Everyone wants a 0 percent credit card, but what's the catch? Here's a simple checklist you can use to uncover potential flies in the ointment.
This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.
If you live in America, have a decent credit score and can fog a mirror, you've probably received promotional offers for very low or 0 percent credit cards.
A $5,000, 0 percent credit line for a year or more can be mighty tempting, especially if you're laboring under the burden of high-interest debt elsewhere. That brings us to today's reader question.
I would really appreciate some advice about whether it is a good idea for me to take advantage of the 0 percent balance transfer promotion with one of my credit cards.
I recently came into some unexpected expenses and thought that maybe this might be an opportunity to limit the high interest I am currently experiencing with my credit card, which has more than $8,000 on it and an interest rate of 15.24 percent.
I would have till August of 2015 (at 0 percent), then the interest would increase to 11.99 percent with this promo offer. But I don't have enough of a limit on the 0 interest card to transfer the whole balance. Should I do it anyway? Or should I try to get my credit limit increased, then transfer it all? Any other suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely -- Struck by offer but don’t want to make it a financial mistake
The short answer to your question, Struck, is yes. If you can pay zero interest on all or part of an existing balance, you want to. And if you can get the credit limit raised to accommodate your entire balance, you want to do that as well. It doesn't hurt to ask.
That being said, there are things you need to know about credit cards, especially the 0 percent interest kind.
If you want a card that is straightforward about fees and penalties, and doesn't have any surprises in the terms and conditions, consider these.
This post comes from Jason Steele at partner site Credit.com.
Credit cards can be such secure and convenient financial tools that they might seem like magic to people who lived 100 years ago. Unfortunately, these magical little plastic cards also come with a maze of terms and conditions that can be a nightmare for many users. In fact, the two biggest problems that many credit card users have with their cards tend to be the harsh penalties and the ease of incurring debt.
Simple credit cards, however, can offer cardholders relief from balance transfer fees, late fees, foreign transaction fees and penalty interest rates. So what should you look for when selecting a simple credit card?
Try to find the card with the features that will benefit you the most. If you have had trouble making payments on time, look for a card with no late fees or penalty interest rate. If you need to perform a balance transfer, you can save a significant amount of money by avoiding balance transfer fees, which are typically 3% of the amount transferred. Those who travel outside the U.S., or make purchases that may be processed in foreign countries, will also want to look for a card with no foreign transaction fees.
As you shop for a credit card, it can help if you know whether you meet the issuer's guidelines (including your credit scores), so that you apply for a credit card that you're more likely to get approved for. There are free tools that can help you prepare for your search, like Credit.com's Credit Report Card, which gives you two credit scores and an overview of your credit profile, and updates them every month.
Now, let's take a look at this month's Best Credit Cards in America picks for simple credit cards, based on a thorough review of many offers.
There's more than one way to do it, and it's important to pick the one most appropriate for your situation.
Debt consolidation often seems like the perfect way to conquer your debt: consolidate your balances into a single loan and make one monthly payment until you are debt-free.
While there may not be a single best way to consolidate debt, it is possible to narrow down the top options for your situation.
A personal loan is often what people have in mind when they talk about consolidating debt. The ideal solution here is a loan with a low interest rate and affordable monthly payment that you can use to pay off other high-rate debt. And this can be a great strategy, provided you can find the loan you need.
That can be a challenge, though, if your credit isn’t great. High levels of debt – especially credit cards with balances approaching your credit limits – can make it difficult to qualify for new credit.
When it works, though, it can work very well.
Everyone makes mistakes, but nobody should be making these doozies -- and yet some people do. Do you?
This post comes from Christine DiGangi at partner site Credit.com.
Everyone makes poor financial decisions from time to time, but there are some money decisions that reach a whole new level of bad.
Recently, Evan Cutler, a resident of northern New Jersey, was on a commuter train and overheard a fellow passenger, sitting three rows back, give his credit card number to whomever was on the other end of the phone call. This wasn't a case of incidental eavesdropping — apparently the passenger was talking very loudly. In that conversation, he read his full credit card number, expiration date and three-digit security code. He also spelled his name out twice.
Cutler, a television producer, joked about the episode on Facebook, ending the comment with, "So ... what should I buy for him?"
We get it — you're trying to make your commute more productive.
The recovery helped spark fuel consumption last year, but Bank of America says supplies will outpace demand for the foreseeable future.
This post comes from Javier E. David at partner site CNBC.
Stubbornly high prices may indicate otherwise, but a host of forces are conspiring to bring down gasoline demand in the United States.
In a research note this week, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said that the gasoline will remain flat in the near term, but "this strength will not be sustainable."
A major factor at play is an economy that may be losing momentum. A spate of weak data suggest domestic demand will remain contained, BofA said.
The recovery helped a fuel consumption rebound in 2013, and the Energy Information Administration is forecasting a 0.2 percent increase in 2014. Still, BofA projected that U.S. gasoline supplies will fall cumulatively by about 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the next five years. Gas inventories "are ample, and demand faces a big structural decline in the years ahead."
Savvy shoppers know how to cut costs -- but savvy savers hang on to the proceeds.
Your relatives and friends brag about how much they saved on Black Friday or at post-holiday clearance sales. A co-worker shows off new tech gear bought from a daily deal site that saved him a couple of hundred bucks.
You can't help telling your non-frugal friends how much you save every month by shopping with coupons and using online rewards programs. Meanwhile, your brother crows about the money he saves by cashing in rewards credit card points.
Nice! But … where's that money now?
Unless you removed it from your wallet or checking account, the "saved" funds probably melted into your everyday budget.
Or maybe you developed some unsavory habits of reasoning, e.g., "These boots/golf clubs were marked down by $50. That means I have an extra $50 to spend."
Everyone commits at least one of these 12 common money goofs. Here's how to save money by catching those mistakes, fixing them and continuing to learn.
This post comes from Marilyn Lewis at partner site Money Talks News.
Here are 12 of the most common money mistakes and how you can keep yourself from making them.
Millions of taxpayers qualify for an IRS program that allows them to file their taxes online using free software from major tax-prep companies. Here are the top four.
By Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com
If you're dreading tax time because your papers aren't in order or a huge bill is looming, you're not alone. But if you're worried about shelling out extra money to pay for tax preparation software, there may be a free solution.
Taxpayers who earned no more than $58,000 last year can access the Internal Revenue Service's Free File program and prepare and e-file federal tax returns online at no charge.
About 100 million people (70 percent of American taxpayers) meet this requirement, according to the Free File Alliance, which counts 14 participating companies. Among them are well-known brands such as H&R Block and TurboTax.
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