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February 1, 2017, 10:46 am

Take Advantage of Credit Card Reward Programs

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Credit Rating & Credit Bureau,Personal Finance

Credit card reward programs are not only convenient, but also allow you to earn some major bonuses like travel, merchandise, and even free cash. If you learn to be smart with your cards and take advantage of the many reward programs available, you can be looking at a big payoff.

Figuring out how to use credit card reward programs can be confusing, so it’s worth your while to check out the different types of reward programs and how you can benefit from them. Look through these tips on how you can profit from your credit card rewards.

  1. Match Your Credit Card to Your Spending Style

There are all sorts of rewards programs out there that allow you to accrue points towards merchandise, gift cards, travel miles, points, and even cold hard cash. By aligning your your reward program with your interests and goals, you will get the most out of your credit card.

If you like to travel, you need to be using an airline miles reward card. If you regularly charge things like gas and groceries, look for a credit card that offers cash back for everyday purchases. Be careful and don’t pick a rewards program that you aren’t likely to use. You spend money everyday, so why not get a little something back every time you make a purchase.

  1. Use Multiple Cards

If you want to get really fancy and optimize all sorts of rewards programs, you should use multiple credit cards for different purchases. Some cards are better suited for certain expenditures, such as the Chase Sapphire card for home insurance payments or the Express Blue Cash card for groceries. The end goal is to maximize the potential rewards with every purchase made.

Many money experts will tell you that having lots of credit cards can be problematic. The real problem isn’t the credit cards; it’s the spender who can’t pay off their balances in full each month resulting in fees and interest charges. I recommend this multiple credit card strategy only if you are a responsible money manager and consistently pay off your balances.

  1. When in Doubt, Choose Cash Back

Cash back rewards give you money to use for whatever you want. Obviously, this is a great option for everyone—who doesn’t like cash back? In fact, cash back rewards are nearly three times more popular than airline rewards or hotel rewards programs, according to

The beauty of this option is that you can apply your rewarded cash to anything, including your outstanding balance. So if you can’t decide what credit card reward program to sign up for, start out with a cash back reward card. You really can’t go wrong with getting cash for spending cash.

  1. Read the Fine Print

Make sure you read the fine print when signing up for a rewards card, otherwise you may end up costing yourself money. You’ll want to look for fees, annual percentage rate, and promotional rate terms. If you don’t understand the terms to which you are agreeing, you could be in for a nasty surprise when the promotional period ends.

Also, credit card companies are notorious for changing these terms. They will notify you, but chances are you won’t see the tiny notification they provide in the dense snail mail notice. Keep your eyes open for any notices from your issuer to make sure your reward program does not make any detrimental changes to your rewards program.

Reward points can expire, so make sure you read through the fine print to know that expiration date. Typically, expiration is 12 to 18 months, but it’s always a good idea to know for sure in order to fully profit from the program.

If you learn to manage responsibly and match your credit card to your spending style, you will benefit greatly from the rewards program.


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September 22, 2016, 3:56 pm


by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Credit Rating & Credit Bureau

Credit rules the global economy. This means you must have credit in good standing with lenders and credit card companies. Otherwise, you have to pay exorbitant interest rates on loans and lines of credit. Even worse, you can repeatedly receive denials from lenders and creditors because your credit score falls below the lending threshold.

However, don’t wring your hands if you possess a low credit score. You have the option to work out of the financial abyss yourself or enlist the help of a credit repair service to put you back on sound financial footing.

Do It Yourself Credit Repair

On the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website, one sentence summarizes the plight of those that require credit repair services: “The fact is there’s no quick fix for creditworthiness.” Credit repair takes time and more important for do it yourselfers, it takes considerable discipline.

Tips for Repairing Your Credit

You have to first notice your credit heading south long before you take action to repair it. If you expect to miss a credit card payment or a payment on a car loan, contact the lender(s) and explain your problem. Most creditors set up a plan to get your credit back on track. Try to send as much money as you can afford and once again, contact the lenders(s) to inform them of the less than minimum monthly payment amount.

Here are some credit repair tips to help you climb out of a financial hole:

  • Maintain low credit card balances (30% or less of available credit)
  • Pay every credit bill before the due date
  • Wipe low balance credit cards clean to reduce the number of cards you own that have balances
  • Automatic withdrawals from bank accounts prevent late credit payments
  • Never move debt around to prolong credit repair
  • Stop applying for loans and credit cards

These tips help you repair If you need cash quickly for a bill you can get a car title loan. Titlemax offers loans that you can apply online and you can get cash in less than a half hour. Moreover, the tips also prevent you from ever requiring credit repair services.

When You’re Sinking in Debt

Sometimes, all of the self-discipline and carefully designed do it yourself credit repair strategies fall short of your credit repair goals. Whenever this happens, you should consider working with a credit repair service, such as You must meticulously vet credit repair companies and never do business with companies that have a track record of promising services that never fulfill the promises.

Credit repair services don’t have the legal power to remove negative data from your credit reports. If any credit repair service company claims it can restore your credit by removing negative credit information, immediately contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Authorized under federal law, the Credit Repair Organizations Act mandates three important rules that credit repair service companies must follow:

  • You have three days to withdraw from a credit repair service contract
  • Credit repair companies never accept contract payment, until they full deliver the services spelled out in the contract
  • Credit repair companies must create and abide by the terms of a written, legally binding contract reviews rarely mention that the company violates any of the three indispensable rules that legally bind credit repair companies.

What Stands Out in makes three service claims that myriad reviewers use as the foundation for their reviews. The company works with clients to challenge negative credit report information. In addition to helping you identify negative credit report information, also makes sure your credit history is current and most important, accurate. reviews also praise the company for monitoring current credit report changes and informing you immediately of the changes. You set up this vital communication tool via email or text message. Finally, the company works with clients to keep healthy credit scores. offers several educational tools and a powerful technology guide that provides you with tips on how to remain credit worthy.

Customer Service

Customer service plays an integral role in choosing the right credit repair company. If online reviews and information gleaned from the BBB comes into play, then ranks high on the customer service scale. It’s not just prompt and friendly customer representative service. You also benefit from customer service representatives that know how to implement successful credit repair strategies. reviews often mention the strong educational support they receive from the company website.

Timing and Pricing

The amount of time it takes to see tangible improvements in credit scores varies among the reviewers of Although many reviewers applaud the company for enjoying credit score improvements after only a few months, other reviewers lament the six to 12 month period it takes to notice credit score changes. Several reviews discuss the above average cost of the company’s credit repair services.

The Bottom Line on scores high in numerous customer review categories, especially for the company’s prompt and knowledgeable customer service representatives. Although not quite a mixed bag, the company receives negative comments about the amount of time it takes to see tangible credit score improvements.

The Better Business Bureau acts as the epicenter for compiling consumer input. For reviews, the BBB presents a couple of areas that needs to see improvements. The BBB mentions the short time has operated, as well as the complaint volume for a company of its size. Remember that the BBB typically acts as a clearinghouse for consumer complaints, not an agency that receives much in the form of positive feedback about any company.


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June 28, 2012, 6:00 am

How-to Crush Your Debt Forever

by: MD    Category: Credit Rating & Credit Bureau

Is your debt holding you back from the life that you want? Do you want to finally start saving more money?

It’s time to take a step back and look at crushing debt. I enjoy writing about making more money, starting a business, and working on cool projects. The thing is that many readers are in a position where they’re still stuck with debt and can’t make too many moves for the time being. I totally understand that. This is why it’s important to focus on getting rid of that debt.

I wanted to put together a primer on crushing debt to help you get started and build some momentum.

How can you crush your debt forever?

Calculate how much you owe.

Do you know how much you exactly owe? The first step in dealing with your debt is to figure out how much money you owe in total.

When looking to see how much money you owe, I recommend considering the following thoughts:

  • How many outstanding credit card balances do I have?
  • Do I have to pay my parents back?
  • How much school debt do I have?
  • Who needs to be paid back first?

Once you figure out how much you owe in debt, you can move forward. You just need to know where you stand.

Decide which debt to attack first.

Which debt are you going to deal with first?

There are two schools of thought here.

  1. The first belief is that you should attack the debt with the highest interest rate first. This is the mathematically correct option since you’ll be saving yourself money in the future on interest charges.
  2. The other school of thought is to go after the smallest debt first. This strategy is all about chasing after a quick win. When crushing debt, you can get pretty discouraged at times. This theory believes in psychological boosts that come from seeing results.
Both options work. The end goal is pay off your debt. It doesn’t matter how you get there. I just want to make it easier for you.

Find a side gig.

It would be totally helpful if you found a second gig to help you deal with the debt. The more money you have coming in, the more you can put towards your debt. Thus allowing you to become debt-free much quicker and ahead of schedule.

The hidden benefit of working extended hours is that you can prevent yourself from spend money by being at work. It’s tough to spend money when you’re at work. Whenever I want to get hardcore about my savings, I pick up the amount of hours that I work.

Automate your payments.

Setup your bank account so that your debt payments are made automatically. You don’t want to be the victim of a simple mental error. This is why I believe in automation. Once you set your payments up, you can forget them.

Keep on going.

This is the least fun part. You just have to keep on going. There are no shortcuts here. Just repeat. Viciously pay off your debt with your eye on the prize. Don’t forget to still have some fun (without the plastic).

Reward yourself once in a while.

I don’t want to see you snap on your road to becoming debt free. This is why I recommend that you reward yourself after a small win or when real progress is made. A reward doesn’t mean that you put yourself into more debt. It can be something simple like a night out or a dinner at your favorite restaurant. I want you have to fun and feel good about what your doing. Burnout can be avoided by simply treating yourself when you deserve it.

I have more on this in my premium guide, Completely Conquer Credit.

That’s how you can become debt free. You won’t be debt free today or tomorrow. If you stick it out you can have a credit card balance of zero in just a few months.

Once you’re debt free you can quit your job, build your savings, go on more trips, and live the life that you want. It all begins today with the first step of your journey. I hope you’re ready.

What are you doing to crush your debt?

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September 30, 2010, 7:14 am

Future Shop Rant

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business,Credit Rating & Credit Bureau


It has been a while since I wrote my last rant. But this morning, I have a good one that I wanted to share with you. I find it very unfortunate because I usually like going to Future Shop. In fact, going to Future Shop feels like I was 10 and going to Toy ‘R’ Us (now I have to hide my joy when I enter with my kids ;-0 ). So here’s my Future Shop Rant Story:

It all started yesterday morning while I was comfortably installed in front of my computer for my blogging day. My wife comes to see me and says that the washing machine just died. Sad story, it was part of my life for a good 10 years. However, what is really sad is that I have to buy another one. This wasn’t the greatest news of all.

So after dinner, I go to Future Shop to buy another one. They had a great promotion on the Samsung (paying taxes, delivery, taking my old scrap for free, $200 gift card and they are offering to pay in 36 payments without interest… I’m in heaven).

So I first have to hear a 5 minutes babbling about how great the extended warranty is a scam…I mean valuable (did you know that it takes 9 to 10 hours at $50/hour to change de rubber on your frontal washing machine?… RIGHT!).

So I tell her “no thx”, she tells me “are you sure?” and I stand up and say “no” and replies with her eyes wide open “REALLY??”, and I answer “REALLY” and she end-ups with “so you are going to walk away with your  brand new washing machine without extended warranty?” and I reply a dry “yup”. End of the lengthy and useless conversation. So I was already a bit annoyed but I was happy to have a new set to be delivered quickly. Then, we moved to the customer service center since I didn’t have a Future Shop credit card (for the 36 payments option).

I had to spend a good 25 minutes in front of a lovely lady hanging on a phone to know if my card was approved or not. I was asking for a *huge* amount of $2,000, just enough to cover my expense. Well guess what? I got declined at Future Shop!

I was quite upset because:

#1 I had to waste 5 minutes arguing that I didn’t want the extended warranty.

#2 I had to wait 25 minutes watching a stupid movie preview in loop on the tv waiting for my credit card approval.

#3 I got declined at Future Shop for a stupid and small credit card; this is very insulting.

#4 When I returned to pay my washing machine (with my own Mastercard Platinum!), the girl made a mistake on the bill and was charging me $80 more.

I asked her to credit my card right away but she had to see her boss first… another 10 minutes waiting to get the approval from the sales director…

I had been annoyed by Future Shop the last time I’ve ordered a iPod Touch for one of our contest (over at The Dividend Guy Blog) because they made me call twice to confirm my order (and each time you have to wait a good 10 minutes on the line). But now, I have not only wasted almost an hour of my time, but I got declined for a stupid commercial credit card. It was a very insulting feeling (especially since I make more than enough to pay those stupid appliances). The worst part is that I couldn’t even know why I got declined. I supposed it’s because I wasn’t sure about my Social Insurance Number but getting my credit bureau nonetheless should have been more than sufficient to get an approval.

Anyway, I hope I’ll get my washing machine and dryer in a good order… if not, I’ll start to stink in the upcoming days!

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August 18, 2009, 5:00 am

Credit card perks ups and downs – why business relationships have to be fair

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Credit Rating & Credit Bureau

This is a guest post by Mr Credit Card from He reviews credit cards (lots of them) and knows quite a bit about the industry. If you are looking for a new card, he has compiled a list of the best credit card deals and offers.

Just last week, Mike had this post about watch out rate shoppers. He mentioned how he hated it when rate shoppers called him “just for a rate”. What ends up happening at the end of the day though, is that rate shoppers get lousy service. But this is a typical pattern for those who only want to get free service, or just the cheapest price. Businesses hate them. The savvy ones learn to NOT compete on price but on other factors. The not so savvy ones get caught up in a wave of downward spiraling price competition that just drives the business to the ground.

In my space, credit card issuers have fallen for the low cost (in their case, teaser rates) game to attract new customers. They gave out deals that were really not profitable for themselves. Consumers were savvy enough to taken advantage of them. But when the sub-prime crisis blew up everything, credit card issuers began to cut back and hurt lots of innocent folks in the process.

In this post, I would to highlight some incredible deals card issuers were offering, how they were taken advantage of, and how they are hurting every one as they realize their folly.

Abuse of gas credit cards – Gas stations (or rather the oil companies) have always made use of gas credit cards to instill customer loyalty. If you go to any gas station, you will find brochures offering their both their gas cards and gas credit cards. Typically, most gas rewards cards pay anywhere from 3% to 5% rebates when you make gasoline purchases at their gas stations. So for example, a Shell Mastercard allows you to earn 5% rebates at shell stations.

Soon, credit card issuers began to offer their own version of their gas credit cards. Rather than allowing card holders to earn rebates at one particular station, they structured their cards to allow cardholders to earn rebates on gasoline purchases at ANY gas station. To make their cards more attractive, they allowed card holders to earn unlimited rebates.

This is when the trouble started. Those who cut coupons will understand the concept of coupon stacking. In credit card land, credit card stacking involves combining various reward cards to maximize the rewards that you can earn. Well, many business owners, salespeople (who drove a lot for their sales meeting) started getting credit cards that paid rebates on gasoline purchases. But more importantly, many of them used them exclusively for gas. This became a no win proposition for credit card issuers. At best, credit card issuers make 1.5% to 3% from merchants who accept credit cards. But when most cards do not charge annual fees, customer pay in full every month and you are paying 5% rebates on gasoline purchases, credit card issuers will lose money on these cards.

So what do they do? Well, they simply put caps on the amount that a card holder can charge before they stop earning rebates on gasoline.

0% Balance Transfer Abuse – When interest rates got to rock bottom in 2002, the era of easy money was to continue for the rest of the decade (at least till now). Credit card issuers also joined in the fun by offering the classic bait and switch tactic. They started offering 0% APR if you transfer your balance from another credit card over. Their rational was simple. Once a customer signed up, credit card issuers figured that they were more likely to stick around. Well, that did not turn out to be the case. Consumers began looking at the 0% offer as another method of financing. Here was what they did.

?Consumers used 0% deals in place of a home equity line of credit

?Consumer arbitraged 0% deals by borrowing at 0% and putting it in a high yield savings account

?Consumers used these 0% deals to finance large purchases

The 0% balance transfer credit card segment became so competitive that soon, every credit card company was giving away these deals for 12 months and waiving the balance transfer fee. But rather than stick to the card that they originally got, consumers simply jumped to the next 0% balance transfer deal when their introductory 0% period expired. They simply got a new card. Soon, credit card issuers realized that these deals were unprofitable for them because consumers did not stick around. They began to reintroduce balance transfer fees and reduced the length of introductory periods for 0% APR from 12 months to 6 months.

Soon, credit card issuers were fighting back. For example, there have lots of complaints that Chase has increased the minimum payment on their cards from 2% to 5%. Moves like that where your payment doubles can be crippling for folks who do not have room in their budget for emergencies.

Issuers heavily promoting student credit cards – But consumers have not just taken advantage of credit card issuers. Credit card issuers have also way heavily promoted their student credit cards at campuses. It is one thing to promote credit cards, but another to actually pay colleges for every card that is signed up, or pay (sponsor) clubs for promoting their cards at their booth! The majority of students don’t really know about money management.

Let’s think through this for the moment. If you are a new immigrant, or do not have a credit history, there is just no way that credit cards are going to issue you a regular unsecured credit card. More likely, you may have to start off with a secured credit card. But this rule does not seem to apply to college students who (mostly) have no history and very little income! Why are credit card issuers willing to issue cards to students who have no credit history? I guess they want to get them as customers when they are young and hopefully become customers for life? (not too sure if this is really sound?).

For this one, the latest credit card bill of rights has imposed limits on the amount of credit they can extend to college students.

Give credit lines too easily, now reducing Credit Lines – During the boom years of 2003 to 2007, credit card issuers were giving excessive credit lines to many folks. Then, when the financial crisis hit in 2008, all of a sudden, they began reducing credit lines across the board. While there are folks that should not have credit lines issued to them at all, the sudden disappearance of credit has a lot of collateral damage. It is one thing to tell someone in advance that you will be cutting their credit lines. But when you cut their lines close to their present balance, or even below their balance and charge an over-the-limit fee, that borders on being unethical.

The collateral damage in this case fell on folks with great credit!.

Give teaser rates, not increase their rates! – Many folks who have gotten low interest credit cards have seen their rates increase for no reason. Very often, rates have shot up to over 20%. This has the effect of doubling or even tripling minimum payments for card holders!

Moral of the story

Any relationship has to be 2-way – Any business relationship (or any relationship for that matter) has to be a win win for both parties for it to be sustainable. In all the previous examples, the relationship was lop sided. In many ways, you cannot blame consumers for taking advantage of deals being offered by credit card companies. Going forward, perhaps more credit cards will charge annual fees, or rewards will be cut back more. But I would not worry too much as a consumer. The credit card industry is still pretty competitive. There are still many good reward cards and programs around. Just remember when something is too good to be true, it usually is and does not last forever.

Just remember that when a business relationship is too one sided in your favor, eventually, it will come back to hurt you.

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