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Keeping Current with Credit

With the credit card market being as large as it is, changes are happening all around us. Credit companies are making changes to stay competitive in the market which could end up being beneficial for customers. Simply contacting your credit card company could result in more savings in your pocket than you would think. A survey done by Creditcards.com found that of 952 credit card holders, 8 out of 10 people who inquired or made requests from their credit card company were successful. Let’s examine this survey closer and take a look at several ways simply reaching out to your credit company could be beneficial for you.

Waived Fees

Are you facing high annual fees on your credit cards? 82% of people in the survey done by Creditcards.com had their fees waived by simply reaching out and asking. The reason for this is due to the high competition amongst credit companies and their need to keep customers happy as to not lose them to the competitors. Of course, this is not the case for all credit companies and depend on each individual situation, but it can’t hurt to try especially if you have strong credit and a solid history of making on-time payments with your credit card.

Lower Interest Rates

Are you receiving high interest rates on your credit cards? Nearly 70% of those who inquired about lower interest rates were successful. Lower interest rates mean less money coming out of your pocket on outstanding payments. The study reports that only 19% of people requested lower interest rates, however, 13% of those people were successful (69%). Similar to the waivers on annual fees, this is contingent upon each individual situation.

Higher Credit Limits

Are you wanting a higher limit on your credit card? 89% of people in the survey reported receiving a higher credit limit after contacting their credit company. Why isn’t everyone doing it? The study reports that only 28% of people requested a higher credit limit but of those 28%, 25% were successful (89%).

As you can see, credit card companies are a lot more flexible than one would think. It seems so simple yet still not many people ages 18 to 26 have ever reached out to their credit card company (almost 7 out of every 10 millennials reported never having done so). Next time you believe your annual interest rate is too high, want to negotiate a higher credit limit, or feel like a fee isn’t justified, don’t let it go without reaching out to your credit card company first! You never know what could happen by asking.

Schedule an appointment with Powercat Financial today to learn all you can about credit, budgeting, student loans, and more!

Sydney Johnson – Peer Counselor I

Reference: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/late-fee-waiver-poll.php

Let’s Talk About Credit

Image result for credit cards

With the semester starting to come to a close and the holiday season right around the corner you may be seeing an increase in credit card advertising. These advertisements may be coming to you almost every week by mail, or maybe you’ve seen one or two different Samuel L Jackson commercials telling you to sign up for his credit card.  There are a lot of great long term and short term benefits from using credit, but it’s important to realize the negative costs from using credit as well.  Before using credit, make sure these advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Advantages of Credit

Purchase Power and Ease of Purchase: Credit cards are great to have because you don’t have to carry around as much cash.  This can reduce the ease of theft.  In addition, some credit card companies offer insurance on large purchases.

Building a Credit LineBuilding credit is not only important when applying for more credit cards, it also impacts the ease of obtaining loans, rental applications, and even some jobs. Having a credit card and using it wisely (making payments on time) will help you build a good credit history.

Emergencies- While you should avoid spending outside your budget sometimes emergencies (such as your car breaking down or flood or fire) happen. Having a credit card allows you to make large purchases you may not have the immediate funds for.

Disadvantages of Credit

Blowing your Budget– Credit card companies encourage users to spend money they don’t have.  Majority of credit cards don’t make you pay off your entire balance each month, so if you only have $200 credit card companies may let you spend $500. While it seems great at the time and may seem like free money, that remaining balance of $300 accrues high interest.

High Interest Rates and Increased Debt- This is how credit card companies make their money and this is how most people in the United States get into debt (and even bankruptcy.) “Most credit cards charge you up to 10 times that amount of interest on balances. This means that if you have $100 balance that you don’t pay off, you will be charged 20-25% interest on that $100. This means that you owe almost $30 interest (plus the original $100) at the end of the year. “(Mountain State: Center for Independent Living)

Brett Zapletal – Peer Counselor II
Powercat Financial Counseling
www.k-state.edu/pfc

Know What Goes Into Your Credit Score

If you are one that pays your bills on time, you deserve some sort of reward. That is exactly what your credit score is for. Basically, your score can tell lenders, credit card companies, landlords, and even employers how much of a credit risk you are to them.

So check out what your score means, what goes into making your score, and some tips on how to improve it!

What does my number mean?

The most used credit score is called your FICO score, which will normally range from 300-850.

750 or Higher: Having a score higher than 750 will put you in the top 20% of all U.S. consumers. This will lead to the lowest interest rate available when applying for loans.

700-749: If you have a score that falls in this category, you are still sitting at above average. Here, you should feel pretty confident when applying for a loan but should know that your score can still be improved.

640-699: With a score in this category, you will find yourself at the national average. This should tell you that you have plenty of room to grow and that you should look for new ways to establish credit.

580-639: Having a score in this category, you find yourself below the national average. With this score, you may or may not be accepted for loans or new credit, and if you are, the interest rate will be often fairly high.

579 or Lower: This is the lowest category. If your score sits below 579, you should definitely look for new ways to establish credit so that you are able to take out necessary loans when that time comes.

Debt can be scary, but it is extremely difficult to establish a solid credit score without taking on some amount of debt. Do not be credit invisible and begin to establish a credit history.

The five factors that go into making a credit score:

35% – Payment History: Your payment history carries the biggest wait of all five factors. It is vital that you make your monthly payments on time so that your score is positively affected. The way you handled money in the past is often the way you’ll handle it in the future.

30% – Amounts Owed: Lenders want to see that you don’t overuse your credit. Often times, you should want to keep 75% of your credit line available at all times to increase your score.

15% – Length of Credit History: Your credit score will take into account the oldest and newest accounts into consideration. The longer you have an account open, the better. Never cancel old accounts, even if you are no longer using them.

10% – Types of Credit: Your score considers a mix of types of credit. This will include credit cards, student loans, mortgages, etc. Make sure you don’t open too many or too few of one type of account.

10% – New Credit: Don’t open multiple new lines of credit in a small amount of time. This could lead to hard inquires that will negatively affect your credit score. Hard inquires occur when lenders or creditors request your credit report to approve you for a loan or credit card.

Credit cards are not the culprits; abuse of credit cards is!

Tips to help improve your credit score:

  • Check your free credit report quarterly to make sure there are no inaccuracies on your report. You can pull one free report from each of the credit bureaus per year (Equifax, Experian, Transunion)
  • Pay the bills on time to show that you are a responsible consumer
  • Reduce your debt. Each time you make payments on your debt, your credit score will improve
  • Put the shared utility bills in your name and make on time monthly payments
  • Shop for loans quickly. If lenders make multiple hard inquires within a two week period, they will only count as one inquiry.

Nolan Keim
Peer Counselor I
Powercat Financial Counseling
www.k-state.edu/pfc

 

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