Video: How Will Meghan Markle Get Out Of Debt?

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Meghan Markle has become Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, but has her new title and castle given her a free pass out of debt? We’re not sure, but considering her stance as a self-proclaimed feminist, we wouldn’t be surprised if she still wants to pay off her own credit card. Watch Professor MoneyTips Jeff Hoyt explain how Debt Optimizer can help Meghan – and you – minimize debt payments in our exclusive video above.

If you want to reduce your interest payments and lower your debt, try the free Debt Optimizer by MoneyTips.

Most of Us Don’t Know Our Credit Card APR

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Are you getting the best deal on your credit cards? If you regularly carry a balance, a new survey from CreditCards.com suggests there’s almost a 50/50 chance you don’t know how good your deal is – because you aren’t sure what the annual percentage rate (APR) is on your cards.

The poll of 2,315 adults found that 48% of credit card holders who carry balances weren’t sure about the interest rates on their credit cards. Only 39% of cardholders with balances claimed to know the interest rates on all their cards.

Worse yet, cardholders making less than $40,000 per year were significantly more likely not to know the APRs on their credit cards than higher-income groups. In general, lower-income consumers have the greatest need to track APRs, because they have tighter budgets and less room for error.

Credit card APRs are at an all-time high average of 16.71%, and they are likely to go higher. If you have a variable-rate APR, as most cards do, the rate is tied t…

3 Tips Before Applying For A Rewards Credit Card

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Do you receive rewards from your current credit card? Unless you are just starting out and have no credit history, or are attempting to rebuild poor credit, you should be able to qualify for a rewards credit card. We suggest evaluating your credit card options to optimize your rewards – but consider these three tips before you start your search.

1. Understand Your Qualifications and Preferences – Cards are available at different rewards levels. With a higher credit score and a positive payment history, you will qualify for greater rewards. How does your credit score stand up?

As you evaluate card options, check your credit score against the targeted market for the card (for poor, fair, good, or excellent credit). The card issuer’s website should make that target clear. You can check your credit score and read your cr…

6 Situations Where A Personal Loan May Be Better Than A Credit Card

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When you have a relatively large expense that you can’t cover with cash on hand, you generally have two choices to consider: revolving debt such as a credit card, or installment debt such as a personal loan. Which option works best for you?

Consider the difference between the two types of debt. Revolving debt has no finite payment — you can pay as much or as little as you want, but realize that you are paying interest for the privilege of carrying that debt. Installment debt allows you to set up a regular repayment plan over time, and the terms of repayment (the interest rate and length of repayment period) will dictate how much you repay per installment and over the total course of the loan. You can budget your interest costs with certainty, assuming that you make regular payments.

Typically, credit cards come with higher interest rates than personal loans. Introductory offer…

Lenders Pulling Back on New Subprime Loans

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It’s tough living on the lower end of the credit score scale. If you have a credit score below 640 or so, you are generally given “subprime” lending offers for any form of credit that you request. From credit cards to auto loans and mortgages, you will be hit with higher interest rates and potentially other restrictions and fees.

According to credit bureau TransUnion’s Q2 2017 Industry Insights Report, you now have another problem to deal with – difficulty in getting credit at all.

TransUnion found that overall originations for subprime consumer credit have dropped sharply over the past four quarters. Total subprime originations dropped from a post-crisis peak of just under 6 million consumers in Q2 2016 to just under 4.6 million in Q1 2017. The last two quarters represent the first consecutive year-over-year decreases in overall subprime ori…

Credit Card Delinquencies Soar

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America’s economy is improving by most standards – but is it improving on the backs of excessive debt?

According to the New York Federal Reserve, total household debt reached a new high of $13.15 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2017. While the majority of household debt is mortgage debt, consumer credit rose by the largest amount in sixteen years, and revolving debt (primarily credit cards) increased by a substantial $26 billion from the third quarter of 2017.

Debt is not necessarily bad, even high-interest credit card debt, as long as it’s managed well. Unfortunately, Federal Reserve data also shows a general increase in credit card delinquencies.

Credit card delinquency rates had decreased steadily from the 2009 recessionary peak of 6.7% down to 2.12% in early 2015, but since then delinquency rates have trended upward. Delinquencies dropped slightly in the fourth quarter of 2017 – from 2.52% in the third quarter to 2.48% – but the overall upward tre…

Video: The Big Mistake This Instagram Star Made With Her Credit Score

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You learned reading, writing and arithmetic in school, but did you learn anything about credit? Watch award-winning wellness author Nikki Sharp share with MoneyTips Consumer Advocate Kristin Malia the credit score insights she wishes she’d been taught at school.

You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips.

Interest Rate Acronyms

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APR and APY – are they new texting acronyms? IDK, you say – or rather, you text? (For the benefit of the textually-challenged, IDK means “I don’t know.”) If you think they are texting acronyms, or just “DK” what they are, it’s time to learn.

APR and APY are financial acronyms, short for Annual Percentage Rate and Annual Percentage Yield, respectively. Both are interest rates, but they have a significant difference. APR does not address how interest is compounded – the default is the interest that you earn if you are depositing money, or pay if you are borrowing it – in one year. APY takes into account how often the interest is compounded.

If interest is compounded once per year, there is no difference between APR and APY – interest is added all at one time. However, let’s assume an interest rate is compounded monthly. In that case, the interest payment is divided up into twelve equal increments.

If you are earning interest on a deposit, that adds a sma…

Risks Businesses Take With Credit Cards

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Many businesses make use of credit cards for daily purchases, and some new small business owners even finance their entire business on credit cards in the beginning. A business can make use of various reward points and other perks to save money and build up its credit score, but there are some downsides to using business credit, too. Just as with individual credit cards, there are risks. Here are a few things a business needs to be wary of.

Multiple employees can have credit cards connected to the same account, making it easy for businesses with several employees who need to make regular purchases. However, these employees can abuse their credit cards by using them for personal purchases. The business is respons…