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Wallet Housekeeping: What to Keep and What to Toss

Posted in Credit Cards, Personal Finance | May 27, 2014

Has your lower back been giving you trouble lately lately, or is it becoming almost impossible to get comfortable in your favorite chair? It may be time for a cleansing. Not of your body, although that may be a good idea too. It might be time to go through that portable file cabinet you carry around called a wallet. If you can’t immediately find what you’re looking for when it’s opened, a little wallet housekeeping may be long overdue.  Going through your wallet on a regular basis not only makes it easier on your back muscles, it can also help keep your personal data from falling into the wrong hands. But what should stay and what should go? What You Should Always Have in Your Wallet While is can vary

Will Closing an Account Hurt My Credit Score?

Posted in Credit Cards, Debt Consolidation, Personal Finance | May 12, 2014

Q: My wife and I are trying to consolidate and pay down our credit card debt, which will give us a lower payment and interest rate. She thinks we should close out the old accounts so we don’t run the balances back up. I’m concerned that by closing out our accounts, we’ll cause our FICO scores to go down. What should we do? A: You are both correct. Here’s what you need to consider. Debt Consolidation: Why You Should Close Your Accounts This is what your wife is getting at:Whether you use a home equity loan, a personal loan, a balance transfer credit card or another scheme, debt consolidation means paying off multiple accounts and replacing them with a loan with better terms. Notice that you have NOT reduced your

How Financial Writers Mislead Consumers About Credit Card Minimums

Posted in Credit Cards | April 29, 2014

You hear it all the time — “If you make only the minimum payment on your credit cards, it will take decades to pay off your balance.” And the Internet is littered with credit card repayment calculators to back that up. For example, if you input a $5,000 balance, a two percent minimum payment, and an 18.9 percent interest rate, it takes over 30 years to pay it off and costs nearly $15,000 in interest. Doing Nothing Is not as Bad as You Think For example, if you have a $5,000 balance, a 15.9 percent rate and a three percent minimum payment ($150 for a $5k balance), Bankrate says it will take exactly 15 years and $3,724 in interest to pay that sucker off. That’s pretty scary. However, the only

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