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Responsible Credit Card Uses

Personal finance experts spend a lot of energy trying to prevent us from using credit cards—and with good reason. Many of us use credit cards irresponsibly and end up in debt. However, contrary to popular belief, if you can use the plastic responsibly, you're actually much better off paying with a credit card than with a debit card and keeping cash transactions to a minimum. Let's examine why your trusty credit card comes out on top, and certain credit card uses and strategies to employ.

Published on: 1/16/22, 8:02 AM

Before applying for a credit card, ask yourself this important question: How likely am I to be approved?

 

There are two reasons why that question matters. First, understanding the odds of being approved for a credit card can save you time. You can narrow your search for a card to the ones for which you’re most likely to qualify and avoid the ones for which you don’t. Second, limiting your credit card applications can minimize negative impacts on your credit score. Each new inquiry for credit can knock a few points off your score, so the fewer cards you apply for, the better.

 

But what does it take to be approved for a credit card? And are there things you can do to increase your approval odds if you’re new to using credit or you’re attempting to rebuild your credit history? This guide explains everything you need to know about credit card approval.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Your credit score is the biggest single factor in whether you'll be approved.
  • If your credit score is high, you should qualify for a relatively low-interest rate and better perks.
  • If your credit score is low, you'll qualify only for a higher-interest card.
  • If your credit score is very low or you're just starting out, consider a secured credit card or a small personal loan to build or rebuild a favorable history.
Published on: 1/16/22, 7:54 AM

Bitcoin and its competitors are going more mainstream

Cryptocurrency is one of the fastest-growing segments of the world economy. Somewhere between a currency and an investment, it comes in many different forms, with Bitcoin being the largest and best known. Though cryptocurrency started off as a niche financial product, it has become increasingly mainstream and is now intersecting with credit cards in a variety of interesting ways.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • As cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin become more mainstream, they are beginning to interact with credit cards.
  • Some exchanges allow you to buy cryptocurrency with a credit card, including at some bitcoin ATMs.
  • A recently launched credit card offers rewards in the form of bitcoins, and other such cards seem likely to follow.
Published on: 1/16/22, 7:47 AM

Here's how to get the most value from your points and miles

Rewards credit cards can be a valuable addition to your wallet if you're earning points or miles on purchases you'd be making anyway. In one recent survey of 2,000 credit card holders, respondents said they'd saved an average of $757 per year using their rewards.1 What's important to keep in mind, however, is that the value of the points or miles you earn can vary significantly from card to card. The secret is choosing one of the best rewards credit cards and then using your rewards strategically. Here is what you need to know.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Redemption values for credit card miles and points can vary greatly by card.
  • Generally speaking, points and miles tend to be worth more when redeemed for travel versus cash, gift cards, or shopping.
  • Some co-branded airline and hotel loyalty cards offer a better redemption value than some general travel rewards cards, but they may also limit how you can use your rewards.
  • Some cards let you transfer points or miles to their other travel partners, which can give you greater flexibility in using your rewards.
Published on: 1/16/22, 7:35 AM

Yes, and you may be able to get more car for your money

Just as you can buy a new car or a used car, you also may have that choice if you decide to lease. While used-car leases are rarer than leases on new cars, they can be a viable option, especially if you’re looking to save some money.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Leasing a used car can be less expensive than leasing a new one.
  • Many car dealers offer leases on used cars, but typically only certified pre-owned models.
  • It’s also possible to take over someone else’s existing lease.
Published on: 1/16/22, 7:32 AM

You own a car, you pay for insurance. It’s as simple as that. What may not be as obvious is that you may have some control over what you spend. Despite the fact that the industry is highly regulated, not all car insurance is the same. Shop online and you’ll find different prices and products. This is because insurance companies have their own ways of calculating prices, and that provides consumers with options to shop and compare. If you're looking to lower your premiums—and who doesn’t want to save money?—here are a few ideas to consider.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Shopping around may match you up with an insurer that provides coverage that’s the best fit for your needs.
  • Make sure you haven’t bought too much coverage, especially if you drive an older car.
  • Increasing the deductible on your policy may lower your premium.
  • Bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or other insurance might also cut your costs.
Published on: 1/16/22, 7:31 AM

It’s solely up the buyer, but here are some tips

 

If you’re in the market for buying a new or used car, you may wonder how much of a down payment will be required these days. Is there a minimum? Will more money down get you a better deal? And just how much will your down payment affect your monthly payments?

Published on: 1/16/22, 7:30 AM

Is this insurance feature worth it and how does it work?

 

 

Oh, no! You just had a fender bender and now you’re wondering if that accident forgiveness feature you added to your auto insurance policy will pay off. Accident forgiveness is a feature you can add to your auto coverage with some insurers so that it “forgives” the driver if the accident turns out to be your fault. This means an accident you’re at fault for won’t negatively affect you—think a rate hike—as a result.

Published on: 1/16/22, 7:27 AM

Looking to generously give a car to charity? Here’s what you need to know

Years ago, we had a family SUV that blew a head gasket. In mechanic’s terms, that’s really, really bad. The car would need a new engine, or we could scrap it. But it had four good tires, and the exterior was still nice. Our mechanic suggested donating it to a local boys’ ranch that had a mechanic program. There, teen boys would work on the car as part of their vehicle program, rebuild and swap engines, and boys in need would put the car to work on the ranch or sell it at a ranch auction, raising money.

Published on: 1/16/22, 7:25 AM

Parking tickets don’t say anything about your safety habits but are a headache.

It’s a sight that no one wants to see. You’re walking back to your car to head to your next destination, and right there, pinned under a windshield wiper, is a long piece of paper. You immediately know what that means: You’ve just received a parking ticket. While your day may be ruined, you can at least take solace in knowing that this ticket will have very little impact on your standing as a driver.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Insurers mostly care about your safety habits and likeliness that you will file a claim.
  • Failing to pay your parking tickets could lead to higher fines and the potential for police intervention.
  • Unpaid parking tickets hurt your credit score, which could impact your car insurance costs.
Published on: 1/16/22, 7:22 AM