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  • 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 […]

  • 3 Really Bad Ways to Use Your Credit Card

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance Money 

    Your credit card can be a wonderful enabler or a weapon of financial destruction. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal Credit Minute. Of all the things you can charge with a credit card, here are three really bad ideas: Taxes. Many people find credit cards a tempting way to pay taxes if they discover they’re faced with a larger bill than expected. But beware: processors collect an average fee of 2% […]

  • Could an Adopt-a-Loan Program Take a Bite Out of Student Debt?

    Column Blog 

    The private sector adopts all sorts of things — highways, parks, medians, pets, pet projects — so why not student loans? With the right tax incentives, an Adopt-a-Loan program could help ease the current financial quagmire of $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. Earlier this week, Starbucks announced a plan that will let any of its 135,000 employees go to college for free — as long as they meet the criteria outlined in the new […]

  • More Reasons to Get Your Credit Score

    Personal Finance 

    You probably know all the common reasons to get your credit score. You’re getting a mortgage or a credit card and you want to know if you’ll be approved. But there are other reasons… and they may surprise you. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal Credit Minute. Too many people only check their credit scores when a life event requires them to apply for credit. Here are six situations where having […]

  • 7 Reasons to Get Your Credit Score


    In a recent Credit.com survey, 36% of people said that the last time they saw their credit score, they were applying for a loan. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s also not the ideal time to find out what’s going on with your credit… especially if you discover there’s a problem. I’m Adam Levin and this is the Wall Street Journal Credit Minute. You should be checking your credit scores before you need them, […]