Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Only Credit Card Guide You Need

JD at Get Rich Slowly has written an excellent guide on credit cards. If you are instead looking to choose a credit card see Index Credit Cards.

JD doesn't seem to believe in using credit cards. I do. I think they allow the use of a general finance principle: why pay someone today when I can pay them later with no interest. By that I mean paying the bill at the end of the month. You pay no interest if you pay your card off every billing session and you get a month's worth of interest at the bank.

Personally I recommend paying off monthly for most people. Personally I like to get 0% interest cards (usually a year with no interest). I accumulate the cash in a bank account (HSBC at 5.05%) instead of paying the bill. (I pay down enough of the bill that I have an adaquete amount of credit left.) Before the 0% interest offer expires I pay the amount in full out of the bank account, having earned a year's worth of interest on my spending. One caveat, if you don't have the restraint to actually move the money to a seperate account you should pay the bill monthly and each time you purcahse something either set it aside in a different account or at least keep track of it (in notepad or Quicken) so that you know your "real balance."

The Guide covers the important questions:

  1. What should I be wary of when getting a credit card?
  2. What do all of these terms mean? I can't understand the application.
  3. Is it safe to pay bills with a credit card?
  4. How do I cancel a credit card?
  5. How can I get a late fee waived?
  6. How do I stop credit card offers from coming in the mail?
  7. How many credit cards to people carry?
  8. How can I play the credit card arbitrage game?
  9. How can I get a FREE copy of my credit report?
  10. How do I dispute credit report errors?
  11. How does a credit score work?
  12. How can I improve my credit score?
  13. I have a lot of credit card debt — how do I pay it off?
  14. Where can I find more information on credit and credit cards?

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