Allie Johnson

Allie Johnson

Allie Johnson is an award-winning freelance writer covering personal finance, business and lifestyle. She loves tracking down tips, tricks and cautionary tales about credit cards and money. She has written about Zen and the art of credit cards, crazy credit card purchases, true tales of identity theft – and much more.

Allie Johnson's stories for

Favorite credit card poll: Many stick with the same card at their own expense -- A new poll finds only 15 percent of Americans have swapped out their go-to credit card in the past year. Meanwhile, 30 percent have never changed the card that sits atop their wallet. ... (See Favorite credit card poll)

Data security poll: Americans leave their personal info open to thieves -- A new poll finds nearly all Americans get careless with their private information in some way. The most common error: reusing the same password online. ... (See Data security poll)

Poll: No end in sight for 2 out of 3 U.S. adults with debt -- Many Americans don't know when or if they'll ever get out of debt, according to a new poll. That includes 25 percent of people who have debt and think they'll die before paying it off. ... (See Debt free survey )

State credit card debt study: New Mexico, Southern states carry heftiest load -- A new analysis by found New Mexico carries the heftiest debt load in the nation. And Southern states took nine of the top 10 spots for states most burdened by debt. ... (See State credit card debt burden study )

Poll: 9 out of 10 parents would help bail children out of debt -- Only 1 parent in 10 would refuse to help a child get out of debt, according to a new survey. Over half said they would give $1,000 or more. ... (See Parents helping children with debt poll )

Online shopping poll: Most consumers can't resist unplanned buys -- Nearly half of American consumers have made an unplanned internet purchase in the past three months, and one in seven have done so in the past week, according to a new poll. ... (See Online shopping survey)

Small purchases: Many rewards cardholders still use cash instead of cards, poll finds -- Rewards credit cards can help you save money on big and small purchases, but many consumers prefer to plunk down cash when spending less than $10, according to a new poll ... (See Small purchases and credit cards poll )

How to upgrade your card with the same issuer -- Upgrading can allow you to get a better card in one easy transaction and possibly without the credit ding of a hard inquiry. ... (See Upgrade your card)

How to protect your cards and accounts online -- As we shop more online and pay bills via our computers and phones, how can we protect our financial transactions? It all starts with a secure network and then following some steps to reduce the chance a fraudster can steal your card and personal info. ... (See Online card protection guide)

Ultimate guide to airport security options -- Airport security is a hassle, but trusted traveler programs can speed your through TSA checkpoints. Here's what you need to know about TSA Precheck, Global Entry, CLEAR and cards that include travel credits to cover their costs. ... (See Airport security guide)

Best credit cards for newlyweds -- Now that you've said your vows, it might be time to combine your credit card rewards strategy. ... (See Best cards for new couples)

7 tips when redeeming points for a rewards 'experience' -- Enticed to redeem points for a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Know the rules of the road so you don't squander your rewards. ... (See Rewards 'experiences' advice)

How to take a 'girlfriend getaway' using card rewards -- With a little planning, you and your friends can use points and miles to take a memorable trip ... (See Girlfriend getaway on points)

Flying with Pets: Policies by Airline and Airport -- Need to fly with Fido? Know that a few airlines help offset the sometimes substantial cost by offering rewards for traveling with an animal companion. ... (See Flying with pets)

Rewards card tips to cut the cost of a family trip to Disney World -- Make your Disney World dreams come true by offsetting hotel and airfare costs through credit card rewards programs. ... (See Disney World card rewards)

Should you stay loyal to one card or play the field? -- With so many cards to choose from, sticking to just one can make you feel as if you're missing out, but there are some upsides. ... (See Staying loyal to one card)

Etiquette guide for 'refer-a-friend' credit card programs -- You want that bonus, but you don't want to lose your friend. Here's how. ... (See Refer-a-friend etiquette)

Everything you need to know about credit cards and sending your child abroad -- Parents should consider adding a credit card for spending and emergencies ... (See Card options for students abroad)

How to dig out of business card debt -- If you find yourself with a big balance on a small-business credit card, follow this road map to better financial ground. ... (See Business card debt)

Should you use card rewards to pay down debt? -- If you?re sitting on a pile of rewards and you have card debt, it?s a good idea to at least seriously consider redeeming them for cash ... (See Using rewards to pay down debt)

Q&A with author Emma Johnson on protecting credit as a single parent -- As a single mom going through a big life change, it's critical to stay on top of your credit because that's when you're going to need it most ... (See Emma Johnson Q&A)

Living abroad? 3 steps to keep your US credit alive -- Don't be one of those people who comes home to a nonexistent credit file ... (See Keeping credit alive abroad)

5 business expense card options for employers -- Owners should consider conveniences, rewards, frequency of employee purchases ... (See Expenses)

Is it time for a rewards card reboot? -- It makes no sense to rack up card rewards and pay high annual fees if you don't have a specific goal in mind in which to use them ... (See Reboot)

Using credit cards for everything has risks, rewards -- Without the proper controls, you could find yourself with more debt than rewards points ... (See Charging)

5 steps to rebuild credit after prison -- Prison can wreck your credit; bouncing back takes work ... (See Prison)

7 ways you can lose credit card rewards points -- You worked hard for those points, so don't throw them away ... (See Points)

Can you count on your credit card travel insurance? -- Your trip may be ruined, but your credit card could help you get your money back ... (See Travel)

What?s the minimum age to be an authorized user? -- You can boost a child's credit by adding them as an authorized user, but cards' policies vary widely on how old the child must be ... (See Age)

Debt consolidation: 4 options to streamline debt repayment -- Juggling payments to a slew of creditors? It may be time to get some relief. ... (See Debt)

Buying a car? Don't fall for the Patriot Act credit check scam -- Shady car dealers invoke anti-terror law, run unnecessary credit checks to sell you on dealer financing ... (See Scam)

Premium card perk: Access to airport lounges -- When the airport is in complete chaos, a private lounge can offer a nice escape ... (See Perk)

Rev up holiday rewards with your card's shopping portal -- Portals are an easy and lucrative way to maximize rewards points -- if done right ... (See Portals)

How to avoid credit card problems aboard a cruise ship -- Surprise holds, fraud freezes and going overboard with onboard expenses can all be avoided ... (See Cruise)

Travel credits offset hefty annual fees, but programs differ -- It?s important to check the fine print before you shell out a hefty annual fee ... (See Travel credits)

7 ways rewards cards can trim holiday costs -- Use your rewards cards to pay for gifts with points, save at shopping portals and fly home using airline miles ... (See Rewards)

2016 airline gift card comparison chart -- Several airlines offer gift cards, but their terms and conditions vary so comparison shop before making a purchase ... (See Gift cards)

Turning to credit to fund pricey addiction rehab -- As a last resort, your credit cards can provide a lifeline to recovery ... (See Rehab)

Calculate your rewards card's value: 8-point checklist -- Take count of what you get before paying a big annual fee ... (See Value)

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

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)

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)

5 dream vacations funded with rewards -- Find out how you can turn that wish-list vacation into reality ... (See Rewards)

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

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

Replacing lost credit card? Want it fast? Expect to pay -- As banks look for new ways to make money, some have started charging to replace lost credit or debit cards. Want it in a hurry? It'll cost even more ... (See Replace)

Prepaid travel cards pros and cons -- Prepaid travel cards can offer a safe way to get cash in foreign currency ... (See Travel)

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 )

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Charity gift cards let recipient donate to favorite cause -- They make philanthropy easy, but our survey finds many have large fees ... (See Charity gift cards)

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)

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

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

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 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)

Financial planning options for the 99 percent -- Getting financial goals together is not as daunting as it sounds. From DIY plans to going to a professional, financial planning is within reach ... (See Financial planning options)

'Webrooming' trend reduces online shipping costs, problems -- This holiday season, shoppers are more likely to price compare online, then head to the store to buy, to avoid shipping costs, delivery problems ... (See Webrooming)

Teach your teens about these 5 scams -- You've alerted your teen to many dangers lurking in the world, but have you ever had a talk about how to avoid being scammed? ... (See Teaching teens)

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)

9 signs your spouse is a financial bully -- Many couples argue over money, but what if your spouse takes away your credit cards or demands you turn over your paycheck? Watch out: you might be married to a financial bully ... (See Bully)

2014 balance transfer survey: Beware combo deals, two-tier fees -- Long-lasting 0-percent balance transfer offers abound to help consumers pay down card debt, but new tweaks aren't so friendly ... (See Balance transfer survey)

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)

9 credit-building 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)

Charity gift cards let recipient donate to favorite cause -- School a foreign student? Sure. Feed orphaned chimps? Of course. Support local artists? Why not. For a fee, charity gift cards let recipients choose a favorite cause to support ... (See Charity gift cards)

2013 airline gift card comparison chart -- While most airlines offer gift cards, their terms and conditions vary. Make sure you know what you're getting before you buy ... (See Airline gift card)

Rent-to-own vs. credit cards: Which costs less? -- What if you need a new TV, sofa or even a set of tires but you're broke? Do you turn to plastic or a rent-to-own store? Consumer advocates weigh in ... (See RTO)

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)

2013 survey of balance transfer offers --'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)

Funding dreams on credit: Fragrance creation -- Geir Ness created his own fragrance line by charging $12,000 on his credit cards to work with a perfumer and manufacture the first 1,000 bottles ... (See Geir Ness)

Funding dreams on credit: Film financing -- Kenny Golde maxed out multiple credit cards and took out a business loan to finish a movie that went over budget, for total debt of $220,000 ... (See Film financing)

Funding dreams on credit: Bike champ -- Gene Hamilton charged as much as $10,000 every year during mountain bike racing season for gas, hotels and airfare and spent the rest of the year paying it off ... (See Bike champ)

Funding dreams on credit: Vintage arcades -- Michelle and Michael Ware maxed out their card at $25,000 to start their vintage arcade game business, only paying the minimum due until things took off ... (See Vintage arcades)

Funding dreams on credit: Travel junkie -- Jeremy Jones strategically opened travel rewards cards to get promotional bonus deals to fund his goal of traveling around the world ... (See Jeremy Jones)

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)

Costly tax refund loans not really gone -- While RALs have effectively been banned, consumers are still being pitched to pay big on costly tax refund advances ... (See Refund anticipation loans live on)

Where to file tax returns for free: 10 options -- Want to file your taxes for free? Depending on how much money you make and other factors, you might have several choices for free filing online or in-person with volunteer help. ... (See Free tax filing)

Using credit, debit instead of cash can make you fat -- Dieters, watch out: paying with plastic at the grocery store can make you more likely to load up your cart with donuts, ice cream, potato chips and other fattening foods ... (See Plastic versus cash)

9 smartphone tips to ease holiday shopping stress -- Ease your holiday shopping experience by employing these handy dandy apps and tips that can save you time and money while preventing headaches ... (See 11 smartphone tips, apps)

Credit card emergency travel assistance plans -- Luggage lost in Lithuania? Jailed in Jamaica? Your credit card's emergency travel assistance concierge service can lend a helping hand ... (See Emergency travel assistance)

6 reasons it's time to break up with your credit card -- Sometimes relationships fizzle -- and that can be especially true of your relationship with your credit card. Here are six ways to know when it's time to move on ... (See Breaking up with your credit card)

Your credit card purchase protection plan: Will it cover your loss? -- You drop your new Nexus in the tub or have your iPhone pilfered from your gym locker. Out of luck? Not if your credit card can reimburse you ... (See Purchase protection )

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)

True debt collection horror tales -- Even a polite call from a debt collector can ruin your day, but what would you do if he threatened bodily harm and started to stalk you on Facebook? ... (See Debt collector horror tales)

More consumers ditch rewards, go with plain vanilla credit cards -- Basic credit cards won?t help you rack up free flights, wads of cash or gift cards. But new research shows they?re back in a big way, and they?re especially popular with young, financially savvy consumers ... (See Plain vanilla credit cards)

Refund anticipation loans coming to an end -- After years of soaking consumers with high fees for tax refund anticipation loans, tax preparers are finally closing them down ... (See RALs) survey of 2012 balance transfer cards shows offers getting better --'s annual survey of balance transfer cards show increasingly longer zero percent periods, but with higher balance transfer fees ... (See Balance transfer cards)

How to save on debit card foreign transaction fees -- We've researched what each major debit card issuer charges in foreign transaction fees -- and give you tips for avoiding them ... (See Foreign transaction fees)

Walmart continues layaway's revival, but will deferred gratification payment -- The layaway concept -- paying over time without incurring debt -- works in the current economic environment, but does it have lasting power? ... (See Layaway plans)

Buying airline miles: Is it worth the cost? -- The offers can be tempting: buying airline miles to boost your mileage account. But how do you know you're getting a good deal and not just adding to the airlines' bottom line? ... (See Buying airline miles)

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)

7 tips for managing your online spending -- From Amazon to Groupon offers, it is easier than ever before to inadvertently rack up big balances on your credit cards ... (See Managing online spending)

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)

5 mental money traps to avoid -- Turning your finances around is never easy, and these five mental money traps can keep you from making much progress ... (See Money traps)

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)

Credit monitoring services: Pros, cons and how to pick one -- Experts are divided about whether these services are worth the cost, but if you've been a ID theft victim, they can help raise red flags ... (See Credit monitoring)

6 expenses you should never put on a credit card -- There are some things experts say you should never put on a credit card -- because they're frivolous, can land you deep in debt or because there's a better alternative ... (See Things not to charge)

The 7 deadly credit card sins -- Commit one or more of the seven deadly sins, and you might find yourself headed straight for credit card hell. With a little help, it isn't too hard to trade vice for virtue ... (See Credit card sins)

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)

Is PayPal Safe? 10 security tips to protect yourself -- More than 192 million people worldwide use PayPal for online purchases and sales. Just how safe is it? ... (See PayPal)

5 credit card urban legends and why we fall for them -- A magical way to erase debt, the debt collector who wants $0 and battling Osama with your plastic -- all urban legends that prey on our weaknesse ... (See Credit card urban legends)

Zen and the art of credit card management -- Credit cards can offer peace of mind, but more often than not, they create undue stress. You can bring tranquility into your financial life by following these five strategies for attaining credit card Zen ... (See Zen and credit cards)

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)

9 best practices for debit card use -- Debit cards don't let you rack up debt, but they can still lead to trouble if not used wisely. Here are tips from the experts. ... (See Debit cards)

How the Credit CARD Act will affect types of credit cards -- The Credit CARD Act has pushed card issuers to make big changes -- and some types of credit cards will be impacted more than others. We look at each type. ... (See Card law impact)

How and when to use 'emergency' credit cards -- It's the end of the month, you're down to your last dollar before payday and your car breaks down. What do you do? Do you pull out the plastic? ... (See Emergency)

Frugality: Just a fad? Or will consumers keep saving after the recession? -- The tanking economy brought us recession chic. It became cool to clip coupons, throw potlucks and swap used items, but how long will it last? ... (See Spendthrifts)

Forecasters weigh in on new frugality -- Is the new frugality here to stay? Two economic forecasters debate whether American consumers will continue to cut corners or return to big spending. ... (See Frugal)

5 new rules in the credit card balance transfer game -- Transferring a credit card balance used to be so easy and painless that some consumers referred to it as a game, but that game has changed. ... (See Transfer)

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)

Don't take the tax refund loan bait -- The free-flying refund anticipation loans are gone, but new versions emerge ... (See Tax refund loans)

Giving the gift of flight with airline gift cards -- Anyone considering giving an airline gift card should make sure all the terms and conditions won't prevent redemption ... (See Airline)

Airline gift card comparison chart -- Anyone considering giving an airline gift card should check all the terms and conditions first to make sure your gift is a good fit ... (See Air cards)

Deferred interest, same as cash; Play the game right or you lose -- It's tempting: 'No payments for 12 months.' Find out the how deferred interest payment programs work, the best way to use them and what happens if you don't pay on time. ... (See Deferred interest)

Money and credit lessons from the past -- Experts are telling us to pay off debt and stop charging. Here are some money management lessons from the past that can help break the credit card debt cycle. ... (See Save)

US credit cards outdated, less useful abroad, as 'chip and PIN' cards catch on -- Sure, you can swipe to heart's content here in the United States. But bring that mag-stripe card to Europe and chances are it won't work as the credit card technology there is years ahead. ... (See PIN)

Good dog, bad bill: Veterinary care financing options -- Pet owners have more veterinary treatment choices than ever, which is good for pets, but can strain finances. We review the payment options. ... (See Pay the vet)

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Updated: 06-16-2019