How do credit card companies determine the balance on which interest is charged?

Over the years, credit card companies have developed several different methods for computing the balance on which credit card finance charges are calculated. Federal law requires creditors to state the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) when referring to interest and the method used to compute the unpaid balance on which interest is charged.

Below is a description of some methods for calculating the unpaid balance on a credit card and how different calculations affect finance charges. These calculations were made by …

What are the pros and cons of rent-to-own stores?

Rent-to-own (RTO) stores sell items such as furniture and appliances to consumers on an installment payment basis. RTO agreements usually consist of a rental contract that is renewed on a weekly or monthly basis. Usually, the terms are for 78 weeks or 18 months.

The customer has the option at the end of the rental period of whether to renew the lease or return the item. If the customer chooses to continue renewing the contract, payments continue to be made …

What is a penalty APR on a credit card?

Penalty annual percentage rates (APRs) are high interest rates that can be triggered by the slightest infraction such as just one payment that is received a day late. Often these APRs range from 20% to 35%. Lenders increase borrowers’ interest rate significantly and profit from their mistakes.

As a result of the Credit CARD Act, the only way a credit card company can apply¬†a Penalty APR to an existing balance (i.e. purchases you have already made) is if you …

I think someone has stolen or is trying to steal my identity. What should I do?

  1. Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) to place a fraud alert on your credit report.
  2. Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID Theft Affidavit available from the Federal Trade Commission’s Web site www.ftc.gov when disputing unauthorized charges.
  3. File a complaint with the FTC. Print a copy of your complaint to provide important standardized information to the police.
  4. File