Author Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a freelance journalist who has written extensively about personal finance, health and business. She has reported and edited for print and online news organizations for more than 15 years, with her work appearing in numerous magazines, newspapers and websites.

Holmes also worked as an editor for and Computer Shopper magazine.

Tamara E. Holmes' stories for

Financial advice: A credit card for every decade of your life -- Many issuers target different cards to specific niches of customers, including specific age groups. Here's how to find a credit card that's in sync with your financial goals, no matter what decade of life you're in. ... (See Finding the right credit card)

Credit scores are rising: How not to get left behind -- The average credit score among U.S. consumers is now 704. Are you more likely now to be denied credit if your score is much lower? Some recent studies suggest the answer is yes. ... (See Credit scores )

Immigrants may need good credit to stay in the U.S. -- Under a new proposal, the government would review the credit histories and credit scores of immigrants seeking visas or other status changes. But achieving a high U.S. credit score is an obstacle for many immigrants. ... (See Immigrants' credit scores )

Merchant category codes: Frequently asked questions -- Ready to learn how MCC codes can help you to maximize your rewards and savings? Here?s what you need to know. ... (See Merchant Category Codes)

What to do when a balance transfer credit line isn't big enough -- Options for when that new balance transfer card's credit line isn't large enough to absorb all your high-interest debt. ... (See Balance transfer credit line)

Busted for card theft? What to expect -- The penalties you face for using someone else?s credit card without their permission vary by state and how you used the card. ... (See Card theft penalties)

Financial guide for widows: building credit -- Tips for how to use a credit card to rebuild any lost credit or establish credit a new widow may not have. ... (See Financial guide for widows)

Fear of credit card rejection can keep you in debt -- Once rejected for a credit card, the sting can outweigh the lure of what new credit can bring. ... (See Fear of rejection)

Post EMV: How retailers can avoid paying for fraud -- Two years after the rollout of EMV, here?s how retailers can avoid liability. ... (See Retailers, and post-EMV fraud)

Credit freeze laws in all 50 states -- States have passed credit freeze laws to combat identity theft and fraud. Here are the details for each state. ... (See Credit freeze state data)

6 reasons why an issuer may close your card -- If you?re not the ideal customer, your credit card account may be unexpectedly closed. ... (See Reasons issuer may close your card)

Indulging in food delivery without the debt -- They're convenient, but left unchecked, food delivery services can spoil your budget ... (See Food delivery)

Retailer gone bankrupt? What retail card holders should do -- You still owe any balances, even when the bankrupt retailer cancels its cards ... (See Retail cards and bankruptcy)

6 reasons entrepreneurs should get a business card -- Benefits such as expanded buying power, spending rewards and tracking assistance can help fuel business growth ... (See Upgrade)

Alerting card issuers of travel plans may soon be obsolete -- New industry-leading fraud detection technology can recognize when card members are traveling, eliminating the need to notify card companies of travel plans ... (See Travel)

The ultimate guide to protecting credit in a freelance and gig economy -- A freelancing lifestyle can create credit nightmares without proper planning ... (See Gig economy)

5 money management tips for Generation X -- Even in your 40s, there's still time to master your finances ... (See Gen X)

7 rules for using credit cards to finance a dream -- Founding a business, getting an education or even a once-in-a-lifetime experience could be reasons to take a risk ... (See Dream)

6 steps to make amends for financial misdeeds -- How to craft an apology and repayment plan that works ... (See Amends)

Looking for love in all the subprime places -- Don't swipe left on bad credit; low scores don't always mean financial irresponsibility ... (See Love score)

5 reasons not to put medical bills on credit cards -- A seemingly quick-fix solution could lead to more financial woes over time. ... (See Medical)

6 times when just paying the minimum due makes sense -- Contrary to popular advice, paying more on your credit cards isn?t always the best option ... (See Minimum)

Which cards let you be a co-signer, joint account holder -- Some issuers let consumers share accounts, others don't ... (See Joint)

4 ways credit can boost millennials' charitable giving -- With credit cards, it?s possible to support positive change with every charge. ... (See Charity)

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)

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

Student credit, debit and prepaid card statistics -- Credit cards have gotten harder for college students to get, but debit, prepaid cards and campus cards fill in the payment gaps ... (See Student stats)

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. has compiled statistics on demographic trends in the credit world ... (See Demographic stats)

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

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

Creating a financial backup plan for singles -- If a crisis keeps you from paying your bills, a financial backup plan can keep creditors at bay ... (See Single)

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)

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)

Online loan lead-generation sites may open door to fraud -- If you're searching for quick cash, beware: Some sites sell your info to unethical players looking for their next victim ... (See Online lead generation fraud)

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)

Prepaid card and gift card statistics -- Use of general purpose reloadable prepaid cards is increasing among high-income Americans, and gift cards continue to top wish lists. Just two of the insights in the data our team has compiled on prepaid and gift cards ... (See Gift card stats)

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)

Avoiding fraud in a post-EMV world -- Think you can breathe a sigh of relief as EMV technology takes off? Not so fast. ... (See EMV fraud)

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

Using credit to manage monthly income swings -- Rich one month, poor the next? If handled wisely -- and only occasionally -- credit cards can be a lifeline ... (See Income swings)

Credit card market share statistics -- The top 10 U.S. banks issue nearly 90 percent of all the credit cards. Find out who the major players are, how much of the market they control and how much the overall market is growing ... (See Market share)

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)

Financial heuristics: Creating money rules to live by -- We all have financial rules that are habits. Some help us save money, while others end up costing us. The key is to create rules that play into our financial end game. ... (See Financial heuristics)

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)

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)

6 steps to using credit cards to manage caregiving costs -- When it comes to managing caregiving costs for a loved one among family members, credit cards can help, but only if everyone plays by the rules ... (See Caregiver)

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)

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)

6 signs of bad financial advice -- While good sound nuggets of money advice can help you keep money in your pocket, bad advice can leave you digging out of financial hole ... (See Advice)

New high-end cards boost average cost of annual fee cards -- A surge of pricey new high-fee credit cards on the market boosted the average annual fee to $163, nearly double a year ago ... (See Annual fee cards)

6 fears that keep people from financial advice -- Nearly half of Americans don't know who to trust for financial advice. Here are wise ways to get over that and other fears ... (See 6 financial fears)

Healing your inner financial child -- If you?ve been struggling to break certain financial habits, the problem may not be your budget, but rather your childhood ... (See Habits)

Data breaches turn spotlight on EMV cards -- Data breaches lead to a renewed push toward chip-enabled cards, but experts warn they are not the ultimate cure ... (See EMV)

The financial power of negative thinking -- Optimism may feel good, but pessimism is sometimes more helpful in building wealth. Here are six times it pays to have a more pessimistic financial outlook ... (See Negative thinking)

Major retailers' return and receipt policies -- Our survey of 12 large retailers' policies regarding returning items without a receipt shows most allow it -- within limits ... (See Return policies at 12 major retailers)

Gift cards 2013: Reload, please -- Our exclusive survey of all the top gift card sellers shows this year's trend is that they'd really like you to get you to register your card and reload (and reload) it ... (See 2013 gift card survey)

5 things people fail to budget for -- If you're constantly pulling out your credit card because you couldn't stick to your budget, your problem probably isn't willpower. You're overlooking key expenses ... (See Budget fails)

Steps to protect finances of those with Alzheimer's -- If a loved one is having trouble remembering to pay the credit card bill or spending money recklessly as a result of Alzheimer's disease, there are steps you can take to protect his or her credit and financial security ... (See Alzheimer's and finances)

Using money to self-medicate? -- Fallen into the emotional money trap? Recognizing the feelings behind impulsive spending can help reduce excessive consumption ... (See Curb the splurge)

Summer vacation mistakes that can cost you -- Daydreaming about a lazy day at the beach? Just make sure you don't make a vacation planning mistake that could set your finances back for months to come ... (See Vacation mistakes)

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 Disaster)

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)

Taken to court for credit 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)

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)

Financial resolutions that stick -- Want to get your financial house in order in the new year? There are some tricks you can use to make sure you will achieve your goals this time around. ... (See Sticky money resolutions)

2012 gift card survey -- Despite their reputation for being thoughtless gifts, gift cards continue to grow in popularity -- with many using them more as budgeting tools ... (See Gift card survey)

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)

5 steps to take to overcome financial trauma -- You hit bottom financially, now what? If you're struggling with fear, guilt or shame, it's time to pull up those bootstraps and move forward ... (See Financial trauma) 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)

Hush their mouths! Use credit card privacy statements to opt out of sharing personal information -- This one's not junk mail, so open and act on your annual credit card privacy statement. With it, you can (partially) control how your personal information is shared ... (See Credit card privacy statements)

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)

Convenience fees: When is it OK to charge extra to use a credit card? -- Paying with a credit card often yields rewards. But in certain situations those benefits come at a cost, not just through interest, but in the form of convenience fees ... (See Convenience fees)

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 Paying taxes with credit cards)

Cards with no foreign transaction fees surge -- Competing for well-heeled travelers, an increasing number of credit card issuers have reduced or even dropped foreign transaction fees ... (See Foreign transaction fees )

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)

Debit card fraud can leave you in the lurch -- While consumer protections exist in case your debit card's been hijacked, you can still end up on the hook for fraudulent purchases ... (See Debit card fraud)

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)

6 reasons credit card rewards go unredeemed -- and how to change that -- One-third of $48 billion earned in rewards points or miles goes unused every year for various reasons. What's keeping people from cashing in? ... (See Unredeemed credit card rewards)

Gift card survey 2011: E-gift cards take center stage -- Though the economy may be struggling, a survey of gift card issuers shows that the gift card industry continues to innovate, with digital gifting offerings breathing new life into an already strong segment of the retail market ... (See Gift card survey 2011)

What merchant category codes are, how they are used -- Consumers can save if they know how their favorite stores are coded ... (See MCC codes)

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)

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)

5 places with the highest ATM fees -- Need cash and your bank's ATMs are nowhere to be found? If you're stuck in one of these places, be prepared to spend up to $20 for a withdrawal ... (See High ATM fees)

6 ways to cut groomsman costs -- Bridesmaids get all the press, but groomsmen rack up their fair share of financial burden -- anywhere from $500 to $1,500 or more. Follow these tips to help cut costs. ... (See Groomsman costs)

7 tips for maximizing use of a digital gift card -- The market for digital gift cards has tripled in three years. While similar to their plastic counterpart, there are some differences you need to be aware of ... (See Digital gift cards)

6 steps to handle a sudden financial windfall -- While a surprise cash infusion is almost always welcomed, it raises questions about the most effective ways to use those funds ... (See Financial windfall)

Travelers to U.S. may face credit card compatibility hurdles -- If European card issuers remove the magnetic stripe from their chip-and-PIN cards, then how would international travelers use their cards here? ... (See Chip-and-PIN cards)

5 lessons to teach kids how interest works -- Credit and interest may be difficult for children to grasp. Here are some ways to bring the concepts home ... (See Credit lessons for kids)

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)

Issuers use incentives to push paperless billing -- While more consumers pay bills online, far fewer have given up on paper bills and statements entirely. As a result, card issuers are dangling incentives as sweepstakes and extra features to get consumers to switch off the paper ... (See Paperless billing)

How different cultures handle credit cards -- With credit card habits varying widely across the world, there are lessons that can be learned from studying how people in other cultures handle money. ... (See Credit abroad)

Experts' credit card and debt predictions for 2011 -- Debit cards cool off, mobile payments soar and we return to some of our old habits, say our prognosticators of plastic payments ... (See Credit card 2011 predictions)

Gift cards 2010: More consumer-friendly -- New gift card regulations, incentives and conveniences give consumers more reasons than ever to jump on the gift-card wagon ... (See Gift cards 2010)

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)

Retail credit cards 2010: Higher APRs, reduced rewards -- 2010 was not kind to retail credit cardholders. However, as the economy stabilizes, relief from higher APRs could be in the cards. ... (See Retail credit cards)

How to buy a house if you have bad credit -- Though a low credit score will decrease your homebuying options, it may not kill them entirely. Here's how to improve your chances of getting a loan. ... (See Bad credit? How to buy a house)

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)

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)

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)

Will reducing merchant card fees help or hurt consumers? -- Legislation could limit the costs retailers incur when letting customers pay by credit or debit card. But whether consumers will see the benefits is unclear ... (See Interchange fees)

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)

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)

Spotlight falls on political parties' use (and misuse) of credit cards -- Party-issued credit cards give politicians and operatives direct access to political funds. But such access can cause problems ... (See Party cards)

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)

Fed proposes rules to limit credit card fees -- Credit card fees would have to be 'reasonable' and 'proportional' to the offense under new rules proposed by the Federal Reserve. ... (See Fees)

Charitable charging under scrutiny -- While many card companies waived transaction fees for Haiti donations, some are considering waiving fees on charitable giving permanently. ... (See Haiti)

Creative new fees escape CARD Act rules, surprise consumers -- The Credit CARD Act of 2009 puts the lid on some longtime charges levied against cardholders, but a new report shows that a crop of fees are quietly taking their place. ... (See Report) 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 survey)

5 credit card opt-out oopses to avoid -- Even if you?ve opted out of a credit card interest rate increase, these costly mishaps can trigger an unwanted rate hike. ... (See Oops!)

6 ways to prevent bank overdraft fees -- Banks and credit unions collected nearly $24 billion in overdraft fees last year. Find out how you can help keep some of that money in your pocket. ... (See Overdraft tips)

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)

Credit card issuers shift rewards to 'platforms' -- Credit card issuers are increasingly consolidating their rewards programs to allow points shopping across categories for numerous cards. ... (See Cashing in)

John Grund: A look at the future of credit cards -- Credit card expert John Grund analyzes what consumers can expect to pay for credit in the near future and whether the days of easy credit are over. ... (See Future)

Credit card foreign transaction fees going up - but a few issuers drop them -- The general trend is up for foreign transaction fees, but a few issuers have bucked the trend and dropped the fee from top-end rewards cards ... (See Foreign transaction fees)

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)

Stuck with a tax bill? Here are your payment options -- If you're one of those who owe and don't have the dough, you may be tempted to pull out a credit card -- but is that the wisest choice? ... (See Tax payment options)

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)

Small-business credit card comparison chart -- Credit cards are among the biggest source of financing for small-business owners. This chart compares the rewards, rates and fees of the top small-business credit cards ... (See Credit)

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)

How your credit card can bail you out of debt -- Often criticized for encouraging overspending, several credit card issuers recently rolled out programs and rewards cards to help customers pay off debt, save and invest. ... (See Bailout)

Should you write 'See ID,' not sign, back of credit cards? -- If your strategy for protecting yourself against card fraud is to not sign your cards and write "See ID" instead, your game plan is both ineffective and outdated ... (See See ID)

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Updated: 05-24-2019