Credit Cards

In part 1 and part 2 of Making The Most Of Your Retail Credit Card, We covered the importance of not using your card for financing. We also covered when the most ideal time is to sign up for a card. In part 3, we cover the added benefits stores may offer exclusively to its card holders.

Retail credit cards come with special benefits and incentives for their card holders. Stores like Target REDcard gives its shoppers the option of free shipping for orders placed online, not to mention an extra 30 days for returns. Then there are stores like L.L. Bean who offer card holders free monogramming on L.L. Bean products. Cool, isn’t it? Before signing up for a retail credit card, find out what special incentives they extend to their card holders. You’d be surprised at what you may score.

Don’t’ get carried away with sign up. Keep in mind that it reflects back on your credit report. Too many in a short amount of time can be negative on your credit report.

In part 1 of Making The Most Of Your Retail Credit Card, we discussed the benefits of signing up for store credit cards when you’re making a big purchase. In part 2, we share why you shouldn’t use your store credit card to finance purchases.

You don’t want to finance purchases on your retail card because they typically carry a high APR rate. It’s best to not carry your balance and to instead pay it off before interest accrues. Most store cards may only offer awards worth only 1% of your spending. In other cases, non-store cards may offer up to 2% cashback on all purchases. It’s better to just use your retail cards for purchases in the store and to pay the balance off as soon as possible.

In part 3 of Making The Most Of Your Retail Credit Card, we will cover benefits of store cards and how to make the most of them.

When you’re at the checkout line at your favorite store, it may be hard to resist the store credit card offer. At first they may seem wonderful with all of the savings they promise, but there are cons to having one that every shopper should look out for. The good news is if you plan accordingly you won’t fall into a retail store credit card pitfall, or debt cycle.

One way to plan accordingly is to only sign up for one when it really counts. That would be when you’re making a large purchase, as opposed to a small one. For example, when you’re doing your back to school shopping, that is a great time to sign up. However, when you’re at a store buying a dress to wear to one event, that’s not a good time to sign up.

Get it yet? Here’s another example to help drive the point home. Take your home improvement store, for instance. If you’re going to shop for many expensive tools and supplies, this is a great time to sign up as opposed to when you’re going to just pick up a can of paint. Make the savings count!

In part two, you will discover two other ways to make smart plans when signing up for retail credit cards.

Thinking of traveling during the winter holidays? Summer is the perfect time to sign up for a new travel credit card. Signing up months in advance is a great way to soak up bonus benefits including points for flight travel. Planning ahead at least five months gives you time to receive the card, and use the card.

How much do you need to spend? The answer varies, but you may want to spend anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000. Ways to spend include your daily expenses, bills, and insurance premiums. You may also want to consider buying gifts with your card. Keep in mind that you should only spend what you actually have in cash. This is the safest way to cover the costs before interest accrues.

In part 1 and part 2 of Common Credit Card Questions People Wonder About, we covered various topics ranging from cosigning and interest fees to annual fees and debt elimination. In the final installment, we’re going to cover three more issues people wonder about.

Is it a good idea to carry a balance?  You should never pay a credit card interest rate if you don’t have to. Your credit score will be just as strong without a balance on your card as it would be with one.

Should I try to get another credit card after ruining my credit? Before going out to get another credit card, make sure you can really handle it.

Does FICO determine what a good or bad score is? FICO doesn’t mention what constitutes a good or bad credit score. They only calculate it. Lenders have set the mark for that.

By knowing the answers to these questions, you’ll be a much more informed credit card owner.

The internet is full of information about credit cards, yet people still wonder what the best choice is for them. In Part 1 of Common Credit Card Questions People Wonder About, we went over whether card holders should close out accounts or ditch cards with annual fees.

In part 2, we’ll cover more questions people wonder about.  

Is it a good idea to cosign for family members? Family is awesome, but if you want to keep the relationship that way, you should probably never cosign on a card for them. If they default, you’re on the hook.

Should cards with higher interest and balances be paid off first?  It is probably a good idea to do so because this will free up more money in your budget.

How often is too often to check a credit score?  You should check your score as often as you’d like. This is the best way to stay on top of what’s going on.

In part 3, we’ll cover more Common Credit Card Questions People Wonder About.

No matter how much information is out there about credit cards, there still seems to be many unanswered questions people have about them. Here are 3 common credit card questions people wonder about:     

Should I get a card with an annual fee? – Because there are so many awesome fee-free credit cards on the market, you probably shouldn’t be stuck with a card that has fees in the first place. Weigh the pros and cons for the best answer.

Should my kid have a credit card? – It may seem like the “it” thing for a teenager to have, but unless they have a job to pay down the balance the answer is no.

Will it hurt if I close out the account on a credit card? – If you want to raise your FICO, the answer is probably no. It doesn’t add points to your score.

Be on the lookout for part 2 of Common Credit Card Questions People Wonder About for answers to the most common credit card questions.

Wondering how many credit cards you should have? Well, that depends on who you ask. Some financial experts say zero….as in none. Others say as many as you can handle. However, the question may not be how many you can handle, but more so what kinds of cards you should carry. Co-founder of, Adam Levin suggests carrying an all-purpose card and a low interest credit card.

Your all-purpose card would be your rewards based cards, which are great for everyday use. It allows you to earn rewards for purchases. The interest fees are higher, but the goal is to pay off the balance each month.

Your low interest credit card is for emergencies and unexpected repairs. These cards give you wiggle room and due to low interest rates, you’re not overwhelmed with paying them back.

Everyone wants a low interest rate credit card. Unfortunately, everyone won’t qualify for one. If you want to try your luck and apply for one anyway, here are the best credit cards offered in America this month, according to Even though the better your credit, the stronger your chances are of being approved for these sweet deals, you still may be able to squeeze through the door with less than perfect credit. Keep in mind that if that’s the case your rate won’t be as great as someone with perfect credit.  Here are the top two credit cards this month:

#1 – Simmons Bank Via Platinum
This card offers extremely low interest rates with the cash advance rate at 11.25%. Cardholders get to view the card’s financial performance and vote on rates, fees and benefits.

#2 – PenFed Promise
This card has a very low interest rate with no fees. Rates for cash advances run as low as 7.99%. There are no annual fees. Plus, you can earn a $100 statement credit as a new holder when you spend $1500 inside the first 90 days.

When you’re ready to apply for a new credit card, keep in mind the terms and conditions. Read through them carefully. By doing so, you ensure that you are aware of all the following:

Introductory rates – These are rates offered by the company and will go up after the introductory period is over.
Annual fees – These are fees charged by the company each year for using the credit card. It is not the same as the interest rate.
Overseas transaction fees – These are additional fees charged if you use your credit card out of the country. This is important if you travel abroad often.
Details of any 0% APR – This is their guarantee that they won’t charge interest on anything you buy for a certain period of time.
Balance transfer fees – This is when you pay off the existing balance on a card by transferring it to another card.
Miscellaneous – These are any other things you should be aware of. Every company is different, so pay attention to details.