What's a credit score, and how does it affect finances? This archive holds news and straightforward advice to help you understand scores and reports, from the CreditCards.com editorial team.

Latest credit card news

 Credit scores, credit reports

Keep credit utilization low when refinancing mortgage -- Even if you don't carry a balance, high card use can hurt ... (See Refinance)

Help! I maxed out 5 cards to 'help' online boyfriend -- Retired woman falls for scam, racks up $35,000 she can't pay back ... (See Scam)

Video: Inside the dark web -- Welcome to the dark web, where criminals can steal your identity anonymously. ... (See Dark web)

Yes, worry about a 30-point discrepancy in your credit scores -- Some variation is expected, but big differences merit investigation ... (See Scores)

2016 Retail Card Survey: APRs climbing, sign-up deals fading -- Retail card offers are now more costly, as interest rates rise and sign-up offers decrease, according to a new CreditCards.com survey ... (See Retail)

How to access elderly parent's credit reports -- If you suspect card fraud, the best way to find out is through a credit report ... (See Fraud)

8-credit-mistakes-made-by-the-credit-experts -- Everyday cardholders can learn from gaffes made by gurus ... (See Mistakes)

Micropayments help debt management, credit scores -- Typically, lenders will allow multiple payments, but if not, find out why ... (See Payments)

Small balance shows you use credit, helping your score -- Scoring formula quirk rewards you for having tiny balance ... (See Balance)

Video: The psychology of bill avoidance -- Take small steps to deal with that which you dread, a professor says ... (See Bills)

Ask for a lower APR; you just might get one -- If your credit's in good standing, the odds of being granted a lower APR are in your favor ... (See APR)

Navy Federal fined $28.5 million for debt collection tactics -- Biggest US credit union strong-armed its members, CFPB says ... (See Collection)

Social Security benefits protected from garnishment -- As long as your benefits are direct deposited to your bank, creditors can't take them ... (See Debt)

Credit card delinquencies rise but remain near historic lows -- Cardholders have learned their lesson and pay down card debts, says the American Bankers Association ... (See Debt)

Don't close your credit card accounts to win a mortgage -- "Too much credit" is old, bad advice some mortgage lenders cling to ... (See Mortgage)

Video: What is your credit utilization ratio? -- Your credit utilization is how much credit is available to you versus how much of it you actually use. ... (See Utilization)

If mom opens cards in your name, it's family fraud -- Start with a conversation, then get a police report ... (See Fraud)

Unsteady income? Traditional debt-paying advice doesn't apply -- Debt repayment rules differ when you're not getting a steady paycheck ... (See Income)

Take a businesslike approach to improving your credit -- Want to boost your credit score and increase your borrowing power? Ask a small business owner for financial advice ... (See Credit)

Being added as authorized user can boost credit age, score -- Young to credit? Your parents' well-aged card could help ... (See Age)

Once balance is paid off, your credit limit is restored -- New to credit? Here's how charging and repaying affects your credit limit. ... (See Limit)

4 warning signs your college student is racking up card debt -- If your child is already in debt, or uncomfortable talking about finances, that's a yellow flag ... (See Warning signs)

9 confusing credit card terms explained -- The lexicon of credit card terms can be confounding. Here's some help ... (See Terms)

Paid a charged-off debt; now what? -- It’s not enough to just pay a charge-off and forget about it. There are some cases in which the information about the paid charge-off doesn’t get to the credit reporting agencies. ... (See Debt)

85-year-old mom has $25,000 in card debt -- Her adult children's behavior is keeping their mom on the debt hook ... (See Mom)

Credit bureau policies vary when freezing a child's credit -- It is often difficult to place a credit freeze on a child when no ID theft has been committed ... (See Freeze)

When a 'friend' racks up $11,000 on your card -- Your options? Take her to civil court, pay the debt or stop paying and risk being sued yourself ... (See Options)

Study: Rising interest rates will impact 92 million in US -- A study by credit bureau TransUnion finds that 92 million U.S. consumers will face higher monthly payments when interest rates rise, and 9 million will struggle ... (See Rates)

Dispute card accounts opened fraudulently by ex-spouse -- You have to take the proper steps to get the issuers to acknowledge the accounts aren't yours ... (See Fraud)

Business charged you via card number on file? Dispute it -- Just because they sold you something once, they can't run your card number on file again without your permission ... (See Dispute)

Supercharge rewards with a business card -- By playing your cards rights, a business card can rack up rewards fast ... (See Rewards)

How to fix credit after dad opens card in son's name -- Son rejects dad's card offer, but finds out dad opened one anyway ... (See Credit)

Demystifying 5 common credit misconceptions -- Don't get tripped up by misleading or confusing credit terminology ... (See Terms)

Video: Exclusive credit card rewards experiences -- We'll show you how to get up close and personal with the players of your favorite sports team before a game by using credit card reward points ... (See Experience)

Premarital debt weighs on new marriage -- Bringing delinquent debt into a new union can strain joint finances ... (See Debt)

If credit score disappears, here's how to get it back -- Inactivity can cause your credit score to vanish ... (See Disappear)

10 business card mistakes that can tank your credit -- A low score can make it difficult to secure loans, retain suppliers and attract customers ... (See Mistakes)

Will incorrect income on car application jeopardize loan? -- The bigger problem lies in taking on a car payment you can't afford ... (See Loan)

Living together doesn't create common-law marriage or debt liability -- Keeping accounts separate can protect funds in case partner is sued for repayment ... (See Debt)

9 credit lessons for college students -- These tips will help students use cards wisely to build their credit in school and beyond ... (See Students)

6 favors you can ask your card issuer -- Looking for a better deal? It never hurts to ask, and good preparation increases the odds you'll hear a "yes" ... (See Favors)

Infographic: Credit card use among the college set -- Two-thirds of college students have a credit card, and most are using their cards regularly, according to data from Equifax ... (See College cards)

Removing yourself as an authorized user -- Ending the 'piggyback' ride from a person with great credit can impact score ... (See Impact)

Creating a credit history for kids under 10 is too early -- Wait until kids hit their teens to add them as authorized users to your card ... (See Kids)

Don’t fall victim to these 7 credit card timing mistakes -- Paying a bill late, failing to pay off an account and other timing errors can cost you big in terms of credit damage ... (See Timing)

Who must pay card debt of deceased husband? -- The state where you live determines who has to pay. ... (See Widow)

Be wary of whose card you piggyback on -- If the credit bureau deems the account illegitimate, you'll be out of luck ... (See Piggyback)

Half of college students aren’t checking their credit reports -- Many Americans 18-24 are wielding credit cards responsibly, but there’s a need for more credit education, a new Equifax study and money experts say. ... (more)

New credit card has so-so terms? You have choices -- If the rate is too high or the credit limit too low, you have more options than just sitting and fuming ... (See Meh)

How becoming a widow affects credit -- Becoming suddenly single won't hurt credit if you have your own ... (See Widow)

Deceased father's accounts dragging down son's scores -- Knowing exactly how dad's accounts got on son's credit is first step ... (See Scores)

How cohabitating couples can protect themselves financially -- Taking these three steps before moving in could help avoid a money mess down the road. ... (See Finances)

Card issuers can reduce your credit limit -- Banks monitor credit reports, and make adjustments if it sees signs of risk ... (See Limit)

Deceased mom's debts take priority over inheritance -- After debts are paid, then what's left over can be disbursed among any heirs ... (See Heirs)

How preapproved offers affect credit -- You don't have a lot to worry about, but there are exceptions ... (See Preapprove)

Recession foreclosures disappearing from credit reports -- Those who lost homes in 2009 could soon see a return to homeownership ... (See Home)

Video: How payment history affects your credit score -- Financial mistakes can haunt you and your FICO score ... (See Payment history)

Is secured card best for rebuilding credit post-bankruptcy? -- If your score is high enough, you may qualify for a regular, unsecured card ... (See Credit)

Keep medical debt from being reported to credit bureaus -- Prevent the credit score damage before it happens ... (See Lucky break)

Teen falsifies birth date, gets card, charges $500 -- Her mom will pay off debt, but asks if her teen will come under fire from the issuer ... (See Teens)

How delinquent child support affects credit scores -- States vary in how they report it, so impact varies, too ... (See Scores)

Video: Building credit as a new US resident -- Here are five tips for building credit from scratch ... (See Build)

Card options expand when bankruptcy falls off credit report -- At last, 10 years have passed since bankruptcy. Which card should you try for? We'll help you come up with a plan ... (See Post-bankruptcy)

Credit card ownership lags for those with low scores -- Credit card ownership is rebounding, but remains far behind levels seen before the recession, and consumers with bad credit are the ones doing without plastic ... (See Ownership)

Stop soon-to-be ex from sticking you with joint debt -- Take steps now to protect your finances before you get in front of a judge ... (See Divorce)

How being denied credit affects your score -- Only the hard inquiry affects the credit score of an applicant when their credit report is pulled ... (See Denied credit)

Survey: 1 in 3 young women don’t know current card balances -- Credit card, student loan debt overwhelming millennials on tight budgets ... (See Millennials)

Safeguard accounts from card-stealing family member -- Keep cards safe and don't store details online to prevent fraudulent charges from happening ... (See Fraud)

Millennials, now house-hungry, struggle to build credit -- Late to homebuying but eager, millennials look for quick, creative credit score cures ... (See Homebuying)

Best way to allocate lump sum across multiple card debts -- You can pay high-interest debt first or knock off an entire balance for motivation ... (See Debt)

Hard inquiry warning not required -- The impact of that inquiry can range from slightly harmful to positive ... (See Inquiry)

Understanding how a card's billing cycle works -- Depending on when issuers report to the bureaus will impact credit scores ... (See Billing)

Employers running credit checks on job applicants must tread carefully -- The screening tool is increasingly seen as unfair by state legislatures, though they may make sense in some cases ... (See Credit checks)

Credit card bill autopayments: tips for getting it right -- Setting up autopayments can prevent slip-ups that can ruin your credit score ... (See Autopay)

Warn the ex's girlfriend about his IRS tax debt -- If you and your ex owe the IRS, the new girlfriend deserves to know ... (See Taxes)

Positive card habits up, negative ones down -- Americans pay their credit card bills in full more often, and avoid costly behavior, a six-year survey series finds ... (See Card behavior)

5 credit scoring head-scratchers -- Most of the times, scoring rules make sense. Then there are these ... (See Rules)

LA, Minneapolis best cities for money management skills -- Consumers in Los Angeles and Minneapolis-St. Paul excel at managing their finances, based on credit scores adjusted for income and other factors ... (See Cities)

Video: Credit pitfalls for stay-at-home parents -- Stay-at-home parents can tank their credit by making these common mistakes ... (See Parents)

How unwanted card, hard inquiry impact credit scores -- The inquiry will ding your score, but the new credit line may help ... (See Card)

How to graduate from debit-only to being a credit card holder -- Don't let fear hold you back from opening a credit card. Used properly, they're a useful tool. ... (See Debit)

Authorized user doesn't like the piggyback ride -- Don't jump off too soon; a close look at the entire credit profile may show it's a net positive ... (See Piggyback)

How to remove a 100-word personal statement from your credit report -- Even if you felt the need to dispute an unpaid bill or explain what led to a foreclosure in the past, there are a number of reasons why you might have a change of heart ... (See Remove)

Rate survey: Average card APR sits tight at 15.18 percent -- July 13, 2016: The average APR on new card offers remained unchanged at 15.18 percent this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rates)

Unpaid fees from canceled card can end up in collection -- When a card is canceled, triple-check that no balance remains ... (See Fees)

How do I tell when card debt legally expires? -- The statute of limitations in your state and your card agreement are the starting points, but individual cases can be complex ... (See Debt legally expires)

Business partner's personal debts on card may be grounds for suit -- An authorized user isn't normally liable for card debts. But you may still have legal recourse against a small-business partner who won't pay personal charges they rang up on your card ... (See Business partner)

Credit paranoia or credit smart? Which precautions are worth it -- How to make sure that the desire to protect your credit information doesn't turn into an obsession ... (See Theft)

Volunteering for jail isn't the answer to debt -- When debt gets deep, don't despair there's help ... (See Jail)

9 rewards card sign-up bonus mistakes -- Know the minimum spend required, the fees to avoid and more ... (See Sign-up)

Score damage increases if unpaid debt goes to collections -- Your score likely took one blow when a bill went seriously delinquent. You'll take another if it's sold to a collection agency ... (See Into collections)

New card application may renew debt collection -- If you have debt in collections, creditors may come calling once they see you are seeking more credit ... (See Debt)

‘Loaded’ author Sarah Newcomb: Call them loan cards, not credit cards -- In a new book, the behavioral economist talks about the role credit cards play in the financial tales we tell ourselves ... (See Q&A)

Card issuers impose limits on rewards card churning -- Limits make it tougher to churn through credit cards to milk them for sign-up bonuses while ducking the fees ... (See Churning)

Poor personal credit hurts business card application -- Even with good business credit, your chances of approval for a business credit card are poor until you rebuild your personal credit score ... (See Business)

Credit use by generation: Who's doing the best job? -- The generation you're from likely plays a big role in how you view and use credit products ... (See Credit)

Aging father's big card debt puts his home at risk -- With equity in his home, he risks creditors slapping a lien on it for repayment, or worse, a forced sale. ... (See Home)

Lowering credit limit on new card can hurt scores -- The higher the credit line, the better, as long as balances stay low ... (See Scores)

VantageScore turns 10: What it is, why it matters -- VantageScore, launched as a more consumer-friendly alternative to the dominant FICO credit score, has slowly gained acceptance ... (See VantageScore)

Will I be held liable for my failing business’s credit card debt? -- Even if your small-business credit card accounts aren't appearing on your personal credit report now, they may if you default ... (See Business debt)

Minimum payments won't cut debt on 16 cards -- If all you can afford is the minimum payments on your debt, you need a game-changer ... (See MInimums)

Debt-fighting expats find success abroad -- A rising number of Americans are moving abroad not to dodge debt, but to deal with it. They trim cost of living and save ... (See Saving abroad)

Personal funds generally safe once debt is uncollectible -- Once the statute of limitations has passed, garnishment fears should be allayed ... (See Debt)

If you settle debt, expect a credit score drop -- Debt settlement can help get you out of overwhelming debt, but there will be a catch ... (See Settle)

Canceling new card won’t offset hard inquiry score impact -- Once you apply, the damage is done. But responsible use over time is the cure ... (See Impact)

Low credit score? Mortgages now more expensive -- Recent changes to private mortgage insurance costs hurt low-score, low down payment buyers ... (See PMI)

Credit card statistics -- This is the web's largest and best-documented set of credit card statistics, from industry studies, government and university reports, and CreditCards.com's original research ... (See Stats)

How a Canadian can restart credit in the U.S. -- A great score in Canada means little; you need to obtain a U.S. loan from a U.S. lender that reports to U.S. credit bureaus ... (See Canadian)

Rate survey: Average card APR inches up to 15.18 percent -- June15, 2016: The average credit card interest rate ticked up this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rates)

Paying down existing balances trumps need for secured card -- Getting rid of current debt will boost score more than getting a new card ... (See Score)

Credit card race, age, gender statistics -- Race, gender and age all play a role in how much credit we're able to access and whether we're able to use that credit to greatest advantage. CreditCards.com has compiled statistics on demographic trends in the credit world ... (See Demographic stats)

9 signs you have too much debt -- Your debt might be out of control if one of these nine signs hits home ... (See Debt)

Plan to walk away from card debt? Read this first -- For those who think blowing off their credit card debt is better than paying it. Here are the caveats and what experts have to say ... (See Walk away)

Tough choice: Sell home to pay off debt -- Your home is your castle, but it could also be your ticket out of debt ... (See Sell)

Who sees credit report 100-word statements -- Not many lenders bother with them; you may want to remove old ones ... (See 100 words)

Set rules when adding child to your card for foreign travel -- As an authorized user, you can keep track of his charges and know he's covered in case of an emergency ... (See Travel)

4 credit lessons women can learn from men -- Sometimes "thinking like a man" can be the right money move ... (See Lessons)

Plan carefully before opening multiple small-business credit cards -- Multiple business cards may help your credit score and increase your rewards-earning potential, but first consider how you will manage them ... (See Business cards)

Poll: 4 in 10 co-signers lose money -- Helping out a credit-challenged friend or family member by co-signing can damage to credit and relationships ... (See Co-sign)

6 ways to overcome the shame of debt -- Get beyond the stigma of maxed-out cards and piles of bills and start turning around your financial life, experts say ... (See Debt shame)

Just 10 credit score points shy of a mortgage -- These strategies will help you get the final points needed to qualify for that home loan ... (See 10 points)

Minor's co-signed bank account at risk of parents' garnishment -- Even if a minor earns the money, it's a parental asset , and one that would tempt a debt collector ... (See Garnish)

100-word credit report statement: 6 ways it can hurt you -- Sometimes too much information can come back to haunt you ... (See Report)

Options for escaping penalty rate APRs -- Six months of on-time payments can force a rate review ... (See Penalty rate)

Why an old debt may vanish from credit report -- If a legitimate debt disappeared from your credit report, don't celebrate yet. It might not be gone long. ... (See Credit report)

What types of income qualify on card applications? -- Gross or net? Household income or wages? Breaking down income qualifications when applying for a card ... (See Income)

Fight back against debt by FOMO -- Suffering from the fear of missing out? Focus on your goals and budget to tune out social media pressures to spend ... (See Fighting FOMO)

10 warning signs of ID theft -- Data breach notices and bogus charges on your card are just two red flags. Here’s what to do if you suspect fraud ... (See ID theft)

More parents giving their kids credit cards -- The number of children ages 8-14 with access to their parents' credit cards has quadrupled ... (See Kids with credit cards)

Authorized user kept charging on deceased dad's card -- Five years after her father died, daughter wonders who is liable for the balance ... (See Liability)

Good payment habits will raise score after balance transfers -- Multiple balance transfers led to multiple hard inquiries and a score drop, but you should be able to turn it around ... (See Transfer)

Dispute duplicate student loans entries on credit reports -- When a loan is bought and sold multiple times, it can create credit report havoc ... (See Duplicates)

8 ways to pay down debt when on a fixed income -- When retired, disabled or laid off, shouldering big debt on a limited income can become overwhelming ... (See Debt)

Authorized user not responsible for deceased company president’s debt -- As the authorized user on a small-business credit card, you are not liable for debts on those cards, even if the primary cardholder dies. But if you own the business, there are special considerations ... (See Debt)

Credit card issuer can't garnish your Social Security check -- Contact the company and ask about a hardship program ... (See Garnish)

Confessions of credit card customer service reps -- Current, former reps reveal what they can, can’t do when you call in ... (See Reps)

'Injured spouse allocation' tax form can shield spouse from debt -- Couple's return is seized for repayment of wife's student loan ... (See Loan)

Some states offer exceptions to credit reporting rules -- Negative items can come off your report sooner in New York, California ... (See Exceptions)

Low utilization boosts balance transfer deal approval odds -- Zero percent balance transfer deals are often reserved for those with high credit scores ... (See 0% deals)

Video: Secured credit cards, explained -- If your credit score is low, you can build your credit by using a secured credit card ... (See Score)

Startup didn't launch, so credit rebuilding needed -- Living on credit cards during startup has risks, but with time you can recover a good credit score ... (See Startup)

Infographic: 2016 sees card debt, delinquency uptick -- Though the number of people who fail to pay debt is not as high as it was in the Great Recession, it has started to increase in 2016 ... (See Delinquency rates)

Don't close accounts after paying card debt -- Using a cash-out refi to pay off card debt? Great. Closing the card accounts after? Not great at all ... (See Close)

Credit building tips you thought were wise, but simply aren’t -- What if all that credit climbing wisdom you learned along the way is wrong — or worse, could actually backfire? ... (See Tips)

Is widow obligated to repay husband's debt consolidation program? -- If she co-signed the contract, then she will be required to repay ... (See Debt)

Save money and your score with a DIY debt management plan -- In certain circumstances, it can make sense to tackle debt problems yourself ... (See DIY)

9 tips for renting a car with a debit card -- You can almost always rent a car with a debit card, but expect extra hassles ... (See Debit)

Survey: Average card APR remains near record high -- May 4, 2016: Average rates on new credit card offers remained unchanged this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See APR)

Walmart MoneyCard prepaid card does not build credit -- If you're looking to build up your credit, prepaid cards are the wrong path to take ... (See Prepaid)

Using personal credit card for work expenses: 8 tips -- It’s common, but not always fair, for companies to ask employees to pay work expenses upfront and get reimbursed later ... (See Personal )

How to protect your credit when your spouse starts a business -- You can help your entrepreneurial spouse make sure their startup doesn't jeopardize the family's finances ... (See Credit)

Quick fixes for temporary repayment problem -- When life throws a curveball and you can't pay your bills one month, here's what you can do ... (See Bills)

Top 10 credit bureau myths -- Just how the bureaus work and who they work for are often misunderstood ... (See Myths)

Infographic: Female college students edge males in credit smarts -- Female students do a bit better in handling credit, says a Sallie Mae study ... (See College student credit smarts)

How to bounce back from debt repayment setbacks -- Stumbling along the way to becoming debt-free is common. Here's how to make sure it doesn't derail your whole plan ... (See Debt)

How to build credit when you're not a US resident -- Getting a U.S. address and Individual Taxpayer Identification Number are the first steps ... (See Credit)

4 credit lessons men can learn from women -- New studies reveal women to be smart, savvy spenders, maybe more so than men ... (See Men)

FAQs on new Costco Citi Visa card -- We answer the most-common reader questions prompted by the warehouse club’s credit card switch from American Express to Citi ... (See Costco Citi Visa FAQ)

Getting a refund tougher if you buy with debit card -- Late or nondelivery refunds not fully guaranteed with debit purchases ... (See Dispute)

Card account isn't closed if annual fee still charged -- Despite not using the card for years, if you are still getting charged a fee, your card company considers the account open ... (See Closed )

Infographic: How generations view financially 'making it' -- Views across generations of what "making it" financially means to them ... (See Generation finances)

Used right, subprime cards can help rebuild credit -- Subprime or secured cards can pave the way to a better credit score ... (See Subprime)

4 authors on how better credit can make you happy -- Money can't buy happiness, but some well-known authors say taking steps to improve your credit can ... (See Happiness)

Video: 3 things to know about credit card minimum payments -- Find out what a minimum payment is, how it's calculated and how it affects your debt -- in about a minute. ... (See Payment)

After divorce, ex dies with card debt; am I responsible? -- It's unlikely, but check divorce decree, credit reports ... (See Debt)

Financial disorganization: 6 ways it costs you -- Chronic financial clutter can have steep financial and emotional consequences. ... (See Clutter)

Don't tap IRA to pay back taxes -- Cashing out IRA may cause you to end up with yet another tax bill ... (See IRS)

Positive info not always reported to all 3 credit bureaus -- Big swings in credit scores can result, and that can hurt if you're borrowing ... (See Scores)

How a secured card's security deposit works -- Your deposit acts as your credit line and is refunded once the card is closed and the balance paid off, minus any fees ... (See Secured card)

Infographic: Spigot held tight on subprime credit -- Credit limits for subprime consumers are down from a year ago ... (See Subprime credit)

Credit Card Help: 9 things you need to know about prepaid cards -- Thinking about picking up a reloadable prepaid card? Here’s what you should know first ... (See Prepaid cards)

Pay off all card debt? Or leave a small balance? -- If you want to keep the card, use it; inactivity can cause it to be closed ... (See Pay off)

Paper or emailed credit card statements: Which are better? -- Electronic billing is convenient, saves trees -- but you might miss a payment ... (See Statements)

Will debt settlement hurt authorized user's credit? -- A quick call to issuer to remove authorized user will protect guest cardholder ... (See Settlement)

Even with no SSN, unpaid debt can ruin your credit -- Your name, address and amount owed will be reported ... (See SSN)

While in credit recovery, apply for new card with care -- To maximize your score and get the best new card possible, pay off balance on old card first ... (See Score)

5 things to know before requesting a credit-line increase -- Before you request a credit increase, think about how it will affect your credit score and why you need the added amount ... (See Credit line)

Settlement options on an old card debt -- A "paid in full" notation on your credit report will be helpful ... (See Settle)

5 ways women can compensate for the gender wage gap -- Good money habits can minimize the effects of an unequal salary ... (See Gap)

What to do about card debt when on a fixed income -- Paying off card debt doesn't solve problem of not having enough to live on ... (See Debt)

Pay off revolving card debt first over installment loan -- A revolving debt balance, in lenders eyes, increases the chance that the borrower will default ... (See Debts)

With high credit score, adding new travel card not a problem -- With responsible use, adding another card to your arsenal has advantages ... (See Reward)

If buying a home soon, handle old debt with care -- Have a strategy: How you deal with creditors can clean up your credit -- or send up red flags to mortgage lenders ... (See Home buy)

The hard and fast rules of hard inquiries -- A group of experts explain exactly how credit bureaus’ take hard inquiries in account when you apply for credit ... (See Hard inquiry)

Co-signed card leaves mom's credit in ruins -- When her daughter couldn't pay the bill, collectors turn to her mom ... (See Co-sign)

Lenders may remember old charge-off forever -- Nothing requires a lender to grant more credit if you still owe a debt, despite it falling off your credit report ... (See Charge-off)

Banks reject more card applications -- Lenders stamped "reject" on more credit card applications in the New York Fed's latest survey, reversing course ... (See Rejection)

Secured card, patience needed to boost score -- Improving a credit score requires many cycles of consistently paying debt ... (See Score)

6 ways stay-at-home parents ruin their credit -- Taking care of your kids also means taking care of your credit. Avoid these credit mistakes that parents often make ... (See Credit)

Married, single people differ in views on relationships, money -- Everyone cares about money, but married people tend to see more financial red flags, a new survey finds ... (See Money and relationships)

Car lien shouldn't come as a surprise -- People just can't randomly attach liens to your property without notice ... (See Car lien)

Wrong address in credit report worrisome, but won't hurt score -- Bureaus use formula to decide which address is current ... (See Address)

5 ways an ex can ruin your credit during breakup, divorce -- Heartbreak is compounded by financial hurt if there's revenge spending or a vacation with a lover on a shared credit card ... (See Divorce)

Wait for bankruptcy discharge before applying for credit -- Only in a few circumstances will new credit be allowed during bankruptcy proceedings ... (See Discharge)

Gen Xers: 4 steps for tackling your debt -- Americans born between the mid-1960s and early 1980s have more debt but less wealth than parents did at the same age. Here's what to do if you're one of them ... (See Gen X)

High installment loan utilization hurts your credit score -- Owing a lot on installment loans isn't as damaging as maxing out a card, but it still suppresses your credit score ... (See Installment)

Debt collectors prey on soldiers and veterans -- Military personnel move regularly, earn steady paychecks and have to protect their security clearances. That makes them more vulnerable to illegal debt collection practices ... (See Military)

Getting, building credit requires an income -- Issuers want to see that you have the ability to repay what you borrow ... (See New to credit)

You may need good credit to get old -- Many seniors stop worrying about their credit scores once they've paid off their homes and cars. That's a mistake: Assisted living facilities and nursing homes often check credit ... (See Seniors)

How an unpaid debt affects selling your property -- An unpaid debt isn't a property lien, and shouldn't hamper home sale ... (See Liens)

Promotional inquiries' impact on your credit score -- They crop up on your credit report when a lender has a 'prescreened' offer for you, but don't directly impact your score ... (See Inquiries)

9 things to know about secured cards -- They start with a security deposit, and, when done right, end with you getting improved credit ... (See Secured card)

Charging after bankruptcy filing can backfire -- Racking up card chages during a time of repayment can lead to trouble ... (See Chapter 13)

Financial management tips for after a loved one dies -- When a loved one dies, things like paying the bills can fall to the wayside ... (See Tips)

If health problems strike, ask for hardship rate reduction on debt -- Avoid a settlement if you can; its credit score impact lingers ... (See Health)

Authorized user not covered by service member's APR protections -- The SCRA won't help lower card APR for an active-duty authorized user ... (See Military)

New lenders shun FICO, create their own scores -- Alternative lenders are turning to homegrown scoring algorithms to evaluate 'thin-credit' customers ... (See Score)

Credit utilization rules for managing your credit score -- General credit utilization rules: Closing a card will never help your score, while keeping a $0 balance will never hurt it ... (See Utilization)

How and when you can sue a debt collector -- Even if you owe the debt, you may be on the right side of the law ... (See Collection)

Best card to build credit post-bankruptcy -- A secured card is often your best bet after bankruptcy discharge ... (See Secured card)

Q&A with Patrice Washington: 'Getting real' about money -- When managing money and building wealth, progress starts with believing you can tackle anything life throws at you, according to author Patrice Washington. ... (See Money)

One credit card? Or many? How to decide -- Having one is easier and removes temptation, using many gives rewards ... (See Cards)

Credit gardening: Sow the seeds for a great score -- Fixing bad credit will take time. But following a "credit gardening" plan can make the journey simpler ... (See Gardening)

Don't fall for collector's threats on really old debt -- If the debt is past the statute of limitations, it's too old to collect ... (See Debt)

Allocating card payments on a limited budget -- Use free tools to plan your debt attack, don't close the account after you succeed ... (See Allocating payments)

Oil-patch states see rise in loan delinquencies -- Subprime lending continues to rise, says TransUnion data ... (See Delinquencies)

Video: Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 bankruptcy -- If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, knowing the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is essential. ... (See Video)

Do you list gross or net income on card applications? -- Issuers want to see your gross income, among other items ... (See Income)

Financial literacy begins moving into the workplace -- Many Americans lack the knowledge to properly manage their money. Employee education programs are working to change that ... (See Workplace)

Before you charge, have a plan to pay off your debt -- Yes, you can buy now, pay later. But know the consequences ... (See Repayment)

When good credit marries bad, it takes work -- You don't want your betrothed's bad credit history to bring down yours. Take these steps to protect your credit and help your spouse improve theirs ... (See Wedding risks)

Spousal identity theft is fraud, so fight it -- To avoid liability for the debt, you'll need to report the fraud ... (See Spousal ID theft)

6 money clues your date is a financial disaster -- Assessing a date's financial attitudes early on can save you future heartache ... (See Clues)

'Nuisance' debt in collections under $100 may not hurt score -- You'll face late fees, but newer scoring models ignore small debts ... (See Missed payment)

7 ways you are your own worst enemy, financially -- You can keep harming your financial health, or turn it around ... (See Enemy)

Steps to build credit as a permanent resident -- A secured card is an ideal credit-building tool for those new to the U.S. ... (See Permanent resident)

Tax refund: Using it to pay off credit card debt -- Five questions to help you decide where to apply that refund ... (See Tax refund)

Deciding whether to settle a credit card debt -- Do you have a lump sum, and are you ready for a credit score hit? ... (See Settle)

Lost job? Budget, don't stop card payments -- Prepare a bare-bones budget and cut all nonessential spending before you stop paying on cards ... (See Job loss)

Primary account holders are responsible for card debt -- If you're told you're not the primary account holder, you can pay bills, but not make changes ... (See Primary)

Don't apply for multiple balance transfer cards -- Multiple hard credit inquiries will ding your credit score ... (See Hard inquiries)

Getting a new cellphone? Expect a credit check -- If you're signing up for a traditional cellphone contract, your credit will probably be checked. But if your credit isn't great, you have more options than before ... (See Credit check)

How to graduate from parents' credit, cut 'authorized user' cord -- Ready for your own card? Don't ditch that guest card too quickly. ... (See Authorized user)

Don't close maxed-out card after you pay off debt -- When the card was maxed out, it was hurting your score; now it's helping ... (See Maxed-out)

Video: FICO's 5 credit score factors -- FICO is the king of credit scores, used in the most lending decisions. So what factors matter most in its scoring formula? ... (See FICO)

7 ways to boost your partner's credit score -- An overhaul of your loved one's low credit score could save your finances and your relationship ... (See Partner's score)

Playing hardball in a debt dispute has credit consequences -- If you feel wronged by a creditor, you can fight, but if you withhold payment your credit score will plummet ... (See Debt hardball)

Personal loans surge into mainstream -- Rise of online lenders and a lack of home equity help fuel the growth of this once-small niche of unsecured loans ... (See Personal loans grow )

Use caution when adding a friend as an authorized user -- No matter what your repayment arrangement is, you are ultimately responsible for any debt ... (See Authorized user)

Confusion high over credit card late fees -- Despite new protections, 1 in 5 consumers gets tripped up by a late fee. We explain the fine print you need to avoid them ... (See Late fee confusion)

Automated credit score advice may not fit -- Free online score-improving tips can conflict, depending on which credit-scoring formula is used ... (more)

Got holiday debt? Compare balance transfer, personal loan -- If you overindulged in debt over the holidays, compare a personal loan and credit card balance transfer - either can lighten up your personal balance sheet ... (See Balance transfer versus personal loan)

Stop debt collector's harassing phone calls -- There are laws to protect people from debt collection harassment and abuse ... (See Debt collection)

Put big annual vacation on a new 0-percent card -- If you have good credit, and the discipline to pay it off before the promotional period ends, go for it ... (See Paying for big vacation)

Mom has Alzheimer's and $20,000 in card debt -- If Social Security is all she has to live on, she may be judgment-proof ... (See Alzheimer's)

Don't be hasty in closing unused account with $0 balance -- Unused, available credit contributes to your score, so it might be helping your credit score without you knowing it ... (See $0 balance card)

Best, worst states for money management -- A state-by-state look at how well consumers manage their money, based on their average credit scores and household incomes ... (See State money management)

Chart: How states rank for money management -- A state-by-state look at how well consumers manage their money, based on their average credit scores and household incomes ... (See State rankings: money management)

New to credit? Build score with car loan, secured card -- Adding different types of credit accounts helps build your credit score ... (See Credit score)

Don't secretly add an authorized user to boost your rewards -- Some rewards cards dangle the prospect of extra points for adding a friend or relative to your account, but make sure you tell the other person first ... (See Secret authorized user)

5 ways to avoid (or deal with) late fees -- Late fees can quickly add up, and harm your credit. So avoid them if you can, and deal with them smartly if you must ... (See Late fees)

Restoring credit after authorized user status goes bad -- When the primary account holder stops paying the bill, all users associated with the account suffer ... (more)

Check credit score before applying for balance transfer -- Inquiries and new accounts both ding your credit score, so choose carefully ... (See Balance transfer credit check)

7 quick tasks to protect your ID -- Got 10 minutes? Then you can take a step to prevent identity theft. Each of these seven steps can be accomplished in 10 minutes or less. ... (See Prevent ID theft)

How closed accounts affect credit history, scores -- Closing excess cards will have an impact, but maybe not as bad as you think ... (See Closed accounts)

Credit score differences: How they occur, why they matter -- The credit files' data may differ, it can contain errors and the formulas used on it vary ... (See Credit score differences)

Canceling an unactivated card can hurt credit scores -- The lender already checked your credit and the loss of a new credit line could ding score ... (See Canceling card)

Settling debts for half of what's owed isn't easy -- Banks aren't in the business of paying 100% and only getting 50% back ... (more)

Involuntary authorized user wants to be removed -- A near-stranger adds a woman as an authorized user. Maybe it's ID theft, certainly it's creepy, and it can to be stopped ... (See Authorized user)

Baby-sitting money counts as income on card application -- If the work is steady and can be counted on in the future, it can be listed as your income ... (See Income)

Credit score obsession: 7 signs you have one -- If easy access to your credit score has you checking it obsessively, it might be time to rethink your relationship with FICO ... (See Credit score obsession)

Options when 'written off' debt reappears on credit report -- Just because a debt is not listed on your credit report, doesn't mean you're not still responsible for it. Here are options to take care of the debt ... (See Written off debt)

Forecast: Card delinquency, debt levels to remain healthy -- According to the credit bureau TransUnion's forecast, credit card consumers will continue behaving 'extremely well' ... (See Debt, delinquency forecast)

Trended data: the new way credit bureaus rate you -- Lenders now see how you pay your bills, not just whether you pay them ... (See Trended data)

How charge cards are different in credit scoring formula -- Credit limits, utilization aren't a factor, but wise use of the card is ... (See Charge cards and credit scores)

Rate survey: Average card rate increases to 14.99 percent -- Dec. 16, 2015: Interest rates on new credit card offers inched up this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rate report)

Game plans for avoiding bad-credit stereotypes -- Even if you're not borrowing money, you risk being tagged with bad-credit stereotypes at work, at home and in your relationships ... (See Bad credit game plans)

Police report needed to fix credit after mom steals child's ID -- Filing it will allow credit bureaus to repair damage from parental identity theft ... (See ID theft)

An 'accountability team' can support your debt payoff efforts -- Sharing your debt payoff plan with others can help you stay on track while you tackle that financial goal ... (See Accountability team)

Number of new cards soars, but credit limits tight -- An American Bankers Association survey finds subprime borrowers regaining access to credit, but not to a lot of it ... (See New accounts soar)

Rebuilding credit? Go easy on new accounts -- When working to rebuild your credit, open and maintain only two or three new cards. Any more could hurt more than helpp ... (See Credit rebuilding)

Putting a big-ticket item on a card: 7 questions -- Done right, a credit card can be the best tool for an expensive item. You can see whether it's right for you by answering these questions ... (See Big-ticket)

Go from good to excellent credit with first (and only) card -- Employing good credit habits early paves the way for a great credit score ... (See First card)

Keeping card accounts open after a balance transfer -- Consolidation can help manage debt, but goal is to pay it off ... (See Debt consolidation)

Credit utilization: How this key scoring factor works -- This credit utilization ratio is the second-most important factor used to calculate a borrower's score. Here's how it works ... (See Credit utilization)

How partial debt payments affect your credit, your legal rights -- Old debts fall off your credit reports in 7.5 years no matter what you do, but a partial payment may lengthen your vulnerability to a collections lawsuit ... (See Partial payments)

Rehabilitating student loan won't raise score immediately -- It takes seven years to erase the credit score damage of a default, but don't let that deter you; the benefits begin right away ... (See Rehabilitate)

Immigrant seeks to build good credit faster -- With basics mastered, it's time to make mid-course corrections ... (See Building credit)

Parental conservators can block access to finances, credit -- Parents took over legal responsibility for son in credit card debt, filing bankruptcy on his behalf, and preventing him from getting credit on his own ... (See Conservators)

Options for getting a handle on a $37,000 debt -- With a good income but lots of debt, a 72-year old single woman needs to plug the money leak first ... (See Debt options)

Options limited when paying bills for relative in coma -- Trying to do the right thing - pay a comatose relative's card bill - is nearly impossible without legal authority ... (See Pay relative's bills)

Fed: Access to credit cards increasing -- Fewer applicants rejected for new cards, but issuers stingy with credit limit increases ... (See Credit access)

Charging bills can help your score if you pay early, often -- Avoid interest charges and debt by paying in full, and keep your credit utilization low by paying more than once a month ... (See Charging bills)

Card debt is under control for the 2015 holidays -- U.S. consumers show an appetite for borrowing but their balances and late payments are low, a report from the big credit bureau shows ... (See Card debt report)

Business cards usually require a personal guarantee -- The small-business credit card that doesn't require good personal credit is an often-sought but seldom spotted myth ... (See Business card)

When you get a windfall, pay debts in full to restore credit -- Use that windfall to pay debts off; a partial settlement will be taxable and bog down your score ... (See Debt and windfall)

Don't agree to debt repayment you can't afford -- Stick to your budget and your guns when dealing with pushy debt collectors ... (See Debt collection)

Rating fraud: Not all security breaches are equal -- Different types of fraud have different risks involved. Knowing those risks might save you a headache ... (See Fraud risk)

How hard and soft inquiries affect your credit score -- Credit inquiries can be either soft or hard, and your credit score can suffer damage if you drop too many hard inquiries into it ... (See Credit inquiries)

Combining cards: Rolling 2 credit limits into 1 card -- Have two cards from one issuer? Trying combining credit limits before you close one ... (See Combining cards)

Closing only card means no score, no mortgage -- With no credit activity, no credit score can be generated, which eliminates the possibility of you being approved for a mortgage ... (See No score, no mortgage)

How long to wait to apply for another rewards card -- Don’t apply too aggressively -- for the sake of your credit and budget ... (See Rewards)

7 secrets of extreme credit card owners -- How seekers of big rewards, discounts manage 10, 20, 30 cards ... (See Extreme cardholder secrets)

Take care closing card accounts before mortgage application -- If you're not careful with your charging habits, closing card accounts can hurt your chances of getting a mortgage ... (See Closing cards before mortgage)

Mortgage after bankruptcy, divorce: You need time -- Low mortgage rates will not be available immediately after filing for bankruptcy. But patience and credit-building will help in getting a loan at a decent rate ... (See Mortgage after bankruptcy )

Raise credit score 30 points in 6 months? Tough, but doable -- Attention to bill-paying, credit utilization -- plus enough cash to whittle down debt -- can get it done ... (See 30 points )

Great credit score means you should reap rewards -- The longer you've used credit successfully, the less harm you'll do by getting some new cards, and big sign-up bonuses make it worthwhile ... (See Reap credit rewards)

Credit utilization important for businesses, too -- Paying your balance in full every month is ideal but if you can't manage that, keep your balance as low as possible ... (See Business credit)

Mom's Medicaid leaves no money left for debt repayment -- Plus, recently transferred assets may be voided by Medicaid ... (See Medicaid)

How long negative information stays on a credit report -- Late fees will not affect a credit score, while a late payment history will -- at least, until it drops off a credit report in seven years ... (See Negative credit information)

Beyond bankruptcy: What happens when you fail Chapter 13 -- Americans who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy are more likely than not to fail completing the debt repayment plan. Understanding why, and what comes next, can help you avoid common pitfalls ... (See Fail at bankruptcy)

Card issuer unlikely to hold a grudge for very old debt -- Once bad payment history falls off a credit report, card issuers are more likely to approve credit ... (See Issuer grudge)

8 myths surrounding bankruptcy -- Filing for bankruptcy is a huge financial step, and many jump in with misconceptions of what it will and won't do ... (See Bankruptcy myths)

Maxed-out card blocks entry to 800 credit score 'club' -- One card with a high utiliization is enough to prevent a good credit score from becoming nearly perfect ... (See 800 club)

Emancipated 17-year-old rejected for credit -- She can live independently, but banks won't issue her a card ... (See Rejected)

Mystery bill may signal error, memory failure or fraud -- If an unknown credit card bill shows up in your mailbox, it's time to take a closer look at what is on your credit report ... (See Mystery credit card bill)

Getting a credit card after bankruptcy can help credit score -- A post-bankruptcy credit card is one step toward restoring your credit score, but there are others, too ... (See Credit after bankruptcy)

The scariest things on your credit report -- Avoid a credit scare by seeing what lurks in your credit reports ... (See Credit report)

Closing a new card won't undo credit score hit -- Even if you haven't used the card, you've suffered ding to your score already. Why not keep it, since it may be of use? ... (See Credit score)

Using business's tax ID is no shortcut to building credit -- When it comes to credit, most business is personal ... (See Business credit)

Card rate too high? Negotiate a better one or transfer balance -- If you've been paying on time for a long time, you shouldn't be stuck with a 29 percent APR. Ask for a lower one; if they say no, transfer the balance ... (See Rate's too high)

Think you're a joint account holder? Think again -- Sharing a card can backfire when it comes to who's really liable for the bill ... (See Joint accounts)

How late payments get reported to credit bureaus -- First comes the late fee; if you still don't pay your score takes a hit ... (See Late payments)

Once student loans are paid, a second card may be in order -- One option to keep scores climbing is to open another card ... (See Credit score)

Repeat balance transfers cut debt, but control spending, too -- To really eliminate debt, you have to do more than transfer debt from one 0 percent credit card to another ... (See Repeat balance transfers)

Even paid-off cards usually canceled in bankruptcy -- If a card has no balance, you'll still end up losing it ... (See Credit cards during bankruptcy)

Card tips for rebuilding credit after bankruptcy -- After bankruptcy, how many cards will it take to rebuild credit scores? ... (See Credit scores)

Why bankruptcy of the rich and famous is nothing like yours -- How the rich and famous stay wealthy post-bankruptcy while regular folks who file don't ... (See Bankruptcy)

ID thief may pay bills on stolen card, but needs to be turned in -- Police and card issuer need to know about the crime ... (See ID theft)

After 10 years abroad, credit record must be restarted -- Even the most pristine credit record will be erased by a decade of inactivity. Starting over will require patience and work. Here's how. ... (See Rebuilding credit)

5 ideas to deal with your betrothed's debt before marriage -- If your beloved carries significant credit card debt, it's likely to figure into your marriage in some way. Take steps now to handle the emotional and financial aspects ... (See Engaged, in debt)

Closing a business card while preserving your credit score -- Closing a business credit card may hurt your personal credit score as much as closing a personal card. ... (See Business card)

Money epiphanies: Hearing, heeding the call to change -- People who were deep in debt or just needed to change describe their powerful money moments ... (See Money epiphanies)

Wife has lower score, but gets better prescreened card offers -- Her husband's credit score is over 800, so why are issuers ignoring him? ... (See Scores)

Spouse committed fraud, ran up debt, but we're still together -- With $10,000 debt in collections, an 850 credit score is not on the horizon ... (more)

Authorized users don't have to share credit reports -- Getting added to another's card doesn't mean they are privy to your private information ... (See Authorized user)

A 29.99% card APR is too high, even with bad credit -- Spurn that really bad offer, try these other credit-building methods first ... (See APR too high)

Halt card spending until after mortgage closes -- Going on a card-spending binge before you close can jeopardize your home loan ... (See Credit cards and mortgages)

4 ways students can build credit -- Building a credit history while in college helps make life afterward a bit easier. Here are four tips to building credit as a student ... (See Student credit)

Minimizing score damage after a charge-off -- Having credit card accounts closed and charged off will cause a huge credit score drop, and it could get worse if you don't take steps ... (See Rebuild score after charge-off)

Survey: Card rates stuck at 15 percent for a record 12th week -- Sept. 9, 2015: For a record 12th week, interest rates on new credit card offers remained stuck in place, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

Debt can be voided if signer was a minor -- Unpaid medical bills can generally be disputed if incurred before the age of 18 ... (See Minors)

3 questions to ask before refinancing your student loans -- As the amount of student loan debt continue to rise, borrowers weigh the risks and benefits of refinancing ... (See Student loans)

5 questions every authorized user should ask -- "Piggybacking" -- being added as an authorized user -- is usually a credit-boosting gift, but needs to be looked over carefully first ... (See Authorized user)

You did WHAT to pay off your debt? -- From selling plasma to leaving the country, these debt payoff stories should inspire ... (See Debt payoff)

Credit score impact of store card financing deals -- Financing a big-ticket item short-term shouldn't have long-term credit score impact ... (See Store card)

Credit card advice for a 'debit card kind of guy' -- Debt and bad money habits are the enemies. Those old store cards? They're your pals ... (See Debit guy)

Steps to remove yourself from mom's card -- It's best to apply for a new card before removing yourself as an authorized user on another ... (See Authorized user)

Need a small-business loan? 3 ways to beat the big-bank brush-off -- Small banks tend to have higher approval rates for small-business loans. Here's how to improve your chances of getting one ... (See Business credit)

How a car repossession affects your credit -- Between late payments and collections, a repo can cause a 100-point score drop ... (See Repossession)

Explain medical debt with 100-word statement -- You should add a 100-word statement to your credit report explaining your late payment due to medical debt -- but don't forget to remove it later ... (more)

Ex still charging on old joint card account -- She thought all the cards had been closed. Years later, she finds out she was wrong ... (See Joint account)

How average credit account age affects your FICO score -- The average age of the various types of credit plays a significant part in determining your credit score ... (See Age of credit accounts)

When credit card interest is applied -- Newbies often don't know that most cards can be used without paying interest ... (See Credit building)

5 credit score oddities -- Quirks in the credit scoring formula make unexpected things help or hurt ... (See Credit score oddities)

Help your score rebound after card issuer closes account -- Ways to recover your score after losing an open credit line ... (See Closed card)

5 reasons you need good credit in retirement -- You may be about to retire but your credit isn't -- and shouldn't. ... (See Retirement)

Clearing authorized card user account information -- The simplest way to remove negative information generated from an authorized user account is to be removed from the account ... (See Authorized user)

How banks limit the size of your balance transfer -- You may see a balance transfer to a 0-percent card as a way out of debt, but to the bank, it's new credit and you have to qualify for it ... (See Balance transfer)

How to build a credit score with your first card -- Should you use the card a little or a lot to ramp up your credit score? ... (See First card)

How, when to get your file from specialty reporting agencies -- Little-known specialized bureaus have dossiers of important data, and you can often get their file on you for free ... (See Specialized reports)

Co-owner's personal bankruptcy clouds your business credit -- Think twice before applying for personal credit for your business if your partner can't manage money well ... (See Co-owner bankruptcy)

Credit card delinquencies improve despite economic chill -- U.S. consumers improved their on-time payment performance on credit card bills during the first quarter, despite shrinkage in the economy ... (See Delinquency statistics)

Credit card use and availability statistics -- How available is credit for U.S. consumers and how are we using it? Our research team investigates the trends in statistics ... (See Card use statistics)

How credit reports handle balance transfers -- If your payment record was good, try to keep both the new and old accounts open -- it'll help your credit score ... (See Balance transfer)

Mom steals ID, racks up debt, ruins daughter's credit -- Reluctant to turn her mom in, a daughter now faces thousands in debt that she can't repay ... (See Theft)

Secured card may be best when on a fixed income -- With your deposit as your credit line, you can't spend more than what you can repay ... (See Secured card)

What to say (and NOT say) to debt collectors -- When a debt collector calls, you may be tempted to lose your cool. This video shows you how to handle that dreaded phone call ... (See When debt collectors call)

Tips to boost credit score enough to qualify for a mortgage -- Low and mismanaged credit can be bumped up by taking these three credit card actions ... (See Improve score)

How a balance transfer card can boost FICO score -- Opening a new line of credit can boost your rating by reducing your overall debt-to-credit-limit ratio ... (See Balance transfer)

Can too many cards lead to loan rejection? -- According to FICO, there is no such thing as a penalty for too much unused credit ... (See Rejection)

Myth: Too much available credit hurts home loan -- If you have many cards with little or no balances, closing them won't boost your credit score ... (See Myth)

Rate survey: Average card rate remains at 15 percent -- July 15, 2015: Interest rates on new credit card offers remained unchanged again this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rate report)

The upside of an adverse action notice -- An adverse action notice provides insight into building a brighter financial future ... (See Adverse action)

Don't let new card's annual fee take you by surprise -- When applying for a new card, take the time to review its fee structure before you sign up ... (See Fees)

3 ways to strengthen weak or nonexistent credit -- Building up your credit will take work and time. But knowing where to get started is key ... (See Strengthening credit)

Build credit before house hunting -- The desire to own a home may be strong, but with no credit, it's just a dream ... (See Home buying)

Credit scores recover quickly from short-term debt -- If a brief, big debt surge is necessary, do it. Eating up your credit limit will hurt your credit score, but you can recover quickly with no lingering damage ... (See Short-term debt)

6 things to know before buying identity-theft protection -- Thinking about paying for a service that offers identity-theft protection? Know these six things first ... (See ID theft protection questions)

Statute of limitations doesn't wipe credit slate clean -- Once a debt has passed the statute of limitations, that doesn't mean it gets wiped off your credit report ... (See Old debts)

Banks' internal 'behavior scores' can decide cardholder terms -- If you apply for a new card or higher limit from your existing card issuer, they'll judge you with a proprietary 'behavior score' that looks at how you've used their card before ... (See Behavior score)

When does interest begin accruing on charges? -- For those new to credit, it helps to know how interest can add to your balance ... (See When interest charges begin)

Video: Protecting your child from ID theft -- A child's identity is much more valuable to thieves than an adult's because the theft will often go undetected for years. Here are steps you can take to protect your child from identity theft ... (See Child ID theft)

Same-sex marriages mean joint debt issues -- Millions of Americans now will confront the financial intricacies of marriage, including what happens to jointly owned property, debt ... (See Same-sex marriage and debt)

Getting US loan after living abroad not easy -- Without a current credit history and score, and after living abroad for years, getting bank approval for a U.S. loan is tricky ... (See Loan)

3 quick, easy, inexpensive credit score rebuilding tools -- Paying off all your debt at once will help, but it won't rebuild a slumping credit score by itself. To speed the process, add some new, positive loan payment history. Here's how ... (See Credit rebuilding)

Score impact of maxing out 3rd line of credit -- Maxing out credit cards is never a good idea, but as long as you pay them off quickly, your score will rebound ... (See Maxing out cards)

Rebuilding credit? Semisecured card may help -- A semisecured card offers better terms than a secured card and can be a good stepping stone on the road to a conventional credit card ... (See Semi-secured)

Are you living with an identity thief? -- Deleted computer search histories and mysterious packages arriving in the mail can point to a fraudster living under your roof ... (See Fraudster)

The facts behind debt reduction methods -- How your credit score is affected by a debt reduction plan depends on what type of action you are taking. It helps to know the facts before choosing a method ... (See Debt reduction)

Average card rates remain at 14.99 percent for fifth week -- June 17, 2015: Interest rates on new credit card offers remained cemented in place Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rate reports)

Credit score impact of multiple balance transfers -- Moving debt from one balance transfer card to another can damage your credit ... (See Transfer)

Your 3 options when consolidating card debt -- A balance transfer, bank loan and debt management plan can all work to consolidate big credit card debts, but only one will be right for you ... (See Consolidate)

Credit score still damaged after report error fixed -- A "rapid rescore" won't fix a credit issue, but digging deeper into the credit score issue will help ... (See Credit score fix)

Understanding small-business credit reporting -- Monitoring small-business credit isn't as cheap or straightforward as checking your personal credit record. But it's an important step in establishing your business's reputation and making sure you're not a victim of fraud ... (See Business credit report)

Don't be duped into signing up for a store credit card -- Protect your credit by refraining from spontaneous store sign-ups ... (See Retail card)

How to dispute a debit card purchase -- The protections aren't the same as credit cards, but you may not be completely out of luck ... (See Debit dispute)

Your rights under the Fair Credit Billing Act -- The FCBA allows you to dispute charges and temporarily withhold payment without hurting your credit score ... (See FCBA)

How credit mix is calculated in FICO scores -- Having a variety of credit - a good "credit mix" - is the last and often overlooked component to the FICO score formula, but is still vital to a good score ... (See Credit mix)

I changed my mind: Can I cancel new card, avoid annual fee? -- Know all card fees before you apply or else you may be stuck with a card you don't want ... (See Annual fee)

Fixing damaged credit? First, create a budget -- In fixing damaged credit, regular payments are a must, and you have to get a budget before you can know what you can afford to pay ... (See Budget)

Dissolving joint debt post-divorce dicey -- Dragging out joint debt obligations after divorce opens door for all sorts of problems ... (See Post-divorce debt)

How finance companies differ from credit cards, banks -- Consumer finance companies offer an alternative way to pay for big-ticket items. But look before you leap. ... (See Finance companies)

To boost score, let credit utilization guide your debt payoff -- For the best credit score boost, neither the debt snowball nor the 'highest rate' method is best. Instead, let credit utilization guide your payment allocation ... (See Debt payoff plan)

Computer financing options for credit newbie -- A 20-year-old weighs a loan versus a credit card for new computer purchase ... (See Options)

Debt problems plague troops after military service ends -- Returning military service members often face a barrage of personal finance problems ... (See Troops)

Reporting stolen cards on someone else's behalf -- If a friend or relative has lost track of credit cards, you can help, but only in a limited way ... (See Help)

Finally got a zero balance? Good! Now change credit strategy -- After paying off retail cards and shedding all debt, don't slam the door on credit. Keep accounts open and maybe use one occasionally to keep your score up ... (See Paid off)

Why credit limits aren't revealed until after you get the card -- Banks don't disclose what your credit limit will be until after you get the card, which means consumers are deprived of a piece of information critical to making an intelligent choice ... (See Credit limit secrecy)

New US resident must rebuild credit -- Unfortunately, a positive credit file built up in another country doesn't follow you here. Here's how to start over ... (See Credit building)

To get a business loan, you may need to buff personal credit -- Getting business credit before establishing good personal credit is like trying to learn to run before you can crawl. Take the first step by establishing good credit practices ... (See Building business credit)

How to combat 5 common female financial fears -- Female financial professionals describe the fiscal woes women typically shoulder and how they can be managed -- or avoided altogether ... (See Women's money fears)

Getting a mortgage? Pay debts, go easy on charging -- The time between getting preapproved for a mortgage and the closing date on your home is crucial for your credit, so don't blow it by overborrowing ... (See Mortgages and card use)

How to tell if a 'friend' stole your identity -- Sharing too much information with sketchy "friends" can put you at risk ... (See ID theft by "friend")

Banks to erase some bad debts on credit reports -- Chase, BofA promised to remove black marks related to debts that were extinguished in bankruptcy, under pressure from judge ... (See Erase debt)

Don't succumb to lure of debt settlement firm -- Don't pay someone to reduce your debts when you can do it yourself for free ... (See Debt settlement)

How mortgage settlements affect your score (and for how long) -- It's been years since the recession thrust millions of homeowners into default. If you've paid your other bills, maybe you can qualify for another mortgage ... (See Deed on report)

Cover sudden pet bills with emergency card -- Having a $0 balance card on hand to cover an unexpected vet bill can be a smart move ... (See Pet insurance vs. emergency card)

Even for old debt, settling beats other options -- Even if the statute of limitations is almost up for an old debt, you're better off settling than ignoring the debt or declaring bankruptcy ... (See Settling old debt)

Debt shifting helps your score, but paying it off is better -- Using balance transfers to shift a pile of debt so it's evenly distributed across cards can help a credit score, but paying off the debt helps much more ... (See Debt shifting)

12 surefire ways to create money and credit problems -- Want to run perpetually short on funds, rack up massive debts and decimate your credit score? Do these things and you are sure to succeed ... (See Problems)

Saving for laptop trumps financing 'deals' -- With a little motivation and patience, you can save hundreds by saving for that new laptop purchase instead of opting for a financing deal ... (See Saving versus borrowing)

HELOC vs. cash-out refinance for card debt repayment -- Before you acquire a home equity line of credit or cash-out refinance on your mortgage to get out of debt, there are other determining factors to consider for what may seem like a great idea ... (See Out of debt)

Synthetic identity theft crimes growing fast, targeting kids -- Synthetic identity theft is growing fast, and victims may be children or others who don't use credit, so they're unaware of the crime for years ... (See Synthetic identity theft)

Why hard inquiries hurt your credit score -- Hard inquiries can be triggered after you have asked for more credit or by trying to rent an apartment. Once a inquiry hits, your score is knocked down a couple of points, and here is why ... (See Hard inquiry )

Create, restore credit with a credit-builder loan -- Credit-builder loans are small loans, made by some credit unions and a few banks, designed to help consumers establish or boost a credit profile ... (See Credit tool)

Pay off loan with balance transfer card? -- Using a 0 percent balance transfer card to pay off a high-interest personal loan can be smart if done right ... (See Loan pay off)

ABA study: Card delinquency stays low -- Despite an uptick at the end of 2014, delinquencies for credit cards issued by banks remained well below the 15-year average, American Bankers Association research shows ... (See Card delinquency)

Alternative lenders offer cheaper loans for more of your data -- If you're looking for a low rate loan, new startups are filling that gap, but require more data than what's on your credit report ... (See Alternative loans)

If you must pay less than the minimum, call and explain -- If it's short-term problem, take the initiative and call. If it's a long-term problem, get credit counseling ... (See Less than minimum)

Pay for delete: A shady credit-report cleanup practice -- If a collection is bringing your credit score down, making a deal with the collection agency could get it taken off. However, this might not be as easy as it sounds ... (See Pay-for-delete)

Help! Ex left me with $45,000 in card debt -- A 75-year-old is stuck repaying $45,000 her ex racked up on three cards. ... (See Divorce debt)

Your low-limit secured card strategy: Pay the bill early, often -- When you have a low limit card and want to build your credit score, time your payments so your credit utilization is lowest on the statement date, since that's when your issuer reports to the credit bureaus ... (See Pay early, often)

How debt management plans affect your credit -- If severely in debt and behind on payments, your credit score is already hurting. Entering into a debt management plan can only help by showing timely payments ... (See DMP)

Poll: Right age to get a card? 22 -- Our national survey also finds millennials are conflicted about cards: They think they should have them early, yet one in four doesn't have one ... (See First card poll)

Cut prescreened offers to reduce theft temptation -- When your mailbox is flooded with card offers, it may be best to opt-out to reduce any risk of a thief trying to apply for credit in your name ... (See Opt-out)

Paying a time-barred debt before mortgage application -- If an old unpaid debt is causing you to doubt whether to apply for a mortgage, see if it's gone beyond the collectible stage ... (See Time-barred debt)

8 ways to sidestep high-cost medical debt -- If you are diagnosed with a serious illness, medical bills might be high on your list of worries, but taking action early instead of later can keep your finances in the pink ... (See Medical debt)

4 ways to sabotage your child's financial independence -- It's natural for parents to want to continue supporting their children through college. But too much help can sabotage their financial independence ... (See Financial sabotage)

Canceled cards boost debt utilization ratio -- When you cut several cards from your wallet, you can reduce a big credit score hit by increasing the credit limits on your remaining cards ... (See Credit limits)

How to check your child's credit report -- With a few exceptions, children shouldn't have credit reports. If they do, it could be an indication of fraud. Here's how to find out ... (See Child's credit)

Card shields protect against low risk of RFID theft -- Card shields or sleeves may keep thieves from remotely gathering data from the RFID chip in your credit card. But the odds of such theft are approaching zero, so focus on other concerns ... (See Card shields)

Brother's got a near-perfect credit score? Go piggybacking -- Being added as an authorized user to an account with almost perfect credit will help boost your credit score and history. But is it as easy as it sounds? ... (See Piggybacking)

When no credit history leads to card rejection -- You need credit history to get a credit card, but issuers won't give you one unless you have credit. What's a college graduate student to do ... (See Credit history)

Banks become more generous with card credit limits -- Credit card issuers are showing their confidence in consumers and the economy by boosting the number of card offers and the size of their credit limits, says a banking trade group report ... (See Credit limits increase)

Length of credit history matters more when you're young -- When new to credit, it takes time to boost the length of your credit history. With each new account opening, you cut your average age of accounts, so open new cards sparingly ... (See Young credit)

Don't let fear compel you to cancel your first card -- You may have been raised to believe that cards can lead to a life of debt, but if you handle them responsibly, they are great tools to build a positive credit rating ... (See First card)

7 debts you may not have to pay -- Paying your debts is honorable, and usually a legal requirement, but there exceptions when it can be erased, or it wasn't really yours to start with ... (See Debt escape)

1099-C snarls mortgage qualifying -- An incomplete tax form and an old charged-off debt may cause mortgage underwriters to turn down your home loan application ... (See Mortgage qualifying )

How payments are allocated on a card with different rates -- Will a payment that is over the minimum amount go straight to the latest charge? Where payments are allocated to on your card ... (See Payment allocation)

Bankruptcy should be removed automatically from credit reports -- The notation that you have filed a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy should be deleted automatically from your credit reports after seven or 10 years -- but you better check ... (See Bankruptcy)

5 financial tips for the newly engaged -- Planning your future finances should be equally as important as planning your nuptials, experts agree. Here are five money tips to remember when you and your partner start a life together ... (See Engaged finances)

Debt relief scam mars victim's credit rating -- Debt relief scams often tell victims to stop paying debt accounts, leaving their credit rating in shambles due to defaults and delinquencies ... (See Debt relief scam)

Why you should file a police report for card fraud -- To your horror, a thief racks up charges on your card. You call the police. Will officers come roaring in, sirens blaring? No, but filing a formal report can help in many ways ... (See Police report)

How credit score formula handles multiple credit inquiries -- FICO uses a 30-day buffer and a process called "deduplication" on multiple inquiries for a mortgage or car loan, in effect counting them as one. But that doesn't apply to credit card shopping ... (See Multiple inquiries)

Credit check not needed for public school loans -- Federal school loans, such as those given after applying for the FASFA, don't take credit into account. So going back to school already in debt could add up quickly ... (See Student loans)

Study makes the case against credit card arbitration -- Millions of consumers have been forced to accept arbitration clauses in case of disputes, but few understand them, says a new study ... (See CFBP arbitration study)

Credit reports to raise standards to improve accuracy -- The big three credit bureaus will take steps to reduce errors on credit reports and improve the dispute process under a settlement announced Monday ... (See Credit report accuracy settlement)

Payoff order for multiple cards: Which one first? -- With multiple cards to pay off, you can tackle the one with the highest rate or lowest balance. Choose the method you'll stick with ... (See Payoff plan)

Sharing a card with a parent can be risky -- Being an authorized user on your elderly mom's card can either help or hurt your credit rating, depending on how well she manages credit ... (See Parent's card)

Boosting credit after a discharged bankruptcy -- A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit years after discharge, but if you make payments on time and use credit wisely, your score will start to increase ... (See Discharged)

Q&A with Ron Lieber: How to raise unspoiled kids -- New York Times personal finance columnist and "The Opposite of Spoiled" author Ron Lieber touts the benefits of teaching financial decision-making at an early age ... (See Ron Lieber Q&A)

Recovery from bad credit: 1st steps -- Restoring your credit after letting all debts go into default takes resolve and a bit of negotiation savvy. These steps will help you get back on track ... (See Credit recovery)

An insider's view: How FICO scores burst from secrecy -- Creditcards.com columnist and former FICO official Barry Paperno recounts how credit scores went public, and why they're as confusing as ever ... (See FICO history)

Tougher rules coming for debt collectors -- Federal regulators are writing a major update of debt collection rules for the first time in decades, but the penalty will remain a wrist-slap ... (See Debt collection rules)

Financing a new laptop? Do the math first -- A 0-percent finance deal to buy a new computer is almost too good to pass up for one consumer. But being new to credit, this might not be the best way to go ... (See Financing)

Study: Law creates many too broke to file for bankruptcy -- A decade after a federal bankruptcy reform law took effect, a new class of Americans has been created: the permanently insolvent ... (See Too broke for bankruptcy)

Help your credit score rebound after a fall -- If you're whittling debt and paying bills on time after a credit score tumble, your credit scores should improve fairly quickly. If they aren't, something else is wrong ... (See Score rebound)

Quickly opening, closing accounts makes scores dip a bit -- After following bad credit advice, a reader worries that by closing two cards she just opened, she did some irreparable damage to her credit score ... (See Credit score)

Student loan debt regret: 12 do-over wishes from college grads -- Now saddled with heavy student loan debts, 12 grads share their regrets and offer tips on how future students can avoid the same big-ticket mistakes ... (See Student loan debt regrets)

Best way to apply tax refund to multiple card balances -- With a mortgage on the horizon and several maxed-out cards, what would be the best way to apply a tax refund to maximize credit score? ... (See Refund)

Being financially prepared for the death of a spouse -- If your spouse passed away, could you seamlessly take over the household finances? If not, some quick information sharing can save you from more heartache ... (See Finances)

18 and ready for first card: Begin here -- Having successfully handled a small car loan, an 18-year-old with a part-time job seeks advice on whether she can qualify for her first credit card ... (See First card)

6 bad reasons to open a new card -- Take a look at six of the worst rationalizations for opening a credit card, and learn how to be a prudent plastic user. ... (See Bad reasons to open card)

Pros, cons of getting a business card for personal use -- Business cards sport features personal cards don't have, and no rule prevents someone without a business from getting one -- but watch the catches ... (See Business cards)

5 steps to a mortgage-worthy credit profile -- You've decided it's time to make your dream of owning a home a reality, but are you financially prepared? Here are five steps to getting your credit and finances in tiptop shape ... (See Mortgage)

How to build credit with a student loan -- Student loans are usually overlooked as credit tools. But for young people with few other accounts, paying on one can provide a powerful credit score boost ... (See Student credit)

Help! I opened cards fraudulently, ran up big card debt -- At just 17, a young man fraudulently opens multiple card accounts without his parents' consent and says he's severely in debt. What are his options? ... (See Card debt)

ID theft means surprise loan denial -- The bank turned down his loan application due to his mortgage and five credit cards. Since he doesn't have any cards and rents a room, it's ID theft ... (See Denied loan)

How rapid rescore works when applying for a mortgage -- If you have errors on your credit report that could block a mortgage application, choosing a rapid rescore option could help, if your lender offers it ... (See Rapid rescore)

How a card's introductory APR works -- Exactly how does an introductory period APR work and what are the consequences of not paying off the entire balance before that period expires? ... (See Intro APR)

44% of Americans mistakenly say credit score, credit report are the same -- Almost half of Americans believe a credit score and a credit report are basically the same thing, just different terms, a survey from American Bankers Association shows ... (See Credit score)

Credit score statistics -- How does your credit score compare to the average American's? Check out the credit score statistics we've compiled, including the states with the highest and lowest credit scores, how credit scores change with age and much more ... (See Credit score statistics)

Unpaid joint car loan sullies ex's credit -- She was in charge of payments, but neglected to tell her fiance when they were late. Now that they've broken up, she wants to know if she can fix his credit ... (See Car loan)

Why the wealthy go broke, too -- When people with above-average incomes encounter financial hardships, the reasons are surprisingly similar to people with more modest incomes ... (See Broke)

What day is my card balance reported to the credit bureaus? -- Banks and credit bureaus manage millions of accounts and have different policies for recording data, so finding when yours is recorded isn't possible ... (See Card data)

FTC: Many credit report disputes go unresolved -- When a credit bureau rejects a complaint about an error, only 30 percent of people agree that their report is accurate ... (See FTC credit disputes report)

Apply for your first credit card, then remove yourself from Dad's -- Preserve your authorized user credit history when applying for your own card. Once approved, you can then safely remove yourself from the shared account ... (See Apply)

Choosing a debt management program -- If you think you need credit counseling or a debt management program, look for services offered by a nonprofit, accredited organization ... (See Debt management program)

7 times to put yourself in credit card timeout -- There are key moments in life when putting away the cards and paying off any balances can be the best moves for your financial future ... (See Card timeout)

When building credit, focus first on on-time payments -- Don't overmanage your credit utilization while in a formal debt management plan. Just keep paying on time, every time and your score will rise over time ... (See On-time payment)

Managing 10 cards or more? 4 rules -- Successfully managing 10 or more credit card accounts requires a certain amount of supervision, particularly to prevent fraud. But if you can handle them well, go for it ... (See Multiple cards)

Don't default on co-signed loan to teach son a debt lesson -- Letting a car loan go into default to show a kid what happens is a lot like driving the car into a wall to show him what happens if you don't use the brakes ... (See Co-signers)

Partial payment agreements can hurt your credit score -- Reaching a partial payment agreement with a lender at a lower interest rate does wonders for your budget, but can crush your credit score ... (See Credit score)

How credit charging limits work -- It may be obvious to more experienced cardholders, but for newbies, knowing how credit limits work gives you the power to avoid expensive mistakes ... (See Credit limits)

Living on disability, with $8,000 in card debt -- With no assets and only disability income, repayment options are nonexistent and bankruptcy too expensive for a cardholder with $8,000 in card debt. ... (See Disabled)

Paying by cash won't build credit score -- If you've never made a late payment in your life, you'd think you'd have a good credit score. Not so if those payments have all been in cash. But fear not: You can get a score without going into debt. ... (See Cash only )

9 baby steps that lead to big financial goals -- Breaking down big goals into baby steps makes them seem less overwhelming. We've come up with a few small actions to get on the path to financial health and sound credit ... (See Baby steps)

Should a student have more than one card? -- While there is no reason a young adult can't manage multiple cards, juggling so many may present more challenges than a student may expect ... (See Too many cards)

Travel cards' best signup point offers require excellent credit -- Most rewards cards are targeted at people with excellent credit -- with FICO scores of 750 and above. But if your credit is in the "good" range, you still have options ... (See Sign-up bonus score)

Secret financial escape plan for domestic violence victims -- It’s common for abusers to keep victims in the dark about household finances and to limit access to bank accounts, but using a bit of stealth can help build much-needed financial independence ... (See Escape)

There's no quick credit score fix -- Credit scoring formulas are as complicated as our often-tangled personal lives. There are no quick fixes, so keep your focus on the big things, such as on-time payments ... (See No quick fix)

Closed accounts affect your credit score, but maybe not how you think -- No matter who closes an account, the account holder or creditor, it will have an impact on a credit score. How much depends on the overall credit utilization ... (See Closed accounts)

Steps to take when a family friend steals your card -- When someone you know fraudulently uses your card and racks up big debt, you have to file a police report in order to clear up your credit ... (See 'Friendly' fraud)

Over-limit card scam fools cardholder -- A cardholder gave her bank info over the phone to her card issuer to prevent an over-limit charge. But it probably wasn't her bank who called, but a thief ... (See Scam)

How many cards is too many? -- While there's no right number, you can go too far in either direction and end up hurting your credit score ... (See Too many cards)

Jobless grad with student loans, $29,000 card debt ponders bankruptcy -- A recent graduate not only has student loan payments, but card debt of almost $30,000 -- and no job. Is bankruptcy her only answer? ... (See Bankruptcy)

Want a mortgage? Ditch cash-only, build a credit history -- Unless you have the cash to buy a house, you'll need a mortgage. And you can't get a home loan without some kind of credit history ... (See Cash-only)

Authorized users can't access credit card account information -- Authorized users cannot access the individual account information, which can be frustrating if you think you're a joint account holder ... (See Account information)

CFPB moves to soften medical debt's impact -- It's unique among debts, so medical debt deserves to get special scrutiny, the federal consumer watchdog agency decides ... (See Medical debt)

You can't boost secured card limit with extra cash -- A college student with a secured card wants to increase his credit limit and asks whether giving the issuer more cash will do the trick ... (See Credit limit)

How to get, use a low-limit card -- If a low credit limit is desired, you have to start backward. A higher limit card can be downsized once the account is approved ... (See Low-limit)

Business or personal credit: Which can be built faster? -- Generally speaking, you can build personal credit faster than business credit. But for small-business owners, it's important to pursue both ... (See Building credit)

Don't be fooled by these 6 data breach myths -- Do you think hackers target only large retailers? Or that smart-chip cards will be our security salvation? Think again. ... (See 6 data breach myths)

Avoid late payments by setting up auto bill pay -- Life happens, and when it does, it's easy to forget a credit card payment. To protect your credit score and avoid fees, stop late payments before they occur ... (See Late pay)

Opening 3 cards at once dings credit score -- Unlike rapid-fire applications for mortgages or car loans, which are bundled into a single credit score hit, each card application counts against you ... (See Credit score)

Tips to rebuild credit after living abroad -- After living overseas for five years, bringing a dormant U.S. credit file back to life takes a few smart moves combined with a little patience ... (See Rebuilding US credit)

Landlords limited in ability to pull tenants' credit reports -- Though a tenant has left rent unpaid and thousands in damages, that's not enough to give a landlord the right to pull a credit report ... (See Tenants' credit reports)

Mom offers daughter balance transfer deal -- A 28-year-old's mom offers to pay off $2,400 in card debt, but then wants to cut daughter loose as an authorized user on her card ... (See Authorized user)

Lessons from cities with the best and worst credit scores -- One city is known for college grads, the other for cotton and the Blues. Measured by credit score, Mankato, Minnesota, and Greenwood, Mississippi, are as far apart financially as they are culturally ... (See Best, worst scores)

5 credit don'ts for homebuyers applying for mortgages -- When you're about to apply for a mortgage, tread lightly on making changes to your credit. Steps you think should be helpful could derail your loan ... (See Mortgage credit don'ts)

Credit card interest rates fall to 14.98 percent -- Nov. 19, 2014: Average rates on new card offers fell below 15 percent Wednesday for the first time in more than a year, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

Ex didn't pay up, so your student loan defaulted? Go after him -- The court said he had to pay half of his ex-wife's student loan, but he shirked, and she isn't making enough, so now the loan's in default ... (See Default)

Some cards generous for travel, give less in cash back rewards -- If a travel card turns out to offer different rewards or fewer points than you expected, consider canceling it before the annual fee comes due ... (See Travel rewards)

'Hand to Mouth' author Linda Tirado: Broke means bad money decisions -- Former IHOP night cook-turned-author Linda Tirado explains in very frank terms why being poor often leads to making shortsighted financial decisions ... (See Hand-to-mouth)

Study: Online accounts often go unchecked for fraud -- Americans regularly check their bank account and credit card statements for suspicious activity, but less than a third check various online accounts at least once a month, a study by credit bureau Experian finds ... (more)

5 steps to dispute debt caused by ID theft, stop abusive collection -- Take these steps to uncover all the damage left by an ID thief, contest the fraudulent debts and end a debt collector's scare tactics ... (See Disputing fraud)

Credit card interest rates slide to 15 percent -- Nov. 12, 2014: Average rates on new card offers declined this week for the first time in nearly two months, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report Nov. 12, 2014)

Shared card leads to collection mess after a bankruptcy -- When Dad declared bankruptcy, the debt collectors shifted their attention to his daughter to collect a $3,600 balance on the credit card they shared ... (See Shared card)

Student debt on the rise for the elderly -- A small but growing number of elderly Americans are paying back student loans well into retirement, many of them struggling to keep on top of payments while on a fixed income ... (See Senior debt)

Have a balance transfer financial strategy -- Yes, comparison shop for low rates and fees, but more importantly, know how a transfer will fit into your financial big picture ... (See Balance transfer strategy)

Steps to rebuild credit after bankruptcy -- After declaring bankruptcy obtaining secured credit sources and becoming an authorized user can help bring life back to your line of credit ... (See Bankruptcy)

Employed grad with no debt gets rejected for new card -- With no debt, a job and regular payments on a low-limit card, a recent grad wonders what she has to do in order to get approved for a new card ... (See New credit)

Know your rights under the Truth in Lending Act -- This federal law provides bedrock consumer protection by requiring lenders to disclose credit terms in a standardized way, and sets the rules for fees and billing ... (See TILA)

Options limited if authorized user refuses to pay charges -- Call it authorized-user blackmail: A daughter adds her dad to her card, he runs up the balance, but threatens to stop payments if she closes the card ... (See Authorized)

How early payment can result in late fees -- Leaving town? Paying your card bill early can backfire if you miss making the minimum payment by the due date, leaving you with late fees and penalty rates ... (See Early payment, late fee)

How a DUI can tank your credit -- While a conviction for driving under the influence won't show up directly on your credit report, the financial ramifications that follow a conviction can really flush your score ... (See DUI)

Balance transfer impact on your credit score -- Moving a high-interest card balance to a lower-interest card you already have shouldn't hurt your score, but there are other issues to consider ... (See Balance transfer)

Charge-offs irreversible, even if co-signer not notified of debt -- When a widower is denied credit six months after his wife's death, he finds a charge-off on a co-signed account dropped his credit score almost 200 points ... (See Co-sign)

How credit cards impact your credit score -- When it comes to your credit score, credit cards have the power to help you or hurt you; here are the main ways that you, your cards and your score intersect ... (See Credit score)

Co-signing backfire ruins chance to lease an apartment -- A kindhearted gesture backfires for a man who co-signed his sister-in-law's lease: She broke her lease, left a debt, ruined his credit and his ability to rent a new home ... (See Co-sign)

Credit rehabilitation programs don't do anything you can't do -- The money you give to a credit rehabilitation company could be better spent paying down debt because what those companies do you can do yourself ... (See Credit rehab)

Retail cards, the Rodney Dangerfields of credit, deserve respect -- Store cards get a bad rap. But closing even an unused retail card can hurt credit utilization and lower your credit score ... (See Retail cards)

Credit card interest rates hold steady at 15.07 percent -- Oct. 15, 2014: Average rates on new card offers didn't budge this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

Credit reports key to detecting fraud -- If you suspect someone is trying to open a card account in your name, fraud alerts and credit report monitoring can stop thieves before they start stealing ... (See Fraud)

The good and the bad of credit account 'piggybacking' -- Authorized users can greatly benefit from being tagged in an account with a good credit score. But they can also be hurt if the account is not so great ... (See Piggybacking)

How to fix credit report damage from authorized user status -- A mom added her daughter as an authorized user to her card seven years ago, but then filed for bankruptcy. Her dad asks if it's too late to get the card off his kid's credit report ... (See Credit report)

Joint truck lease leaves widow in a lurch -- Leasing a new truck with your spouse doesn't seem like it would be a big deal, unless all of a sudden one spouse is left making the payments alone ... (See Lease)

Prescreened card offers don't impact your credit score -- Prequalified or prescreened credit card offers just mean you meet a card issuer's broad criteria. But if you try to take the offer, the real credit check occurs ... (See Prescreened)

Credit reports hold longer memory than issuers -- You let a card go unpaid for years, then finally paid the account off. The odds of the card issuer remembering your behavior aren't as big as the credit bureaus ... (See Unpaid)

Study reveals rewards cards' rise in popularity -- Rewards cards now make up a majority of new accounts and spending on cards, practically taking over the market, a bank industry report says ... (See Rewards cards rise)

Forget the 30 percent credit utilization 'rule' – it's a myth -- When it comes to credit utilization and your credit score, a very low credit-to-borrowing ratio is best, and it's a myth that your score falls off a cliff once you hit 30 percent ... (See 30% myth)

When new to credit, top rewards cards may be out of reach -- A student about to graduate wants a top-tier travel rewards card to be her first card, but her short credit history may not let her qualify -- yet. Here are the steps to take ... (See Qualifying for rewards)

Odds slim when suing authorized user for unpaid debt -- You can go after a used-to-be friend in court for not paying you back for charges on your card. You could also ask nicely or write it off ... (See Suing an authorized user)

How leaving a tiny card balance each month affects credit score -- Keeping the balance-to-credit ratio low, paying in full and on time is a better way to get the most from your secured card ... (See $2 balance)

Angrily closing an unused card can hurt credit score -- After applying for a new balance transfer card, only to discover the credit limit too small, he closed the account in anger and now wonders if he acted too fast ... (See Closed card)

Charge a lot? Pay early and often to avoid score damage -- Even if you pay your balance off in full and on time each month, if you are charging close to your credit limit, don't expect a high credit score ... (See Pay often)

Best ways to manage a secured card -- Before you apply for a secured card, it's best to know what fees will be charged and whether that card will be the best fit for your credit profile ... (See Secured cards)

6 rules for 'card flipping' -- While "flipping" cards to take advantage of promotional deals can lead to free travel and other perks, if you don't play the game correctly, you can trash your credit ... (See Flipping)

Cardholder delinquency at lowest level in at least 7 years -- Just 1.16 percent of American cardholders were 90 days delinquent, according to quarterly data from the credit bureau TransUnion ... (See Delinquent cardholders)

How balance transfer cards help or hurt credit scores -- Moving high-interest card debt to a 0 percent balance transfer card can help your credit scores, but only if you play by the rules ... (See Balance transfers and credit scores)

Video: the road to wage garnishment -- Garnishment is complex -- the rules vary by state, your employment status and your income. But it all starts with a failure to pay bills on time ... (See Wage garnishment)

Buying a car with a credit card often an uphill fight -- Using a credit card to buy a car could give you consumer protections and perks. But most dealers hate the fees that go with accepting plastic, so you might have to wheel and deal ... (See Buying a car on credit card)

Closing 50 cards without damaging credit score -- With an 800+ FICO score at stake, the account-closing strategy should be to take it slow and shut down the newest and smallest accounts ... (See Too many cards)

CFPB warns card issuers: Reveal costs of 0% promotional offers -- No-interest promotions are costly for credit card users who lose the grace period and must pay interest on new purchases, regulators warned ... (See CFPB 0% offer warning)

Wrong account info doesn't absolve debt responsibility -- If your card account lists an incorrect Social Security number as yours, that doesn't give you a free pass on paying any debt you've racked up ... (See Wrong info)

How closing cards and student loans affects FICO scores -- Keeping cards active and paying loans on time is best way to maintain a strong credit score ... (See Credit scores)

Paying card bill on time more important than credit utilization -- Maxing out your card will have a negative effect on your credit score, however, the potentially positive payment history might just be worth it ... (See Maxed out)

Federal watchdog slaps auto lender for credit report errors -- The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined auto lender First Investors Financial Services Group Inc. for putting errors on thousands of consumers credit reports ... (See Fined)

Maxed out cards? Don't open another one -- She's maxed out five credit cards and can't pay what she owes on them, but asks if it's OK if she can use the new credit card she got ... (See Maxed out)

Don't expect big score boost when unpaid debt falls off credit report -- Is an old debt, charged off seven years ago, finally falling off your credit report? Sorry, but there's not likely to be a big rise in your score. It could even fall ... (See Old debts)

How to spot and prevent medical identity theft -- While credit card breaches have grabbed headlines, fraudsters have been homing in on an even more lucrative source of identity theft: medical records ... (See Medical ID theft)

Understanding credit limits and how they work -- Understanding how charging and repayments work with your first card can save you from financial headaches in the future ... (See Credit limits)

FICO 9 credit score formula lessens impact of medical debt -- People with paid-off debt or medical debts will see scores rise with the new FICO math, while others will receive lower marks ... (See FICO formula)

New to US? A primer on how to create, build a credit history -- If you're new to the U.S., our credit reporting system can be daunting. Here's a primer on how to create and build a credit profile ... (See New credit)

Time-barred debt can still do damage even after 13 years -- Credit checks for mortgages go deep and collection efforts may restart, so even on a debt 13 years old, potential damage can linger ... (See Time-barred debt)

P.F. Chang's names 33 restaurants hit by data breach -- P.F. Chang's China Bistro has named the places and times it suffered a data breach, with 33 of its 210 U.S. restaurants being hit for weeks or months ... (See P.F. Chang's data breach)

Did Macy's ruin my credit when it closed, reopened my card account? -- A shopper is concerned that her credit score is ruined when Macy's closed her old card after issuing her a new one. Don't worry, Sally says ... (See Closed credit card)

Virtual debt collection lets you negotiate, settle up online -- With a computer or a smartphone, you can review a claim, set up a monthly repayment plan or even cut a debt settlement deal with an algorithm ... (See Virtual collection)

New myth: Closing a credit card account always hurts your score -- It's a new myth that closing a credit card account always hurts your score. The information about the card (good or bad) sticks with you for (seven to 10) years ... (See Myth)

4 reasons why college kids need a credit card -- You might want to shelter your college kids from the complicated world of credit (and potential debt) for as long as possible, but at some point they will need to learn the ropes ... (See College)

When is a bankruptcy officially discharged? -- The day you no longer are responsible for debt repayment after you file for bankruptcy depends on whether you filed under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 ... (See Discharge)

Video: How to dispute errors on your credit report -- It's important to check your credit report periodically to know where you stand and check for errors. If you see something wrong, here's how to get it corrected ... (See Credit report)

After illness, cards maxed out, turned down for loans -- When illness results in rising card balances and the banks won't give you a loan to pay them off, what paths can you take to get help? ... (See Maxed out cards)

6-year-old mystery debt suddenly appears on credit report? Erase it! -- Just before the statute of limitations expires, a negative item pops up on your credit report and the creditor can't supply an account number ... (See Surprise debt)

Preapproved vs. pre-screened card offers: a big difference -- At first glance, a preapproval letter from a credit issuer can seem like an official invitation to a hot new nightclub. Yet when you arrive, you may be rudely turned away. ... (See Preapproved)

Collectors see less credit card debt -- Credit card holders are less likely to get calls from a debt collector than in the past, because collectors have less card debt to pursue, industry surveys say ... (See Debt)

Tax lien won't impact shared credit card -- When adding someone with a tax lien to your card as an authorized user, that won't open any doors to the Internal Revenue Service ... (See Uncle Sam)

Rebuilding fiancee's credit one small monthly charge at a time -- In his debut column, former FICO executive Barry Paperno endorses a one-small-monthly-payment plan for an engaged couple ... (See One payment at a time)

Yay! 3 cards paid off. Now what? -- Paying off card debt brings immeasurable relief, but once the balance is zero, do you keep the cards open or close them immediately? ... (See Paid off)

Small debts can lead to big credit score problems -- Tiny debts, if unpaid, can blossom into huge problems by marring your credit score and dropping obstacles in your financial path ... (See Small debts, big problems)

Debt and divorce: 5 steps to make a clean credit split -- Divorce can get ugly if one person doesn't follow debt repayment obligations spelled out in the divorce decree. Take these five steps to increase your chances of a smooth split ... (See Credit split)

Ways to pay off high-interest debt -- Saddled with expensive debt? Instead of looking for new creditors, figure out why you're in debt in the first place and what you can do to lower it ... (See High-interest debt)

Bad debt but good income? Your credit can be fixed -- For a price, lenders are willing to forget your old credit sins, as long as you have enough income to prevent any new ones ... (See Income trumps debt)

Fraud alerts: Your credit's first (and free) layer of security -- A fraud alert notifies lenders that they should take special precautions to verify your identity before extending credit. But it comes with limitations -- and hassles ... (See Fraud alerts)

Should I close card accounts to get a mortgage? -- While mortgage lenders want to minimize their risk, they usually just want credit card accounts paid off, not closed down ... (See Card accounts and mortgages)

Do predictive scores violate your privacy? -- Marketers are combining vast stores of data into predictive scores that help them decide what offers you see -- to the concern of privacy advocates ... (See Predictive scores)

10 times NOT to use credit cards -- Credit cards are convenient, but if you want your sanity and pocketbook to survive intact, give the poor things a rest sometimes ... (See 10 times not to use cards)

Authorized users and charge cards -- Authorized users can't mess up a credit utilization ratio for charge cards, because there's no ratio to upset. However, late pays still damage credit ... (See Charge cards)

What's your 'real' FICO score? All of the above -- Have you ever wondered why your FICO score varies from one time to the next? Today it's 700, tomorrow it's 720, a month later it's 785! Then the car dealer runs your credit report and informs you that your score is a mere 699! What happened? ... (See 'Real' score)

Walk away from co-signed loan? No such thing -- Her mother defaults; her kids need student loans. What's a serial co-signer to do? Step No. 1: Put down the pen ... (See Co-sign no more)

Married women find financial responsibility attractive -- Married women consider financial responsibility sexier than men do, an Experian poll finds. ... (See Marriage and credit)

Talk to lender before letting debt go to a collector -- If you're late on debt payments, don't just let it go to collections. Your original lender has more loan workout options to offer ... (See Let debt go?)

Poll: Millennials know less than others about credit scores -- The 35-and-younger crowd knows less about credit scores than other American adults, a survey from the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions shows ... (See Millennials and credit scores)

Paying, not purchasing, improves credit scores -- If you already carry a balance, don't worry about making new purchases -- just pay down your debt on time and your credit score will rise ... (See Purchases and credit scores)

Mom piggybacked on realty agent's troubled account. What now? -- A real estate agent convinced an elderly woman to sign on to the agent's credit card account to build credit history. But now the agent is bankrupt and collections agents are calling. How can the woman's daughter help? ... (See Piggybacking)

Thanks, Sis, but I'm ready for my own card now -- A man who got his sister's help to raise his score is ready to graduate to credit on his own -- taking his remaining debt with him via balance transfer ... (See Balance transfer)

FTC calls for data broker regulation -- Depending on your income, habits, health and ethnicity, data brokers may label you an Urban Scramble, Rural Everlasting, Truckin' & Stylin', Bible Lifestyle or Plus-Size Apparel ... (See FTC study)

Mom opened checking, credit accounts in my name, left a mess -- Fraud, even by a family member, is a crime that should be reported in order for you to start the process of salvaging your credit ... (See Family fraud)

'Dragnet Nation' author Julia Angwin: May I have my privacy back? -- The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter's book investigates who is watching us online, what they're doing with the data (including selling it), and why it matters. ... (See 'Dragnet Nation')

Move beyond the starter card with a personal loan -- A perfect payment record on a starter credit card won't earn great rewards. Try a personal loan at the same bank that offers the rewards card you want ... (See Starter card)

CFPB: Credit scores for medical debt are unfair -- Study by consumer watchdog agency finds that medical debt collection weighs too heavily on people's credit scores ... (See Medical debt and credit scores)

Get that debt settlement offer in writing -- An offer to settle old debt for a 10th of what's owed may soun good, but get it in writing, and make sure you understand the consequences ... (See Old debt)

Don't just transfer a balance, pay it down -- It's worthwhile to transfer a balance if the only other card is a dud -- but do the math and have a plan to whittle that balance down ... (See Balance transfer)

How to rebuild credit in 5 steps -- Don't think of rebuilding bad credit as a race -- slow and steady changes are needed, and time and patience are your allies ... (See Gradual growth)

Authorized user backfire hurts son's credit score -- Adding their son as authorized user backfired after they both lost their jobs. Now his plan to buy a house is in jeopardy ... (See Authorized user backfire)

How quickly is my card payment posted? -- It can take a few days for your card issuer to post your payment -- and for someone with a low-limit card, that can matter a lot ... (See Payment posting)

Judgment-proof debtors have an imperfect shield -- If you are poor enough, a court judgment for debt has little threat. You're "judgment-proof," with wages and belongings shielded by law from collectors -- but that does not mean you can relax ... (See Judgment-proof debtors)

There ain't no cure for the bad co-signer credit score blues -- When you co-sign, you agree to take on responsibility for the loan -- and the credit damage that results if it's allowed to go into default ... (See Co-signer credit score blues)

Debt rises by 5 percent in top 20 cities -- A study by the credit bureau Experian shows borrowing is on the rise again in 19 of the 20 biggest U.S. cities, with Dallas, Houston leading the way ... (See Average debt)

Applying for a credit card? Your odds for approval -- Thinking of applying for a card? The odds of having your application approved depend on the issuer, the card and your credit score ... (See Application approval odds)

Small-business bank loans become a bit easier to get -- Bankers are becoming a bit more accommodating to small businesses, new research shows, but they're still hard, so know all your choices ... (See Bank loans)

Divorced woman still cleaning up ex's financial mess -- Five years after their breakup, a woman is trying to see if there's a way to undo the financial damage her ex dumped on her and she unwisely kept ... (See Ex's mess)

Big bill, small credit limit: Know your options -- In one hand is a big bill. In the other, an offer for a credit card with a 0 percent interest rate, but a too-small credit limit. They're not the only choices, Jane says ... (See Credit limit)

How to perform a credit transfusion on your spouse -- It's a tricky and dangerous procedure, but it's possible: The spouse with good credit can absorb the bad-credit person's debt by balance transfer ... (See Credit transfusion)

Author Steve Bucci: Take the slow, steady road to good credit -- "Credit Repair Kit for Dummies" author Steve Bucci says there's no magic wand to a quick credit fix nor is there a credit repair fairy ... (See Credit repair )

10 tips for dealing with debt collectors, collection -- First, pull your head out of the sand. Next, educate yourself on your rights and on who to reach out to for help or to register a complaint ... (See Debt collection tips)

3 who bounced back from bankruptcy to millionaires -- Bouncing back after a bankruptcy may not be easy, but it can be done. The most prosperous of the rebounders analyze their past shortcomings, chart a better route, then march full force into the future ... (See Bankruptcy to millionaire)

On disability, facing interest rate creep -- She was on her card's hardship plan to keep her APR low, but then the company changed ownership and her rates keep rising. Is there any recourse? ... (See Hardship rate)

Shifting debt from credit cards through a mortgage refi -- Paying off credit cards via a home refinance could change your credit utilization and help your credit score, if you don't go charging again ... (See Refis and credit scores)

Can I use my credit card after bankruptcy? -- There is no specific amount of time you have to wait before you can start charging again after bankruptcy. In fact, it can even help rebuild your credit ... (See Bankruptcy)

Winning the credit 'Game of Thrones' -- Managing your credit cards can sometimes feel like waging an epic battle with unseen enemies on all sides -- sort of like the characters on "Game of Thrones" ... (See Games)

Not all free credit scores are created equal -- More than 25 million credit cardholders now have regular access to a credit score through their credit card issuers, but that free score may not be the comprehensive, tell-all number you think it is. ... (See Scores)

Pay the whole debt or pay part: Which helps credit score more? -- Much of the credit score damage was already done back when you defaulted, but paying it off can make you look better to other lenders ... (See Partial payment)

Student loan payments choking new grad -- With student loan payments taking up 57 percent of her income, a new grad ponders defaulting as she can't see how she can keep up ... (See Default)

What interest rate increases will cost cardholders -- Consumers will pay up to $192 million more a month on their credit card balances starting this month, according to Federal Reserve data ... (See Rising card rates)

Familiar fraud: When family and friends steal your identity -- When identity fraud victims know their imposters, it can rip apart relationships as it ruins finances, making it a tough crime to overcome ... (See Familiar fraud)

Paying all you can vs. leaving a cushion in savings -- If there's enough money to make a big dent in your card debt but not enough to pay it off, you have choices to make, and the right one depends on your goals ... (See Paying vs. savings)

Don't default on a stipulated judgment -- When you agree to pay a creditor a reduced, but fixed amount each month to satisfy an old debt and then default, you risk having to pay the full balance ... (See Stipulated judgment)

Help! Mom trashed my credit -- It's tough to find that a card you never signed up for is dragging down your credit and chances for employment, but if you were just an authorized user, you'll get off easy ... (See Credit)

Son uses dad's card after he dies -- Believing the card he shared with his dad was a joint account, the son kept using the card after Dad's death. But he was just an authorized user, so who's to pay the bill? ... (See Debt)

Cards with free credit scores -- A growing number of cards give you a no-cost way to watch the number crucial to your financial health ... (See Free credit scores)

CFPB calls for free credit scores -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has urged credit card issuers to make credit scores available to customers for free ... (See Consumers want free credit scores)

If authorized user goes bankrupt, account holder's credit not at risk -- Granting authorized user status to a partner who later goes bankrupt won't risk your credit, but watch out for any joint accounts ... (See Partner's credit)

Making sure bad debts are gone from your credit report -- Still paying a collector for an old debt? It should eventually fall off your credit report. But take care or it could linger longer ... (See Old debts and credit reports)

How 'jamming' cleans your credit report -- temporarily -- The scam called jamming throws a wrench into a beleaguered credit report dispute process, making it harder for the big three credit bureaus to keep up with legitimate disputes ... (See Jamming)

'Jamming' cleans your credit -- temporarily -- Some credit repair clinics clog the dispute system with bogus paperwork, challenging everything on clients' credit reports. The tactic works -- temporarily ... (See Jamming scam)

Steps to building your credit before 1st auto loan -- A newcomer to credit, even someone who's handled credit well so far, won't have a great score. Additional work is need to get a good first auto loan ... (See 1st auto loan)

Include all debts in a management plan -- When going into a formal debt management plan from a credit counseling agency, you can't keep several credit card accounts open. That defeats the purpose of getting out of debt ... (See DMP)

How rapid rescoring works to improve a credit score -- A rapid rescore can be requested by a mortgage lender to quickly undo damage from an erroneous credit report, but it won't erase your old mistakes ... (See Rapid rescore)

Credit card approval tips for new immigrants -- New to the U.S.? Until you understand the American credit rating system, expect to be continually rejected for new credit cards ... (See New to U.S.)

Discover expands free FICO credit score program -- Discover cardholders will not only get a free credit score on their monthly statements, they'll have it explained to them, the company announced ... (See Free FICO)

How many is too many credit cards? -- If you've got great credit, 0 percent promotional deals are there for the taking. But does having too many paid-off cards a good or bad thing? ... (See Too many cards?)

While hiding from abusive ex, she falls behind on loan payments -- A mom and her kids went into hiding to escape an abusive husband last year, but now she's worried how to make good on her lapsed car payments ... (See In hiding)

Moving out? Don't forget about the credit cards -- Relocation is stressful enough without having it damage your credit. With a bit of planning, you can maintain your sanity -- and your credit score ... (See Moving and credit)

Do you have what it takes for DIY debt settlement? -- Settling your own debts instead of hiring someone else can save you money and put you in the power seat, but it's not for the fainthearted ... (See DIY debt)

Stop obsessing over a perfect credit score -- When your FICO credit score is just 70 points shy of a perfect score, is it really worth the effort to push it all the way to the top? ... (See Credit score obsession)

How to let kids fail their way to financial success -- As parents, the instinct is to protect children from making mistakes -- especially costly financial flubs. But knowing how to handle mistakes can mean the difference between an error becoming a learning opportunity and a bad habit ... (See Kids' money mistakes)

Ex's ID theft thwarts new couple's finances -- His ex-wife racked up debt in his name on a secret credit card, but agreed to pay if off in the divorce. But how does he clear the debt off his credit reports? ... (See Ex-debt)

How long can a judgment impact your credit score? -- Once you have a judgment against, you, it's bad: Some state laws allow them to be in force for decades. But it may fall from your credit report sooner ... (See Judgments)

Restoring credit score after defaulting on student loan -- Deferring student loan payments doesn't last forever. When they come due, it's time to pay up or suffer the credit consequences ... (See Student loan default)

Single mom struggling with card payments -- A single mom living paycheck to paycheck wonders how she can clear up the charge-offs and late payments listed on her credit reports ... (See Credit score)

Erroneous loan default report won't affect other credit accounts -- When a large error claiming you defaulted suddenly appears on your credit, you have to fight to remove it, but it won't impact other loans ... (See Not my debt)

Closing excess cards without hurting credit score -- With a wallet full of retail cards, just how do you go about closing the extraneous ones without incurring too much credit score damage? ... (See Closing cards)

Keeping a card balance to boost credit score is dumb advice -- Some financial "experts" claim that carrying a small balance on your credit cards is good for your credit score. It's time to kiss that myth goodbye ... (See Balance)

9 credit-buildings tips for US immigrants -- The land of opportunity requires newcomers to establish credit anew once they arrive in the U.S., but you can go from nothing to good credit in a short time ... (See Immigrant credit)

Psst! A hot tip on debt elimination companies: They're bogus -- So the guy at the airport lounge was saying how a debt elimination firm cost just $49 to cut all debt. It's real, right? Erica splashes cold water in a reader's face ... (See Debt elimination )

Infographic: Baby boomers have the most credit pride -- Baby boomers have more credit confidence than younger generations, according to a survey ... (See Credit pride)

Tips for getting that first credit card -- The path to getting your first credit card may be bumpy at first, but if managed properly, the road to easy credit becomes a smooth ride ... (See First credit card)

Will prepaying card bill help credit score? -- Paying your credit card bill as early as possible is a good habit, but it won't help your score any more than paying it on time ... (See Prepaying a credit card bill)

Mississippi sues Chase Bank over debt collection -- Mississippi's attorney general sued Chase Bank for making false demands for debt against credit card customers ... (See Chase sued false debit collection)

Yes, get a second credit card, if you used the first wisely -- But beware: If you're not paying off the balance every month on your primary card, applying for a second card won't help and could get you into trouble ... (See Second card)

Former 'credit junkie' Beverly Harzog comes clean -- Personal finance expert Beverly Harzog unveils her secret addiction to credit in a new book, "Confessions of a Credit Junkie" ... (See Credit junkie)

Is my credit score good enough for a business card? -- Many business cards require excellent credit -- but what qualifies as "excellent" depends on the scoring system ... (See Business credit )

Bad idea: using credit cards to pay for a move -- Relocating to another state without a job, emergency fund or a place to live is just bad planning. Living off credit cards until your ship rolls in is even worse ... (See Living on credit)

Despite settlement, demands to repay old debt resurface -- A collector's new demands you pay an old debt should go away if you got written verification of the settlement agreement. If not, take these steps ... (See Written verification)

How soon after bankruptcy can you get new credit cards? -- With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy almost behind you, how soon is too soon to start applying for new credit? And will you be approved? ... (See Post-bankruptcy)

Checklist for new graduates looking to rent 1st apartment -- New graduates faced with a tough job market have to crunch the numbers before deciding whether they can afford to leave the nest and get an apartment of their own ... (See 1st apartment)

Husband's secret debt destroying marriage -- He opened new cards without his wife's knowledge, racked up debt and now can't afford the minimum payments. Should she leave him or give him another chance? ... (See Secret debt)

Lending to friends and family: Your 4-step guide -- Lending to people you know can be fraught with risk. If you're going to do it, follow this 4-step guide to check expectations and improve your chances of success ... (See Family loans)

Sample promissory note for loans to family, friends -- If you're lending to a relative or friend, you'll want to craft a written agreement. This free sample promissory note spells out how and when you are to be paid, and what happens if the borrower doesn't repay the loan ... (See Sample promissory loan note)

What kind of plastic can you get with fair credit? -- With FICO scores in the low 600s and numerous hard inquiries on his credit reports, will card issuers accept or reject his card application? ... (See Fair credit)

What's the big deal about secured cards? -- When your credit is trashed or you have a thin credit file, building up a solid credit score can be within reach by just signing up and using a secured card ... (See Secured cards)

What percentage of available credit should you stay under? -- How much of your available credit should you use to keep a high credit score? There's no one-size-fits-all answer, but the less credit you use, the better ... (See Ratio)

FICO credit-score giveaway coming to Discover cardholders -- Discover's the latest bank to add free credit score access as a routine service, completing the route of the once-secret three-digit number to full public view ... (See Credit scores)

GAO: Information resellers quickly invading personal lives -- Data collectors know and resell your buying preferences, investments, ailments, favorite sports, hobbies and political leanings -- and need to be reined in, the government agency says in a report ... (See Information resellers)

Tips for building credit before renting a home -- Landlords commonly check the credit history of potential renters; knowing and polishing yours can hand you the keys to a new home ... (See Credit check)

Great degree, great job, but no credit -- Recent college grads shouldn't expect to be granted easy access to credit once they land a job. Building a great credit score takes time, patience ... (See New credit)

How to use the grace period to avoid paying interest -- Taking advantage of the grace period's break on interest charges can save the typical card user a couple hundred bucks a year, but the savings aren't automatic ... (See Grace period)

Forging hubby's signature on a card application -- Forging a spouse's signature here and there may be OK, but never on a credit card or loan application, and not if it's done secretly ... (See Forgery)

When's a good time to drop dad's card? -- His dad helped him get off to a good credit start by sharing a card with him during college. Now, at 23, it's time to drop dad's card and get his own ... (See First card)

New complaint data zings credit bureaus -- Federal complaint data shows that consumers are often dissatisfied -- even when credit bureaus say they have addressed the problem ... (See Credit bureau complaints)

Ex-wife racks up debt on joint accounts -- When a marriage is over, joint accounts should be severed. If not, an ex's financial misbehavior can come back to haunt you ... (See Divorce debt)

Cards maxed out for 10 years? Perhaps you need a plan -- If you've lived for a decade with maxed-out credit cards, consider a debt management plan, but pick your counselor carefully and know the credit impact ... (See Debt plan)

Make sure your first card is a good fit -- Shopping for your first credit card is much like finding that perfect pair of jeans -- it has to fit your income as well as be age and credit appropriate ... (See First card)

Adding a spouse as authorized card user to boost score -- Couples looking to buy a house can buff their team credit score by having the person with better credit add the partner with worse credit as an authorized card user ... (See Score)

Getting rid of old medical debt -- When old medical debt is keeping you from moving ahead with your life, it's time to take action. Either pay it off or work out a debt settlement with collectors ... (See Medical debt)

2013 bankruptcy filings continue decline -- 2013 is on track to be the third straight year of reduced filings since 2010, when the aftermath of the recession pushed personal bankruptcies to about 1.53 million ... (See Bankruptcy)

Seeking low-interest cards in quest for a better credit score -- If you're trying to recover from bad credit, will canceling old cards and opening new cards improve your credit score? ... (See Credit score)

Turned down for secured card. Now what? -- After being turned down for a secured card, which is designed for people with bad credit, are there any other options to rebuild your credit? ... (See Rejected)

7 jobs that require great credit -- Before applying for that dream -- or even interim -- job, you may want to pull your credit report and deal with any problems first ... (See Jobs requiring credit check)

Will closing a new, unused card hurt my score? -- If you just got new plastic, but a more attractive offer comes in the mail, would it be OK to cancel the first card and apply for the second? ... (See New card)

Government shutdown obstructs credit card applications -- The government shutdown has cut off IRS income verification services that lenders use to approve loans, including some credit cards ... (See Shutdown hits card apps)

Can too many credit cards mess up your credit score? -- When a review of your credit report says you have too many card accounts open, will your otherwise stellar credit take a nosedive if you cancel some? ... (See Too many cards)

Bankruptcy's credit damage worse than debt settlement's -- Both hurt badly, as they should, since they're serious debt defaults. But bankruptcy causes the greater credit score damage ... (See Bankruptcy vs. settlement)

Fiancee leaves ex with big pre-wedding debts -- He gave her his credit card to buy a $3,600 dress and financed a $9,000 ring. Then she left the country, taking it all with her. What's a jilted lover to do? ... (See Wedding debt)

Landing and maintaining an unsecured line of credit for your business -- For small businesses with few assets seeking the flexibility of on-demand funds, an unsecured line of credit can be an ideal option. Keep these pointers in mind when considering one ... (See Unsecured)

Report: We've learned our lesson about using credit cards -- We've learned a lesson from the recession, says a report from a bankers' trade group, with cardholders paying lower interest, carrying lower balances ... (See Lesson learned)

Credit mix and maxing out: Undoing damage from a heavily used card -- If you have one credit card that's close to maxed out every month, having a mix of other types of credit will help soften any credit score damage ... (See Credit mix)

4 ways to build credit without a credit card -- If you want to start building credit but don't want to get a credit card, there are other options, including passbook or CD loans, credit builder loans and alternative credit scores ... (See Credit without a card)

Do card issuers remember my very old mistakes? -- If you defaulted on credit card debt years ago, so long ago that the debt is off your credit report, what are your chances of getting a new card with the same issuer? ... (See Old debt)

Subprime borrowers have easier time getting car loans -- Unlike with credit cards, auto loans are becoming more available for borrowers with blemished credit ... (See Auto loans)

Mom illegally adds daughter to joint card -- A recently married daughter finds out her mom used her name to open a joint account without her permission or knowledge ... (See ID theft)

Can a minor be sued for using an adult's credit card? -- When a young person is given an adult's card to make purchases, but then the adult cries foul and threatens to sue, is the child liable for the charges? ... (See Minor)

Is it OK to close a card before I buy a condo? -- Closing a high-fee card can be a smart thing to do, but not when lenders are considering you for a home loan. Any credit score hit may cost you ... (See Credit score)

Pre-screened offers don't guarantee card approval -- All those enticing zero percent card offers that come in the mail don't mean that you'll be approved for them, and can even hurt your credit score ... (See Offers)

Can you negotiate medical debt with collectors? -- Yes, you can negotiate over delinquent medical bills with a collection agency, but paying less than what is owed has consequences ... (See Medical debt)

Will making minimum payments damage my credit score? -- Consistently making minimum monthly payments on a high balance is a dangerous habit that can damage your credit score if your financial situation worsens ... (See Minimum)

CFPB: Consumers' side of credit disputes must be considered -- Federal regulators issued a stern warning for information furnishers to investigate disputed credit report data: Look at a consumer's side of the story ... (See CFPB)

Rebuilding your credit as an authorized user -- Becoming an authorized user on a spouse's credit card can help you rebuild your credit but you need to understand your responsibilities and be committed to using the card wisely ... (See Rebuilding)

Is a card account open if it isn't activated? -- If you apply for a card, get it in the mail and then choose not to activate it, does the account still get listed on your credit report? ... (See Unactivated card)

Your map through Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy -- If you've decided that bankruptcy might be the solution for you, you need to be prepared for the stops along the way for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies ... (See Bankruptcy map)

Building good credit doesn't happen quickly -- Paying on time for a few months will not drastically change a credit score, especially if you've lapsed in the past. But with patience and time, your score will rise ... (See Good credit)

I'm buried in debt. Can I just stop making payments? -- If you're swamped with credit card debt, it may be tempting to stop making payments and hope the problem goes away. Sorry. It won't ... (See Stop paying)

How 'authorized user' status can help build US credit -- New to the U.S.? There are several ways to start building a good credit history, most notably by becoming an authorized user on another's credit card ... (See Authorized user)

Certegy fined $3.5 million for violating Fair Credit Reporting Act -- The FTC has accused credit reporting agency Certegy of maintaining and reporting inaccurate information about thousands of check-paying customers, resulting in a $3.5 million fine. ... (See Certegy)

Don't share accounts with elderly parents -- Having a joint account with an elderly parent can have serious consequences, including being liable for debts, lawsuits and collection efforts ... (See Joint accounts)

8 steps to build your business credit profile -- While the recession has made it harder to avoid personal guarantees for business credit, building a strong business credit profile is still important ... (See Business credit)

Credit score impact of settling past-due accounts -- When you have numerous credit accounts that are seriously past due, is the best solution to settle the accounts or try to pay them in full? ... (See Settle or pay in full?)

How to dispute unauthorized credit report inquiries -- If a negative item on your credit report isn't true, you dispute it. But did you know the same goes for credit report inquiries you don’t recognize or didn’t approve? ... (See Credit inquiries)

When being an authorized user is useless -- Her brother added her to his card to boost her credit, but the issuer doesn't report card activity for authorized users. What are her options? ... (See Authorized user)

Historic newspaper archive reveals earliest mentions of credit cards -- Consumer credit in the U.S. has its roots in the late 19th century, and the earliest printed mentions of credit shows we confronted today's challenges then ... (See Credit in U.S. history)

Daughter racks up debt on deceased dad's card -- Not knowing she was just an authorized user, a daughter continued to use her dad's card after he died. Now the issuer closed the card and wants quick repayment ... (See Authorized user)

How to protect a foster child from ID theft -- Foster kids are even more at risk for identity theft than the general population. Help protect yourself or a young person you know by following these tips ... (See Tips)

Have I fallen prey to identity theft? -- It's relatively easy to find out if you've fallen victim to identity theft, given the availability of credit reports and online billing statements. Clearing up an identity theft issue, however, is more difficult and may require contacting local authorities or placing a freeze on your credit report. ... (See Fraud)

Foster children get help in combating ID theft -- A 2011 federal law says when foster children turn 16, child welfare agencies must help them get annual credit reports and clear up any mistakes. States are now implementing programs to do just that ... (See Foster kids and ID theft)

Will a debt management plan hurt your credit score? -- When you enter a debt management plan, one of the requirements is to close open card accounts. How will that action affect your credit score? ... (See DMP)

Does it make sense to refinance business credit card debt? -- Small businesses with good credit may benefit from transferring business card debt to a lower-interest loan or 0-percent interest card ... (See Refinance)

How credit scores impact some student loan approvals -- Planning to apply for student loans? You might want to check your credit. If you’re applying for PLUS loans or private student loans, your credit history counts ... (See Student loans and credit)

Rules of the road for improving your credit mix -- Having greater diversity in the types of credit you use can nudge your credit score up -- as long as you make your payments on time ... (See Credit mix)

The path to a lower interest rate -- Most banks and credit unions tie their credit cards' interest rates to the prime rate, but knowing the prime rate alone won't lead to lowering yours ... (See Your rate)

What to look for in an emergency credit card -- Unless you have huge sums of cash, have an emergency card handy -- one that won't cause extra problems if you actually use it ... (See Emergency card)

Bankruptcies continue to fall -- As the eighth anniversary of a bankruptcy reform law approaches, filings in the first half of 2013 have fallen 14 percent from the same period one year ago ... (See Bankruptcy filings)

Credit reports now show your credit card bill-paying habits -- Credit bureaus add "trended data" to credit reports showing whether you carry a credit card balance, giving card issuers and others a more detailed portrait of your financial habits ... (See Trended data)

Money experts give advice to their younger selves -- We asked financial professionals to imagine they could go back in time and pass on to their younger selves the wisdom about money they've gained ... (See Advice)

Even with very old debt, don't ignore collection efforts -- The statute of limitations doesn't bar collectors from trying to get you to pay old debts, but you have rights and can stiff-arm them easily ... (See Old debt)

Infographic: Who’s checking your credit score? -- When it comes to which types of companies may check your credit score before approving you for their products or services, many consumers are in the dark. ... (See Credit score)

Help! My husband's ruining my credit -- They opened a joint credit card together and then her husband went "crazy" charging things they couldn't afford. To make matters worse, he stopped paying the bill ... (See Joint credit)

Divorce and card debt in community property states -- She's an authorized user on her ex-husband's card, but since they live in a community property state, she's not off the hook ... (See Divorce debt and community property )

Watchdog agency opens doors to complaints about debt collectors -- The government's consumer watchdog issued warning notices to the collection industry about illegal tactics on the day it began taking complaints about collectors ... (See Debt collection)

4 signs your teen isn't ready for credit cards -- Getting your teen behind the wheel of a car was scary enough, so do you think your kid is ready to handle the responsibility of a credit card? ... (See Teens and credit)

Is daughter liable for shared card debt with mom? -- Mom tried to boost her daughter's credit by putting her on several credit cards, but then Mom passed away. Who has to pay the balances? ... (See Shared credit)

Average credit card debt statistics -- Depending on how the average is measured and who's doing the measuring, Americans are either doing pretty well when it comes to managing our credit cards, or horribly ... (See Average card debt)

Where to look for credit, funding for minority-owned business -- For a young, African-American entrepreneur looking to start a small business, credit can be tight -- especially if you're still paying off student loans. Here's where to look for advice, and money ... (See Minority business)

How canceled cards impact credit scores -- When a card is canceled, the only way it can hurt your credit score is by reducing your credit utilization ratio -- or if you behaved badly with it ... (See Canceled card)

Infographic: Millennials swap credit cards for student loans -- More young consumers are turning their backs on credit cards and piling on student loan debt, according to research from FICO ... (See Millennials ditch credit cards, pile on student loans)

Bill to curb employer credit check passes N.Y. Assembly -- Afraid your bad credit may be holding you back from a great job? That may soon not be a concern for job-hunting New Yorkers, as the Credit Privacy in Employment Act passed the New York Assembly on June 24. ... (See Credit checks)

6-step credit-building plan for a struggling single mom -- A low-income, young single mom with school and another baby coming wants to handle credit wisely, but she'd better have a plan to avoid debt ... (See New credit)

Looking for Mr. FICO: Singles using credit score to filter dates -- Your astrological sign? Pah. A growing number of today's singles employ a FICO filter, using credit scores to judge whether a date is responsible ... (See Creditworthy dating)

5 bankruptcy myths busted -- Only deadbeats, cheats and crooks file for bankruptcy, right? Nothing could be further from the truth, say the folks who deal with bankruptcy day to day ... (See Bankruptcy myths)

Want to help a relative in debt? Do it carefully -- Sure, you can help a relative overwhelmed by debt. Help her negotiate, consolidate -- but be careful about taking that debt on yourself ... (See Relative in debt)

First credit card tips and advice -- An 18-year-old wants to know just how a credit card works and how it should be used before she applies for one ... (See First credit card)

5 top excuses (and 5 top fixes) for paying bills late -- Excuses abound for paying bills late, but none do you any good. We identify the top five -- and a way to overcome each one ... (See Bill paying moves )

Credit dispute process fix coming soon -- Disputing a credit report error? The bureaus will no longer discard your evidence; it will be scanned in and forwarded to the lender or debt collector ... (See Disputes)

Foreign exchange students can build a US credit score -- A 20-year-old Chinese student living in the U.S. wants to build an American credit score, and she can: Scores aren't just for U.S. citizens ... (See Foreign student scores)

Old debt, new collector: Negotiate? Ignore? Or pay up? -- When an old debt resurfaces as you're trying to make a credit comeback, getting it listed as paid in full does the most benefit to your credit, but the most harm to your cash flow ... (See Old debt, new collector)

Options for card approval without a credit history -- At 21, he was turned down for a secured card. His grandfather offers to co-sign on a card with him, but will that be his best choice? ... (See Young credit)

6 ways to protect your credit after a natural disaster -- While your first priority after experiencing a life-altering tragedy may be to rebuild, ignoring your debts can hamper your recovery ... (See Natural disaster)

Beware: Risk of data breaches rises when you travel -- The odds your card's data will be taken rise when you're on holiday for an obvious reason: You like to hang out at the same places the cyberthieves do ... (See Data breaches)

Divorcing? Your kids don't need a money martyr -- Sally sharply arches her eyebrow at a one-sided divorce settlement that gives him the house, her the debt -- and a self-imposed college fund obligation on top of it all ... (See Divorce and debt)

If you have the choice, pay off that big debt -- When a generous uncle offers to pay off a $30,000 credit card debt, say thanks and do it -- then figure out how to pay him back and stay out of debt ... (See Pay off debt)

Peer-to-peer loans catch on for credit card debt consolidation -- Peer-to-peer loans -- made by individuals to other individuals -- are booming as a debt consolidation tool. Though they can be a deal, they aren't for everyone. Here's how they work, what to expect ... (See P2P)

Wife of inmate worries about his card debt -- Her husband is in prison for five years, and he left behind $7,000 in card debt that she can't pay. Will she be pursued for the debt by collectors? ... (See Debt and prison)

Nontraditional borrowing alternatives to online P2P loans -- Peer-to-peer lending works for people with solid credit, but if you have a history of late payments, there are other creative alternatives to credit card loans ... (See Creative, nontraditional loan choices)

Credit card churning: not a game to play while house-hunting -- "Churning" -- taking on new credit cards to get sign-up bonuses and then canceling the cards -- will ding your credit score. The hit is usually minor but it's not a smart idea if you're thinking of buying a house soon ... (See Card churning caution)

Credit report complaints highlight errors -- One out of five people who complained about their credit reports said they contain information that does not belong to them, according to newly released figures ... (See Credit report errors)

Stuck with card debt with no job, assets -- She has no work or personal property and cannot afford to pay her card bill. Can she still be pursued for the debt even if she has nothing? ... (See Card debt)

How card companies report credit utilization to bureaus -- Card issuers vary in how they report card use, which can affect your credit score. Usually, it's no big deal, but it becomes one when you want new credit` ... (See Credit use)

Can old debt threaten a great credit score? -- His credit score is in the mid-700s already, but a debt collector is calling about an old debt. Will ignoring the calls threaten his creditworthiness? ... (See Credit score)

Will card debt scare off student loan lenders? -- With high card debt, no job and a desire to return to school, will qualifying for a student loan be insurmountable? ... (See Student loan)

Q&A with author Frank Ahearn on the art of disappearing -- This skip-tracer turned skip-maker charges $42,000 minimum to help people disappear. He doesn't take credit cards. In fact, his first move will be to destroy yours ... (See Frank Ahearn)

Keeping your credit score high in retirement -- As retirement approaches, it's time to review your collection of credit cards to make sure they're still working for you, and to keep debt low ... (See Credit score in retirement)

Credit-building tips for new US citizen -- He opened a U.S. card with a passport and business account. Now that he's moved here and has an SSN, he wants to know how to build a good credit score ... (See Credit tips)

Co-signer, joint account holder, guarantor: Know the difference -- Thinking about sharing a card account with someone? Take heed. Your liability for the debt could vary greatly depending upon the type of account you choose ... (See Shared accounts)

Student loan co-signer on the hook for delinquency -- A wife co-signed her husband's student loans, which he defaulted on when he lost his job. Should she pay off the balance or not? ... (See Student loan)

How to pick a bankruptcy attorney -- That’s it, you’re done. After struggling to pay your debts, you’re ready to consider bankruptcy. It’s time to contact a lawyer to represent you, but which one? ... (See Bankruptcy attorney)

Does canceling an unactivated card hurt credit scores? -- She applied for a low-limit, high annual fee card and never activated it. Now she wants to cancel it. How will that impact her credit score? ... (See Credit score)

If my oldest card's rewards aren't paying off, should I cancel? -- It's usually not worth shelling out for an annual fee if a card's rewards don't at least pay for it. But if that card happens to be your oldest one, will canceling the card hurt your credit score? ... (See Oldest card)

Survey: Consumers still don't understand credit scores -- Women have more credit knowledge, says a study released Monday, but few of us really understand what makes us creditworthy ... (See Credit survey)

How to ask for a credit limit increase -- Credit card issuers determine your limit based on what they think you can repay. If you want to raise your limit it helps to have your argument nailed down before you ask ... (See Credit limit increase)

Pay off debt vs. settle it: Which is better for your credit score? -- With $4,000 in card debt and five months behind on the bill, she wonders if settling the bill or paying it off is better for her credit score ... (See Credit score and settlement)

Debt lingers on credit report even after garnishment, repayment -- Through garnishment, an old debt has been repaid, but the credit damage can linger for years. The good news? It fades with time ... (See Old debt and credit reports)

Will paying off a bad loan early boost credit score? -- If you can afford to pay off a high-cost loan, do it. Don't stick with a bad loan in the false belief that it will help build your credit score ... (See Car loan)

How to improve your chances of getting an SBA loan -- A banker will look at many factors when evaluating whether to grant you an SBA-guaranteed loan, from your personal credit to the profitability of your business. Here's how you can prepare to apply ... (See SBA)

Is wife liable for ex's card debt? -- When a spouse has thousands in secret card debt and then files for divorce, exactly who is responsible for repaying that debt? ... (See Ex's card debt)

Scared of Big Brother? Too late, says 'Big Data' co-author -- As more companies tap into the huge amounts of data to measure consumer behavior, "Big Data" co-author Viktor Mayer-Schonberger says it's not really a bad thing ... (See Big Data)

2013 survey of balance transfer offers -- CreditCards.com's annual balance transfer offer survey finds fees are falling, but a new breed of tempting hybrid cards is on the rise ... (See Balance transfer survey)

Stop the debt shuffle, and figure out why you owe so much -- You have $55,000 in card debt. Now you want to borrow against a life insurance policy? Stop. Look at why you're in debt before you go any deeper ... (See Debt shuffle)

When does bad debt fall off credit reports? -- If you have debts that went into collections and were later discharged in bankruptcy, when can you expect those marks to be erased from your credit reports? ... (See Debts)

6 crucial credit questions you should know answers to -- Not keeping current on the state of your finances can have dire consequences. Here are six money questions everyone should know the answers to ... (See 6 credit questions)

Will canceling cards hurt a great credit score? -- Her credit score is 790, but with seven credit cards open, she wonders if she can cancel some without hurting her score ... (See Canceling cards)

Chapter 13 bankruptcy: How it works -- Unlike Chapter 7 liquidation plans, Chapter 13s give filers a chance to pay off debts over three to five years -- but they rarely turn out as planned ... (See Chapter 13 bankruptcy)

Late fees inflate balance of forgotten card -- She opened a card, charged $100 and then Hurricane Sandy hit and she forgot all about it. Now it's in a collector's hands and the balance is $300 ... (See Card default)

Poll: Card debt the No. 1 taboo subject -- Credit card debt? Shhhh! It ranks as the No. 1 taboo subject, ahead of sex, politics and religion as a conversational no-no, says a CreditCards.com poll ... (See Taboo)

Deceased husband's debt haunts wife -- Three years after he passed, his wife receives a 1099-C form for his credit card debt cancellation. Does she have to report this on her income tax return? ... (See 1099-C)

Bankruptcy filings plunge in first quarter of 2013 -- Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy fillings fell the most in states hard hit by the recession, including Nevada and California ... (See 1st quarter bankruptcies)

Student with no job denied credit -- With student loans as her only income source, it's no surprise that a medical student is turned down for a higher-limit Amazon card ... (See No job, no plastic)

How long does old debt stay on credit reports? -- If a debt is reported as being charged off and passes the state statute of limitations, when does it drop off your credit report? ... (See Old debt)

When can an issuer cancel your credit card account? -- Credit card companies can cancel your account for any number of reasons, even if you're paying on time -- and they don't have to warn you about it. Here's what you can do ... (See Closed card)

Starting an 18-year-old on the road to credit -- His parents sank into debt after marriage, but learned from their mistakes. How do they stop their 18-year-old son from repeating history? ... (See Young credit)

Damaged credit: Can you sue? -- While holding others accountable for inaccurate and costly credit hits is a recent legal phenomenon, courts are recognizing that good credit is a valuable asset ... (See Suing for damaged credit)

Keeping business credit off of your personal record -- Small business credit cards require the owner to personally guarantee them. Does that mean they show up on your personal credit record? Not necessarily ... (See Business credit)

How to clear a judgment from your records -- She repaid the collector after a judgment was placed against her, but the judgment remains after the collector folded. How does she clear the record? ... (See Judgments)

Will credit score suffer with new card cancellation? -- Just how much will your credit score be impacted if you open a new credit card, pay it off right away, and then cancel it? ... (See Cancel a card)

Who pays your expenses if your company goes bankrupt? -- Technically, you could be on the hook for unpaid expenses you charged if the company goes belly up, but in practice, employees are pretty safe ... (See Company expenses)

Debt vs. savings: Who gets paid first? -- When facing student loans and other debts, saving for emergencies may seem counterproductive. But without a cushion, you're more likely to face financial peril ... (See Debt vs. savings)

5 who funded their dreams on credit -- Do you have a big aspiration, but a small bank account? Check out how these five people went into debt to fulfill their fantasies, and the lessons they learned ... (See Funding dreams)

Asking for a lower interest rate, higher limit on your credit card -- Following a brief lapse, a reader has restored her good payment habits and wants a higher credit limit and lower interest rate. Will her wishes be granted? ... (See Issuer requests)

8 smart financial moves for college seniors, new graduates -- Many soon-to-be college grads are woefully unprepared for the financial challenges ahead. Take these crucial steps before tossing that cap into the air ... (See College finances)

Taken to court for card debt? What to expect -- If you have been served a summons to appear in court over unpaid card debt, the legal journey will unfold in six stages. Know what they are ... (See Court judgment)

Do medical bills show up on credit reports? -- She wants to buy a house, but wonders if her medical bills are what's keeping potential lenders from offering to help her with a mortgage ... (See Medical bills)

Disabled son charges card to the max, then gets sued -- He can't work and lives off of $712 a month and maxed out a credit card. Now he's being sued. His mom worries the court will garnish his disability payments ... (See Sued for debt)

Has your credit report been viewed illegally? -- Though most credit report inquiries are legitimate, some aren't. The information contained there can be used to steal your identity, damage your credit or breach your privacy ... (See Credit reports)

Should you pay off card debt slowly or all at once? -- If you're carrying credit card debt, is it better for your credit score to pay it all off in one fell swoop or in smaller installments? ... (See Card debt repayment)

Soon-to-be college grad seeks adult plastic -- Graduating from college means new beginnings and responsibilities, including putting that student credit card aside and applying for grown-up plastic ... (See Student cards)

Infographic: Issuers stingier with credit post-CARD Act -- Since the CARD Act went into effect in early 2010, you need a higher credit score to get more measly credit limits, according to the American Bankers Association ... (See Credit after CARD Act)

Credit limit tricks: Keep a high score while still using your card -- Forget the oft-repeated personal finance axiom about keeping card balances below 30 percent of your credit limit. Just know your monthly credit 'snapshot' date to keep your card balances low and your credit score high ... (See Credit limit)

When authorized user status works against you -- A 27-year-old with less-than-stellar credit is only jeopardizing her credit more by adding herself to her mom's card with a really high balance ... (See Authorized user)

Credit score impact of settling a debt or paying it in full -- A debt collector can wipe its hands of you if you accept the settlement offer on a delinquent debt, but how does that impact your credit score? ... (See Settling debt)

Danny Singh talks about early money management skills -- At 11, he took over paying his mom's bills and managing her financial affairs. At 19, he published his second book, this one on fighting foreclosure. Singh dishes on his money lessons ... (See Whiz kid)

Infographic: Credit report errors hit less-educated the hardest -- Are those with less education more likely to be victimized by credit report errors? That's what a report issued by the Federal Trade Commission suggests ... (See Credit report errors)

10 ways loan co-signers can protect their assets -- Despite warnings from experts, people still co-sign loans for their loved ones. If you must, or already did, at least take these steps to protect yourself ... (See Co-signing protection)

After a debt judgment, inheritance may be at risk -- She's being sued for past due credit card debt. Can her creditors go after any inherited property or cash down the road? ... (See Debt judgment)

Authorized user's credit score in jeopardy on shared card -- When he was 14, his dad added him to a card account to boost his credit score. Now Dad is mismanaging the card and hurting his son's credit score ... (See Authorized user blues)

FTC report: 1 in 5 Americans has a mistake in credit report -- If applied to the 200 million Americans with credit reports, the Federal Trade Commission's findings would mean 40 million have a credit report mistake ... (See Credit report mistakes)

Steps to rebuild a thin credit file -- After getting into credit card trouble almost 10 years ago, he gave up using plastic. Now he wants to try again with a new card, but how can he qualify? ... (See Thin credit )

Feds bust sophisticated credit card ring that stole $200 million -- In a massive manipulation of the credit card system, a New Jersey-based fraud ring stole more than $200 million by creating 7,000 false identities and 25,000 bogus cards ... (See Credit card fraud)

Credit counseling agencies get bigger, but are they any better? -- A wave of consolidation is rapidly transforming credit counseling from locally based agencies to national call centers ... (See Big credit counseling agencies get bigger - but better?)

Choosing a credit counseling agency: 6 tips -- Nonprofit credit counseling agencies are bound by rules that guard against abuses. But some agencies can work better for you than others ... (See Credit counselors)

Compare 4 choices for debt relief -- People who need help getting out from under debt have a number of choices, each with some advantages and pitfalls. Here's an overview ... (See 4 debt relief choices)

When does it make sense to roll card debt into a refinance? -- A couple with huge card debt and high-interest mortgage wonders if rolling the card debt into a new, low-rate refinance makes sense ... (See Refinance)

Heavy debt a major turnoff, especially for women, CreditCards.com survey finds -- Attitudes regarding debt loom large over any relationship, and that's especially true for women, who find heavy debt a huge turnoff, says a CreditCards.com survey ... (See Debt's a turnoff)

Mom defaults on card shared with daughter -- A mom tried to do the right thing by adding her daughter to her credit card account, but then she stopped paying. How will that affect her daughter's credit rating? ... (See Authorized user)

Why your traditional credit score may be becoming obsolete -- As millions of Americans recover from the sharpest downturn since the Great Depression, a growing number of credit card issuers are quietly testing new, more comprehensive ways to evaluate customers' creditworthiness ... (See Alternative credit scores)

Credit report marred by multiple collectors' marks over one loan -- If a delinquent debt is finally settled, can you get the multiple collectors' notations on your credit report removed? ... (See Credit reports and bad loans)

Emancipated minor wants to start building credit -- Just how does a recently emancipated soon-to-be 17-year-old go about building his credit without parental consent? ... (See Emancipated minors and credit)

Quick ways to create a credit history for lenders -- With down payment in hand to buy her first home, but no credit history, a young woman is frustrated by repeated rejections from lenders ... (See Credit history)

4 high-cost desperation loans to avoid -- Overspend on the holidays? A short-term loan may seem like manna from heaven, but some loans may leave you in worse shape than before ... (See Last-ditch loans)

Does closing a newly activated credit card hurt your credit score? -- She accidentally activated a card, but already has two in her wallet. Will canceling a card she never used hurt her credit score? ... (See Credit scores)

Bankruptcies fell 14% in 2012, continuing 2-year decline -- Bankruptcy filings for 2012 year show a 14 percent fall, following a 12 percent decline the prior year, as America continues its shaky economic recovery ... (See Bankruptcies fall)

He's new to credit, behind on bills, worried about job hunt -- He started off on the right foot by getting credit and paying bills on time, and then he moved, lost his job and fell behind on payments ... (See Missed payments)

How to dispute fraudulent charges on a business gas card -- A reader wants to know what rights he has in disputing fraudulent charges made to his company's WEX gas cards ... (See Disputing business card charges)

Beware of co-signing student loans for your kids -- A mom co-signed for her kids' student loans, and now payments are way overdue. Mom's credit score is tanking as result. What are her options? ... (See Co-signer risks)

7 things that WON'T impact your credit score -- Some slip-ups can damage your credit score, but do you know which of your personal and financial attributes have no bearing on that three-digit number? ... (See Credit score)

Maxing out credit card often less harmful with business card than consumer card -- Spending the monthly limit on your business credit card is one way to rack up rewards. It can also hurt your credit score -- though business credit use is reported less often than consumer credit use. ... (See Business credit)

One late pay won't ruin a credit score - and needn't kill a new romance -- If a guy on a date tells you his credit score got ruined by one late payment while he was on vacation, there's probably more to the story ... (See Late paying lover)

How to mend your bad credit rating -- If you have horrible credit, it doesn't mean it's ruined forever. Knowing how you got there and how to make things right can help ... (See Digging out of bad credit)

When a cardholder dies, is the authorized user liable for any balance? -- When a primary account holder for a credit card dies, an authorized user on the card wonders if he is now responsible for the card's balance ... (See Authorized users)

Why good credit matters in a natural disaster -- When Superstorm Sandy hit, the last thing on East Coast residents' minds was their credit score. But having good credit and available credit smooths the bumpy road to recovery ... (See Superstorm Sandy)

Can debt collectors call relatives? Who and when? -- She owes a debt, but has been avoiding the debt collector's calls. So the collector calls her mother and shares private information. Is this legal? ... (See Debt collection)

Consumer watchdog report details credit bureaus' work -- Every wonder what the credit reporting agencies actually do with your credit information before selling it to lenders? You're in luck. The CFPB has issued the first ever comprehensive public report on the big three credit bureaus ... (See CFPB report on credit bureaus)

Credit card lessons for college students -- What started out as an emergency card in college can morph into big, long-term debt if you're not careful. Plan carefully before moving on to another card ... (See College credit)

How to deal with card debt in unemployment -- A single mom is laid off with a son in college and has lots of credit card debt. Will turning to a credit consolidation company help or hurt her dilemma? ... (See Laid off, in debt)

How one determined Kansas couple paid down $120,000 in debt -- Frances Bostick of Manhattan, Kansas, keeps a bag of cut-up credit cards to remind her of her hard-won victory over a $120,000 debt ... (See Shedding debt)

Some credit reports falsely tag consumers as terrorists, drug traffickers -- Credit bureaus are selling lenders special notations on credit reports called OFAC alerts. But some bureaus aren't telling consumers about the alerts -- and aren't allowing them to dispute it ... (See False credit report alerts)

How to rebuild credit after defaulting on several cards -- She defaulted on several credit cards years ago, and was even sued for payment on one of them. Now she wants a new credit card. Will she qualify? ... (See Card default)

Will high credit card balance hurt recent grad's credit score? -- A mom wonders if her college grad daughter's high credit card balance and regular payments will help build a good score or hurt it ... (See Credit scores, high balances)

What happens, what to do after a card data breach -- If your card data has been breached, your vulnerability -- and the right self-defense actions -- can vary widely ... (See Coping with a data breach)

Co-signed loans and your credit history -- A mom co-signed her son's student and car loans. Now that he's employed, she wonders if she can get those loans off her credit reports ... (See Co-signed loans)

6 credit score strategies: Do they work? -- Some people go to extremes to try and improve their credit scores, adopting tactics that can seem, well, a bit unusual. What’s even odder is that a few of them actually work. ... (See Credit scores)

Once you reaffirm an old debt you can be sued -- Debt that has passed the statute of limitations should prevent debt collectors from suing you -- unless you mistakenly reaffirmed that the debt is yours ... (See Re-aging debt)

With a big card debt, can you negotiate before you're late? -- You can try to settle for less than full payment if your credit card bills are current, but it may not work, and don't stop payments to force the issue ... (See Early debt negotiation)

Can multiple card payments raise your credit score? -- If you use your card a lot, making multiple payments in the months reduces your credit utilization, which can help boost your credit score ... (See Multiple payments)

How to successfully sue a debt collector -- The same law that sets boundaries on collectors' behavior gives you the right to sue them when they ignore the rules. Follow these tips from lawyers to help prove that you were wronged ... (See Debt collection)

How does settled debt impact your credit score? -- With four credit cards in collections, she wonders about the impact of paying less than what she owes ... (See Settled credit card debt)

Getting an ex to pay joint card debt after divorce -- Relying on an ex-spouse to pay off a joint account post-divorce can be worrisome, but there are some options to keep your credit score safe in the meantime. ... (See Joint credit card debt)

Credit scores related to where you live -- Where you live can make a big difference in how you use -- or misuse -- credit, but it's more complicated than just your address ... (See Geographic credit score impact)

When to drop a credit card with a monthly fee -- You got the card to rebuild your credit, but it has served its purpose and now its monthly fee is adding up. Do you keep it or cancel it? ... (See Credit card fees)

5 mistakes people make when disputing credit report errors -- Many people get tripped up by a confusing number of pitfalls that sometimes begin before they even submit their first dispute. Here are five of the most common mistakes made when disputing credit report errors ... (See Credit report disputes)

Why opening and closing news card doesn't build credit -- A college student wonders if opening a new card and using it a couple times and then closing the account will help his credit score ... (See Open and shut credit)

Does co-signing a mortgage put house at risk for unpaid credit card debt? -- A disabled mom co-signed for her son's home loan, but now she's being sued for credit card debt. Is her son's house in jeopardy? ... (See Co-signer risks)

Intense Facebook use goes with higher credit card debt -- Those who frequently used Facebook to socialize with close friends tend to have higher debt, lower credit scores, says new research ... (See Facebook use = more debt)

Bankruptcy filings continue to slip in third quarter of 2012 -- Filings are down 14 percent in the first nine months of the year, although experts expect them to resume an upward climb soon ... (See Bankruptcy filings Q3)

Thinking of paying old debt? First, look at your whole financial picture -- From the narrow perspective of your credit report, yes, paying off old debt is always better. But then you won't have that money to buy food or shelter ... (See Debt payoff dilemma)

Q&A with 'The Fine Print' author David Cay Johnston -- The print may be tiny when it dings you for a few cents or tilts the balance of power toward a big company, but the personal and societal consequences aren't ... (See 'Fine Print')

Financial watchdog is now accepting complaints about credit reports -- The financial watchdog is now accepting complaints related to consumers' credit reports -- and demanding answers from the credit bureaus ... (See Credit report complaints )

Disputing errors on credit reports: A broken process -- A federal law is supposed to guarantee that credit report errors get fixed. So why do some people wind up spending months or even years trying to remove legitimate errors that are ruining their credit? ... (See Credit)

Can't get credit after bankruptcy? 3 reasons -- After you emerge from bankruptcy, getting credit can be tricky if you still have certain debts, aren't earning enough or apply with the wrong bank ... (See Credit after bankruptcy)

Authorized card users don't have to pay up -- If you're an authorized user on your ex's credit card, you're not legally liable to the card issuer, but he could file a lawsuit for repayment ... (See Authorized users)

Areas struggling from recession still cautious with credit debt -- According to data from Experian, cardholders' willingness to pull out the plastic is partly determined geography -- specifically, by whether an area has recovered from the recessoin ... (See Credit card debt)

Want a rewards credit card? Clean up your credit score first -- A young man wants a rewards credit card for his new job, but his credit history is sketchy, which may also impact his new career ... (See Rewards cards)

10 surefire steps to get errors off your credit reports -- If you've already spent months, or even years, trying to scrub errors from your credit reports, it may feel like you have no choice but to live with them. However, don't give up too soon. You can get those errors fixed ... (See Tips for clearing credit errors)

If a credit card holder dies in debt, the authorized user is not liable to pay -- Authorized users on a credit card are not liable for the debt left by a deceased cardholder, but get the information off your credit report ASAP ... (See Deceased cardholder)

When automatic credit card bill payments can hurt your credit -- Yes, it's nice not to have worry about late payments when you set up automatic bill pay, but sometimes things can go really wrong if you don't pay attention ... (See Automatic bill payments)

Tips: How to protect yourself from financial abuse, coerced debt -- Knowledge is power if you’re a victim of a partner's financial abuse that has led to debt. These tips from experts can help halt or reverse the abuse ... (See Financial abuse)

What qualifies as a 'good' FICO credit score? -- Even if you screwed up big time just once, you can still have a good credit score. And if you fix the mistake, it can be even better ... (See Good credit score)

How romance can ruin your finances -- Love is free, but sealing the deal may cost you. Know when the pursuit is hurting your bottom line and when it might be better to back off ... (See Love and money)

Zombie debt business booms; consumers at risk -- Do you have a debt from years ago that you never paid? If so, beware: that old account could come lurching back to life when you least expect it ... (See Zombie debt)

Cleaning up your credit score before a house purchase -- Forget the myth that no debt translates to a bad credit score. The fact is the less debt you have, the more a potential mortgage lender will like you ... (See FICO score)

CFPB takes over regulation of major credit reporting agencies -- As of Sept. 30, 2012, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began supervising the biggest credit reporting agencies ... (See CFPB begins overseeing credit bureaus)

Highest credit scores in Wisconsin, study says -- It seems the Midwest stayed strong during the economic downturn, but the credit scores of folks in the South leave something to be desired ... (See Credit scores by area)

How to build good credit with your first credit card -- Whether you are a U.S. national or not, you need to follow the same steps to building good credit by responsible use of your first credit card ... (See First credit card)

Rebuilding a credit score after job loss takes time, patience -- If a job loss has led to debt, you can't fix the past, but you can rebuild your credit score by adding positive, new entries in your credit record ... (See Rebuilding credit)

Drunken shopping: How drinking can pickle your finances -- Buying under the influence, shopping after chardonnay or drunk shopping. No matter what you call it, shopping after sucking back some spirits can do a number on your budget ... (See Drunken shopping)

When does a debt management plan make sense? -- A single mom has racked up big card debt and also plans on going back to school. Would a debt management plan reduce her financial struggles? ... (See Debt management plans)

New U.S. immigrant credit rules of the road -- The U.S. credit system's rules are not easy to grasp for those new to the country, and understanding can be clouded by some common credit reporting myths ... (See New credit)

Rejected for credit? Maybe it's because you're dead -- Rejected for a loan because your credit history was shut down? It could be because the credit bureaus think you're dead ... (See Credit zombies)

What to do when a friendly loan goes unpaid -- Lending money to family and friends is risky, especially if you charge that loan to your credit card. What do you do when the bills go unpaid? ... (See Loans to friends)

How to handle family, friends' requests for money -- There's nothing wrong with wanting to help a loved one in a financial lurch, but not if it will derail your own finances. ... (See Saying no)

8 steps for businesses to get a better commercial credit score -- You may have to rely on personal credit to found a small business, but to wear big business pants, you need to build up your commercial credit score ... (See Commercial credit score)

Debt collectors have to prove the debt is yours -- Not sure that debt is yours? When pursued by collectors, you have the right to ask them to prove that the debt they want paid is truly yours ... (See Debt validation)

Sued for debt, harassed by debt collectors -- A single and unemployed mom was sued for debt she owed two years ago. Now she's being harassed by collectors and wonders how to get them to stop ... (See Debt collection)

Removing yourself from a spouse's credit cards -- Authorized user or joint account holder? Depending on your status, there are different rules for getting your name off a credit card ... (See Joint credit)

When a debt is 'written off' what does that mean? -- When a debt is 'written off,' that's just an accounting term that means one -- and only one -- creditor has given up on it. You can be sure another will follow ... (See Written-off debt)

What is the credit score impact of canceling an unused credit card? -- A reader regrets that he opened a retail card and now wants to cancel it before he activates it. How much will that cancellation hurt his credit score? ... (See Cancel a credit card)

Fair Credit Reporting Act: a guide to your rights -- It's not always easy to get errors corrected on your credit reports. However, don't give up yet: You have a 1970 law on your side that can help ... (See Fair Credit Reporting Act)

Steps to take to clear credit reports of fraudulent card account -- Getting an issuer and the credit bureaus to clear your record of a fraudulent account takes time and patience -- as well as a little know-how ... (See Credit bureau dispute)

2012 Olympic parents' financial struggles -- What do Olympic athletes Gabby Douglas, Ryan Lochte and Lolo Jones all have in common? Parents who are struggling financially ... (See 2012 Olympics)

Financing your small business with credit cards: A capital idea? -- In this economy, small business loans are tough to get, so credit cards may be the solution for keeping operations afloat ... (See Small-business funding)

Credit card management 101 for new college students -- A high school student getting ready for college wants to know exactly how to manage her first credit card without getting into debt ... (See First credit card)

Million Dollar Listing's Josh Altman's reality check -- Reality TV Realtor Josh Altman shares his financial secrets for first-time homebuyers in a ever-changing real estate market ... (See Josh Altman)

5 credit mistakes expatriates can avoid -- Moving abroad? Don't make these common money and credit mistakes as they will make your return to the U.S. a lot less welcome ... (See Expat credit goofs)

Son's credit hurt when mom defaulted on account -- Requesting a credit card for your child to use -- even if they're a minor -- could make them an authorized user whose credit is affected ... (See Authorized user)

Want to leap back in to credit cards? 8 things to look at first -- The same credit card issuers that may have dumped you or slashed your limit may suddenly be finding you more attractive. But how can you know if you should dive back into the relationship? ... (See Go back to your cards)

4 credit card choices for college-bound students -- In addition to a mini fridge and extra-long twin sheets, have you thought about what type of plastic to send with your child to college? ... (See College credit)

How debt management plans impact credit scores -- If your spending and debt are out of control, a visit to your local credit counselor can help -- but will entering into a debt management plan destroy your credit? ... (See Debt management plans)

Debt-free seniors may have a new credit problem: They're 'unscorable' -- With no debt and no credit activity, you may soon become unable to get a credit score, a problem today's senior citizens are starting to encounter ... (See Unscorable seniors)

CreditCards.com survey: Credit card sign-up bonus offers abound, with a hitch -- Card issuers are offering good promotional rates -- and there are still rewards to be had -- but consumers increasingly have to work for them. ... (See Credit card sign-up bonus survey)

Canadian, US credit scoring systems similar - as are ways consumers can improve scores -- While the details differ, credit scoring systems in the neighboring countries are similar -- and so are the ways to boost a score ... (See US, Canadian credit scoring systems)

Bankruptcy's effect on marriage -- A single woman in Florida, whose house is underwater, is considering bankruptcy. She worries how that will affect her chances at marriage ... (See Bankruptcy and marriage)

Best way to establish credit? Why, get a credit card, of course -- What's the best way to swim your way to good credit? You can dog-paddle with a secured card or attempt the butterfly with a strong swimmer as your co-signer ... (See Building a credit history)

Why a spouse may be turned down for joint credit card: Sally Herigstad -- A couple wants to have a joint credit card, but the bank refuses to add the husband to the wife's card. Our expert tells her why ... (See Joint credit)

Though bad debts fall, lawsuits over collection practices rise -- Consumers are paying credit card bills on time more often and filing fewer bankruptcies, so why are lawsuits over debt collection soaring? ... (See Collection lawsuits)

Never trust roommates to pay your bills: Erica Sandberg -- If a bill's in your name and your credit is on the line, trusting someone else to pay it on time in your absence is a mistake that can haunt you for seven years ... (See Roomie credit damage)

Bad credit no longer keeping consumers out of the driver’s seat -- In the market for a new car but worry that your iffy credit score will put the brakes on getting a good deal? Take heart, a new report shows that you might be able to snag those keys after all. ... (See Bad credit car loans)

FICO introduces new, less traditional credit score -- Some consumers may hail Tuesday's release of the new FICO mortgage core powered by CoreLogic as a blessing. Others may see it as an unwanted invasion into their privacy that could make it even harder for them to secure a home loan ... (See Mortgage score)

With six cards already in your wallet, would another one hurt? -- A 25-year-old with six credit cards in her wallet already wants to know if adding yet another card to the mix will help or hurt her credit score ... (See How many credit cards?)

The high cost of rehab: expensive, but attainable -- Not every recovering addict can afford a swank rehab clinic, but everyone who needs help with substance abuse can find an affordable solution ... (See Rehab costs)

Drug-related debt: A debilitating descent into financial ruin -- Substance abuse results in more than health and relationship wreckage: Financial disaster often follows, leading to financial ruin ... (See Debt and substance abuse)

Get a late start on building credit? Steps to boost score, qualify for a mortgage -- At 39 with just one credit card, a reader wants to boost her credit score to qualify for a mortgage in the near future. What are her options? ... (See Late start on credit )

A rapid rescore can fix your credit score in a hurry -- A few credit score points can mean the difference between a good mortgage rate and a lousy one. If errors are dragging down your score, a rapid rescore can help ... (See Rapid rescoring)

Offsetting the impact of a canceled credit card: Sally Herigstad -- When a card issuer surprises you by canceling your card, what steps do you have to take to make sure your credit score won't suffer? ... (See Canceled credit card)

Erica Sandberg: Student loan default squeezes broke mom -- His mom co-signed on his student loan, which went into default and she's now destitute. Our expert sternly outlines what he has to do to fix things ... (See Student loan default)

5 traits that go along with a lower credit score -- Paying your bills on time may help you achieve a high credit score, but studies say there are unexpected traits that correlate to your score as well ... (See Credit score traits)

What VantageScores are, how they work -- FICO scores may get all the attention. But your loan application may be judged through its competitor, VantageScore, which is becoming more widely used ... (See VantageScores 101)

Tanisha Warner: Should a judgment-proof debtor pay card debt anyway? -- An elderly couple with few assets but a Social Security and a military pension probably are untouchable by credit card collectors and the courts ... (See Judgment-proof debtors)

Sally Herigstad: How to fix surprise credit report errors -- You're ready to buy a home, pull your credit reports and find mysterious negative items on them, hurting your chances for the best interest rates. What do you do? ... (See Fix credit report errors)

7 smart money moves to make before you marry -- Getting married is exciting -- but with money as the source of so much marital discord, consider these 7 smart money moves before you say "I do" ... (See Premarital money moves)

Erica Sandberg: Steps to getting that first credit card -- Without a solid credit history of making payments on time, qualifying for a low-interest credit card will be hard. First, you have to take baby steps ... (See First credit card )

6 secrets about joint credit -- While occasionally useful, joint accounts have many unseen downsides you should know about before signing up ... (See 6 secrets about joint credit )

Sally Herigstad: Protect against credit card debt liability when serving as power of attorney -- Her brother stole her elderly mom's credit cards, so she now has power of attorney and canceled the cards. But will doing so damage her credit in any way? ... (See Elderly credit card debt)

Erica Sandberg: Getting debt free means stashing credit cards -- Sure, there are all kinds of credit products out there, but if you're trying to whittle down debt, the best option is to live a plastic-free life for a while ... (See Stash the plastic)

Erica Sandberg: Don't co-sign a loan while in bankruptcy -- If you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the last thing you should consider is co-signing a car loan for anyone, including your partner ... (See Co-signing loans after bankruptcy)

Tanish Warner: Steps to boost credit score when a mortgage is the goal -- Getting a mortgage? Check your credit reports, pay down balances, consider closing cards and sit down with a lender for a review ... (See Mortgage and credit)

Protect credit scores when canceling a credit card -- You'll ding your credit score by canceling a card, especially your oldest, but you can minimize it by boosting the limits on other cards ... (See Cancel a credit card)

Survey: Consumers are getting smarter about credit scores -- Baffled by your credit scores? You're not alone. The majority of consumers still get confused by what actually goes into a credit score, according to a recent survey. However, the number of people who are completely in the dark is on the decline ... (See Credit score survey)

Q&A with Holly McCall, champion of the stay-at-home parent -- Turned down for a Target card because issuers cannot consider household income anymore, McCall got so mad she's campaigning for change ... (See Holly McCall)

Erica Sandberg: Why getting debt help may hurt new credit access -- The reasons that led you into a debt management plan may be the same reasons why credit card issuers keep turning your down for new credit ... (See Credit card rejection)

Sally Herigstad: Should one spouse take full debt responsibility? -- A married couple with joint card debt wants to transfer the balance to a lower rate card. Should the better credit score spouse take on the burden alone? ... (See Joint card debt)

Erica Sandberg: 2 ways to start building a credit history -- You want your first credit card, but no bank will give you one without an established credit history. How do you go about proving you're a good credit risk? ... (See First credit card)

Infographic: Post-recession shifts in credit scores -- Americans' post-recession credit scores have shifted, says FICO, with fewer people clustered at the ends of the scale and more people in the middle ... (See Credit scores)

Erica J. Sandberg: When it's OK to get a second credit card -- You've been faithful to paying on time with your first credit card, but the limit is low. How do you know when it's a good time to get a second credit card? ... (See Getting a second credit card)

Survey: Costs of prepaid cards vary widely -- As more consumers turn to prepaid cards for budgeting and flexibility, our 2012 survey reveals that fees for these cards vary greatly ... (See 2012 prepaid card survey)

Sally Herigstad: Dealing with a spouse's secret credit card debt -- When one spouse repeatedly lies about credit card debt and keeps it a secret, what's the other spouse to do? ... (See Secret credit card debt)

Erica Sandberg: Know where you stand before you apply for new credit -- To know what kind of credit card you can qualify for, you first need to know your credit score and pull your credit reports ... (See Applying for credit)

Is your doctor checking your credit report? -- A growing number of health care providers, including hospitals, surgeons, dentists' offices and fertility clinics, are checking patients' credit. And some consumer advocates are crying foul ... (See Medical credit checks)

Americans want more credit, banks slowly ease credit restrictions -- The Fed's quarterly survey of senior loan officers finds bankers slightly easing credit standards for credit cards and other loans. More Americans are searching for credit, too ... (See Fed survey)

Sally Herigstad: How to get a mortgage with no credit history -- A 27-year-old with no credit history is going to have to jump through extra hoops to qualify for her first mortgage ... (See First mortgage, no credit)

Erica Sandberg: Credit score tips for new U.S. residents -- New to the country? Be aware that there are multiple credit scores, and good credit practices can quickly build a great credit score ... (See Credit score tips)

'Mad Men' money: Credit in the smoking era -- Inspired by the hit TV series, "Mad Men," to revive the three-martini lunch? Some ways of life in the midcentury were definitely healthier than others, including how consumers managed money and credit ... (See Mad Men money and credit)

Erica Sandberg: Rules for using your first credit card -- Your first credit card can be an opportunity to build good credit or create a financial disaster. Follow these guidelines and avoid getting in over your head ... (See First credit card)

How to combat 'financial cyberchondria' -- If your finances are floundering or your credit score is crashing, Twitter and Facebook could be to blame. Turns out reading tweets, Facebook status updates and Google+ posts can create a whole new kind of stress beyond 'is my former high school flame still single?' ... (See Financial cyberchondria)

State by state bankruptcy statistics, 2005-2012 -- Bankruptcy filings for the third quarter of 2012 show the number of filers continuing to decline, after a long series of increases that followed the 2005 bankruptcy law reform ... (See State bankruptcy statistics)

The truth about 7 common credit report myths -- Credit bureau experts detail the most common misconceptions consumers have about their credit reports and clarify them ... (See Credit report myths)

Financial literacy survey shows consumers lack basic money skills -- A new financial literacy survey reveals a "disturbing" lack of knowledge pertaining to personal finance among U.S. adults. ... (See Financial literacy)

States, feds target debt settlement legal firms over upfront fees -- When the Federal Trade Commission banned upfront fees for debt settlement firms, a funny thing happened: More law firms suddenly began offering debt settlement services -- and charging upfront fees ... (See Debt settlement legal firms)

4 ways to survive the Money Hunger Games -- Being a victor when it comes to money and credit management requires skill, maximizing your resources and playing to win ... (See Money Hunger Games)

Sally Herigstad: Defaulted car lease can lead to wage garnishment? -- If you stop paying your car lease, expect to be sued for the balance, and if you don't pay up, wage garnishment might be next ... (See Wage garnishment)

Erica Sandberg: How to build good credit with your first card -- Sure, your first credit card probably came with a low credit limit, but use it wisely and progress slowly to build a strong credit history ... (See First credit card)

Sally Herigstad: Old, unpaid debts can resurface at any time -- You can change your name and move to another state, but old, unpaid debts have a sneaky way of finding you and ruining your credit ... (See Old credit card debt)

Q&A: 'Millionaire Mind' author T. Harv Eker talks money, debt and breaking bad habit -- "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" author shares how your personal money blueprint can either make or break your financial goals ... (See T. Harv Eker)

Erica Sandberg: How to move student loans out of default -- Hollywood is missing out on a blockbuster horror movie: Student loans gone bad. Getting defaulted student loans back on track can drive you mad ... (See Student loans)

Tanisha Warner: What you can do when authorized users go wild with your credit card -- When an authorized user runs up debt or doesn't make payments, the card's primary holder can take a credit hit. But all is not lost ... (See Authorized users)

Sally Herigstad: Reduced payment plans not offered by all credit card issuers -- Need help getting your credit card payments reduced for a while? Be prepared to get different answers from your card issuers ... (See Reduced credit card payment plans)

7 times when it's OK to check someone's credit report -- Is it ever OK to pull someone else's credit file? It depends. If you suspect elderly or minor fraud or even infidelity, you can if you obey the rules ... (See Checking credit reports)

Erica Sandberg: Will banks lend again after your bankruptcy? -- A series of unfortunate events can suddenly lead to bankruptcy, but is the hit to your credit one that marks you for life? ... (See Getting a loan after bankruptcy)

Tanisha Warner: Big purchases can have a real impact on your credit score -- If you make a big purchase that eats up most of your credit limit, your credit can take a hit -- even if you pay it off fairly rapidly ... (See Big purchases and credit scores)

Sally Herigstad: Rebuilding credit doesn't mean going back into debt -- A couple trying to recover from financial disaster want to know the best way to go about building up their lackluster credit scores ... (See Rebuilding credit scores)

Erica Sandberg: What to do when a family member uses your credit card without your permission -- When family members help themselves to your credit cards without your knowledge, you have every right to report that as a theft to the police ... (See Family credit card theft)

6 surprising things that won't hurt your credit score -- Losing your job, paying your taxes late or being locked up in prison won't hurt your credit score, as long as you keep paying on those bills ... (See Credit score myths)

How to prevent ID theft after death -- Identity thieves respect no one -- not even the recently deceased. In fact, a person's identity may be more susceptible to theft in the months following death than when they were living ... (See ID theft after death)

Sally Herigstad: It's never too late to learn how to manage your money -- Whether you're 18 or 50, taking the initiative to find out how to manage your money -- and your debt -- can prove to be fiscally satisfying ... (See Personal finance know-how)

Erica Sandberg: Can you sue an authorized user for nonpayment? -- Protect yourself from authorized users on your credit card charging up a storm on your card and then leaving you with a huge unpaid balance ... (See Authorized users)

Tanisha Warner: How to remove an authorized user from a credit card account -- If you've made a mistake with your credit card and screwed up your own credit, authorized users on that card shouldn't have to take a credit hit, too -- assuming you take action ... (See Authorized users)

Sally Herigstad: How fast can I make a credit score comeback? -- Rebuilding good credit after running up bad debt requires time and patience, but every on-time payment helps the score-healing process ... (See Rebuilding credit)

Pros and cons of paying the IRS with a credit card -- Paying your taxes by credit card is convenient, but the fees will likely outweigh any rewards ... (See Pay taxes)

Erica Sandberg: 6 tips for finding the right debt management plan for you -- Before you enter into a debt management plan, be sure to pick a credit counselor whose style and competence are a good match for you ... (See Debt management plan tips)

Spring clean your finances in 6 steps -- It's not just the rugs and windows that attention. Spring is also the perfect time to organize and refresh your finances. These six steps will help you get started ... (See Spring clean finances)

Tanisha Warner: Can a never-activated card still hurt your credit? -- If you get buyer's remorse after applying for a new credit card, don't panic. Canceling the card before you activate may impact your credit, but not much and not for long ... (See Cancel a card)

Sally Herigstad: Laid off, but still liable for ex-employer's card debt -- An employee opened an AmEx business card in her name for her company, got laid off, and is now being held liable for the debt ... (See Small business debt)

Erica Sandberg: Do debt management plans hurt your credit score? -- With $35,000 in debt, a couple decided to get help by entering into a debt management plan. But they worry how a DMP will impact their credit scores and future purchasing power ... (See Debt management plans)

Sally Herigstad: Don't restart the clock on expired debts -- If a collector attempts to contact you on a debt that has passed the statute of limitations, don't ignore him, but also don't reaffirm the debt ... (See Time-barred debt)

Watchdog agency proposes rules to supervise debt collectors, credit bureaus -- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Thursday announced the first-ever plans to oversee the nation's largest debt collectors and credit reporting bureaus ... (See CFPB oversees credit bureaus, debt collectors)

Cash emergency? Tap life insurance policy instead -- The next time you have a financial emergency, you might want to review the terms of your life insurance policy before whipping out your credit card. ... (See Life insurance vs. credit cards)

Erica Sandberg: First credit card? Follow these best practices -- Managing your first credit card the right way can set the stage for building up great credit. Used wrongly and you may spend years fixing your mistakes ... (See First credit card)

Sally Herigstad: Ex racks up $40,000 on joint credit cards -- After finally becoming debt-free, an ex-wife is dismayed to find her ex has racked up card debt on two old credit cards in her name ... (See Divorce and credit card debt)

Erica Sandberg: You can pay someone else's debt and not be liable for it -- A daughter elects to help her dad with his collection payments, but he wonders if she will then be held responsible for the debt ... (See Paying someone else's debt)

Erica Sandberg: Dad racks up charges on son's credit card -- A father fraudulently opened a credit card in his son's name and charged $5,000. Now he can't pay more than the minimum. What are his son's options? ... (See Credit card fraud)

Sally Herigstad: Joint cards don't dissolve with divorce -- Getting divorced? If you jointly share credit cards, be prepared to cancel those cards and dissipate the debt before things are finalized d ... (See Divorce, credit cards)

How to shape up your finances in 12 months -- The 12 months in a fresh new year give you 12 opportunities to get your credit shaped up and your budgeting under control. Here, experts offer one seasonally relevant idea for each month of 2012 to do exactly that ... (See Shape up your finances)

Sally Herigstad: Do you marry someone who has big debt? -- He may be Prince Charming, but marrying someone who is carrying a lot of debt can put a serious crimp in your ability to plan for the future ... (See Marriage and debt)

Erica Sandberg: How settled card accounts impact your credit report -- Settling a delinquent account for less than you owe may be good for your wallet, but it's not so good for your credit reports and score ... (See Settled accounts, credit reports)

CreditCards.com survey of 2012 balance transfer cards shows offers getting better -- CreditCards.com's annual survey of balance transfer cards show increasingly longer zero percent periods, but with higher balance transfer fees ... (See Balance transfer cards)

Tanisha Warner: Be wary of closing credit cards when applying for mortgage -- Considering closing some credit cards? Our expert says you better think twice about it if you're planning to get a mortgage loan soon ... (See Mortgages and closing credit cards)

Infographic: 1 in 5 say better money management is top 2012 goal -- Handling money better is always one of the top New Year's resolutions, and 2012 is no different, according to a January 2012 poll from Chase ... (See Money management)

Erica Sandberg: Mom's on hook for daughter's card debt -- A daughter uses bankruptcy to delete debt only to discover her mom is responsible for $24,000 on a credit card she co-signed more than 20 years ago ... (See Co-signers and card debt)

Infographic: Medical bill trouble often part of larger money woes, survey says -- Have trouble paying your medical bills? Chances are that other aspects of your finances are suffering, too. That's according to a December 2011 survey from the Center For Studying Health System Change ... (See Medical bill woes)

CreditCards.com survey: Penalty rates creep higher, but become rarer -- In the wake of the Credit CARD Act's restrictions, many card issuers no longer bother with penalty rates. But CreditCards.com research finds for those that retain them, the rate is even higher ... (See Penalty rates)

How to handle money when married, but living apart -- When a couple decides to live in different states, what is the best way for them to handle previously conjoined financial matters? ... (See Money and separation)

Annulment vs. divorce: How it impacts finances -- The Kardashian-Humphries impending annulment raises the question of how assets and debts are handled in this atypical marriage dissolution agreement ... (See Annulments and debt)

Erica Sandberg: One easy step to build a U.S. credit history -- A good salary and U.S. residency doesn't mean you'll be issued a credit card the first time you try. You have to start slow and be patient ... (See Building U.S. credit)

Sally Herigstad: Will bankruptcy stop wage garnishment? -- Before you even think of filing bankruptcy, make sure you've explored all the wage garnishment exclusions that you may qualify for ... (See Wage garnishment)

Erica Sandberg: Don't jeopardize great credit with new credit -- When your credit score is already high, but not high enough, there are ways to boost it without applying for a new credit card ... (See Get a higher credit score)

Tanisha Warner: Not paying your credit card bill after a rate hike won't help -- New columnist Tanisha Warner answers a question from a reader who just had her credit card rate hiked. She's thinking about not paying the bill. Tanisha says: No ... (See Rate hike)

Sally Herigstad: When does a debt get too old to collect? -- Hoping that your debt will get too old to be collectible is a risky proposition, not to mention a bit unethical ... (See Statutes of limitations on card debt)

Erica Sandberg: Trying to escape a high APR via a balance transfer -- Trying to transfer a spouse's high-interest debt to your balance transfer card? Not all issuers will allow that to happen ... (See Balance transfer card)

Kim McGrigg: Old accounts in good standing won't hurt your credit score -- Don't worry about removing old card accounts from your credit report, as long as the cards were in good standing when they were closed ... (See Credit report)

Sally Herigstad: Steps to recover from financial infidelity -- Giving one spouse full financial control can open the door to fraud -- and you won't know about it until the damage is done ... (See Financial fraud)

Study: Impatient people have lower credit scores -- Patience isn't just a virtue, it's worth points on your credit score, says an upcoming research paper that found those who succumb to immediate gratification were likely to have lower scores ... (See Impatience and credit scores)

Erica Sandberg: Choosing the right credit card for a new business -- Our expert outlines common money mistakes new business owners make when starting a new business on credit ... (See First business credit card)

How young is too young for credit? Do you add an infant to your card account? -- In an effort to build a strong credit file for their child, a parent wants to know if adding his newborn as an authorized user to his card is a good first step ... (See Too young for credit)

Credit Card Help: Why your credit report matters more than your credit score -- Focusing only your credit score is like focusing only on your cholesterol number or your age – the number’s important, but not as important as how you got there. That’s why the real key to credit is your credit report ... (See Credit reports versus scores)

Sally Herigstad: Can wages be garnished before court date? -- If you've been served for past-due debt, don't wait until the official court hearing to respond or you may find your wages garnished before you're prepared ... (See Wage garnishment)

Erica Sandberg: Can I go back to college if student loans are in default? -- Unpaid student loans can haunt you for the rest of your life, but shouldn't keep you from pursuing your dreams of finishing college ... (See Unpaid student loans)

Kim McGrigg: Canceling a credit card is OK -- if done wisely -- When your credit improves, it can be tempting to dump your old, bad-credit credit cards in favor of newer cards. But, our expert says, drop too many cards and your credit could pay the price again ... (See Cancel a card)

Sally Herigstad: Who pays secret debt in divorce? -- When a spouse living in a community property state has secret debt that comes to light during a divorce, just who has to pay for it? ... (See Secret debt in divorce)

Erica Sandberg: In marriage, maintain your own credit -- Combining finances can be great, but it's important to maintain at least one credit card in your own name to protect your personal credit rating ... (See Marriage and credit scores)

Jeremy M. Simon: What everyone should know about credit reports and scores -- For my final CreditCards.com column, I've written a letter to readers that summarizes what you really need to know about credit scores and reports. ... (See Credit reports)

Card suspended? Why your credit's been curbed -- Card been declined? Before panicking, know why your card might be in time out, how to bring it back and how it affects your credit ... (See Credit card suspension)

Why closing a credit card can damage your credit -- After the bank hiked the annual fee on his credit card, a reader reacted by closing the account, which lowered his credit score. Our expert explains why that happened ... (See Closing a credit card)

Fed: Consumer credit demand up, even as debt falls -- Consumers may have increased access to credit cards, but they nevertheless continue to cut debt levels, a pair of new Federal Reserve reports show ... (See Consumer credit)

Bust a cheater by checking his (or her) card activity -- Sooner or later, most cheaters get caught, but not all are tripped by lipstick stains on collars, but their fishy charging and spending habits ... (See Credit cards and infidelity)

Sally Herigstad: When bankruptcy makes sense -- With a sick spouse, $20,000 in credit card debt and a small salary, a woman wonders just how she is going to make ends meet.You probably can't, says Sally ... (See When bankruptcy makes sense)

Erica Sandberg: How low can an authorized user go? -- What's wrong with this picture when a reader asks if an authorized user on a credit card wants to open other accounts in the primary card holder's name? ... (See Authorized users)

Jeremy M. Simon: In honor of 100th column, Jeremy M. Simon's 3 favorite credit scoring questions -- For my 100th column addressing reader questions on credit scores and reports, I've taken a look back at some of emails that most surprised, challenged or amused me. ... (See Credit Score Report)

TransUnion asked to stop selling credit reports to employers -- A coalition of consumer advocacy groups has called on credit bureau TransUnion to end the sale of credit reports to employers. ... (See Credit scores and employment)

Erica Sandberg: Have residency, but no credit? -- You may have to jump through a few hurdles, but getting credit when you are a permanent U.S. resident shouldn't be too hard ... (See Establishing credit)

Jeremy M. Simon: Mending a credit score hurt by a student loan default -- A reader who defaulted on a co-signed student loan wonders whether a debt settlement is the best path to rebuilding her high credit score ... (See Student loan default)

Sally Herigstad: Dissolving debt dissipates marital discord -- When too much debt keeps your family down, taking steps to pay it off can open up new doors of opportunity ... (See Debt and family)

Erica Sandberg: 7 questions to ask before you do a balance transfer -- A zero-percent balance transfer card may sound like the perfect solution to your high-interest debt problem, but that's not always the case ... (See Balance transfer credit card)

Jeremy M. Simon: In U.K., unheeded court order can clobber your credit -- A U.K. reader learns that a county court judgment that wasn't repaid within one month can tarnish his credit for years ... (See UK credit)

7 ways to protect your credit rating during unemployment -- Losing your job is bad enough; take these steps to minimize the damage and prevent trouble from iniltrating another part of your financial life ... (See Keeping credit during unemployment)

4 types of money pros: What they are, how to find the right one for you -- Most of the time, a do-it-yourself ethic is all you need to keep your finances in line. But even the smartest amateurs can use some expert advice from time to time ... (See Money professionals)

Erica Sandberg: Is 'unfreezing' a card a good thing? -- After a bank "freezes" your card due to nonpayment and a maxed-out status, will thawing it out help or hurt your credit score? ... (See Card suspension)

Your Wallet Recovery Kit -- Use this free, interactive tool to safely store important credit card and other data you carry with you, so you'll be able to recover quickly from having a wallet lost or stolen ... (See Wallet Recovery Kit)

Jeremy M. Simon: Divorce doesn't dissolve credit card contracts -- A reader who shared a credit card with her ex-husband finds out the existing card contract means divorce isn't enough to get her name taken off that account ... (See Credit cards and divorce)

Busting 7 common credit myths -- These common credit myths can lead to the same financial mess you would have if you were to spend your life savings looking for the Loch Ness monster ... (See 7 common credit myths)

Sally Herigstad: Can debt judgments follow you overseas? -- If you leave the country -- and your debts -- behind, what are the chances that collectors and the law will find you to make you pay up? ... (See Leaving debt in U.S.)

Experian gets personal to teach about credit, but it'll cost you -- Got a question about your credit report? A major credit bureau is now offering consumers the chance to have their questions answered over the phone by a real, live person -- for a price ... (See Experian Credit Educator service)

Erica Sandberg: The pitfalls of shared card accounts -- Our expert clarifies the differences between authorized users, co-signers and joint account holders, along with who shares payment responsibilities ... (See Shared card accounts)

Jeremy M. Simon: Authorized user's bad credit won't hurt primary cardholder -- A reader with bad credit worries that becoming an authorized user on her friend's credit card with lower her friend's credit score. ... (See Authorized users)

Removing yourself from shared card account may be tough -- Want to get your name off one of your credit cards? How easy or hard it is will depend on whether you're a joint account holder or merely an authorized user ... (See Removing yourself from a card)

Sally Herigstad: Protect elderly parent's credit card from others -- Unfortunately, some adult children feel no guilt about using their elderly parents' credit cards and racking up debt in their names ... (See Elderly financial abuse)

Erica Sandberg:Can you build credit by paying off card after every use? -- If you use your plastic for everyday purchases, but pay off the balance the next day, will your credit score rise? ... (See Paying debt quickly)

How your FICO credit score is calculated -- Take a deep dive into the each of the five factors that make up the all-important FICO credit score. These five stories break down what you need to know to send your score soaring ... (See FICO scores in depth)

Jeremy M. Simon: Canceling credit cards may sound wise, but is it? -- A mortgage lender's recommendation that a reader close his unused credit cards may have helped him obtain a mortgage, but it could hurt his credit score -- and his chances with future lenders. ... (See Canceling credit cards)

Kim McGrigg: How late can a payment be before it dings your credit? -- If you're just a few days late with your credit card payment, will it show up on your credit report? Maybe. It depends on your card issuer's policy, says our expert ... (See Late payments)

Sally Herigstad: Bad contractor's collection threats -- When a contractor threatens to sue for unpaid bills on lousy and unfinished work, what are your options? ... (See Contractor complaints)

Study: ID protection tools work, but you'd better comparison shop -- Looking to purchase ID protection services? Rather than go with the products sold by banks and credit bureaus, a recent report suggests consumers may want to choose offerings from less-known, third-party vendors ... (See ID protection)

MCC codes unveil consumer shopping habits -- Merchant Category Codes reveal where you use your plastic and are tracked by your card issuers. Want to keep your purchases secret? Use cash ... (See MCC codes)

How to avoid credit card security overkill -- While protecting your credit and money is important, it’s also possible to go to unnecessary extremes, causing undue stress and hypervigilance ... (See Overprotecting your credit)

Jeremy M. Simon: Don't let bad credit keep you from landing a job -- Although some employers consider job applicants' credit histories when making hiring decisions, bad credit doesn't have to keep you from finding work ... (See Credit scores and jobs)

8 creative ways to build credit card rewards points quickly -- If you’ve had the same card for a few years, happy to be collecting a few hundred points here and there, we have two words for you: Wake up ... (See Rack up rewards points)

Kim McGrigg:Mortgage trumps title when it comes to foreclosures, credit -- Your name may no longer be on the title of your foreclosed house. But, our expert says, if it's still on the mortgage loan, there's still going to be a black mark on your credit ... (See Foreclosures and credit)

Erica Sandberg: 3 steps for early money management -- Setting up financial goals when you're young can set the stage for success if you stick to a budget and set aside money regularly for the things you want ... (See Money management for youths)

Jeremy M. Simon: A late payment doesn't always mean a lower credit score -- If you're just a little late with a payment, your credit score may not take a hit. Just don't make a habit of it ... (See Late payments)

Kim McGrigg: How to prioritize debt payments when your income falls -- It's all too common these days: A down-on-his-luck cardholder struggling to make ends meet confronts more bills than he can pay, and needs help prioritizing them ... (See How to prioritize debt)

Can you get a credit card after bankruptcy? -- While the days of easy credit are over, credit card issuers still have products for bad credit customers to use to rebuild their credit profiles ... (See Credit after bankruptcy)

How your FICO score is calculated: Credit mix -- Want good credit? Responsible use of a single loan can get you there. But if you want a top credit score -- the kind that gets you the best rates, the highest limits and the sweetest deals -- you're going to have a good credit mix ... (See Mix of credit)

Erica Sandberg: In a debt management plan? No new credit for you -- If you have negotiated with lenders through a credit counseling service to pay down your debt, the last thing you want to do is take on new loans ... (See Debt management plans)

Jeremy M. Simon: In credit scoring, a good payment history trumps all -- Don't worry about removing an old delinquent account from your credit report, our expert says. It's more important to have a strong payment history than a long one ... (See Payment history and FICO scores)

5 ways to rebuild credit after bankruptcy -- More than a million people filed for bankruptcy last year, and though it stays on your credit report for years, you can start turning your credit around in as little to 12 to 18 months ... (See Build credit after bankruptcy)

Erica Sandberg: Boost savings with temporary budget cuts -- How do you save thousands over a short period, especially when you have a tendency to overspend? First, see where you stand ... (See Boost savings)

Jeremy M. Simon: No longer want to be an authorized user? Just ask -- It's simple to be removed as an authorized user on a credit card. Just don't expect it to come off your credit report easily ... (See Authorized user)

Kim McGrigg: Your credit card agreement trumps your divorce decree -- Even if your divorce decree says your ex takes responsibility for all your joint debts, it may not matter. That's because your credit card agreement takes precedent over your decree ... (See Debt and divorce)

CreditCards.com Weekly Rate Report, August 24, 2011: Credit card rates jump to near-record levels -- Interest rates on new credit card offers jumped to a near-record high this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

9 steps to take if your credit card data is hacked -- When it comes to protecting customers, all banks are not alike -- but what can you do if your bank's database gets hacked? ... (See Credit card hacked? 9 steps to take)

Erica Sandberg: Set up charging rules on co-signed card -- A financially reformed mom co-signed on a card for her college-bound son, but worries that he may return her to financial ruin ... (See Co-signed credit card)

Kim McGrigg: How to eliminate card debt without hurting your credit -- It's a common question: When you've paid a card off, should you close it? Our expert tells a confused reader what the choice would be for her credit ... (See Debt and credit scores)

Sally Herigstad: How likely is it you'll be sued for unpaid debt? -- The likelihood of being sued for not paying outstanding credit card debt depends on a variety of factors, but take action before that happens ... (See Odds of being sued for debt)

CreditCards.com Weekly Rate Report, August 17, 2011: Credit card APRs unchanged for 3rd straight week -- Interest rates on new credit card offers remained unchanged this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

Erica Sandberg: Weigh all costs when doing a balance transfer -- When thinking about transferring your balance to a lower rate card, you need to do the math and have a plan before you card-hop ... (See How to evaluate a balance transfer)

How your FICO credit score is calculated: New credit -- Taking on too much new credit too quickly can hurt your FICO credit score. However, adding 'new credit' to an old, troubled account may actually help your score. Confused? Welcome to the complex world of the FICO credit score. ... (See New credit and FICO)

Jeremy M. Simon: Beware of interest charged on closed accounts in debt collection -- Collection agencies are allowed to charge you interest on debts in closed credit card accounts -- unless your card contract or state law says otherwise ... (See Interest on debt)

Consumers warily embracing credit cards again, Fed reports show -- Like two old friends trying to rebuild a fractured relationship, banks and credit card users appear to be taking tentative steps toward reconciling, according to a pair of new Federal Reserve reports ... (See Consumers, cards courting again)

CreditCards.com Weekly Rate Report, August 10, 2011: Credit card APRs unchanged in wake of U.S. credit downgrade -- Despite the downgrade of the nation’s credit rating and an announcement from the Federal Reserve, interest rates on new credit card offers stayed the same this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report ... (See Rate report)

How Capital One buying HSBC credit card accounts affects consumers -- Some 27 million U.S. cardholders awoke Wednesday to a new bank when Capital One bought HSBC's card portfolio. Here's what they should expect ... (See Card deal)

Erica Sandberg: Retirement funds off limits for debt repayment -- At 29, a reader proposes dissolving some or all of his 401(k) to pay off $37,000 in debt. Our expert says there are other, much safer, options available ... (See 401(k) debt solution?)

5 credit score secrets of the young and FICO-savvy -- Today's 20-somethings face a stiff lending environment that looks down on short credit histories. Find out how some broke through barriers and build a solid foundation early ... (See Credit score secrets)

Jeremy M. Simon: Unfamiliar names on credit report could signal ID theft -- The presence of unfamiliar names on your credit report could have a simple explanation, such as your use of a nickname or some type of error -- or it could be the result of identity theft ... (See Check your credit report)

Kim McGrigg: Can't pay your debts? Why you should still care about your credit -- As appealing as it may seem to put your fingers in your ears and not worry about debt, there are lots of reasons that's unwise ... (See I can't pay and I don't care)

Sally Herigstad: Will bankruptcy impact an authorized user? -- Without a job and in debt, a wife considers bankruptcy, but asks if her husband is liable for debt on a credit card on which is an authorized user ... (See Authorized user, bankruptcy)

Erica Sandberg: Getting a credit card at age18 presents challenges -- It's not impossible, but qualifying for an unsecured credit card at the age of 18 presents unique challenges ... (See Qualifying for credit at age 18)

Jeremy M. Simon: Can you remove a bankruptcy from your credit report? -- If you do a strategic bankruptcy filing -- but the move is never completed -- you may be able to have any mention of it removed from your credit report, but it won't be easy ... (See Bankruptcy)

Kim McGrigg: Are you liable for your late spouse's card debt? -- The death of a spouse can bring with it many financial questions, including whether you are liable for paying his or her debts. The answer, sadly, isn't so simple ... (See Debt and death)

Kim McGrigg: Don't worry if resold loan appears twice on credit report -- The same loan may appear multiple times on your credit report -- once with the original lender and again with the collector -- but it only impacts your credit once ... (See Credit report)

New medical FICO score sparks controversy, questions -- Within the next 12 months, like it or not, about 10 million Americans are expected to be scored -- much like a credit score -- on how likely they are to fill a prescription and take all the pills, on schedule ... (See Medical score)

Erica Sandberg: New resident's quest for U.S. plastic -- Having lived in the U.S. for two years now, a reader wants to know how to go about picking -- and getting approved for -- a new credit card ... (See New U.S. credit)

Jeremy M. Simon: Credit report history seem too short? Contact your issuer -- Credit history can be a tricky thing, especially if you're not the primary person on a credit card account. But if you're ever unclear, don't hesitate to call the issuer, our expert says ... (See Authorized users' credit history)

Infographic: What most consumers know about credit scores -- The average American isn't exactly a credit scoring expert, but there are some basic elements of credit scoring that most Americans do know, according to a survey by the Consumer Federation of America ... (See Credit score)

10 financing options for cosmetic surgery -- Tummy tucks, facelifts and nose jobs don't come cheap and are rarely covered by insurance. So just how do you come up with the cash to get the look of your dreams? ... (See Paying for plastic surgery)

Erica Sandberg: Getting your foot in the credit door -- Young, educated and debt-free, a reader keeps getting turned down for a credit card and wants to know how to get her credit started ... (See How to get your first credit card)

15-minute fixes for your credit score -- Spending just 15 minutes on these expert tips can give your credit score anywhere from a small bump to a major boost ... (See Quick credit fixes)

Jeremy M. Simon: Why closing your oldest credit card may be a bad idea -- Considering closing an old card and getting a newer, cheaper one? You may be doing yourself -- and your credit score -- a disservice ... (See Closing a credit card)

Report highlights consumer confusion about credit scores -- In a report released Tuesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau protection agency acknowledged that consumers have good reason to feel confused about their credit scores. ... (See Credit report confusion)

Sally Herigstad: Duped by son, mom stuck with $20,000 debt -- What is a 76-year-old woman to do when she co-signs on credit cards and a car loan for her adult son and then he files for bankruptcy? ... (See Co-signing dangers)

State by state bankruptcy statistics, 2005-2011 -- Bankruptcies reversed course and fell in 2011, but it's not just due to debt aversion. We may just be running out of people who benefit from filing ... (See State bankruptcy statistics)

Erica Sandberg: The path to good credit after college -- Follow these four lessons on how to build a great credit profile after you graduate from college ... (See Path to good credit)

Jeremy M. Simon: Will unpaid restitution slam ex-con's credit? -- A reader is concerned that his nephew -- who was recently released from prison -- can't make restitution payments, which could end up damaging the nephew's credit history ... (See Prison and credit)

Length of credit history: What it means to your score -- The best credit scores are aged, like fine wine, and without at least some length of credit history, you won't have a score at all ... (See FICO score)

My credit, myself: Young adults using credit to boost self-esteem -- In an uncertain world, recent research shows that for some 20-somethings, it just takes a quick swipe of a credit card to feel like they’ve got everything under control ... (See Credit and self-esteem)

New Fed, FTC rules mean more free credit scores for consumers -- Final rules issued by the Federal Reserve and Federal Trade Commission mean more credit applicants will be receiving free credit scores starting later this month. ... (See Free credit scores)

Airline, hotel credit cards offering sign-up bonus for adding authorized users -- Adding an authorized user can put you over the top for that free flight, but experts advise caution -- it dings your credit and exposes you to financial risk ... (See Authorized user)

Erica Sandberg :How do banks determine a credit card's credit limit? -- When banks issue you a credit card, how do they figure out how much credit to give you? Part of it is secret, the other part not so much ... (See Credit limits)

Jeremy M. Simon: Frequent car rentals with debit card shouldn't clobber credit -- Renting a car with a debit card may result in a credit check that lowers your credit score. But industry experts say borrowing cars from the same rental agency more than once a month shouldn't increase the damage ... (See Renting a car with debit card)

Kim McGrigg: Declared bankruptcy? You can still be an authorized user -- A reader wonders if he can still be listed as an authorized user on his wife's credit card account if he declares bankruptcy ... (See Credit after bankruptcy)

Sally Herigstad: It's a bad idea to pay one credit card and stop paying the others -- A reader wonders what would happen if she tried to pay off one credit card bill first and not pay on the others. Our expert says she'll only make matters much worse ... (See Stop paying cards)

Erica Sandberg: Will student's credit suffer if mom doesn't pay school loans? -- A mom wants to know if if her son's credit will be in jeopardy if she cannot make the payments on a Parent PLUS college loan ... (See Student loans)

How FICO scores work: Credit utilization -- If you want to earn a good credit score, you'll need to pay attention to your amounts owed. This credit utilization ratio goes by many names, and it's the second-most important factor used to calculate a borrower's FICO score ... (See Credit utilization )

Jeremy M. Simon: Want accurate, negative info off your credit report? Good luck -- A reader wonders if she could request that she could have some negative information removed from her credit report. Not likely, if the data is accurate. ... (See Credit report)

6 college money myths -- Some prevalent college money myths involving credit can do damage that can dog young people well after they collect their sheepskins ... (See College money myths)

Government ramps up effort to educate parents about kids' ID theft -- A recent study shined a light on the growing problem of child ID theft. Now, the government is stepping up its efforts to educate parents on preventing the crimes and resolving the damage already done ... (See Child ID theft)

Erica Sandberg: Beware of debt relief phone call promises -- A woman wonders if those debt relief phone callers can help cut her $20,000 in credit card debt in half ... (See Debt settlement)

How your FICO credit score is calculated: Payment history -- In the calculation of your FICO credit score, no factor is more important than your payment history. That history's comprised of many complex components, but ultimately, it comes down to paying your bills on time, every time ... (See Credit score payment history)

Where to get alternative, specialty free credit reports -- Specialty credit bureaus collect consumer data on such things as rental history, insurance claims and checking accounts, and they're required to provide consumers a free report annually ... (See Specialty credit reports)

Erica Sandberg: Payment options for high-interest credit card debt -- Asking a credit card company to lower the interest rate on your debt can produce a variety of answers -- most of which you will not like ... (See High-interest card debt)

Jeremy M. Simon: No Social Security number, no credit reporting? -- A woman made her son an authorized user on a card, but didn't provide his Social Security number and wonders if the card will still appear on his credit report ... (See Credit scores)

Kim McGrigg: How to revive your credit score after foreclosure -- A reader who recently suffered a foreclosure wonders how she can raise her FICO score and how long she'll have to wait to get her next mortgage ... (See Credit after foreclosure)

5 money 'rules' meant to be broken -- You've heard all the financial truisms, and while many have a kernel of truth, some axioms should get the ax ... (See 5 money rules to break)

Sally Herigstad: How many times can creditors buy old debts? -- Negative credit information should fall off your credit report after seven years, but sometimes collectors disregard the rules ... (See Get rid of old debt)

Erica Sandberg: Steps to make good on a defaulted student loan -- A reader wants to make good on a defaulted student loan and wonders how to go about "rehabilitating" it ... (See Student loans)

7 big post-divorce money mistakes -- Breaking up is not only hard to do, it can be brutal on your finances -- especially if you commit one of these big financial goof ups ... (See Divorce and money)

Jeremy M. Simon: Canceling a card with a balance doesn't have to hurt -- A reader asks how much credit score damage she can expect after closing a credit card that still has an outstanding balance ... (See Cancel credit card)

Kim McGrigg: To raise credit score, pay delinquent debt? Or declare bankruptcy? -- A reader so deep in debt she's weighing bankruptcy wonders how to get good credit in a year. Years plural, says our expert. ... (See Bankruptcy)

Credit card application rejected? 3 steps to getting next one approved -- Rejected for a new credit card? Take these steps to make sure that the next time you apply for new plastic you are approved ... (See Credit rejection)

Erica Sandberg: Daughter's credit at risk when mom defaults -- A mom defaulted on three credit cards where her minor child was an authorized user. She wonders if her daughter's credit is in jeopardy ... (See Piggybacking)

Jeremy M. Simon: Who's to blame for mom's falling FICO? -- A mother thinks her falling FICO score may be the fault of her financially troubled daughter. But a look at the mom's credit reports will confirm who's really to blame. ... (See Credit score)

Want a secured card? Experts offer advice on managing secured card accounts -- Secured cards have higher rates and fees, but their terms vary, so it pays to comparison shop and ask questions ... (See Secured credit cards)

Navy FCU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Navy FCUsecured credit card, according to the CreditCards.com/Bankrate.com annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Navy FCU secured credit card fees)

Redstone FCU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Redstone FCU secured credit card, according to the CreditCards.com/Bankrate.com annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Redstone FCU secured credit card fees)

San Diego FCU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the San Diego FCU secured credit card, according to the CreditCards.com/Bankrate.com annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See San Diego FCU secured credit card fees)

Suncoast Schools FCU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Suncoast Schools FCU secured credit card, according to the CreditCards.com/Bankrate.com annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Suncoast Schools FCU secured credit card fees)

The Golden 1 CU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the The Golden 1 CU secured credit card, according to the CreditCards.com/Bankrate.com annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See The Golden 1 CU secured credit card fees)

US Bank secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the US Bank secured credit card, according to the CreditCards.com/Bankrate.com annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See US Bank secured credit card fees)

Wells Fargo secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Wells Fargo secured credit card, according to the CreditCards.com/Bankrate.com annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Wells Fargo secured credit card fees)

Citibank secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Citibank secured credit card, according to the CreditCards.com/Bankrate.com annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Citibank secured credit card fee schedule)

Capital One secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Capital One secured credit card, according to the CreditCards.com/Bankrate.com annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Capital One secured credit card fees)

Digital FCU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Digital FCU secured credit card, according to the CreditCards.com/Bankrate.com annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Digital FCU secured credit card fees)

Fifth Third Bank secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the Fifth Third Bank secured credit card, according to the CreditCards.com/Bankrate.com annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See Fifth Third Bank secured credit card fees)

GTE FCU secured credit card fee schedule -- Here's the 2011 fee schedule for the GTE FCU secured credit card, according to the CreditCards.com/Bankrate.com annual Credit Card Fee Survey ... (See GTE FCU secured credit card fees)

QA with Adam Baker of Man Vs. Debt -- Blogger Adam Baker shares his journey from a traditional, credit card-driven lifestyle to one where he and his wife owe no one ... (See Adam Baker)

Erica Sandberg: Rejected: How your credit history impacts card approvals -- A student is rejected for a new credit due to a limited credit history and wonders what he can do to boost his credit scores further ... (See Credit history)

Jeremy M. Simon: How to shrink debt-to-income ratio while on Social Security -- A reader on Social Security wants to improve her debt-to-income ratio in order to qualify for a home loan. Can it be done? ... (See Debt-to-income ratio)

Erica Sandberg: Digging out of the depths of divorce debt -- It's not uncommon to be saddled with debt post-divorce. But when you're too depressed to deal with it, asking for help is your first priority ... (See Divorce and debt)

Jeremy M. Simon: Lost a court case? Your credit score could take a hit -- A reader facing a lawsuit after a car accident needs to protect herself from the credit score impact from any resulting judgment against her ... (See Lawsuits and credit scores)

Erica Sandberg: Are credit protection plans worth the cost? -- In all her years working with people with credit problems, our expert has never heard someone exclaim, 'My credit protection plan was a lifesaver!' ... (See Credit protection plans)

Jeremy M. Simon: Settling delinquent debt won't remove it from your credit report -- A reader wants to get old delinquent debt off his credit report. Our expert says that unless the debt isn't really his, he's out of luck and debt will stay there for seven years ... (See Delinquent debts)

Credit card limits jump for 1st time since 2008, Fed says -- For the first time since the economic crisis began, consumer credit card limits are increasing, according to new data from the Federal Reserve. ... (See Credit card limits)

7 lasting money lessons from mom -- She taught you to tie your shoes, and may also have left you with some lasting tips on the right and wrong ways to use money and credit ... (See Money lessons from mom)

Jeremy M. Simon: Scheming to ruin an ex's credit score isn't wise -- A woman with lousy credit wants to ruin her ex-boyfriend's good credit by adding him as an authorized user on her card account. But should she reconsider her plan? ... (See Piggybacking scheme)

Fed says credit cards easier to get, but does anyone want one? -- Banks were more willing to approve credit card applications in the first three months of 2011, according to a new survey from the Federal Reserve, but it was less than clear whether consumers really want them. ... (See Credit card lending)

VantageScore turns 5: What it is, and why it matters -- It's been five years since VantageScore was launched as a more consumer-friendly alternative to the dominant FICO credit score, but has it really made a difference? It depends on who you ask ... (See VantageScore)

FICO reveals credit score damage from paying mortgage late and foreclosure -- Data shared by credit scoring giant FICO shows the point damage -- and length of recovery time -- that can follow several types of mortgage payment mishaps ... (See Mortgages and credit scores)

Jeremy M. Simon: Want a new card? Focus on the 3 keys to building good credit -- A reader wants to improve his chances of getting approved for a new credit card. But is closing older accounts and leaving balances unpaid the right approach? ... (See Good credit)

6 myths about credit report checks by employers -- Are employers truly weeding out applicants by checking potential employee credit reports? The reality may surprise you ... (See Employee credit checks )

Kim McGrigg: Debt on his late mother's credit card haunts son -- He was only an authorized user on his late mother's card, but a mistake lays his mother's charged-off debt at his feet, hurting his credit score ... (See Authorized user)

Bankruptcy filings fall in first quarter of 2011 -- The economy has improved and tight credit means there's less debt to file over, but it's not clear that the decline in bankruptcy will last ... (See Bankruptcy filings)

Jeremy M. Simon: Credit card bill lost in the mail? You still have to pay it -- A postal service mistake doesn't relieve you of the duty to pay your bills, but those who pay faithfully can often catch a break -- before the goof damages their credit scores ... (See Bill lost in the mail)

Sally Herigstad: Why co-signing on a card for an ex is a mistake -- An elderly divorcee co-signed on a credit card to help her ex-husband. Then he died, leaving her to deal with the collection calls and debt ... (See Credit card co-signing)

5 entrepreneurs whose credit cards funded their dreams -- Yes, most experts say don't do it, but these five people used their credit cards to start their businesses. Find out how if they would have done things differently ... (See Small business funding)

Jeremy M. Simon: Experian aims to make credit reports more readable -- A reader asks about some language he hadn't seen on his credit report before. Our expert says it's part of a tweak that one major credit bureau recently finished ... (See Experian credit report)

Sally Herigstad: Don't settle on a debt for more than you can pay -- When a debt goes into collections, don't agree to a payment plan that you can't realistically pay each month. Explore your budget and your options first ... (See Debt collection)

7 free ways to reduce the stress caused by money, finances -- If you want to solve those money problems, you need a clear mind, healthy body, experts say. Here are simple ways to get them back ... (See Money stress)

Erica Sandberg: How new U.S. residents can build a credit history -- A new U.S. resident wants to build good credit but is baffled by the credit scoring system. Our expert shows him how to get started on the road to great credit ... (See Building credit)

Jeremy M. Simon: Credit check by car rental firm won't hurt score for long -- Car rental agencies may run a credit check when you rent a vehicle with a debit card, but don't worry: It won't do much damage to your credit score ... (See Debit rental credit check)

8 credit card strategies of frequent flier mile pros -- These travel junkies earn hundreds of thousands of miles without ever entering an airport. Use their credit card techniques to reap your own free flights ... (See Flier tips)

Jeremy M. Simon: What to expect when you're made an authorized user on a credit card -- A mother wonders whether making her teenage son an authorized user on her credit card will help pass on her good credit score to her teen ... (See Authorized users)

Fed survey: Recession robbed net worth of 6 in 10 American families -- A Federal Reserve survey puts numbers to what we already know: The 2007-2009 Great Recession took a horrible toll on most families ... (See Recession robbed net worth)

Jeremy M. Simon: What to do with an inaccurate address on a credit report -- A reader whose credit reports list addresses associated with her ex-husband shouldn't worry, but she should take action. Our expert lays out what she should do ... (See Credit report)

10 credit commandments for young professionals -- The money habits you form in your 20s can set you up for financial success -- or failure. Be savvy with your cash early and reap the rewards later ... (See New to credit)

Sally Herigstad: Protecting your credit during a divorce -- When faced with divorce, it's important to seek the advice of an attorney before agreeing to leave your home or trying to pay off joint debt ... (See Divorce and debt)

6 financial mistakes to avoid in divorce -- If you're not careful, a divorce can wreck your credit and your financial future. Protect yourself against these common financial mistakes ... (See Money and divorce)

Are you suffering from a money disorder? Maybe it's time to consider financial therapy? -- Do you overspend, blow your budget, obsess over your cash (or lack of it?). Then a new breed of expert -- financial therapists -- are ready to help ... (See Financial therapy)

Erica Sandberg: Mom ruined your credit? 7 steps to recover it -- A young man is starting his career with bad credit, thanks to his mom stealing his identity years before. Our expert outlines how he can get his credit back on track ... (See Recover from ID theft)

Jeremy M. Simon: Don't fear credit score drop when applying for new card -- Applying for a new card may trim a few points from your credit score, but it shouldn't last -- as long as you use the new card wisely ... (See Credit score drop)

10 ways to spring clean your finances -- It's the season of invigoration again, a time to ditch dusty financial items and habits and start fresh with just what you need to succeed ... (See Financial spring cleaning)

Todd Ossenfort: The Credit Guy's top 5 money tips -- After writing his column for the past three years, columnist Todd Ossenfort leaves his readers with these top five financial lessons ... (See Top 5 money lessons)

Jeremy M. Simon: Angry about the credit scoring system? Here's who to complain to -- Consumers with complaints about the U.S. credit scoring system -- and there are many -- will soon be getting a powerful new ally in the form of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Just don't expect a miracle overnight ... (See Credit scoring system)

How to react to these 7 cringe-worthy credit moments -- Your card's been declined, an employer wants to run your credit report and your landlord laughs when he runs your credit. How to handle these embarrassing situations with aplomb ... (See Cringe-worthy credit moments)

Jeremy M. Simon: Requesting a teen's credit report isn't child's play -- A mom looking to get a copy of her teenage son's credit report finds that the process can be quite a challenge ... (See Obtaining a teenager's credit report)

Consumers lack basic credit score knowledge, survey shows -- According to a new survey from VantageScore and the Consumer Federation of America, two of every three Americans believe -- incorrectly -- that a consumer's age is a factor used in calculating a credit score. But that's not the only misconception. ... (See Credit score)

7 building blocks of good credit -- Want a good credit score? Know these seven basic moves and you're guaranteed to have one ... (See Good credit score)

Todd Ossenfort: Neglecting one credit card bill can ruin your credit -- A reader has four credit cards, but only wants to pay on three of them. He wonders what will happen if he follows through ... (See Not paying credit card bills)

Sally Herigstad: Bankruptcy can steal inheritance, even if it hasn't yet been received -- A reader wants to file for bankruptcy, but worries the judge will tap her deceased father's lawsuit settlements bequeathed to her to pay off her debts ... (See Bankruptcy and inheritance)

6 questions to pop before you open a joint credit account with your sweetie -- A joint credit card for an unmarried couple is only for those who know their love will last ... (See Joint credit card)

Debt collectors seek right to 'robocall' cell phones -- The next debt collection battleground is your cell phone. Debt collectors say autodialing debtors is good for consumers, but the move may add to its image as a pest ... (See Debt-collection robo-calls)

Jeremy M. Simon: Rent-to-own home payments unlikely to aid credit score -- A wife looking to improve her and her husband's credit scores shouldn't rely only on the rent-to-own payments for her new house ... (See Rent-to-own and credit)

How your girlfriends can ruin your credit -- Advice from gal pals is a good thing, but maybe not so much if they encourage you to spend yourself into debt ... (See Friends and your credit)

Help! The bank keeps cutting my card's credit limit -- A cardholder who racked up a large amount of debt wants to know why the bank keeps lowering his credit limit ... (See Credit limits)

QA with bankruptcy lawyer Ted Connolly, author of 'Road Out of Debt' -- Just how bad should debt be before bankruptcy makes sense? What can you do to avoid it? We asked finance and bankruptcy attorney Theodore W. Connolly, author of "The Road Out of Debt: Bankruptcy and Other Solutions to Your Financial Problems." ... (See "Road Out Of Debt")

Todd Ossenfort: Be vigilant if you suspect ID theft -- A reader questions whether he should be concerned about a credit card offer sent to his home, but directed to a distant family relative ... (See Identity theft)

When you marry Mr. Debt, be prepared to pay -- Exchanging vows with a debt-laden spouse doesn't make his debts yours, but it puts your relationship on high alert from the get go ... (See Marrying into debt)

8 creative ways to stay debt-free -- After months or years of paying down your debt, keeping yourself away from temptation can become difficult. Experts offer creative solutions to stay on track. ... (See Stay debt-free)

Jeremy M. Simon: How loan applications hurt your credit score -- When applying for a loan, be prepared for a small ding to your credit score as lenders check your creditworthiness ... (See Hard inquiry)

Sally Herigstad: Retiring mom stuck with daughter's college debt -- A 60-year-old mom wants to retire this spring, but wonders if she can afford to as she co-signed on her daughter's unpaid student loan debt ... (See Co-signed student debt)

Erica Sandberg: Spouse won't stop spending? Get a 'financial divorce' -- If a spouse repeatedly overspends, do what you can to rein in the bad spending habits -- but also protect your credit by separating yourself financially ... (See Financial divorce)

How your age affects your credit -- Whatever the stage of your financial life, see how these age-specific credit tips can help you manage your money ... (See Your age and your credit)

Jeremy M. Simon: Business card debt may hurt credit, even after the company is sold -- A former business owner wonders whether his old company's unpaid debt could show up on his personal credit report ... (See Business credit cards)

Sally Herigstad: Put off marriage until after bankruptcy -- A reader wants to get married and then file for bankruptcy. Our expert warns her of starting off a marriage on such uneven financial footing ... (See Marriage and bankruptcy)

5 tools for rebuilding your post-recession credit -- A number of credit issuers are stepping up offers to consumers working to regain their financial footing, after months of keeping their coffers closed ... (See Rebuilding your credit)

Erica Sandberg: The pros and cons of debt management plans -- A reader says he regrets entering into a debt management plan because of its impact on his credit. Our expert says his old, free-spending ways, not the plan, caused the damage ... (See Debt management plan)

Jeremy M. Simon: Apartment security deposit dispute stains renter's credit report -- A renter learns that removing apartment damage fees from his credit report will require a solid case and good negotiating skills. ... (See Credit report damage)

Credit card balance transfers: How to find the best deals -- Those 0 percent credit card balance transfer offer dwindled during the recession. Now, they're making a comeback -- but you have to watch for the fees and fine print ... (See Find the best deals on credit card balance transfers)

Sally Herigstad: Laid off: Which bills HAVE to be paid? -- You saved for a rainy day and it's raining. After being laid off, a reader watches her emergency funds dwindle and wonders which bills she can stop paying ... (See Laid off, in debt)

Erica Sandberg: How to handle unethical debt collectors -- Our expert tells a reader that he has some recourse against the debt collector that is using some questionable tactics in pursuit of his defaulted student loan ... (See Debt collectors)

Jeremy M. Simon: How late is too late for a credit card payment? -- A one-day late payment shouldn't appear on a borrower's credit report, but the bank may not be so forgiving of future delinquencies ... (See Late payment)

You are not your credit score: Credit and self-esteem -- A low credit score can be a devastating blow to a person's self-esteem, but by changing your focus and taking small steps to distance yourself from your score, you can minimize the impact of those three digits on your psyche ... (See Credit and self-esteem)

Sally Herigstad: Basic rules for business card usage -- A reader who started her own company questions advice recommending that she use her business credit card for both personal and business charges ... (See Business credit card)

Personal bankruptcies rose 8 percent in 2010 -- Housing bubble states led the pack in bankruptcies, with California and Florida having the most people file. Hawaii had the largest percentage increase and Nevada the most per capita ... (See 2010 bankruptcies)

Erica Sandberg: What authorized users can and can't do with your credit card -- Our expert reminds a reader that authorized users on a credit card account can't successfully request an increase to that card's credit limit. And, she says, that's a good thing ... (See Credit card authorized user)

Jeremy M. Simon: Will an unwanted card hurt your credit? -- A reader seeking an "exclusive" Chase credit card doesn't want his score to be affected by closing an unwanted version of the card ... (See Closing card accounts)

Todd Ossenfort: The right way to build good credit over time -- If you use credit wisely and build a solid credit history when you're young, you can save yourself a lot of pain and misery down the road ... (See Building credit)

The Magnificent 7: Where state laws get you extra free credit reports -- Everyone loves a freebie, so residents of seven states may be happy to know that state law grants them a free extra copy of their credit report every 12 months. ... (See Extra free credit report)

Sally Herigstad: Foreclosure's impact on married couples -- When a mortgage is in one spouse's name, if you choose to foreclosure, the impact to the other spouse's credit can depend on whether you live in a community property state ... (See Credit and foreclosure)

Dan DeFelippi: Secrets of a former credit card thief -- What would a real credit card thief tell you if he had the chance? Dan DeFelippi, convicted of card fraud, says you can't be too careful ... (See Credit card theft)

Issuers may freeze, seize your bank account if you pay late on credit card -- Can you have your bank accounts frozen and money taken from them by an issuer if you don't pay your credit card bills on time? Depends on where you live ... (See Freeze, seize bank accounts)

Jeremy M. Simon: Unused, old cards can help your credit score -- A reader worries -- unnecessarily -- that an old credit card from his college days could be hurting his credit. ... (See Unused credit cards)

Free credit scores become more available to borrowers -- On Jan. 1, 2011, federal law changed, broadening access to credit scores for consumers who have been turned down for a loan or get one at less-desirable terms ... (See More free credit scores)

Sally Herigstad: Best ways to spend a $25,000 windfall -- A reader inherited $25,000 and has myriad debts to pay, but can't figure out how to divvy up the money among all her creditors ... (See Windfalls and debts)

Erica Sandberg: Her best money advice of 2010: Excesses of youth -- Letters from a pair of ethically challenged youths gave our 'Opening Credits' columnist her two favorite questions of 2010 ... (See Money advice questions)

Todd Ossenfort: Getting out of high-interest credit card debt -- A disabled wife's $14,000 high-interest card debt is crippling her husband's ability to continue to pay the minimum amount due ... (See High-rate card debt)

Sally Herigstad: Will bankruptcy filing hurt ex-spouse? -- A divorced woman is ready to file for bankruptcy in a community property state, but is worried that her ex-husband may be pursued for her unpaid debts ... (See Bankruptcy and divorce)

Erica Sandberg: 'Hard' vs. 'soft' credit pulls - The type of inquiry can affect your score -- How your credit record is pulled will affect your credit score: One type of inquiry is harmless, the other will cost you points ... (See Hard vs. soft credit pulls)

Jeremy M. Simon: Running up credit card debt, declaring bankruptcy a bad idea -- A reader's plan to max out his credit cards before declaring bankruptcy has some serious problems, our expert says. ... (See Bankruptcy fraud)

Discover test credit card offers draw criticism -- The test offers Discover made skirt the edges of federal regulations requiring complete disclosure of terms, say consumer advocates ... (See Discover)

Todd Ossenfort: Get a better credit score by mixing up types of credit -- It takes more than paying off one credit card every month to obtain an above-average credit score. You need to show that you can handle different types of credit ... (See Boost credit score)

Sally Herigstad: Avoid sharing credit with elderly parents -- A reader, whose elderly mom can't get credit in her own name, wonders if it's OK to add mom as an authorized user on her credit card ... (See Authorized user)

Even if first credit card's terms aren't the best, think before canceling -- Your first credit card sets up your future credit choices, so use it wisely and weigh the impact of canceling it ... (See First credit card)

QA with personal finance author Farnoosh Torabi -- Is true wealth really only in your head? Can you banish debt and live prosperously just by changing your beliefs? Cue national personal finance authority Farnoosh Torabi ... (See Farnoosh Torabi)

Erica Sandberg: How to shop for the best rewards credit card for you -- A flustered reader seeks advice on finding a great deal on a new rewards credit card. Our expert walks her through what to do. ... (See Best rewards credit card)

Stolen: True tales of identity theft -- Identity theft happens when you least expect it -- and often committed by the people you least suspect. Read how victims worked to restore their good names and credit. ... (See Identity theft)

Jeremy M. Simon: No quick fixes for removing late payment from credit report -- A loan applicant wants to know how he can delete a late payment from his credit report in an effort to boost his credit score. ... (See Late payment)

Sometimes bankruptcy is the ONLY way out -- If you've been out of work for a long time and sold everything you own to get by, paying your creditors and worrying about your credit rating takes a back seat ... (See Bankruptcy)

What if Santa charged Christmas? -- If he did charge Christmas, just how much would Santa spend -- and pay back with interest? And what interest rate, minimum payment or rewards might Santa expect to see on his credit card statement? ... (See Santa's credit card)

Sally Herigstad: Pay off balances or close accounts to boost credit score? -- A reader wants to know if closing card accounts or paying down her balances will improve her credit score ... (See Credit score)

7 ways credit card debt can be hazardous to your health -- Credit card debt won't just wreck your financial health. It can take a real toll on your body, too, says our expert, who has seen it happen many times ... (See Debt stress)

Jeremy M. Simon: Relocating overseas can cause major credit headaches -- After returning to India, a cardholder wants to maintain his credit history in the States with some new U.S. plastic ... (See U.S. credit history)

Unemployed? You can get an extra free credit report -- Federal law guarantees unemployed U.S. workers the right to an extra free credit report to assist in their job search. The problem? Nobody seems to be telling out-of-work consumers ... (See Unemployed credit report)

Todd Ossenfort: When does debt get too old to collect? -- Each state has a statute of limitations on credit card debt, which prevents collectors from taking you to court after a certain period of time ... (See Statute of limitations)

Sally Herigstad: You can run from debt, but you can't hide -- A woman who left an abusive relationship also left her debts behind. Our expert asks her to face the music as she can't hide forever ... (See Leaving debt behind)

Erica Sandberg: Unsure what to save for first? Follow these top 5 savings priorities -- A college student with a young child wants to get her financial life in order. Our expert tells her that one of the keys to success is getting her priorities straight when it comes to money ... (See Savings priorities)

Procrastination is key to a credit card and financial disaster -- Putting off paying bills or failing to clean up your credit report can ruin your finances when all you need is a little attitude readjustment. Here's how ... (See Financial procrastination)

Jeremy M. Simon: Is a widow responsible for late husband's debt? It depends -- A widow living in Minnesota wonders whether her credit report should reflect her deceased husband's charged-off credit card account. ... (See Debt and death)

Todd Ossenfort: Disputing, removing joint-account holder causes headaches -- Whether you're an authorized user or a joint account holder, mistakes and confusion may reign when trying to sever a credit relationship ... (See Shared credit accounts)

Sally Herigstad: Retired, deep in debt. Is bankruptcy the answer? -- After years of borrowing, a retired couple is drowning in credit card debt. Is bankruptcy the only way out? ... (See Retired, in debt)

Erica Sandberg: Deep in debt? Focus on repayment, not credit scores -- A student with a five-figure debt wonders why his credit score is so high. Our expert says he should focus instead on getting his debt paid down ... (See Credit card debt)

Jeremy M. Simon: Can you freeze an individual credit card? -- While a credit freeze will restrict the opening of new accounts in a borrower's name, it takes a different approach to temporarily prevent the use of an existing accoun ... (See Credit freeze)

6 questions to help you pick the right small business credit card -- The right questions can help you find a small business credit card that's a lifeline, not a noose ... (See Business credit cards)

The Credit Card Hall of Shame: All-time worst credit crimes -- What's it take to make our list? A fast-buck scheme. A willingness to wreak widespread financial havoc for personal gain. And a taste for larceny -- and prison ... (See Credit card crime)

Gary Foreman: Thinking of closing little-used credit card accounts? Not so fast -- Think twice before closing little-used credit card accounts because you're mad at the issuer. It could backfire by damaging your credit score ... (See Closing credit accounts)

Erica Sandberg: Wondering who holds your delinquent debt now? Check your credit report -- A reader wants to know which company currently holds his delinquent debt. The answer, our expert says, can be found in his credit reports ... (See Delinquent debt)

11 buying, spending tips:: Your holiday credit card self-defense guide -- If you don't do your homework and take the time to protect yourself -- not just from fraudsters, but from yourself and your own compulsions -- your holiday bills could go sky-high. These 11 tips can help ... (See Holiday credit card shopping)

Jeremy M. Simon: 3 reasons you and your lender may disagree on your credit score -- A reader in the process of refinancing wants to know why his bank has selected a 'fishy' credit score for its lending decision. ... (See Credit scores)

Todd Ossenfort: When debt collection makes your life miserable -- A reader reduced a regular payment to her creditor by half and wants to know how much worse things are going to get ... (See Credit card debt collectors)

Erica Sandberg: 9 steps for restoring trust after hidden debt is revealed -- A wife is worried sick about debt she has hidden from her husband. Our expert offers her practical tips to help once her secret is revealed. ... (See Secret debt)

Jeremy M. Simon: 20-year-old debt should not come back to haunt you -- While credit histories typically benefit from repaying debts, in the case of 20 year old credit card account, it may be better to ignore a creditor's request for payment ... (See Old debt)

Job hunting? 7 tips for adding a 100-word explanation letter to your credit report -- Many potential employers check credit reports today, so if your credit is dinged, adding a 100-word letter of explanation to your credit report can set the record straight ... (See Credit report general statement)

Erica Sandberg: Think twice before sharing credit card accounts with kids -- Moms and dads, beware of making your adult kid an authorized user or joint account holder on your credit card. It's noble to want to help, but their mistakes can clobber your credit. ... (See Authorized user)

Jeremy M. Simon: Patient's age determines whether unpaid medical debt owed -- A reader's dad was supposed to pay her medical bills, but then he fell on hard times. Now collectors are coming after her. Our expert says the right course of action for her depends on what her age was when she accrued the debt ... (See Medical debt)

Insuring your car or home? Your credit history can cost you -- Insurers are increasingly using scoring models that incorporate data from policyholders' credit reports to determine the cost of coverage ... (See Credit scores and insurance)

Todd Ossenfort: Divorce doesn't dissolve joint card debt -- If you don't close joint card accounts after a divorce, then you're still responsible for paying any balances -- no matter who used the card ... (See Credit card debt, divorce)

5 scary credit card situations -- and how to deal with them -- Even if you're too old for the usual Halloween thrills and chills this year, there's still potential for plenty of spookiness ... lurking right inside your wallet ... (See Credit scares)

Jeremy M. Simon: Correcting credit report errors is crucial, but not always easy -- A reader vents about his struggles to get some errors fixed on his credit report. While fixing these mistakes can be burdensome, doing so will pay dividends in the long run ... (See Fix credit report mistakes)

Little known credit card hardship programs offer help for problem debt -- Card issuers don't publicize them, but most have internal hardship programs for customers who have trouble paying their debts ... (See Credit card hardship programs)

Gary Foreman: Ask for a lower credit limit? Unless you can't control your spending, don't -- Unless you can't control your spending, don't ask your credit card issuer to lower your limit; you'll be lowering your credit score, too ... (See Lowering your credit limit)

Erica Sandberg: The dark side of credit piggybacking -- A mom who has fallen on hard times laments that her struggles are hurting her son's credit, since he's an authorized user on her card. Our expert tells her how to clean up the mess ... (See Piggybacking)

Jeremy M. Simon: Can quickly repaying a car loan help to rebuild credit? -- A reader asks whether quickly repaying a car loan will not only save money but also help her to rebuild credit in time for a home purchase. ... (See Car loan and credit)

Forgot to pay your credit card bill? You could lose your rewards points -- Here's another reason to pay your credit card bill on time: If you pay late, you could lose your rewards points ... (See Credit card rewards)

Todd Ossenfort: Inherent risks exist when co-signing a car loan -- A reader wonders whether she should co-sign on a car loan for a student who needs a car to commute to college ... (See Co-signing risks)

Going to jail? 10 tips for reducing the financial damage -- Credit counselors, attorneys and ex-convicts offer 10 pieces of advice on safeguarding your finances if you're going to jail ... (See Prison and finances)

Paying off joint debt brought into a marriage -- When both partners bring substantial credit card debt into a marriage, it will take a joint effort in order to pay the debt off ... (See Joint card debt)

Gary Foreman: How to deal with debt after a divorce when ex won't pay -- Even if there's a court order, getting money out of a deadbeat ex isn't easy ... (See Divorce and debt)

Erica Sandberg: Paying down debt on fixed income: Tough, but possible -- A reader on disability is seeking help with paying her sizable credit card debt while on a fixed income. It won't be easy, our expert says, but a realistic budget will help ... (See Opening Credits)

QA with Gail Vaz-Oxlade -- In the mood for a money and credit management expert who pulls no punches yet somehow remains cheery and kind? Look no further than Gail Vaz-Oxlade. ... (See 'Til Debt Do Us Part')

Jeremy M. Simon: Canceled credit cards don't leave your credit report quickly -- A reader wants to remove some old, rarely-used credit card accounts from her credit report. Our expert tells her why that's not always a good idea. ... (See Canceling credit cards)

Act fast when hit by credit card fraud, even if mom and dad were to blame -- A student had her credit ruined several years ago when her parents stole her identity and ran up debts. Now the collectors are coming after her. Our expert helps steer her toward clearing her name and credit. ... (See Parental ID theft)

Jeremy M. Simon: When a parent's 'favor' can ruin your credit -- A reader is an authorized user on his dad's small business card. However, his credit is taking a hit as dad's business has fallen on hard times. Our expert says the reader should remove himself from that account ASAP. ... (See Authorized user)

All in the family: Parents stealing kids' identities -- It's a crime that can go undetected for years and appears to be happened more often. How do you detect, fix identity theft by a parent? ... (See Parental identity theft)

15 times when you shouldn't use your credit card -- There are plenty of reasons to use a credit card -- convenience, accountability and safety among them -- but when is it better just to step away from the swiper? Here are 15 examples ... (See Credit card usage)

5 ways to know you've got the wrong credit card for you -- You had a closet full of clothes you adored as a teenager -- but that doesn't mean you'd wear them now, right? The same thing goes for your credit card ... (See Wrong card)

Sally Herigstad: Options available for buying a home with bad credit -- Just because you're credit's not great doesn't mean that you won't be able to buy a home. It's just a little harder and a little more costly ... (See Bad credit and buying a home)

How to haggle to reduce your credit card debt and rates -- You've heard the ads promising quick and easy debt reduction, but there's nothing easy or quick about them ... (See Negotiating lower debt, rates)

What happens to unpaid credit card debt if you move abroad? -- Unpaid credit card debts may be tougher to collect if you leave the country. But there are still reasons you should pay up. ... (See International credit card debt)

Kids aren't responsible for parents' old debts, no matter what collectors say -- A reader's parents are delinquent on an old bill for her private grade-school tuition. Now that she's an adult, collectors are coming after her for payment. Our expert advises her what to do. ... (See Minors and debt)

Jeremy M. Simon: More than retail cards needed for an excellent FICO score -- Retail credit cards, if used responsibly, can earn the cardholder a good -- but not great -- credit score. To take your score higher, you'll need a mix of cards ... (See Raise your FICO score)

15 questions that will help you find the right credit counselor -- Knowing what to ask will help you be prepared before, during and after your initial credit counseling session ... (See Credit counseling)

Want to volunteer? Be sure your credit's good -- Volunteerism is on the rise, thanks in part to the recession. And more and more, volunteers are being asked to submit to the same background screening techniques that employers use to vet job candidates. ... (See Volunteer credit checks)

The good, bad and the ugly of credit card offers -- Credit card offers are back from the dead, so if you've got a high credit score, you're in demand and are likely to have a mailbox stuffed full of offers. If you've got average or bad credit, however, the story's likely quite different. ... (See Credit card offers)

Empower your child to pay off his credit card debt with these 4 steps -- A mother is seeking guidance for her debt-ridden son. Our expert offers some common-sense steps to pay the debt down, but it won't be easy. ... (See Card debt)

8 things cardholders should know about community property laws -- If your marriage ends in death, annulment or divorce, what happens to debts and community property depends greatly on where you live ... (See Community property states)

Compare states' community property laws in divorce -- Detailed information on how assets and debts are divided in marriage and divorce in the 10 states with community property laws ... (See Divorce and state community property laws)

Jeremy M. Simon: F-words foul up the process of getting a FICO score -- A reader may be lost in a sea of acronyms when he confuses the Freedom of Information Act with FCRA, FACTA and FICO. ... (See FICO score)

QA with Lynnette Khalfani-Cox -- Like the plumber with leaky faucets at home, money coach and personal finance author Khalfani-Cox had racked up more than $100,000 in debt. ... (See Lynnette Khalfani-Cox)

Smart credit card strategies before and after a job loss -- If you've gotten a pink slip -- or expect that you soon will -- it's time to upend everything you thought you knew about using your credit cards ... (See Credit cards and job loss)

Been 'preapproved' for a credit card? Sorry, you may not get it -- A reader who's never had a credit card in her own name wonders why she's getting rejected for preapproved credit cards. Our expert explains that preapproved doesn't always mean that you're a cinch to get the card. ... (See Preapproved)

9 credit score myths do more harm than good -- In today’s economy, a good credit score is more valuable than ever, but not all advice is good advice. These nine credit score myths that can do more harm than good ... (See Credit score myths)

Jeremy M. Simon: Cardholders must fight to correct credit report errors -- Consumers need to take advantage of consumer protection law by disputing credit reporting errors with both the bank and credit bureau. ... (See Credit report errors)

U.S. looks to create a financial literacy pyramid -- Like the food pyramid, the Treasury Department wants to create a financial literacy pyramid to help make financial education concepts more memorable and accessible. ... (See Financial literacy pyramid)

Plastic neophyte questions logic of getting credit -- An employed college grad wonders whether she should or shouldn't get that first credit card. ... (See First credit card)

6 steps for handling your 1st credit card wisely -- A reader just got her first student credit card and wonders what to do with it once she's "done" with it. Our expert tells her, but not before offering some tips for using her card wisely. ... (See First credit card)

3 steps to take when disposing of your computer -- Millions dump their old computers without much concern about all the sensitive information still stored on the hard drives, making them ripe for theft ... (See Dispose your computer safely )

Your options for reducing a high credit card APR -- If your card issuer won't lower your high rate APR, you have several options -- including moving to a new card ... (See Credit card APR)

How a new credit card affects your credit score -- A reader "accidentally" applied for a new Costco American Express card and believes that it might hurt her credit score ... (See Credit score)

How credit freezes work, what they cost -- Credit freezes can be great tools for protecting yourself against identity theft, experts say, but they're not for everyone ... (See Credit freeze)

You're eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but should you file? -- A reader who has fallen on hard times wonders if Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for her. Her lawyer says yes. Our expert says she's not so sure. ... (See Chapter 7 bankruptcy)

Jeremy M. Simon: Charge card balances won't impact a FICO credit score -- Although the balances on credit cards are used in the calculation of credit scores, that isn't the case for charge card accounts. ... (See Charge cards)

Todd Ossenfort: 7 ways to ensure a financially successful marriage -- Tying the knot? Know that finances are one of the top five reasons for divorce. Here's how to keep your money and marriage together ... (See Money and marriage)

Ex-offenders face big debt challenges after prison -- Most ex-offenders, once they are free, face overbearing debt obligations and job barriers, often forcing them to return to a life of crime ... (See Out of jail, in debt)

How to transform a good credit score to great -- Each day this week, our columnists will answer one of our readers' most frequently asked questions. Today, we focus on how to boost your credit score. ... (See Great credit scores)

Credit Card FAQ: Gary Foreman: Should you co-sign a loan? -- Each day this week, our columnists will answer one of our readers' most frequently asked questions. Today, 'New Frugal You' columnist Gary Foreman ponders, should you co-sign a loan? ... (See Co-signing)

Credit Card FAQ: Erica Sandberg: What sort of credit card debt help is best for you? -- Each day this week, our columnists will answer one of our readers' most frequently asked questions. Today, we focus on getting debt help. ... (See Debt help choices)

Divorce and debt: Advice on dividing up, paying off debt -- Divorce is stressful enough. When jointly held debt is involved, things get a lot more complicated. Check out the advice in these stories ... (See Divorce and debt)

Credit Card FAQ: Jeremy M. Simon: Will canceling a credit card hurt your credit score? -- Each day this week, our columnists will answer one of our readers' most frequently asked questions. Our series continues with a focus on credit scoring. ... (See Cancel a credit card)

Sally Herigstad: Best to clean up debt in your home country -- When moving to Canada, it's in your best interest to make sure all your debts are paid back home. Here's why ... (See Moving to Canada)

5 steps to prioritize debt payments when cash is tight -- Owe numerous creditors but don't have enough money to send each a complete payment right away? Prioritize. Here's how ... (See Debt repayment)

FTC proposes changes to credit reporting summary of rights documents -- When you get a copy of your credit report, it comes with a document that lists your rights. Now, the Federal Trade Commission is working to make those disclosures much easier to read. ... (See Disclosure)

4 steps to settling privately funded student loans -- A reader has defaulted on private education loans and wonders what his options are. Our expert offers some key steps he can take to ease his burden ... (See Student loans)

Help for bad credit -- Got bad credit? Sometimes it can't be avoided. Sometimes it can. Either way, if your credit score's in the dumps, that doesn't mean you don't have options ... (See Help for bad credit)

Help for bad credit: Buying a car -- If your credit score stinks, don't just throw in the towel and buy a bus pass. Learn more about how to buy a car with bad credit with these stories.. ... (See Help for bad credit: Buying a car)

Help for bad credit: Buying or renting a home -- Bad credit history? Don't move into your mom's basement just yet! The economy is forcing landlords and homeowners to be more flexible. ... (See Help for bad credit: Buying or renting a home)

Help for bad credit: Dealing emotionally -- If a bad credit score keeps you up at night, wrecks your relationships or burns your confidence, you need to take steps to face, accept and change those three unsightly digits -- without losing your cool. ... (See Help for bad credit: Dealing emotionally)

Help for bad credit: Getting a cell phone -- Many cell phone plans exist that don't require a contract, big deposit or credit check, and many of those plans -- including pay-as-you-go plans -- may even save you money. ... (See Help for bad credit: Getting a cell phone)

Help for bad credit: Getting a credit card -- You need a credit card to improve your credit score, but you need a good credit score to open a credit card account. If you're stuck in this frustrating cycle, don’t give up ... (See Help for bad credit: Getting a credit card)

Help for bad credit: Improving your credit score -- Paying your bills in full and on time isn't the only way to improve your credit score. Find out some creative ways to help give your score a lift ... (See Help for bad credit: Improving your credit score)

Help for bad credit: Jobs -- It's important to know the costs of negative marks on your credit history and how you should handle a potential employer who requests to see your credit report. ... (See Help for bad credit: Jobs)

Help for bad credit: Relationships, marriage and divorce -- Just as bad credit can fragment your relationships, some relationships -- especially those in which joint accounts or co-signed loans are involved -- can rip apart your credit score. ... (See Help for bad credit: Relationships, marriage and divorce)

Help for bad credit: Young adults -- Young people make lots of mistakes. Unfortunately, credit mistakes don't fade into obscurity after college graduation in the way that embarrassing party stories do ... (See Help for bad credit: Young adults)

Jeremy M. Simon: Different websites provide very different credit scores -- Very different credit scores from two separate websites lead a reader to question the credit scoring system. ... (See Credit scores)

Financial experts reveal their worst money advice -- They say free advice is worth what you pay for it, but for these financial experts, it was actually a lot more costly ... (See Money experts' worst advice)

Divorce and credit card debt don't mix -- While a decree can assign payment responsibility for joint credit card debt, if your ex doesn't pay as agreed, your credit is at risk ... (See Card debt and divorce)

Sally Herigstad: 4 common myths about debt and marriage -- A reader has suspicions her husband is having an expensive cash-only affair, using plastic to cover household expenses. Is she liable for that debt? ... (See Credit cards and marriage)

10 things NOT to do when you apply for a credit card -- When applying for a credit card, especially if you've had money problems, do one of these 10 things, and wham! You've just hurt your chances of getting approved ... (See 10 things NOT to do)

Bad credit can hinder job search, but doesn't always -- A reader is concerned that her poor credit -- which went south during her current bout of unemployment -- is wrecking her chances of getting her next job. ... (See Credit score)

8 reasons to ignore your credit score and rating -- You know how important having and maintaining a great credit score is, but there are times when concentrating on something else makes more sense ... (See Ignore your credit score)

7 reasons your credit card gets blocked and 7 tips for handling it -- When your credit card company stops a thief from charging fraudulent expenses to your card, you're thrilled. But what happens when they mistake you for the thief? We can help ... (See Blocked)

Sally Herigstad: Do you marry someone who's deep in debt? -- A woman wonders if she'll ruin her credit by marrying a man who has $150,000 in debt. Our expert says no, but be careful to keep romance and finances separate. ... (See Debt and marriage)

Erica Sandberg: Is a balance transfer credit card right for you? -- A reader has $6,000 in debt on a high-interest credit card. She's considering getting a low-interest balance transfer card, but is right for her? Our expert gives her the scoop. ... (See Balance transfer)

Don't fall for the 'Obama government debt bailout program' scam -- Rip-off alert: There's no government program to relieve you of credit card debt, despite the hordes of Internet scammers who say there is ... (See Debt bailout)

What 'prescreened' card offers are, how they work -- When you get a credit card offer that says that it's "prescreened," it means that you've been targeted for a special offer based on your credit report and such. But does it mean that the deal is guaranteed? ... (See Screen)

Jeremy M. Simon: What exactly is a 'pre-screened' or 'pre-approved' credit card offer? -- The term "pre-screened" describes card offers that banks have targeted to certain consumers based on their borrowing histories and other personal information ... (See Pre-screened)

Obscure 'attrition risk' credit scoring tool may get you a better deal on your card -- Bitter about your bank? Irritated with your insurer? Your actions -- as measured by so-called "attrition-risk scores" -- could signal to those businesses that you are preparing to try the competition ... (See Risk scores)

Todd Ossenfort: Can a credit mistake caused by co-signing keep me from renting a home -- A reader co-signed a loan, which was defaulted upon. Now she needs to rent a home. Are her options as bleak as she thinks? ... (See Bad credit and renting)

Is Dad responsible for stepmom's credit card debt after her death? -- Responsibility for debt after the debtor's death comes down to who signed the contract and what state they're in ... (See Credit card debt after death)

3 steps to take after destroying mom or dad's credit -- A son who did major damage to his father's credit wants to make things right. Our expert gives advice on how to get his credit -- and his relationship with his dad -- back on track. ... (See Repairing credit)

Bank of America stops disclosing default APRs -- Despite regulations aimed at making credit card agreements more consumer friendly, new cardholders carrying plastic from the No. 2 U.S. bank won't know the exact cost of making a borrowing mistake until it's too late. ... (See Penalty rates)

Refinancing won't do lasting credit score damage -- A responsible borrower who refinances his properties is unlikely to see lasting credit score damage ... (See Refinancing)

3 credit score success stories, and what they can teach you -- More people are finding that, with patience and discipline, you can move that score from the depths to the stratosphere. Here are tips from three people who've seen big jumps in their credit scores. ... (See Credit score)

Pros and cons of paying off old debt -- Yes, paying it off will look good to lenders, but you may not want to restart the clock on debt that has passed the statute of limitations ... (See Paying off old debt)

First-time car buyers lack financing know-how -- Most first time car buyers need to explore credit scores, financing options, before they purchase. ... (See First-time car buyers)

Take these steps to repair your credit after ID theft by parent -- A parent steals a kid's identity. It's an all-too-common story, but with patience and discipline, it can be overcome if it happens to you. ... (See Identity theft by parents)

Can your credit score be too high? -- Responsible cardholders don't generate a whole lot of revenue for issuing banks. But does that mean the bank has the right to refuse you plastic? ... (See Good credit score)

Authorized user can't be legally responsible for tax payment -- Though it may be a noble idea, an authorized cardholder who got into debt trouble can't take on the tax burden for the friend whose credit he damaged. ... (See 1099-C)

Debt in collections: Do you settle or pay in full? -- Once your debt goes into collections, you can choose to pay the full amount or negotiate a lower amount. Which choice looks better on your credit report? ... (See Debt collection)

Co-signing your kid's credit is great, unless it endangers your credit -- A mom is considering co-signing on a credit card for her 18-year-old daughter. Our expert says that while helping your family is noble, it's important to do so with great caution ... (See Co-signing credit for a child)

Pay off your balance each month? Your credit report may not show it -- A family's conscientious but high-charging ways could be bad for their credit scores. ... (See Credit scores and balances)

How to get a credit card if you have bad credit -- A tough economy has left many with bruised credit and lenders reluctant to issue loans. But you can still get a decent card. Here's how ... (See Bad credit credit cards)

Minimum payments won't dent high-interest debt -- When only making minimum payments on card balances with varying APRs, the higher-interest debt is only going to go up until you pay more than is required ... (See Credit card minimum payments)

QA with 'Hot (Broke) Messes' author Nancy Trejos -- Author and Washington Post personal finance columnist Nancy Trejos shares how deep she was in debt and how she managed to climb out ... (See 'Hot (Broke) Messes')

Losing your job doesn't mean you have to file for bankruptcy -- A reader just lost her job and has $60,000 in credit card and student loan debt. She's considering going bankrupt, but our expert says that's not going to solve her problems ... (See Lost job and bankruptcy)

Widow likely isn't liable for late husband's debts -- A widow from California is still unclear if she's liable for her late husband's card debt. Now she's received a 1099-C Cancellation of Debt form. Our expert says she shouldn't worry. ... (See Credit card debt)

Husband's card defaults don't need to weigh on wife's credit -- Although a husband's debt defaults show up on his wife's credit report, she should be able to clear those negative items ... (See Ex-spouse's credit default)

How to get a cell phone if you have bad credit -- Even if you have bad credit, you don't have to pay more for cell phone service if you know all of your options. ... (See Cell phones and bad credit)

Financial reform opens access to free credit scores -- Financial reform rules now require lenders that turn you down or give you a higher rate to provide you access to a free credit score ... (See Free credit scores)

Is bankruptcy right for you? Our 7-point checklist will tell you -- A reader is fed up and is considering bankruptcy, but she doesn't know if it's wise for her. Our expert offers a 7-point checklist to help her make the right choice. ... (See Bankruptcy checklist)

Taking on more credit won't hurt a good credit score -- A responsible borrower's good credit score won't be hurt -- and might even improve -- when taking on additional credit. ... (See How adding credit affects your score)

Transferring mom's balances to your cards? Not so fast -- Yes, you want to help, but if you allow a family member to transfer a balance to your credit card account, you are legally liable for that debt ... (See Credit cards)

QA: Avis Cardella writes on overcoming shopping addiction -- 'Memoirs of a Shopping Addict' author Avis Cardella describes how credit counseling helped her overcome 'Sex & the City' lifestyle ... (See Memoirs of a shopping addict)

A 'workout plan' to shed debt, build credit scores -- Just like an exercise plan helps you shed weight and build muscle, a credit plan can help you shed debt and build your scores ... (See Credit score workout plan)

Is bad credit bad for small business startups? -- Starting a business with bad credit won't be easy, but it's not impossible. Here are some ways to find funding without a top-notch credit score. ... (See Bad credit and startups)

3 reasons not to co-sign for college students' credit cards -- The Credit CARD Act makes it harder for students under 21 to get credit cards. Thus, a 21-year-old student wants to charge his classmates to have him co-sign on a credit card. Our expert explains why this is a really bad idea ... (See Co-signing student)

Free FICO scores exist, but aren't easy to come by -- Free credit scores do exist and are relatively easy to find, but the tricky part is getting the scores lenders actually use ... (See Free credit score)

Credit lessons from the soap operas: Days of Our Lives rerun -- Part IV: The Days of Our Lives shouldn't be filled with money troubles ... (See Credit lessons from the soap operas: Days of Our Lives rerun)

Credit lessons from the soap operas: General Hospital -- Part V: If you're financially honest with your mate, no need for a 'General Hospital' style paternity test; you'll always know who's the real parent of a debt ... (See Credit lessons from soap operas: 'General Hospital')

5 steps to dispute a debt that's not yours -- Identity mix-ups are common, but if you're being tagged for debt that is not yours, you need to fix the problem instead of ignoring it. ... (See Not my debt)

5 simple steps to a faster debt payoff -- A reader's credit card statement showed him what it would cost to pay off his debts in three years. He wants to do it sooner. Our expert tells him how ... (See Debt payoff)

QA with 'Paying With Plastic' author David Evans -- In this book author Q&A, 'Paying With Plastic' author David Evans argues we're going through two payment revolutions: paper to plastic, then plastic to "virtual" payments ... (See 'Paying with Plastic' by David Evans)

Deceased cardholder's debts can hurt authorized user's credit score -- When a credit cardholder passes away leaving unpaid debt, authorized account users can be left facing the credit score impact ... (See Authorized users, death and debt)

Does an authorized user's bad credit hurt the account's owner? -- Co-mingling credit with friends or family via co-signing or authorized users is best to be avoided at all costs. ... (See Authorized users and credit scores)

4 rules to win at the credit card rewards game -- Charging all your purchases to pump up your rewards point total may be tempting … but is it worth the threat to your finances and your credit score? The answer may be yes, if you follow these four rules ... (See Credit card rewards)

Cap One's moves push credit card interest rates higher -- Interest rates on new credit card offers surged higher this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report, following card adjustments by Capital One. ... (See Rates)

Unpaid traffic citations can lower drivers' credit scores -- If you think you can ignore an out-of-state traffic ticket, it can hurt in an unexpected way: damage to your credit score ... (See Unpaid tickets hurt credit score)

Even barely late payments can impact your credit score -- If you're late with a payment -- but fewer than 30 days late -- does your credit score take a hit? The answer's not so simple. ... (See Late payments and credit scores)

8 steps toward recovering from youthful money mistakes -- A reader wants to pay off her card debts before going back to school. Our expert lays out an eight-step plan to help her do just that ... (See Pay off debt)

GAO report shows non-English speakers have it rougher financially -- A federal report chronicles how limited English proficiency also limits people's ability to get by in the complex financial world ... (See Financial literacy and English)

Nonactivated cards can still impact a credit score -- A credit card that hasn't been activated may represent a security threat, but in the calculation of your credit score, an inactive card account's existence -- or its closure -- isn't treated differently than any other credit card ... (See Inactive credit card)

Be careful not to start the clock on time-barred debt -- A reader whose debt has run past the statute of limitations in her state wonders if she should still pay what she can. ... (See Old debt)

What to expect when buying a car with bad credit -- The last sound you want to hear when you're rebuilding your credit is the clank of a dying car. What are your options? ... (See Bad credit car buying)

Without co-signer, minor's debt likely off-limits to collectors -- A reader could no longer make payments on a card he got when he was a minor and is now dealing with collections and even a possible wage garnishment. But given his age when he signed, is the debt his responsibility? ... (See Minors and credit)

The Credit CARD of 2009 turns 1: A year-long look at the landmark legislation -- What a difference a year makes. One year ago this week, President Obama signed historic legislation revamping how Americans acquire, use and pay for credit cards. Use this time line to view key developments affecting credit card users and their accounts. ... (See CARD Act)

Responsible borrowing can protect credit score from limit cuts -- When the bank cuts a cardholder's line of credit -- a common occurence in recent years -- a history of responsible borrowing can protect against credit scoring damage. ... (See Credit scores)

An elderly couple's options for dealing with debt -- Health issues and a limited income prevent an elderly couple from paying a big outstanding debt. Our expert offers some options ... (See Debt payment options)

Credit scoring, reporting Q and A with Experian, part 1 -- The first in a six-part series replaying a credit scoring and reporting question and answer session CreditCards.com held with Experian. ... (See Credit)

Credit scoring, reporting Q and A with Experian, part 2 -- The second in a six-part series replaying a credit scoring and reporting question and answer session CreditCards.com held with Experian. ... (See Credit reporting)

Credit scoring, reporting Q and A with Experian, part 3 -- The third in a six-part series replaying a credit scoring and reporting question and answer session CreditCards.com held with Experian. ... (See Credit reporting)

Credit scoring, reporting Q and A with Experian, part 4 -- The fourth in a six-part series replaying a credit scoring and reporting question and answer session CreditCards.com held with Experian. ... (See Credit reporting)

Credit scoring, reporting Q and A with Experian, part 5 -- The fifth in a six-part series replaying a credit scoring and reporting question and answer session CreditCards.com held with Experian. ... (See Credit reporting)

Credit scoring, reporting Q and A with Experian, part 6 -- The last in a six-part series replaying a credit scoring and reporting question and answer session CreditCards.com held with Experian. ... (See Credit reporting)

Congratulations, graduate! Now, do you have a post-graduation debt plan? -- Graduating from college this spring? You're probably taking more with you than your diplomas and a futon. The class of 2010 has debt, and a lot of it ... (See Graduate from student debt)

Charge card vs. credit card: What's the better choice? -- A student with excellent credit wants a second credit card. Our expert lays out her options. ... (See Charge vs. credit)

Look to credit reports to understand loan denials -- A reader wondering why he was rejected for a credit card loan should turn to his credit report to understand why the lender made the move ... (See Credit reports)

How to rent a home if you have bad credit: In recession, landlords become flexible -- Your landlord might not care about your bad credit as much as you think. With the recession and high vacancy rates, these steps can help you persuade the manager to overlook your score and let you rent ... (See Renting with bad credit)

5 steps to tackling debt while unemployed -- An unemployed reader is deep in debt and desperate. Our expert offers five tips for getting herself back on track ... (See Paying off debt)

To preserve credit score, don't leave credit cards unused -- If maintaining your credit score is a primary concern, don't leave credit cards unused. ... (See Credit score)

Plastic love: How to protect your credit while online dating -- Use online dating services? Your credit and other financial interests may be at risk if you don't guard yourself from those falsely fishing for companionship. Here's how to protect more than just your heart when seeking a mate via the Internet ... (See Online dating)

Comparing desperate options: bankruptcy vs. debt negotiation -- With savings spent, deep in debt and jobless, a reader's choices are all unpleasant. Go in with eyes open ... (See Desperate money choices)

Bankruptcy protects against wage garnishment -- A reader who filed bankruptcy is contacted by an old creditor who threatens wage garnishment. Does she have to pay the debt or not? ... (See Wage garnishment)

States stepping up to limit pre-employment credit checks -- If you're unemployed and suffering from bad credit, a growing number of states' lawmakers want to remove one barrier between you and a new job: a credit check ... (See Credit checks)

3 reasons young homeowners may get turned down for loans -- A reader who recently bought a house also wants to buy a motorcycle, but he's frustrated that he can't get a loan. Our experts preaches patience and the virtues of budgeting wisely ... (See Loan rejection reasons )

Focus on finances -- not your credit score -- when repaying a loan -- The decision to repay a loan rapidly should be more about your finances than your credit score. ... (See Early repayment plan)

Authorized users aren't liable for card debt -- Collectors trying to collect outstanding card debt from an authorized user are barking up the wrong tree. Here's what to do. ... (See Authorized user)

There's no easy fix when you're maxed out on credit -- If you're young and already maxed out on credit, it's time to buckle down, pay it off and clear the path for a less stressful future ... (See Maxed out credit cards)

Which of the 4 types of debt-help companies is right for you? -- Deep in debt but not ready for bankruptcy? Consider these types of companies, but beware: credit help comes in many forms, and not all of them are good for you ... (See Debt help)

'Hard' inquiries have limited credit score impact -- Lenders' inquiries into a borrowers' credit history can drop their credit score -- but not by much. ... (See Credit score)

How to get a job when you have bad credit -- A blemished credit report can hurt your job chances. Learn which financial mistakes are most costly. ... (See Bad credit)

Too many credit cards increases liabilities -- If you have more cards than you can keep track of, then it's time to close some accounts ... (See Too many credit cards)

FICO's 5 factors: The components of a credit score -- To get a high credit score, you must know these five components, what each means and its weight ... (See FICO score factors)

Minors likely bear moral -- not legal -- responsibility for fraudulent debts -- Legally, minors likely bear no responsibility to repay credit card debts -- even if built up fraudulently. Morally? That's an entirely different matter. ... (See Minors and credit)

Bankruptcies resume climbing, aided by tax refunds -- Bankruptcy filings rose 17 percent over a year ago; once-available cushions of credit and home equity have vanished ... (See Bankruptcies rising)

Credit score suffers from being caught in 'balance chasing' loop -- "Balance chasing" by banks can leave borrowers with lower credit limits and credit scores ... (See Credit score)

New rules could provide millions with free credit scores -- Rules announced by the Federal Reserve and FTC mean that, starting in 2011, millions of U.S. borrowers could get free copies of their credit scores. ... (See Credit scores)

Parents shouldn't pay for child's late card payments -- Parents who are listed as authorized users on their child's credit card account shouldn't have to suffer credit score damage when the child makes late payments. ... (See Score damage)

Meet those who seek a perfect credit score -- and learn how they achieved FICO perfection -- We introduce you to credit score superstars -- and learn why and how they keep those precious three digits so high ... (See Credit score)

Late credit card payments don't justify rate hikes anymore -- With the passage of the Credit CARD Act, if you're a little late with a payment, you're protected against an instant interest rate hike. ... (See Rate hike)

How a widow should handle collection calls on late husband's 'debt' -- More than four years after her husband died, a widow begins receiving collection calls on debt that may be the result of identity theft ... (See Collection calls)

Avoiding new rules, 'free' credit report sites switch to offering 'free' scores -- On the eve of new rules sharply restricting offers of 'free' credit reports, companies switch to offering 'free' credit scores ... (See Free credit report)

Lost your credit card? Your credit report can help -- If you lose all your information about one of your credit cards, don't panic. All the answers you need likely can easily be found in your credit report. ... (See Lost credit card)

High balance on just one card can hurt credit score -- Check your credit score and keep all your cards' balances low or you could upset your attempt to refinance a home ... (See Balance hurts refi odds)

8 games that clarify credit for kids -- Kids learn best from experience, which is why financial games aimed at teaching fiscal responsibility can make a boring topic fun. ... (See Play debt)

If you miss your credit card's opt out notice, you pay the price -- If you missed your credit card issuer's notice of an interest rate hike and didn't opt out in time, you're left with three choices. ... (See Opt out)

QA with Manisha Thakor, author of personal finance book 'Get Financially Naked' -- 'Get Financially Naked' with your honey -- or face big money woes, book author says. ... (See Naked)

10 financial spring cleaning tips -- Taking these 10 steps will help you to renew, review, refresh and regrow your finances. ... (See Financial spring cleaning)

Want to boost your credit? Co-signing with parent still an option -- Young people looking for a credit boost can still co-sign with their parents, even with the passage of the Credit CARD Act. In fact, if the young adult doesn't have his own source of income, it might be his only choice. ... (See Credit)

Law compels speedy estate settlement for card debt -- A little-noticed provision of the Credit CARD Act of 2009 makes it easier for the estate's administrator to settle the account in a timely fashion. ... (See Death)

Canceling a card can hurt your credit score -- Forced to choose between paying a new fee on your credit card or closing the account? Consider the impact on your credit score. ... (See Canceling a card)

Putting off dealing with debt problems will only make them worse -- Our expert tells a struggling college student to stop avoiding her debt problems or they will only get much worse. ... (See Debt)

Conservatorships: Stepping in for those who can't help themselves -- Watching a family member lose his grip on his finances can be maddening. However, in some cases you can take control by going to court to set up a conservatorship, a legal relationship that makes you the custodian of another adult's finances. ... (See Conservatorship)

Piggybacking's just one step en route to a better credit score -- Borrowers who want to boost their credit scores need to examine their own credit reports first before becoming authorized cardholders on other accounts. ... (See Piggyback)

3 easy steps to simplify your financial life -- Sick of living in financial chaos? Get it all under control without outside help. Here are three steps to get you on your way. ... (See Chaos)

When refinancing, closing credit card accounts can cost you -- When in the midst of a home refinancing and considering an account closure, experts say the price of credit score damage is likely to outweigh the cost of any potential annual fees. ... (See Loan)

Forgiven debt resurfaces at tax time -- The IRS is one creditor you cannot ignore. If you receive a 1099-C in the mail for forgiven debt, you have to declare it as income. ... (See IRS)

Video: Can magnets really make a credit card unreadable? -- If you expose your credit card to a magnet, will it still work? In an earlier video, Cynthia Drake with CreditCards.com said that it would not, but some viewers disagreed. We set out to see what the truth really was. ... (See Magnets)

White House online town hall credit card reform transcript -- This transcript chronicles the conversation between administration officials and CreditCards.com readers on Feb. 22, 2010, the day a federal credit card reform law took effect. ... (See White House credit card town hall)

3 ways to rebuild your credit after wage garnishment -- Consistent, timely student loan payments made via wage garnishment don't reflect positively on a credit report. But there are a few steps you can take to improve your standing. ... (See Rebuild)

Sharing a roof with a parent doesn't mean sharing their bankruptcy -- Adult children who share an address with a parent don't also need to share the credit score damage when that parent files for bankruptcy. ... (See Bankruptcy)

CARD Act prevents sudden rate hikes, not annual fees -- As issuers struggle to recoup lost fee revenue, many are instituting annual fees on their credit cards. The good news is that your APR is protected. ... (See Fees)

Consumers gain right to dispute credit report errors directly with merchants -- As of the summer of 2010, if a merchant puts inaccurate information on your credit report, you can force them to investigate the problem. But you have to do it right ... (See Fix credit report errors)

Consumer credit complaints see huge jump, FTC says -- Identity theft again topped the list of consumer complaints made to the Federal Trade Commission in 2009, but the number of Americans ticked off about their credit showed the sharpest increase. ... (See FTC)

How to clear a minor of responsibility for card debt in 5 steps -- A worried grandparent wants to know how she can make sure that her grandson isn't held liable for debt on a credit card that his mother got in his name. ... (See Fraud)

Video: White House town hall on credit card reform -- Austan Goolsbee of the President's Council of Economic Advisers answered questions on Feb. 22 about credit card reform and what it means to you. The questions were both submitted live and in advance through CreditCards.com. ... (See Town hall)

FTC issues new rules for those that offer (NOT) free credit reports -- The Federal Trade Commission issues new rules forcing those offering not-really-free credit reports to disclose that they're not really free. ... (See Free? Well, not so much)

How social networking can help credit card debtors -- While social networking groups are virtual, the results from participating in online debt relief support groups are real. ... (See Relief)

You can be sued for nonpayment of credit card debt -- The road of not paying your credit card accounts is not a pretty one. Expect late fees, higher APRs and, eventually, collections. ... (See Debt)

New credit card era begins with latest CARD Act provisions -- It's a new day for credit cards. As of Feb. 22, new consumer protections within the Credit CARD Act of 2009 take effect. ... (See Era)

Video: New card law changes relationship between colleges, issuers -- The Credit CARD Act changes the once-secret agreements between card issuers and colleges by requiring schools to report any deals they make with card companies to the Federal Reserve Board. ... (See Campus)

Cost of bad-credit credit cards rising due to reform law -- The passage of federal credit card reform means big changes for those with bad credit. Subprime credit will be available, but expensive and harder to find. ... (See Subprime)

Tips for rebuilding your credit after divorce -- A disabled domestic violence survivor and divorcee not only needs to rebuild her life, but also her credit. ... (See Rebuild)

Want to avoid a rate hike? Don't carry a balance -- The best way to deal with a looming credit card interest rate hike is to not carry a balance on your credit card. ... (See APR)

Video: Big changes coming to bad-credit credit cards -- The new credit card law -- much of which takes effect on Feb. 22 -- has provisions that protect people with bad credit. Specifically, the law limits fees on subprime credit cards. What other changes will the law bring for those with poor credit? ... (See Bad credit)

Business mistakes can appear on personal credit report -- Business mistakes shouldn't impact your personal credit -- unless you've provided your personal guarantee. ... (See Credit)

White House to answer consumer questions about Credit CARD Act -- The White House will answer Americans' questions about the new credit card reform law during a live online town hall at 2 p.m. EST Feb. 22. ... (See White House credit card town hall)

Video: 5 smart moves to make before Feb. 22 -- Sweeping new credit card laws arrive on Feb. 22, 2010. But before that day, you might want to make one of these smart credit moves. ... (See Moves)

When even the minimum payment on your credit card is too much -- When making your credit card's minimum payment becomes impossible, you have options. One of those options does NOT include paying less than the minimum. ... (See Too much)

5 dumbest money moves that love makes you do -- They can seem oh-so-right at the time, but these five financial blunders linger long after your other is no longer significant. ... (See Oops)

Major subprime marketer, CompuCredit, leaves credit card marketing business -- Subprime lender CompuCredit says it no longer markets its 'fee-harvesting' cards, which drew criticism from consumers, fines from regulators and soon will be outlawed. ... (See Fees)

3 common credit mistakes -- and how to fix them -- One credit mistake can easily lead to another and to another, as one reader found out the hard way. Her mistakes were common -- and easily avoidable. ... (See Mistakes)

Poll: On eve of credit card reform, few understand what new law holds -- Significant numbers of consumers are unaware of the most important elements of the new package of credit card rules. Worse, many have erroneous assumptions about what the new rules do address. ... (See Credit CARD Act of 2009)

Credit card revenge spending: When love goes wrong, the hurt go shopping -- Getting burned by the one you love can inspire the desire to get back by charging up credit accounts. The ultimate cost, however, may be borne by you. ... (See Burned)

7 ways to protect against being a victim of credit card revenge -- Just suffered a break-up from a revenge-seeking ex? Here's how to make sure your credit is safe. ... (See Revenge)

Consider these options before co-signing for a card -- Considering co-signing for your son or daughter's credit card? Know that if you do, you'll bear as much legal responsibility for paying that debt off as he or she will. ... (See Co-signing)

Negotiating down card debt and your credit score -- You can ask a card company not to report your debt settlement to the credit bureaus, but there's no guarantee that it will comply. ... (See Score)

Credit card interest rates soar; bad-credit borrowers hit hardest -- If you've got bad credit, brace yourself: The average interest rate for a new subprime credit card just shot sky high ... (See Rate Report)

Are you liable for late spouse's card debt? -- A widow being pursued by debt collectors wants to know if she is legally responsible for her late husband's credit card debts. The answer's not so simple. ... (See Liable)

Piggybacking is still an option, but proceed with caution -- If you're looking to help boost a FICO score, piggybacking as an authorized user on a spouse's credit card account remains an option. But if you're looking to pay to do it, you might be out of luck. ... (See Piggybacking)

Choose a credit card that matches your life stage -- Your finances change as you march through stages of life; shouldn't your credit card choice change, too? ... (See Life)

6 common money mistakes women make -- After more than two years writing for CreditCards.com, "To Her Credit" columnist Sally Herigstad recaps the most frequent financial errors women make ... (See Mistakes)

Affluent are more often victims of ID theft, report shows -- Wealthy consumers who enjoy leisure activities such as tennis, skiing and international vacations are top targets for identity thieves, according to a new report. ... (See Theft)

Get help ASAP when debt leads to suicidal thoughts -- Debt, no matter how high, is never a reason to end one's life. If credit card debt has spawned thoughts of suicide, get help from friends, family or professionals. ... (See Help)

Your options when paying the minimum isn't possible -- When living from paycheck to paycheck, any disruption in income can have immediate effects on your financial situation, including not being able to pay the minimum on your cards. ... (See Help)

Looking to disappear? Deleting your credit history is far from easy -- Erasing your existing credit report is nearly impossible, although you can try to delete parts of your borrowing history. ... (See Erase)

Credit card reform arrives in the form of the Credit CARD Act -- The most sweeping credit card changes ever are being imposed on credit card issuers, which in the course of complying, are making dramatic changes in consumers' credit card accounts -- not all of them welcome ... (See Credit card reform law goes in effect)

Credit CARD Act of 2009 article archives -- All the CreditCards.com coverage of the credit card reform law ... (See CARD Act)

Applying for a credit card after Feb. 22? Issuers will be checking income -- Starting Feb. 22, credit card issuers will do financial checkups on potential customers and anyone getting increased credit limits. ... (See Worthy?)

How credit card reform impacts young adults under 21 -- Card issuers won't be able to pounce on young adults any longer with offers of freebies for a credit card application. There's a trade-off, though -- young adults will see their access to credit sharply curtailed. ... (See Credit CARD Act of 2009)

Think twice before lending your credit card -- or it will cost you big -- If you let someone -- such as your underage daughter -- borrow your credit card, watch their spending carefully. If they go overboard, you're likely responsible. ... (See Beware)

How your credit utilization ratio is calculated -- The calculation of your credit score combines a wide-angle view of your total combined credit utilization -- including any authorized credit card accounts -- with a close-up view of each individual credit card account. ... (See Credit utilization)

After medical bills lead to wage garnishment, consider bankruptcy -- When a wage garnishment cuts your living expenses substantially, prioritize what's left, buy time and consider bankruptcy. ... (See Wage)

Credit card interest rates hit highest level since 2007 -- The holiday from rate hikes has ended -- in a big way. Interest rates on new credit card offers skyrocketed this week to their highest levels since October 2007, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. ... (See Rate report)

Bulk up your thin credit in 4 easy steps -- When getting started with credit, the key is to start small, then build up gradually over time. These four easy steps can get you on your way. ... (See Thin credit)

New arrivals to U.S. need to rebuild credit history -- Credit history from a foreign country won't follow you to the United States, although existing financial relationships can help you begin to build a U.S. credit history. ... (See Rebuild)

Debtor determined to become debt-free needs a plan -- A reader wants to start the new year with a sound financial plan to rid himself of debt and clean up his credit report. To do that will require commitment and a plan. ... (See 2010)

Compare debt-free plastic payment options: debit, charge cards -- Charge cards and debit cards can help you manage cashflow and stay out of debt, but they each come with a risk. Here's how to make them work for you. ... (See Budget tools)

Bankruptcies soared 32% in 2009 -- A 'perfect storm' of unemployment and plunging house values sends filings up to highest level since a 2005 reform law went into effect. ... (See Bankruptcy)

Come clean about debts before they damage your relationship -- Our expert advises a young man to tell his fiancee of his credit woes now -- or risk doing a world of damage to his relationship with the most important person in his life. ... (See Secrets)

Cardholders' mistakes can bring down authorized users' credit score -- When you're an authorized user on someone else's credit card account, you pay the price for other's credit mistakes. Luckily, you can take steps to minimize the damage. ... (See Piggybacking)

How to resolve a bogus medical bill -- There are steps to take to prevent a bogus medical bill from appearing on your credit report and to deal with it once it shows up. ... (See Bogus)

Don't hide debt problems from collectors, friends or family -- Secrecy about financial troubles only makes them worse. Being more open and building a support system can help you get through the tough times. ... (See Honest)

New Year's personal finance predictions for 2010 -- You'll change the ways you and your family will spend, borrow and save, experts predict. ... (See 2010)

Keeping New Year's resolutions: experts' tips -- Three in four Americans will make a financial-related New Year's resolution for 2010, a survey says. But will they keep it? We speak with four experts who offer tips for making -- and sticking to -- your goals for the new year. ... (See 2010)

How to read FICO's explanations of what's hurting your credit score -- Those recommendations you see on a credit report about how to improve your score are sometimes nothing more than stock responses and shouldn't be taken so literally. They aren't actually personalized to your exact situation. ... (See FICO)

How fast does your credit score recover from your goofs? -- If you make smart decisions, those old credit goofs will hurt your score less and less over time. How much less? Well, that's still a bit of a mystery. ... (See Recovery)

Instant in-store credit card offers in jeopardy -- Retailers say instant credit card offers won't be possible if consumers have to provide paycheck stubs or other income information at the cash register. ... (See Instant cards)

Tough choice: credit card debt vs. down payment on a car loan -- Yes, you can raise your credit score by paying down card debt, but you don't want to get upside down on a car loan in the meantime. ... (See Cash)

Interactive: Life cycle of a delinquent credit card account -- The longer your debt goes unpaid, the more it changes hands. Learn the ins and outs of the delinquent debt cycle in this interactive presentation. ... (See Cycle)

Adult son racks up $20,000 on mom's cards -- When an adult child abuses a parent's trust and charges more than $20,000 on joint cards, it's time to get tough and start selling his stuff. ... (See $20,000)

Co-signed credit cards: Unloved option poised for comeback? -- Experts say they're a headache, issuers rarely offer it, yet the co-signed credit card may be making a comeback as a more-regulated industry searches for its lost profits. ... (See Comeback)

U.S. seeks clear path to (really) free credit reports -- Ever try to claim one of your "free" credit reports and get sidetracked or charged a fortune? The Federal Trade Commission wants new rules that clear the clutter. ... (See Ads)

'No payment, no interest' credit card deal? No way -- Make no mistake: If you've got a credit card with a balance, you've got a minimum payment to make each month. If you don't make it, you're asking for trouble. ... (See Minimums)

Improving a great credit score comes down to timing -- Bad timing can hurt even high credit scores. But if you watch when you pay your bills, that may help bump up your score a bit. ... (See Timing)

Author David Bach talks plastic strategies -- The Oprah-approved financial guru and author rings in 2010 with "Start Over, Finish Rich, " offering 10 steps to get you back on track in the coming year. ... (See Bach)

Don't expect to see cellphone payment history on your credit report -- Don't look for your cellphone provider to report your payment history -- good or bad -- to credit bureaus, unless you're so late with payments that they opt to close your account. ... (See Cellphone payments and your credit)

Decade-old credit mistakes shouldn't appear on your report -- A delinquent loan should no longer appear on your credit report if the loan's more than seven years old. But if it does, take steps to remove it ASAP. ... (See Mistakes)

When your credit's still married and you're not -- Jointly held credit card accounts can still haunt you years after you divorce. Make sure your ex is off and stays off your credit report. ... (See Divorce)

How to escape the credit card fee cycle -- Once you miss a payment or pay less than the minimum, you're setting yourself up for a never-ending spiral into the credit card fee abyss. ... (See Fees)

5 key federal laws help protect credit cardholders -- There are many federal laws that are in a credit cardholder's corner, and it's important that prospective and current cardholders are knowledgeable about their legal rights. Here are the top five laws covering consumer credit that you need to know. ... (See Laws)

CreditCards.com survey: Retail credit cards boost rates, cut rewards -- Even more hard-hit than regular credit cards, retail cards are reducing reward programs and raising rates to compensate for their higher charge-off rates. ... (See CreditCards.com survey)

How going to jail impacts your credit -- Having zero-balance credit cards go unused during an 18-month prison sentence shouldn't cause a cardholder's credit to suffer -- unless the issuer decides to close the idle account. ... (See Jail)

Explore all options before declaring bankruptcy -- You may think bankruptcy will solve all your debt problems, but it also creates a whole new, lasting set of issues that will take a long time to recover from. ... (See Bankruptcy)

Credit card etiquette: 8 examples of bad plastic manners (and their polite counterparts) -- We hope you don't recognize yourself in these examples of bad (credit) manners, but if you do have lapses in your crediquette, we can set you on the path to plastic refinement. ... (See 8 tips)

Worst case co-signarios: How do you escape credit card co-sign contracts? -- Despite experts' advice, you did it anyway: You co-signed a for a loan or credit card. Now that you've wised up, can you escape? Maybe. ... (See Don't)

4 questions to ask before you co-sign on a credit card, other loan -- Explore alternatives and find out what you're in for with these questions for anyone who asks you to be a co-signer on a credit car or other loan. ... (See Co-signing a loan)

Help! My husband's debt is ruining our credit -- Before marriage, her credit was great. Now, her husband's debts are making their lives unmanageable. Is there hope? ... (See Married)

FICO reveals how common credit mistakes affect scores -- For the first time, the credit scoring firm discloses how many points a score will fall due to late payments or other errors. ... (See FICO score)

Money and credit lessons learned from TV -- Whether they're frugal or free-spending, our favorite and classic TV characters are fountains of financial advice. ... (See Lessons)

Minors seeking a credit card will need a helping hand from mom and dad -- A 16-year-old reader wants to know how she can get her own credit card. The answer: with a little help from mom or dad. ... (See 16)

How many credit cards do you need? There's no perfect answer -- There's no single, easy answer for how many credit cards someone should have. After all, It's not the number of cards you have, it's what you do with them that matters the most ... (See How many credit cards?)

Banks continue to tighten credit card lending standards, Fed report says -- When it comes to tightening lending, the Fed survey of senior loan officers shows credit card issuers have gone from death grip to light squeeze. ... (See Survey)

How to pay $12,000 in credit card debt quickly -- When it comes to paying off card debt, it's important to remember that there's no quick fix. Determination and patience will do the trick. ... (See Pay off)

There's a cost to paying less than you owe -- Before you jump at the chance to pay less than what you owe, think about what settling your debt will end up costing you. ... (See Costly)

Living off credit cards alone for a year is a terrible idea -- Credit cards were never meant to be used to replace income over a long period of time, and using them that way can bring big trouble. ... (See Debt)

Opting out of APR increase doesn't have to impact your credit -- It's a common question these days: Will opting out of a rate increase hurt my credit? The answer isn't so clear-cut. ... (See Score)

Uncle Sam wants you ... unless your credit stinks -- You may be ready to serve your country, but if your finances aren't in good shape, you might get washed out. ... (See Military)

Credit card video: How to pick the right credit counseling agency -- Erica Sandberg, columnist for CreditCards.com, explains what to expect when you visit a credit counseling agency. She also describes what you should look for in a credit counselor and how to find one that is right for you. ... (See Video)

Want a better FICO score? Step No. 1: Pay bills on time -- Paying your bills on time every time is vital, but it's just the start to building a good credit score. ... (See FICO)

Low credit score? Good luck getting a new credit card, study says -- Consumers receive far fewer credit cards than a year ago; those approved for cards have better credit scores, says a study by credit bureau Equifax. ... (See credit trends)

Jon and Kate's 8 plus-size money mistakes -- The paparazzi-pursued loco parental units of reality TV, the Gosselins, set an example, say money experts -- of what NOT to do financially. ... (See Plus-size mistakes)

Don't let delinquent debt keep you from getting a mortgage -- Getting serious about buying a house someday? Those delinquent debts have got to go or your dreams of home ownership may remain just that -- a dream. ... (See Home)

Getting an iPhone, other fancy cell phone? Mind that other number: your credit score -- If you want to get the latest iPhone or other fancy cell phone, you may find your credit score is a key number. A bad one turns your phone into an expensive connection. ... (See Dialing dollars)

What to do when debt triples your income -- When your debt load is more than triple your income, it's time to seek a solution. Debt counseling, debt settlement and possible bankruptcy can set you free. ... (See Debt and disability)

Credit card video: How to avoid arguments when sharing credit -- Personal finance columnist Erica Sandberg discusses why there are problems when it comes to sharing credit. She also gives solutions for couples having problems and tips on what to discuss so you can avoid any arguments. ... (See Video)

How bad are your credit card mistakes? -- All mistakes with your credit are bad, but not all are equally bad. Grade yours on this 10-point scale. ... (See Mistakes)

Guru goofs: 7 personal finance experts confess biggest mistakes -- Famous financial experts divulge details about past bankruptcies, overdrafts and budgeting gone wrong. ... (See Mistakes)

Act fast to remove authorized users when your credit goes south -- Authorized users on your credit card account suffer when your credit hits the skids. Our expert shows how to remove those users to minimize the damage. ... (See Bad credit)

How to make sure your credit score is a FICO score -- Credit score seem just a bit too high? You may not have bought the ever-popular FICO score. But don't feel bad, our expert says. It's an easy mistake to make. ... (See FICO)

Mystery debt: A collector's goof becomes your recurring problem -- Prepare for a hassle if a collection mistake has your name on it -- phone calls and certified letters are in your future. ... (See Goof)

Debt collectors must prove the debt is yours -- A reader is being harassed for debt that she doesn't think is hers. Take these steps to take to prevent debt collection abuse. ... (See Proof)

Want a free FICO score? You're out of luck -- If you think you'll get a free FICO score with your free credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com, you're mistaken. If you want your FICO score, you'll have to pay. ... (See FICO)

The risks you incur when you co-sign -- Once you co-sign on a credit card, your rights to get out of the deal are limited, but you are still completely liable if the original account holder defaults. ... (See Risky)

States with laws requiring consumer notification of ID theft -- Until recently, if ID thieves stole your credit card data, you were kept in the dark. But a host of new state laws force firms to reveal what they used to keep secret ... (See Data breach notification)

Alternative ways for students to build a credit history -- The minimum age to qualify for a credit card will soon increase, requiring that students under 21 find new ways to develop positive credit histories. ... (See Student credit)

How to build a better credit card portfolio -- Standing pat with one card isn't a smart move today. Allocate credit as you do assets, strategically trimming or adding cards to get the most out of each. ... (See Portfolio)

The risks you face when co-signing a loan -- When you co-sign on a loan and the original borrower stops paying, your credit report and credit score take a hit, too. ... (See Co-signer)

Does credit card debt follow you if you move overseas? -- Moving overseas doesn't mean you strand credit card debt acquired in the States -- especially if you ever plan on returning home ... (See Abroad)

Helping aging parents dig out of debt -- With credit card debt among seniors up 26 percent, experts tell you how to help aging parents get back on track without compromising your own financial future. ... (See Retirement and debt)

The biggest losers (of debt): How a family shed $106,000 in debt -- Five years ago, this New Richmond, Wis., family was drowning in debt. They licked it through frugality, determination and hard work. Here's how. ... (See Drowning)

Patience, persistence are keys to raising your credit score -- An impatient reader may not like the answer, but the the keys to raising your credit score from the depths are consistency, persistence and -- yes -- time. ... (See Time)

Got great credit? Credit card offers improve as crunch works in your favor -- While shedding people with credit problems, card issuers are sweetening the deals for those with excellent credit, putting them in good bargaining position. ... (See Deals)

Pitfalls of pumping, dumping sign-up bonus cards -- The "pump and dump" strategy of taking advantage of huge bonus sign-up reward points or miles can really mess with your credit if you're not smart ... (See Rewards)

Creditors care about original loan documents, not court agreements -- In divorce, lenders will go after all who agreed to pay, no matter what a court decree says about who should pay. ... (See Divorce)

Best to apply cash to credit card debt or down payment? -- A reader wants to know whether it is wiser to use a lump sum of cash to pay off credit card debt or dump into savings for a future house down payment. ... (See Cash)

How foreclosures, short sales, other mortgage defaults affect your credit -- How big a bite does a home foreclosure, short sale or other mortgage default take out of your credit score? ... (See Hit)

Credit card video: The basics of credit scoring -- Jeremy Simon, staff reporter with CreditCards.com, explains the ins and outs of credit scores and credit reports. ... (See Video)

Credit card issuers don't make hardship programs easy -- It's a Catch-22. Though you've kept up payments until now, you can't pay anymore. But your issuer won't work with you until you start missing payments. What to do? ... (See Hardship)

Learn your options when dealing with crushing medical debt -- Communicate, and secure your housing and transportation first, says The Credit Guy. ... (See Medical)

Are elite credit cards worth it? -- If your credit rating is outstanding, you earn big and spend big, you could win an elite credit card, which provides premium benefits -- at extreme cost ... (See Elite)

How to cancel a credit card - and close it without hurting your score -- Anyone can take scissors to a credit card, but it takes skill to cancel a card without nicking your credit score ... (See Cancel a credit card)

8 myths about settling credit card debt -- Before you decide to try debt settlement, make sure you know the difference between common myths -- and the truth ... (See Debt settlement myths)

Credit card debt negotiation in 3 (not) easy steps -- You can still dicker over your credit card debt and work out better terms, but expect a marathon, not a sprint ... (See Negotiate debt)

Know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act -- Experts say consumers should face the facts and deal with debt collectors, but also know and understand their consumer rights and protections ... (See Debt collection)

Debt collectors' ethics codes -- Associations of debt collectors try to curb abuses in the collections industry ... (See Ethics)

A guide to navigating through bankruptcy -- If you're among the growing number of people considering bankruptcy, this package of news articles, tips and statistics will help to get you through ... (See Bankruptcy)

Just one day late can hurt that credit card rate -- Even if you're tardy in paying your credit card bill by a single day, it can trigger a rate increase. ... (See One day)

Will there be a global credit score someday? -- Imagine all the people of the world united -- under a single credit scoring model. Depending on whom you ask, the concept of a global credit score is either a far-fetched pipe dream or an eventual reality. ... (See Global)

How credit scoring varies around the world -- Dominant in the U.S., the FICO credit score doesn't hold the same status worldwide. That leaves many international lenders looking to local versions of credit scoring models to help judge risk. And the differences from nation to nation can be great ... (See Scoring)

What are your rights when opting out of a rate increase? -- You can't opt out of a rate increase after the stated deadline, but you may be able to freeze the account at the old rate. ... (See Opt out)

4 ways to fight minimum payment increases -- Thousands of credit card customers were surprised by news that their credit card minimum payments will more than double. Find out what your options are. ... (See Ouch)

Can one spouse's bankruptcy destroy the other's credit? -- If your spouse files for bankruptcy, your credit score may or may not be impacted, depending on where you live and what you owe. ... (See Bankruptcy)

Proving your worth: How entrepreneurs can qualify for credit -- As credit lines tighten, or even disappear, small-business owners are turning to credit cards for survival. But getting approved for plastic is harder than ever. ... (See Qualify)

9 things you must know about debt consolidation -- Debt consolidation programs, called debt management plans, can help you get back on track, but they can also be unnecessary and even detrimental when done poorly or for the wrong reasons. Here's what you need to know ... (See Debt consolidation)

Create a separate credit identity after divorce -- If you are still an authorized user on an ex's credit cards, your credit score is dependent on their payment behavior. Your best bet is to get your own credit. ... (See Divorce)

Closing credits for filmmakers: Credit cards no longer viable as movie funding source -- Credit is the lifeblood of America's independent film industry, but stringent loan regulations curtailed access to credit and threaten the industry. ... (See Indies)

9 tips for job seekers with bad credit -- As the recession drags on, times are getting tougher for job hunters. The good news is you can still find a well-paying job even if you have lousy credit. These nine tips can help. ... (See Jobs)

5 post-bankruptcy myths -- While bankruptcy may offer a fresh start, many consumers worry about how it will ultimately impact their financial future. Recovery takes time, but it's not as bleak as you may think. ... (See 5 bankruptcy myths)

How being an authorized user can hurt your credit score -- If you are an authorized user on someone's credit card account and that account is not in good standing, it will drag down your credit score. ... (See Credit)

Protect your credit score during divorce -- When facing divorce, avoid at all costs racking up mounds of credit card debt as you want to be able to start off your new life without undue financial stress. ... (See Divorce)

6 times when it's OK to cut up your cards -- A reader asks Opening Credits a simple question -- "When do credit cards get cut up?" -- that doesn't have a quick, easy answer. ... (See To cut or not to cut?)

Let's talk credit: 8 must-have couple conversations -- Attitudes about using credit cards vary dramatically, and learning a partner's outlook can avert all-too-common money disputes. Here are the eight top credit issues every couple should tackle. ... (See Talk to me)

Is credit card loyalty for chumps? -- Your loyalty may make you a stellar best friend, but it's not doing you any favors with your credit card company these days. The dismal economy may have turned your card issuer into a turncoat. ... (See Loyalty)

Your options when credit card minimum payments skyrocket -- Credit card issuers can change conditions on short notice, including the minimum payment. ... (See Payment )

Avoid bankruptcy during messy divorce -- The last thing you need to do as you start your new, independent, financial life is to put yourself through the trauma of going bankrupt. ... (See Divorce)

New federal guidelines help consumers dispute credit report errors -- Under a set of newly introduced guidelines, consumers gain the right to take up disputes over credit report inaccuracies diirectly with the businesses that supplied the faulty data. ... (See Disputes)

Dumped by your credit card issuer? 5 tips to survive the breakup -- What should you do if you suddenly find yourself dumped? Here are five steps to take when your credit card issuer just isn't into you anymore. ... (See Dumped)

When your ex doesn't pay on joint accounts -- If you rely on your ex to pay down on joint accounts after a divorce, expect to be disappointed. ... (See Joint disaster)

Shopping and credit cards: Don't let a convenience become a curse -- For some, a mall and a credit card are a financially toxic mix. It need not be so. These tips will help you become a savvier shopper -- and maybe even save some money. ... (See Shopping)

Allowing friends to use your credit card = mistake -- After the charges, it may be too late to hold someone else responsible for debt run up on your card with your permission. ... (See Friends don't let friends charge)

Credit Card Help: 9 tips for protecting your credit cards, credit score -- 9 tips for protecting not only your credit cards, but your credit score, too ... (See Protect)

Credit Card Help: 8 steps to picking a credit counselor -- Credit counseling agencies can help you get out of debt. Learn how to select the right one for your debt issues ... (See Counselor)

Free credit reports: How to get the actual free one -- The federal government has mandated the three major credit bureaus give free credit reports to consumers at least once per bureau per year. Here's how to get your ... (See Free credit report)

How to add a 100-word written statement to your credit report -- Your credit report is usually the final word when it comes to lending, but the rules let you make 100 of those words your own ... (See 100-word statement)

Credit Card Help: 8 legitimate ways to improve your credit score now -- There are no instant miracles that improve a flagging credit score, but there are quick and legal ways to improve it ... (See Improve)

Credit Card Help: Why women need their own credit -- When you get married and vow to love 'for richer or for poorer,' it doesn't mean relinquishing your financial independence ... (See Why women need their own credit)

Credit Card Help: Getting married? Don't say 'I do' to bad credit -- With financial mismanagement topping the list of reasons why couples seek divorces, experts say it makes sense to check out your partner’s creditworthiness ... (See Marriage, finances, credit and debt)

Credit Card Help: FICO 08: How new credit score formula will affect you -- When you get married and vow to love 'for richer or for poorer,' it doesn't mean relinquishing your financial independence ... (See FICO 08)

Credit Card Help: How to dispute, fix credit report errors -- Credit report errors are more common than you expect, but it's on you to get them fixed before they cost you big the next time you go looking for a loan, a home or even a job ... (See Dispute)

Credit Card Help: 10 ways students can build good credit -- A good credit score is more important than ever, and experts say following these 10 steps can put a student on the right credit path ... (See Students build good credit)

Credit Card Help: 5 things you should know about business credit scores -- You may already know the basics of consumer credit scoring. But if you're a business owner, you also need to familiarize yourself with another type of score that could greatly impact your company: the commercial credit score. ... (See Business scores)

How Dad affects your debt, financial decisions -- New research finds that a father's advice, or lack of it, influences their children's money behavior later. ... (See Dad)

New FICO auto score screens out more buyers -- You may think you're ready for a new set of wheels. But your new credit score could have other ideas. ... (See Autos)

A guide to the Credit CARD Act of 2009 -- The federal government has enacted sweeping reforms into how credit cards work; learn what they mean to you through this interactive guide. ... (See A guide)

How to shop your way to a better credit score -- Credit card issuers increasingly use complicated formulas to analyze their cardholders' purchasing patterns for signs of increased risk. ... (See Score)

Experian: High credit score increases likelihood of ID theft -- Having a high credit score makes it easier -- and cheaper -- for you to borrow money. But according to a new report from credit bureau Experian, that high score also makes it easier for identity thieves to secure stolen credit in your name. ... (See ID theft)

Think you're a credit expert? Take our quizzes and prove it! -- Are you a credit expert? Or maybe you don't know an APR from NPR or CPR. Whichever side you fall on -- or if you're somewhere in the middle -- you can test your knowledge of credit in our quizzes ... (See Quiz)

Protecting your credit score when paying down debt -- It's a Catch-22: you opt to pay down your credit card debt, but then your credit limit gets cut. What's a cardholder to do? ... (See Cut)

With credit card bills, don't be late, negotiate -- Reaching out before the bill is due damages your credit score the least, says The Credit Guy. ... (See Negotiate)

Credit card mail offers with annual fees on the rise -- Once nearly extinct for people with good credit, card offers with annual fees are rebounding, research firm Synovate says. ... (See Fees)

Credit card reform legislation time line -- This interactive time line shows how the sweeping credit card reform bill became a law, and when its different provisions take effect. ... (See Credit CARD Act of 2009)

Credit not right? Time for a credit card checkup -- Is your credit not feeling quite right? If so, it may be overdue for an annual checkup. Fortunately, a thorough exam doesn't involve an appointment with a hard-to-reach specialist: This Rx is strictly DIY. ... (See Checkup)

A practical guide of what to expect when filing for bankruptcy -- American bankruptcy laws were created for catastrophic events, where debt resolution can give you a fresh start and let you become a productive, contributing citizen again. ... (See Bankrupt)

Your keys to getting in the 700+ credit score club -- Having good credit pays -- in dollars and cents. In an ever-tightening credit market, having a solid credit history with a credit score well over 700 will open doors to money-saving opportunities ... (See Club)

Your options for negotiating outstanding debt -- If your income has been dramatically reduced, then you may qualify for some assistance from the creditor that might not negatively affect your credit score. ... (See Score)

Good credit history doesn't go away when card canceled -- If your only credit card gets closed, don't worry. That good credit history that you built will live on, even as the card becomes just a memory. ... (See History)

Lending standards keep tightening, Fed says -- It didn't get any easier to borrow on credit cards at the start of this year, based on the Federal Reserve's quarterly loan officers' survey released today. ... (See Loan survey)

Survey: 34 million Americans admit paying credit card bills late -- More than 58 million Americans admit they don't pay their bills on time, including 34 million who were late paying credit card bills, according to an annual consumer survey. ... (See Survey)

Laid off, stuck with company credit card bill -- If you are an authorized user on your company card, then you aren't responsible for payment, but that might not stop collectors from harassing you for it. ... (See Company card)

How to react to a 'rate-jack' attack -- The bad news is in. Your credit card issuer has sent a change in term notice of an impending interest rate hike on your account. But you have options. ... (See How to handle credit card rate increases)

Is the American love affair with credit cards over? -- It's no surprise that many consumers are unhappy with credit card companies, but their unhappiness may lead to long-term behavioral changes ... (See Change)

Who's liable for charges on dead dad's credit card? -- An authorized user wonders who's liable for charges on her deceased father's credit card ... (See Liable)

Ex-wife maxes out joint cards: Who pays? -- Divorce is at best unpleasant and at worse very painful. Plus, the lingering separation of finances can add to the pain for years. ... (See Maxed out)

Hybrid credit, prepaid cards may offer crunch relief -- Consumers trapped in the credit crunch may soon have another choice when hybrid credit/prepaid card combos become more widespread. ... (See Hybrid credit, prepaid cards)

Citi 'Payment Partner' plan: Bonus to volunteer for credit limit cut -- Citi is the latest credit card issuer to get creative in encouraging customers to make big payments -- or just go away. ... (See Citi)

Best Buy takes over Circuit City cards -- Circuit City cardholders will get Best Buy cards in May. Their new cards would have the same account numbers, rates, fees and terms as their old cards. ... (See New cards)

Credit card glossary terms to know for when you move -- Moving is stressful enough without having to worry about your credit, but if you're not careful and don't plan ahead, the opportunities for a move to cause credit chaos can multiply. ... (See Moving credit)

Card issuers more willing to make concessions in debt deals, but fewer consumers qualify -- Realizing something's better than nothing, card issuers are OKing more generous debt management plans -- but they're still too costly for many consumers. ... (See Debt)

Credit Card Help: 10 things you must know about credit reports and credit scores -- You may have heard the terms credit history and credit score. But what exactly is a credit history, what is a credit score -- and why are they so important? ... (See Reports and scores)

Credit Card Help: 8 things you must know about credit card debt -- Credit card debt is not inevitable. Here are some basic credit guidelines to help keep you out of debt ... (See Credit card debt)

Credit Card Help: 10 worst credit card mistakes -- Making these 10 mistakes will turn good credit into bad and bad credit into lenders-won't-go-near-you credit. ... (See Mistakes)

Credit Card Help: 7 things you must know about credit cards -- Forge a positive and fruitful relationship with credit cards by learning the basics before you apply for an account ... (See 7 things)

Credit report sample: How to read, understand your credit report -- This interactive guide displays an example of a personal credit report and explains how each part works ... (See User's guide to credit reports)

Credit Card Help: 8 tips to keep credit card rates and fees low -- As the cost of credit creeps ever higher, micro-managing your finances is assuming greater importance. Here are 8 tips to help you keep your interest rates and fees low ... (See 8 tips to keep credit card rates and fees low)

Joint accounts: Till debt do you part -- Having a joint credit card with your spouse doesn't cause your credit histories to mix. But missing a payment will affect both credit scores ... (See Credit)

Credit card authorized users, joint account holders: Know the difference -- The differences are significant between authorized users and joint account holders -- especially in payment responsibilities. ... (See Opening Credits)

FICO scores stable despite slashed credit limits, study says -- Nearly 20 million consumers had their credit lines reduced or eliminated over a six-month period in 2008 through no fault of their own, but credit scores overall were largely unaffected, according to a recent study by credit scoring giant FICO ... (See FICO)

7 cases when it's OK to carry a credit card balance -- It's generally unwise to carry a balance, but sometimes the alternatives are worse. ... (See Balance)

Credit card interest rates - interactive graphic on APR changes -- Since coming under financial pressure, credit card issuing banks have stopped passing along rate cuts from the Federal Reserve, CreditCards.com data show ... (See Credit card interest rates)

New survey finds most common ID theft victims -- The most common identity theft victims are middle-aged married females, divorcees, or those who make more than $75,000 a year, according to a December 2008 survey released by Nationwide Insurance. ... (See ID theft)

7 tips for starting a credit history amid an economic crisis -- In today’s rocky economy, those seeking credit for the first time must adopt new strategies, think creatively. ... (See Starting a credit history during an economic crisis)

FTC charges seven credit repair companies with deceit -- The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint today with the U.S. District Court of New Jersey accusing seven companies and their principals of violating federal law by falsely promising to erase all negative information from a consumer's credit report. ... (See Credit)

Credit card video: Unusual items on your credit report -- CreditCards.com's Jeremy Simon talks about how unexpected items such as library fines, cell phone bills and speeding tickets can appear on your credit report and hurt your credit score. ... (See Credit report video)

Credit card video: What is a credit utilization ratio? -- A finance expert explains what a credit utilization ratio is and how it affects your credit score. ... (See Credit card videos)

Credit card glossary terms to know when you're in debt -- Experts advise to always pay off your balance, don't spend more than you have and keep your credit balance well below 50 percent of your available credit. ... (See Debt)

Credit card glossary terms to know for identity theft -- The most proactive step consumers can take to detect fraud is to monitor closely their bank and credit card statements. ... (See Credit card glossary terms)

Credit card glossary terms to know for first-time card users -- Ready for your first credit card? Before you start charging, here are credit card terms that will help you become a responsible credit card user. ... (See First credit card)

Credit card delinquencies fell year to year, TransUnion says -- Although recent data showed an annual decline in credit card delinquencies during late 2008, that trend is likely already over. ... (See Delinquencies)

Good credit cardholders lumped in with bad -- Banks are pulling back more than ever before to limit the amount of risk they have, so even perfect payment clients are compromised ... (See AmEx)

Credit card charge-offs hit record high in January -- Banks increasingly abandoned their attempts to collect money from delinquent credit cardholders in January, according to research and risk analysis firm Moody's. ... (See Bad debt)

When credit card debt ruins retirement -- When credit card debt dulls the glow of your golden years, you have options: reverse mortgages, bankruptcy or credit counseling. ... (See Retirement)

Mad at your credit card issuer? You still have to pay -- Mad at your credit card issuer? While you may resent having to pay that bill, choosing not to pay it will hurt you even more. ... (See Mad)

ID theft, debt collection top list of consumer complaints -- In the Federal Trade Commission's 2008 compilation of consumer gripes, ID Theft ran first for the ninth straight year, and complaints about credit cards jumped into the top 20. ... (See Consumer complaints)

Laid off and in debt: 5 steps to take now to keep credit intact -- Millions of Americans are now without jobs, and many most likely carry credit card debt. Here are steps to take immediately to protect your credit. ... (See Laid off)

Example shows how switching credit cards has become harder, costlier -- We took some typical prices of cards and fees in the credit card marketplace of early 2009 and find that for the credit card shopper who fits the average, the cost is ... ... (See Balance transfer)

Don't like your credit card terms? Just switch, right? Maybe, maybe not. -- If you don't like your credit card, just get a new one, right? Not so easy any more. ... (See Switch)

Issuers offer new tools to aid, educate credit cardholders -- The lending industry may have played a major role in leading us into the current financial crisis, but when it comes to consumers' personal finances, credit card issuers want you to know they are here to help. ... (See New tools)

Minor's credit card contract raises legal, ethical questions -- A credit card contract with 17-year-old is likely not enforceable -- with some exceptions. However, continuing to run up debt on that card raises some tricky moral and ethical questions. ... (See Ethics)

Not all issuers allow you to opt out of rate increases -- When hit with a sudden increase to your APR, most card companies allow you to opt out, keep the old rate and pay off the balance, but not all are so kind. ... (See Opt out)

Consumers lose access to major credit score -- Consumers have lost access to a key version of the credit score many banks use to make lending decisions. ... (See Experian )

Despite media reports, with good credit, you can get a credit card -- "Credit crunch." "Card issuers tightening their belts." "Credit limits cut." "Interest rates jacked." You've seen the headlines, but just how bad is it? Can you still get a credit card? ... (See Yes, you can)

6 ways to protect your identity in a data breach -- As data breaches become more prolific, it's important to be more proactive in protecting yourself from identity theft. ... (See Theft)

Lessons in paying off delinquent debt -- Settling an old debt won't necessarily improve your credit score, but it can free you of the collection process and to know that you made good on your obligation ... (See Old debt)

Credit card forbearance programs offer reprieve from debt -- Major credit card issuers' programs that allow temporary relief for overstretched cardholders are busier than ever, and some of the issuers are improving them. ... (See Forbearance)

Experian FICO score may soon be off-limits to consumers -- Come Valentine's Day, you will likely lose access to your FICO score from credit bureau Experian, even though lenders will continue to use that score to make decisions about your credit. ... (See FICO)

Fitch: Credit card late payments hit record high, charge-offs spike -- Fitch Ratings reports that the recession is taking its toll on credit cardholders, as a record number of them pay their bills late. ... (See Credit card delinquencies)

Couples should debt plan when estate planning -- Avoid headaches for surviving spouses by taking responsibility for debt balances into estate planning. ... (See Debt plan)

Income down, bills up. Time for credit counseling? -- When faced with spiraling debt, seeking advice from an accredited debt counselor will help you consider your options. ... (See Options)

When medical problems hit, bankruptcy can make sense -- Bankruptcy laws were created for catastrophic situations, not for carelessness. However, filing should be done only when other options have been considered. ... (See Last resort)

Long-awaited credit scoring revisions unveiled -- The rollout of the long-awaited update to Fair Isaac's popular FICO credit scoring model was finally announced today, but it will likely take some before the changes have a real impact. ... (See FICO revisions)

7 credit card myths debunked -- We've all heard them, and we've probably believed more than a few. But living by a credit card myth can cost you in fees and hurt your credit rating. Here are seven of the most pervasive credit card myths to watch out for. ... (See Myths)

5 tips for talking to elderly parents about credit card debt -- As parents age, many of their children have to get more involved in their finances. We look at when, why and how to step in, how to handle problems that broaching the topic might create, and how to handle the relationship on an ongoing basis once you've gotten involved. ... (See Tips)

6 tips for choosing a money club -- Looking at joining an existing money club? Here are six factors to consider to make the best match. ... (See 6 questions)

When loaning money, weigh your own financial situation first -- When helping someone out financially, a good rule of thumb to consider is if the assistance would immediately or in the future cause havoc with your own personal finances. ... (See Loan)

Bankruptcies surge in 2008, passing 1 million mark again -- Personal bankruptcies surged to more than 1 million filings in the United States in 2008 -- the most since a rewrite of bankruptcy laws took effect in 2005. ... (See Bankruptcy)

The spiritual side of debt counseling: faith-based debt counselors abound -- For the devout in search of debt counseling, faith-based organizations can offer more than just number-crunching, dollars-and-cents advice. They can offer spiritually sound financial counsel that can help debtors chart a course to financial freedom. ... (See Faith)

Are you a bankruptcy risk? Enigmatic score may tell lenders -- It's a number that lenders may consider when deciding whether or not to lend you money, but it isn't the well-known credit score. Meet the bankruptcy score, the credit score's more mysterious cousin. ... (See Score)

Suspect identity theft? How to check for, fix ID theft or fraud -- You can opt out of unwanted mail solicitations, but a sudden flurry could be a hint that new credit has been opened in your name. ... (See Credit reports)

More Americans getting free FICO scores -- Fair Isaac inks deal to let credit union members see once-secret score at no charge. ... (See FICO)

Your credit card is a tattletale: With electronic payments, little is private -- Credit card issuers have access to a wealth of information about where you shop, how much you spend and how often. Increasingly, they use that data to change your access to credit. ... (See Privacy)

Here's how to help young adults with bad credit -- Many young adults find themselves in credit card debt with no means or knowledge on how to get themselves out. Here's some advice. ... (See Credit lessons)

Credit card statistics, debt statistics, industry facts -- Credit card statistics, surveys and research from a variety of sources, all cited, making fact-checking and research easy ... (See Credit card statistics)

6 new rules for negotiating changes in credit card terms -- With credit card companies slashing credit lines and raising interest rates to recoup heavy losses, cardholders face new hurdles when trying to negotiate credit card terms. ... (See 6 rules)

Statutes of limitation for credit card debt collection, all 50 states -- Creditors have a limited time in which to file suit over unpaid credit card debt. Here are the statutes of limitation for all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia ... (See Statutes of limitation for credit card debt)

7 irrational credit card fears (and 7 REAL worries) -- Are you or someone you know afraid to use -- or even obtain -- plastic? Sure, credit cards come with a series of essential cautions, but overall they are safe and useful financial management tools. ... (See Fears)

Credit card balance transfers: The landscape is changing -- Balance transfers are valuable tools, but the radically changed 2009 landscape means they're trickier and harder to find. ... (See Balance transfer)

Best credit card stories of 2008 -- The year 2008 saw unprecedented change in the credit card industry, turning card debt from convenient friend into everyone's enemy. These are the top 10 stories that helped chronicle it. ... (See 2008 review)

9 predictions for credit cards in 2009 -- This has been a tumultuous year for credit cardholders and issuers. What does 2009 hold? We'll take a look. ... (See '09 card predictions)

Credit card consolidation -- Methods for credit card consolidation and how to save money in interest and finance charges. ... (See credit card consolidation)

Medical identity theft: what it is, how to prevent it -- Treat your health insurance card as you would a credit card or driver's license, because like the other forms of identification, great harm can be done if it falls in the wrong hands. ... (See Med ID)

Strategies for escaping a too-expensive auto lease -- If you signed an lease that turns out to be unaffordable, you have a few options, but most aren't pretty. ... (See Lease)

Credit score formulas not changing as credit limits slashed -- Banks' decision to cut credit limits may hurt cardholders, but borrowers shouldn't expect any immediate help from the companies that decide how those lines of credit impact credit scores. ... (See Score)

Leaving debt behind in another country -- Although credit scores don't cross borders, don't bank on being able to just move away from your money troubles. ... (See Bailing on debt)

Your monthly credit card statement gets a makeover -- Credit card issuers have begun to roll out new monthly statements to their customers. The makeovers were required by new federal rules that take full effect July 1, 2010. ... (See Changes)

Ignoring old debt can come back to haunt -- Lenders view delinquent, but paid off debt better than delinquent unpaid debt. ... (See Bad debt)

Understanding credit card minimum payments -- Your credit card's minimum-payment-due amount can be a mysteriously shifting figure that makes a significant impact on the monthly budget. We'll help you solve the riddle. ... (See Minimum)

7 tips to avoid a credit card late fee -- Being even a minute late with a credit card payment can cost you dearly -- as much as $39 each time, according to one recent survey -- but some simple steps can help keep your exposure to these extra costs to a minimum. ... (See Late fees)

Just say no to store credit cards -- There are too many reasons why you shouldn't want a credit card for every store in the mall, so pass up those one-time discounts. ... (See Stores)

Keeping your credit score clean before you close on a home -- Unwitting homebuyers who go on a credit card binge risk losing their pre-approval status and financing. ... (See Homebuyers)

FACTA and the rules behind getting a free credit report -- A federal law known as FACTA provides that credit reporting bureaus must provide a free copy of your credit report every 12-month period. ... (See FACTA )

Student credit card issuers losing their welcome on campus -- Despite the big money many colleges earn from making deals with card issuers, some schools and states are clamping down on giving banks access. ... (See Unwelcome)

Tips for college students considering credit cards -- Consumer advocates and college officials offer advice to students who may not be familiar with the world of credit cards ... (See Credit)

Card issuers increasingly quick to close dormant, inactive accounts -- The message these days from credit card issuers to customers who aren't using their plastic is a blunt one: Use it or lose it. ... (See Dormant)

Got bad credit? Know your bad credit credit card choices -- Those with bad credit have choices -- some dangled by predators looking to make their money problems worse. ... (See Danger)

How to talk to creditors when you can't pay credit card bills -- A step-by-step guide to talking with creditors when there isn't enough cash for a complete payment. ... (See Deal)

When collectors come after you for ex's unpaid debt -- It's an all-too-common problem: Your ex defaults on credit card debt on a joint account, so collectors are coming after you. What are your options? ... (See Ex-spouse)

Protecting your children from identity theft -- Since years can pass before their crime is detected, identity thieves increasingly target children. ... (See Child ID theft)

Step-by-step guide to checking your minor child's credit -- If there are indications your child's identity has been stolen, these steps will help you successfully contact the credit bureaus to check. ... (See Identity theft)

Help! My APR's been hiked to 27.99 percent -- Credit's tight and your card issuers are reacting by boosting interest rates. Your choices are either to pay off the balance or transfer to another card. ... (See Balance transfer)

Paying less than minimum won't ward off garnishment -- Paying less than the minimum amount won't ward off garnishment. It's best to contact creditors directly to work out a payment plan. ... (See Small payments)

Debt collectors to debtors: Let's make a deal -- The tough economy is forcing debt collectors to rethink how they do business. Many will now accept down payments and a little each month from cash-strapped debtors. ... (See Debt)

Pros and cons of various sources of home down payments -- Down payments are once again a must to qualify for a mortgage. There are many sources, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. ... (See Sources)

Credit card cash advances for a home down payment? Not smart -- With no-money-down mortgages gone, lenders say they sometimes see buyers draw credit card cash advances to make their home down payments. ... (See Cash advance)

Consumer credit report 100-word statement sample letters -- These sample 100-word letters -- tailored to satisfy each of the Big Three credit bureaus and fit several situations -- can help you plead your case on your credit report ... (See 100-word statement sample letters)

Higher limit or second card will impact your credit score -- If you think your credit limit's too low, you may consider either asking your current issuer for a higher limit or getting a second card. Either way, don't forget to consider the impact the move will have on your credit. ... (See Credit limits)

Building a credit history without credit cards -- Living without credit cards can lead to a "thin" credit file where lenders don't have enough evidence that you are a good credit risk. ... (See Thin file)

CreditCards.com's credit crunch survival guide -- Credit's getting tougher to come by these days, and this credit crunch impacts virtually every American. So what is a consumer to do? It depends on how you use your card. With that in mind, we've created this guide to help you make your way. ... (See Crunch)

Store credit cards still offered, but approvals become stricter -- While it may sound enticing to save 15 percent off your purchase at the checkout counter by applying for that retail credit card, your chances of getting approved for a store credit card are getting slimmer. ... (See Store cards)

Disabled vet seeks relief from credit card debt -- A disabled veteran living on a fixed government income is overcome by credit card debt and seeks a way out. ... (See Help!)

U.S. spending and credit card offers decrease in wake of economy -- Consumers aren't much in the mood to spend, and credit card issuers aren't much in the mood to let them, two new reports say. ... (See Debt and spending)

Take control of debt, avoid bankruptcy -- Bankruptcy is not the easy solution to debt reduction -- it's expensive, takes time and paperwork and destroys your credit rating for almost a decade. ... (See Bankruptcy)

Opening Credits: Better credit can improve your job prospects -- Going for a first job? Great. Buff your credit report as well as your resume, because employers these days look at both ... (See Opening Credits)

Authorized user piggybacking: When should the credit ride end? -- Young people who ride their parents' credit scoring coattails through 'piggybacking' eventually need to go out on their own credit paths -- but carefully, experts say. ... (See Piggybacking)

Fed report: Banks tighten lending standards even more -- Lenders are sharply tightening standards, by cutting credit limits and increasing minimum payments and required scores. ... (See Cuts)

Credit card addiction: How to break the spending cycle -- For compulsive buyers, the overwhelming need to buy is an obsession that can ruin finances, marriages, careers and even lives, say compulsive shopping addicts and researchers. ... (See Compulsive shopping)

Leaving country won't avoid wage garnishment -- Leaving the country to escape credit card debt doesn't guarantee that it will be gone if and when you come back. ... (See No escape)

Consumer, lender groups join to ask Feds for credit card debt forgiveness -- Many consumers can no longer qualify for traditional debt reduction plans, two groups have asked to test a more generous debt-reduction plan. ... (See Debt plan)

Consumers, credit bureaus grapple with 'thin file' credit score problem -- Thin is good -- unless it's your credit file. There it can be a problem, since lenders are wary of consumers who haven't already taken out loans. ... (See Thin file)

How HUD evaluates nontraditional credit for FHA mortgages -- Here are some of the guidelines issued in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for establishing and evaluating nontraditional credit histories. ... (See Nontraditional credit)

How wage garnishment works -- and how to avoid it -- Garnishment, a last-ditch effort to collect debt, can result in a court order seizing part of your wages freezing and then draining your bank accounts. Here's how it works -- and how to avoid it ... (See How garnishment works)

Learn the ABCs of credit scores, credit scoring -- Credit scores are intriciate, but increasingly important for consumers to know about. We'll break down the credit scoring basics. ... (See Credit scores)

Learn the three Cs of credit: Credit score, capacity to pay, collateral -- When deciding whether to finance an item over time, consider the three Cs of credit to see if it will hurt your credit score. ... (See Credit tips)

FTC cracks down on 'credit repair' scammers -- The Federal Trade Commission today announced the forced closure of a number of businesses that targeted consumers with false claims of boosting their credit scores. ... (See Credit repair)

How to buy a car with a credit card -- and when not to -- Not all car dealers let you, but for those with rewards cards and faith in their ability to repay, buying a car with a credit card can make sense. ... (See New wheels)

5 tips for those considering bankruptcy -- Bankruptcy experts, attorneys and consumer credit counselors offer advice to those thinking of filing for bankruptcy ... (See 5 basic bankruptcy tips)

Credit recovery advice: Start slow, do it right this time -- When pulling out of bankruptcy, it's important to understand how you got there in the first place in order to avoid getting there again. ... (See Credit limits)

Three years later, bankruptcy law fails to quash filings -- On the third anniversary of bankruptcy reform law, critics wonder how much bankruptcy filings will grow in economic downturn. ... (See Bankruptcy)

Bankruptcy filings, state by state, 2005-2010 -- Interactive map shows rate of each state's bankruptcy filings, and how the pace fell off a cliff in 2005, then rebounded. ... (See Bankruptcy map)

Study: Delinquencies ramping up for those who took out mortgages recently -- It used to be that homeownership was a mark of stability, a factor that lenders took into account by opening their vaults a little wider to those who had mortgages. No more. ... (See ARMs)

6 credit card terms you can negotiate and change -- If you have a high credit score, you may have more leverage than you think in negotiating over these six terms. ... (See Negotiate)

Advocates for the blind take aim at touch-screen terminals -- For the blind, it's tough enough already to tell a $5 bill from a $20. New payment technologies such as touch-screen point of sale terminals now pose new challenges. ... (See Screens)

How balance transfers impact your credit score -- The ratio between how much credit you have available and how much credit is used is calculated as part of the amounts-owed category when calculating your credit score. ... (See Pay it off)

Treasury, Ad Council team up to promote credit smarts among young consumers -- New educational campaign targets younger consumers with the message: Take control of your credit and personal finances. ... (See Control your credit)

Credit card penalty rates: Mistakes that trigger default APRs -- Credit cardholders should recognize that they may be just one late payment away from credit card penalty (default) rates, and sharply higher bills. ... (See Penalty rates)

Deadline passed for free TransUnion credit monitoring -- Sept. 24 was the final day for members of the public to sign up for free credit monitoring. ... (See Lawsuit)

Credit card debt up, delinquencies down in Q2, report says -- Americans had more average credit card debt and delinquencies were down slightly during the second quarter of 2008. ... (See Q2 debt report)

How credit card balance transfers affect your credit score -- When a consumer is faced with a high-rate card, switching to a lower-rate card is smart, if you do it right. ... (See Balance transfers and credit score)

What is debt reaffirmation? -- Reaffirming a loan can be necessary, but too many consumers say debt collectors tricked them into doing it accidentally. ... (See Old debt)

6 bad reasons debtors reaffirm debt -- Emotions, lack of knowledge and even deception can play a role in a debtor's decision to reaffirm a debt. ... (See Old debt)

9 questions to ask before you reaffirm an old debt -- You need facts to decide whether to reaffirm a debt. These questions will ferret them out. ... (See 9 questions)

Identity theft sample letters -- If you've been a victim, this step-by-step guide and set of printable letters can help retrieve your name. ... (See ID letters)

Can credit repair companies ruin your credit score? -- With $23,000 in credit card debt, can a credit repair company erase or reduce that debt legally without hurting your credit score? ... (See Repair)

Pros and cons of using social lending for credit card debt consolidation -- Social lending can be a good choice for consolidating and retiring credit card debt, but has drawbacks ... (See Pros and cons)

How to use social lending to consolidate credit card debt -- Shedding credit card debt is the most common cause that people seek loans on 'social lending' sites such as Prosper. ... (See Debt)

Pregnancy or paying down debt? How to fit a baby into your financial future -- Your heart -- or your ticking biological clock -- says it's time to have a baby. Your credit card bill, however, may be saying something else. ... (See Debt or diapers)

Patience is key to credit score repair -- It takes time and patience for your credit score to rise after you pay off neglected credit card debt, says CreditCards.com columnist Todd Ossenfort. ... (See Raising your credit score)

When is the right time to retire a student credit card? -- If your student credit card has a low credit limit and high interest rate, you should look to graduate to a better card. ... (See Card graduation)

Protect your computer -- and your identity -- on campus -- Students heading to college need to take precautions to protect their computers and smartphones, and the sensitive information they contain ... (See College ID safety)

CreditCards.com 'Taking Charge' survey, part 2: People adapt card use to changed economy -- A new CreditCards.com survey suggests the financially fit are surviving the economic downturn, but others are not. ... (See Coping)

CreditCards.com 'Taking Charge' graphs, part 2: People adapt card use to changed economy -- These graphs show how Americans are adapting to a changed economic landscape. ... (See Card usage)

Cancel that credit card, take the credit score hit -- Yes, canceling a credit card can hurt a credit score, but it's worth it if you're struggling, says The Credit Guy. ... (See Credit score)

Taking Charge poll: Nearly 3 of 4 Americans favor government regulation of credit cards -- The second annual CreditCards.com 'Taking Charge' survey says Americans mistrust but need credit cards. ... (See 2008 poll)

Add positive information to your credit report to balance the negative -- To help boost your credit score after paying off delinquent accounts, you need to add some positive information to your credit report that will help balance the negative. ... (See Credit scores)

Hiding credit card debt -- The exact number of men and women who hide credit card debt from a partner isn't known, but anecdotal evidence and interviews with financial planners suggest that the problem is widespread. ... (See Secret debt)

Tips for uncovering, dealing with hidden credit card debt -- If you find a loved one has hidden debt, you could scream, fight or even ask for a divorce. Experts, however, say there are better choices. ... (See Hidden debt)

Could you live without credit cards? Here's how some people do -- Forgoing credit cards and leading a cash-only lifestyle today seems as foreign as mailing a handwritten letter: We know some people do it, but it's hard to understand why. ... (See Opting out of credit)

Surprise! Unexpected items can appear on a credit report -- Hoping to keep your credit score up? You’ll not only want to stay current with your credit card bills, mortgage payments and student loans -- you may also need to pay any outstanding library fines. ... (See Credit report)

Steps to take when collectors violate your rights -- As a credit card account authorized user, you have no financial responsibility for this account, and the bank knows it. That doesn’t stop unscrupulous companies from trying to collect, however. ... (See Collections violations)

Authorized user 'piggybacking' for better credit score given reprieve by FICO -- A controversial score-raising technique that had been slated for phase-out gets new life. ... (See Authorized user)

Steps to take to repair your credit -- When repairing your credit score, it's best to just start making payments on bad debt rather than trying to negotiate the balance down, says Todd Ossenfort, 'The Credit Guy.' ... (See Credit score)

Lending crisis leads to cutting credit limits, hurting consumers' scores -- Cowed by the lending crisis, card issuers are quick to cut credit limits, an act that lowers the ratio of used to available credit, which hurts credit scores. ... (See Card limits)

What to do if a credit card issuer cuts your credit limit -- You have alternatives to regain your limit -- and a higher credit score. ... (See Credit limit)

What happens to credit card debt if a bank fails? -- If a card-issuing bank were to fail, consumers would still owe the money and have to pay it -- but to someone else. Terms might change, too. ... (See Keep paying)

When is a credit card's 'fixed rate' not really fixed? -- If you sign a credit card agreement with an issuer that claims to practice 'universal default,' your 'fixed' interest rate can be raised at any time. ... (See Fixed rate)

13 greatest credit card songs: How cards, debt are seen in popular music, songs -- Songs about money are a dime a dozen. But where's the love for credit cards? We found it. Here are 13 songs by everyone from George Strait to Whitney Houston. ... (See Credit card songs)

After creating a debt management plan, stick to it -- CreditCards.com columnist Todd Ossenfort strongly recommends that once you're in credit counseling, stick to the goals set up in a debt management plan and avoid temptation to get into more debt ... (See Debt management plan)

Is selling your house to pay down debt a good idea? -- A reader who has $75,000 in credit card debt wants to know if selling her house to pay off debt is a good idea. ... (See Credit card debt)

12 debt questions to ask before getting married -- Before you say, "I do," you should get to know each other's financial health, and nothing says it better than your credit report. Here are 12 questions to ask your betrothed. ... (See Debt questions)

Canceling a credit card vs. keeping a bad one: Compare costs -- Weighing the true cost of canceling a credit card with an annual fee: How much will it hurt your credit score? ... (See Canceled credit card)

Credit checks for job applicants become more common -- Increasingly, job hunters are required to allow credit checks during the application process. It's legal, but the applicant has rights, too. ... (See Employment credit checks)

VantageScore credit score product combines three scores into one -- The VantageScore, introduced in 2006, credit scoring product combines Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit scores into one score. ... (See VantageScore)

Credit repair good guys: How to find legitimate reselling and rescoring firms -- Credit repair firms say they can boost your credit score, but it's credit resellers who do the job for less hype, less money and less mystery. ... (See Credit resellers)

More colleges offer courses in money, debt management -- Basic personal finance is not typically on the short list of required college courses, but universities are realizing that the more they teach students how to manage their money now, the more prepared they are to ward off debt in the future. ... (See students learning debt management )

Adulthood, legal rights and credit cards: Turning 18 with a credit card -- At 18, young adults can apply for credit. Can you -- or your teenage son or daughter -- handle it? ... (See Student credit)

Tips for choosing fee harvesting credit cards -- People with bad credit may have few options for getting a credit card. Experts advise doing a lot of research before signing up for fee harvesting credit cards. ... (See Fee harvesting credit cards)

5 sneaky credit card tricks -- and how to beat the bank -- Just like Three-Card Monte, these tricks can clean out your wallet faster than you can pick a card, any card. ... (See Magic tricks)

Relatives must be careful when asked to co-sign on a credit card. -- Relatives must be careful when asked to co-sign on a credit card. ... (See Co-signing a loan)

Consumers could see refunds from $200 million for 'fee harvesting' credit cards -- Federal regulators are seeking $200 million in restitution for consumers from a major credit card marketer and two banks for how they marketed and issued subprime credit cards. ... (See Fee harvesting credit cards)

Credit card issuance a matter of black and white? -- Do all Americans really have equal access to credit cards or are some groups more likely to be granted credit than others? A study found where you live may play a key role in whether you're granted a credit card. ... (See Credit card approvals)

Good credit customers: Shop around for the best interest rates -- If you have good credit, it pays to shop around for lower interest rates. ... (more)

9 tips for dividing credit card debt -- Got credit card debt? Going through a divorce? These steps will help you cope -- and not get stuck with your ex's tab. ... (See Debt and divorce)

3 things you should never check daily: your weight, your stocks and your credit score. -- There are three things you should never check daily: your weight, your stocks and your credit score. ... (See Credit score)

Authorized user or joint account holder? -- There are major differences between an authorized user and joint account holder for credit card accounts. One is liable for unpaid balances and the other is not. ... (See Sharing credit)

Free credit report and notice of potential interest rate hikes could be required in proposed new rules -- New proposed rules would require credit card issuers to send notices and provide free credit reports when consumers are subject to interest rate hikes based on credit reports. ... (See Credit card APRs)

Top 10 ways students ruin their credit -- College can be a great time to enjoy independence and build a foundation for the future, or an opportunity to begin their careers with unnecessary credit card debt. ... (See Student credit)

Two years behind on credit card payments -- How do you even begin to pay back credit card debt that is two years old? ... (See Credit card debt)

Self control and credit cards -- Don't shun credit because you've had trouble with overspending in the past. A strategy of taking on credit in small doses is better for you, says Sally Herigstad. ... (See Credit card management)

Credit issuers becoming less willing to cut deals with debtors -- Credit counseling agencies could once negotiate lower interest rates on behalf of debt-ridden clients. But credit card issuers are no longer willing to be as forgiving. ... (See Credit card APRs)

Credit inquiries and your credit score -- The Credit Guy explains how credit inquiries negatively impact your credit score and how long these inquiries remain on your credit report, as well as advises readers to not needlessly shop for credit. ... (See Credit score)

How to handle collection calls for a dead person's debt -- After a death, creditors may come calling. Here's a checklist what to ask, say ... (See Handling debt collection calls for a deceased relative or friend)

To co-sign or not to co-sign -- A mother wants to help her daughter buy a house, but due to the daughter's bad credit, will have to co-sign the loan. 'To Her Credit' columnist Sally Herigstad weighs the benefits and the risks of co-signing on someone else's loan. ... (See Joint credit)

Understanding how credit scores work -- Find out all the different elements that are considered when your credit score is compiled. ... (See Credit scores)

Establishing credit after divorce -- A stay-at-home mom who finds herself divorced with no credit of her own gets a path to her own credit history from 'To Her Credit' columnist Sally Herigstad. ... (See New credit)

Improving credit to refinance a truck or auto loan -- Steps to take to build a strong credit score. ... (See Rebuilding a credit score)

While paying off debt, learn investing, says 'To Her Credit' columnist Sally Herigstad -- If put off investing, you may get bogged down in trying to pay off your debts and never be able to start your portfolio. ... (See Saving for retirement)

Credit, credit scores and walking away from truck, auto lease -- Seven months after leasing a new truck, a woman realizes she's in too deep and needs to get out of her lease. ... (See Leasing a car)

Don't let a disability ruin your credit -- An unexpected illness or injury can send you into debt and sink your credit rating faster than you can say, 'I need disability.' ... (See Debt and disability)

Recession-proof your credit and finances -- Economic downturn. Temporary slump. Whatever you want to call it, you need to be prepared financially for economic ups and downs. ... (See Managing credit during a recession)

Consider all options before filing for bankruptcy, says The Credit Guy -- The reason that bankruptcy is recommended only as a last resort is because of the personal and financial toll a bankruptcy has on a person or family, The Credit Guy advises a reader. ... (See Bankruptcy)

Card issuers' bad earnings reshape credit card offers -- The awful annual results reported by credit card issuers may not be felt only by shareholders. They have begun to cause pain to some credit cardholders, as well. ... (See Credit card offers)

Car's too small, loan's upside down -- A woman who needs a bigger car but who is upside down on her car loan should focus on paying down the debt before looking at bigger vehicles, says The Credit Guy. ... (more)

Q&A: Credit counselor urges consumer education -- Too few people know about or talk about debt, says the head of one of the major counseling accrediting agencies. ... (more)

Consumer credit woes mean boom in debt collection -- If you've never been contacted by a debt collector before, chances are growing you will. Collection activity has increased sharply as the economy swoons, and it's more important than ever for consumers to know their rights. ... (more)

Tips for immigrants building a U.S. credit history -- America lures many who dream of living better. But when immigrants arrive, their credit histories rarely make the trip. ... (See See 'Tips for immigrants rebuilding credit')

Credit card balance transfers -- This series of articles will help you figure out the best way to transfer and consolidate the balance of your debt. ... (See Guide to balance transfers)

Corporate credit cards: How they work, their benefits, drawbacks -- Used wisely, corporate credit cards can help you achieve career goals and reap personal perks. Used poorly, they can lead to a corporate freefall, or at least a drop of a few rungs ... (more)

Dad co-signed, I messed up his credit. Now what? -- You ruined Dad's credit score by running up a big debt on a card he co-signed for you, but no, you didn't cost him his house, The Credit Guy advises a reader. ... (more)

Be cautious about opening store credit card accounts during the holidays -- Store credit cards may be appealing to shoppers looking to save money, but there are a number of reasons that initial 10% savings may not be enough to make having such a card a winning proposition. ... (more)

Moving abroad? Your credit history in the U.S. won't follow -- No matter how good your credit in the U.S., if you need to establish credit in a foreign country, expect to start over. ... (more)

Credit freezes go national, get chilly welcome -- All three major credit bureaus have rolled out credit freezes as an identity theft fighting tool, but consumer rights groups say the changes don't go far enough. ... (more)

9 ways to avoid the subprime spillover problems -- The tightening of credit in the mortgage world has had limited effects so far among credit card issuers, but there are ways to make sure it won't hit you at all, experts say. ... (more)

4 ways to re-establish credit after bankruptcy -- Most responsible consumers who go through bankruptcy hope to borrow money again at reasonable rates. It can be done. Here's how. ... (more)

Fair Isaac to stop recognizing authorized user accounts -- FICO score developer Fair Isaac plans to introduce a new credit scoring model that does not recognize credit card accounts for authorized users. ... (more)

Credit checks are required before iPhone activation -- Consumers wanting the iPhone must submit to credit checks and may be required to pay up to $1,000 security deposit if credit's no good. ... (more)

Buying a car with a credit card -- Using a low interest credit card rather than a car loan to finance a car could be an option, as long as you are aware of what could trigger an increase in the card's APR. ... (more)

Poor Credit May Impact Your Insurance Rates -- Learn how insurers do not need to notify you if poor credit is affecting your rates. ... (more)

Credit card study shows Americans' feelings toward credit cards -- A new credit card study shows many people think credit cards are an easy way to fall into debt ... (more)

'Piggybacking' your way out of bad credit -- Consumers with bad credit can pay to 'piggyback' onto the credit card accounts of others in an effort to boost poor credit scores. ... (more)

Free credit report: Do you need to pay for it? -- Manage your credit and decide how to get your free credit report. ... (more)

FICO score change could affect those with bad credit -- A September 2007 tweak to Fair Isaac's FICO credit score is likely to impact consumers with bad credit or those seeking a bad credit credit card. ... (more)

Unemployed? Poor credit can leave you jobless -- Poor credit could affect whether you get hired for a job, since many employers look at applicants' credit reports. ... (more)

How corporate credit card can affect personal credit scores -- Do you have a corporate credit card in your name? If not handled right -- by you or your company -- it can affect your credit score. ... (more)

Advance fee credit cards -- Advance-fee credit cards target consumers with bad credit, but charge massive fees, don't rebuilt credit and can't be used like real credit cards. Avoid them. ... (more)

Bad credit history and delinquent credit cards -- Having delinquent credit cards can quickly result in having a bad credit history and other repercussions. ... (more)

Free credit reports offered to 5,000 students -- Visa provided college students with 5,000 free credit scores as part of 'Financial Literacy Month' for April 2007. ... (more)

Check credit reports to fix errors, prevent credit card denials -- Consumers can avoid potential problems with credit card issuers by running a background check on themselves and then correcting any erroneous personal information listed in public records. ... (more)

Canceling a credit card can impact your credit score -- You may want to cancel a credit card, but it can actually hurt your credit score. ... (more)

Credit scores impact auto insurance rates -- Consumers' use of credit cards affects not only their credit scores, but their insurance premiums as well. ... (more)

Help your credit score by using your credit card -- Don't end up with no credit! Find out how to help your credit score by using your credit card. ... (more)

4 ways to improve your credit score (without going crazy) -- Perfect credit scores are not necessary to get lenders' best rates. ... (more)

Credit card bad credit | Avoiding credit-related debt during the holidays -- By making some good decisions about credit card debt, paying for holiday gifts with plastic doesn't have to be a long-lasting pain. ... (more)

The truth about credit reporting -- Learn things you may not know about credit reporting at CreditCards.com. ... (more)

Credit Report Freeze Laws: Selecting who views your credit history -- Florida passes a law allowing consumers to freeze their credit report and limit who sees their credit report in an effort to reduce identity theft. (July 2006) ... (more)

Credit report errors: How to fix them -- Fix errors on your credit report by directly contacting the credit card companies. ... (more)

Teaching children about credit, debit cards -- If children are going to grow up into financially responsible adults, today's adults need to explain credit and debit cards to them. ... (more)

Credit card debt information (2006-2007) -- Listing of facts and statistics related to the credit card industry and personal debt. ... (more)

Credit Card Tips from TransUnion -- A credit reporting agency shows how credit card applications can negatively affect your credit score. ... (more)

VantageScore: A new company offers credit scores to consumers -- New credit score organization, Vantage Score, rivals FICO scores. ... (more)

Factors that make up credit scores -- How credit bureaus use credit behavior to calculate a score and how to obtain a free credit report. ... (more)

Universal default: What it is, how to avoid it -- Universal default allows credit card companies to periodically check your credit and increase rates if deemed appropriate. ... (more)

What is a credit report? -- Just what is a credit report? ... (more)

Answers to common questions about credit reports, credit reporting agencies -- Credit reports. Credit reporting agencies. Confused? Answers to common questions about credit reports in Q&A format. ... (more)

Credit scores: What's in them, why they're important, how they affect you -- Credit scores are an indicator of your financial health. Here are the basics of how they're built. ... (more)

Credit report: It should be reviewed on a yearly basis -- Learn how pulling your credit report yearly can keep you protected from errors and identity theft. ... (more)

Credit card tips: Do's and don'ts when closing accounts -- Follow these credit card tips when closing credit card accounts in order to maintain a high credit score. ... (more)

Online credit card applications: FAQ about CreditCards.com and your card application -- If you're wondering whether it's safe or smart to apply for a credit card here at CreditCards.com, it's both. Here are answers to frequently asked questions ... (more)