Kevin Weeks

Kevin Weeks

Kevin Weeks, former president at Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA), is the former "Credit Wise" expert columnist for CreditCards.com.  Weeks holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration, management information systems from Salem State University.

Kevin Weeks' stories on CreditCards.com

Get through unemployment without borrowing -- There are more options for squeezing money out of your budget while job hunting. Don't be tempted to take out a loan ... (See Unemployment and debt)

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)

To get a fresh financial start, break bad, old money habits -- If you're sick and tired of falling behind on bills, start by thoroughly tracking your spending and trimming where you can ... (See Fresh start)

Merchant refund can create credit balance -- Yes, you can spend down that cushion, but wait until it's in hand ... (See Refund creates balance)

After bankruptcy and depression, reach for financial help -- With debts and worries piled high, it's time to stop trying to handle all the problems and seek financial guidance ... (See Financial help)

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

Know your risk before giving credit card to a relative -- A sister's request to give her a credit card for three months requires close examination, since you'll be on the hook ... (See Card for a relative)

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)

With low-limit cards, watch credit utilization closely -- Building your credit with a $300 limit card means if you buy a big-ticket item, don't wait, send in an extra payment ... (See Low limit card utilization)

How paying more than the minimum helps build credit -- Paying more than the minimum is good not only for your credit, but for your entire financial well-being ... (See Minimum payment)

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)

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)

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)

Cards have no built-in policies that pay off after death -- You can buy add-on insurance to pay the debt after you die, but it's usually not worth the price ... (See Debt after death)

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)

Basics of minimum payments -- If your minimum payment is $50 but you owe $25, just pay the $25 ... (more)

Smart balance transfer: Do the math, change your spending habits -- Don't throw away the savings a balance transfer offers by continuing to overspend on cards ... (See Smart balance transfer)

Be cautious with new credit when considering bankruptcy -- Getting a new credit card when you're about to file bankruptcy is rarely a wise idea ... (See Considering bankrputcy)

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)

Setting payment priorities for cards, co-signed student loans -- The interest rates on the various loans will have a lot to say about which you should tackle first ... (See Prioritizing payments)

Canceling card doesn't wipe out charges for recurring services -- Once you allow recurring charges, they're tough to turn off, but canceling a card will just risk damaging your credit score and won't erase your obligation to pay ... (See Recurring charges)

Don't fall for Internet loan scam out of desperation -- After bankruptcy, your choices for personal loans will be limited, but don't make a bad one ... (See Online loan scam)

Notify card issuer immediately if accountholder dies -- Pick up the phone and let the credit card company know; it prevents new charges and identity theft ... (See Deceased)

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)

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)

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)

Card offer in someone else's name probably not ID theft -- Keep up your guard, but sometimes junk mail is just junk mail ... (See Junk mail)

Retail card account opens at your first purchase -- After you use the card, get the discount and take home the merchandise, it's too late to change your mind -- the card has been activated ... (See Retail card activation)

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)

Authorized user must close deceased's account and move on -- After her husband dies, a widow who is an authorized user on his account must notify the card company of the death and open her own account ... (See Authorized user)

Near retirement age is the worst time to raid 401(k) -- When in your 50s, with retirement in sight, don't use your 401(k) as a piggy bank for a child's college and to pay off card debt. You need a financial plan more than a quick cash fix ... (See Near retirement)

If your credit's all grown up, ditch that $300 'starter card' -- If that $300 "starter card" you got as a credit whippersnapper hasn't evolved with you, get rid of it and enjoy the benefits that come with a higher-limit grown-up card ... (See Starter card)

Applying repeatedly for credit after being turned down makes it worse -- If your response to being turned down for credit has been to apply over and over again, stop. You're making it worse. Before you do anything else, find out why ... (See Stop applying)

Looking for credit after Chapter 7 bankruptcy -- Go slow, because issuers don't want to give credit right away to someone who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Secured cards are one credit-rebuilding alternative ... (See Credit after bankruptcy)

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)




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Updated: 04-21-2019