Wednesday December 11, 2013
Discover joins Barclaycard and First Bankcard in offering free FICO scores for its cardholders. Last month, FICO announced a FICO Score Open Access, a program in which lenders could make previously purchased FICO scores available to their customers.
Discover it cardholders are the first of Discover's customers to receive their free (TransUnion-based) FICO scores automatically on their monthly billing statements - either online or by mail. In a press release, Discover says it plans to roll out the free FICO scores to other customers in the coming months.
This new program is one of the biggest steps toward free FICO scores for consumers since the scores were created. While consumers currently have access to a free credit report each year, there's no similar law guaranteeing free credit scores for consumers. Three online services (Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and Quizzle) offer free credit scores, but they're not FICO scores.
If you don't have a Discover card, check out a review of the Discover it, which has no annual fee, no penalty rate, no late fee on your first late payment, 0% APR for 14 months, and up to 5% cashback rewards. There's also a Discover it for Students, which offers similar benefits, but a higher APR.
Remember that your credit score is based on the information in your credit report. Higher credit scores are better and low credit scores indicate negative information on your credit report. You can generally improve your credit score by paying all your bills on time and keeping your credit card balances low.
About Credit Scores
Tuesday December 10, 2013
If you have a credit card, or several, you might have wondered whether you have too many credit cards or even what's the right number of credit cards to have.
A man was once had a record number of 1,497 valid credit cards - and (by his own account) he had a near perfect credit score. I think it's safe to say that the average person shouldn't have dozens, much less hundreds of credit cards.
It's hard to come up with a "right" number of credit cards because different people have different financial situations. If you're having trouble managing your credit cards, e.g. you forget to pay the bills or you can't figure out which one to use when you're at the cash register, you may have too many.
What do you think? How many credit cards is too many?
Thursday December 5, 2013
Using your credit card to shop online can be riskier than when you use it in person. That's because it's easier for credit card thieves to create fake websites than it is to create fake stores.
When you use your credit card online, be on guard for impostor websites and other scams designed to steal your credit card information.
Read: Online Credit Card Shopping Tips
Sunday December 1, 2013
A student in a budgeting class I was teaching asked, "What if your adult children are breaking your budget?" I was talking about identifying areas of consistent overspending and this person had identified theirs, but was understandably torn on how to handle it.
For many parents, the desire to help their adult children never goes away, even after the child has grown up and is technically on their own. No matter how much you want to lend a helping hand (or a few hundred dollars), you have to be careful about helping your adult children with their debt or other expenses, especially if it means hurting yourself.
Read: Should You Pay an Adult Child's Debt?
What do you think? How much help should parents lend to their adult children?