How to Increase Your Credit Score in 6 Months

Credit scoring is a complex science that is something of a secret to the general public. While there are variations in the scores used by different creditors, the industry-standard score is issued by FICO. Although FICO won't divulge the exact method behind its calculations, it does publish the broad categories used for scoring, along with the percentage weight assigned to each component. You won... Continue reading

Credit Score Q&A

A good credit score can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars by helping you get a car loan, a mortgage, even an insurance policy. A bad credit score can cost you even more than higher interest rates - it can eliminate you as a candidate for a job!  You may not even know where your credit score comes from, but you have more control over this important number than you may realize. Here’s the... Continue reading

Financial Overhaul: How Long Does It Take to Get Your Credit Back After a Mortgage Foreclosure?

There's no way to spin it: losing your home to foreclosure is a bad thing -- but you could be well on the road to credit recovery within a few years. Home mortgage lender William Malamut says that to some extent, your fate is in your own hands. "All cases are unique," he advises, so one homeowner's tale of woe might not match your own experience. How quickly your credit rebounds can depend on... Continue reading

3 Personal Finance Tips for Choosing a Credit Card

3 Personal Finance Tips for Choosing a Credit Card With all the credit card offers you receive in the mail, it can be difficult to tell the differences among them, let alone choose the one that's best for you. However, there are real differences between the various offers you receive, and it's better to examine them before you get hit with charges you didn't see coming. Check the Interest Rate... Continue reading

Credit vs Debit: Which Should You Use, and When?

Will that be credit or debit? Those little plastic cards may look the same, but they are oh so different. Let's clear up credit vs debit. What's the difference between credit and debit? When you make a purchase with a debit card (even if you select the credit option), the amount is taken directly from your bank account. So if you're short on funds, your card could be denied or your bank might... Continue reading

Plastic, Not Always So Fantastic: How Closed Accounts Affect Your Credit

Plastic, Not Always So Fantastic: How Closed Accounts Affect Your Credit Your negative credit card history won't disappear any faster if you cancel the card. If your credit report contains some negative information from your credit cards, you can't magically erase it by canceling the credit card. "Closing a credit card has both short-term and long-term effects on your credit score," says Alan... Continue reading
It can be funny checking your credit report

Checking Your Credit Report

Several years ago, one of my employers did a routine background check that included pulling my credit report from one of the three bureaus. They were confirming that the details on my resume matched the details on my credit report, which is common for companies in that industry. They discovered that in addition to living in Pittsburgh, PA for college, I spent some time living in rural... Continue reading

Finances 101: 5 Ways to Avoid Credit Card Debt

Create a Workable Budget The first step in managing your finances is knowing how much money you have coming in and how much is going out. A workable budget is about as close to a monetary crystal ball as you're likely to find. Your budget shows you how much money you have available, when you expect to have more, what bills have to be paid and when they are due; it also tells you how much money... Continue reading

Avoid Getting Fired Before You Get Hired

As if the nation’s 14.5 million jobless didn’t have it bad enough already, The New York Times now reports that employers are turning to credit checks to screen hires. The implication? Keep your credit squeaky clean, or suffer the consequences. It has never been more important to be proactive when it comes to personal finances. Talk about scary. According to the Kansas City Star, roughly 5... Continue reading

Personal Finances 101: Tips for Establishing Good Credit

Paying off your credit card each month goes a long way toward building good credit.  If you want to take advantage of the low interest rates on home and car loans, or the special perks for the best credit cards, you usually need to have a very good credit score. Good credit can also help you when you're applying for an apartment or a job, as employers can check your credit report as part of the... Continue reading