Ask The Expert Archive

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
I'm a 22-year-old female who makes about $1,000 a month. I have a credit union credit card with credit line of $500. I recently applied for a Lowe's credit card and was denied. I'm always on time with my credit card payments. What would be the reason?

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, based on what you've told [...]

Categories: How Cards Work , Build / Rebuild Credit
I have four retail cards and a good credit score. I want to get a regular credit card and get rid of the retail cards. Is this a good move for my credit?

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 specific company, the banks that [...]

Categories: Retail Credit Cards
What is a stand-alone gas station? What does 'Pay-at-the pump purchases' mean?

A "stand-alone gas station" means just that: it's a gas station, by itself, not connected to or owned by a larger store. We hear versions of this question a lot lately. Let's say you just received one of the best gas rebate credit cards, but your rewards points balance seems a lot smaller than you expected. [...]

Categories: Gas Credit Cards
What happens when someone dies with credit card in their name and an authorized user continues to use credit card?

That's not good. Are you doing that? Please stop. If someone in your life is doing that, please tell them to stop. The consequences could be dire. In most cases, the credit card debt of a deceased American becomes an issue for their estate. If that debtor lives in a community property state (Arizona, California, Idaho, [...]

Categories: How Cards Work , Miscellaneous
Can I include my spouse's income on a credit card application?

For most of the past few years, I would have had to tell you "no." After the credit crunch of 2008 inspired a tighter set of federal banking regulations, lawmakers forced banks to get strict about offering new credit only on the basis of a customer's ability to repay a balance from their personal assets. In [...]

Categories: How Cards Work , Credit Card Approval
Does a credit union secured credit card make as positive an impact on credit scores as one held by a major commercial bank?

Yes. Credit scoring algorithms like FICO or VantageScore rate your ability to manage different types of credit, but not necessarily where you get your credit cards from. Therefore, on a typical personal credit report, a secured credit card from a credit union looks just like an unsecured credit card from a major national lender. Credit scores [...]

Categories: Secured Credit Cards
I recently became disabled, but I have credit card debt. What are my options?

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It's frustrating enough to work through health challenges without also having to worry about your finances. You're not alone. According to the Social Security Administration, roughly one out of four healthy American workers in their 20s will become disabled before they reach retirement age. As many as 5 [...]

Categories: Credit Card Debt Help
Should I close an old credit card after transferring a balance?

Congratulations on taking advantage of a balance transfer offer to cut the amount you're paying in annual service charges. Whether or not you should close out that old credit card depends on a few factors: Whether your old card carries an annual fee. Whether you're planning any major purchases in the next few years. Whether you're strong enough [...]

Categories: Balance Transfers
How long does it take to establish credit when you have no credit?

Building your credit history from scratch can take between six months to two years, especially if you consider earning instant approval credit card offers as a sign that you've developed "good credit." Instead of just focusing on how high of a credit limit you can build, use this time to develop the kinds of habit [...]

Categories: Build / Rebuild Credit

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