How to access your annual free credit report – step by step instructions

It is always a good idea to check your credit profile before making a major credit decision such as re-financing a mortgage or applying for a credit card. Sometimes there are errors on your credit report that you need to dispute, and other times there may be legitimate negative records that you may be able to remove in one way or another. Conveniently, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) entitles you to one credit report from each consumer reporting agency (CRA). Continue reading How to access your annual free credit report – step by step instructions

Do you need to carry a balance to build credit?

I often get inspiration for my blog posts from people I interact with. I learn of my readers’ needs through talking with friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and everyone else with whom I have a conversation that involves personal finance matters. In a recent conversation like that, I learned of someone who keeps her credit active by making a large purchase on her credit card and paying the balance gradually, over months, obviously accumulating and paying interests. She learned of this practice from someone else.

You know that I advocate paying off balances before due dates so you’d never pay a penny in interest. Let’s discuss which approach is better for your credit.

Continue reading Do you need to carry a balance to build credit?

Does checking your own credit report affect your credit?

The other day I was having lunch with co-workers. I don’t remember how this topic came across, but one of my co-workers was convinced that checking your credit would lower your credit score. I just wanted to emphasize that checking your credit is totally harmless. Why?

Continue reading Does checking your own credit report affect your credit?

Today’s feature: Bank of America’s BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards credit card review

Odd-category rewards credit card
Odd-category rewards credit card

From my experience with their consumer products, Bank of America is an unusual credit issuer. They have many fantastic credit cards without putting much effort in promoting them. The BankAmericard Cash Rewards and Travel Rewards are two examples. Recently, Bank of America rolled out another card in the BankAmericard series: BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards. I’ve never quite seen another card like that : instead of rewarding you for spending, it rewards you for paying balances. Let’s take a look at this hidden gem.

(Edited on 4/11/2013 to clarify the rewards requirements: paying off the statement balance will also qualify you for the rewards.)

Continue reading Today’s feature: Bank of America’s BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards credit card review

What happens to your credit when you get married?

Saving-Your-Marriage-SmallI have a friend who recently got engaged. Last time we hung out, we had a little chat about his future plans. Being a financially savvy and provident guy, he did some research on the impact of marriage on future housing arrangement, and found out that in order to buy a house in the future he will have to have his future wife go through a credit score check. He was under the impression that his credit profile would be merged in some way with his fiance’s when they got married, and thus they would have a common credit score, taken as the lower of their individual scores pre-marriage. Is this true?

Continue reading What happens to your credit when you get married?

Reblog and analysis: “Five Surprising Things That May Impact Your Score” from Transunion

parking-ticketTransunion is one of the three consumer reporting agencies (CRA’s) which are responsible for keeping a record of your credit profile. Today I came across a brief and helpful article on their “Credit Education” section that I’d like to share with you and attach my comments to. The article is titled “Your Credit History: Five Surprising Things That May Impact Your Score.” Let’s analyze these 5 surprising things, one by one.

 

Continue reading Reblog and analysis: “Five Surprising Things That May Impact Your Score” from Transunion

Today’s feature: Bank of America BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card review

One of the most lucrative travel rewards credit cards
One of the most lucrative travel rewards credit cards

I reviewed Bank of America’s BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card in this post: Anatomy of a credit card: Bank of America BankAmericard Cash Rewards review

Next in the line is Bank of America’s BankAmericard Travel Rewards card, one of my favorite credit cards, and one of the most under-rated rewards credit cards.

Continue reading Today’s feature: Bank of America BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card review

Bank of America’s credit cards: an insider’s view

Last week, I featured Bank of America’s BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card, compiling most relevant information that is more or less public, meaning that you can obtain the information without actually having the card. As an actual cardholder, I have the advantage of knowing exactly what’s inside Bank of America’s online banking system, what other benefits a BofA card offers, as well as the details of the card’s features.

Continue reading Bank of America’s credit cards: an insider’s view