Tag Archives: Interest Rates

 

Mar19

When it’s Time to Cancel a Credit Card

Posted: March 19, 2018 by Ashley Dull

From the time we start building credit in our late teens or early 20s, many of us start collecting credit cards. Those credit cards inevitably begin to pile up, quickly overtaking even the most robust wallet.

 

By the time you can hardly sit for the bulk of your billfold, the idea of canceling a card or two starts to look pretty good. Even if your card collection has maintained a manageable size, you may need to consider whether it’s time for an upgrade; as your credit grows and financial needs change over time, your old cards may not be the best fit anymore.

 

For the most part, an unused credit card does little more harm than take up a slot in your wallet, and it may actually be helping your credit. That being said, there are two important reasons you may want to consider canceling a credit card: high fees or high interest rates.

 

To Stop Paying Unnecessary Annual Fees

 

The most pressing reason to close a credit card that isn’t pulling its weight is if it charges an annual fee. For example, while instant-approval credit cards can help build credit, they aren’t cards you want to hold on to forever due to the high annual and monthly fees they typically charge. If you’ve used the card responsibly, your credit score should increase enough to qualify for a better, fee-free card so you can leave the costly credit-builder behind.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, many elite rewards credit cards will charge high annual fees, with $400 to $500 fees not uncommon. While these cards often come with rewards and benefits that can make them worth the annual fee to some users, those who fail to make the most of the extra benefits may not be getting their money’s worth out of the annual fee. If you can’t justify the fee, cancel the card before your next fee is charged and look for a better fit.

 

To Avoid Paying High Interest Fees

 

The other main reason you may consider closing a credit card is if it charges a high interest rate. Although a card’s interest rate won’t typically matter if you never carry a balance, the temptation to use a credit card is always there so long as you have the card. If you have credit cards with interest rates above 20%, you may want to consider canceling the card and replacing it with one that offers a lower ongoing APR.

 

Credit Impacts to Consider Before You Cancel

 

While there are several good reasons to cancel an unused credit card, there is one solid reason to consider leaving it open: your credit score. Yes, closing a credit card account can potentially lower your credit score.

 

The impact of closing a credit card may be seen in several facets of your credit score, with the primary impact being to your utilization rate. FICO considers both your individual utilization rates as well as your overall utilization rate when calculating your score. Reducing your total available credit by canceling a credit card can increase your utilization rate if you currently have other credit card debt.

 

Other important FICO score factors can also be impacted by canceling a credit card, albeit to lesser degrees. Your average account age and overall credit history length (jointly worth 15% of your FICO score) can be reduced by canceling a card, particularly one that you’ve had for many years. While positive credit accounts will remain on your credit report for up to 10 years after they’re closed, closing very old accounts can have negative score impacts.

 

Lastly, creditors like to see a mix of several credit accounts and different types of accounts, as it shows you can handle a variety of credit products. As such, your overall credit mix, worth 10% of your credit score, can also be hurt by canceling a credit card, especially if you do not have very many other credit accounts.

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Jan12

When to Consolidate Credit Card Debt

Posted: January 12, 2018 by Ashley Dull

In the early days of the internet, getting an email was an event. The friendly little voice informed you that, “You’ve got mail!” and we hurried to click the icon and explore our digital deliveries. These days, the novelty of electronic mail has long since worn off, and checking your email tends to be about as exciting as opening the mailbox to a stack of bills — mostly because those bills have wormed their way into our email inboxes.

Indeed, depending on your situation, that digital stack of bills can be just as overwhelming as their paper-printed ancestors. And when you have a series of debts that bring in a few too many bills — or just a single, larger bill with a few too many digits — your inbox can be a daily reminder that something needs to be done.

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Nov30

How to Determine the Cost of a Loan

Posted: November 30, 2017 by Ashley Dull

In a perfect world, everyone would have the cash necessary to self-finance important purchases, and debt would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, we live in the real world, where borrowing is often a necessary part of everyday financial life.

With that being the case, it’s important to understand as much about the borrowing process as possible, not only to avoid the inevitable credit damage from bad financial decisions, but to also avoid paying far more for financial products than you really should. This is especially important for borrowers with poor credit who are already looking at higher-than-average financing costs.

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Oct12

What to Look For in a Loan

Posted: October 12, 2017 by Ashley Dull

If there’s one thing to be said about the modern world of consumer credit, it’s that the product options are abundant. While this is great for consumers looking for the best deal, sometimes there is such a thing as too many options (a dilemma quite familiar to anyone who has had the pleasure of waiting 15 minutes for the person ahead of them in line to order coffee).

Even something as seemingly simple as taking out a loan can turn into a series of decisions that require not only a bit of thought, but a bit of knowledge, as well. For instance, each type of loan, be it a mortgage, auto, student, or personal loan, has its own variations. Do you want a conventional mortgage or an FHA-backed loan? Should you get federally financed student loans, or private ones?

Beyond the peculiarities inherent in each type of loan, the majority of installment loans operate in the same general fashion, and each will be influenced by the same basic factors. Namely, your loan terms will primarily consist of your principal (how much you’re borrowing), the interest rate, often given as an annual percentage rate (APR), the loan length — how many months you’ll make payments — and the resulting monthly payment.

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