7 Tips for Building Your Credit Without Credit Cards

Everyone knows that the best way to build credit is to get a credit card. But, there are certain ways to build your credit history without using a credit card. Typically, a credit card means debt, and too much debt can affect your credit score. To avoid it, check out a few tips for building your credit without using credit cards.

1. Utility companies
Typically, a utility company doesn’t report to the credit bureaus on a regular basis. It only sends updates when you don’t pay your account. If you have some utility in your name and you are trying to build your credit without using your credit card, call the company and ask them to report your regular payments to the credit bureaus.

2. A landlord
Like a utility company, a landlord doesn’t report to the credit bureaus. However, you can ask your landlord to notify the credit bureaus of your rental history, but first make sure your rental history is really good. Every positive report from your landlord will establish your credit history and better your credit score.

3. A federal student loan
If you are planning to go to a university or college, you can build your credit by getting a federal student loan. Despite your credit history, you can qualify for a loan. Although repayment may be deferred until 6 to 9 months after you graduate, you can begin paying it off while you are still in college. Timely payments every month will add positive information to your credit history.

4. Add your name to your parent’s credit card
Another way to build your credit without using your credit cards is to add your name to your parent’s credit card. As an authorized user, your parent’s credit card’s activity will appear on your credit report. Just ensure your parent uses this credit card responsibly, otherwise it can affect your credit score.

5. Financing a used car
If you do not have a credit history, many car dealerships may not offer financing. But if you buy your car from a fresh start car dealer, consider qualifying for a loan without credit history. It usually offers in-house financing. Yes, you might pay a higher interest rate, but timely payments every month will help you build your credit history, and it can even help you qualify for a better loan down the road.

6. Peer-to-peer lending
Nowadays there are many individual investors who give private loans to people with no credit history. Typically, these loans have lower rates than rates offered by banks. Plus, if you ask politely, a private investor can report your timely monthly payments to the credit bureau.

7. A small collateral loan
Have you already opened an account with a credit union or bank? If no, consider getting a small personal loan. This will help you to build your credit without using credit cards. You can use any valuable assets as collateral, such as jewelry or electronics. Qualify for a small loan and pay it off over the next several months. The credit union or bank will certainly report your timely monthly payments to all credit bureaus.

A credit card is convenient and useful, but you can get into debt if you can’t control your spending. Follow these tips and you can establish your credit history without having a credit card. Are you going to use any of the suggestions mentioned above?

7 Things You Shouldn’t Put on Your Credit Card

If you are strapped for cash, a credit card may seem like an easy solution to your financial woes. However, this does not mean you should use your credit card as if it is an electronic bankcard in a game of Monopoly. Although a credit card could help improve your financial standings, it could also throw you into financial ruin. Because of this, there are some things you should think twice about before swiping your card.

Things You Should not Put on Your Credit Card
What is your available credit?
Before you swipe your credit card, you should at least have an estimation of what your available credit is. Although many major banks have eliminated overage fees and have spending limits, you should still avoid exceeding your limit. You could trigger interest rate increases or lower your credit score.

Mortgage payments
Although this may be a viable solution in a pinch, it is not a good idea to make a habit of paying your mortgage or rent payments with a credit card. After all, it is not a good idea to pay off one debt with a method that could force you into another if you cannot afford the payment.

If you pay your taxes with a credit card, you will have to pay a 2 to 3 percent convenience fee of what you owe. This is in addition to the interest rate on your card. Credit card issuers may also be less likely to approve you for another card because you appear to be a risk.

Medical bills
The interest rate associated with your credit card can make it more difficult to pay off the bill. Again, if you are unable to make the payments on time, you could damage your credit score or see your interest rates increase.

Although continuing your education is important, paying your tuition with a credit card can do more harm than good. In most cases, you will be unable to pay off the full balance and incur more interest charges. If the college accepts your payment through the credit card, you may have to pay a 2 to 3 percent processing fee.

It can be easy to lose track of how much money you are spending while gambling. Because of this, it is a bad idea to use your card. Although some credit cards exclude gambling, the ones that do not consider these purchases as cash advances. The interest rate and other fees associated with your card can cause issues and potentially ruin your credit score.

Every penny you spend on services and items for your wedding has to be paid back with interest. In addition, it can be easy to exceed your credit limit trying to create your dream wedding. This can lead to overage fees or maxing out your card. Ultimately, it could damage your credit score.

Frivolous Items
It is so easy to swipe your card that you may not realize how much you are spending. $10 here and $20 there can easily add up to $300 later with interest. If you are unable to pay the balance, you will be subject to more interest fees and potentially ruin your credit score.

Having a credit card can help improve your credit score, but if used improperly it can damage it. Because of this, it is very important to think twice before using it. Avoiding the things mentioned above can help you avoid financial ruin caused by credit card debt.

8 Smart Black Friday Shopping Tips

Black Friday shopping doesn’t just have to be money splurging time. Some people spend more money on Black Friday than any other day of the year, believing they get the best deals. It’s not a secret that many companies raise the prices on Black Friday and trick us into thinking we get cheap things and save cash for Christmas. Fake Black Friday isn’t a surprise in many cities, which is why more and more people skip this big day. If you can’t stay home when others do shopping, here’s your guide to getting the best deals and purchase things you really need.

1. Leave your credit cards at home
Maybe I’m a credit card hater, but I think it’s one of the worst things that can ruin our happiness and quality of life. When getting ready for Black Friday shopping, create a list of things you need and prepare a certain amount of money. This way you will avoid overspending and running into debts. When you pay with cash during the holiday season, you ring in the new year debt-free, unless your friend will lend the money to you.

2. Don’t ignore the fine print
Large fonts, flashy language and seemingly fantastic prices are created to get our attention. We hurry to buy the item before someone else will get it, forgetting to read the fine print. Oftentimes, we are too lazy to read it. However, the fine print may contain the truth that many retailers and companies are trying to hide from us. The hustle and bustle of Black Friday can break the most savvy shoppers, albeit it all depends on how many things you want to purchase.

3. Don’t get blinded by flashy deals
When going Black Friday shopping, think outside of the box. Instead of stocking on Christmas gifts, think about other events too, such as Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day etc. Look for little items that are cheaper on Black Friday. This way, you will always be ready for any occasion, even when you won’t have money at all.

4. Bargain
If you really love the item but don’t have enough money for buying it, look for the same item with some little scratch, tear or package damage and feel free to bargain. Most sellers and stores, especially those that are less heavily trafficked, are open to bargaining and negotiating. But don’t get angry. Bargain with a smile on your face and a great mood.

5. Get ready mentally and physically
It may sound ridiculous but those who are ready for Black Friday shopping mentally and physically get the best deals. Go to bed early, meditate or read before sleep in order to calm your mind, skip alcohol at party to avoid dealing with hangover in the morning, create a list of the things you want to buy and prepare money. On Black Friday, wake up earlier, exercise, have a healthy breakfast, increase your mood level, grab a bottle of water and go shopping. We tend to make better decisions when we feel healthy. Be ready to deal with angry people and don’t respond to rudeness.

6. Don’t open a store credit card
Store credit cards allows us to get extra savings on the items we need, but they are usually much higher than our ordinary bank credit cards. Opening a store credit card on Black Friday may leave you paying off your debt all year long, not to mention that you can end up paying up to 30% if you will be late on your payment.

7. Watch your change
Black Friday is a great opportunity for seller to earn some extra cash. Huge crowds and long lines are overwhelming, which is why it’s no wonder so many people find themselves feeling confused and losing money. Watch your wallet and change when going Black Friday shopping. Otherwise, you lose more than gain.

8. Don’t throw away the receipts
When you have the receipts of your purchases, you have more chances of changing or returning the item you bought mistakenly. Or, maybe that washer has some technical problems or serious damages that you failed to notice on Black Friday. A receipt is a proof that you have a right to get a high quality item and the store simply deceived you. The best advice is to keep your receipts every time you buy something no matter what day it is.

Black Friday is right around the corner, which means it’s time to start preparing for it right now. Don’t run to an extreme, though. If you have no money, it’s best to skip Black Friday shopping. The last thing you want to deal with in the coming year is debts. Are you ready for this year’s Black Friday shopping? What are you going to hunt for?

7 Ways to Reach Financial Success in 2016

When it comes to reaching financial success, there are several crucial principles to take into consideration. Financial resolutions are as difficult as weight loss resolutions. Just like you have to stick to a certain meal plan, you have to learn how to make smart choices and avoid temptations. Learning how to feel and behave with money, that is one thing, but when you exactly know how to achieve your financial independence, that is a whole other thing. Want to get rid of your past money failures and finally reach financial success in 2016? Read on.

1. Know where your money goes
When times are tough, financially successful people reduce their expenses. When times are great, they keep tracking their spending and look for new ways to manage expenses. You may think you know where your money goes, but if you cannot survive from paycheck to paycheck and your life is full of debts, forget about financial prosperity. Having a budget and living within your means are the keys to financial success for many years to come.

2. Recognize your last year’s mistakes
Before planning your budget for 2016, it is critical to acknowledge what you did wrong in 2015. Did you spend too much on things you didn’t use? Entertainment? Fast food? How much did you manage to save in 2015? Recognize all those mistakes to avoid them this year.

3. Master the art of long-term investment
In order to build wealth and create a prosperous future, mastering the art of long-term investment is a must. It does not mean to run into debts and purchase houses and cars. It means spending your cash on valuable things. If you can afford to invest in real estate, fine. If not, consider investing in jewelry, education, or any other precious things.

4. Explore your biggest spending triggers
One of the most effective ways to gain financial success in 2016 is to eliminate your biggest spending triggers. Spending triggers make you ruin your budget, pull out your credit cards when you do not need, and lend money from your friends when you feel down. Unsubscribe from promotional emails, reduce your party time, beat impulse buying, and focus on improving your money habits.

5. Stay within your budget
Get into a habit of only purchasing what you can afford. Most people have a tendency to spend more than they earn. This leads to financial misery. If your aim is to reach financial success, you must spend less than you earn. This way, you will have more cash for saving and investing.

6. Keep track of your credit score
A credit score is a measurement that financial institutions including banks and mortgage companies use to measure your credit risk. Avoid taking on unnecessary debt and opening unnecessary lines of credit that can hurt your credit score. Stay aware of your credit score and solve your credit problems. Not only will it help you reach financial success, it will help you reduce your stress levels too.

7. Set clear financial goals
What do you want to purchase, save and change this year? Do you want to visit a luxury destination, buy a new car or new furniture? Do you want to pay off your debts? Maybe help a local animal shelter? Set clear financial goals and create a clear plan for achieving them. Sure, there will be some unpredictable circumstances when you will need to spend some extra cash. Keep it in mind when creating your budget.

Few of us are able to become successful and rich. Even though money does not make us happy, it is a vital part of our lives. Learn how to control your money habits if you feel like drowning in debts. Ask for a raise or find another way to make extra money each month. It is really crucial for your financial success in 2016 and many years to come.

Do you believe money can solve all the problems? Is it possible to reach financial success when you live paycheck to paycheck? Please share your points of view.

5 Credit Card Lies We All Believe

Can you imagine your life without credit cards? Not sure. While many claim we should get rid of all our credit cards, having one card will not hurt. Let’s not forget that Walter Cavanagh has 1,497 credit cards and he is not broke.

I am definitely not promoting to have tons of credit cards, but if you have one, make sure you do not believe in these common credit card myths that can prevent you from taking a full advantage of your current credit card.

1. Credit card is a source of constant debts
This is partially true. On the one hand, it is hard to stop buying things when you know you ‘have’ money. On the other hand, when you use your credit card responsibly, it can make your life easier. If you know that you can pay back at the end of the month, why not take advantage of it?

2. You should never pay down 100% of the balance
Credit cards save us in the most unexpected and difficult situation, so having the one is a great idea. Many people believe that if they pay down 100% of the balance, they risk having a bad credit score. It is a myth.

Unless you pay your credit card bill late or do not pay it at all, your credit score will keep increasing. Never miss your credit card bill’s due date and never buy anything expensive when you know that you have no money to pay even your minimum.

3. Cancelling your credit card affects your credit score
I have cancelled my credit cards many times, and it has never affected my credit score. If you do not use your credit card, and you are sure you will not need it down the road, cancel it. If you do not keep a balance, your credit score will stay the same. However, if you do keep a balance, make sure you pay it down before cancelling your credit card.

4. Having more than two credit cards is a disaster
There is a reason a lot of people have more than one credit card these days. First of all, because of bonuses that credit cards offer. You will not hurt your credit score if you open several credit cards to get those bonuses.

But if you have trouble splurging on the things you do not actually need, or your partner has a tendency to spend money on bad habits like drinking or smoking, it is best to cancel all of your credit cards. It is so easy to spend money, but it is so hard to earn them and give them back to the bank.

5. Opening a credit card to get the rewards is a bad idea
Again, if you have a strong self-control, why not? After all, you can get a plane ticket for your summer vacation for free, and then get another ticket for a spontaneous trip for free. Even though these bonuses and rewards are just smart marketing tools to get people to use the credit card more often, there is still an advantage to take.

Credit cards are not our enemies. They can be our friends too. All we should do is to learn how to use a credit card responsibly. I am definitely not suggesting you have dozens of cards. If you need them, it is okay. If you never use your credit card, cancel it. That’s it. Is your credit card your enemy or friend?

9 Important Things You Should Do in 2017

There are a few important things you should do to get yourself on track for a wonderful year! Especially now that the holidays are over, January is the best time to refresh, reset and start planning your year. Prioritize what you should do in 2015, make a list of the main things to do in the new year and check it off as you go! Without further ado, here is the list of 9 most important things you should do in 2015.

1. Eat healthy and exercise
Among the most important things you should do in 2015 is to eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis. Make a time to think about what you want to cook and eat in the new year, and make sure you have the most essential kitchen appliances. Stock up on fruits and vegetables and make sure your diet is well balanced. If you already stick to your exercise program, it’s great. If not, think about the fitness routine that you will be able to stick to. Regular workout provides both physical and mental health benefits.

2. See your doctor for regular med check-ups
To stay healthy and to know early warning signs of any illness and disease, see your doctor for regular med check-ups. Even if you don’t have any health problems, make it a rule to see your doctor every 3-6 months. If you have some health concerns, try to see your doctor earlier. You should always take care of yourself, remember it.

3. Create a budget
2015 is here and it’s time to make a budget that will help you manage your money more easily and more efficiently all year round. Don’t forget to set up a savings plan. Try to develop a habit of spending less money this year. If you are not going to wear all those seven shades of lipstick, don’t buy them. Think about things you really need and try to reduce your expenses.

4. Check your credit history
In 2015, it’s crucial to check your credit history every few months. If you’ve never done it before, the new year is the perfect time to start! You can get your credit report via phone or online. If you have any questions, check with your bank. Do it each year and you will begin the year knowing you don’t have any debts!

5. Check your documents
If you have many important documents on your laptop or computer, back them up and clean up your folders and desktop. Store the documents you need and delete the rest. Your working mindset and your computer will thank you. If you are going to travel in the new year, ensure that your passport and your visa are valid.

6. Check your closet
In 2015, you should check your closet every now and then in order to look gorgeous and fashionable. It doesn’t mean that you should spend a lot of money on trendy things, but going through your closet and pulling out all of the things you never wear are a wise way to kick off the new year! Moreover, it’s a good time to start thinking about the ways to store your winter clothes once summer comes. It seems ridiculous, but it will help you to save time and avoid stress.

7. Study
If you are in school or college, make sure you study hard, especially on the subjects in which you’re weak. This year, read more books, ask your teachers for help and you will surely succeed in your studies. It’s better to prepare for the next semester well in advance so that you can have some time for the parties as well.

8. Let go of the past
It’s important to let go of the past and live a happy life, and the new year is the right time to do so! Think about the past year, what you most enjoyed, what you did, realize what’s holding you back and try to change the situation. It can be hard but you should let go of any toxic relationships or toxic friends in 2015. Toxic relationships are extremely harmful to both your physical and mental health. Spend more time with positive people who make you smile and happy.

9. Travel
I think traveling is really important. When we travel, discover new places, we learn about new cultures, meet new people and learn that they actually aren’t so different from us. Traveling is also one of the best ways to make friends. You don’t need lots of money to travel. Although there are many ways to travel when you don’t have money, I prefer to save money or earn some extra cash.

As you see, there are a few important things to do in 2015. If you think 2014 was boring, do your best to make 2015 the best year ever. Even a few little changes can make this year happier and easier. What else are you going to do in the new year? Share your thoughts in the comments section, please.

15 Warning Signs You Are Living Beyond Your Means

Nowadays most people are trying to improve their personal finances. Some people cut out unnecessary expenses, while others seek for some ways to increase their income. Living within your means actually makes good financial sense to be debt free. Check out these warning signs you are living beyond your means and start making some financial changes in your life right now.

1. You can’t pay bills on time
If you forget to pay your bills, it’s one thing. But, if you don’t have enough money to pay bills on time, you are overextended. Examining your spending habits and adjusting them can solve this problem. Perhaps, you can’t afford regular massages or weekly salon visits. So think it over.

2. Lack of a financial cushion
If you don’t have any savings account, it is one of the warning signs that you are living beyond your means. Money in the bank will support you after a job loss, a sickness and another emergency. When you live beyond your means, you spend all your money and you don’t think about saving them. Try to break this habit and you will free up money for a financial cushion. Eat out less, shop less and vacation less.

3. You’re constantly borrowing money
Do your family members or friends dodge your text messages and phone calls? Probably it’s because they know that you’ll ask for money. If your current income can’t support your lifestyle and you are always borrowing money, you are living beyond your means.

4. Housing ratio is higher than 28%
When you live within your means, your housing ratio is less than 28% of your income. To compute your housing ratio, divide your monthly housing expense by monthly income. You are living beyond your means if the ratio is higher than 28%.

5. Bad credit
Don’t think that the late payments are the only cause of poor credit. Too much consumer debt also affects your credit score. Even if you pay the bills on time monthly, your credit score never increases. So think of paying off your debt. Don’t rely on your credit cards since it can cause high credit card debt.

6. You’ve exceeded your credit card limit
Have you ever maxed out a credit card? It’s a bad feeling, right? And when you have exceeded your credit card limit, it’s even a worse feeling, because now you are paying your bill, interest and over-limit fees. That’s a ton of money to put towards only one bill. Plus, it can lower your credit score.

7. You use your credit card to pay bills
Using your credit card to pay off your basic bills such as utilities or other credit cards’ bills is a red flag. And transferring balances from one card to another is also a warning sign of living beyond your means because you are not paying anything down.

8. You only pay the minimum payment
If you only pay the minimum payment every month, its’ one of the biggest sign you are living beyond your means. Paying the minimum won’t help you pay off your debt and you will be paying more in interest, and this can only add to the problem.

9. Denied new credit
If you do not have the cash, but you want a new laptop or flat screen television, you might apply for store credit. You think that you have enough income and you can afford the monthly payments. However, income is not the only factor that can determine whether you’re approved. The stores also take into consideration your existing debt. Denied new credit indicates living beyond your means.

10. Your credit balances are high
It’s okay to have more than two credit cards. However, if all of the balances on your credit cards are high, you are definitely living beyond your means. Moreover, if you have high balances it will prevent you from getting a new credit and it’s more difficult to pay off, thus you will end up paying tons in interest.

11. You try to keep up with your friends
Does your best friend shop and vacation often? Do you try to keep up with her lifestyle? If so, you are probably living beyond your means. There is nothing wrong with a little fun, of course, if you can afford this fun.

12. You buy everything you want, even if you can’t afford it
Many people are guilty of this, including me. Although I write a good budget, sometimes when I get my paycheck, I spend all money on the thing I really want. Then, I end up living paycheck to paycheck, thinking where to get money to buy the essential things, including food. That’s hard to do. If you really want to buy something, try to budget for it. Don’t just buy it. You should always remind yourself that if you can’t pay for it with cash, you shouldn’t purchase it.

13. You spend more than 25% of your income on eating out each month
Do you know how much money you spend on eating out each month? If you spend more than 25% of your paycheck on eating out monthly, you are definitely living beyond your means. You might have a super busy schedule, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t cook at home. There are lots of healthy snacks and meals which are quick and easy to make at home. Meal planning can save you a lot of money.

14. You are saving less than 10% of your income for retirement
If you have not been saving at least 10% of your paycheck for retirement each month since age 25, that’s a red flag. Saving for retirement is among the most important things everyone has to do. Even if you are in your 20s, you need to start saving. The earlier you start saving for retirement the less you’ll need to put aside monthly to achieve your retirement savings goals.

15. You don’t have a budget
Finally, if you don’t have a written budget, you have a high chance of overspending your money and living beyond your means. A written budget shows if you’re spending more or less than you can afford. Start a budget now and you will see how much money you are actually spending and how much money you can save each month. This will help you live within your means without debts. If you have credit cards, make sure you keep track of the money spent with them too.

I know, living within your means is restrictive, but you can enjoy financial happiness and peace of mind. While buying expensive things can bring temporary happiness, it won’t make you happier. You may end up spending the whole month or even year paying off your debts. Are you living beyond your means? What are you going to do to change the situation? Please, comment below.

New Android malware can secretly steal your credit card data, calls and texts

File photo: A 3D printed Android logo is seen in front of a displayed cyber code in this illustration taken March 22, 2016. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic)

At this point, we assume that most savvy Android users know to be on the lookout for suspicious apps and download prompts, but even as smartphone users become more aware of the risks of downloading apps, the creators of the most vicious malware have adapted by releasing increasingly subtle Trojans that can do a great deal of damage behind the scenes without alerting the user.

This week, security firm Kaspersky detailed a relatively new Android malware called Faketoken in a blog post on Thursday morning. Faketoken has actually been around for at least a year, but it has evolved into something especially sinister. Once it infects an Android device, Faketoken is capable of recording phone calls, intercepting text messages and stealing data from various apps, including banking apps.

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Worst of all, you’ll probably never know that the malware is active on your device. Kaspersky says that once the Trojan initiates, “it hides its shortcut icon and starts to monitor all of the calls and whichever apps the user launches.” The Trojan contains an overlay mechanism that can lift data from over 2,000 apps, including Android Pay, the Google Play Store, apps to book flights, taxis and hotel rooms and even apps used to pay traffic tickets. As soon as you open one of those apps, Faketoken replaces the user interface with a fake one asking users to input their financial information.

But what if a bank asks the user to input a code sent by SMS message in order to access the account? Faketoken’s creators have an answer for that too. The malware can steal any incoming SMS messages and send them to command-and-control servers, where hackers can use them to gain access.

According to Kaspersky, the evidence suggests that Faketoken is being targeted at Russian users for now, but this serves as a valuable reminder that you shouldn’t ever download anything from a source you don’t trust or recognize. Otherwise, you might end up suffering the consequences.