How Many Credit Cards Should I Have

December 11, 2019 by  
Filed under Credit card

How many credit cards should I have? If you ask this question to financial advisors, most of them will say that the definitive answer boils down to key factors such as your lifestyle, spending habits and above all, the level of your financial discipline and savviness.

For most consumers who have a decent level of financial literacy, carrying 2-3 credit cards is often considered reasonable. But, if you’re someone who is drowning in debt or living paycheck to paycheck, zero would be the ideal number until you’re able to get out of that financial rut.

Beginners' Guide to Credit Cards

Young adults who are starting their career often ask themselves this question:   “How many credit cards should I have?” The same might also be true for someone who has just recently emerged from bankruptcy or any other money-related conundrums.

In a nutshell, a credit card is a line of credit that can be used continuously as long as you pay off its balance. Aside from being a convenient way to pay for items and services, it can also serve as a potent tool to build good credit, provided that you use it responsibly.

As with any line of credit, credit cards also come with some caveats and terms and conditions, which include rewards, late payment fees, benefit restrictions, and annual fees.

CHOOSING THE “RIGHT” CREDIT CARDS

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image source: pixabay.com

Credit cards are not created equal. Some can help you build good credit, earn rewards, and enjoy VIP services while others can help you get out of debt easier. A good rule of thumb is to decide what your goals are with this line of credit before you shop around and compare cards from multiple issuers.

If you feel that credit cards are convenient for grocery shopping, choose cards that offer cash back or points. Some come with big sign-up bonuses that may range from $100 to $1,000.

But, if you’re someone who spends a lot of time flying, it makes more sense to choose a credit card that is co-branded with airlines and hotels and thus provides you extra points or loyalty miles. Some cards even offer credits for travel spending and/or VIP access to airport lounges.

Simply put, the “best” credit cards should offer benefits, protections, convenience, and rewards based on your lifestyle.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

"How many credit cards should I have?" This is still a good question, but you first must understand the importance of credit and the privilege it is to have it. Credit cards are not free money. Some financial gurus suggest that using them is like borrowing from your future self.

Nonetheless, surveys have shown that consumers tend to spend more with “plastic.” It's as if the card does not represent actual money and the expenditure is somewhat “concealed” for almost a month. Cash payment, meanwhile, seems more tangible because this piece of paper has an attached value to it. Furthermore, when people spend it on things they seem to “process” it more as they see it disappear from their wallet.

To avoid piling on debt, always practice self-control with your spending. To do this, you must treat credit cards more like debit cards that are attached to your bank account and thus need to be paid off regularly.

There are two basic ways to avoid “abusing” your credit cards:

  1. 1
    Do not buy items that have no real value to you, i.e., it does not improve your life.
  2. 2
    Opt for automatic payments so you can always pay on time.

Tips for Maintaining a Good Credit Score

Here is la ist of ways to maintain a good credit score with your credit cards:

  • Pay Your Bills on Time

    One of the sacrosanct rules to maintain a good credit score is to pay your bills on time and that includes your credit cards, loans, and other lines of credit. If you fall behind on your payment, it not only tarnishes your credit, but you’re also slapped with penalty fees and accruing interests. To reiterate, automatic payments can help you pay off your balance on time which, in turn, protects your credit score and prevents you from taking on penalty fees and accruing interest.

  • Maintain a Low Credit Card Balance

    Even if you carry multiple cards with high-credit limits, it remains prudent to keep your balance at least within 30 percent of your combined credit limits to maintain a good credit score. Doing so not only demonstrates your financial discipline, but it may also preclude you from overspending. Take note that the level of your debt has a significant impact on your credit score.

  • Limit Your Applications for New Credit Cards

    Avoid applying for multiple cards in a short period of time as doing so can lower your credit score. This is particularly true if you’re not sure if you have a good chance of being approved. Furthermore, opening a new credit account can slightly lower your average credit age---at least temporarily.

  • Don’t Close Old Credit Cards Unless You Have Valid Reasons

    The only time to close a credit card is when you feel you have trouble managing multiple cards and/or you don’t get enough value from them. Consequently, most prudent consumers are often advised to carry not more than 2-3 credit cards.When you close a card, its issuer stops sending updates to the credit bureaus, which can shorten your credit age, lessen the information in your credit history and inevitably cause your credit score to drop. If your main concern is the annual fee, instead of closing your credit card, ask your issuer if they could waive it or at least lower it. Most banks are willing to make some “reasonable” compromises just to keep doing business with you.

  • Review Your Credit Reports

    Always make it a habit to review your credit reports as errors, identity theft, and credit card fraud can lead to a drop in your credit score and inaccurate information. A good rule of thumb is to check your record a few times a year in order to detect these mistakes.

How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?

credit card in the pocket

image source: pexels.com

As long as you’re responsible with your line of credit, the number of cards does not really matter. In a nutshell, each of them should provide tangible benefits such as bonus points, travel perks, discounts, VIP access, and large sign-up bonuses, just to name a few.

To further delve into the question of “how many credit cards should I have,” take into consideration the following factors mentioned below:

  • Convenience

    Question:  "How many credit cards should I have for shopping or travel?" Carrying at least two credit cards makes sense for most people, particularly those who use this line of credit in grocery shopping and purchasing items. After all, retailers do not always accept every type of card. Moreover, if you spend a lot of time traveling abroad, the use of credit cards is a convenient way to make a purchase.

  • Rewards and Benefits

    If you carry multiple credit cards---provided that their number remains “manageable,” you can enjoy more rewards and benefits usually in the form of cash back or points, extra loyalty miles (for frequent travelers), airport lounge access, hotel discounts, roadside services, and travel and shopping protection.

  • Save Money

    Some credit cards have features that allow you to save money, manage your finances more efficiently, or even help you eliminate your mounting debt. For instance, balance transfer credit cards allow you to move a balance away from a high APR card to a low or even zero percent APR card. If you’re a constant traveler, look for credit cards that come with no foreign transaction fee.

Meanwhile, carrying a manageable number of credit cards can help you decrease your credit utilization ratio, improve or rebuild your credit, and save money, especially if they come with zero percent introductory APR.

​Signs you have too many credit cards

Even a single credit card is too much for someone who lacks financial discipline and doesn’t take time to understand how this line of credit works. This could also spell disaster when used by impulsive shoppers who may find themselves drowning in debt. If you constantly miss payments or even struggle to pay off the balance every month or you lose track of which ones should be utilized for a certain type of spending, you may have too many credit cards or you simply have a knack for sabotaging your finances.

Conclusion

Woman holding a credit card while using a laptop

image source: pexels.com

If you find yourself asking, “how many credit cards should I have,” take note that it all boils down to convenience, or to be more precise, your financial standing, lifestyle, level of debt and goals, just to name a few. Many experts suggest that it makes sense to carry a separate credit card for each “purpose.” Do you need a “plastic” for your regular grocery shopping? Or, do you need a travel credit card because of your work?

Regardless of the number of credit cards, the key is to use them sensibly. Hence, the right number of cards should give you convenience, allow you to save money or tackle your debt and enjoy rewards and benefits.

Amazon Credit Card Review

August 2, 2019 by  
Filed under Credit card, Resources

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Image from Amazon

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card provides you with 5% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market purchases; It offers 2% back from purchases at restaurants, gas stations, and drug stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You can redeem your rewards easily for millions of items on Amazon.com. Further, you have access to travel baggage delay insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, no foreign transaction fees, and other perks. Also, the Amazon credit card offers protections for roadside mishaps. It also offers room upgrades and exclusive benefits.

In this review, we will cover the details of the Amazon credit card, review its pros and cons, and then compare it to similar products on the market for a comprehensive overview. We hope that this article provides you with more information and aids in your new creditcard search.

What Is the Amazon Credit Card?

With the Amazon credit card, you can keep your Amazon card in your wallet to use in stores, and you can keep your card synced with your Amazon Prime membership online and use your card to pay for Amazon.com purchases. If you have an eligible Prime membership, you can earn 5% back at Amazon.com with the Amazon credit card. If you do not have a Prime membership, you can still earn 3% back with purchases at Amazon.com. Further, upon approval of an Amazon credit card, you receive an instant $70 Amazon.com gift card.

Product Specs

While you can gain the most rewards by purchasing items on Amazon.com, you can earn rewards anywhere you shop with the Amazon credit card. One of the greatest card perks is the travel benefits. When you use your Amazon credit card on international trips, you receive lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, travel accident insurance, travel and emergency assistance, and no foreign transaction fees. Further, when traveling via car, you receive purchase protection, extended warranty protection, auto rental collision damage waiver, and roadside dispatch.

Also, if you stay in the Visa Signature Hotel Collection, you can receive room upgrades and VIP guest status. You receive complimentary Visa Signature Concierge service 24/7 to help you plan and book.

Pricing

There is no annual fee to use the Amazon credit card. As mentioned above, there are also no foreign transaction fees.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare to the Amazon credit card:

Amazon Credit Card

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PRICE

There is no annual membership fee for the Amazon credit card. However, to gain the most rewards and 5% back on Amazon.com purchases, you have to be a Prime member, which requires a $119 membership fee per year.

APPLICATION PROCESS

When you submit an application for an Amazon credit card, your application is processed through Chase Bank. If your application is instantly approved by Chase, you will be taken to the Cardmember Agreement page with terms and agreements to review before using your new card. If your application is not instantly approved, you will be informed about your status after Chase has completed their review process, which takes an average of two to four weeks after applying.

INTRODUCTORY PERIOD

There is no introductory APR period, and it is consistently 15.24-23.24%. However, when you are approved for the Amazon credit card, you receive a $70 Amazon.com gift card to use online. 

BALANCE TRANSFER

The Amazon credit card has a balance transfer fee of 5%, with a $5 minimum. 

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Many customers have reported negative experiences with customer service for the Amazon credit card.

Pros

  • 5% cash back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market purchases under Prime membership
  • 2% cash back on gas, restaurants, and drug stores
  • Great travel perks, with lost luggage reimbursement, no foreign transaction fees, plus more

Cons

  • Cannot transfer reward points to other accounts
  • No introductory APR period
  • No annual bonuses

American Express Everyday Card

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With the American Express credit card, you receive 3% cash back at US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year on purchases, 2% cash back at US gas stations and some department stores, and 1% cash back on other purchases. Further, you receive a $150 statement credit after spending an initial $1,000 within the first three months. There is no annual fee, and there is a 15-month introductory APR period. You can redeem cash back or statement credits, gifts cards, and various merchandise.

PRICE

The American Express credit card has no annual fee, so it is an inexpensive credit card option.

APPLICATION PROCESS

In order to apply and be approved for an American Express credit card, you should have an average credit score at a minimum. The application process takes five to ten minutes to complete. After submitting your application, you will receive a message on your computer screen indicating that you have successfully submitted the application. Then, you will receive an acknowledgment email from American Express within one working day along with next steps.

INTRODUCTORY PERIOD

The American Express credit card has an introductory period of 15 months with 0% purchase APR. Also, there is a 15-month 0% introductory period on balance transfers. There is also a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases with your new card within the first three months of opening an account.

BALANCE TRANSFER

As mentioned in the introductory period section above, there is a 0% charge on balance transfers during the first 15 months. After the introductory period, the American Express credit card has a regular APR of 14.99% to 25.99%. 

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Many customers have reported poor customer service from American Express employees. Many people rate the assistance with this card as “bad.” 

Pros

  • 15 month 0% APR period for purchases and balance transfers
  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 during the first three months
  • 3% cash back at US supermarkets and 2% cash back at gas stations and some department stores

Cons

  • $6,000 maximum for 3% cash back at US supermarkets (followed by 1% cash back)
  • Many customers reported a poor experience with customer service
  • American Express not widely accepted by all retailers

The Platinum Card by American Express

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The Platinum Card from American Express is an excellent travel card for those always on the go. You can earn five times the points on booked flights or with American Express Travel, five times the points on prepaid hotels (hotels booked and paid in advance) via amextravel.com, and you can earn points for each dollar spent on eligible purchases. Furthermore, you can earn 60,000 reward points when you use your new card on $5,000 in purchases after your first three months.

With the Platinum card, you can enjoy complimentary benefits, such as $15 in Uber credits for US rides every month plus a $20 bonus in December. Further, you can enjoy complimentary, unlimited Wi-Fi access with the Boingo American Express Preferred plan on up to four devices. Additionally, you receive hotel benefits of $550 at more than 1,000 fine hotels and resorts when you book through Fine Hotels & Resorts Program, including room upgrades upon arrival, daily breakfast for two, guaranteed 4 pm late check-out, noon check-in when available, complimentary Wi-Fi, and unique amenities valued at $100 USD, such as spa or food and beverage credit.

PRICE

This a more expensive card option with excellent perks for frequent travelers. There is an annual fee of $550 for card users. 

APPLICATION PROCESS

The American Express Platinum card is one of the best travel cards, with its 60,000-point welcome bonus, purchase rewards, and annual travel credits, so it has pretty strict requirements. You need to have a credit score above 700, and you need to make sure that you do not open too many new accounts at once, which can jeopardize your approval chances. If you are concerned about your credit score, you should consider getting another American Express credit card first, which allows you to establish a relationship with American Express before applying.

You should be 21 years of age or older to apply as your chances will be a lot higher. We have rated this process as two out of five stars for its more difficult and competitive process.

INTRODUCTORY PERIOD

This is a charge card, which means thatthe balance should be paid every month. There is no introductory APR period as there is no APR on this card. However, you can opt to pay over time as well. As an introductory bonus upon using your card, you can earn 60,000 reward points when you spend $5,000 during your first three months.

BALANCE TRANSFER

This card does not have an option for balance transfers as it is a charge card and not a credit card.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

With the American Express Platinum card, you can rely on 24/7 medical, legal, financial, and other select emergency coordination and assistance services when traveling more than 100 miles from home via Premium’s Global Assist hotline. They can direct you to English-speaking medical and legal professionals and arrange for transfer to a medical facility. Premium Global Assist can also help with prescription replacements, emergency hotel check-ins, cash wires, missing luggage, lost or stolen passports, and more.

Premium offers roadside assistance 24/7, including emergency towing up to 10 miles, changing a flat, or jumpstarting a battery (even in the driveway). They will pay for included services up to four times a year.

Pros

  • 24/7 medical, legal, financial, and other emergency coordination and assistance services
  • Enjoy complimentary access to 1100 airport lounges across 120 countries
  • 60,000 bonus points during the introductory period

Cons

  • Expensive annual fee
  • Charge card, not a credit card, which means that you should pay your entire balance every month
  • Not all airport lounges participate

Alaska USA

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The Alaska USA Visa card is offered by Federal Credit Union and offers reward points for every dollar spent, which can be redeemed for travel and merchandise. There is no annual fee for Alaska USA checking account holders. There is a low, fixed APR rate of 10.5% with no penalty rates, and there are no foreign transaction fees. Points are redeemable for virtually any airline, hotel, cruise, or name-brand merchandise. Extra travel benefits include rental car insurance, lost luggage insurance, travel emergency assistance, and travel accident insurance.

PRICE

There is no annual fee for this card if you are an Alaska USA checking account holder. However, if you do not have an Alaska USA account, there is a $50 annual membership fee.

APPLICATION PROCESS

You can become a member of Alaska USA Federal Credit Union if you are affiliated with a company, organization, or community that has requested that Alaska USA serve their members or employees. You can typically qualify if you are related to someone who is qualified to join, such as someone that lives or works in Alaska, Washington, California, or Arizona.

INTRODUCTORY PERIOD

There is an introductory 1.9% APR period on purchases made through January 31, 2019. After January 31, 2019, APR for purchases increases to 10.5%, 12.5%, or 14.5%. There are no bonus points during this introductory period. 

BALANCE TRANSFER

Balance transfers incur an APR of 1.5%, 12.5%, or 14.5%.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Many customers have reported poor customer service, assistance, and flexibility. 

Pros

  • Low purchase interest rate
  • Flexible flight rewards
  • Enhanced travel rewards

Cons

  • $50 annual fee if you are not a checking account holder within Federal Credit Union
  • Must be a member of Alaska USA credit union to apply
  • No introductory bonus reward

Conclusion

The type of card that you choose depends on your priorities and your spending habits. If you frequently shop on Amazon and want to redeem your rewards for Amazon purchases, we recommend the Amazon credit card. We have rated it a total of four out of five stars for its 5% cash back on Amazon.com purchases and Whole Foods Market purchases, along with its $0 annual fee. However, you gain the most rewards by being a Prime member, which does incur an annual fee.

In comparison, we recommend the American Express card for its broad range of reward opportunities and ways to redeem, as well as its $150 introductory bonus. If you are a frequent traveler that wants a lot of perks, we recommend the American Express Platinum charge card. You should be cognizant of its high annual fee and that it is not a credit card. Finally, you can check out the Alaska USA card if you live within its membership range and want travel benefits. We hope that the card you choose gives you the most rewards for your spending habits. Happy shopping!

How To Get A Loan With Bad Credit

July 31, 2019 by  
Filed under Credit card

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bad credit word in a scrabble against red background

image via: flickr.com

Do you often ask yourself how to get a loan with bad credit? If you’re a cash-strapped consumer who is also drowning in debt, you may have researched this question in an attempt to find a solution to your financial quagmire.

While it is generally trickier to get a loan if you have bad credit, there are still ways you can access external funding, some of which may even come with reasonable interest rates. Nonetheless, you have to accept that borrowers with low credit scores have limited options and pay higher interest rates than consumers with higher scores on their credit record. Regardless, learning how to get a loan with bad credit is something you might benefit from.

What Is Bad Credit?

Before we delve into the question of how to get a loan with bad credit, we must first help you understand what separates a bad credit score from a good one.

Any institution that lends money (such as credit card issuers, banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders, and credit unions, just to name a few) use credit scores to assess one’s likelihood to pay off his loan. The scores typically range from 300 to 850; the higher the number, the more likely you are to repay your financial obligation.

While “good” and “bad” credit scores may vary between credit reporting agencies and lenders, most of them will stay away from consumers with a score under 650, or at least proceed with caution when lending them money. Notwithstanding, some institutions target borrowers with a sub-650 score, although they generally stipulate higher interest rates and/or use of collateral to secure a loan.

Oftentimes, a fair credit score is something that falls between 630 and 689. As of this writing, the average score for US consumers is 700, which is an 11-point increase over the last decade.

To further give you an idea, here are the most accepted descriptions of credit score ranges:

  • 760-850: Excellent
  • 700-759: Satisfactory
  • 660-699: Fair
  • 620-659: Poor
  • Sub-620: Bad

While each credit bureau, which is also referred to as a credit reporting agency, has its own formula to calculate your credit score; they all factor in the following variables:

  • Payment history
  • Length of credit history
  • Credit usage or percentage of your credit relative to your credit limit
  • Credit mix and types
  • Recent credit

Knowing the factors that affect your credit score is the first step to improve your credit standing and ultimately make you appear a creditworthy borrower from the traditional lender’s standpoint.

How Bad Credit Scores Affect Borrowing

While it is true that a bad credit score limits your borrowing options, it shouldn’t stop you from considering taking out a personal loan. In fact, some lenders target borrowers whose scores are lower than 650, although these are enough to spook traditional financial institutions such as banks.

Aside from limited borrowing options, another caveat of having a less-than-stellar credit score is that you’re often subjected to higher interest rates. After all, lenders desire stability, meaning you should be able to demonstrate your ability to pay off your debt on time and in full. As a way to compensate for the risk that comes with lending funds to a borrower with a poor credit score, they almost always stipulate higher interest rates.

Despite your limited borrowing options, avoid payday loans and auto title loans at all costs because of their short terms, high fees, and high interest rates, which can all lead to a bigger financial disaster.

A good rule of thumb is to stay away from external funding that involves extremely short-term loans, steep originating fees, and other costs, and unreasonably high interest rates.  

Because poor credit scores are often penalized with higher interest rates, you may want to consider secured loans, which offer some advantages over unsecured loans. These general rules are where you need to begin to learn about how to get a loan with bad credit.

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Secured vs Unsecured Loans

Whether you choose a secured or unsecured loan, you may want to consider an external funding source that allows a co-signer with a healthy credit. This “arrangement” can help you secure a loan that comes with a lower interest rate, although bear in mind that both of you are equally responsible for repayment.

With a qualified co-signer, the terms of the loan are based on his or her credit score and all the payment information will be put on our credit report and your co-signer’s report as well. Thus, if you are late on payments, or worse, default on your loan, you both face the consequences.

SECURED LOANS

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A secured loan entails that you borrow against an asset, such as your house, car, boat, savings, or stocks. One of its selling points is the lower interest rate because the lenders feel that there is less risk as they can repossess the collateral in the event that you are unable to pay off the loan.

In addition, it is easier to obtain secured loans compared to unsecured loans. Of course, secured loans come with a risk, and that is you can lose your asset if you don’t repay the loan as agreed.

UNSECURED LOANS

Unsecured loans for consumers with bad credit are available and generally, come with steep interest rates due to the perceived increased risk of default. Furthermore, they are more difficult to obtain since lenders generally want their borrowers to exhibit a good level of financial stability.

How To Get A Loan With Bad Credit

The list below is a step-by-step guide on how to get a loan with bad credit.

REVIEW YOUR CREDIT REPORT

Always make it a habit to check your credit reports several times a year because they contain information that determines your credit scores. Should you find any error, immediately notify the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian) about it.

Your credit scores, along with your debt-to-income ratio, employment history, and other factors, have a large impact on your approval odds for a loan and its repayment terms and interest rates.

TACKLE THE OBVIOUS PROBLEMS

Poor credit scores are primarily caused by lagging behind in your payments, maxing out your lines of credit, opening too many credit accounts in a short period of time, and closing multiple accounts.

The list below explains the surefire ways to improve your credit health:

  • Always pay on time, even if just the minimum amount
  • Don’t go beyond 30 percent of the credit limit
  • Keep old accounts to increase credit history
  • Avoid closing credit accounts unless in special situations
  • Don’t open or apply for new credit accounts in a short period of time
  • Only apply for a new line of credit when you need one

COMPARE MULTIPLE LENDERS

One of the most common and biggest mistakes of borrowers with bad credit is their tendency to accept the first loan they are approved for. A good rule of thumb is to shop around with multiple lenders to find a new line of credit with the most affordable interest rate and most reasonable loan terms.

You can shop around for loans by visiting your local banks and credit unions or by using rate comparison websites.

SCHEDULE AN IN-PERSON INTERVIEW WITH A LOAN OFFICER

If you have been repeatedly turned down because of your bad credit, you may want to ask for an in-person interview with a loan officer from a bank or credit union. Just make sure you can demonstrate your creditworthiness.

A good rule of thumb is to prepare all the documents suggesting that you’re a good risk. Common examples include your pay slip, job history, a list of assets (home, car, stocks, etc.), tax returns in the past two years, bank statements showing savings and checking accounts, and a list of unsecured debts like medical bills and credit cards.

In addition, know everything about your credit history, including any lawsuits and previous foreclosure or a bankruptcy. Make sure to answer your loan officer’s questions truthfully.

Tips And Traps

When taking on any loan, always practice due diligence. This is particularly more important for someone with bad credit due to the proliferation of loan sharks that take advantage of cash-strapped consumers. The general rule of thumb is to avoid any lender that doesn’t require a credit and personal background check (they don’t care about your employment history, salary, or assets, among other things).

Another red-flag you should know is that if a lender that asks you to make an upfront payment—usually by wire transfer—arguing that it would be used to initiate the paperwork process, they are nothing more than a scammer. The same is true for any company that asks for your bank account number or social security details without presenting you with written documentation about the loan first.

Lastly, only choose a lender that is licensed to operate in your state.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to get a loan with bad credit, you’ll realize that despite your limited borrowing options, you’re not always stuck with loan terms with steep interest rates and originating fees, an extremely short repayment term, and other factors that could further compromise your financial stability.

The first and most critical step is to familiarize yourself with your credit score and the factors that are used to calculate it. Only then can you improve your credit health by making timely payments, applying and opening a new line of credit only when you need it, and maintaining a low utilization ratio.

Lowes Credit Card Review

July 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Credit card, Resources

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the Lowes Credit Card

The Lowes credit card will give you a variety of rewards for in-store purchases. You can earn 5% cash back on Lowe’s purchases, or you can choose to receive a 5% discount on your total Lowe’s purchase. While it has a high APR of 26.99%, you can choose special financing for a purchase of $299 or more for a six-month 0% APR financing. Further, you receive a special onetime bonus of $30 on your first in-store card purchase when you open an account.

In this review, we will discuss the details of the Lowes credit card and consider its pros and cons. To further the review, we will compare it to similar cards on the market and give it an overall rating at the end of this article.

What Is the Lowes Credit Card?

The Lowes credit card is only accepted at Lowe’s physical stores or at Lowes.com. If you find yourself regularly making a run to Lowe’s for various DIY projects or construction jobs, there are definite benefits to using this card. The primary benefit of this card is the option to accept the immediate 5% discount upon purchasing items in store or online. If you choose to opt for deferred-interest financing for purchases of $299 or more, you should not opt for the 5% discount upon purchase, as you can only choose one or the other.

Lowes Credit Card Specs

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As mentioned above, you can opt for rewards in a few ways: you can earn 5% cash back on Lowe’s purchases, you can opt for a 5% discount upon checkout, or you can opt for financing options for purchases of $299 or more. The main downside to this card is the high APR of 26.99%. This is not a card on which you want to keep a balance, but if you plan to pay off the balance quickly, then it definitely has great rewards.

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Image source: Pixabay.com

There are no annual fees for this card, but interest can rack up quickly if you keep an outstanding balance on this card. You can opt for special financing with no interest so that is a solid option for bigger purchases that you cannot pay off immediately.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare to the Lowes credit card.

PREVIEW

CARD

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citi credit card - double cash

CITI DOUBLE CASH CARD

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CHASE FREEDOM UNLIMITED

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CAPITAL ONE VENTURE REWARDS CREDIT CARD

Lowes Credit Card

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PRICE

The Lowes credit card has no annual fees.

EASE OF USE

The Lowes credit card is easy to use and very straightforward in its benefits. It is a simple card for Lowe’s fans as you can only use it in Lowe’s stores or online on Lowes.com purchases. The benefits are limited and simple: you can either accept a 5% discount upon checkout or 5% cash back on your purchases. You can also opt for special financing over a variety of time periods. We have rated this section as four out of five stars for its simplicity. This is not a general card for all purchases, but it is a great option for big Lowe’s shoppers.

APPROVAL AND APPLICATION

The Lowes credit card is supposedly one of harder cards to obtain. You should have “fair” credit or higher with a credit score of 620 or more. You can submit an application for a Lowes credit card online or in-store, but you should sign up in store to gain the onetime sign-up offer of $30 on your first in-store card purchase. We have rated this as four out of five stars.

DESIGN QUALITY

The design quality of this card depends on your spending. If you love to shop at Lowes and need not worry about interest (if you pay everything before the due date), then this is a great card! If you do not appreciate a high interest rate and enjoy keeping a balance on your card, and if you rarely shop at Lowe’s, then this is not the card for you. We have rated the design of this card as three out of five stars for its rewards for avid Lowe’s shoppers combined with its high interest rate.

BENEFITS OFFERED

The Lowes credit card offers a variety of benefits to Lowe’s shoppers, including 5% cash back on in-store or online purchases, 5% discount at check-out to see immediate benefits upon purchase, or special financing options for those that are making big purchases. For a store card, we think that these are great benefits with variety for customers to choose from, depending on how they want to utilize their rewards. We have given this a rating of four out of five stars.

Pros

  • 5% cash back option for Lowe’s in-store or online purchases
  • Special financing options at a variety of APR rates
  • 5% discount option to see immediate benefits of Lowe’s purchases

Cons

  • High interest rate on balances left on the card without opting for special financing
  • Difficult to get compared to other store cards
  • Points and rewards are limited to Lowe’s purchases

Citi Double Cash Card

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The Citi Double Cash Card provides you with 2% cash back on purchases, where you earn 1% upon purchase and 1% as you pay. There is a 0% introductory APR period of 18 months for balance transfers, and there are no categories to track or activate to gain rewards. There are no maximums on cash back rewards, and there is no annual fee. You should have a good to excellent credit score to qualify for approval, and foreign transactions incur a 3% fee.

PRICE

There is no annual fee to use the Citi Double Cash Card. There is a 0% introductory APR period of 18 months for balance transfers, however this does not apply to purchases. Purchases have a variable APR rate of 15.49% – 25.49%, which also applies to balance transfers after 18 months.

EASE OF USE

The Citi Double Cash Card is easy to use as you need not activate any categories to gain the most rewards. The cash back process is straightforward- you earn 1% as you buy items and earn an additional 1% as you pay off your card’s balance. This is a relatively hassle-free card, and there is no limit to the rewards you can earn. This card is great for those that do not want to put in the extra work of activating certain rewards or only shopping at certain stores. We have rated the ease of use of this card as five out of five stars.

APPROVAL AND APPLICATION

In order to apply for this credit card, we recommend that you have a credit score of 690 or higher, with good to excellent credit. You can apply online, and Citi will notify you of your acceptance or additional steps you need to take. Due to its more competitive nature, we have given this three out of five stars.

DESIGN QUALITY

This card has a high rewards rate, and you can redeem your rewards for statement credit, a bank account deposit, a gift card, or a check. You have to have a minimum of $25 to redeem your rewards. While it is easy to use, it does not offer the bonus categories that give other card users the perk of 5-10% cash back at various times. We have therefore rated its design quality as four out of five stars as its simplicity causes its higher earning potential to suffer compared to other cards. However, we appreciate its 2% cash back on all purchases.

BENEFITS OFFERED

We appreciate the 2% cash back on all purchases (1% upon purchase and 1% upon payment), the 18 month 0% APR period for balance transfers, and the variety of ways you can redeem your rewards. However, this card is missing an introductory bonus reward and high earning bonus potentials of more than 2% cash back. Further, it does incur foreign transaction fees. We have rated the benefits offered as three out of five stars.

Pros

  • 2% cash back rewards on all purchases: 1% upon purchase and 1% as you pay
  • 0% introductory APR period on balance transfers for 18 months
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • No sign-up bonus
  • No 0% APR introductory period for purchases

Chase Freedom Unlimited

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The Chase Freedom Unlimited card provides you with a flat 1.5% cash back earning potential on every purchase you make, with a $0 annual fee. You can redeem rewards for statement credit or a bank account direct deposit. Further, this card has a great sign-up bonus of $150 when you spend $500 during the first three months. It comes with an introductory APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers during the first fifteen months, followed by an ongoing Variable APR of 16.99% to 25.74%.

PRICE

The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card has no annual fees. Further, it has a fifteen month introductory period with 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers. Following the introductory period, the APR increases to a range of 16.99% to 25.74%.

EASE OF USE

The 1.5% rewards rate is applied automatically to all purchases, and cash back rewards never expire as long as the account is open. Further, there is no minimum required to redeem your points for cash back. Further, you can gain 5% cash back in rotating categories, which you activate every three months, up to $1,500 in spending per quarter. This card is great for those that want a hassle free card, with automatic rewards, plus the opportunity to earn more during quarterly opportunities when you “activate” certain categories. We have given the ease of use five out of five stars.

APPROVAL AND APPLICATION

In order to apply and be approved for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you should have good or excellent credit with a credit score of 690 or higher. Due to its more competitive approval process, we have rated this section as three out of five stars.

DESIGN QUALITY

This card is designed for both the engaged customer who enjoys “activating” categories and earning automatic benefits without any extra effort. Its automatic rewards plus its higher earning potential during quarterly categories make it a great choice for those that want the potential to earn more but also want to benefit from the continuous automatic rewards. Further, it has a great $150 initial bonus. We have rated this as four out of five stars as we wish its automatic rewards were higher.

BENEFITS OFFERED

This Chase card offers great automatic benefits, with automatic 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Further, it has a great introductory bonus of $150 when you spend $500 within the first 3 months of opening an account. We have rated this section as five out of five stars.

Pros

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • No annual fee
  • $150 introductory bonus when you spend $500 within the first 3 months

Cons

  • Foreign transaction fees
  • Must activate categories every 3 months to earn 5% cash back (up to $1,500 in spending per quarter)
  • Requires good to excellent credit

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

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With the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, you earn unlimited two times the miles per every dollar you spend on any purchase, regardless of the day. Plus, you can earn ten times the miles on thousands of hotels. When you open an account, you earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account. Further, there is a $0 annual fee for the first year of membership, followed with a $95 annual fee after that. This card comes with no foreign transaction fees, and you can receive up to $100 credit on Global Entry to TSA pre-check.

PRICE

There is a $0 annual fee during the first year of membership, followed by a $95 fee after that.

EASE OF USE

The Capital One Venture card is easy to use as every dollar you spend on any purchase automatically gives you 2 miles at 1 cent apiece. Plus, if you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months, you earn 50,000 miles. It is a no hassle card as you do not need to “activate” any rewards. We have rated ease of use as five out of five stars.

APPROVAL AND APPLICATION

You should have good to excellent credit to apply and be approved, with a score of 690 or higher. Since this card is limited to users with great credit scores, we have rated this section as three out of five stars.

DESIGN QUALITY

This card is designed for the traveler with no foreign transaction fees, high rewards rate in the form of miles, a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles, and the potential to earn 10 times the miles on thousands of hotels. The design quality is high for those who travel, and we have therefore rated it as four out of five stars, as it is not as beneficial for those who do not want to redeem their points in the form of miles.

BENEFITS OFFERED

The basic benefit is that you earn 2 times the miles for every dollar you spend on any purchase, plus ten times the miles on certain hotel bookings. Other benefits include $0 fraud liability, personalized payment options and access to a higher credit line, auto-pay options, 24/7 customer service, access to the Capital One Mobile App, CreditWise from Capital One, 24-hour travel assistance, roadside assistance, travel accident insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, and more. Further, you earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account.

Pros

  • 2x the miles for every dollar spent with the opportunity to earn 10x the miles for certain hotel bookings
  • 75,000 bonus miles during introductory period
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $95 annual fee after the first year
  • Redemption value for cash is half that of redeeming your rewards for travel
  • Requires good/excellent credit

Conclusion

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Image source: Pixabay.com

The type of card you ultimately choose depends on where you shop and your spending habits. If you are a big Lowe’s fan and can pay off your card regularly, then the Lowes credit card is a great store-specific card. Overall, we rate the Lowe’s card as three out of five stars, as it is a good store card but is very specific to Lowes users and has a high interest rate.

If you want hassle-free rewards, the Citi Double Cash Card is a great option. The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card is another all-purpose card that is easy to use and has automatic rewards as well as activate-as-you-go rewards for more earnings. The Capital One Venture Card is another great all-purpose card that is a spectacular card for travelers. Whichever card you choose, all the cards above give great earnings for different shoppers. We hope you gain the most you possibly can from your card choice and enjoy your rewards!

Walmart Credit Card: Our In-Depth Review

May 26, 2019 by  
Filed under Credit card

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Walmart is the country’s largest retailer, and in addition to accepting Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express payment options, it also accepts its own credit card. The only places that accept the Walmart credit card are Walmart stores, Walmart.com, Murphy USA gas stations, and Sam’s Club. In this review, we will discuss the various features of the Walmart credit card, discuss its pros and cons, and then compare it to similar products on the market today so you can more easily decide if the Walmart Credit Card (or another option) is the right choice for you.

At the end of this review, we will rate the Walmart credit card out of five stars, and we will compare this option to the others listed below.

What Is the Walmart Credit Card?

With the Walmart credit card, you receive 3% cash back on purchases from Walmart.com, including items you order online and then pick up in the store. You also earn 2% cash back on purchases from Murphy USA and Walmart gas stations. Further, you earn 1% cash back on all other purchases, including those from actual Walmart stores. Based on the reward features, this is a great option if you shop frequently on Walmart.com.

Features

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Two nice additional features of the Walmart credit card include the ability to purchase online Walmart items from the Walmart app and the $25 statement credit after making a minimum of $25 purchase in your first 24 hours with the card (either in a store or online).

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Credit Requirements

The Walmart credit card is accessible to almost anyone. Those with poor credit will probably still qualify, and you do not need to worry about being in “excellent” credit standing.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare to the Walmart credit card.

Card Preview

Card Name

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TARGET REDCARD CREDIT CARD

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COSTCO ANYWHERE VISA CARD BY CITI

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DISCOVER IT CARD

Walmart Credit Card

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REWARDS PROGRAM

The Walmart credit card offers very little in terms of rewards. The highest earnings possible are from Walmart.com, where you can earn 3% per purchase. Further, you can earn 2% from buying gas at Murphy USA or Walmart gas stations. You only earn 1% when you make purchases at a physical Walmart store. All cash back is redeemed in the form of a credit on your next statement. For example, if you were to earn $5 in rewards, then this would be automatically credited on next month’s billing statement.

We have rated the Walmart rewards program as two out of five stars for its inflexibility and few rewards from Walmart store purchases. Further, we do not like that cash back is automatically converted into credit applied to the next month’s statement.

CREDIT REQUIREMENTS

The Walmart credit card does not require good or excellent credit. If you are new to credit cards or have poor credit, you will still probably qualify for the Walmart credit card. For the low requirements and accessibility to people of all credit types, we have given this section five out of five stars.

ANNUAL FEE

There is no annual fee to have a Walmart credit card. We have rated this section as five out of five stars for its affordability.

APR

The Walmart credit card has a high regular interest rate of 24.65% on purchases. Cash advances can rise from an APR of 21.65% to 27.65%. We have rated this section as one out of five stars. Unfortunately, with lower credit requirements, the APR increases.

Pros

  • 3% cash back on purchases via Walmart.com      
  • Do not need to have good or excellent credit to apply
  • Earn 2% from buying gas at Murphy USA or Walmart gas stations
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • Cannot save rewards — they are automatically credited to next month’s statement 
  • No extra rewards for shopping in physical Walmart stores
  • Walmart gas stations and Murphy gas stations are not common everywhere
  • High APR

Target REDcard Credit Card

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The Target Redcard offers tangible, long-lasting incentives. It offers a 5% discount on most Target items, free shipping on online Target orders, and 30 extra days to make a Target return. You can only use it at Target stores or on Target.com, so you will only want to consider this if you shop frequently at Target and are not seeking an all-purpose, flexible card.

REWARDS PROGRAM

You will receive a 5% discount on most Target purchases through Target.com or in a store. Further, you receive free standard shipping from most items on Target.com and an extra 30 days to make returns. We have rated this as four out of five stars for its great rewards from Target, but its lack of rewards outside of the Target franchise.

CREDIT REQUIREMENTS

You must have a fair credit score to be approved for the Target Redcard. We have rated this as four out of five stars.

ANNUAL FEE

There is no annual fee for the Target Redcard. We have rated this as five out of five stars.

APR

The Target Redcard has a high variable APR of 24.15%. We have rated this as two out of five stars.

Pros

  • No annual fee 
  • 5% discount on all purchases from Target stores or Target.com
  • Extra 30 days to make a return to Target
  • Free standard shipping

Cons

  • Can only be used within a Target store or Target online
  • High APR
  • No weekend delivery for free, standard shipping
  • No sign-up bonus

Costco Anywhere VISA Card by Citi

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The Citi Costco credit card offers high cash back rewards for gas and Costco purchases. You can earn 4% cash back on gas purchases up to $7,000 per year, and you can also earn cash back from Costco and Costco.com purchases. Additionally, you can use this card on purchases outside of Costco to earn cash back.

REWARDS PROGRAM

You can receive 2% cash back on all purchases from Costco and Costco.com. Further, you receive 4% cash back on up to $7,000 of annual gas purchases at Costco. After you hit this mark, the cash back drops to 1% for gas purchases at Costco. You will receive 1% cash back on all non-Costco purchases, and you can earn 3% cash back when you use the card at restaurants or with eligible travel purchases. You will get your cash back once per year in the form of a credit voucher that you can redeem for cash or merchandise at Costco. We have rated the rewards program as four out of five stars.

CREDIT REQUIREMENTS

You must have good or excellent credit to apply for the Costco Anywhere card. We have rated this as three out of five stars.

ANNUAL FEE

There is no annual fee for this credit card, but you must be a Costco member to apply. Costco memberships usually cost between $60 and $120 per year, depending on the level of membership you purchase. We have rated this as three out of five stars.

APR

The Citi Costco card has a purchase APR and balance transfer APR of 17.24% based on your creditworthiness. We have rated this as four out of five stars.

Pros

  • No annual fee with Costco membership 
  • 4% cash back on gas purchases from Costco
  • 3% cash back on purchases at restaurants and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% cash back on all purchase from Costco stores or Costco.com

Cons

  • Receive your cash back once per year
  • Must be a Costco member to apply
  • No Intro APR
  • $7,000 annual gas purchase maximum for 4% cash back (at which point, it drops to 1% cash back)

DISCOVER IT CARD

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With the Discover It card, you can earn unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases automatically plus an additional 5% cash back each time you activate your card during quarterly earning opportunities. It is distinguished by its intro offer, where Discover will match all the cash back that you earn at the end of your first year, with no limit to how much is matched.

REWARDS PROGRAM

The biggest perk of the Discover It card is the intro offer where Discover will match all of the cash back that you earn within your first year. With the rewards program, you automatically earn 1% cash back on all purchases. You can earn 5% cash back at different locations, such as gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, each quarter. But, you have to activate your card in order to benefit from these rewards. Further, there is a quarterly maximum. We have rated this section as four out of five stars for its 5% earning potential along with the need to “activate” these rewards.

CREDIT REQUIREMENTS

You must have a good to an excellent credit score in order to be approved for the Discover It card. We have rated this as three out of five stars.

ANNUAL FEE