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Best credit cards 2021: What should you get

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A CREDIT card can help you clear debts or spread the cost of a big purchase.

Here is how to choose the best deals.

A credit card can be used to clear debts, spending or to earn rewards

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A credit card can be used to clear debts, spending or to earn rewardsCredit: Reuters

There are a few different types of credit card.

You could get a credit card that offers interest-free purchases.

This means you are given credit that you can spend each month and you don’t have to pay any interest on your repayments for a set period.

There are also balance transfer cards that will clear old credit card debts and move them onto a new product where you make interest-free monthly repayments.

What’s a good credit score?

FICO, the most widely known credit scoring system, and its rival VantageScore both use a range of 300-850 points.

Below we list what’s considered a good and bad credit score, according to both systems.

FICO

  • Poor: 300-579
  • Fair: 580-669
  • Good: 670-739
  • Very good: 740-799
  • Exceptional: 800 or above

VantageScore

  • Very poor: 300-499
  • Poor: 500-600
  • Fair: 601-660
  • Good: 661-780
  • Excellent: 781-850

 

You could even earn cashback or other perks when you spend by using a rewards credit card.

It is important to make your monthly repayments each month or you will be charged interest.

This is known as the annual percentage rate (APR) and ranges from 14% to 25%.

It may also be tempting to only make the minimum repayment if you are in an interest-free period, but make sure your balance is cleared by the end of the deal term or you will be charged interest on what is owed.

You won’t definitely be offered the advertised credit limit or rate and some applicants may be rejected as providers will consider your credit score before approving a card.

Missing payments can damage your score and make it harder to access the best deals.

Here are some of the best credit card offers.

Best for balance transfers

A balance transfer card lets you clear debts on an old card and focus on repaying them interest-free on a new one for a set period.

You usually have to pay a transfer fee to move your money to a new provider.

This clears your old debt and you can focus on making interest-free repayments on your new card.

You won’t pay any interest as long as the debt is cleared by the end of the interest-free period.

A credit card can be used to spread the cost of purchases in-store and online

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A credit card can be used to spread the cost of purchases in-store and onlineCredit: Getty

Citi’s Diamond Preferred Card has an interest-free balance transfer period of 18 months.

There is a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount, whichever is larger.

You also get interest-free purchases for the same period.

The rate charged at the end of the term is 13.74% to 23.74% depending on your credit score.

Discover also has an 18-month interest-free balance transfer product but it pays 1% to 5% cashback on your spending as well.

The APR moves to between 11.99% and 22.99% at the end of the term.

Best for spending

A purchase credit card lets you spread the cost of your big spending.

You can use your credit limit to make a purchase and then spread the cost over a few months.

Using an interest-free purchase credit card means you only focus on repaying what you spent.

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card offers 0% interest on purchases for 12 months.

You can also earn 6% cashback at supermarkets on spending of up to $6,000 per year, 3% at gas stations and 1% on other purchases.

There is no fee for the first year and it then increases to $95.

Its APR ranges from 13.99% to 23.99%.

Alternatively, the Citi Custom Cash Card has no fee and offers interest-free spending and balance transfers for 15 months as well as 5% cashback on the first $500 that you spend.

Best for rewards

A rewards credit card can either pay you cashback when you spend or give you points that go towards special offers and exclusive deals.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited rewards card gives you 5% cashback on grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

You can also earn unlimited 1.5% cashback on all other purchases.

Make sure you pay your credit card bill each month or you could be charged interest

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Make sure you pay your credit card bill each month or you could be charged interestCredit: Getty

Purchases can also be made interest-free for 15 months after which it moves to an APR ranging from 14.99% to 23.74%.

Similarly, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card pays 2% cashback and has an interest-free spending period of 15 months.

The APR move to between 4.99% and 24.99% after this.

The Bank or America Customized Cash Rewards card will let you choose the categories that you earn cashback for, giving you 3% back.

Users also earn 2% on grocery store spending of up to $2,500 each quarter.

Its APR ranges from 13.99% to 23.99%.

Best for bad credit

It can be harder to access the best credit card deals if you have a history of bad debts.

Missed payments and bankruptcies will show up on your credit file and will reduce your score, making providers nervous about giving you the best deal.

You can boost your score by showing you are a reliable borrowers and making repayments on time.

A credit builder card can help with this.

These provide basic credit cards with lower limits that help build your credit score as long as you make the monthly repayments on time.

The Discover it Secured Credit Card will let you do a six month balance transfer for a relatively low APR of 10.99%.

You can also earn 2% cashback at gas stations and restaurants as well as 1% elsewhere.

Users need to put down a security deposit of at least $200.

The APR is 22.99% if you miss payments.

Alternatively, the First Progress Platinum Secured Credit Card doesn’t offer cashback but has a low APR of 9.99%, which means the interest will be lower if you do miss repayments.

You can secure a credit line with a deposit ranging from $200 to $2,000.

Check out your refund rights if you made a purchase on your credit card during the July 4 sales.

Meanwhile, Wells Fargo plans to axe personal lines of credit affecting thousands of struggling customers.

In December last year, new rules were introduced for debt collectors. We explain how they affect you.

Credit card debt incurred during lockdowns will take months to pay back for many Americans

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Dave says: If you need a cosigner, you're not ready – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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Dave says: If you need a cosigner, you’re not ready  Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

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How to improve your credit score in 2021: Easy and effective tips

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If you’ve ever wondered “What is my credit score?” it’s probably time to find out. Having a good credit score can make life a lot more affordable. If you’re about to buy a house or car, for example, the higher your credit score is, the lower your interest rate (and therefore, monthly cost) will probably be.

Your number may also be the deciding factor for whether or not you can get a loan and ultimately determine if you are even able to buy something you want or need.

So, yes, the goal is to have the highest possible credit score you can, but increasing the number doesn’t just happen overnight. There are important steps to take if you want to increase your score, and the sooner you start working on it, the better.

“If you’re trying to increase (your credit score) substantially to accomplish a goal, you’re really going to have to have as much lead time as possible,” said Thomas Nitzsche, director of media and brand at Money Management International, a nonprofit financial counseling and education provider that advises people on how to legally and ethically improve their credit score on their own.

If you have fair credit and you’re trying to improve the number for a house purchase, for instance, you’ll want to start working on it at least a year in advance, he explained to TMRW.

But even though that sounds like a long time away, you can (and should!) start doing things right now to bump that number up. Below, see seven things you should do — and not do — to help improve your credit score:

1. Review your credit report

Review your credit report and look for errors that might be hurting your score. Morsa Images / Getty Images

The first thing you’ll want to do is pull up a copy of your current report so you know where you stand. You can get free reports from all three agencies — TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax — at annualcreditreport.com. Nitzsche said it’s important to take a moment and understand the financial snapshot of where you are today and where you want to be.

You’ll also want to take some time and look for any errors on your report, which could negatively impact your score. “If your name is misspelled, that’s not going to hurt your score,” he explained. “But if you see a late payment or missed payment (that’s in error), or maybe you have an account that should be reporting but isn’t, then that’s a problem and that will impact your score.”

If there is an error, you should dispute it and try to provide as much proof as you can.

One other thing: You can also ask a creditor to remove an issue if it’s been corrected (i.e., if you paid off a collection debt). Nitzsche said it doesn’t hurt to ask and the worst thing they could say is no.

2. Have good financial habits

“The biggest part of your credit score is payment history, so the most critical thing is never missing a due date,” Nitzsche said. Set up a monthly autopay or add all due dates to your calendar so you never miss a bill.

You can also achieve a higher score when you mix different types of accounts on your credit report. It may seem counterintuitive to get extra points for having debt in the form of student loans, mortgages and auto loans, but as long as you’re paying them off responsibly, it shows that you’re reliable.

3. Aim to use 30% or less of your credit at any given time

Know your credit limit and aim to only use 30% or less of it for a better credit score.Tim Robberts / Getty Images

Know your credit card limit, and try not to use any more than 30% of that number each month, otherwise your score could lose points for too much credit utilization.

Another thing you can do is ask your bank to increase your limit. “That will give you more flexibility to spend more,” Nitzsche said. You could also pay it off twice a month to keep the balance low. But he does warn that you never know when the balance is going to be reported to the bureau. It can happen at any point during the month, so it might be the day after you make the payment or the day before. “You don’t necessarily want to use the card and pay it the next day because that doesn’t give the bureau the chance to know that you’re using it,” he said.

4. Avoid requests for new credit

If you’re looking to increase your score around the time you want to buy a house or car, you won’t want to open up a new line of credit, like a retail card, credit card or loan. That’s because “hard” credit inquiries like those can lower your score, and sometimes it comes down to a few points over whether you’re approved or what your rate will be, Nitzsche said.

“Soft” credit inquiries, like when an employer checks your credit or when you pull your own report, won’t affect your score.

5. Keep all accounts open, even ones you don’t use anymore

Even if you don’t use that credit card from college, it’s a good idea to just keep it open because closing it could hurt your score. Nitzsche explained that you’ll be dinged some points for each account that is closed. If you want or need to mentally break up with a card, just cut it up instead.

6. Build your credit if needed

If you haven’t established credit yet, you might not even exist … in the credit report space, that is! “If someone has never fallen in delinquency on any subscriptions or utilities or never had collections on anything and they have not utilized credit cards or loans in the past seven to 10 years, they may not have a credit profile at all,” Nitzsche said. “That presents a challenge when you want to buy a home.”

If this sounds familiar, you may have to get a secured credit card where you put down a deposit, he advised. “You still have to make payments and use it responsibly. Not all banks offer them but you can usually check with your local bank or credit union.”

7. Reach out for help

If you want personal guidance on boosting your credit score, make an appointment with a credit counselor.kate_sept2004 / Getty Images

There are many apps and credit-monitoring services that can help you stay on top of your credit score. You could also reach out to a professional credit counselor who can help you navigate your specific situation. (Here’s a good resource about finding a reputable service.)

One last thing: Nitzsche warned that everyone should beware of credit repair scams that claim to be able to increase credit scores for an advance fee to get accurate negative information removed (even temporarily) from credit reports.

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Lifestyle News | ⚡How J&G Credit Recreations Assists Individuals to Gain Financial Stability Through Credit and Homeownership – LatestLY

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Lifestyle News | ⚡How J&G Credit Recreations Assists Individuals to Gain Financial Stability Through Credit and Homeownership  LatestLY

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