Love to travel? Good news: There are ways to put thatÂ wanderlust to use with a travel rewards credit card.
Though travel rewards cards aren’t the easiest to get approved for as they require an excellent orÂ good credit score, those who are able to snagÂ oneÂ can use itÂ to build better credit. (Just remember, before you apply it’s important to know where you stand so you don’t get turned down only toÂ seeÂ your score suffer as a result of the inquiry.)
Travel Rewards Cards & Credit
A travel rewards credit card lets accountholders earn points or miles that can be put towards hotel stays, airfare and other travel expenses.Â These rewards can help travelers lower the cost of vacations, andÂ the card itself canÂ be a good toolÂ for building credit.
If you make payments on time, eventually your score will begin to rise because this behavior createsÂ a positive payment history, anÂ important factor inÂ credit scoring models. The card’s credit limit will also countÂ toward your credit utilization rate, which is another bigÂ factor in scoring models. Your credit utilization rate is how muchÂ debt you carryÂ versus your total available credit. For best credit scoring results, it’s recommended that youÂ keep your debt below 10% and at least 30% of your credit limit(s). So if you charge aÂ vacation and then pay most or all of the purchases off right away, your score could benefit.
You can keep track of how your usage and payments are affecting your credit by signing up for Credit.com’s free credit report summary. Beyond seeingÂ your credit scores, you’ll be able to checkÂ how you’re doing in five key areas of your credit report that determine your credit score, including payment history, debt usage, inquiries, credit age and account mix.
Since interest rates for travel rewards cards tend toÂ vary depending on creditworthiness, you’ll want to be mindfulÂ about carrying a balance. Doing so could hamper your credit goals, and the interest you pay could exceed whatever you’ve managed to glean from rewards. Many travel rewards cards carry annual fees, too, so you’ll want to make sure your spending habits justify theÂ potential cost. (You can read about the best travel credit cards in America here.) Of course, making purchases on your card and paying them off quickly (and on time) will generally boostÂ your credit.
Remember, if your credit is looking a little lackluster and you’re having a hard time qualifying for any type of credit card, you may be able to improve your scores by disputing errors on your credit report, paying down high credit card balances and limiting new credit inquiries until your score bounces back.
[Offer:Â If you need help fixing errors on your credit report, Lexington Law could help you meet your goals.Â Learn more about them hereÂ or call them atÂ (844) 346-3296Â for a free consultation.]
More on Credit Cards:
- Credit.comâs Expert Credit Card Shopping Tips
- How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit
- An Expert Guide to Credit Cards With Rewards
The post How to Use Your Wanderlust to Build Credit appeared first on Credit.com.
Many rewards credit cardsÂ offer the opportunity to earn a sign-up bonus. Even some no-annual-fee credit cards offer them, allowing consumers to maximize cash back or points without paying every year for simply having the card.
The Apple Card only started offering a sign-up bonus in June, when Apple cardholders could earn $50 in Daily Cash after spending $50 at Walgreens. This was followed by offers in September, October and November, most recently including aÂ $75 sign-up bonus after spending $75 at Nike in-store and online via Apple Pay.
And now through Jan. 31, new Apple Card holders can score a slightly lower sign-up bonus. You’ll get $50 in Daily Cash after you spend $50 or more on purchases with Exxon or Mobil.
See related: Apple Card: One year later
How to get the Apple Card sign-up bonus
New Apple Card holders who open an account between Jan. 8 and Jan. 31, 2021 can earn $50 in Appleâs Daily Cash when they spend $50 using Apple Card with Apple Pay (where available) at Exxon and Mobil stations at the pump or at attached convenience stores in the U.S., within 30 days of the account opening. To pay at the pump with Apple Pay, you can use either the Exxon Mobil Rewards+ mobile app or contactless payment.
This month’s sign-up bonus from Apple is lower than its previous offer from Nike, but on par with the older offers from Walgreens and Panera Bread, both of which got you just $50 in Daily Cash back after a matching spend.
You can apply for the Apple Card from the Wallet app on your iPhone.
Should you apply for the Apple Card now?
If you have been considering applying for the Apple Card, it might be a good idea to do so this month, especially if you commute or drive often enough to spend $50 at gas stations in a month. While the card doesnât always come with a sign-up bonus, new cardholders currently have a great chance to earn one.
Besides that, the Apple Card offers 3% cash back on Apple purchases, as well as 3% cash back when you use Apple Pay for Walgreens, Nike and Uber and Uber Eats purchases and at T-Mobile stores. Other Apple Pay purchases will earn you 2% in cash back. When you use the physical card, the cash back rate goes down to 1%.
However, the Apple Card might not make sense for everyone. The earning rate is good on Apple purchases, but if youâre looking for a primary cash back card to add to your wallet, there might be better options.
For example, with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express you can earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) and 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores. All other purchases will get you 1% in cash back.
Another alternative is the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, which earns you unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase and doesnât have an annual fee. Plus, you only need to spend $500 in the first three months with the card to earn its $200 sign-up bonus.
There are quite a few other cards to look into. Shop around before you decide to take advantage of Appleâs offer. The sign-up bonus alone shouldnât tempt you into signing up for a card that doesnât align with your spending.
See related:Â Apple card credit score requirements and reasons for denial
If youâre an Apple enthusiast and have been looking into the Apple Card for some time, now might be a good time to apply. The new limited-time sign-up offer gives you an opportunity to earn an easy sign-up bonus â something the card doesnât normally have.
Good credit is essential if you hope to borrow money one day for things like a new carÂ or home. But good credit can also be important for smaller things like renting an apartment or even landing a new job. And one of the easiest ways to build the credit necessary for these things is by getting aÂ credit card.
If you have no credit, or even bad credit, and you’re averse to getting a secured credit card to help improve your credit, there are other ways to go about establishing and building good credit.
Here are three otherÂ options for building credit andÂ improving your credit scores.
Get It Now
1. Get a Credit-Builder Loan
A credit builder loan is a loan with a set amount you pay back over a set period of time (referred to as an installment loan). Most have repayment terms ranging from six months to 18 months, and because theseÂ loans are reported to one or more of the three national credit reporting agencies, on-time payments will help build up your credit.
Hereâs how it works: A lender places your loan into a savings account, which you canât touch until youâve paid it off in full, allowing you to build credit and savings at the same time. And because loan amounts for credit builder loans can be quite small (just $500) it can be much easier to make monthly loan payments.
Credit-builder loans are best for peopleÂ with no credit or bad credit. But, if you have good credit but don’t have anyÂ installment accounts on your creditÂ report, a credit-builder loan could potentially raise your score since account mix is another major credit-scoring factor.
2. Pay Your RentÂ
If you’re in the process of moving or need to do so in the near future, it’s a good idea to find a landlord who reports your rent payments to the major credit bureaus. Depending on what credit report or credit score is being used,Â theseÂ on-time monthly rent payments can give you a quick and easy credit reference and help you qualify for a loan (or at least another apartment down the road).
3. Become an Authorized User
Asking your spouse, partner or even your parent to add you onto one of their accounts as an authorized user could give your credit a boost. If the account they put you on has a perfect payment history and low balances, youâll likely get âcreditâ when that account starts appearing on your credit reports. You wonât necessarily need to use the card to benefit from this strategy. It is a good idea to have your friend or family member check with their issuer to be sure that it reports authorized users to the three major credit reporting agencies (not all do).
Remember, one of the most important things in building good credit is making timely loan and bill payments. Bills like rent or utilities may not be universally reported to the credit bureaus, but if they go unpaid long enough, they can hurt your credit, especially if they go into collection. (You can see how any collections accounts may be affecting your credit by viewing your two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, on Credit.com.)
If your credit is in rough shape, due to a collection account or other payment history troubles, you may be able to improve your scores by paying delinquent accounts, addressing high credit card balances and disputing any errors that may be weighing them down. And remember, you can build good credit in the long term by keeping debt levels low, making timely payments and adding to theÂ mix of accounts you haveÂ as your score and wallet can handle it.
[Offer:Â If you need help fixing your credit, Lexington Law can help you meet your goals.Â Learn more about them hereÂ or call them atÂ (844) 346-3296Â for a free consultation.]
More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:
- The Credit.com Credit Reports Learning Center
- How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report
- How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life
Image:Â Jacob Ammentorp Lund
The post I Don’t Need a Credit Card But Want to Build Credit. What Can I Do? appeared first on Credit.com.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, major credit card issuers are offering relief to their customers.
Even though many places around the country are open, the pandemic continues to impact the U.S. economy. Workers are still at risk of being laid off or facing reduced hours or pay.
“This is a rapidly evolving situation and we want our customers to know we are here to provide assistance should they need it,â Anand Selva, chief executive officer of Citiâs consumer bank, said in a statement in Spring 2020.
At the same time, scammers are now trying to take advantage of coronavirus concerns by sending out fake emails about the virus that are designed to steal consumersâ personal and financial information or to infect their computers with malware.
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Many credit card issuers are allowing customers to opt into financial relief programs online. These programs are a convenient way to access short-term relief. But it could come with a long-term cost as many cardholders will continue to see interest accrue. With the average credit card interest rate sitting at 16.05%, cardholders might find more cost-effective relief through other options.
Here’s what issuers are currently offering:
Cardholders who are having difficulties can get assistance through American Express’s financial hardship program. Eligible cardholders have the option to enroll in a short-term payment plan, which provides relief for 12 months, or a long-term plan, which can provide relief for either 36 or 60 months.
Under both options, you will receive lower interest rates, plus waived late payment fees and annual fees. But you might not have access to certain card benefits and features.
If you enroll in the short-term plan, you might be able to continue putting new purchases on the card but with a reduced spending limit. If you are participating in the long-term plan, you will not be able to use the card.
Amex will report participating cardholders to the credit bureaus as current, assuming they comply with the program’s rules. But the program’s terms do offer some important caveats: Amex will inform the credit bureaus that you are enrolled in a payment assistance program (if you’re in the long-term plan). And under both plans, Amex will report that you have a lower credit limit.
While these factors do not have as much of an impact on your credit score as a delinquent account does, it could still signal to other lenders that you might be having some financial hardship.
Bank of America
Bank of America cardholders who have trouble paying credit card bills can request a credit card payment deferral by calling the number on the back of their card.
To qualify for payment assistance, cardholders must be carrying a balance, according to the website.
Bank of America sent an email to Preferred Rewards members in May 2020 stating that the company had temporarily suspended the annual program review process. Members whose assets dropped below the regular threshold to keep their status would continue to qualify for program benefits. It is unclear if Bank of America is still suspending this program.
Barclays urges credit card account holders to request payment relief online. As of May 4, 2020, the bank is granting payment relief for two statements, but interest will continue to accrue.
âWe understand that this is a time of uncertainty for many people, and we know that there may be instances where customers find themselves facing financial difficulties. Capital One is here to help and we encourage customers who may be impacted to reach out to discuss how we might be of assistance,â the bank said in a statement.
In a March 26, 2020 update, Chairman and CEO Rich Fairbank confirmed that they are offering waived fees and deferred payments on credit cards for some cardholders.
Because each customerâs situation is different, the bank encourages customers to contact it directly. To contact Capital One customer service about an existing account, call (800) 227-4825.
See related: How to clean your credit card
Previously, Chase Bank stated that customers will be able to “delay up to three payments on your personal or business credit card” if needed, with interest continuing to accrue. The website currently does not specify how many payments cardholders can defer.
It also stated that active duty military members who are responding to a disaster might have access to additional benefits. Servicemembers can call the bank for more information.
In a letter to shareholders, the company’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, also promised to not report late payments to the credit bureaus for “up-to-date clients.”
See related: Chase offering limited-time bonus on food delivery for some cardholders
Citi customers who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic might be eligible for assistance. Previously, the bank was waiving payments and late fees for two consecutive billing cycles. However, Citi has ended its pandemic assistance program.
“Due to a significant and steady decline in enrollments, our formal COVID-19 assistance program has concluded and we will focus on providing assistance options to those customers financially affected by COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis. We continue to closely monitor the situation and will evaluate additional actions to support our customers and communities as needs arise,” a spokesperson for Citi said in an email.
During the bank’s pandemic assistance program, interest continued to accrue, but accounts that were current at the time of enrollment were not be reported as delinquent.
Discover will be extending relief to qualified customers who are experiencing financial difficulty caused by the spread of COVID-19.
“We encourage them to contact us by calling and are directing them to www.discover.com/coronavirus for phone numbers for each product line and other FAQs,” Discover said in a statement earlier this year. “We also can provide relief through our mobile text app, which connects a customer directly with an agent.”
Discover it Miles cardmembers can also put their miles towards their bill â including their minimum payment.
See related: What to do if you can’t pay your business credit card bill
Apple Card customers can enroll in an assistance program. Previously, cardholders could waive payments without accruing any interest. The website currently doesn’t specify if this is still the case.
Cardholders can defer payments for three billing cycles. Though interest will continue to accrue, enrolled cardholders will not receive late fees, and their accounts will be reported as current, as long as accounts were not delinquent at the time of enrollment.
Synchrony is extending relief to customers experiencing financial hardship. The company’s website previously stated that this could include payment relief for up to three statement cycles, while interest would continue to accrue. The website currently offers no specifics about what the issuer is prepared to offer.
Truist (formerly SunTrust and BB&T)
Previously, Truist offered payment relief assistance to customers with personal and business credit cards, among other products. As of April 14, it was willing to delay payments for up to 90 days. The website currently offers no specifics about what the issuer is prepared to offer.
Previously, impacted cardholders could defer monthly payments for two consecutive billing cycles. The company’s website currently does not specify what assistance cardholders can expect to receive.
See related: Coronavirus stimulus legislation doesnât suspend negative credit reporting
ultimate guide to coronavirus limited-time promotions for more offers designed to help cardholders maximize rewards amid the coronavirus pandemic.