Why Arizona Consumers Should Avoid Cash Advances on Credit Cards

Cash advances on credit cards don’t work like normal purchases. These transactions come with different rules and interest rates, and they get expensive quickly. Relying on credit card cash advances to cover expenses is a bad habit. It can easily lead to heavy fees, very high balances, and lower credit scores. Why Credit Card Cash Advances Cost Arizonians too Much Money Unless you read the fine print on your user agreements, you may think that using your credit card to get cash is the same as swiping it to buy shoes. Chances are, it isn’t. Most credit card issuers charge higher interest rates for cash advances. Also, these interest rates kick in immediately, with no grace period granted. On average, interest rates on credit card cash advances are around 23.68%, even for cardholders with good credit. Also, borrowing cash on your credit card normally comes with a fee. Most Minnesotans are charged $10 or five percent of the cash amount borrowed. Unfortunately, borrowers pay the more expensive of the two. For example, if you only need $40, you’ll pay the $10 fee. However, you if need a $600 cash advance, you’ll owe the issuer $630. When you add possible ATM fees into the equation, credit card cash advances don’t make much sense financially. This is especially true for Minnesota consumers who routinely use them. Depending on your needs, you may consider taking out a small personal loan or borrowing money from a family member as better options. Ideally, though, you should limit your spending and fit your expenses to your income. Treating your savings as a necessary expense is...

Tips for Arizona Consumers who are Pulling their Credit Reports for the First Time

It’s important for Arizona consumers who want to build and maintain a good credit score to regularly pull and check their credit reports. This will allow you to catch suspicious activity that could indicate identity theft and find errors that might bring down your credit score. If you’ve never checked your credit reports, don’t worry. Now is a good time to start. It won’t cost you anything to request copies of your credit reports from each of the three major reporting bureaus. It’s also fairly simple to make these requests, but there are a few things you should know if you’re pulling your credit reports for the first time. How Arizonians can Simplify the Process for Pulling Credit Reports There is a federal statute known as the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. It grants you a free copy of your credit report from each of the major reporting bureaus every 12 months. If you have looked at your credit reports in a while, or if it’s your first time pulling them, it’s best to request all three at once. You can go to TransUnion.com, Experian.com, and Equifax.com and request a credit report from each bureau individually. There are online forms on each credit bureau’s website. Or, you can get their addresses and write letters requesting physical copies of your credit reports through the mail. Of course, the most convenient way to get copies of your credit reports from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax is to go to www.annualcreditreport.com and fill out the easy online form offered here. Credit Report Pulling Prep-Work If you choose to fill out an online...

Arizona Consumers who are Worried about Credit Card Debt should ask themselves these 6 Questions

For Arizona residents who suspect that they might be in over their heads with credit card debt, there are some sure signs for which to look. The fact that you’re concerned, however, is a good sign. It means that you aren’t living in denial of a potential problem. Yet, before panicking, ask yourself these six questions. You can then determine whether or not your credit card debt is out of control. Early recognition of the problem may prevent financial trouble and credit score damage. Six Questions to Help Arizonians Identify a Credit Card Debt Crisis Any Arizona consumer who has ever experienced problems with credit card debt can tell you that problems can sneak up on you. It may seem that everything is going fine. But if your spending increases and your payments don’t, debt starts to accumulate. For Arizonians who have a nagging suspicion that they are not managing their credit cards as well as they should, here are the six important questions to ask. Your honest answers may help you salvage your credit score before it’s too late. If your credit score has dropped, now is the time to check your credit reports. Are your balances just going up and up every month? Ideally, you should be paying your credit card balances off every month. This is the only way to avoid interest charges and debt accumulation. If you’re not paying your monthly credit card bills in full, you should at least whittle down the balances. Growing balances, on the other hand, are a sign of overspending. Are any of your credit cards maxed out? Arizona consumers...

Why Arizona Consumers should be Concerned about what Happens on the Dark Web

Most Arizona consumers have at least heard about the Dark Web, but they may not know exactly what it is or why it exists. Of course, it isn’t a real place. The Dark Web is a term that describes the part of the internet that is inaccessible to most internet users. If you’re an average Arizona consumer, Dark Web activity should give you cause for concern. Why? This is where hackers go to sell stolen personal identifiable information (PII) online. If you are the victim of a single identity thief or a large-scale data breach, it’s likely that your data will show up on the Dark Web. Here, a fraudster can simply purchase it the way you might buy a toaster on Amazon. That’s pretty scary, huh? A Quick Rundown for Arizonians about the Differences between the Dark Web and the Deep Web Here is a fact that most Arizona consumers will find surprising: Over 90% of the internet is known as the Deep Web. This just means that a huge chunk of the internet isn’t searched by search engines, and most of the Deep Web is pretty innocent. Actually, it’s mostly made up of things like school websites, internal business pages, and database entries that are searchable within a site. For example, if you have access to your son or daughter’s school lunch menus or bus schedules, this information is probably part of the Deep Web. However, you can still get to it because you were given access, but it isn’t publicly searchable. What is publicly searchable on the internet? Any web address that starts with “www,” which...

How Arizona Consumers can Guard their Credit Scores against Auto Loan Mistakes

A lot of Arizona consumers have found that car ownership is unavoidable and expensive. It’s easy to finance a vehicle that you think you can afford only to be overwhelmed by your monthly payments. The truth is that too many Arizona car buyers don’t realize how much they’ll be paying in interest charges. They may also forget to set aside money in their budgets for cost of ownership expenses. These include fuel, auto insurance, maintenance work, and repairs. Often, Arizonians who already have bad credit miss a car payment or two. They may even default on their loan, and end up having their vehicle repossessed. This just makes their bad credit worse. Repossession also leaves them with fees that they can’t pay and a lack of transportation. However, with careful planning and realistic expectations, you can finance the car you need without blowing your budget or ruining your credit score. Should Arizonians with Low Credit Scores Finance their Vehicle Purchases? One surefire way to avoid going into debt over a car purchase in Arizona is to buy an inexpensive vehicle outright with cash. This will also allow you to avoid the high interest rates that come with bad credit auto loans. Yet, there are three reasons why buying a cheaper car with cash may not be the best idea. While it won’t hurt your credit score, paying for a vehicle with cash won’t do anything to help it either. You have to use credit in order to build good credit. So, yes, taking out an auto loan means taking on debt, but it will also give you a chance...

Should Arizonians be Worried about Sky High Consumer Debt?

It looks like the days of credit-shyness have come to an end. Following the Recession, Arizona consumers were timid about taking on new debt. Recently, though, auto loan, student loan, and credit card debt levels have shot up. These levels now to exceed pre-Recession highs. While this may seem like cause for alarm, a lot of economists think that it’s a good sign. It shows that Arizonians and other Americans are feeling more confident about their financial stability. However, there are some warning signs out there that might indicate the need for caution. After all, it’s difficult to predict just how long the economy will remain stable. Therefore, even the most confident Arizona consumers should always have a backup plan just in case something goes wrong. Namely, keeping an eye on your credit reports and building an emergency fund may go a long way toward protecting your credit score in the event of a financial crisis. Why Arizonians should be Aware of how Every Type of Consumer Debt can Lead to Credit Score Problems On the one hand, the fact that Arizona consumers are getting over their credit-shyness is a very good thing. Using credit consistently and responsibly is the only way to build good credit. On the other hand, over-confidence can lead to overwhelming debt and a damaged credit score. Student Debt One type of debt that seems to be almost unavoidable for a lot of Arizonians is student loan debt. College is expensive, but higher education is also a good investment because, ideally, having a degree will lead to landing a good job. Currently, Americans collectively carry...

How Arizona Consumers can stop the Debt Cycle and Start Using Credit Responsibly

Arizona consumers with unmanageable debt loads should work to bring their balances down. That doesn’t mean they should stop using credit altogether. Responsible credit use is the only way to build and maintain good credit, but you don’t want to spend the rest of your life shackled to debt and paying out the nose on interest charges. Unfortunately, a lot of Arizonians who’ve built hefty amounts of debt have just resigned themselves to their current situations. They don’t see an end to the debt cycle, so they just accept the fact that they’ll be in debt for the rest of their lives. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. With careful budgeting and a willingness to restrain excessive spending, heavily indebted Arizona consumers can pay down high credit card balances, save money on interest charges, and start using credit as a tool to build a better credit score. How Most Arizona Consumers Start the Debt Cycle with Credit Card Abuse In 2017 the Northwestern Mutual Planning and Progress Study revealed that the average American carries about $37,000 in debt. This includes mortgages, student loans, personal loans, auto loans, and credit card debt. According to the same study, about half of those who are indebted in the U.S. regularly devote about half of their income to debt repayment. Of course, there’s little that you can do about having a house or car payment. You need a place to live, and most Arizona residents need access to a vehicle. At best, you may be able to refinance your current mortgage or loan in order to get a better interest rate....

Are Retailers Like Curacao Helpful or Harmful to Arizona Consumer Credit Scores?

If you live in the Phoenix, Arizona area, you’re probably familiar with a retail chain called Curacao. This company offers furniture, household appliances, computers, jewelry, and a host of other items. If you’re new to Curacao, the first thing you’ll notice is that the retailer strongly encourages their customers to sign up for its branded credit card. A quick glance through the company’s website makes it clear that most of the Arizona consumers who shop with Curacao do so with credit. It’s also obvious this retail chain largely caters to the Hispanic community. On the Curacao website, most items that are over $50 have a “per month” price listed below the buying price. Shoppers can purchase big ticket items by making small monthly payments over time. Retailers like Curacao give Arizona consumers the opportunity to buy products that they are not able to afford outright. However, the stores also enable customers to build debt, default on payments, and eventually ruin their credit scores. Are the potential opportunities worth the risks? How Arizona Consumers Can Benefit from Using a Curacao Credit Card to Pay for Big Ticket Items over Time First, skeptical Arizonians realize that, if managed properly, credit cards can be used to build good credit scores. The Curacao credit card is fairly easy to obtain (even for consumers with less than perfect credit). Yet, those with bad credit who still qualify for Curacao credit may get a 35% APR. Credit cards issued to applicants with good credit come with a 20% interest rate. Higher credit card interest rates aren’t a problem if you pay off balances in full...

The Top 5 Ways for Arizona Consumers to Kill their Credit Scores

It seems unlikely that any Arizona resident would willingly do anything to kill their credit score. However, you may be unknowingly wrecking your credit score by making one or more of these common mistakes. Having a low credit score in Arizona can make it harder to get good interest rates on loans, prevent you from renting an apartment, and cause you to pay more for car insurance. Luckily, even bad credit can be fixed. In order to get on the right track, though, it’s important to correct the habits that are preventing you from earning a good credit score. The Five Mistakes that Arizonians with Bad Credit Scores Might be Making If you’re like a lot of Arizona consumers, you have a lot to keep track of on a daily basis. Juggling work, school, family, and finances can be tricky business, so it’s understandable if your credit score isn’t always at the top of your priority list. Yet, it’s important to be aware of any actions that might be harming your credit score in order to revise your habits and repair you credit. 1 – Paying Bills Late You’re bad with due dates and don’t think anything of it if your payments are a little tardy. At least you’re paying, right? Wrong. Meeting your financial responsibilities is crucial, but lenders will only view you as truly responsible if you’re meeting them on time. Not only can late payments hurt your credit score, but paying bills late can also be expensive. Often, late fees are imposed, and these fines can quickly add up and wreck your budget. 2 – Using...

Arizona Consumers should know that NOW is the Time to Pay off High Credit Card Debt

Here’s some bad news for Arizona consumers who carry high credit card balances: Your credit card debt is about to get more expensive. In Arizona and every other state, credit card interest rates are based on consumer credit scores and the prime interest rate which is set by the Federal Reserve. The prime interest rate has recently been bumped up by a quarter percentage point. This may not seem like much of an increase, but a lot of Arizonians will see a significant change on their monthly credit card statements. Also, another quarter point rate hike is expected before the end of 2017. This means that, if possible, you should be paying down high credit card balances. It’s also a good time to improve your credit score in order to qualify for a credit card with a lower interest rate. The Impact of Federal Reserve Interest Rate Hikes on Arizona Credit Card Debt According to USA Today, average credit card interest rates are around 15.07% (with assigned rates for subprime consumers being substantially higher). If an Arizona consumer carries a balance of $5,000 on a card with a 15.7% APR, a quarter point prime rate hike will add about $175 in interest charges for the year. By the time 2019 rolls around, all of the planned prime rate hikes could take an additional $525 annually onto this Arizonians credit card debt. ValuePenguin.com has published statistics showing that the average amount of credit card debt per household in Arizona was $5,673 in 2016. This means that a lot of consumers in the Grand Canyon State are likely to feel the...