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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 Personal Finance 
12
comments

Opt Out of Credit Card Internal Marketing

Junk mail only!We recently received a new Privacy Notice from Citi for 2009, which looked a lot like this online form, and never really appreciated how marketing happens behind the scenes. I implicitly understood that there was some marketing involved but when it’s all spelled out in a privacy document it can be a little disconcerting because the document pretty much covers every potential type of marketing, not the ones they actually do.

For example, they talk about sharing information with other companies in the Citigroup family thought I’ve never received a solicitation from another company at Citi. They also talk about third party nonaffiliated companies, but I’ve also never received anything there (probably because I opt out of junk mail as part of our do it yourself identity theft protection)

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 Personal Finance 
6
comments

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 
16
comments

Discover Card Rewards Catalog

Discover Card Network LogoToday we’ll be taking a look at the Discover Card rewards catalog, the final in our series of reward catalog reviews. The reason I kept Discover for last was because it’s less widely accepted and because their rewards catalog is very simple. Until taking a look today, I didn’t even know they had a rewards catalog because I always converted my cash back rewards into statement credits. When Citi converts points into cash at 0.69¢ and American Express does it at 0.60¢, I’ll take the full value 1¢ every single day.

However, there are instances where you may not want cash.

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 Credit 
39
comments

Citi ThankYou Network Rewards Review

CitibankToday we’ll take a look at the ThankYou Network, the rewards network for Citi credit cards, as part of my series on reviewing credit card reward networks. As is the case with every credit card rewards catalog, the points to dollar ratio changes with the things you redeem. This review will give you a better understanding of the catalog, how to find the best deals, what the best item is, and help you decide whether this rewards program is right for you.

ThankYou Network

The ThankYou Network is probably one of the most extensive rewards catalogs available, as it includes all the standard stuff like gift cards and statemetn credits, plus it adds in thousands of products. If you had enough points, you have over three hundred laptops to choose from! They have outdoor equipment, automotive supplies, home goods, music downloads, and basically anything and everything you could imagine. If you are green, you can even participate in American Forests’ “Plant a Tree program” at the cost of 4,800 points per twenty-five trees.

So let’s take a look at the program, see where the value is and where the fluff is, and try to find out if it’s a good program or not.

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 Credit 
17
comments

Happiest Credit Cards

Liz Pulliam Weston recently published an article summarizing and analyzing J.D. Power and Associates 2008 survey of credit card user happiness. They surveyed 8,000 users on five factors: interaction with the company, billing and payment processes, fees and rates, reward programs, and benefits and services.

I was a little surprised to see that the highest score was 783 out of 1,000 for American Express, with Discover taking second with 751. Everyone else surveyed scored less than the industry average of 724!

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 Credit 
12
comments

How to Minimize the Impact of Canceling A Credit Card

Credit cards with bullet holesWith the passing of the CARD Act, credit card companies have been responding by instituting purchase-based annual fees. Before the CARD Act, many issuers were trimming their books of inactive, low-activity, and risky credit card accounts. You may remember American Express offering cardholders a financial incentive to close accounts.

In this environment, there may come a time when you will want to cancel a credit card. A few years ago, canceling a credit card was easy. You called them and told them you wanted to cancel, they try to keep you around, you did that dance, and then diced up your card. Nowadays, you go through the same charade, but now you have to be worried about how the cancellation would impact your credit score! Boo!

So here are some tips on minimizing the impact of canceling any one credit card.

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 Banking 
32
comments

Bank CD Rates

How much money do you have sitting in a savings account? $500? $1,000?

Do you have plans for that money? If not, it should be in a certificate of deposit at your bank. If your bank doesn’t offer good CD rates, then you should open a CD with an online bank and take advantage of their better interest rates. If you don’t think you have enough money, you’re wrong. You can open a CD at an online bank with a single dollar.

One dollar.

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