Bank of America just reduced my card’s APR!

Back in January I shared with you my personal experience with Bank of America throughout my credit journey: https://hiepsfinance.com/2013/01/30/bank-of-america-is-awesome/ . To sum it up, Bank of America has done all the good things for me: gave me a secured card with cashback rewards, unsecured it and eliminated the annual fee a year later, and then raised the credit limit six-fold! 2 days ago I took another step further and asked them to lower my APR of 20.24% typical of secured cards but a little high for a non-secured card.

The representative looked at my profile to see if my account would be eligible for a lower APR. Sure enough, she came back with a new interest rate of 11.99%, the lowest in my current credit card portfolio by a wide margin!

Let me clarify why I asked for a lower APR. I didn’t ask for an APR lowering because I planned to carry a balance; I wanted a low APR in case of emergency when I may have to make a large purchase without sufficient cash. If I had a house struck down by lightning for example, I’d need some cash flow available immediately to start rebuilding, and if I had just paid a large medical bill I probably wouldn’t have the cash at my disposal right away. In that kind of scenario, the BofA card with a relatively reasonable APR would come in handy.

I may give BofA another call in a few months to see if they can bring the APR down to below 10% – that would be the last thing I need from Bank of America for this incredible Cash Rewards card.

BofA BankAmericard Cash Rewards card
BofA BankAmericard Cash Rewards card

I am a loyal customer of Bank of America, at least for their credit card and banking products. If you are still looking for a bank to get your first credit card from, seriously consider BofA.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Best,

Richard (Hiep Tran)

Nokia and the turnaround story named Lumia

The legendary Nokia 1110/1110i, the highest sold mobile device of all time
The legendary Nokia 1110/1110i, the highest sold mobile device of all time

Those of you who, like me, were using a cell phone in the early 2000’s, must have heard of Nokia. It was the undisputed number one brand for mobile device manufacturing. A decade later, when our world is filled with smartphones and iPad-type of tablets, Nokia seems to have vanished from the phone stores, especially in the US. Well, the company’s stock price has plunged just about as fast: it lost 90% of value in the last 5 years following the launch of the legendary Apple iPhone. So what has been going on with Nokia? Does their stock make for a good investment at this moment? My answer is yes. Continue reading Nokia and the turnaround story named Lumia

The ideal number of credit cards: why/when more is better

When I started my credit journey in January 2012, all I wanted at the time was the first card, and I stayed with one card for the next 9 months until I learned that there were better cards in the market. For the next 3 months I went on an app spree and finally came to the point where I felt adding another card to my portfolio wouldn’t do me much good any more.

Apparently the number of credit cards I have is absurdly high to many people. The common perception is that more credit cards suggest more financial trouble. Knowing that a high percentage of the population tend to abuse credit and get themselves into a debt spiral, I totally understand how this perception was created.

Needless to say, if you have had credit before and found yourself often charging credit cards up to the maximum allowed and not paying the balance in full, 1 credit card is enough. You still need a credit card to maintain your credit history, but for that purpose one card can be sufficient if you do not abuse it. On the other hand, if you are able to handle credit well, never charge to the limit, and always pay statement balances in full, then you should have multiple credit cards. If you want to know the reason, please read on.

Continue reading The ideal number of credit cards: why/when more is better

Investment basics: what is a stock?

I thought it was funny how you can partially own a company without possessing any material part. Like, I own Apple stock, but I don’t even own the company’s stapler or toilet paper, much less one of their popular iPads or Macbooks. Holding a stock doesn’t mean I’m entitled to anything valuable necessarily. It’s an interesting concept. Continue reading Investment basics: what is a stock?

The must-know graph for credit scores

The chart from FICO, the company that provides the most widely used credit scores, says it all:

ce_scorebreakdown

That is it, folks. To achieve a high FICO credit score, we only need to improve these 5 components. In order of importance, here are the 5 things we should do to increase our FICO scores:

Continue reading The must-know graph for credit scores

Why is your credit card bill so huge: how credit card interest is calculated and what grace period means

I personally don’t carry a credit card balance unless my credit card is offering a 0% APR promotion because one of my goals in the credit quest is to build a perfect credit history without paying a penny in interest. But from my observation, I’m not the norm. Many people I know carry balances from time to time, and when they come to me for advice, I always tell them to at least pay the minimum to avoid late payment fees, and over time I have helped them save quite a bit of money from that.

Honestly though, paying just the minimum amount is never going to pull you out of debt since credit card interest accumulates everyday at an absurdly high rate. There are many reasons to underestimate interest charges.
Continue reading Why is your credit card bill so huge: how credit card interest is calculated and what grace period means