Archives April 2021

Use your Capital One Venture miles to stay at these 10 stunning Airbnb homes – The Points Guy


Use your Capital One Venture miles to stay at these 10 stunning Airbnb homes


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Source: thepointsguy.com

Joint Credit Cards: 6 Perks and Pitfalls

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

“For richer and for poorer”—it’s the vow millions of couples across the nation make every year. Every day, partners navigate money issues, from saving and budgeting to managing debt. Joint credit cards offer a great opportunity for couples to build credit and manage their finances together, but they require substantial teamwork and communication.

To better understand how couples navigate their financial journeys together, Lexington Law ran multiple surveys over the past two years. Below are some key takeaways to help you better understand joint credit health:

  • Approximately 30 percent of couples talk about finances on a daily basis. (source)
  • One in five couples fight at least half of the time they talk about money. (source)
  • Half of Americans share debts with their partner. (source)
Half of Americans share debt with their partner.

Couples who make consistent, respectful communication a habit may have no problem with joint credit cards, and they may take full advantage of their benefits. However, credit health is something to take very seriously, and joint credit cards also have the potential to cause problems if not managed properly. Here, we will discuss the benefits, dangers and alternatives to joint credit—and provide actionable tips for success.

Two Ways to Share a Credit Card

If you’re recently married, you may wonder how it affects your credit score—and what the best way to share credit accounts is. First, it is important to understand that you are only directly responsible for your spouse’s credit if you apply for joint lines of credit—like a mortgage, another loan or a joint credit card. 

Contrary to popular belief, being an authorized user is not the same thing as having a joint credit card. Here, we will detail the differences. 

Authorized User

Adding an authorized user means that your partner will be able to make purchases with your credit card, and the positive payment history will appear on their credit report. It can be a fairly safe way to boost their credit by allowing them to benefit from your positive credit history.

Be careful when adding anyone as an authorized user on your card. No matter how much they use the card, you will ultimately be the one legally responsible for paying the balance—not them. If you are considering adding your partner, have an open and honest discussion about your credit limit and how much you’re comfortable with them charging each month.

Joint Credit Card

With a joint credit card, both people apply for the account together. Both credit reports will be considered during the application process, and this will result in a hard inquiry for you both. Unlike being an authorized user, both people are equally responsible for making payments—and the consequences of success or failure will affect both credit scores. 

Potential Perks of Joint Credit Cards

Just like regular credit cards, joint credit cards can offer some wonderful benefits if properly managed. However, there can also be some serious consequences of miscommunication and lack of responsibility that can harm both cardholders. Before applying, make sure you’re aware of all the perks and pitfalls.

Streamline Your Finances

When it comes to budgeting, joint accounts—both checking and credit—help simplify your finances. That’s because both people’s transactions are now under one account instead of separate ones. A joint account can help you both get a view of your financial health as a couple and manage your money as a team.

Potential pitfall: If either person abuses their card privileges, they may add stress and even resentment to the relationship. Additionally, if a couple needs to separate or divorce, dealing with joint credit cards can be complicated. 

Tip: Maintain open and honest communication about card use, especially large purchases. This will help you stay on track with your budget and financial goals as a couple.

Pool Your Rewards

A joint credit card gives you the ability to amplify your cash back rewards by pooling them in the same account, rather than scattering them among multiple credit cards. Additionally, since the account is being used by two people, the card may see higher use than a singularly owned one, which will rack up the rewards faster.

Potential pitfall: Options for joint credit cards are very limited, so it may be tricky to find a rewards program that fits your lifestyle and needs.

Tip: Thoroughly research the annual fees, incentives and cash back percentages before applying for a joint credit card. We detail the three most common options in a later section of this article.

Improve Your Score

Joint credit cards have the potential to boost both of your credit scores, as long as you make on-time payments each month. Additionally, if one person does not have good enough credit to apply for a card on their own, they can leverage the other person’s better credit to score a joint credit card with better interest rates and terms.

Potential pitfall: Just as joint credit cards have the potential to increase your score, they also have the potential to harm your credit score—even if it is not directly your fault. If your partner fails to uphold their payment agreement or charges enough on the card to push you past a 30 percent credit utilization rate, your score will likely take a dip.

Tip: Make an agreement on how payments will be made each month to ensure no payments are late or missed. Consider setting up automatic monthly payments to ensure each person contributes to paying off the balance. 

3 potential benefits of joint credit cards: pool your rewards, streamline your finances, improve your score.

Frequently Asked Questions About Joint Credit Cards

Once you have decided to apply for a joint credit card, you may be wondering what’s next. After reading your card’s terms and conditions, you may have additional questions such as the ones below:

How Do I Get My Name Off a Joint Credit Card?

Unlike an authorized user credit card—which is easy to remove yourself from—it is impossible to remove yourself from a joint credit card without completely closing the account. To do this, both parties must agree to pay off the entire balance before closing the account. Keep in mind that this may temporarily lower your credit score, as it will cause your credit utilization rate to increase.

What Happens to a Joint Credit Card When Someone Dies?

Notify your credit card issuer immediately in the event that someone on your joint credit card passes away. Ask if they had set up any recurring charges on the card, and see that they are canceled. You should then be able to continue using the card normally, as the sole cardholder. Keep in mind that you will still be responsible for paying off the balance, regardless of who charged it.

Does a Joint Credit Card Build Credit?

Yes—you may be able to build your credit if the account is managed properly. Just like a regular credit card, consistent, on-time payments will have a positive impact on your credit score—no matter which person pays. In your journey of building credit, remember to check your credit report regularly, as errors are all too common. If you spot any questionable negative items, Lexington Law can help you dispute them. Removing these from your report can typically help you repair your credit and reach your financial goals.


Reviewed by Cynthia Thaxton, Lexington Law Firm Attorney. Written by Lexington Law.

Cynthia Thaxton has been with Lexington Law Firm since 2014. She attended The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Arabic. Cynthia then attended law school at George Mason University School of Law, where she served as Senior Articles Editor of the George Mason Law Review and graduated cum laude. Cynthia is licensed to practice law in Utah and North Carolina.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

Getting Your Finances Back in Order Following the Holidays

Finally the Holidays are gone, and so is the cash that
you set aside plus more! Could you have gone overboard with your spending? If
the answer is yes, you are in good company; 56%
of Americans admit to spending too much during holidays,
a situation that could lead to accumulated debts.

Fortunately, you still have a chance to stop the
situation from getting worse while the year is still young. Here are ways of
getting your finances back in order following the holidays:

Overspent during the holidaysOverspent during the holidays

Take Inventory & Budget

While looking back at how much you have spent and feeling
guilty about it will only hamper your progress, taking inventory of your debt
and expenses against your cash flow can help you make proper plans.

A budget will help you detect if you are overspending, keep track of your money and ensure that you prioritize the important things like utility bills, mortgage repayments, groceries etc. When you have done this, you are able to know how much extra money you have which you can then direct towards saving or reducing your debt.

Limit Your Spending

Holiday spending may sometimes get out of hand because besides buying what you need, you also spend extra money on things such as decorations, traveling expenses, buying gifts for friends and family, hosting meals etc. You can recover from this by ensuring that you only buy what you absolutely need and leaving wants for when you are doing better. These few tips can help you to limit your expenses

  • Cash is harder to part with so keep your credit card and pay cash for your expenses.
  • Resist the urge to buy things on impulse by sticking to a budget.
  • If you must use plastic, go for a debit card.
  • Use gift cards to cater for some expenses that you would otherwise pay with your money.
  • Automate your recurring bills and debt payments to avoid added fees on late or missed payments.

Pay Off Your Credit Card Debts

After using credit cards for some or all of your holiday expenses, it is possible that you are dealing with higher than usual credit card balances. Can you pay them off in full and in time? If not, you can come up with several strategies to enable you to pay them off without accruing too much interest. You have several approaches at your disposal:

  • Take a personal loan which comes at lower interest and use it to pay off your credit card debts.
  • Put any extra money into repaying your debts.
  • Stop using your credit cards to avoid racking up debt.
  • Try to pay more than the minimum monthly payment but at the worst case try and make the minimum to avoid accumulating late fees on top of the interest.
  • Move your balance to a lower interest rate card.

Look for Some Extra Cash

After a holiday spending spree, you need all the help you can get to repair your finances. This includes any extra cash that you can make. Depending on your schedule, what you have at your disposal and the sacrifices you are willing to make, there are a few ways in which you can do this.

Taking a side job,especially one that you can do at the comfort of your home is a great way to earn some money. Another option would be to collect things that you don’t need in your home and to sell them online or at a garage sale.

Don’t feel guilty if some of the gifts that you received
end up in the list; they are better off helping you earn something than lying
in your basement gathering dust and adding to the clutter.

Bottom Line

You don’t have to pay the price of overspending or
disrupting your finances during the holiday throughout the year; taking stock
of your present situation and making the necessary plans can help you get your
finances back in order while it is still early. While this may require making
some adjustments, sacrifices and commitments in your part, acting on the above
strategies will be worth all the effort.

Source: creditabsolute.com

Is the Refinance Boom Finally Over?

end

Refinance demand fell for the sixth straight week, indicating an end to the boom that began in early 2009, according to the latest survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Overall, mortgage application volume was off 18.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis during the week ending December 17.

On an unadjusted basis, it was 20.0 percent lower than one week earlier.

The refinance index plummeted 24.6 percent to its lowest level since April 30, while the seasonally adjusted purchase mortgage index decreased 2.5 percent.

The unadjusted purchase index was off 4.9 percent compared with the previous week and 8.4 percent lower than the same week a year ago.

“Refinance application volume dropped sharply this week as mortgage rates held near six month highs,” said Michael Fratantoni, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics, in a release.

“Purchase applications fell for a second week, with the level of applications little changed over the past month, indicating that home sales are likely to remain relatively weak over the next few months.”

Meanwhile, mortgage rates were little changed, with the popular 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.85 percent, up from 4.84 percent a week earlier.

The 15-year fixed climbed to 4.22 percent from 4.21 percent, and the MBA no longer tracks the one-year adjustable-rate mortgage, which fell out of favor with borrowers long ago.

The mortgage rates above are good for mortgages at 80 percent loan-to-value – but pricing adjustments can lower or raise your actual interest rate.

Keep in mind the MBA’s weekly survey covers more than half of all retail, residential loan applications, but does not factor out duplicate or rejected apps, which have surely risen since the mortgage crisis got underway a few years back.

About the Author: Colin Robertson

Before creating this blog, Colin worked as an account executive for a wholesale mortgage lender in Los Angeles. He has been writing passionately about mortgages for 15 years.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

What Is a Letter of Explanation?

Mortgage Q&A series: “What is a letter of explanation?”

If you’re currently going through the joyful process of obtaining a home loan, you may have been asked to furnish a “letter of explanation” or LOE to provide a little more color to what the underwriter might feel is a complicated matter.

You can think of the mortgage underwriter as a home loan sleuth, one hired to uncover anything abnormal that may show up in your loan file as documentation is submitted.

Sure, the required paperwork might all be there, and your credit score and DTI ratio might be spot on, but it is the underwriter’s job to read between the lines.

Otherwise, mortgage applications truly could be fed through automated underwriting systems and that would be the end of it. We wouldn’t need human beings anymore.

This isn’t the case, at least not yet, so expect your mortgage application to be scrutinized, and be prepared to “explain yourself” if anything that the underwriter feels needs explaining comes up.

Definitely don’t argue with the underwriter or be defiant, that’s never a very good strategy.

Ultimately, the quicker you can get them the answers they need, the faster you can get your home loan closed and move on with your life.

Why a Letter of Explanation Might Be Needed?

letter of explanation

  • You recently changed jobs
  • You have unusual deposit activity in your bank account
  • Recent large deposits
  • Gap in employment
  • You have declining income
  • Your source of income needs explanation (self-employed borrowers)
  • Undisclosed payments (liabilities) from your bank account
  • You have student loans
  • New accounts on your credit report (newly opened credit cards)
  • Credit inquiries on your credit report
  • Other addresses on your credit report
  • Other names on your credit report
  • Notes on your credit report that need explanation
  • Former delinquencies that need review
  • Occupancy concerns (is it really your primary residence?)

Letter of Explanation Requirements Will Vary by Lender

There are lots of situations where a letter of explanation might be required, too many to name really. And probably new ones being generated daily.

Additionally, the need for an LOE will vary by mortgage lender. Not all of them will require one depending on the situation at hand. Ultimately, some lenders and underwriters will be more stringent and/or cautious than others.

That being said, some of the more common ones tend to do with assets aka money, and where it came from.

For example, if you provided bank statements to satisfy one of your loan conditions, the underwriter might flag some of the transactions or deposits upon review.

Perhaps there’s a deposit for $10,000 in the account, which doesn’t quite line-up with what you make in the way of salary. It seems a little out of place, even if it’s entirely legit.

The underwriter may ask that you explain that deposit to ensure it’s kosher, and not from an ineligible source.

Let’s say that money came from one of your other accounts, and you simply transferred the money between accounts.

You would provide an LOE to the underwriter explaining this. But that wouldn’t be the end of the story. If your LOE included details of another bank account, they’d surely want statements for that bank account as well to review the activity to make sure everything adds up.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you might even be asked to come up with another letter of explanation due to contents in your previous LOE. In effect, an LOE for an LOE.

As you can see, things can get really murky in hurry, so it’s best to keep things really tidy before applying for a mortgage loan.

Rarely are mortgage underwriters completely satisfied with everything that is presented to them. And the more you put in the front of them, the more chances they have to ask for, well, more.

Letter of Explanation Template

  • Include a basic heading and salutation
  • A short explanation to resolve the confusion (short and sweet!)
  • Sign and date it
  • And provide necessary documentation to backup the letter
  • Check out the sample below

LOE template

The screenshot above is a sample LOE template I created in a matter of minutes if you’re wondering how to write a letter of explanation.

The good news is it’s super easy to create one. It’s basically just a Word document (or comparable program) with a little heading and then a brief paragraph or two to provide clarity, followed by your signature and the date it was written.

There aren’t any set formatting guidelines for an LOE, so you can put the date at the top or the bottom, and leave out the salutation if you want. It doesn’t really matter too much as long as the key details are there.

You can put “Letter of Explanation” or “Explanation Letter” at the very top, followed by a brief description of the issue at hand, then your name/signature/date. It really doesn’t take much effort to create one.

That’s the easy part. The hard part might be providing supporting documentation, or making your case if don’t have a readily available explanation. What you write in those couple paragraphs is very important, so don’t rush the core message you’re trying to convey.

In short, whatever you’re explaining has to make sense, and more importantly, put the underwriter at ease. They need to feel comfortable approving your loan, and whatever called for the LOE to begin with made them apprehensive.

It’s certainly not the end of the world, and often just hearing in your own words that X happened because of Y is good enough, with that supporting documentation to prove it. Taking your word for it isn’t generally acceptable.

Either way, don’t be afraid to ask the loan officer or mortgage broker exactly what they’re wanting to hear, or how you should format the letter. If you have questions or are uncertain, ask before you submit documents that could get you in even more trouble.

Keep It Simple to Avoid LOEs

  • Think about what might trip up the underwriter beforehand
  • Take action to resolve these matters before you apply for a mortgage
  • So an LOE isn’t necessary to begin with
  • It can make life a lot easier and improve loan approval chances

Your best move might be to get all your ducks in a row long before applying for a mortgage. If you need to move some money around, it could be prudent to make those transfers 60+ days prior to the loan application.

Mortgage lenders typically only ask for your last two monthly bank statements, so activity that occurred prior shouldn’t be visible.

Any financial activity that takes place in the couple months prior to application could just complicate matters, and require more paperwork. And with that, scrutiny.

If your accounts are relatively untouched and nothing unusual is present, ideally you can skate right through without additional conditions.

Same goes for opening new accounts – if you don’t have to, don’t do it. It just makes life more complicated.

If you’re thinking about changing jobs, maybe wait. Anything you think might sound fishy or complicated might be best to avoid, for now. Or at least until that loan funds!

At the end of the day, LOEs aren’t really that hard to furnish or complete, but they can lead to bigger problems if you don’t have good answers.

As noted, do your best to play ball and make nice with everyone to avoid unnecessary drama.

Lastly, if you are asked to provide a letter of explanation and aren’t sure why, speak to your mortgage broker or loan officer directly. I often get emails and comments about why one is being requested. Instead of asking me, it’s probably a better idea to ask your broker or representative of the bank to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Achieve the Ideal Indoor Humidity

Longtime apartment dwellers from D.C. to Atlanta, Miami to Houston know more about outdoor humidity than they’d care to. Summertime in the East brings sweltering temps and sticky situations.

What’s less often considered, however, is your home’s ideal indoor humidity.

What is Humidity?

Time for a middle-school science refresher: Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor present in the air compared to the amount needed for saturation at the same temperature. A “normal” range for indoor humidity generally falls between 30 and 50 percent. And that’s where most people feel comfortable.

In wintertime, heat can dry the air inside your apartment – which can wreak havoc on the eyes, sinuses, and throat. Conversely, summer’s higher humidity brings with it the risk for mold, pests, rot and, less ominous but just as icky is the potential for musty, dank odors. It’s hard to escape – showering, cooking, and even breathing can increase the humidity inside your apartment.

What To Do if Humidity’s Too High 

There are a host of ways to keep indoor humidity levels in the comfort zone. The easiest way to tamp down high humidity is air conditioning. If your apartment has central air conditioning, you’ve got the No. 1 weapon. Of course, running the AC nonstop could make your place colder than you’d prefer – and make your electric bill give you as much discomfort as the humidity.

If you don’t have central air, a wall unit will work wonders for your moisture levels. Today’s AC systems conform to higher standards, with energy-efficient compressors and fans. Be sure to choose the right size for your space, as well, and quality insulation products to ensure a tight seal within the window.

Keep those other self-induced moisture sources in mind, though, and you might help get a handle on things. Lids on boiling pots and cool, refreshing showers instead of steamy ones in the summertime will help.

What To Do if Humidity’s Too Low

Depending on your age and where you grew up, you may envision clunky, sloshy, unattractive boxes your parents or grandparents used as humidifiers. We’re happy to let you know that technology has significantly streamlined this appliance for the new millennium. These days, they’re not only filtered, but they’re also borderline fashionable, with an appearance more like a biosphere or funky aquarium. Some are even designed to evenly distribute moisture throughout the space.

On a budget? There are some wonderfully low-tech ways to aid the process, as well. These include things as simple as allowing your dishes to air dry. While you’re at it, consider line drying your clothes inside, as well. Even more effective (plus it will reduce your heating costs): get a simple kit that allows you to vent your clothes dryer inside. Moisture from your drying clothes will stay in your apartment while simultaneously boosting temps. Enjoy those steamy showers with the door open and the vent fan off – extra moisture will stick around.

These techniques should help you maintain an ideal indoor humidity all year ‘round.

SEE ALSO:  Top 5 DIY Skills for Renters

SEE ALSO: 8 Ways to Eliminate Allergens  in your Apartment

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Share Your Chase Sapphire Preferred Referral Links Here

(Update 6:48 pm: comments are now closed.)

Feel free to share your Chase Sapphire Preferred referral link in the comments below. Do not add any additional words other than the referral link and don’t thread comments.

If you are signing up for the Sapphire card for the increased 80,000 + $50 offer, consider using a reader’s referral to give them a 15,000 points bonus at no cost to you. (Some might prefer to sign up in a Chase branch to get the $95 annual fee waived, if you are in the area to do so.)

We’ll probably close the comments here within a few hour due to volume of comments which are difficult to continue moderating for long.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

4 Hotel Credit Cards for Travelers Who Love Luxury

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Source: credit.com

How to Know if a Card With an Annual Fee is Worth It

When shopping for credit cards, your jaw may drop at the steep annual fee for the premium cards out there. Those gold-star perks do come with a price: We’re talking several hundred dollars and upwards. So when is the annual fee worth it? Here’s how to figure out whether you should fork over a hefty annual fee on a platinum credit card:

Make Sure the Perks Are Worth It

Simply put, you’ll want to make sure the perks outweigh the costs  So if that travel rewards card charges a $100 annual fee, if you get over $200 in miles or points toward free travel, paying extra for that card might be worth it.

What to look for include higher than average reward points per dollar, plus the extra features and travel-related benefits. With cash back cards, it’s easy to calculate the break-even point, explains Eric Rosenberg of Personal Profitability. “You can do a little math to figure out exactly what you need to spend on the card annually to earn back your fee and make a profit.”

A Three-Pronged Approach to Assessing Value

Another way to gauge whether a premium credit card is worth the annual fee is to assess three major things: 1. short-term value, 2. day-to-day value, and 3. experiential value through premium travel benefits, says Kathy Hart, a travel hacking enthusiast.

Short-term value is the generous introductory bonus that comes with many premium credit cards. For instance, on some cards you can earn 50,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 on your card within the first three months.

The day-to-day value is how many points you’ll net for everyday purchases. Some offers include up to three points for every dollar in certain categories. You can also score more points for rotating spending categories, such as groceries in the fall, or gas during the winter months.

Last, experiential value are all the neat travel perks that are widely promoted. This could include some sweet perks such as free ride share while traveling, meals on flights, and access to airport lounges replete with yummy snacks and beverages. Some cards may offer several hundred dollars in travel credit that you can use each year.

A word of caution: Don’t use credit cards unless paying the balance in full every month, points out Hart. “The benefits of travel points are negated if you are paying interest or fees,” she says. If you’re just starting out, start slowly.

Look at the Full Benefits

Besides the premium, heavily advertised perks of a credit card, you’ll want to get acquainted with your card’s full suite of benefits, says Lee Huffman, a personal finance and travel writer. “There are often underused perks—like price protection, VIP lounge access, purchase protections, extended warranty coverage, or primary rental car insurance—that can really provide huge value for you if you knew they were part of your card benefits.” You’ll want to compare these benefits with the other cards to see if you should keep it or apply for another one.

Track the Perks You’ve Cashed In On

Sure, there may be perks. But are you taking full advantage of them? Keep tabs on all the perks you’re raking in, estimate how much each perk is worth, then do the math to figure out if the fee is worth it. “Evaluate whether you are utilizing the benefits of the card,” says Hart. “ If you find you’re not using the card, see if you can downgrade it, or switch to a card that has a lower—or no annual fee.

Review Annually

To make sure the annual fee is worth it, review your cards annually. “Credit card benefits are constantly changing, so a card that worked perfectly for you last year, may not be the right one going forward,” says Huffman. “Make sure the bank is earning your business every year.” For instance, if one of your platinum cards starts to limit lounge access or reduces the number of free luggage, consider not renewing the card when the fee is due.

Another way to see if the card is worth its weight in annual fees? Add up all the value of the rewards and benefits the card offers you, but then to subtract what you would have received if you switched to the next best card with an annual fee, suggests Steele. If the difference is more than the cost of the annual fee, then the card’s a keeper.

And you’ll want to track your use as an individual that year, not just how much the card offers. So even if the card offers several hundred dollars in travel perks, but you only use, say $100 and the card has a $150 annual fee, it may not be worth it to you. And maybe the perks you end up using the most changes. And if the perks you end up using the most change you’ll want to take that into consideration.

Contact the Credit Card Company to Negotiate

Flex your negotiation muscles and see if the credit card issuer is willing to waive the annual fee. The best time to do it is right before the annual fee is due, points out Huffman. Let the credit card issuer know you’re considering closing the card because you’re not sure if the benefits are worth the annual fee any longer.

You just might be able to get them to toss in a few additional rewards to sweeten the deal. “It doesn’t work 100 percent of the time,” adds Steele, “but I’ve been successful enough that it’s worth the call.”

Before reaching out to the credit card issuer, do your homework. If you’re a customer with solid credit and have been stellar at making on-time payments, you’ll have more leverage. Plus, see what existing cards have comparable rewards and benefits with lower fees.

 

Consider Comparable Cards
Wondering if you should switch to another credit card? The trick is to add up the total value of a card’s rewards and benefits, then minus what you would’ve received if you switched to the next best card with an annual fee, says Jason Steele. If it ends up not being worthwhile, it might be time to switch to another credit card.

While you may initially experience sticker shock with those platinum credit cards that come with a, say, $450 annual fee, if you would end up benefiting from the travel-related and rewards points, it could end up being worth that extra chunk of change.

Jackie Lam is a personal finance writer. Her work has appeared in Investopedia, Magnify Money and The Bold Italic, and she’s been featured in Money, Kiplinger, Forbes and Woman’s Day. She runs Cheapsters.org, a blog to help freelancers and artists with their money, and to balance their passion projects and careers.

*This blog post does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.
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Source: mint.intuit.com