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  • How to Protect Your Credit When You Close a Credit Card

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance 

    Even if you have a perfectly valid reason, believe it or not, simply closing a credit card could hurt your credit score. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal credit minute. If you do decide to close a credit card account, here are three ways to minimize that damage and speed your credit score’s recovery. First, close the right card. Avoid closing the cards you’ve had the longest, with the highest credit […]

  • The worst credit mistake you could make

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance 

    Some credit mistakes aren’t so obvious. What’s worse, the biggest credit mistake — the one most people don’t even know they’re making — actually happens when people are trying to turn their credit score around. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal credit minute. Closing a credit card account may seem like the best way to celebrate paying off a big, old debt, but consider this: Every credit card represents a component […]

  • Why You Must Pay Your Bills On Time

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance Money 

    The due date on your credit card is a deadline, not a guideline. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal credit minute. The first rule of credit is to always make timely payments, since this is the biggest factor affecting your credit scores. Here’s what happens when you pay late: If you fail to pay your bill within 30 days, you will be reported as late to one or more credit bureaus. […]

  • How to Fraud-Proof Your Home

    Column Data Security 

    Summer is here. There will be barbecues. Sand will find its way into the strangest places. Your family, extended family, kids’ friends and friends of friends—even complete strangers—will sail in and out of your home. But that’s OK, because you’ve fraud-proofed your house…right? Identity theft is a truly democratic crime: Anyone can do it, anyone can become a victim; and sadly, it’s almost inevitable that everyone will be a victim. That said, there are ways […]

  • Why Maxing Out a Credit Card Hurts Your Credit Score

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance Money 

    While there may be certain life crises that require you to charge a large amount — like a medical emergency or an unexpected auto repair — you must always keep an eye on your credit card balance and avoid hitting the limit. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal credit minute. If you’re forced to put an unexpected expense on your credit card, try to pay down the balance as quickly as […]

  • Is It OK to Pay Just the Minimum Payment on My Credit Card?

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance 

    If you can only make the minimum payment on your credit card now and again, it’s not a big deal but don’t make a habit of it. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal credit minute. When money gets tight, many people decide to cut back by making only the minimum payment on their credit card. Unfortunately failing to pay more can increase the life and sum of your debt considerably. Under […]

  • What is a credit score?

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance Money 

    You’ve heard of credit scores. Maybe you’ve even checked yours. But do you really understand what they are and how they work? I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal credit minute. Credit scores are like a crystal ball for lenders. By looking at how people have handled credit in the past they try to predict how they’re likely to handle it in the future. The five main factors they look at are […]

  • What is a credit report?

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance Money 

    You’ve heard of credit reports but do you really know what they are – or where they come from? I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal credit minute. Your credit report is a record of your financial behavior that’s kept by credit reporting agencies which provide that information to businesses when they’re considering potential borrowers. There are 3 national credit bureaus that maintain credit reports on consumers – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. […]

  • Shred, White & Blue: Freedom From Identity Theft?

    Column Blog Identity Theft 

    It’s finally here. You’ve been saving up for months. This is your day. You are the Master of the Data Security Universe, Ms. Never-Gonna-Happen-To-Me, Captain Try-Personally-Identifying-This. And you’re going to… a Shred-a-Thon! Yes, it’s that time of the year when friends and neighbors gather in the haze of grilling hot dogs and burgers as they feed their old papers to a municipality-owned, or financial institutionally-leased shred-mobile, while talking about data security and sharing a horror […]

  • Mistake

    9 Impulse Purchases You Instantly Regret

    Personal Finance 

    A new survey conducted by Bankrate.com reported that a quarter of Americans had no savings to weather financial hard times. It didn’t matter if the respondents were relatively higher earners: Folks are spending pretty much what they make. Impulse purchases are definitely a culprit here, along with the refusal to make saving a priority. The world of retail is exceptionally good at keeping the Rainy Day Fund drier than the Mojave Desert on the Fourth […]