Credit 
14
comments

Best Zero Percent Balance Transfers (Updated May 2011)

As the economy improves, I expect to see a lot more activity in the balance transfer space. For the moment, there hasn’t been much change from April to May. Citi ended the Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard’s promotion they launched last month (0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months and 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months) but extended the limited time offer that included $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This matches compares very favorably to the Chase Freedom offer, which offers the same bonus and similar introductory periods.

Here are this month’s best 0% balance transfer offers:

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 Credit 
23
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How to Analyze Credit Cards Reward Programs

Credit card companies are always competing for “share of wallet,” that is a piece of your spending pie. They will offer new account bonuses to entice you to sign up. They will give you reward points of cashback to entice you to keep using their card. They’ll throw out low introductory interest rates to make spending your money a little easier.

As consumers, you might think it’s easy to compare offers. If someone offers you 1% and someone offers 2%, the 2% is better right? Not necessarily. In the world of reward programs there are two sides – the earning of points and the spending of points. It’s very easy to only focus on the earning of points and assume that spending it will be easy. As some travel credit card holders have quickly learned, sometimes spending it isn’t as easy as it seems.

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 Credit 
13
comments

Credit Cards with Concierge Service

How would you like a personal assistant for free?

Lost? Can’t figure out your GPS? Don’t have a GPS? Ring up your credit card’s concierge service and ask!

Need tickets to a show? What about tickets to another country? Both are within a credit card concierge service’s wheelhouse and booking both are complimentary (the cost of the tickets aren’t, but the service is free and you can’t even tip them if you wanted to).

Concierge service used to be the exclusive benefits of those carrying American Express’ Centurion Card (yep, the black one made of the pulverized bones Spanish privateers), but today you can find it as a benefit of a lot of cards you wouldn’t expect.

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 Credit 
13
comments

Low Interest Credit Cards

Binder Clip WalletWhile I’ve never carried a balance on my credit card before, making sure the card offered a low interest rate was always important to me. While I never intend to carry a credit card balance, I’m also a realist. I recognize that sometimes you can’t control what you can or cannot do. Things get out of your control and during those times it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared. Should you ever need to carry a credit card balance, it’s important to make sure that the cards you choose offer a lower interest rate. When I analyze credit cards, I usually look at the rewards program first, then any special offers, followed by the interest rate.

I separate the list into two camps – those who are currently battling debt and those who are like me, looking with a more preventative eye. I’ve listed those cards that are strongest for credit card debt warriors first. All the cards are suitable for those in debt, but the Citi Platinum Select and PenFed Visa Promise cards are likely best. The Discover® More and Chase Freedom, the third and fourth card listed, are better for those without debt since they offer rewards but slightly less attractive APRs for existing debt.

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 Credit 
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comments

Chase Freedom(SM) Credit Card: $50 Cash Bonus

This promotion has ended.

The Chase Freedom(SM) card was very popular about a year or two ago because if offered a cash back bonus after your first purchase and a very generous cash back rewards structure. In the last year, with the credit crisis and the tightening of credit, the card has gone through a few changes but still remains a very competitive cash back credit card.

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 Personal Finance 
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How To Get A Low Interest Rate APR on Credit Card Debt

List of Credit Card Debt I’ve been getting a lot of stories of people struggling to get out of debt because of the recent How to Fight a Debt Collector series. They haven’t reached the point of fighting debt collectors yet and they want to keep it that way. As much as others like to malign those deep in debt, the vast majority of debtors want to make good on what they owe.

If you’re in heavy credit card debt, the first thing you need to do is take stock of your financial situation and stop spending. You need to get yourself on a budget and stop the bleeding. Once you get that under control, the next step is to restructure your debts so you can make up lost ground. That’s where this post comes in.

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 Credit 
23
comments

Chase Blueprint Payment Program Review

If you’ve been watching any TV, visiting any financially focused website, or have opened a financial magazine or newspaper, you’ve probably seen a Chase ad and information about their “Blueprint” program. They’ve done a huge media push over a program that, while a little innovative, only helps people who are carrying a balance. With the average credit card debt, it’s refreshing to see a credit card company offer up tools to help people pay down debt.

I think there are two reasons they’ve pushed these features out. First, it’s great PR to have a credit card company offer features that help people pay down debt. Second, it’s great business to have a credit card company offer features that help people pay down debt because it means they are less likely to default on it! I read the August 2009 Nilson Report, a credit card industry trade magazine, and it listed Chase has having the most outstanding debt at nearly $166 billion. A good customer is a paying customer, not a bankrupt one.

The Blueprint program has four components: Full Pay, Split It, Finish It, and Track It.
Chase Blueprint Program components
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 Credit 
17
comments

Best Cash Back Reward Credit Cards

I’m often emailed by readers to list what I feel are the best reward credit cards currently available. I personally think that “best” is such a subjective term, the best set of reward credit cards really depends on your spending profile. If you spend a lot in a particular category, you’ll want to get the best card for that category and make sure it has a place in your wallet. If you don’t know what you spend a lot on, you might as well save yourself the hassle and get one that works in all scenarios.

The best cash back credit card is the one that maximizes your reward earnings and converts those rewards into cash or products that you would buy at a favorable exchange rate. Many cards offer high reward points on the front end and then effectively reduce your rewards by converting them at a horrible exchange rate when you redeem them. It’s important to look at both sides of the equation.

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