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.
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.
What do you think? How much help should parents lend to their adult children?
One of the most important reasons to read your credit card billing statement is so you can quickly spot any unauthorized charges. The longer it takes to recognize and report unauthorized credit card charges, the less likely it is that your credit card issuer will remove the charges from your statement.
If you report unauthorized charges quickly, i.e. in less than 60 days, your liability is legally reduced to $50 or less. However, if you wait longer than that, you may end up liable for the charges. Make sure you know the right way to handle unauthorized credit card charges.
The only foolproof way to avoid unauthorized charges is to not have a credit card. Still, there are ways you can prevent credit card fraud such as keeping your credit card in a safe place and never giving your credit card number to someone you don't trust, especially to someone who calls or emails you saying they're your credit card issuer.
The day after Thanksgiving has become a bigger deal than Thanksgiving itself. Black Friday, the biggest shopping day so far this year, has been getting attention for weeks and stores are changing their hours to be sure they get as many shoppers as possible. Some stores are open on Thanksgiving Day, many in the evening but at least one (KMart) is opening at 6 am on Thanksgiving. Some stores have even started making Black Friday sales prices available today, a full week ahead of schedule.
Many of this year's shoppers have no qualms about going into debt to purchase gifts. In a poll by Harris Interactive, 57% of adults said they would go into debt to make their children happy on Christmas. More surprisingly, the people with the lowest household incomes were willing to accrue more debt. Families with less than $35,000 household income were willing to accumulate $700 in debt for Christmas versus $300 for families with household income of $75,000 or more.
The best way to avoid going into debt - for the holidays or any other big shopping event - is to calculate how much you have available to spend and don't go above that amount. Thirty-one percent of adults responding to the Harris Poll said they do not have a holiday shopping spending limit.
Other alarming results:
- 36% said that buying gifts was more important than sticking to a budget
- 55% have not saved any money for gifts this year
- Adults charged an average of $1,100 on holiday spending last year
It's not too late to come up with a holiday spending plan. Make a goal not to create any additional debt this year and stick to it, especially if you can't afford to pay it back. Layaway is an option for buying gifts on a payment plan without creating additional debt. Here are a few more tips for avoiding holiday debt.
More on Avoiding Holiday Debt
- 7 Reasons You Shouldn't Use Your Credit Card This Holiday
- 10 Holiday Credit Card Mistakes
- Tips to Cut Holiday Spending, About Frugal Living
- Why We Go Into Debt for the Holidays, About Stress Management
- Giving Christmas Gifts on the Cheap, About Stress Management
Capital One has replaced the Capital One Cash Rewards Card with the straightforward Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card. The Quicksilver pays a simple 1.5% cashback on all purchases, with no signups required. Cardholders can redeem rewards in any increments. Current Cash Rewards cardholders will likely have their cards automatically converted to the Quicksilver.
With the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards credit card, there's no annual fee and a one-time $100 bonus for new cardholders who spend $500 in the first three months.
Quicksilver also features a 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers until November 2014.
Simple cash rewards are card to come by. Check out a complete review of Capital One's Quicksilver to get more details on the rewards, pricing, and other perks of this card.
Bankruptcy is notorious for it's affect on your credit score. After bankruptcy, your credit score will probably drop and you'll have trouble getting credit for awhile. There's really no way to know exactly how much your credit score will fall because it varies based on your credit report, but you may be able to estimate the damage.
While it's true that your credit will be affected if you file bankruptcy, the damage won't last forever. You can start rebuilding your credit a few months after you file bankruptcy. As time passes, your credit score will improve and after several years the bankruptcy will drop from your credit report completely.
More Bankruptcy Articles
- How to Avoid Bankruptcy
- Qualifying for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
- Should You File Bankruptcy?
- Repair Your Credit After Bankruptcy
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Millions of consumers may be getting access to free FICO scores through a new program called FICO Score Open Access. Lenders who sign up can make their previously purchased FICO scores available to their customers, i.e. you! Lenders choose how often your FICO score is shared, e.g. weekly or monthly, and can share up to two key factors influencing your credit score.
Barclaycard and First Bankcard (who offers First National Bank of Omaha credit cards) are the first to enroll in FICO's new program, according to CNN Money. FICO is working to expand the program to other lenders.
While FICO is the credit score most lenders use to approve applications, consumers have a hard time getting free access to their score. Up until now, there were only two ways to get a free FICO score. A free trial to FICO's ScoreWatch would allow you to get a free score - but only once in your lifetime and you have to remember to cancel the subscription before the trial to avoid being charged. You might also see your FICO for free under the risk-based pricing law if you're turned down for credit or approved but with less favorable terms and your FICO score was used in the decision.
While you won't be charged for FICO scores provided through FICO Score Open Access, you'll still need to have a credit card with a participating card issuer to receive the benefit. Without a credit card, you'll have to purchase your FICO score (with a debit card) or use a service that offers free non-FICO credit scores without a credit card.
Don't have a Barclaycard or First National Bank of Omaha credit card? Check out these reviews to decide if it's worth it to apply.
- Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard (Excellent Credit)
- Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard (Good Credit)
- Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard 40K bonus miles!
- First National Bank of Omaha American Express Card Review
- First National Bank of Omaha Graphite American Express Review
We're seven days into the month, but that's not too late to decide to have a No Spend November. In her newsletter this week, Miriam Caldwell, About.com Expert to Money in Your 20s, invites readers to join in for a month of no (extra) spending (you don't have to be in your 20s). The gist of a "no spend" month is that you won't spend any extra money on things like restaurants, entertainment, gifts, travel etc. Could you do it?
If you're trying to rein in your spending, especially for the holidays, having a no spend month is a great way to get on track. You can still spend money on necessities, like bills, savings, emergencies, and pre-planned expenses. However, impulse and frivolous buys are out. In a way, it's kind of a Stick-to-Your-Budget Month.
November's already started obviously, but you can do a "no spend" challenge for the rest of the month, for 30 days from whenever you start, or you can choose another month for a "no spend" challenge. January is a great month, especially since most people have a renewed energy for financial improvement. You could even start out easy with a no spend week or day instead of going for a whole month.
No Spend Month Articles from Around the Web
Renting with a roommate has lots of benefits. You have someone to share the bills and the household chores and someone to keep you company. When you're going out of town for a few days, you don't have to hire a housesitter, petsitter, or plantsitter. If you lose your keys or get locked out, a roommate can keep you from having to call the landlord and paying a lock-out fee.
Unfortunately, roommate situations can end in disaster. You may have a roommate who doesn't pay their share of the rent or bills. Unfortunately, your roommate's financial recklessness can wreak havoc on your credit, especially if the lease or utilities are in your name.
Don't let a shared lease or utilities ruin your credit. Stay on top of the bills to be sure your credit doesn't suffer even if your living arrangement falls apart. Read: Don't Let a Roommate Ruin Your Credit.
Have a roommate horror story? Share it on About Young Adults Worst Roommate page.
There are a few things you should do with a new credit card, even if it's not your first credit card. For one, you'll have to activate it before you can use it. You should also read over the pricing list so you're aware of the interest rate and fees, especially the amount and timing of any promotional rates you have.
Before you use any card - new or old - you should plan your purchase, set a spending limit, and know how you're going to pay back your charges. Read More: 10 Things to Do With a New Credit Card.