Time to Think About Your Christmas Shopping

It’s that time of year again!  Yep, you heard that right.  It’s time to think about Christmas shopping!  Where will you get the money this year?  Credit cards?  Personal loan?  Maybe a year end bonus?  Or will you use just plain old cash?

You know, retail stores aren’t the only ones who love holiday spending.  Credit card companies stand to make a small fortune every time customers whip out those credit cards… that’s why your mailbox is filling up with all those credit card offers, with balance transfers, low interest, and rewards galore!  And, while there are some really good deals right now, be sure to read the fine print for any new offer that you consider applying for this year.

Here are a few things you’ll want to pay attention to before you fill out that credit card application:

“Interest Free” Purchases:  Seems like every offer you see, whether it’s in the mail or in the store, promises “interest free until next year.”  And while it’s true that you won’t pay interest, you do need to make sure that you can pay off that “interest free” purchase before the expiration date.  Otherwise, retroactive interest charges may be added to your account at the end of the promotional period.  (And while you’re at it, better check what the interest rate actually is when that promotional period expires!)

Balance Transfer Fees:  Be sure to read the fine print any time that you consider a balance transfer – with fees as high as 3%, you could pay a pretty hefty fee if you transfer a large balance.  And again, make sure that you can pay the full amount off before the end of any balance transfer promotion!

Store or Catalog Credit Cards:  Right now, there are lots of promotions out there… discounts, coupons, interest free until next year, etc.  Once again, check your interest rate and have a plan to pay the account off quickly!   (Store and catalog cards are actually a good start if you’re looking to improve your credit score – many of them will work with you to get you the credit you need.)

Millions of Americans use credit cards as a way to finance their holiday spending, and then aren’t able to pay it off – make sure you’re not one of them.  Set a budget, have a plan and enjoy the upcoming holiday season!

Building Your Credit Score

If you’re just starting out financially or if you’ve had a major financial setback, you may need to build or rebuild your credit score.  Although the two situations may seem vastly different, and to some extent, they actually are very different, but the steps that you need to take are essentially the same:  you have to build (or rebuild) a low or nonexistent credit score.  And, if you have no credit or low credit, it’s very difficult to actually get credit.

Fortunately, there are a couple of really solid ways to get your credit score back on track.

1.  Get a Secured Credit Card

Unlike conventional credit cards, secured credit cards require that you put down an initial security deposit, and once you’ve made the security deposit, they’ll issue you a card that will work exactly like a conventional credit card.  You’ll have a credit limit (which is typically the amount of your security deposit), you’ll be able to use the card anywhere that you would use a conventional credit card (or debit card), and you’ll make payments on the purchases that you make with the card.  And, just like a conventional credit card, your secured credit card company will report your responsible usage, payment history, and available credit to the credit bureaus. This, in turn, will help you to build (or rebuild) the two most important parts of your credit score – your credit availability and your payment history.  Together these two factors make up more than 50% of your credit score, so you can see how quickly opening a secure credit card can help you to improve your credit score.

 

2.  Open a Catalog Credit Card

Believe it or not, opening a catalog credit card account, like Fingerhut, is also one of the fastest and best ways to build (or rebuild) your credit score.  You see, unlike traditional credit card companies, Fingerhut Credit is known for their extremely high approval rate (nearly everyone gets approved for a Fingerhut account) and for their regular reviews of your credit limit.  That means that you’ll see your total available credit increase much more quickly with Fingerhut than you would with a conventional credit card account, and your responsible usage, payment history, and available credit will be reported monthly to the credit bureaus, again affecting those two major factors in your credit score, credit availability and payment history.

Apply Now for Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank !

While there are other ways to improve your credit score, these two are the fastest, easiest, and best ways to build or rebuild your credit score on your own, without having to pay someone else to work on your credit report for you.  (We’ll get into those options another day, in another post.)