Many people use credit card purchases during the holidays. They can help spread out payments for gifts, and rewards cards can provide substantial benefits by the time everyone’s gift is purchased.

If you’re going to use credit cards for holiday gift shopping, you should definitely know how to do so wisely. Follow these best credit card practices ahead of the holidays, so the cards are a net benefit and don’t bring you negative consequences.

Make Sure You Can Pay the Balance Off

While credit cards can help you spread holiday gift costs some, you don’t want to string these payments out indefinitely. Make sure you can pay off whatever you spend on gifts, preferably before interest is charged.

Budget your gift purchases so that you know how much you can spend. Consider any savings, salary/wages, and bonuses that you’ll receive, and can devote to gift giving. You might be able to count salaries received in early January, depending on your credit card payment cycle. Keep in mind that many people receive at least small holiday bonuses.

Consider a 0% APR Introductory Offer

Most credit cards will give you about 30 days to pay off purchases without interest, which may extend your timeframe into January. Some cards come with 0% APR introductory offers that don’t charge interest for three months, six months, or longer.

If you want to spread payments out for a longer period, consider applying for a credit card with a 0% APR offer. Just make sure you can pay off your purchases within the offer period, and that your extended payments won’t prevent you from taking a summer vacation or other fun activities that you do.

Ask for a Limit Increase

If you’re using credit cards solely for the rewards, you might be able to eke out a few more rewards by asking for a credit increase. You should already be making on-time payments if you’re in this situation. You also hopefully have no balance.

For customers who meet these conditions, many credit card companies will provide nominal limit increases. A 10% request might be good, as it’s reasonably likely to be granted and should help cover holiday spending.

Get Help With Existing Credit Card Debt

If you’re already struggling with credit card debt, don’t make it worse by overspending these holidays. Get help managing your existing debt and finding financial freedom in the future. For this holiday season, there are lots of inexpensive and DIY gifts that people will cherish.

 

For help managing credit card debt, contact us at KeyCreditRepair.com. We can assist with a wide range of credit card problems. Get in touch now for a free consultation before you’re too busy with the holidays!

If you have a credit card, of course you want to use it wisely to protect your finances. That’s why it’s always a good idea to treat paying with a credit card the same way that you would treat paying with cash. Still, there are some wise ways you can use a credit card that you may not be aware of.

To Pay Down Debt

Many people associate credit cards with getting into debt, but this doesn’t have to be the case. In some instances, it might actually make sense to use a credit card to pay down debt. This is especially true if you have debt with a high-interest rate and a credit card with a lower interest rate. You can save yourself a large chunk of change in interest alone by transferring your debt to a credit card with a lower rate.

To Earn Rewards

When used wisely, credit cards can also be used to rack up rewards and cash back. While the specifics can vary from one credit card company to the next, most credit cards include some sort of rewards system that can really add up. If you have a travel credit card, for example, you might be able to accumulate airline miles for each dollar you spend. Other cards may allow you to simply earn cash back that you can apply to your account and reduce your total balance.

For Peace of Mind

When it comes to making payments, credit cards can give you some added security and peace of mind compared to that of using cash or even a debit card. If your credit card is lost or stolen, or if your credit card information is compromised, most credit card companies will allow you to easily dispute and dismiss any fraudulent charges to your account so that you’re not left on the hook for them.

To Build Credit Strategically

When you use your credit card responsibly, you can actually build your credit and boost your credit score gradually. The key, in most cases, is to be mindful of your credit card utilization and keep it ideally around 30% each month. From there, be sure to treat your card as cash; this means being able to pay the balance off in full each month. These are the best ways to use your credit card to build your credit score over time.

Looking to Fix Your Credit?

As you can see, there are many smart ways to use your credit card that you may have never even considered. At the end of the day, if you can use your credit card responsibly, you can enjoy many benefits that range from cashback/rewards to lower debt overall.

 

Looking for more help when it comes to your credit and finances? Our credit repair experts are always here to help. Get in touch with our friendly team today to find out more and schedule your free consultation and credit coaching plan.

Is your credit score weighing you down? Perhaps a low score is preventing you from taking out a much-needed car loan or even qualifying for a mortgage. Or maybe you’re simply worried about errors on your credit report bringing your score down. Regardless, it’s important to understand your rights and options when it comes to credit repair.

How Does Credit Repair Work?

Specifically, credit repair is a process that involves disputing inaccuracies and other negative marks on your credit report in order to boost your score and ensure your report is accurate. The credit repair process can be long and complex, as it involves filing formal disputes and writing letters—often to each of the major reporting bureaus (Equifax, Transunion, and Experian).

Fortunately, third-party credit repair companies can take the time, hassle, and frustration out of the process. By working with a credit repair company, you can rest assured that an experienced professional will pull your credit reports, scour them for inaccuracies/discrepancies, and file formal disputes with the credit bureaus. Meanwhile, you won’t have to lift a finger.

Credit repair companies can also assist with writing and sending cease-and-desist orders to debt collectors who may be hassling you. Even in instances where negative marks on your report (such as charge-offs or tax liens) are accurate, a credit repair professional can sometimes work with creditors to negotiate and create a plan that works for all parties involved.

Once all disputes and errors are corrected on your credit report, you can see an immediate improvement in your credit score. Generally, each credit bureau has 30 days from the day a formal dispute was received to respond. This means that you could have a better credit score in as little as a month. And, of course, with a better credit score comes a greater ability to get approved for loans and other financing terms.

Is Credit Repair Right For You?

If your credit score is less than ideal—especially to the point that it affects your day-to-day finances—then it may be worth looking into credit repair services. Working with a third-party credit repair company will allow you to sit back, relax, and allow the professionals to work on your behalf. This frees up more of your valuable free time while ensuring that any issues with your credit report are handled properly and promptly.

Meanwhile, the credit repair process is more expeditious than ever, so you can see results quickly. This is because many reporting bureaus now offer online services to speed up the process. While some forms and paperwork must still be handled by mail, the credit repair process is much faster than it was before the era of the Internet.

How Key Credit Repair Can Help

 

At Key Credit Repair, we’re committed to helping you fix your credit. We’ll work to clean up inaccuracies, file disputes, and make sure your credit report is correct. Meanwhile, our online portal makes it easy and convenient for you to monitor our work. Ready to get started? Reach out to our team for a free consultation!

Taking steps to fix your credit can be helpful, especially if you’re planning on making a big purchase, such as a house or car. Improving your credit can also help you get better rates on insurance. When you decide to focus on repairing your credit, ensure you’re doing it the right way. Making mistakes in credit repair can be costly. The following are some of the common mistakes you should avoid making:

1. Ignoring Your Credit Reports

You’re entitled to get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus, which include TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax, each year. You can access these reports on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

Looking over these reports is where you should start when you want to fix your credit. These reports give you a chance to look for and report errors that are affecting your credit. A reliable credit repair specialist can help you find errors on these reports and work on removing them. 

2. Procrastinating on Credit Repair

Delaying credit repair can worsen your credit or stop it from improving, such as when you have harmful errors on one or more credit reports. These errors can stay on your reports for up to seven years.

The sooner you file credit disputes and clean up your credit reports, the sooner your credit can improve. A credit repair company can help you get started on fixing your credit. 

3. Not Sending Certified Mail

When you fill out paperwork to dispute a credit error or when you’re corresponding with collection agencies or creditors, always send it certified. Sending uncertified mail means you won’t have proof that the creditor, collection agency, or credit bureau received your paperwork. This can cause delays in having your credit fixed. Working with a dependable credit repair company helps ensure you handle paperwork correctly.

4. Closing Credit Card Accounts

You might think that closing accounts can give your credit a boost. However, this can end up lowering your credit score. Closing accounts can harm your credit history, which makes up a third of your credit score. Credit repair specialists can help you figure out how to handle your credit card accounts, including whether or not to close any.

 

5. Paying Old Debts

Paying off debts past the statute of limitations in your state might restart those debts. If you’re only making a partial payment on them, you could find yourself back on the hook for the total amount. A credit repair company can go over all of your debts with you and guide you when it comes to handling older debts. 

If you need help fixing up your credit, we’re here to help. Please contact Key Credit Repair for more information on our services or schedule a free consultation with our credit repair experts.

Your credit score is one of the most important things you have to prove your creditworthiness. If you plan to borrow money to buy a home or car, you’ll need to have a good credit score. That helps lenders see you can be a good credit risk for them. How do you maintain a good credit score? There are a wide range of factors that contribute to your credit score. Here are five ways you’ll need to focus.

#1: Making On Time Payments

Lenders value on time payments heavily. It is one of the most common factors to impact credit scores. Even being a few days late on a loan can make lenders worry you are struggling financially. Prioritize paying your debts a few days before they are due to minimize the risk of making a late payment. The best way to ensure that is to set up an automatic payment. Most lenders let you set up a specific day of the month for money to come out of your checking account. Since it is automatic, you don’t have to worry about it getting there late.

#2: Keep Your Credit Limit Lower

While it is ideal to owe less than 30 percent of your available credit limit on your loans, that is not realistic for many people. What is most important is to keep your balance under the limit. Going over it could hurt your score. Work to pay down your debt over time to help reduce the costs you’ll have to pay in overextending yourself.

#3: Keep Older Credit Lines Open

It’s tricky to keep older lines of credit open and not use them. However, your oldest credit lines are some of the most valuable to you. They show lenders you’ve been using credit for a long time. That means your credit score is a good representation of your actual risk. You’re not new but proven. If you have an old credit line you want to maintain, use it just for a few small purchases each month. Then, pay those debts off in full each month.

#4: Use Credit

Just having a line of credit or a credit card isn’t enough. You also need to use credit and make on time payments to prove yourself. A good way to do this is to use your credit card for gas payments or utility bills only. Then, pay it off every month on time in full.

#5: Check Your Credit Reports

It’s also important to make sure all information being reported about you is accurate. You can obtain a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus one time each year. Do that at AnnualCreditReport.com. Look for errors and report mistakes right away.

Get the Help You Need to Repair Your Credit Now

Improving your credit score takes time and knowledge. With the help of our team at Key Credit Repair, you can get outstanding support to make better financial decisions. We are a bonded, fully insured, and top-rated credit counseling company ready to support you. Call us today to learn more.



Pros and Cons of Credit Cards vs. Debit Cards

Credit cards and debit cards are both convenient payment methods that most merchants accept. However, notable differences make each preferable for certain purposes. Here are the pros and cons (and when you might want to use) each one:

Interest and Fees: Debit Cards

Both credit cards and debit cards can have fees associated with them, but credit cards tend to have more fees and also charge interest:

  • Credit cards can have any number of fees, possibly including an annual fee, late payment fee, over-limit fee and others. Interest is typically billed monthly on any unpaid balances.
  • Debit cards can have overdraft fees, and many charge a small fee anytime that they’re run as a “debit” transaction.

The fees and interest can be managed with both types of cards. Credit cards without annual fees are readily available. As long as you remain under the credit limit and pay off balances each month, you won’t pay late fees, over-limit fees or interest. Debit card overdraft fees can be avoided by budgeting accurately, and the per-transaction fee doesn’t apply if you pay via “credit.”

For the simplest and most sure way to avoid fees and interest, though, a debit card is the better choice.

Rewards: Credit Cards

Debit cards that offer rewards are hard to find, but many credit cards provide rewards. Rewards can include cashback or points, the latter which might pay for consumer goods, tavel or other items. Some rewards programs even have an option that allows you to donate to charity.

The standard rewards that credit cards offer generally range from 1 to 5 percent, and sometimes certain categories get higher percentages back. This is in addition to bonus sign-up rewards, which can be substantial and many cards come with for new accounts.

Many people use credit cards because of their rewards. In order for the rewards to be worthwhile, however, you must avoid fees and interest.

Purchase Protection: Credit Cards

Many credit cards offer purchase protection, which can include dispute resolution, insurance and other provisions. You can usually contest charges if a merchant fails to meet its obligations. Insurance is normally offered for specific purchases, such as rental cars or travel.

Debit cards don’t offer any such purchase protections. For this reason, it may be wise to use credit cards whenever you pay for more expensive items.

Credit: Credit Cards

Because credit cards are effectively lines of credit that provide short-term financing, they affect your credit. Making at least the minimum monthly payment establishes a payment history, which is part of your credit score and history. 

The effect on credit can work against you if you over-borrow, fail to make payments and carry high balances, however.

Get Help With Bad Credit

If you’ve gotten into credit card trouble and now have bad credit, contact us at Key Credit Repair. We can help you begin improving your credit score and credit report.



Top 7 Ways To Plan Your Budget for a Pet Emergency

Having a pet comes with a lot of love and enjoyment, but it can also come with plenty of expenses. Some of those are expected and easy to budget for, but if you have a pet emergency you might not be prepared. Here are seven great ways to protect your budget and be more prepared for an emergency with your pet.

1. Don’t Avoid Basic, Preventative Care

It can be easy to avoid taking your pet for routine checkups, especially if they seem healthy. But if you have them checked out on a regular basis, a problem could be caught before it develops into something much worse. Not only is that better for your pet’s health, but it’s easier on your budget to treat the problem before it becomes an emergency.

2. Create an Emergency Fund Separate From Your Savings Account

If you put some money back into a separate account, you’ll have it to spend if your pet has an emergency. Whether it’s part of your overall emergency fund, or it’s an additional account that’s only for your pet, it’s a good idea to keep it separate, so you aren’t tempted to spend it on something else.

3. Apply for Care Credit, To Have if You Need It

Care Credit is a credit card that’s designed to be used for pet medical expenses. If you have it and don’t need it, that’s much better than needing it and not having it. It’s easy to apply for, and could help your pet get emergency care when it’s needed most.

4. Choose a Good Pet Insurance Plan

Pet insurance can be one of the best ways to plan for a pet emergency. If you have insurance for your pet the amount you have to pay will be limited, no matter how much the care actually costs. It’s just like having health insurance for yourself or your family members, and can really make a difference in the cost of your pet’s emergency care.

5. Look for Veterinarians Who Work With Their Clients

Some veterinarians will take payments or work out other terms with clients whose pets need emergency care. If you can find a veterinarian in your area who does that, it can be a great way for you to start developing a relationship with medical professionals you can trust in your pet’s time of need.

6. Reach Out to Charities That Help With Vet Bills

There are a lot of charities that specifically help with vet bills, so you have some options if you end up with a pet emergency that goes beyond your budget. It’s a good idea to do some research on the charities ahead of time, so you know which ones will be most likely to help you, and how to apply for that help.

7. Plan Ahead Before Adding a Pet To Your Family

While pets are wonderful additions to many families, they definitely cost money. If you’re not in a position to pay for emergency pet care right now, it may be worthwhile to wait on getting a pet if you don’t already have one. With some planning, you can add one to your family in the future and have more financial peace of mind at the same time.