10 Credit Card Tips for Beginners

If you recently transitioned to adulthood, applying for a credit card is probably among the top five things you look forward to. In most countries, a person is eligible to obtain a personal credit card as soon as they turn 18. Credit cards add convenience to life, and are the preliminary means to start building credit. The shiny plastic unlocks so many possibilities, and they can make you feel invincible, which is addictive. Despite the many perks credit cards have to offer, they can become a liability if not used responsibly. Many newbies exploit their credit privileges, and then suffer long term consequences.

It is necessary to do your research and understand the obligations of owning a credit card before you get one. You can get multiple lines of credit, but beginners must start with one and keep it that way until they get the hang of it. If you have recently received your first credit card or plan to apply for it soon, the following tips will help you prevent a disastrous debt situation.

1. Curb your Excitement and Learn the Basics

Getting your very first credit card is indeed a milestone, but better not go all out on celebrations. You have a lot to learn about credit usage and debt management, so be prudent.  Many young users treat credit cards like free money, which is a costly mistake. Credit cards are more of an emergency fund, and whatever you charge on them has to be paid back shortly with interest. It is best to stick to your debit card for day-to-day purchases, and reserve your credit limit for rainy days. For example, many people living from paycheck to paycheck exhaust their monthly income before the end of the month; under these circumstances, credit cards can be used for buying essentials or paying bills that are due by the end of the month.

If you don’t want to be deprived of your credit privileges anytime soon, and you are hoping to efficiently build a remarkable credit score, establish a budget. Your monthly budget should never exceed the sum of your monthly wages (after subtraction of taxes and miscellaneous deductions).  If you have plans to purchase real estate or make another big investment in a few years, you cannot afford to screw up at the beginning of your credit building journey.

2. Shop around before finalizing your first Credit Card

You cannot trust any random credit card provider and sign up for the first package they suggest. Everyone’s financial needs and priorities are different, so you need to find a credit card program that puts you first and addresses your unique requirements. Every time you apply for a card and the issuer checks your credit score, it will be noted as a hard enquiry; each hard enquiry can lower your score a few points, so reserve them for the card/cards you actually want.

Some credit cards have no annual fees, which is ideal for beginners. However, others having a yearlycharge might provide benefits that you prefer, and hence could be worth the added expense. Look for the lowest interest rates and check for a rewards system that might interest you. If you are a student, it is recommended to settle for a card with the lowest limit because they are easier to manage on a limited budget. Some credit card companies try to lure in consumers with sign-in bonuses, but if you read the fine print, you’ll know it’s a trap. It is crucial to read (and understand) all the terms and conditions before committing.

3. Pay your Bills on Time in Full

If you pay all your bills by the due date in full, you shall never have to worry about crippling debt, or find yourself in a difficult situation where the only way out is to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Timely payment of bills is the fastest way to build credit and avoid interest fees. Credit card companies allow card holders to make a minimum payment, which is a small percentage of the outstanding balance. Many inexperienced credit users think that this is great, since they get to pay off debt in miniscule installments over an extended period; they don’t realize that the smaller the installment, the greater is the interest rate levied upon it.

Even though writing off the minimum every month sounds convenient, in reality you end up paying a lot more than you originally owed (sometimes double the actual amount). Most credit cards come with a ‘grace period’, i.e. the time between the statement closing and bill payment deadline. The grace period typically lasts 21 days, depending on the policy of your card issuer. If you pay your bill in full before the deadline, you are not charged with interest. The portion of your balance carried off to the next month will accrue interest.

4. Never Max Out

The rule of thumb is to never spend more than 30% of your credit card limit; even better if you can lower your limit to 10%.This is an essential step to building credit and maintaining a good score. Your first card will have a low limit to begin with, but it gets tricky once you acquire additional lines of credit and your overall limit increases. Maxing out your credit card is a bad idea and may potentially ruin your finances. For starters, maxing out your credit card signifies that you are struggling to make ends meet, i.e. you are using your credit for everything, as opposed to emergency purchases.

Once your available credit is exhausted, you cannot charge anything on it until the next cycle. If you are making the minimum payment each cycle, you will be accumulating massive debt over time. You shall eventually reach a point of no return and your credit score will hit rock bottom. If you apply for a new loan or credit, you are likely to face rejection due to your poor credit history; if you get approved, you will be subject to extravagant interest rates that would further deteriorate your financial position.

5. Review your Statements for errors

Reviewing your credit card charges every time and double checking your bills is a useful practice. This routine will enable you to recognize your spending habits and discover possible fraud. If you have been overcharged or notice an unauthorized purchase, report it to the service provider immediately. Even though credit cards are a highly secure payment method, identity theft and technical errors occur occasionally. Unlike with debit cards, users are rarely held liable for fraudulent activity on a credit card. Most credit issuers will compensate you in full, as long as the fraudulent charge is reported within 24 hours.

6. Avoid Paying Interest as much as possible

Money problems are commonplace, and can happen to the best of us. Even the most frugal and responsible consumers fall behind on payments sometimes. You may have incurred some unanticipated expenses that forced you to spend beyond your budget or max out available credit. You have until the end of the grace period to make up for the outstanding dues. If possible, take out some money from a savings account, liquidate an asset, or borrow from a loved one whom you can pay back at your convenience.

If none of the mentioned options are available, the dues will move on to the next cycle and become subject to interest. When this happens, opt for the fastest repayment method rather than settling for the minimum percentage scheme. For example, if you pay off 25% of your total debt every following month, you will be done within four months whilst paying a small percentage interest. On the other hand, if you pay 5% every month, you’ll be stuck with the debt for nearly 2 years and pay a lot more in interest.

7. Keep Track of your Credit Score

Earning a good credit score is of utmost importance because lenders review your credit history before approving you for a loan. Your credit report enlists your active credit accounts, payment history, and debt details. New credit users with a single credit card have limited activity in the beginning; nonetheless, it is fundamental to make sure that the info provided is free of mistakes. Consumers get one free credit report every year, so you should thoroughly review it at least once a year. Misinformation or errors in the credit report can hurt your score, so immediately file a complaint if you discover discrepancies.

8. Don’t be afraid to swipe your Card

What you hear from peers and read on the internet about credit card usage may have raised concerns. Many people are afraid to make their first purchase from a credit card long after acquiring it. It is true that you won’t accumulate debt or encounter interest if you never swipe your card, but you won’t be able to build credit either. If you want to be able to take out a loan one day or qualify for a mortgage, you cannot do so without a credit history and score. Using credit does not have to be complicated; just follow the rules and stick to your budget.

9. Don’t let Rewards go to waste

Most credit card companies offer some reward system that allow you to earn points on purchases, which can be redeemed later. You may qualify to claim discounts from specific retailers, earn cash back, or get travel points that translate to cheaper air fare. It’s a good thing if you reviewed the reward system while signing up for the card, though it is not unusual to forget about it afterwards. There are deadlines for availing promotions and cashing in points, so keep track and don’t miss out on these benefits.

10. Contact the service provider for help

If you are facing any problem with your credit card, you should refer to the service provider without hesitation. Your friends and family members using a different service provider or plan will not be able to help you out. It is common of new credit users to struggle with credit and debt management in the beginning. If you have accidently missed a deadline and received a penalty, you can explain it to the issuer and request for some concession. Most credit providers are willing to accommodate new users, as long as they ask politely.

3 Ways a Credit Union Helps Rebuild Tarnished Credit Scores

Credit Score

A high CIBIL score has a plethora of advantages. This is a 3-digit figure that reflects your creditworthiness, that is, your ability to repay a loan. It can be either in general terms or with respect to a particular financial liability. A good score translates to better interest negotiation power, discounts on loan processing fees, cards with better rewards and getting pre-approved funds. The market size of the US Credit Bureaus & Rating Agencies stands at $13.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to increase by 6.1% in the same year.

It has been growing faster than the administration, waste management and business support sectors. This is because lenders are highly dependent on them to decide whether or not to approve loan applications from borrowers and investors. The agencies analyze an individual, entity or organization and assign ratings to them to assess their financial health. Aiming for an impressive credit scoreis vital to unlocking countless benefits and favorable terms. A credit union would be a great way to rebuild an impaired rating and improve your personal finance. Here’s how it helps.

#1 Credit Builder Loans

The top credit union in New Jersey can offer specialized credit building loans. For example, you can borrow home equity loans, unsecured personal loans and auto loans. How much you owe on loans and credit cards makes up for 30% of your score and the length of the credit history accounts for 15% of your score. The payments must be reported to three national credit bureaus- Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.

You can easily raise your score if the history is positive. Getting funds from a credit union is a fairly easy process since all you have to do is tick off the eligibility, explore the segments under each category and follow the steps. This will help you pull up the fallen numbers seamlessly.

#2 Credit Counseling

A credit counselor can help people settle their debt through education and budgeting along with offering tools that can reduce financial liabilities. Fret not! Being under counseling does not impact your credit score negatively. Instead, the experts can:

  • Help in planning a budget for your finances
  • Get a copy of your credit scores and report
  • Create a debt management plan that allows you to clear your debts.
  • Offer free workshops and learning materials

No wonder the market size, measured by revenue, of the credit counselors, surveyors and appraisers’ industry is $79 billion in 2022. It was also expected to increase by 1.7% in the same year and is growing at a faster rate than the overall economy. Work with a credit union that can provide the services of experts to take the right and informed financial decisions. All of these can help raise your credit score over time.

#3 Secured Credit Cards

Adding a credit card to your financial portfolio and managing it responsibly can shoot up your credit score. Using it wisely and in a disciplined way can build your profile without incurring interest costs. Ensure regular and timely card bill payments, keep your utilization ratio within 30%, avoid enquiring with multiple lenders and review the report periodically. The payment history will make up for 35% of your FICO credit score. So,paying in full each time is the best thing you can do to give your score the edge it deserves. Further, keep your accounts open, maintain a low balance and fix a budget.

A credit union can help individuals who have bad credit and offers lower fees and interests than that of a bank. So, all you have to do is meet their eligibility criteria to increase the chances of qualifications. The best one will let you add an authorized user to your account to check overspending. You can also benefit from 24/7 card assistance. All of these can ease the process of building credits while making purchases every day.Get a fair idea of the annual fee to make sure you can plan it instead of losing your chance of improving your credit.

A credit union is a member-friendly organization. They strive to create the best user experience possible with dedicated resources and timely reminders. However, you must try to follow the above steps as personal measures to boost your credit score. A combined effort can help you reach an impressive score of 650 and above within the least possible time.

The Importance Of A Good Credit Report And Credit Score

Credit Report

What do buying a car, applying for a student loan and renting an apartment have in common? They all access your credit report and score to determine your “creditworthiness.” Now more than ever, it’s vital to check and maintain your credit regularly. By learning the ins and outs, you can be in a better position to achieve your financial goals. What’s more, checking may expose errors and is one of the best steps in detecting fraud and identity theft.

While complex, the process of collecting information for your report and generating a score is something that is necessary for consumers to understand. Credit reports contain your personal information and critical data collected by credit bureaus from your lenders. This includes everything from dates of loans to balance amounts. The three leading bureaus producing these reports are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

The material in their reports is then used by scoring agencies, such as the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO). Then, the agency uses its special algorithm or scoring methodologies to generate a number. These scorescan typically range from 300 to 850. The higher the number, the better the interest rates as well as an increased likelihood of extending credit.To put it simply, credit scores are used by lenders to determine how likely you are to make your payments on time; it’s best to have a high figure.

There are methods to improve your score and, thus, secure better interest rates, insurance premiums and possibly a job for which you’ve applied. The first is to always pay your bills on time.Your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO score. Another 30% looks at how much you owe, known as credit utilization, so it’s highly advantageous to keep any card balances low. The third criteria that FICO looks at is the length of your credit history at 15% of the score.

Ways to improve this are to have a long-established account, such as a credit card, and not to close accounts that are doing well. The fourth and fifth portions are both at 10% and deal with newness and types. It’s advised not to open multiple lines over a short duration because this negatively affects the FICO score. Also, it’s recommended to have a diversified mix of accounts, which can include credit cards, retail accounts and mortgage loans.

Overall, having robust credit health is empowering and one of the greatest things you can do to help achieve your financial goals. Knowing and understanding your credit score is key to this. Be sure to check your score regularly and take advantage of free annual reviews of your reports to support you reaching your full credit potential. For more information and compelling statistics, please see the accompanying resource by Stein Saks.

This infographic was created by Stein Saks, a TCPA lawyer


Top Features of a Truly Modern Credit Union

Credit unions are popular for several reasons. They have a personalized approach with a member-centric model. You are both the customer and owner here. This lets you enjoy lower charges as well as interest rates on loans. You can also enjoy several financial benefits, even with a low credit score. No wonder the US market size of credit unions, measured by revenue, stands at $81.6 billion in 2021. Studies have found that factors that influence this industry are household debt and the rising lifespans.

Credit Union

Credit unions are an excellent low-cost alternative to traditional banks. But you need to tick off a few basic features to get the most out of their potential. For instance, ensure that the institution has adopted innovative practices and the latest technologies. What else is crucial? Take a look.

1. World-Class Customer Service

The 2020 American Customer Service Satisfaction Index for credit unions, conducted by the University of Michigan, stood at 77 on a 100-point scale. Credit unions strive to serve the community for the greater good by rolling out technology solutions and mobile apps. This is why members insist “they’ll never leave their credit unions.” The customer experience benchmarks or key metrics are usually staff courtesy, variety of financial services and branch locations. So, make sure the organization you pick has a member-first approach for the best service and support experience.

2. Impact of Technology

Your credit union should offer electronic signature authentication, online share account application, remote deposit capture, electronic bill payments and electronic loan application. These are the main areas that appeal to potential members. A few 2021 credit union technology trends are cloud computing, machine learning and AI, digital ID solution, analytics and marketing automation. All these help improve operations and support members more accurately and efficiently.

3. Basic Membership Requirements

The credit union you pick should not restrict membership to limited people. It must allow the general public from all walks of life to enjoy the benefits offered. All you should need to do is open an account and start your membership. The customer support team of the top credit union of New Jersey will explain the basic and complex functions. This way all members can democratically operate the not-for-profit organization. You will remain a valued part of the team, rather than just another customer on their database.

4. Works with Less-Than-Impressive Credit Score

An ideal credit score is 750 and above. Banks are usually reluctant to offer loans if you do not have the minimum score. But credit unions wish to make the process easy for you rather than making it another burden. Even if you do not have a good credit score, you are eligible for a loan. So, if you wish to get an auto loan or personal loan with a poor credit score, your credit union should be able to help.

However, you can build a positive record by making regular bill payments, reducing the interest amount and taking small personal loans that you repay regularly. A good credit score can prove useful in other areas, such as renting a home, where landlords check your credit history to determine your ability to pay the rent on time.

An ideal credit union will be committed to human relationships. Make sure the system is user-friendly, cooperative and evolves with time for the best customer experience.


Citi Cash Card – A Simple Cash Rebate Credit Card

The Citi Custom Cash Card is the ideal credit card for those who need an all-around cash bonus. The Citi card is perfect for cash-back rewards junkies. The Citi card also provides a cash bonus program for those who prefer to earn more points than cashback rewards. The Citi cash card is intended for those who wish to make purchases using their credit cards. The card has earned the prestigious approval from financial institutions such as Bank of America, Chase, and Discover Card. The Citi card can give you cash rebates, store discounts, airline miles, gas rebates, cash back on many purchases, and other cash-back rewards.

Redeeming Rewards Points:

Cash-back cards are great for those who like to shop, but do not want the hassle of redeeming reward points at the end of each month. A cash-back rewards card allows cardholders to receive cash for every cent they spend. Citi offers cash-back cards with varying interest rates. Citi custom cash card holders have the option to choose the best cash-back cards that suit their needs. The Citi custom cash card should provide great value to cardholders and rewards specialists alike because it automatically rewards the top spending group each billing period.

Earn More Points:

The Citi custom cash card allows cardholders to earn more points than normal by charging items purchased using their plastic card. Cardholders earn more points than normal by spending up to a certain limit on their purchases and by referring new customers. Cardholders earn more points than normal when they charge items that are part of a gift, vacation, or rebate plan.

Select Variety of Plans:

The Citi custom cash card allows cardholders to select from a variety of plans including the Gold, Silver, and Blue rewards programs. The Platinum rewards program allows cardholders to redeem rewards points for travel miles, cash back, business expenses, and entertainment in the form of video games, electronics, apparel, and accessories. Cardholders who spend at least twice a month on their Citi cash back card can qualify for an annual 500 cap. The 500 cap helps cardholders save money on interest payments by paying only the interest on the lower monthly balance after the first year.

Reward Categories at Special Rate:

Cardholders who make regular purchases of at least $1000 annually will qualify for the Gold rewards rate program. The Citi cashback card allows cardholders to get a special rate on their cash back when making purchases in the following reward categories: department store products, home appliances, electronics, furniture, and dining room and beverage accessories. The Blue reward categories offer a 0% interest rate on purchases made in the 3 determining departments: travel, entertainment, and dining. Rewards are also available for gasoline purchases, automobile expenses, and business expenses.

Citi provides you with a simple application form so you can start building your Citi cash welcome bonus quickly. You can also find out your eligibility status at any time during the application process. Once you complete the application and agreement, you will be processing and receiving your cash rebate. With the help of Citi, you can enjoy the benefits of earning cash, rewards, and savings.

Is PayPal Safer Than A Credit Card

It’s essential to keep your information secure when you’re making purchases online. Cyber security is a significant threat, and identity theft is a severe problem. If you have concerns about these issues, you may be wondering if PayPal is a safer option than a credit card.

PayPal Is Designed For Safe Transactions

PayPal was explicitly created to allow for safe transactions online. Credit cards have been around for much longer than PayPal has, and because of this, many credit cards companies do not offer the same kinds of security measures that PayPal provides.

PayPal Safer Than A Credit Card

PayPal is easy to use, and most major online retailers accept it. However, unlike credit card companies, PayPal was made for safe online transactions. It’s one of the best ways to purchase items online. Since PayPal charges a minimal fee for recipients, you can also opt for other alternatives to PayPal. But choosing a credit card transaction everywhere is not secured everywhere.

PayPal Support Can Help You If You Have an Issue

If you do wind up having an issue with your PayPal account, you’ll be able to get the help that you need. PayPal has a robust support system that will allow you to chat with a professional whenever you run into any problem.

A lack of support can be frustrating, especially if you see an unexplained transaction. When you use PayPal, you can trust that you’ll be able to get the support you need when you need it. If you have an issue, PayPal’s support team will help you to find a solution. There is even a system in place for transaction disputes!

Using PayPal Can Protect You from Keyloggers

One of the ways that cybercriminals gain access to people’s information is through keyloggers. Keyloggers can detect and log keystrokes. This can give criminals access to your passwords and your credit card number.

However, when you use PayPal for purchases, you won’t have to enter any numbers to make a purchase. Instead, the only thing you’ll need to do is log into your PayPal account. This can help you to avoid several severe issues in the future.

PayPal Uses End-to-End Encryption

Cybercriminals will search for any vulnerabilities as they work to steal your information. Because PayPal utilizes end-to-end encryption, it will be difficult for hackers to find the information that they’re looking for. With PayPal, you can trust that your information is completely protected.

Even minor lapses in security can have significant consequences, and that’s why you should work with a company that you’ll be able to trust and depend on. When you make big purchases via PayPal or it’s alternatives, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your payment information is fully secure.

You Can Receive a PayPal Debit Card

You don’t need to use PayPal and a credit card. If you choose to do so, you can use PayPal exclusively. You can request that PayPal gives you a debit card, and you can use that card to make purchases whenever PayPal isn’t an option for you.

If you appreciate the support that PayPal offers, but you’re also a big fan of the convenience of carrying a card in your wallet, this is a perfect solution. Receiving a card from PayPal is free, and you won’t have to undergo a credit check before you receive your new card.

PayPal Allows You to Enable Two-Factor Authentication

If you’re worried that someone else will try to access the information in your PayPal account, you’ll be glad to know that you have many different types of security available to you. For example, you’ll be able to set up two-factor authentication so that no one can access your account unless they have access to your phone.

This is an excellent step that you can take to keep your account protected, even if hackers can access the password on your PayPal account. If you want to make sure your finances are safe, taking a step like this may make sense for you.

Credit card security has improved over the years, but there are still a lot of valid concerns. If you want to make online purchases safely, PayPal is one of your best options. As you can see, PayPal goes the extra mile to make sure your sensitive information stays safe.

Credit Consolidation Tips for Senior Citizens

During your retirement years, your goal is to enjoy every day to the fullest, not worry about financial issues or mistakes you’ve made in the past. The last thing you want is to stress constantly over debt.

Credit Consolidation Tips

Unfortunately, debt is a very real concern for many senior citizens. Reaching age 65 or 75 is no guarantee that you won’t be facing mountains of debt that need to be repaid. However, debt is not a reason to be upset with yourself or give up. There are plenty of ways to improve your financial circumstances and enjoy your retirement.

Consolidating your credit, or debt, is the process of combining debts into one lump sum from multiple sources such as credit cards and other loans. This results in one payment, which is often lower and at a lower interest rate. These credit consolidation tips can assist senior citizens in reducing their total debts and focusing on a more comfortable retirement.

Why Many Senior Citizens Carry Debt

Of course it is ideal to have paid off any debts in full before reaching retirement age. This would greatly decrease your living expenses and your income needs in retirement. However, sometimes debt can be unavoidable.

Senior citizens may carry some credit card debt. This is not necessarily due to overspending. Plenty of seniors have gone into credit card debt in order to bail out a loved one, handle an emergency, or pay medical bills. In 2016, more than 34% of senior households carried a credit card balance, according to the National Council on Aging.

Another form of debt common to senior citizens is mortgage debt. It’s possible your mortgage isn’t fully paid off yet by retirement age. A home is a large expense that may make up a chunk of your debt.

Unsurprisingly, medical expenses are another major cause of debts held by senior citizens. Health care expenses tend to skyrocket as you grow older, and oftentimes people are simply unable to pay their bills in full. Insurance may not cover all of the medical costs of aging, leaving you with large balances due to health care procedure costs, prescription drug costs, and more.

Senior citizens may even have outstanding debts such as parental loans for their children’s higher education expenses. The desire to give your children a better future through college and graduate school can lead to paying the price long into your retirement years.

The weight of unpaid debts in your sixties, seventies, and beyond can seem insurmountable. When you’re living on a fixed income from a pension or Social Security, getting yourself out of debt is a challenge. That’s why it’s important to learn some ways of managing and lowering your total debts owed. Here are a few strategies to help senior citizens get a handle on their finances.

Streamline Your Budget

While looking at your budget doesn’t necessarily help you consolidate your debt, it is a necessary means of helping you to pay down your debt and improve your financial circumstances.

Even if you’ve previously followed a strict budget, you have likely changed your spending habits since retirement. More free time to fill often corresponds to higher spending levels. Perhaps you’re going out to dine and socialize with other retired friends frequently. Increased travel expenses or engaging in other leisure activities will often cost you more money.

Take a close look at your income from pensions and other sources, and compare this total to your monthly spending. You want to pinpoint whether you’re overspending in any areas.

Figure out where you can or should cut back on spending, temporarily or long-term. Whatever your debts may total, even six months of more careful budgeting may drastically improve your outlook. Every $200 of spending you can cut out per month is $200 more you can put towards debt repayment.

Downsize Your Home

A common strategy for senior citizens to reduce their total debt load is to downsize their living situation. This step, helpfully, coincides with a typical decrease in the amount of space people need to fit their lifestyle once their working years have concluded.

If you’re a senior citizen with quite a bit of debt, one probable source of debt is your home. Having a balance remaining on your home of tens of thousands of dollars (or more) can seriously eat into your retirement budget and lifestyle. Even if you own your home outright, downsizing to a smaller home or apartment could free up a significant amount of cash to put towards paying off other debts.

Consider how much living space you truly need right now and for the next phase of your life. Perhaps extra bedrooms aren’t a necessity now, assuming children are grown and out of the house. If you’re growing tired of lawn and home maintenance as well, downsizing to a smaller place or one that handles those tasks for you may be appealing. You could use the proceeds from selling your larger home to not only put you into a new living arrangement, but also knock out some or all of your debt.

Another form of “downsizing” may be to move in with family members. If an adult child or sibling has the physical space and is willing, sharing a home with that family member could greatly reduce costs for both parties. This may be a temporary option to save money for a year or less, but could even be beneficial for a longer-term solution.

Consider Working Part-Time

While this is certainly not a feasible option for all senior citizens, for those who feel strong and energetic enough, taking on part-time work can be a great way to increase income. There are jobs that can be done from home, freelance consulting jobs, and plenty of other possibilities.

Working full-time is probably not high on your radar, but even a few hours a week could go a long way towards reducing your debts. Plus, a job lends additional purpose and joy to your day-to-day life, particularly if it’s work you enjoy or have always wanted to try.

Credit Card Balance Transfers

One way to reduce your debt payments and consolidate some of your debts is by utilizing credit card balance transfers. Often, card companies make attractive offers of temporary 0% financing, meaning if you transfer some of your debts from a high-interest account to a 0% credit account, you’ll save money in interest charges.

Simply pay that account until the amount is paid in full. If your debt is particularly high, you may need to shift to a different balance transfer offer after the introductory 0% period is over (often 12 or 18 months).

Debt Negotiation

Hiring a professional firm to negotiate your debts may be a useful strategy for senior citizens. This entails negotiating for a settlement amount that would clear your account from all debts, but paying a lower total than you officially owe. Some lenders are willing to accept a fraction of the amount owed in exchange for a guarantee they’ll at least get some of the money back.

Debt Consolidation

Consolidation means to bring together two or more items under one entity. So if you have multiple accounts on which you owe money, it could be beneficial to unify each of those debt totals under one lender. Banks and credit unions can offer consolidation services in order to reduce the amount of interest a borrower has to pay.

Having a high credit score is always an advantage when trying to consolidate your credit. Putting all of your debts into a single loan balance simplifies your repayment process, as you’ll only have to remember one payment each month. In addition, interest rates are often lower for consolidated debts, saving your money on payments and over the long term.

Credit Counseling

Senior citizens can benefit from meeting with a credit counselor who will help them to understand the current state of their finances and what their next steps should be. There are nonprofit credit counseling agencies available to answer questions, offer budgeting assistance, help you figure out financial paperwork, and more.

There is help available for you to better manage your finances. Many credit counselors will even work with you over the phone or online.

Senior Debt Relief Programs

You may wish to look into government-run debt relief programs available to senior citizens. These may be through the state or federal government, intended to assist seniors with financial counseling, debt relief, and other options.

Some programs enable you to apply for debt forgiveness, lower monthly payments, or other strategies to help you manage your bills and debts.

Your AARP chapter can be a useful resource as well as other local organizations in place to assist seniors. Check with them if you need help securing legal advice, managing your budget, and figuring out the best course of action for managing your debts.

Reverse Mortgage

For senior citizens aged 62 or older, one possible — though complicated — means of getting more money in your pocket to pay down debts is the reverse mortgage.

Seniors may take out a reverse mortgage to help cover medical expenses, pay off debt, or make monthly living expenses more manageable. Essentially, a reverse mortgage enables you to convert a portion of the equity in your home into cash. You hold onto the title and occupancy of your home, but you receive payments from that part of the equity.

Reverse mortgages must be paid back upon the sale of the home (or when the last surviving borrower dies or is no longer a resident of the home).

A downside is the potential fees such as closing costs, service fees, and mortgage insurance premiums. Be sure you’re fully aware of all costs involved in a reverse mortgage before signing an agreement.

Another downside is increasing interest over the life of the loan. These interest rates are not necessarily fixed, and if the rates are variable, that means the interest amounts could greatly increase as years pass. In addition, the interest on a reverse mortgage is not tax-deductible.

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) offers similar benefits to a reverse mortgage.

Personal Loan

Another way of freeing up funds to pay off debt is by taking out a personal loan. This is fairly straightforward: you take out a new loan to cover the cost of debt repayments. As long as your personal loan comes with a reasonably lower interest rate than you are currently paying on your debt, you’ll come out ahead.

Just be sure to make the payments on time and in full for the new loan as well. This simplifies your repayment period, as you can take out a single loan and make a single monthly payment that essentially covers all of your previous loan amounts.


Bankruptcy is not something to approach lightly. However, in very extreme cases, you may benefit from liquidating your assets through bankruptcy. It is not a pleasant process and will negatively affect your credit score, but can provide you with somewhat of a “clean slate”.

Do your research carefully and be sure you have exhausted all other options for debt relief before approaching bankruptcy. You’ll need to consult with legal counsel to understand completely which of your debts are impacted by declaring bankruptcy and how that will impact you.

Use Retirement Accounts

Another strategy for consolidating and paying off your debts is to take money out of a retirement account. With this method, you should proceed with great caution, because if you withdraw funds too early from certain accounts, the penalties and taxes can be overly damaging.

Keep in mind that your retirement money is a finite resource, especially if you have completely ceased working at this point. Ideally, you want to conserve as much of those funds as possible until you absolutely need them. However, in some cases it may make sense to pay off debts using retirement money.

Final Credit Consolidation Thoughts

As a senior citizen, you may be considering credit consolidation strategies to help you get out of debt. Be sure to consult with trusted professionals when weighing decisions; these tips will make it easier for you to improve and protect your finances during retirement.

The Balancing Act: How To Get Through Any Credit Check

There are loads of services in today’s world which involve going through credit checks. When you buy a new insurance package, try to get a credit card, and even when you have to change over to a new utilities provider, you will have people snooping around into your financial past. Of course, it makes sense that this has to be done. Without it, there wouldn’t be an easy way for companies to test the means of their applicants, and this has resulted in severe issues around the world in the past. If you can’t get through them, though, you can find yourself in a horrible position.

Credit Check

Avoid Unnecessary checks:

In day to day life, there are a lot of chances to have a check run on your credit, and a lot of people don’t realise that it is happening. When you get a quote for car insurance, for example, this part of your finances will be looked into. Each time this happens, you will lose a small amount of the good points you have. After a lot of searches, this could start to have a dramatic impact on your score, and this is something worth avoiding when you want to go for a bigger financial service in the near future.

Pay Bills On Time:

When you miss a bill payment for something like your electricity or credit card, the companies who provide them to you will let the whole world know. To avoid this impact, it’s a good idea to work hard to keep up with these sorts of payments, especially when you’re living by yourself. It can be hard, but bills are very important, especially when they are used as a metric to decide how good you are with money.

Go With The Right Companies:

While everyone is using credit checks to make sure that customers are reliable, each of the businesses out there will have their own standards for what is acceptable. You can often find this out before you put yourself through a rejection, too. There are loads of sites around the web which are dedicated to helping people to figure out what they might have to go through when they are applying for different types of financial services.

Get Some Help: Of course, if you already have very poor credit, it can be hard to find yourself being accepted for anything on the market. To help you out with this, credit restoration services can give you help and advice to get your money back on track. While it may take some time, going through this process is essential if you want to be able to make a difference with your money, and will be the very best way to get yourself through checks in the future.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on whatever the world’s financial institutions can throw at you. There are loads of companies out there which use credit checks to make sure that their customers are trustworthy, and it can be horrible when no one will accept you because of it.

5 Things To Help You Decide If You Need A Credit Card

Nowadays, people have credit cards for different purposes. Banks and companies offer different types of credit cards with several options that you can choose. So maybe you’re thinking for days of getting one yourself, but you’re torn whether you need it or not. Will it help you with your expenses? Savings? Or will it only bring you stress and problems?

Credit Card Management

To help you decide, here are five things that can help you make a final decision about getting a credit card:

What Is A Credit Card

Don’t confuse yourself with a credit card and debit card being the same. When you use a debit card in spending, it gets your payment from your savings account. But when you’re using a credit card when purchasing, you’re making a loan in the bank which you will pay in the months to come, with or without interest. Depending on what option is offered, you can settle it in full after a month or fulfill the entire bill monthly.  How high the interest depends on how long you pay for it.

What Type Of Credit Card Do You Need

You can select a particular card for what you specifically need. There are credit card tips available for first-time users to guide them on how to look for the right one. You can get a purchase card which is the most straightforward card to have; you primarily use it to go shopping without paying for interest for a certain period or even if you don’t settle your balances in full monthly. If one day, you want to purchase a lot and have the option not to pay it back instantly, this card is what you may want to get. But make sure to pay your bills before the no interest period runs out for the future standard rate will be quite high.

If you want to lessen the interest on your balances, you can use a balance transfer card which gives you the option to transfer your bills to your other credit cards to be able to enjoy a no interest annually. Do take note that transferring your balances can incur certain fees so make sure to work out on how you will wisely transfer your balances.

But if you’ll have credit card balances that came from when you use your card to make some large purchases and want to spread it out to your other cards, you can get a combination of both cards so that you’ll have a no interest rate when you’re making new transactions and transferring your debts. There are other types of cards that you can search for to suit what you need.

Credit Score

To determine your credit score, it depends on five factors; payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, number of accounts you’re using, and new credit. Paying your bills on time is the most significant factor that can give you a good credit score. Next is credit utilization, it is based on how many percents of your credit limit you use in your transactions monthly or annually,  it should always be above 30% of your credit limit if you want to maintain a good credit score.

The duration of when you started to use your credit cards also affect your credit score. It is better if you have accounts that you’re handling for a long time along with your newly opened accounts. The last two factors only affect your score on a small scale.

A good credit score ranges from 700 and above. When you have a good credit score, it gives you the opportunity to loan cash at a lower interest rate. You can also have rewards and promos that you can avail. Make sure to look for credit card tips so you’ll know how to use your card correctly.

Good Read: How to overcome credit card debts

The Rewards

Well, who doesn’t want freebies right? Companies that offer credit cards usually have reward and benefits for their clients when they reach a certain amount to spend or when they have a good credit score. When you use your credit card in purchasing something, the store’s bank pays a certain amount to your credit card bank called interchange fees; this is where your rewards came from. This interchange fee ranges at 2% or more depending on the bank promo.

Credit cards also have seasonal promos where you can get gift certificates to certain malls or stores. And if you’re lucky you can even win the opportunity to travel for free.

Good read: Tips to benefit from credit card reward points

Fee Charges

If there are rewards that come into using a credit card, for sure every card also comes with its fees. Make sure to ask if they include these fees into the credit card you’re getting.  First is the annual fee, this type of fee is charged to rewards cards that are of high-value or cardholders that have low credit scores. The amount of annual fee that you need to pay once a year depends on what class of card you have, or you can wave to pay the yearly fee if you are actively using your card.

Next is the late payment fee. You are charged with this fee if you are unable to make your payments on or before its due date. If you’re able to pay up to the minimum amount, you will not be paying for the late payment fee, but your remaining balance will incur a particular interest. So make sure always to pay full of what is indicated in your billing statement before the due date to avoid the late payment fee. There is also an over-the-limit fee, which incurs if you spend too much that it exceeds your credit limit. To avoid having this fee you may choose to have your credit card designed to be rejected if you already reached your limit.

Lastly, if you occasionally buy stuff from overseas using your credit card, there are specific charges called foreign transaction fees that you need to pay as an additional charge which can be up to 4% of what you bought. But if you frequently purchase stuff abroad, you can select a credit card that doesn’t have foreign transaction fees.

Having a credit card can be useful in so many ways if you’ll know how to use it properly.

Understanding the Elements of an Overall Credit Card Processing Fee

As the holiday season comes into full prime, educate yourself on what is happening every time your credit card gets swiped.

Credit card processing is a crucial consideration for many businesses. With this borne in mind, it is necessary for a business (and consumers) to understand fully the charges associated with credit card processing.

Guide to Credit Card Processing Fees

Three basic components are associated with the overall costs of credit card processing. The components of the overall free include the free paid to the bank that initially issued the customer’s credit cards, a fee paid to the card brand itself and a fee to the company that actually facilitates the processing of a particular charge. These fees vary in amount by financial institution.

The fee paid to the issuing financial institution is called the interchange fee. It is calculated using a percentage of the total transaction plus an additional nominal charge.

The fee assessed by the credit card brand also typically includes a percentage and a flat fee. However, in the case of Visa, that brand also charges a merchant an additional monthly fee.

Finally, the processing fee itself is a set amount for each transaction. Keep in mind that the processing fee is the only component of the overall costs associated with credit card transaction processing that is open to negotiation. The interchange and brand fees are set and cannot be changed.

Moving forward, this information should help you understand where the money is coming derived from credit card processing fees.