treat your sweetheart this Valentine's Day? Although motivated by love, Valentine's Day can quickly become an expensive affair. Last year CNN estimated that the average American spent $130.97 per person for a total spending of $18.6 billion. But you can use your credit card to make the holiday less expensive for you and [...]

  • Best balance transfer credit cards for 2014

    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 in balance-transfer offers. Along with [...]

  • Want to get your hands on a zero-interest credit card?

    So you want a credit card with zero-percent interest? While they disappeared during the credit crunch, credit card issuers have brought them back lately. Despite their proliferation, they're tough to get, and high in demand, but obtaining the highly rare zero-interest credit card is doable if you know where to look. "Zero-interest credit cards are definitely more [...]

  • How long do I save my credit card statements?

    Now that the holidays are over and a new year has begun, many people are using the time spent indoors on chilly winter days to declutter and organize paperwork in preparation of tax season. Before you pull out the shredder, it is essential to understand what papers and statements you need to save and what [...]

  • Should you charge a medical bill on a rewards credit card?

    A trip to the dentist's or doctor's office can be pricey. Should you put the bill on your favorite rewards credit card? Here are some things to consider before pulling out your card. You've already got a rewards card There is a good chance you are carrying a rewards credit card in your wallet. According to a 2012 [...]

  • 5 books for a credit-smart 2014

    Here's a secret that you may already know but it can't hurt to remember: personal finance is a skill. How you use your credit, where you put your savings, how you invest for retirement or for your children's future -- it all takes knowledge, patience and planning. That said, just about any skilled practitioner will tell [...]

  • Can credit cards help you stay on budget?

    In the third quarter of 2013, total household indebtedness in the U.S. rose to an astonishing $11.28 trillion dollars, up 1.1 percent from the previous quarter. And, according to government data and Federal Reserve statistics, $4 billion of that increase can be attributed solely to credit card debt. So, what does this tell us? It [...]

  • How to handle your first company credit card

    Once you reach a certain level of responsibility at work, you may be chosen for a company credit card. You won't be alone, either -- ABC News reported that Americans charged $140 billion on corporate cards in 2009. Corporate credit cards are often used to help streamline a company's financial logistics, or to demonstrate to [...]

  • How loyal are credit card holders?

    Credit card advertisements are almost unavoidable. Just about every commercial break on television features Alec Baldwin, Jimmy Fallon or some other celebrity pitching a credit card, and then there are the offers that pop up on websites or arrive in your mailbox. Are these advertisers wasting their breath -- not to mention their money and [...]

  • 5 credit card tips for the new business owner

    Small-business owners are in a quandary these days. They want access to credit and liquidity, but they're not really using business credit cards to get the job done. About half of U.S. small-business owners say access to capital is a barrier to growth right now, according to the New York Federal Reserve's Small Business Credit Survey. [...]

  • Editor's Choice Awards 2013: The year's best credit cards

    Competition has crept back into the credit card marketplace, with major brands squaring off against upstarts from unusual places. This year, banks and payment platforms worked even harder to give consumers reasons to remain loyal to their brands.

  • 5 ways to have a happy holiday free from credit card crime

    The holiday season is filled with decking halls, spending time with family and eating delicious homemade treats. But each holiday season, many consumers become a victim of credit card fraud or theft. And spending your days on the phone with the credit card company and worrying about the crime is a sure way to take [...]

  • Clever wallets for stashing your cash

    Wallets have always been an easy way to show off fashion sense and number of credit cards (or lack thereof). However, wallets themselves are increasingly important multi-functional accessories. As wallets are developed that fulfill a variety of needs and even incorporate useful technologies, and as the holidays approach, they can make unique and personalized gift [...]

  • Best rewards credit cards for holiday shopping

    Editor's Note: Thank you for your interest, these holiday offers expired and are no longer available. Black Friday deals might not be enough to capture the hearts (and wallets) of rewards credit card holders this year, according to new research from Capital One. During the bank's recent Rewards Barometer survey of more than 1,000 consumers with [...]

  • When (and how) to ask for a lower interest rate

    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 offer. Besides, you might love [...]

  • 4 ways to prep your finances prior to retirement

    Would you like to retire in about five years? Prepping now will lead to smoother financial sailing during your long-anticipated retirement years. Here are four ways to prepare your finances for your fast-approaching retirement years. Credit cards Don't lose money that could be used for your retirement on high-interest credit card debt, advises Kathleen Campbell, a certified financial planner [...]

  • Need a frugal vacation? Don't forget credit card perks

    After returning from a relaxing 12-day trip to Hawaii, I unpacked my suitcase and sorted through vacation photos. You know what I didn't do? Nervously wait for the credit card bills to arrive. Using reward points and some creative thinking, we spent less than $2,500 on our trip for four to Kauai and Oahu. Throughout [...]

  • 5 ways to use credit cards to avoid the holiday rush

    While Christmas may seem months away, holiday songs will be playing on the radio and the malls will be transformed with decorations before you know it. Start researching and shopping for holiday gifts now and you can take full advantage of your credit card's perks. Here are five tips to help you avoid the holiday rush [...]

  • 6 secrets to managing multiple credit cards

    For Louis DeNicola, it started in college with a student Visa credit card. That was followed by two store cards. Then came the realization that credit card rewards points could hold the key to free travel. One free flight to Europe and a couple free hotel stays later, the New York City resident was hooked. Today, [...]

  • Who's in your wallet?

    When you share a credit card with someone, you are effectively giving them access to your wallet and your reputation. You need to be careful about who you grant that access to, and what they are doing with it. On behalf of CardRatings.com, survey company Op4G asked 2,000 adults about their credit cards. The answers give [...]

  • What's a credit builder loan?

    Looking for a quick way to re-activate or build credit without a credit card? Consider a credit builder loan. "A credit builder loan is actually a loan. It just happens to have the by-product of helping to establish or re-establish credit," says John Ulzheimer, credit expert at CreditSesame.com. "You might pay $100, $95, $75 a month, [...]

  • Best credit cards for luxury perks

    Luxury credit cards offer a fast track to elite status, especially for professionals who can funnel both household purchases and reimbursable business expenses through a single account. Living the high life doesn't have to mean shelling out top dollar on travel, though. With excellent credit and the ability to push thousands of dollars in transactions [...]

  • Is debt a four-letter word or a good financial strategy?

    Many people assume that all debt is bad while other people have a wallet full of maxed-out credit cards. Interestingly enough, debt can be either a positive or negative, depending on the type of debt and your personal financial situation. "Unless you are independently wealthy, win the lottery or live a poor man's lifestyle by choice, [...]

  • Sworn off credit cards? It could hurt your credit

    Up until age 40, Ian Levinson had credit. "I had credit cards and I maintained perfect credit on credit cards for personal and business use," says Levinson, who owns Cloud House Pottery in Delray Beach, Fla. Levinson, who grew up in Southern California, opened a new bank account after moving to Sedona, Ariz., in 2006. He used a [...]

  • Before picking up the phone to ask for a credit limit increase...

    Some people assume that a credit limit increase will hurt their credit score. Some people only request an increase when they have charged up to their limit, while others will contact their credit card company for an increase without giving it a second thought. There are many misconceptions about the reasons to ask for a [...]

  • Can your credit card save you in an emergency?

    Can your credit card be a financial lifesaver? You bet. In fact, there are myriad situations where your plastic can bail you out. Whether it's using a card to pay for car repairs when out of town, or saving you from onerous merchandise warranty fees, your credit card can fix a financial problem -- and fast [...]

  • My credit card was stolen, but it's still in my wallet!

    I am positive that I had a puzzled expression on my face as I looked at my online credit card statement. I was relatively certain that I hadn't bought Farmville credits for Facebook or registered for an online genealogy website. And I was positive that I hadn't recently purchased a pre-designed website. But what had [...]

  • The 10 best and worst states for credit conditions

    America's love-hate relationship with credit continues: it seems people love to borrow, but hate the consequences. Still, as the amount of outstanding consumer credit continues to reach new highs on a national basis, it's important to recognize that credit conditions vary radically from one part of the country to another. To pinpoint where the trouble spots [...]

  • The 10 best and worst states for credit conditions: The full list

    The annual list of best and worst states for credit conditions is based on an analysis of the unemployment rate, bankruptcy rate, foreclosure rate, average credit score and credit card delinquency rate of each state. Going from best to worst, here is how all 50 U.S. states ranked for 2013: 1. North Dakota2. South Dakota3. Vermont4. Montana5. Iowa6. Nebraska7. Hawaii8. [...]

  • 5 ways to get the best rate when traveling abroad

    Your flight overseas has been booked for months, you drafted the perfect itinerary for your dream trip, and you have even brought your suitcase down from attic to start packing. But many travelers miss an important step in planning an overseas trip -- determining the most cost-effective way to pay for expenses and access cash [...]

  • Co-signing a loan? Better be aware of the consequences

    So you have excellent credit? Good for you. A credit score of 700-and-above makes it easier and less expensive for you to buy a home, lease a car, start a business, or obtain any other type of financial credit. But you can degrade or even ruin that credit -- or take a big hit in the pocketbook [...]

  • 9 stupid things you're doing with your credit card

    You've got a low-interest rate credit card, pay at least your minimum due, and you've never left your credit card sitting in an unlocked car. So, you're covered, right? Wrong. Even the smartest among us are guilty of some of these common credit card mistakes. Improve your credit card IQ by avoiding these common mistakes. 1. [...]

  • Danger ahead: 5 warning signs that won't show up on your credit report

    Americans are obsessed with protecting our credit scores, and many of us will go to great length to keep that number as high as possible. But even financial behaviors that don't directly affect your credit score can be a red flag that you are headed towards serious financial issues. Liz Weston, personal finance expert and author [...]

  • Plastic youth: When is it too early to give a kid a credit card?

    Kids and credit cards. Does that seem like a dangerous mix to you, or simply a normal part of the modern world? Parents have very different views on the subject. An exclusive survey of 500 parents with children under the age of 12, conducted for CardRatings.com by Op4G, found that some parents believe it's best to [...]

  • Pass the test: A crash course in college credit cards

    While the costs of college continue to rise, another financial side to the campus equation is in decline -- the use of college credit cards. According to Sallie Mae, the leading student loan provider in the U.S., college credit card use is down from 42 percent from 2010 to 35 percent in 2012. College credit [...]

  • Your pre-vacation credit card checklist

    As you plan your summer vacation, you most likely check out reviews of restaurants near your hotel, print out your confirmation information and make sure that everything you will need for your trip is packed in your suitcase. A little bit of planning will go a long way to ensuring a more enjoyable trip with [...]

  • Mother knows best: Your first personal finance teacher

    Whether they intended to or not, Mom and Dad gave you your first lesson in personal finance. Hopefully, one or both of them took an active role in teaching you about money. And let's go one further and hope that the experience was a positive one that you chose to model later in life. According to [...]

  • Credit monitoring: prescription or placebo?

    Identity fraud has become so widespread, it seems hardly anyone is immune to it.  Recently, the Federal Trade Commission found 5 percent of identity theft cases are targeting children, while the Carnegie Mellon Cy Lab noted that in over half those cases (54 percent), the child was younger than 14. Adults themselves are no stranger [...]

  • Should you pay for your wedding with plastic?

    Gonna get married? The average wedding these days costs more than $28,000, according to TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com's annual survey. Between the wedding and the reception, it can add up to a big chunk of change. While moms and dads are likely to help, you still could end up paying for a good deal of your big [...]

  • The dos and don'ts of maximizing credit card rewards

    Free trips, free stuff and cheap gas. You know you can get it, and you want it. That's perfectly understandable, and it may be why you signed up for a particular credit card in the first place. But as many long-time credit card holders know, just because you have a credit card that offers rewards, it [...]

  • How do I know if my credit card does that?

    We've all heard about the platinum cards with VIP benefits. And most of us know how to play the credit card and airline miles game. But you most likely have a credit card right now in your wallet with perks and benefits available that you are not using. Many cards available with no annual fee [...]

  • I've got a great credit score. Now what?

    You have spent the last few years working hard to increase your credit score. And you finally have reached the magic credit score number of at least 760. But instead of just resting on your accomplishments, take this opportunity to turn your high score into more money in your pocket. By leveraging your credit score [...]

  • The 60-minute credit card makeover

    At least once a year, you should take a look at your credit cards and see whether you're getting the best deals you can for your spending patterns. Is that a groan I hear? Don't worry, this review won't take weeks of research, or even a day! Beverly Harzog, a credit card expert and consumer [...]

  • Is owning a credit card even necessary?

    Most of us reach into our wallets to pull out a credit card to buy a plane ticket or a pair of shoes we found online without even thinking about it. But for millions of people without a credit card, each of these purchases isn't as simple. People opt to not have plastic in their [...]

  • Do online tracking tools inspire spending or saving?

    According to a 2012 financial literacy survey conducted by Harris Interactive, fewer than half of Americans track their expenses as part of a monthly household budget. Researchers from Rasmussen Reports reported similar findings in their own survey, adding that many of us without personal budgets rely on credit cards or personal savings when our paychecks [...]

  • Know the score: A guide to the four most popular credit scoring models

    Your credit score is something every smart consumer should know, but with so many credit scoring models to choose from, it's hard to decide which to use. To help you make sense of the credit-scoring industry, we spoke with four major trackers to find out what sets them apart. Some models, like FICO, include anything [...]

  • Best Valentine's Day credit card perks

    Editor's Note: Thank you for your interest, these offers have expired and are no longer available. If you are still looking for the perfect Valentine's Day present for your sweetheart, look no further than your credit card perks to express your love. But if you are wondering if using perks will diminish the gift in your [...]

  • Identity theft on the big screen: What can you learn from the movies?

    With the upcoming release of the movie "Identity Thief," starring Jason Bateman, this all-too-common crime is once again brought into the mainstream media. "While the movie looks very entertaining from the previews, the film also puts identity theft on the front page again and keeps the crime in the front of people's minds. This crime really [...]

  • Automatic payments: Time saver or finance wrecker?

    Paying bills is a task that most people dread. With many companies, such as utilities and cell phone companies offering a monthly automatic credit card billing option, it can be tempting to sign up for this service. But while we are all looking to save time and hassle, is this actually a smart financial move? Bigger [...]

  • CardRatings.com's Hall of Shame: Worst credit cards of 2012

    This year's editor's choice awards illustrated so much of the positive change sweeping the personal finance business. With banks competing on price and service, consumers enjoy access to affordable, useful tools to manage their credit and make secure shopping decisions. Still, a handful of companies keep trying to cash in on your worst fears about [...]

  • Don't know which card to use? There's an app for that.

    I have more than a half dozen credit cards in my wallet. A new app on my iPhone, Glyph, tells me which of these credit cards to reach for to get the most rewards when I'm buying groceries, getting gas, dining at restaurants or shopping at Macy's or CVS. At least two of the credit cards [...]

  • Don’t let your credit become a Greek tragedy

    The ancient Greek tales of misfortune would have us believe that angering the gods might be the cause of all our financial woes. However, these hubristic scenarios aren’t the plots of Greek tragedies; they’re common problems with credit card debt that plague many Americans. Discover how our heroes might overcome their financial fate and learn something from [...]

  • The Freshman $1000: How to help your college student with credit card debt

    Instead of gaining the infamous freshman 15 of extra pounds, your student has fallen prey to the Freshman $1000 by quickly running up credit card charges soon after arriving on campus. But unlike other mistakes that your student is bound to make, getting into debt and missing payments can affect his future for years to [...]

  • Do point tracker programs really work?

    Whenever possible, we pay with credit and then pay off the balance each month to earn more rewards. I love seeing how many points and miles I've earned when I open my statement each month. But as much of a thrill as I get from getting the points, I have forgotten to cash out countless [...]

  • Using Square Wallet: Mobile wallets that stay in your back pocket

    I'm often the annoying person in the checkout line who spends four minutes digging out her credit card to pay for a $1.79 soda. So when I heard that the Square Wallet app would allow me to use my smart phone to pay for purchases, I was eager to give it a try and hopefully [...]

  • Should you redeem your points to pay for gifts?

    With money still tight in many families this year, you may be considering using credit card reward points to save money while purchasing gifts for loved ones on your holiday list. But is this really a smart financial move? The answer, of course, is "It depends." When should you use rewards points to buy holiday gifts? If [...]

  • Put away the plastic: 10 things credit cards can't buy

    Apparently, money can't buy happiness, and if you are using a credit card, that's not the only thing your money won't be able to buy. Despite the belief credit cards can take you 'everywhere you want to be' - as the old Visa slogan went - the reality is there some places where your plastic [...]

  • How will the Visa and MasterCard merchant settlement affect you?

    When you use your credit card to pay for groceries, your focus is likely to be how much you are paying for the items in your cart. But each time you swipe your credit card, the business you are patronizing has to pay a fee to the credit card company, called an interchange fee. The fee [...]

  • Deck the malls: The 4 best credit cards for holiday shopping

    Editor's Note: Thank you for your interest, these offers have expired and are no longer available. It seems like big box stores start leaking their Black Friday sale flyers around the same time they discount leftover Halloween candy. That gives you a few weeks to work out a strategy for financing your holiday purchases. These four [...]

  • Bad credit? Time for tough love and no excuses

    Quick, what's your credit score? Don't know? Don't care? You should. If you've been turned down for loans or received high interest rates from lenders, your credit may be, well, bad. The good news? You can fix it. You really can. But there's no magic formula. There are, however, some concrete steps you can take [...]

  • Presidential plastic: Which credit cards do they carry?

    In case you hadn't noticed, there's a presidential election right around the corner and there's some lively discussion on a host of issues. Voters are inundated with information about the candidates, their families, personal spending records, and little things like unemployment, oil dependency and foreign policy. At CardRatings.com, we decided to take a look at [...]

  • Best credit cards to survive the zombie apocalypse

    Zombies have haunted our nightmares for centuries. But now, we're embracing zombies in everyday culture. Shows like "The Walking Dead" and books such as "World War Z" have driven popular culture into zombie overdrive. Athletes bored with timed competition can even enter "zombie runs" where you either beat your personal best or get turned into [...]

  • 6 steps to protect your financial self

    Dina Wohlhendler isn't a very common name. So when the Brooklyn resident saw her name on another shopper's credit card at a Manhattan Best Buy, she chased the woman while shouting for help. Chase had already alerted Wohlhendler about an unauthorized purchase at Urban Outfitters, which led her to check the nearby electronics store. Surveillance [...]

  • Good-bye plastic, hello phone: Mobile wallets on the rise

    Forget about what's in your wallet. The real question is: will you even need a wallet? The latest trend in credit card payment technology is the use of mobile wallets. This innovation eliminates the plastic and turns your phone into a digital payment portal. From MasterCard to PayPal, major payment processors are jumping on the bandwagon [...]

  • You've got a green light for car rental coverage

    Rent a car and one of the first questions the agent will ask is whether you want to purchase insurance coverage. If you own one of the several credit cards on the market that offer auto insurance coverage as a perk, you may want to decline this additional expense at the rental checkout counter. Insurance perks "It's [...]

  • Rewards roulette: can you pay all your bills with your credit card?

    When Beverly Harzog's dog needed surgery in August, she paid the $1,086 veterinary bill with her rewards credit card. "I figured I might as well get a little bit back on it," says Harzog, a credit card expert, author and consumer advocate from Atlanta. A little she did - 1 percent cash back for $10.86. Harzog advocates [...]

  • Sweet dreams: best credit cards for hotel rewards

    If you're a casual traveler, signing up for a hotel credit card can qualify you for upgrades and special perks usually reserved for touring rock stars. Frequent guests can cover the costs of personal trips to the kinds of resorts not usually covered under corporate travel policies. Our list of this season's best hotel credit [...]

  • 2012 balance transfer survey

    With holiday shopping on the horizon again, many banks have shifted their marketing toward interest-free purchases and away from no fee balance transfers. The CardRatings.com team revisited 15 credit cards from our February balance transfer survey and added 8 more accounts to our watch list. Our September review of 23 balance transfer credit cards reveals [...]

  • Retail rejection: Top six reasons your credit card was declined

    There are few things in life more embarrassing than having your credit card declined, especially if you're attempting to make a purchase while you have people with you ("Hey, boss! I'll get the check!" Oops…). But before you slink away in shame, consider that there are a number of reasons your card could be declined, [...]

  • Do investment cards really add up for college?

    Here's a smart thing to do: Use your credit card rewards to save for your child's college education. You can earn 2 percent on your purchases with the Fidelity Investments Rewards American Express credit card and the Fidelity Investments 529 College Rewards American Express credit card. Upromise World MasterCard issued by Barclays Bank offers rewards of more [...]

  • Is it time to upgrade your credit card?

    Editor's Note: Thank you for your interest, these offers expired and are no longer available. High interest rates and limited rewards got you down? If you aren't pleased with your current credit card, you don't have to go to the trouble of applying for a whole new account. A credit card upgrade may be all you [...]

  • The 10 best and worst states for credit conditions

    According to news reports, the United States is a credit disaster. People are out of work, deeply in debt, and having their homes foreclosed. It's a grim picture. However, that is not an accurate picture of the whole country. The fact is that credit conditions vary radically from state to state. In an exclusive analysis, CardRatings.com [...]