Tag Archive: Spending

The 20 Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City in 2021

What started as a pioneer settlement has now grown into one of the most desirable cities in the western United States. Salt Lake City is one of, if not the best places to live in Utah. Due to recent events and changes in the remote work environment, crowds are flocking to the valley to take up permanent residence and it’s also quickly becoming a hub for tech companies.

While there truly isn’t a terrible place to live in the city, some areas are better than others when it comes to shopping, dining, architecture, views and a few other factors. Here are the best neighborhoods in Salt Lake City to give you an idea of what most residents enjoy about where they live.

Salt Lake City.

The Avenues

Potentially the most desirable neighborhood in Salt Lake, The Avenues have a little bit of everything. It’s nestled in the northeastern corner of the valley, offering great views of the city. Plus, its charming historic homes and family-owned restaurants create a quiet, quaint atmosphere.

Since it’s just at the foot of the mountains, there are plenty of hiking trails literally at your doorstep. There are many parks and walkable areas, perfect for anyone wanting an active lifestyle or who has pets that like spending time outdoors.

Sugarhouse

Full of unique restaurants, bars and coffee shops, Sugarhouse is a lively neighborhood where you’ll never be bored. With the University of Utah and Westminster close by, many students live in the area. However, there’s also a mix of established families and young professionals in the area.

Sugarhouse is walk- and bike-friendly. Most major roads have bike lanes and wide sidewalks to keep them safe for bikers and pedestrians. Plus, everything you could ever need is within walking distance. Whether you’re looking for groceries, boutiques or a cool cafe to spend the afternoon in, it’s close by.

Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill, named for its location around the state capitol building, tends to attract many young professionals. It has plenty of parks for outdoor enjoyment and bars for indoor entertainment and mingling.

The homes and apartments in this neighborhood are mostly older buildings that have gone through renovations. While the buildings maintain their original charm, so you’ll see that they have a clean, modernized touch. Capitol Hill also has some of the most incredible views of the city, overlooking the entire valley. Notably, it has views of downtown and Temple Square. This view is especially stunning during the winter holidays, the Fourth of July and the local Pioneer Day celebrations.

Downtown

Salt Lake City’s most active area is certainly Downtown. There are more restaurants, cafes, bars than anyone could probably visit in their lifetime. There’s also great shopping—anything from small boutiques to large commercial shopping centers.

Many people both live and work downtown, often walking, biking or taking the UTA TRAX whenever they need to get somewhere. In fact, the downtown area has some of the best walk, bike and overall transit scores in the valley. Its walk, bike and transit scores are 87, 93 and 69, respectively. So owning a car is purely optional for residents here.

9th and 9th

The coveted 9th and 9th neighborhood is a well-known shopping and eating hangout. Filled with boutiques and delicious restaurants, it has a very calm, leisurely feel to it. The relaxing vibe is partially created by the amazing art that is around every corner. The other great part of 9th and 9th is the fun people you can find behind every door.

Homes in this area seem a little on the small side, but they’re both funky and chic. Pulling from the old architecture of original houses built in the early 1900s, the homes mix in newer stylings to stay modern.

Salt Lake City.

Yalecrest

Yalecrest initially attracts students who are attending school across the street — at the University of Utah. But once they finish their studies, they end up staying years after the fact. Its easily walkable streets are very safe. And the neighborhood has enough local stores and restaurants that owning a car isn’t necessary for day-to-day life. Plus, it’s near the UTA TRAX and bus lines in case you do need to travel further.

If you’re a fan of Tudor-style architecture, Yalecrest is a visual treat. It’s not a typical cookie-cutter suburb — it’s full of unique homes of all designs, complete with brick and exposed wood beams.

East Bench

The East Bench neighborhood is known for its unobstructed views stretching all the way over to the Great Salt Lake. The neighborhood is over the side of the eastern mountains lining the valley. While many of its residents are older and more established, there are also many younger families taking up residency.

East Bench is further away from the busy city, but it’s still close to everything you could need. It’s also only a 10-minute drive to downtown, where there’s great entertainment and food. Residents are out of the constant city bustle but they still enjoy the city perks.

Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

Temple Square

At the heart of downtown Salt Lake, Temple Square and the surrounding streets are surprisingly calm and kept very neat and tidy. Many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints live and work in the area (depending on what you’re after, this could be a pro or a con).

You’ll find lots of church history museums, along with other church-owned properties. Such properties include a large tabernacle, a conference center, and, of course, the Salt Lake Temple. The area is very walkable and near lots of public transportation, including the UTA TRAX and FrontRunner.

Sugar House Park

Perhaps the best park in Salt Lake, Sugar House Park is not only big, but it’s beautiful. It boasts beautiful views of the mountains, lots of trees, a pond and various sports courts.

The Sugar House Park neighborhood is also near a large shopping and dining center right off the freeway. Everything is at your fingertips and it makes owning a car unnecessary.

Westminster

As its name suggests, the Westminster neighborhood surrounds Westminster College. It’s no surprise that there are many students living in the area. However, students aren’t the only ones enjoying the neighborhood.

Being so close to a shopping and dining hub, this neighborhood draws in the crowds. Here, you can enjoy good food and fun bars, many of which have classic bar games like pool and darts. You’ve also got a few parks nearby. Liberty Park is one of the best, there’s always an event happening and you can catch live music, markets and festivals.

The Country Club

Right off the freeway at the mouth of Parley’s Canyon, The Country Club is a classy neighborhood full of larger homes. By “larger homes,” we mean in comparison to the other smaller historic homes typically found in Salt Lake.

This neighborhood encircles a large country club with a golf course. Many of its residents fall under the “well established” category of older folks who have done well for themselves. You won’t find better-kept homes or yards anywhere in the valley and even strolling through the streets is a treat in and of itself.

Salt Lake City neighborhood.

Highland Park

Highland Park is a fun, eclectic area with a combination of shopping and dining like you’ve never seen before. Instead of boutiques and chain restaurants, you’ll find the likes of stores selling plants, yard decor and secondhand books, along with classic Dutch and Greek cuisine.

It is truly a one-of-a-kind neighborhood that transports residents and visitors to different places and times. However, if that’s not your cup of tea, you’re right off the freeway and less than 15 minutes from downtown.

East Central

Sandwiched between downtown and the University of Utah, East Central is home to many young residents. Many of those living here are attending school or just starting out in their careers. Walking is a reasonable mode of transportation and you’ll find not only everything you need to live nearby but the added benefits of concerts, live theater shows and museums.

Those living in East Central are in it for both work and play, and you’ll find a good community of social beings there.

Wasatch Hollow

The mellow, tree-lined streets of Wasatch Hollow are home to a wide range of people of all ages and various backgrounds. This neighborhood has a close sense of community, where people live for a long time and watch out for each other.

There are plenty of parks for taking a walk or spending a nice afternoon. And the many coffee shops scattered throughout the streets provide a place to meet other locals, see art from up-and-coming artists and experience live music.

This Is The Place Heritage Park.

Sunnyside East

Like East Bench, Sunnyside East has amazing views across the valley to the Great Salt Lake. However, it is slightly more secluded. This neighborhood contains the Hogle Zoo and This Is The Place Heritage Park, where you can attend various events all year long, including holidays — such as Zoo Lights and a German-style Christmas market.

Because it’s further from things, you’ll likely need a car if you live here. But the proximity to multiple hiking trails and stunning views of both the mountains above and the city below are worth the trade-off.

Bonneville Hills

Adjacent to the Bonneville Golf Course, Bonneville Hills is in a prime location near just about everything. It’s only a few minutes from downtown, the University of Utah, the Hogle Zoo, This Is The Place Heritage Park, restaurants, bars, cafes, shopping — you name it and it’s within reasonable walking distance or a short drive.

Although it’s reasonably close to the University of Utah, residents of the neighborhood include families and young professionals, with only a few students in the mix.

Park in Salt Lake City, UT.

Central City

Central City is full of young professionals who bring a vibrant, artistic vibe with them. Here you’ll find loads of indie coffee shops and cafes, many of which have extraordinary menus that cater to the residents of the neighborhood.

Because Central City is near downtown, there are many opportunities to experience live performances of all kinds, whether it’s music or comedy, and there’s lots of local art displayed in coffee shops, painted onto buildings and in galleries throughout the city.

Liberty Wells

With a good mix of young, old and everything in between, you’ll meet people from all walks of life in Liberty Wells. It’s also close to just about everything and has been seeing lots of improvements throughout the neighborhood, including new apartment buildings to provide housing for even more people in the area.

And although new buildings are popping up, there are still plenty of the old ones still standing, providing a good balance between vintage and modern architecture. Like many other neighborhoods in Salt Lake, Liberty Wells doesn’t lack food, drink or good company.

University District

Tucked in the eastern corner of Salt Lake, just inside the hills is the University of Utah and the University District. While many students live in this area, there are also residents who work at the University of Utah. Those working for the University include a wide range of careers, not just teaching — there’s a hospital and various research centers connected to the university.

While you’re slightly further away from most shopping and dining, it’s just a few minutes down the road if you’re ever in the mood for it.

Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, UT.

Photo source: The Red Iguana Restaurant / Facebook

Fairpark

Fairpark is one of the more culturally diverse neighborhoods in Salt Lake City and with that comes some of the best culturally diverse restaurants in the valley. It’s home to one of the city’s most well-known restaurants, the Red Iguana, which is typically packed most evenings, but well worth the wait!

Apart from the food, Fairpark is near the heart of the city, so entertainment and nightlife are never far, and it’s near the freeway, giving access to anywhere else around Salt Lake, including ski resorts and hiking trails.

Which Salt Lake City neighborhood fits you?

These are only a few of the many neighborhoods in Salt Lake City and each of them has its own unique combination of offerings to residents. It’s important to choose a neighborhood that fits your personality and lifestyle, whether you’re buying a home for the long term or renting an apartment for a shorter period. With so many great options, you can find apartments for rent in Salt Lake City in a neighborhood that suits you!

The post The 20 Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City in 2021 appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

4 Credit Cards with No Spending Limit

Life can be unpredictable, and you never know exactly what you may need to spend money on tomorrow. In these situations, you may suddenly need more spending power on your credit cards than you previously anticipated. Fortunately, there are credit and charge cards that allow you to make the charges you need.

If your credit score is good enough, you might be able to score an “unlimited credit card”—one without a preset spending limit. That’s not a free pass to go on a months-long shopping spree, of course, as these credit cards technically do have some limitations. But they can be a flexible way to manage your finances, especially if you manage large monthly expenses or travel a lot. Find out more about credit cards with no limits below and whether one might be right for you.

What a No Limit Credit Card Really Means

The phrase “no limit credit card” is a bit misleading. Technically, all credit cards have limits. It’s not in the interest of lenders to allow card holders to drive up balances with no end in sight.

When people talk about unlimited credit cards, then, they usually mean one of two things. First, they could mean a credit card with a very high limit—one you’d be unlikely to hit in the normal course of spending if you’re regularly paying off the card. These types of cards include exclusive invitation-only “black cards.”

Second, and more commonly, they mean cards with no preset or published limits. Cardholders on these accounts are given a limit that’s unique to them, and it’s based on factors such as creditworthiness, income, and how long you have had an account. The credit limit might even fluctuate as you demonstrate continued or increased creditworthiness.

How to Determine if No Limit Credit Cards Are Right for You

Typically, these cards require good or excellent credit, so they aren’t something everyone can qualify for. The most exclusive cards with no preset spending limits are available only to individuals who receive an invite.

Cards with especially high credit limits or extremely flexible limits may also not be the right choice for someone who is in financial distress or already struggling to manage debt. It’s an unfortunate paradox that if you really need the larger credit line, you might be at greater risk of running up the credit card balance and digging yourself deeper in debt—and therefore unlikely to be approved for the larger credit line.

Need a card for fair or poor credit? We’ve got you covered.

Find a Card

Alternatives to No Limit Credit Cards

If you don’t have great credit, you might want to consider a different option, such as a balance transfer card. If your credit is good enough, you can get a balance transfer card with a preset limit that lets you transfer high-interest debt and pay it off faster at 0% interest for a specific period of time.

If you’re doing well financially and would like the flexibility of a credit card with a high limit without the temptation of ongoing debt, you might consider a charge card. Charge cards are a type of credit card—often with high limits—that you have to pay off each billing cycle.

4 High Limit or No Limit Credit Cards to Consider

If a high limit card does sound like a good idea, you’ll want to research available options and choose the best one for your needs and preferences. Here are four to consider.

1. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Apply Now

on Chase’s secure website

Card Details
Intro Apr:
N/A


Ongoing Apr:
15.99% – 22.99% Variable


Balance Transfer:
15.99% – 22.99% Variable


Annual Fee:
$95


Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good

Snapshot of Card Features
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.

Card Details +

  • Type: Rewards credit card
  • Credit Needed: Excellent,Good
  • Ongoing APR: 15.99% – 22.99% Variable
  • Signup bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • Rewards: 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
  • Annual fee: $95

Once you’re approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, Chase will designate a credit access line for your account. However, you are permitted to exceed the account on a case-by-case basis. And when you do exceed this amount, you will not be charged an over-limit fee. The decision to allow you to charge beyond your credit access line is based on your payment history, your income, and other factors.

2. American Express® Gold Card

American Express® Gold Card

Apply Now

on American Express’s secure website

Card Details
Intro Apr:
N/A


Ongoing Apr:
See Pay Over Time APR


Balance Transfer:
N/A


Annual Fee:
$250


Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good

Rates and Fees

Snapshot of Card Features
  • Rose Gold is back. You can now choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, plus, earn 4X points for Uber Eats purchases too.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • $120 Uber Cash: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

Card Details +

  • Type: Rewards
  • Credit Needed: Excellent,Good
  • Ongoing APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Signup bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards® points if you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first 6 months.
  • Rewards: Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets or at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Annual fee: $250

The American Express® Gold card is a card with a high-limit. With its Pay Over Time feature, this Amex card allows eligible charges of $100 or more to be carried across statements with interest. Other charges are due each month. You also get up to $120 in dining credits a year by earning up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.

3. Mastercard Black Card

Mastercard® Black Card™

Apply Now

on Luxury Card’s secure website

Card Details
Intro Apr:
N/A


Ongoing Apr:
14.99%


Balance Transfer:
0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening. After that, your APR will be 14.99%.


Annual Fee:
$495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)


Credit Needed:
Excellent

Rates and Fees

Snapshot of Card Features
  • Patented black-PVD-coated metal card—weighing 22 grams.
  • 2% value for airfare redemptions with no blackout dates or seat restrictions. 1.5% value for cash back redemptions. Earn one point for every one dollar spent.
  • 24/7 Luxury Card Concierge®—available by phone, email and live mobile chat. Around-the-clock service to help you save time and manage tasks big and small.
  • Exclusive Luxury Card Travel® benefits—average value of $500 per stay (e.g., resort credits, room upgrades, free wifi, breakfast for two and more) at over 3,000 properties.
  • Annual Airline Credit—up to $100 in statement credits toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more. Up to a $100 application fee credit for the cost of TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry.
  • Enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select with access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide with no guest limit. Includes credits at select airport restaurants for cardholder and one guest.
  • Cell phone protection for eligible claims of up to $1,000 each year. Plus additional World Elite Mastercard® benefits.
  • Annual Fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User). Terms and conditions apply.

Card Details +

  • Type: Rewards/Cash Back
  • Credit Needed: Excellent
  • Ongoing APR: 14.99%
  • Sign up bonus: n/a
  • Rewards: Earn redemption cash back in the value of 2% if you redeem on airfare or 1.5% if you redeem for cash back.
  • Annual fee: $495 ($195 for each Authorized User added to the account)

One of three products offered by Luxury Card, the Mastercard Black Card is truly luxurious. There is no official minimum starting limit for this card—but that flexibility comes with a cost. The annual fee is steeper than many can afford, but the card comes with $100 in airline credit and $100 in TSA Pre-check application credit every year, Exclusive luxury travel perks, and around-the-clock access to a concierge. It also includes a full range of traveler perks. Coupled with the rewards, this card can pay for itself when used by frequent travelers.

4. American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Apply Now

on American Express’s secure website

Card Details
Intro Apr:
0% for 12 months on purchases


Ongoing Apr:
13.99%-23.99% Variable


Balance Transfer:
N/A


Annual Fee:
$95


Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good

Rates and Fees

Snapshot of Card Features
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Card Details +

  • Type: Cash Back
  • Credit Needed: Excellent,Good
  • Ongoing APR: 13.99%-23.99% Variable
  • Sign up bonus: Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months.
  • Rewards: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets and some streaming services, up to $6,000 per year, then 1%; 3% cash back when spending at gas stations or on public transit; and 1% cash back on other purchases.
  • Annual fee: $95

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred® card comes with a lot of standard Amex benefits. There’s no overlimit fee, and its “Plan It” features allow you to create monthly payment plans with a fixed finance charge each month, rather than the ongoing APR.

No Limit Credit Cards and Your Credit Score

Paying on time and keeping your balance low is as important with these types of cards as with any other card. But you also need to consider your revolving credit utilization. Since these cards may not have a set or published limit, it’s important that you understand what the actual limit is and how it’s being reported. Check your credit report to see what limit is being reported so you know whether your credit utilization is high. Charge cards may not affect your utilization rate at all.

If you really want to dig in to your credit reports and the factors affecting your credit scores, consider signing up for ExtraCredit. ExtraCredit lets you access this information from all three credit bureaus whenever you want. That helps you best manage all of your debt, whether you have an unlimited credit card or not.

Sign Up Now

At publishing time, the Chase Sapphire Preferred, American Express Gold, Mastercard Black, and American Express Blue Cash Preferred cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for either of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

The post 4 Credit Cards with No Spending Limit appeared first on Credit.com.

Source: credit.com

How to get preapproved for an American Express card

American Express offers a wide variety of credit and charge cards – meaning it might not be as exclusive as it once was considered. Nevertheless, scoring one of these top cards usually requires a good to excellent credit score (above 670).

For those worried about meeting these requirements, it can seem too risky to apply for a card and risk rejection alongside a hard pull to your credit.

Luckily, there is a great way to find out which Amex cards you may qualify for. With prequalified offers, you can see which American Express cards you are likely to be approved for – taking some of the stress out of your application process. Read on to learn more about where to score these offers.

Top Amex cards for prequalified offers

Everyday spending

Blue Cash Preferred

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Rewards

Amex Gold

American Express® Gold Card

Luxury perks

Amex Platinum

The Platinum Card® from American Express

6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%)

6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions

3% cash back at U.S. gas stations

3% cash back on transit, including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more

1% cash back on other purchases

$250 statement credit after spending $1,00 in the first 3 months

4 points per dollar on restaurant purchases worldwide

4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per year in purchases (then 1 point per dollar)

3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com

60,000 points if you spend $4,000 in the first 6 months

10 points per dollar on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during first 6 months of card membership

5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel

5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com

75,000 points if you spend $5,000 in the first 6 months

Check for offers on CardMatch

One place to check for American Express prequalified offers is on CardMatch™, a tool offered here on CreditCards.com. You just need to enter basic personal information such as your name and address, as well as the last four digits of your social security number to check your offers.

When you check for prequalified card offers on CardMatch, it does not trigger a hard pull to your credit. Instead, offers are extended based on a soft pull – meaning you don’t have to worry about hurting your score.

Once you enter the requested information, you’ll be able to view a full list of prequalified card offers and other suggestions for you from American Express, as well as many other card issuers.

targeted offer for a higher introductory bonus when you apply for an American Express card through CardMatch.

Prequalify on the Amex website

Additionally, American Express allows applicants to check for prequalified offers directly on the American Express website. Just like with CardMatch, you’ll input personal info and the last four digits of your social security number.

American Express prequalified offers don’t trigger a hard pull to your credit until you apply.

Other ways to prequalify for Amex cards

Though the easiest way to get a prequalified offer from American Express is online, you might be able to score a targeted offer by mail. If you have any accounts with American Express, be sure to keep your contact information up to date to boost your chances of getting one of these offers.

Boost your chances

As mentioned, most American Express cards are designed for users with good to excellent credit (above 670). If you are hovering on the edge of this threshold – or hoping to qualify for one of the issuer’s more exclusive cards, like The Platinum Card® from American Express – you might want to take steps to improve your credit score before you apply.

You can do this by always paying your bills on time and keeping your overall credit utilization ratio low. If you need to bulk up your credit history, you can also consider asking a family member to add you as an authorized user to one of their accounts. This strategy has its pros and cons, but it can boost your score and add to your credit file as long as the primary cardholder is responsible.

Prequalifying does not guarantee approval

Prequalifying for a credit card offer is a great way to know whether or not you will be approved, but remember – it’s not a guarantee. You may receive a prequalified card offer only to be denied for the card. Nevertheless, your chances are significantly improved by prequalifying first.

One more important thing to note here: American Express is notorious for offering different introductory bonuses through different avenues. That means the offer you get on CardMatch or in the mail might not be the same as what you see on the website. In many cases, you can score a larger bonus by applying through a prequalified offer – but you should always compare to make sure you are getting a good deal.

Final thoughts

For those worried about your credit card approval odds, prequalified offers are a great way to know ahead of time which cards are in your reach. With several different methods to score these offers, American Express makes it easy to maximize your chances of scoring the card you want.

Source: creditcards.com

What Is Cash Back?

What Is Cash Back?

Cash back is a rewards benefit that many credit cards offer to cardholders. By taking advantage of it, you’ll receive back a prespecified percentage of certain purchases you make. Many credit card companies will provide higher cash back rates on certain types of purchases, such as airfare, gas, food and more. Cash back is just one way that credit cards offer rewards, as mileage and points are some alternatives.

Before you spend too much money with your credit cards, make sure you have a financial plan in place. Speak with a financial advisor today.

What Is Cash Back?

The most commonly recognized style of cash back is what you have likely seen advertised as cash back credit cards. This specifically refers to earning a certain percentage of your credit card purchases back as cash rewards. However, cash back rates vary widely, as do the categories that they apply to.

You usually won’t see credit card cash back rates higher than 5%, while 1% is the typically minimum you will earn. Cash back categorization is significantly more complex though, with a merchant category code (MCC) system being the main organizing force.

MCCs run the entire cash back industry, as they ultimately decide how each purchase you make is classified. These designations coincide with cash back rates set by the issuer of your card. For example, you could use your card for a $50 dinner at a steakhouse, which has a “restaurant” code. If your card offers a 2% cash back rate on all spending at restaurants, you’d earn $1 cash back.

Familiar alternatives to cash back include point- and mile-based programs, though many cardholders are partial to cash back. Cash back affords cardholders an independence that is ideal, since you can redeem it for nearly anything.

Popular Cash Back Credit Cards

What Is Cash Back?

Discover, American Express, Mastercard and Visa all have cash back rewards credit cards available for prospective cardholders. Each abide by their own set of regulations, though card issuers decide on cash back rates, promotions and bonuses. Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi and Capital One represent some of the most active card issuers on the market today.

Below are a few examples of what you can expect to earn when looking for a cash back credit card:

Cash Back Credit Cards Card Name Cash Back Rates Cash Back Bonus Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi 4% cash back on eligible gas up to $7,000 per year, 3% cash back on eligible travel and restaurants, 2% cash back in-store and online with Costco and 1% cash back elsewhere None Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card 3% cash back in a category of your choosing, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases (up to a quarterly cap of $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/choice category purchases) $200 bonus cash back for spending at least $1,000 over your first 90 days Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card Unlimited 1.5% cash back everywhere $150 cash back bonus when you spend $500 during your first three months Citi Double Cash Card 1% cash back on your purchases and another 1% cash back when you pay your bill None Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card Unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% cash back on groceries and 1% cash back elsewhere $300 cash back bonus for $3,000 spent over your first three months TD Cash Visa® Credit Card 3% cash back on dining, 2% cash back at supermarkets and 1% cash back on everything else Earn $150 cash back when spending $500 within the first 90 days (See Terms) USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Unlimited 1.5% cash back on everything None Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express 3% cash back on up to $6,000/year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% cash back on other purchases $150 bonus cash back for spending $1,000 over your first six months Getting Cash Back at Retailers

What Is Cash Back?

Picture this: you’re buying some groceries on a Sunday morning, but know you’ll need $40 cash to fill up your car with some gas later. You could swipe your debit card at the supermarket and then head over to the ATM. Or you could ask for cash back right from the cashier, eliminating the extra errand.

The above situation represents the alternative definition of cash back. It’s ultimately the use of a cash register as if you were swiping your debit card at the ATM. When you request cash back from a cashier, your bank account will be charged the amount you asked for. This enables the funds to be pulled from your account so the cash can be placed in your hand.

Although this generally only applies to debit cards, there are a few exceptions for credit cards. Discover® allows cardholders to ask for cash back at more than 50 large retail stores without a transaction fee.

Bottom Line

There are many benefits to utilizing credit card rewards programs. But spending money that technically isn’t yours will always involve some level of risk. If you’re in good financial shape, though, cash back and other types of credit card rewards can help you take more vacations, save money on purchases and more.

Credit Card Tips

  • Managing your credit cards and any debt you accumulate using them is a major part of your long-term financial outlook. Consider working with a financial advisor to make sure you’re managing your money with your goals for the future in mind. SmartAsset’s free matching tool can connect you with up to three advisors in your area. Get started now.
  • If you’re someone who wants freedom when spending credit card rewards, you may prefer cash back to a points- or mileage-based reward system. However, keep in mind that cash back rates are sometimes less than those in point-centric programs.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which SmartAsset.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). SmartAsset.com does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

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Spouse Has Bad Credit? How It Affects You.

Spouse Has Bad Credit? How It Affects You

It wasn’t until a few months after my husband and I got married that I decided to check both our credit scores. While my husband’s credit score wasn’t horrible, it certainly didn’t qualify as “excellent.” This got me thinking about how newlyweds’ financial histories can affect both spouses’ finances moving forward, and how critical it is to acknowledge this reality—ideally before getting hitched.

Why It’s Important to Have a Good Credit Score

Manisha Thakor cuts right to the chase in her book On My Own Two Feet: “Your credit score is essentially your financial reputation in numeric form.”

Aiming for an excellent credit score—generally defined as 750 or more—is a worthy goal, owing to the range of ways in which it can save you money. Credit scores are critical when applying for loans—for instance, car loans and mortgages. In addition, many employers consider prospective employees’ credit scores during the hiring process.

A high credit score means you can access lower interest rates when borrowing, because creditors will view you as reliable. The perceived risk that you’ll default on your loan is lower compared to those with poor credit scores. Lower interest rates, especially on large amounts borrowed over significant timeframes, can save you thousands and thousands of dollars!

A poor credit score can indirectly hurt your financial efforts as well; consider the fact that when you’re paying over the odds in debt repayments, you’re committing fewer dollars to saving and retirement planning.

photo credit: LendingMemo via photopin cc

Till Debt Do Us Part

Marriage makes you one combined financial unit.

However, that doesn’t mean your credit scores are merged; your credit history continues to be maintained on an individual basis. One spouse’s poor credit cannot directly damage the individual score of the other spouse.

That being said, if you apply for a loan as a married couple, creditors look at both your credit scores to determine your eligibility and terms. So, if one of you has the credit of an angel whereas the other’s credit history is limited or even littered with missed payments and liens, you may find your application is denied.

But, this is not just about loan applications—poor credit can belie more than just a few bad credit card habits. Other financial follies, like paying taxes late, not focusing on saving, and day-to-day overspending, could be lurking in the closet.

What Do You Do After You’ve Said I Do?

While bad credit isn’t good news, it’s not necessarily a reason not to get married. And, it’s not necessarily the precursor to divorce! It is, however, an alarm signaling that it is time to get clear on your joint financial situation and start communicating. Make sure you do this respectfully and compassionately to minimize blame and financial stress. (If you’re the type of person who’d like to know this information from prospective partners before things get serious, there are now dating sites catering just to you.)

Once you’ve identified that one of you has less-than-optimal credit, it’s time to take action. Here are four top tips for taking immediate action:

1. Check your credit report for mistakes: Errors are, unfortunately, pretty common and can be really detrimental. Check your report at least once per year.

2. Make payments on time: Yes, this is stating the obvious, but it needs to be said! Mary Beth Storjohann of Workable Wealth says, “35% of your credit score is based on how you pay your bills (making this the biggest determining factor for your score)! Are you often late of missing payments? The impact of just one 90-day late payment goes way beyond the three months you took to pay, so set up automatic bill payments.”

3. Lower your debt-to-credit ratio: This is how much debt you have as a proportion of your overall credit limits. 30% of your credit score is based on the amount of money you owe versus the amount of credit available to you. The higher the amount of credit you’re utilizing, the more negative the impact on your score. Keep the debt level as low as possible (30% of your limits, or less).

4. Pay down your debt faster: Make more than the minimum payments wherever possible by utilizing the snowball method or targeting the balance with the highest interest rate to pay down first.

photo credit: natloans via photopin cc

Alongside these tips, it’s super important to remember that improving your credit score won’t happen overnight. The length of time it takes for your score to improve is directly related to reasons for the drop. It can take anywhere from a few months to several years for your credit report to reflect the positive changes you’re making. As Mary Beth notes, “The most important thing is to be proactive in clearing up any issues.” In addition, two of the criteria factored into your score are the length of your overall credit history and the average age of your accounts.

So, don’t be discouraged—be patient and give it time.

And, Finally, Some Tips on What Not to Do!

There are always two sides to every coin so, while you’re following the tips above, make sure that you’re not unwittingly hurting your score and negating your good work.

Be mindful of the following ways that you could be hurting your credit score:

1. Opening too many new accounts: This comes back to the point that the average age of your accounts is a key factor. Opening lots of new accounts reduces that average.

2. Closing too many old accounts: Older accounts indicate that you have managed payments for a long time and increase the average age of your accounts. When you close credit card accounts, this also decreases the amount of credit available to you, which can reflect negatively if you have other accounts that are still carrying high balances (it essentially increases your debt to credit ratio).

3. Signing up for lots of retail incentive programs: Every time you apply for credit, the company issuing the credit will request information about you from the credit bureaus. Too many of these requests can reduce your score.

4. Over-utilizing your credit. Mary Beth advises, “If you’re depending on your credit cards to fund your daily expenses and lifestyle needs, but aren’t able to pay them off in full at the end of each month, something needs to change. Start tracking your spending and get a handle on your expenses.”

In summary, start taking positive steps, be aware of actions that can hurt your credit, and focus on building solid financial foundations for the future.

This post was written by Erika Torres of GoGirl Finance. GoGirl Finance is a fast-growing community of women seeking and providing financial wisdom across money management, lifestyle, family and career. For more finance tips, follow GoGirl Finance on Twitter @GoGirlFinance

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