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)

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

Career is the most critical aspect of personal finance

10-Key-Steps-to-a-Successful-Job-Search1

Recently, I’ve revisited my financial decisions since I graduated from college in the fall of 2011. You know what I found? Having a permanent, decent-paying job actually contributes the most to my assets and financial future. With money in my bank accounts and a stable income stream, I have been approved for good credit cards to build my credit history. The money I’ve saved has been put into my brokerage account so that I can learn how to invest. I’m 24, and I know there are a lot of things to be learned and a lot of money to be earned in the future, but I think I have a decent start, to which my income contributed significantly.

Continue reading Career is the most critical aspect of personal finance

Can international (F-1) students / non-resident aliens (H-1B visa holders) apply for credit cards?

Yay! I'm an alien!!!
Yay! I’m an alien!!! Cool, huh?

Absolutely! I applied for my Bank of America BankAmericard secured credit card as an H-1B visa holders, and I wish I had obtained my first credit card when I was an international student at Colgate. By the way, to my American readers who may not be well-versed about immigration stati, any foreign citizen that is living in the US is classified by the IRS as an alien. Those like me that don’t have permanent residency either are called non-resident aliens. Someone from the IRS has a good sense of humor.

I know that I asked myself this question at some point while being a college student, and so did many of my friends who were international students. So for the future generations of international students, let’s settle this once and for all. The answer is, again: Yes you can! Continue reading Can international (F-1) students / non-resident aliens (H-1B visa holders) apply for credit cards?

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?