Credit & Debt Smart Military Money

  • How to Improve your Credit Score without a Credit Card

    How to Improve your Credit Score without a Credit Card

    Although having a credit card is good for military families in emergencies, not all service members and spouses have or want one. Even those who carry plastic try not to use it for fear of losing control of their finances. Responsible credit card use can help consumers develop and strengthen their credit score. But that's not the only route. Military members and spouses can do several things other than swip…

  • Using a Credit Card Responsibly

    Using a Credit Card Responsibly

    Military members are more likely to have a credit card than civilians. They’re also less likely to pay their balance in full. Those findings come from a 2010 survey conducted by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. They also suggest that some military members may be struggling to stay afloat financially. Carrying credit card balances can harm your credit score and make it difficult to secure car lo…

  • 6 Fees That Might Be Hiding in Your Bank Statement

    6 Fees That Might Be Hiding in Your Bank Statement

    You never know what fees and charges are lurking in your bank statement. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase dumped charging debit card fees in 2012, so it seems customers won some sort of battle. Still, everybody—especially young military families trying to save money—needs to closely examine every bank statement for fees. Here are six things to look for: Minimum balances These might …

  • 7 Things to Consider Before Signing Up for a New Credit Card

    7 Things to Consider Before Signing Up for a New Credit Card

    Credit may make the world go round, but it has become a complicated system where individuals juggle large balances across a number of sources. If you’re looking to open your first credit card account or just shopping around for a new one, look for these key terms before you sign on the dotted line: Introductory Offers Introductory offers are often associated with store credit cards. You may wonder wh…

  • 5 Ways Banks Recoup Abandoned Debit Card Fees

    5 Ways Banks Recoup Abandoned Debit Card Fees

    The stories fell from the headlines, but customers won't forget when big banks tried to impose debit card fees. Last fall, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo announced plans to charge customers a few for having a debit card. Well, the banks ditched those fees after customers publicized their disdain. Banks planned to use the fee to make up for about $12 billion in revenue after the Credit Card …

  • Shopping for 3 Major Investments

    Shopping for 3 Major Investments

    Some purchase decisions take little to no time, such as choosing a candy bar at the checkout lane. Major investments get consumers thinking and researching. But a large chunk of military consumers seem to be making big investments without exploring their options, according to a 2010 survey by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. The survey found that: Only 24 percent of military respondents shopped …

  • 5 Things to Know about Balance-Transfer Checks

    5 Things to Know about Balance-Transfer Checks

    This is the sixth and final day of our series Put a Bow on Your Holiday Budget: 6 Days of Advice. From time to time, credit card bills show up with what looks like a personal check. This is typically a balance-transfer check, which is intended to help you pay off a balance with another creditor who charges you a higher interest rate. The holiday season is a good time of year for creditors to tempt customer…

  • 2 Credit Card Spending Phenomena You May Experience

    2 Credit Card Spending Phenomena You May Experience

    This is day five of our series Put a Bow on Your Holiday Budget: 6 Days of Advice. Holiday shopping takes a toll on credit cards and pocketbooks nationwide. Sales for the 2011 holiday shopping season have increased 2.8 percent compared to 2010, according to the National Retail Federation. It’s a healthy sign for an economy that depends on its consumers, but budget-conscious military and veteran spenders …

  • Risky Decisions with Rent-To-Own

    Risky Decisions with Rent-To-Own

    This is day four of our series Put a Bow on Your Holiday Budget: 6 Days of Advice. For those struggling to get credit, a rent-to-own store may seem like the best option for big purchases such as appliances, furniture and televisions. But rent-to-own programs are a trap along the lines of payday loans that you should avoid. How They Work Rent-to-own programs involve the consumer receiving an item in excha…

  • What to Know about Layaway

    What to Know about Layaway

    This is day three of our series about holiday budgeting, Put a Bow on Your Budget: 6 Days of Advice. It seems like there are credit alternatives lurking around every corner, promising the benefits without any potential damage to your score. Unfortunately, many of these options can be just as harmful to your financial stability as purchasing with a credit card, even when they are advertised as the solution to al…