Amazon “Courtesy Credits” Explained [2020]

It’s not uncommon for large companies to issue courtesy credits in certain situations. For example, Southwest may offer travel funds if they botch a flight situation and credit card companies may offer you points for inconveniences you experienced.

Well, Amazon is no different and in this article I will tell you everything you need to know about Amazon courtesy credits, including information on how to find your balance and how to deal with returns.

What is in Amazon courtesy credit?

An Amazon courtesy credit is a special (and sometimes random) credit that can be issued to your account by Amazon after you take certain actions or file complaints. It’s different from a gift card balance or promo code discount and has a few quirks related to things like refunds that you need to know about.

I will explain the different circumstances that you can get one of these credits below and talk about some of the quirks related to refunds.

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How to get an Amazon courtesy credit?

There are a few different ways that you might get an Amazon courtesy credit. 

Choose a slower shipping method

One of the most common ways to get an Amazon courtesy credit is to opt to not receive your free one day or two day shipping that you might be eligible for due to your Amazon Prime membership. 

Sometimes when you proceed to check out, you will see the option to select a slower shipping method, such as a shipping method that will take several days to reach your address. This could be “FREE No-Rush Shipping.”

As a token of appreciation for choosing a slower delivery method, you can sometimes be issued an Amazon courtesy credit. 

But note that sometimes when you choose “FREE No-Rush Shipping,” you may only get a credit like a $1.50 digital reward that you can use on things like select eBooks, digital music, videos, and apps.

To use those, find an eBook, Prime Video, Digital Music, or app from Amazon Appstore that you want to purchase and they will automatically apply the reward at checkout. 

These offers will expire so be sure to check out the expiration date.

Filing a dispute

Another way to be issued the credit is if you contact Amazon to resolve some type of dispute. For example, you might have never received your package and need to file some type of dispute with Amazon.

Or in another instance, Amazon may take an exceptionally long time to deliver your package. (I heard many of these credits were once issued after deliveries were delayed on Prime Day).

Anytime there is a problem with your order, you should contact Amazon and inquire about getting some type of compensation for the inconvenience and they might issue you an Amazon courtesy credit.

Regardless of which method you obtain a courtesy credit with, you should be on the lookout for an email that explains to you your credit.

Many of these credits are issued in increments of $10 so that is likely a common amount you will find. However, you may also receive an amount for $5 or even $20 depending on the reason for your credit (I’ve even heard of people getting $1).

If you ever view your invoice, it’s possible that the credits will be listed as many smaller individual credits so just keep that in mind.

How to use an Amazon Courtesy Credit?

The first thing you need to know about using an Amazon courtesy credit is that you will likely be limited to products shipped (fulfilled) and sold by

When you are shopping for items, you should be able to see who the seller and “fulfiller” are and you just need to make sure that both are so that you can trigger this credit.

Amazon courtesy credit will be automatically apply to your purchase at the time of check out. You should see these credits whenever they give you the breakdown of your purchase.

For example, when you check out you should see the subtotal, the price of shipping, and any other fees. It is at this point in the checkout process were you should see the balance of your courtesy credit.

If you would like to not use your courtesy credit, you might be able to deselect it when confirming the payment details.

How to check the balance of your Amazon courtesy credits

If you are wondering how the heck to check your Amazon courtesy credit you are not alone. Unfortunately, Amazon does not make this process very intuitive because you have to check your balance on a page that is seemingly unrelated to your account.

To check your Amazon courtesy credit balance go to Digital Music Credit balance page. Select check your balance and you will be able to see your account balance if you have one.

Issues with refunds

You need to be careful when processing refunds when it comes to your Amazon courtesy credits.

The reason is that sometimes you will not be refunded your Amazon courtesy credit if you only use them for a partial portion of your entire purchase amount. Let me give you an example to make it clear.

Let’s say that you made a purchase using your credit card and your Amazon courtesy credits. If you put $10 on your credit card and used five dollars as your courtesy credit, when you get refunded you may only receive the $10 refund on your credit card. And if you follow up to try to get those five dollars back you might receive pushback from customer service. 

This may not always happen but there are reports of it happening to others so it is definitely something to look out for.

Final word

Amazon courtesy credits are credits you can get when things go wrong or when you opt for a slower shipping method. These credits can be automatically applied and are easy to use but you need to be careful when processing refunds because you could lose out on some value.

Chase Private Client Review: (Requirements, Benefits, Worth It?) [2021]  

Managing your wealth is crucial and there are several programs offered by many large banks aimed to help you plan for your financial future and Chase Private Client is one of those programs but with a focus on higher net worth individuals.

But what does Chase Private Client really have to offer? 

Here’s a review of Chase Private Client, including a look at all of the requirements and benefits as well as some insight at whether or not it would be worth it for you. Be sure to check out the YouTube video below as well!

Interested in finding out the top travel credit cards for this month? Click here to check them out! 

What is Chase Private Client?

Chase Private Client is a wealth management program designed to help affluent clients manage their assets and provide them with special perks that can save them money and make their life easier.

  • You can find the Chase Private Client log-in here
  • The Chase Private Client phone number is: 1-888-994-5626

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 How do you qualify for Chase Private Client?

Chase is pretty explicit about the requirements for Chase Private Client. They state that it’s available to “individuals who maintain an average daily balance of $250,000 or more in any combination of qualifying linked deposits and investments.”

Qualifying accounts are things like:

  • Chase personal checking and savings accounts
  • Chase Retirement CDs
  • Chase Retirement Money Market Accounts
  • Investment and annuity products, etc.
  • Note: Balances in certain retirement plan investment accounts, such as Money Purchase Pension and Profit Sharing Plans, do not qualify.

Is $250,000 a mandatory requirement?

This $250,000 requirement is not necessarily a hard cut off. I had an off the record discussion with a Chase Private Client banker who informed me that it’s definitely possible to get in on Chase Private Client without meeting the $250,000 threshold.

Many others have confirmed that it’s possible to get in the program with assets hovering around the $100,000 range. The key seems to be to have a good relationship with a banker who perhaps sees some potential in you as a chase Private Client prospect.

Sometimes you might even receive a personal invitation without ever having the requisite level of assets.

In most cases, you’ll need to have a plan to increase your assets up to $250K with Chase very soon (within a year) so I wouldn’t try to “game” this requirement because in the best case scenario, you’d likely end up getting dropped from the program after you fail to meet the minimum requirements over time.

Also, if your start-of-month balances fall below $150,000, you will likely get hit with a $35 monthly service fee.

Is it worth parking $250K worth of assets with Chase?

Many people will point out that there are account options with much higher APYs (annual percentage yields) than what Chase Private Client offers. Simply put, you can earn a lot more in interest with other types of savings accounts so some people don’t feel like it is worth keeping your cash with Chase. 

For example, if you had an an APY of 2.2% your $250,000 at the end of one year would net $5,560.77 in interest. Chase does not publish the interest rates for Private Client but I know that they are nowhere near 2.2% and that you would certainly be losing a lot of money on interest opportunities each year.

Of course you also have to factor in all of the Private Client perks below.

It’s possible that when you calculate all of the benefits, conveniences, and savings on fees, that Chase Private Client could end up offering you more value than simply parking your $250,000 with another bank. But you would need to seriously be using some of those benefits.

You can get an overview on other banks that offer more lucrative savings accounts with better APYs here and here

And remember, you don’t have to keep your funds stored in a checking or savings account — you can also count investments and other forms of assets.

Chase Private Client perks

What are the Chase Private Client benefits?

The Chase Private Client benefits are numerous.

A dedicated team

As a Chase Private Client member, you’ll have your own private client banker and private client advisor.

Private client banker

Your private banker is meant to guide you through premium banking solutions, provide you with priority service, and connect you with other experts for mortgage and business banking needs. There is something to be said of the convenience factor here and having a hub for all of your banking/finance needs. For many people, this could take the stress out of obtaining things like mortgages and auto loans.  

I’ve met a few Chase Private Client bankers and I’ve been pretty impressed by how competent they appear. The drawback here is that Chase doesn’t have branches everywhere and not every branch has a Chase Private Client banker on deck.

  • You can search for Chase Private Client locations here. 

Because of the lack of locations and private bankers, many have voiced complaints about the level of attention given to them as Chase Private Client members. Service is supposed to be priority but many feel that it’s not always the case. It might be a good idea to shop around for a Chase Private Client banker to the extent that’s possible.

Private client advisor

You personal advisor draws upon the expertise of J.P. Morgan investment professionals to develop tailored investment strategies that focus on your specific goals and advise you on relevant economic trends.

It’s worth noting that Chase pushes actively managed (versus passive) investments which means that you’ll be paying Chase a pretty fee to manage your investments. Many people prefer to go with self-managed or other low cost index funds, although there may be ways to bring your Vanguard or Fidelity funds into Chase Private Client without incurring substantial costs.

It’s worth remembering that you don’t have to invest your assets with Chase. But that takes you back to parking substantial assets with Chase that would likely be netting you more earnings in an account with a higher APY. Also, you can probably expect to constantly be hounded by your Private Client advisor about getting Chase to manage your funds.

Credit card benefits and 5/24

It used to be that Chase Private Client could allow you to get around the Chase 5/24 rule which is one of the many Chase application rules that prevents you from being approved for certain credit cards when you’ve opened five or more credit cards in the past 24 months.

When the Chase Sapphire Reserve came out many looked to Chase Private Client to try to help them get approval. However, that loophole eventually got closed and it’s no longer the case that you can get around 5/24 that way.

The good news is that Chase Private Client still offers special bonuses to its members for some credit cards so it’s often possible to net an additional 10,000 points for a sign-up bonus. (If you value Chase Ultimate Rewards around two cents per point then that additional bonus would be like receiving an additional $200.) 

Your private banker may also be able to assist you with requesting higher credit limits on your credit cards.

It’s worth noting that the high-end JP Morgan Reserve Card (different from the Chase Sapphire Reserve) is designed for Chase Private Banking clients, which now requires balances of $10,000,000+.

Chase Private Client credit cards
Chase Private Client allows for increased sign-up bonuses.

Chase Private Client Fees

One of the major perks of the program is that you can avoid paying all sorts of fees. Many of these benefits are great for travelers who frequently rack up those pesky ATM fees and/or wiring fees when spending time abroad.

No ATM fees

One of the nice perks of Chase Private Client is that you won’t be charged fees at non-Chase ATMs and this even includes international ATMs! But Chase goes even further and will refund ATM fees charged by the ATM owners (you may need to follow up some times).

You can also enjoy no foreign exchange rate adjustment fees for debit card usage or ATM withdrawals in a currency other than US dollars.

There’s also no fee for non-ATM Cash transactions in the U.S. and abroad. This is when you obtain cash with your Chase Debit Card without a PIN at locations such as bank branch tellers.

Getting fees reimbursed for ATM usage, even on international trips, is an emerging trend so this is not quite as special as it once was. For example, you could open up a SoFi Money account (which just about anybody can get approved for) and avoid ATM fees including international fees. Many other people also choose to go with a Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account. 

Wire transfers

With Chase Private Client, you’ll have no Chase fee for all domestic and foreign wire transfers, incoming or outgoing, completed at any Chase branch,, via telephone or email. This is a huge perk if you regularly deal with international wire transfers since an outgoing Chase wire transfer could cost you as much as $45.

For those who deal with a lot of wire transfers, this is where I think a lot of the value is in terms of fees waived.

The daily Chase ATM withdrawal limit for a normal account is somewhere between $500 and $1000 so you can essentially get that limit doubled. For QuickPay with Zelle, most people will probably be limited to $2,000 per transaction with a maximum of $2,000 dollars per day, so that’s a significant increase. 

Teller services

No fee for counter checks, money orders or cashier’s checks.

If you needed Chase counter checks (temporary checks) it would only cost you $2 per page if you have a Chase Total Checking Account (or equivalent). So the savings here would be very minimal. 

Personal checks

No fee for personal style checks when ordered through Chase. Here are the prices for personal Chase checks that you would normally be paying:

  • Single/Wallet
    • 1 box: $18.95
    • 2 boxes: $37.90
    • 4 boxes: $75.80
  • Duplicate
    • 1 box: $23.95
    • 2 boxes: $47.90
      4 boxes: $95.80

So it’s a pretty modest savings of anywhere from $20-$75 depending on how many boxes you will need to order. 

Card replacement

Chase will rush you a replacement debit card (or even a credit card) to just about anywhere on the globe for no additional cost. This can be a very valuable benefit if you are ever traveling and misplace or lose your debit card since you can get a replacement sent via express mail to your hotel — all free of charge.

You can find out more about these benefits here.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Additional perks

Safe deposit box

  • Chase will provide you with a 3 x 5 Safe Deposit Box and even a 20% discount for larger boxes. As a side note: if you allow someone to co-sign on the safety deposit box, that might be a way to get them into the Chase Private Client program.

The fees for a safe deposit box with Chase are going to vary based on the location and size of your box. Here are some sample prices:

  • 3X5: $80
  • 3X10: $140
  • 5X10: $220
  • 10X10: $350

So as you can see, you could be saving $80 for a safe deposit box. 

No monthly checking account or savings account fees

  • No monthly service fee for Chase Private Client checking accounts or savings accounts.

A normal Chase Total Checking account fee is $12 a month and more expensive accounts would cost $25 a month so that is the baseline for your savings.

Reduced minimum balance

Transaction Fees will not be charged for all electronic deposits and the first 100 debits and non-electronic deposits each statement cycle.

Zero dollar commissions

  •  $0 commissions on all You Invest Trade online U.S. listed equity and ETF trades (limited to two retirement and two non-retirement accounts per customer.

Commission free trading is great but not very special considering that you can find commission free trading with many other services. Other potential services to look into include:

  • Robinhood
  • Ally Invest
  • Charles Schwab
  • Vanguard


Chase will offer a discounted rate when you purchase or refinance a home with the Chase Private Client Mortgage Rate Program. You can also get discounts for Home Equity Lines of Credit and priority processing and senior underwriting support for loans. And finally, you can get discounted rates on auto loans as well as insight into pricing when car shopping. 

I’ve read very mixed things about this experience with some finding better resources at other banks while others have been very pleased with the Chase Private Client Mortgage Rate Program. The best decision is probably to always compare several lending sources. 

Family Member Privileges

Service benefits extend to adult family members of your immediate family when you are joint owners of Chase Private Client deposit accounts. You’ll first have to upgrade your family to a Chase Private Client account to receive the perks, however.

But note that minors under the age of 18 cannot be owners of a Chase Private Client Checking account and so they can’t receive the benefits of Chase Private Client.

As part of the Chase Private Client services, you can also get assistance with planning for major life events that will affect your family such as retirement, college tuition, etc.

Chase Private Client Arts & Culture program

Chase Private Client Arts & Culture will get you discounted and free admission to museums in major cities in the US. If you live in a major metropolis like New York City, you’ll be able take advantage of the program for yourself and sometimes up to four guests.

Examples of museums in NYC are:

  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Brooklyn Children’s Museum
  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

You can find about more about the Chase Private Client Arts & Culture program in NYC here but note that other cities have perks like Chicago, LA, Miami, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle (and Texas peeps can get in on this, too).

Intrepid Space Shuttle Pavilion Opening (201207190002HQ)
Space Shuttle Pavilion at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Photo by NASA.

Chase Private Client FAQ

What are the Chase Private Client benefits?

A dedicated team
Private client banker
Private client advisor
No ATM fees
No wire transfer fees
Higher limits for QuickPay and other services
Teller services
Free personal checks
Safe deposit box
No monthly checking account or savings account fees
Zero dollar commissions
Family Member Privileges
Family Member Privileges
Chase Private Client Arts & Culture program

What is the wire transfer fee for Chase Private Client?

With Chase Private Client, you’ll have no Chase fee for all domestic and foreign wire transfers, incoming or outgoing, completed at any Chase branch,, via telephone or email. 

What is the Chase QuickPay with Zelle limit for Chase Private Client?

$5,000 per day and $40,000 every 30 days.

What is the daily ATM withdrawal limit with Zelle limit for Chase Private Client?

The daily limit is up to $2,000.

What is the Chase QuickDeposit limit for Chase Private Client?

The limit is $25,000 per day and $100,000 every 30 days.

Do you have ATM fees with Chase Private Client?

You will not be charged fees at non-Chase ATMs, including international ATMs. If an ATM owner charges you a fee, you can get refunded.

Do you get free checks with Chase Private Client?

Yes, there are no fees for personal style checks.

Do you get a safe deposit box with Chase Private Client?

Yes, Chase will provide you with a 3 x 5 safe deposit box and a 20% discount for larger boxes.

Do you get fees waived on savings and checking accounts?

Yes, there are no monthly service fee for Chase Private Client checking accounts or savings accounts.

Final word

There are a lot of benefits for the Chase Private Clients program and a lot of ways to mitigate banking costs that can certainly add up over time. But before enrolling in Chase Private Client, it’s very important to consider your alternatives.

Look at what type of savings accounts can offer you a better return and consider if you’d rather go with investment options that involve lower costs or better returns.

Ultimately, Chase Private Client might be a good option for wealthy individuals that are still learning how to manage their assets or who can bring in their index funds without major costs, but what’s best for you will come down to your personal preferences and goals.

SoFi Money Review: Earn Free $50 in Minutes

SoFi Money is sort of a hybrid between a checking and savings account. SoFi is a cash management account that offers a competitive APY and right now there is a promotion where you can earn a quick $50 after funding it with $100 if you use a referral link like mine right here.

Keep reading below for more details!

SoFi Money account details

Here are the highlights of the SoFi Money account:

  • Welcome bonus of $50
  • No account fees
  • APY of 1.6%
  • Refundable ATM fees (even on international withdrawals)
  • Easy to send money

SoFi is not a bank but they work with partner banks that are FDIC insured, each up to $250K for a total of $1.5M. The last time I checked there were six banks although I am not sure exactly which banks they are.

$50 welcome bonus

All you have to do is open a SoFi Money account and fund it with $100 dollars within 14 days, and you will receive a $50 credit. Considering opening up an account only takes a couple of minutes, this is easy money.

Once you have an account then you can refer other people and make more easy money once they fund their account (they will also receive $50 if they fund with $100).

There is a $10,000 cap on referrals so you can get busy with referrals. 

Money Referral Bonuses and Money Welcome Bonuses are each considered miscellaneous income, and may be reportable to the IRS on Form 1099-MISC (or Form 1042-S, if applicable).

No account fees

You will not be charged any account fees (transaction fees, monthly fees, etc.) and there is no minimum for your balance. You can even get free checks. This truly is a no nonsense account.

APY of 1.6%

The APY (interest rate) for the account is 1.6%. This is not the highest APY that you can find but it is still competitive compared to a lot of major banks.

The interest rates are subject to change.

Refundable ATM fees

SoFi does not have its own ATM network but they will reimburse you for a lot of ATM fees when you use their debit card. 

  • Sofi does not charge you for ATM fees when using their debit card.
  • You will be reimbursed for any ATM fees that come from an ATM displaying the VISA, Plus, or NYCE logo.
  • You will also be reimbursed for foreign exchange fees charged by VISA

For us international travelers this is a great way to avoid foreign transaction fees on cash withdrawals, especially if you don’t want to bother opening up a Charles Schwab High Yield Checking account. 

One thing to note is that the Visa zero liability does not apply to ATM transactions. So you will want to be extra careful about protecting your pin. 

Send money

You can also easily send money to anyone right from your app. And when you send funds to SoFi Money holders, they’ll get it instantly. You can also set up automatic bill pay.

Easy to use app

I have found the SoFi app very easy to use. The sign-up process only takes a minute or two and it is also easy to fund your account through your bank. Customers are very happy with SoFi and I can see why. 

Sign up now

If you would like to sign up here is my referral link. Once you sign up, you will be able to easily generate your own referral link. 

Final word

I think this is a great product, especially for travelers. It is great to have an easy option to avoid international ATM fees that requires no hassle to sign-up for. And I also like the ability to earn a quick $50 by signing up and having the opportunity to earn more with referrals. The APY is also very respectable as well. 


Discover Bank CD Guide: Rates & Fees [2019] (IRA, Roth & AAA)

Many people don’t want to hold on to cash but don’t necessarily want to put their cash in a place like the stock market where they have to be subject to certain risks. For these people, CDs (certificate of deposits) can be great options. In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about Discover Bank CDs, including the rates, fees, and IRA/Roth, AAA rates. 

What are the Discover Bank CD rates?

The Discover CD rates will vary and can change every day. You can check the current rates here

As of April 27, 2019, the APY rates were the following: 

  • .35% for 3 months
  • .65 for 6 months
  • .70 for 9 months
  • 2.65% for 12 months
  • 2.65% for 18 months
  • 2.7% for 24 months
  • 3% for 5 years

You can use a slider calculator to choose your desired timeframe here. I personally would avoid anything less than a 12 month CD since the rates are much lower than you can find with a savings account. 

The Discover CD rates are better than some of their competitors like Bank of America and US Bank. However, you can find some CDs with better rates with certain FDIC insured banks like Capital One or Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Some of them even have lower minimum deposits. 

Overall, I think the CD rates by Discover are okay but if you suspect you might need your funds during the CD period, you might want to stick with a money market account with an APY that might be a tad lower but with the freedom to do as you want with your cash without a penalty. 

Are the Discover interest rates locked?

According to Discover, these interest rates are locked in. This is great because you know what you’re getting at the end of the CD period but if interest rates were to go up you might be missing out. 

Discover Bank CD IRAs and Roth

Discover also offers CDs for retirement with Traditional IRA and Roth IRA accounts. Which account will be best for you will depend on a few factors like your income, age, and future tax bracket. If you want your CD to be funded with after-tax dollar then you’d go with a Roth IRA CD, which is better if you’re future income bracket is going to be higher.

You could also open up a Traditional IRA CD where your earnings are tax-deferred (better if your future income bracket will be lower). The contribution limit (which changes and can depend on filing status) is $6,000 in 2019 for tax-deductible contributions. 

I don’t know if the Discover IRA CD rates are always the same as the standard CD rates but when I checked them they were the same. 

Discover Bank CD rates for AAA members

Discover is known for offering better rates for AAA members. You can check on those rates here. However, depending on the state that you live in you might not be able to proceed. It is reported that you should still be eligible for the special AAA rates even if you get the following message:

We are unable to process your request at this time. You may have reached this page through a previously established bookmark or old web link or your AAA Club may no longer participate in the AAA/Discover Deposit Program

Therefore, I would probably call in to Discover and inquire about any potential special CD rates if you are a AAA member.

Discover Bank CD fees

Funding and withdrawal 

There are no fees to wire in your funds from an external bank. However, if you are sending an outgoing wire there will be a $30 fee. 

Early withdrawal penalty

If you need your money before the end of the CD period you can retrieve it subject to an early withdrawal penalty. The early withdrawal penalty depends on the length of the CD.

  • Less than 1 year: 3 months simple interest
  • 1 year to < 4 years: 6 months simple interest
  • 4 years to < 5 years: 9 months simple interest
  • 5 years to < 7 years: 18 months simple interest
  • 7 years to 10 years: 24 months simple interest

You can withdrawal your funds beginning on the 8th day after your CD is opened and funded and for the next 22 calendar days, Discover will deduct each day’s simple interest on the issue amount withdrawn from the funding date to the date of withdrawal.

Note: In some cases, the Early Withdrawal Penalty may reduce the principal in the CD. For example, if you had a two year CD, and you decided to pull money out of it three months in, you would be hit with six months of simple interest and could reduce the value of your principal. 

Rates on April 27, 2019.

Discover Bank CD minimum deposit

The Discover Bank CD minimum deposit is $2,500. Not every bank requires you to make a minimum deposit for a CD account. For example, Capital One may not require you to put down anything. Others may have even higher deposits like $5,000 dollars or $10,000.

Sometimes when you are dealing with higher deposit minimums you might expect to get higher APYs but also check for penalty fees and other fees. 

Discover Bank CD renewal 

Discover should notify you 30 days before your CD matures. Once your CD time period is up, you’ll have a nine day grace period to make a change to your CD without penalty and your CD will automatically renew for the same term at the current rate at the time of renewal if no action is taken during the grace period.  

Is a CD right for you? 

Keeping cash around has it benefits. When the unexpected happens, you can easily retrieve your funds and use them instantly. But the biggest drawback is that you’re constantly losing purchase power as times goes by due to inflation. Inflation rates vary each year but generally you can expect them to be around 2% per year.

This means that if you leave $1,000 in a checking account for one year, when you come back to those funds that $1,000 might only have $980 worth of purchase power. And even if you go with some savings accounts like those from Chase, you’re still not getting a good return with interest.  

With CDs you can beat inflation rates and allow your funds to grow while not assuming a level of risk associated with stocks.  

With a 12 month APY rate of 2.65%, your purchase power will be stronger (on average) after one year. While the returns won’t be on the same level of as investing in the stock market or other securities, the assurance of your funds growing in an insured account is worth it for many people, especially those looking to diversify their portfolio with something secure.  

Another good thing about CDs is they allow you line up your savings with your future plans. For example, if you had a big trip coming up in about 13 months then you could put your cash in a CD and allow those funds to grow. 

Let’s say you put $12,000 in a CD for 12  months at 2.65% APY, that’s a increase in $480. You could then use that to cover a night at a great luxury hotel. Of course, I always recommend to travel with miles and points for free (or virtually for free). 

Final word 

Getting a Discover CD can be a decent option if you’re looking for a secure way to store your cash with potential to beat inflation and make some earnings in the process. Some other banks may have higher rates though so you’ll want to consider your alternatives if you’re thinking about going with Discover. 

Chase Savings Account Guide: (Interest Rates & Fees) [2019]

There are two main types of Chase savings account for the average consumer: Chase Savings and Chase Premier Savings. Below, I will go into detail about each of these accounts. I will show you all of the fees and how to avoid those fees and also give you some insight into the interest rates you can expect with a Chase savings account. And finally, I will also talk to you about the different types of bonuses you can get with these accounts and how valuable those can be. 

Chase savings account monthly service fees

Depending on the type of Chase account you open, you might have to pay $5 to $25 to keep your account open although there are several ways to get the fee waived. 

Chase Savings fee & minimum daily balance

The monthly service fee for a Chase Savings account is five dollars but you can get this waived if:

  • You have a balance at the beginning of each day of $300 or more in the account
  • You have at least one repeating automatic transfer of $25 or more from your personal Chase checking account or Chase Liquid Card
  • You are an account owner who is younger than 18
  • You have a linked Chase personal checking account (excluding Chase High School Checking, Chase College Checking, Chase Secure Checking, Chase Total Checking, and Chase Checking)

Chase Premier Savings fee & minimum daily balance

The monthly service fee for a Chase Savings account is $25 but you can get this waived if:

  • You have a balance at the beginning of each day of $15,000 or more in this account or you’re linked with Chase Premier Plus Checking or Chase Sapphire Checking.

Withdrawal limits and fees

Both accounts are subject to the $5 savings withdrawal limit fee. This applies to each withdrawal or transfer out of the account over six per monthly statement. However for the Chase Premier Savings this fee is waived if you have a balance of $15,000 or more in the account at the time of the transfer out. 

Federal regulations (“Regulation D” to §204.2(d)(2)) restricts you to only six savings account withdrawals or transfers per monthly statement (this limit does not apply to withdrawals or transfers that are made in person at a branch office or at an ATM).

If you happen to exceed the federal limitations then Chase may convert your savings account into a checking account (a Chase Total Checking Account). They likely would only do this if it happen multiple times.

Chase savings account interest rates

The big question a lot of people have with Chase savings accounts is what kind of interest rates you get. If you are hoping for industry leading yields for your savings accounts you will not find those with Chase. 

Also, the interest rate that you get will depend on the type of account you open up and potentially how much money you keep in the account.

Below, I will show the interest rates as of April 2019 for my area of Texas but keep in mind that these can change in the future and based on your geographic location (although they often apply nationwide). 

Chase Savings interest rates

The Chase Savings interest rate for all balances is .01%. This is not an impressive annual percentage yield and you can do much better than this with other savings accounts.

It is not that difficult to find savings accounts that offer 2% or more for the annual percentage yield. And some of those accounts don’t even require you to make any deposit or a large deposit. Therefore, if you are looking for one of the best APYs then this is not the account for you. 

However, you also need to keep in mind the value that you can get from special bonuses offered when you open up an account and meet certain requirements. Keep reading below to see how lucrative these bonuses can be and what types of requirements that you need to meet.

Chase Premier Savings interest rates

The interest rates for the Chase Premier Savings accounts depend on the amount in your account. Here are the rates that I found:















$1 million-$4,999,999


$5 million-$9,999,999




Once again keep in mind that this was only a snapshot of the interest rates and that these could fluctuate depending on where you live and the time of checking. 

Other features

If you open up a Chase savings account you also get the following benefits:

  • Mobile check deposit
  • Banker guidance
  • Text banking
  • Real-time fraud monitoring
  • Chase quick pay
  • Paperless statements

If you are interested in a banking solution that has more substantive perks you might look into Chase Private Client or Sapphire banking.

How to open a Chase savings account

If you would like you can open a Chase savings account online. To do so simply click here to get the process started.

It should not take very long for you to set up your account. If you are already a Chase customer you can sign in and the process will be faster since they already have some of your information. 

You will need to provide some of your personal details such as your name and some of your identification information such as your citizenship, date of birth, social security number, and ID number (your drivers license works).

You will also need to provide your home address and your email address along with your phone number. If you are opening up a Chase joint savings account then be sure to have all of their information with you as well. 

Chase Saving Account Bonuses & Coupon codes

I highly recommend that you wait to sign up for a Chase Savings Account until you can jump on a special bonus and get a lot of free money. Click here for the latest bonus. If you sign-up right away the coupon code is automatically applied. Otherwise, you can have the coupon code emailed to you. 

Note: if there is no branch in your state you may have issues proceeding with the enrollment online. 

These special bonuses come in different forms but a lot of times they will look like the following.

Checking bonuses 

There will often be a designated bonus for opening up a checking account. These bonuses can differ but it’s not uncommon to see a $200 to $300 bonus for opening up an account and doing some kind of action like setting up direct deposit.

Savings bonuses 

For the Chase savings account bonuses you may be looking at something like a $200 bonus after opening up an account and performing certain actions. For example, you may have 20 days to deposit $15,000 in cash and then you will need to maintain that for 90 days in order to get the bonus.

Packaged bonuses

Then there are also bonuses that are a package deal. This allows you to capitalize on these earnings by opening up both a personal checking account and a personal savings account. When you meet the requirements above you might be given a sweet deal like a $600 bonus.

Once you have met the requirements you can expect to receive funds within 10 business days. 

You can receive only one new checking and one new savings account opening related bonus every two years from the last enrollment date and only one bonus per account. There are usually deadlines for the special bonuses but they tend to be extended very often. So you don’t necessarily always have to be in a rush to open up these accounts. 

The bonuses are considered interest so your earnings may be reported to the IRS.

These offers are typically not available to current customers. For example the terms and conditions usually state:

Checking offer is not available to existing Chase checking customers. Savings offer is not available to existing Chase savings customers.

Also if your accounts have been closed within 90 days or you have a negative balance you will not be eligible.

Chase savings account FAQ

Am I automatically approved?

You will not be automatically approved for a Chase savings or checking account. It is not that difficult to get approved for one of these accounts but if you have very bad banking history with negative balances and a lot of closed accounts for example that could count against you.

Will there be a hard pull on my credit?

Whenever you open up a Chase savings account there will not to be a hard pull on your credit report. Therefore your credit score should not be impacted whatsoever by applying for an account.

How to close a Chase savings account

You cannot close your accounts online with an easy click. Instead, you can call the Chase customer service phone number 1(800) 935-9935 (representatives available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

You can also visit an in-branch office to close your savings account. Click here to search for Chase branches near you and be aware that many might not be open on Sunday. (You can use the filter feature to find banks open on Sunday.)

If you want to try to handle things online you can send a secured message and try that route though that’s not the quickest route to go. 

Also, you can mail in your request with snail mail if you’d like as well. If you want to do that you’ll need to fill out this form and send it to the following address: 

National Bank By Mail
P O Box 36520
Louisville, KY 40233-6520

Deliveries by Overnight or Certified Mail:
National Bank By Mail
Mail Code KY1-0900
416 West Jefferson, Floor L1
Louisville, KY, 40202-3202, United States

Is there a Chase savings account for college students? 

I’m not aware of a Chase savings account for college students but they do have a Chase checking account for college students for college students 17 to 24 years old at account opening with proof of student status.

They also have checking accounts for high school students too (for students 13 to 17 years old at account opening with their parent/guardian as a co-owner and the account must be linked to the parent/guardian’s personal checking account). So if you’ve got kids 13 or older, you might look into this option for them. 

Note: When the student turns 19, the Chase High School Checking account will become a Chase Total Checking account.

Is there a Chase health savings account? 

Yes, the Chase Health Savings Account (HSA) is a special, tax-advantaged account you can use to pay for qualified medical expenses if you have a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and meet all other eligibility requirements. You can find out more about it here

Final word

Chase does not offer the best annual percentage yield for your savings account. In fact, it is very easy to find much more lucrative rates by shopping around with a quick search. The good news is that you can often jump on these bonus promotions where you can earn a lot of free money up front if you can meet certain requirements. In those situations, these savings accounts and checking accounts can actually be quite lucrative.

Is a 730 Credit Score Good for Credit Cards? [2019]

Do you have a credit score of 730 (or stuck to close to 730) and are you wondering what your approval odds are for credit cards or how to improve your score? In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about whether or not a 730 is a good credit score for getting approved for credit cards. I will also give you some tips on how to improve your credit score and some advice on how far you need to improve your score.

Is a 730 a good credit score for a credit card?

Generally, a credit score of 730 will be sufficient to get approved for many quality credit cards. However, a lot more goes into the approval decision than a credit score. I will talk more about these additional factors below.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

What kind of credit score are we talking about?

Before jumping into the article any further, it’s important to clarify what type of credit score you are talking about. There are tons of different types of credit scores. Two of the most popular types of credit scores are FICO and Vantage Scores (Credit Karma). Since most lenders utilize the FICO model, I will focus on that one. 

You should also know that there are different types of FICO scores. Just like new software systems like Microsoft Windows are rolled out every few years, FICO every few years comes out with different editions of its scoring model.

For example, here are some of the previously released editions:

  • FICO 98 (1998)
  • FICO NextGen (2001)
  • FICO 04 (2004)
  • FICO Score 8 (2008)
  • FICO Score 9 (2014)

Each edition is implemented in order to more accurately predict the credit worthiness of consumers based on new developments in modeling, testing, and research. FICO also develops industry specific FICO scores. In addition to the “general” credit score, there are industry specific scores for the following:

  • Auto
  • Mortgage
  • Credit card 
  • Installment loan
  • Personal finance

These industry scores don’t typically follow the 300 to 850 scoring model of the general credit score so you might see perfect scores of 900. Since we are dealing with credit cards here, the credit card score would be the most relevant.

How good is a 730 credit score?

A 730 credit score is considered good and just a few points shy of being excellent by many. If we are talking about a FICO score, this score is about 20 points below what would be needed for the best interest rates.

A perfect credit score is technically 850, but in order to secure the best rates you actually don’t need a credit score that high. In fact, the real perfect score is likely a 760. 

Magnify Money, showed that “according to Informa Research, the lowest rates offered on various mortgage related loans are being offered to people with scores at or higher than 760. And, the lowest rates offered on various auto loans are being offered to people with scores at or higher than 720.”

I think that for optimal credit card approvals the minimum credit score somewhere around 750. So with a credit score of 730 you just need to bump your score up about 20 or maybe 30 points to get optimal approvals and rates, in my opinion. But in addition to increasing your credit score you also want to have a more robust credit profile. And below I will show you some different ways to build a better credit profile.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Other factors considered for credit cards

Credit history

I think the most relevant factor beyond your credit score is how established is your credit history. You can have a score in the 700s but if you have no or very little credit history that score would not do you much good. On the other hand, if you have a couple of cards or credit lines that have been in existence for several years that is going to significantly help your chances. 

It also really helps your odds whenever you have credit history with the specific bank that you are applying with. For example, if you were applying for a Chase card and you already had a chase credit card opened up for the past five years that could be extremely beneficial. It could also help your odds if you even have a bank account opened with them.

Maxed out cards

If you have credit cards that are maxed out or with high balances that can really hurt your chances of being approved even if you have a decent credit score. Read more below about credit card utilization and how to improve it.

Lots of recent credit card applications

If you have applied for a lot of credit cards in the recent month or two that can also really help or hurt your odds. The reason is that you look like a credit risk in the eyes of the bank. 


Banks are going to be concerned with the stated income when determining your approval odds. Most banks don’t require you to prove your income that you state but some will require you to submit things like tax forms.

Income is mostly relevant for the more premium credit cards and for determining the amount of credit that you will receive. There are plenty of people who get approved for lower tier cards with low incomes, so you don’t have to be making six figures to get approved for good credit cards.

How can I improve my credit score

In case you need a refresher, here’s how your FICO score is calculated.

Your FICO credit score is determined in the following way:

  • Payment History (35%)
  • Utilization (30%)
  • Credit History (15%)
  • New Credit (10%)
  • Mixed Credit (10%)

Payment History (35%)

Payment history is the #1 factor for determining your credit score.

Late payments will stay on your credit report for 7 years, although some bankruptcies will remain on your report for up to ten years!

Luckily, the negative effect of late payments and other negatives begins to lessen as more times passes, so although it might stay on your report for 7 years, the effect will usually only be felt for a limited amount of time (i.e., a few years).

How much a late payment affects your credit score depends on a mix of factors, including:

  • How late they were and the number of past due items listed on a credit report
  • The amount of money still owed on delinquent accounts or collection items
  • How much time has passed since any delinquencies, adverse public records, or collection items

If you want to climb into the high 700 for your credit score you need to do everything in your power to maintain it 100% payment history. One slip-up of a 30 day or 60 day late payment could easily drop your score well into the 600s. It could take a long time to get your score back up so do everything you can to monitor your payments.

Unfortunately, if you think your payment history is holding you back there’s really not too much you can do expect wait. You could request for a goodwill adjustment and see if you could get the negative remarks removed but the success rate for those are pretty low. Still, it never hurts to try.

Utilization (30%)

Utilization is your credit to debt ratio. You find this by dividing the amount of debt you have by your total credit limit. So for example, if you have a $20,000 total credit limit and owe $20,000 in debt, then your utilization is at 50%.

This can be one of the easiest factors to improve. By simply getting added as an authorized user to an account with a high balance and zero utilization you can easily drop your utilization down considerably. Just make sure that the person that adds you is responsible and won’t ruin your score by maxing out that card.

You could also consider opening up an installment loan and moving your revolving debt into an installment loan. That will essentially remove your debt from your Credit utilization allowing your credit score to improve.

And finally, something else that you could consider is opening up a business credit card that does not report to your personal credit report. In some cases you might be able to do a balance transfer to a business credit card and that debt will no longer show up on your personal credit report and therefore your utilization should drop.

Credit History (15%)

The credit history category consists of the of the following factors:

  • Longest opened account
  • Average age of account
  • Time since newest account
  • Time since each account was last used

The most important of these factors is the age of the longest opened account while average age of accounts is second. In order to preserve this you want to keep your old account open as long as possible. Another tactic can be to open up business credit cards when pursuing rewards so that you don’t open a lot of new accounts and decrease your average age of accounts.

Adding yourself as an authorized user can also help your credit history as well.  

New Credit (10%)

This category is most known for its effect felt from hard inquiries.

Hard inquiries result when your credit is pulled for review by lenders and certain other institutions and they differ from soft inquiries in the latter don’t affect your credit score.

Other factors besides hard inquiries in the new credit category are:

  • How many new accounts you have
  • How long it’s been since you opened your last account

If you’re trying to preserve or build up your credit score you then refrain from applying for new cards. Each time you apply for a new line of credit your score will likely drop around five points although it can vary. You can mitigate this effect by searching for banks that combine credit inquiries when you apply for multiple credit cards at once. 

Mixed Credit (10%)

This category evaluates your overall “mix” of credit lines.

So for example, it wants to see if you have a diverse range of credit consisting of different types of credit lines like student loans, auto loans, home loans, credit cards, etc. If you were trying to improve your credit score this is really the least concern for you.

Yes, it can help if you end up opening up an auto loan or mortgage and you diversify your credit mix. But you shouldn’t go and pursue something like a massive loan like that just to try to improve your score a few points. Instead, this is just the type of thing that if it happens great, if not, then just try to wait until you can improve this on your own organically.

Final word

A credit score of 730 will allow you to get accepted for many credit cards. But the approval decision comes down to much more than just your credit score number. You need to make sure that you have a robust credit profile with plenty of credit history and low utilization so that you are not seen as a credit risk. 

9 Ways Credit Scores Affect Your Daily Life & Why They Are Important

The focus on UponArriving is obtaining some of the best rewards credit cards and so when I talk about the importance of credit, that’s usually the #1 reason why. But it’s good to be reminded of all the ways that your credit score can affect your daily life.

Some of these reasons involve being able to save tens of thousands of dollars in interest while others involve enjoying a higher quality of life. So here are several reasons why your credit score is important and how your credit score can affect your daily life.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

1. Mortgage Loans

This is one of the biggest reasons why you want to have a solid credit score.

First, you might not even be able to get approved for a mortgage if your credit score is very bad.

Second, if you do get approved, a lower credit score can cause you to only get approved for higher interest rates. When it comes to mortgages, the difference in interest rates could end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars. And that’s no exaggeration. 

NerdWallet showed how slipping up on your bills could cause a 0.50% increase in interest rates on a mortgage that could end up costing you over $30,000! And that’s just a 0.50% increase. With more credit report hiccups you could easily end up costing yourself much more over time.

So in terms of financial consequences for home loans, the importance of maintaining a solid credit report can’t be reiterated enough.

2. Auto loans

The same logic applies to getting auto loans. Even if you get approved, you might miss out on better opportunities that could have saved your thousands of dollars in interest or perhaps even allow you an interest fee loan on a car. 

I used the MyFico Loan Savings Calculator to see what the savings would look like on a $30,000 loan over a 48-month repayment period based on credit score.

The total interest paid for a 720+ score was $2,115 but for scores below 690, that total jumped to $4,167 in total interest (over $2,000 more). And that’s just a 30 point difference in the credit score. Things get much worse if you drop below 620. 

3. Home and auto insurance rates

Both your home and auto insurance rates can be negatively affected if you have poor credit. In fact, homeowners with poor credit pay 91 percent more for homeowners’ insurance than people with excellent credit, according to a report.

In some states, such as California, Massachusetts, and Maryland insurers  are prohibited from using credit to calculate homeowner’s insurance premiums but in states where it’s allowed, it can be a costly problem, since about 85% of home insurers use credit-based insurance scores in states where it’s allowed.

And in states that don’t prohibit using credit to calculate auto insurance premiums, 95% of auto insurers use credit-based insurance scores, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners

4. Housing approvals

As many as 65 to 70 percent of landlords may pull the credit report and credit score of a potential tenant.

If you’re searching for an apartment or other housing you might be limited due to your credit score. If your credit is low, you might require a co-signer or be forced to put down a hefty deposit. In addition, this means you might be forced to live in areas that you’d rather avoid and might mean a lower standard of living.

5. Utilities, phone service, etc.

When it comes to utilities and phone service applications, your credit score is often checked. With horrible credit, you might be stuck with month-to-month pre-paid contracts with inferior service providers and have to deal with the results of that.

Or, just like with housing, some might require you to put down a large deposit to secure their services. Also, you might miss out on deals since consumers with the best credit often get better pricing on new phones than those with lower credit scores.

For example, T-Mobile stated 63 percent of Americans don’t have the 750 credit score required for the best deals in the cellphone industry. Typically, when you see language about “qualified customers” that’s an indication that a promotional offer depends on your creditworthiness. 

Cell phone providers like T-Mobile appear to be becoming more accommodating to customers with lower credit scores so it’s not all doom and gloom if you have a poor credit score, but obviously you don’t want to rely on the accommodation of providers forever. 

Photo by Mike Mozart.

6. Employment

According to LearnVest, “47% of employers run credit checks on job candidates primarily to reduce the potential for theft and embezzlement, reduce liability for negligent hiring, and assess trustworthiness.” These checks are more common in industries that deal with money, healthcare, the government, and any kind of sensitive data or information that might involve a security clearance.

By law, employers are required to obtain explicit written permission to check your credit. And they likely won’t actually view your credit score, but a modified version of your credit report called an “employment screening” that omits some details. 

Still, if you have many negative remarks on your credit report, you might run into trouble since it could signal to your prospective employer that you might not be the trustworthy and responsible candidate they are searching for.

7. Student loans shed light on how credit scores affect student loans and it differs for federal loans versus private loans. 

Federal student loans 

For federal loans you usually don’t have to stress too much because “Stafford, Perkins and PLUS loans do not depend on your credit score.” The Stafford and Perkins loans are available entirely without regard to your credit history, which is pretty remarkable considering how huge those loans can be. 

However, the PLUS loan requires that you don’t have an adverse credit history, such as “being more than 90 days late on any debt or having any Title IV debt within the past five years subjected to default determination, bankruptcy discharge, foreclosure, repossession, tax lien, wage garnishment, or write-off.”

Private student loans 

Things are much more serious when it comes to private student loans, though. In the case of private loans,”borrowers with bad credit scores may have monthly payments that are 20% to 40% higher and pay two-thirds to 100% more interest over the lifetime of the loan as borrowers with excellent credit scores.” That’s a huge discrepancy. 

Finaid also remarks that most education lenders break their interest rates and fees into five tiers, based on the borrower’s credit score. “About 20% of the borrowers get the best rate, followed by 35%, 20%, 10% and 15%. Each tier has an interest rate that is 1% or 2% higher than the previous tier.

This means that borrowers with the worst credit scores can have interest rates that are 5% to 6% higher than the interest rates charged to borrowers with excellent credit. The fees are also higher by as much as 9%, although some lenders roll higher fees into the interest rates.”

So while you can get by with having not-so-good credit with federal loans, getting private student loans can be a completely different ball game.  

8. Relationships

Bankrate recently conducted a survey and found that  “nearly 4 in 10 adults say knowing someone’s credit score would affect their willingness to date that person.” And other reports have found strong correlations between strong credit scores and strong relationships. 

I know a number of people who would definitely prioritize someone’s credit background when choosing to date someone since it many cases it can be indicative of responsible that person is in other aspects of their life.

Obviously, if you’re into someone, you’re probably into someone regardless of a 3-digit number, but I think that having a strong credit score can do nothing but help your chances in the dating world and beyond. It’s probably only a matter of time before credit scores are included in online dating profiles (if they aren’t already).

Plus, if you and your partner have solid credit scores, you can get much much further in travel hacking. 

9. You will feel better

Having a good credit score has improved my sense of well-being and that’s not just the case for me. 

Credit Karma in partnership with professors at the University of Virginia, surveyed more than 1,000 Credit Karma members and the found a strong positive correlation exists between credit score, an affinity for saving, and a sense of wellbeing.

Obviously correlation does not prove causation but I think it’s definitely true that a rise in well being accompanies an increased credit score.

Years ago, I dreaded checking my credit score and always just assumed the worst anytime an outcome depended on my credit. Now, it feels great to know what to expect when I check that FICO score and to know that it’s in good shape. I feel more in control of my life and don’t feel like I’ll ever be held back in life by what might be found on my credit report.

If you’re credit score isn’t where you’d like it to be, take that as a worthwhile challenge to accomplish something that will improve your life in many different ways.

It may only require a few months or it might take a year, or two, or three or more, depending on your circumstances, but repairing your credit report and gaining control of how things in your life are affected by your credit can be a very rewarding experience, both financially and psychologically. 

Final word

Your credit score and report have the potential to affect you in almost every walk of life. Just about any major or minor financial commitment can be affected by them and end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars in the long-run not to mention a lot of stress and headache.

Thus, while maintaining a high credit score is crucial for award travel, it’s much more important to take care of your credit for the various needs you have in life. So do what you have to do to improve your credit score and just think of travel hacking as a an added bonus. 

Cover photo:

Guide to Writing Goodwill Letters

Goodwill letters to creditors are the first line of defense for many trying to rebuild their credit by getting negative remarks like late payments removed. Goodwill letters are simple letters that just about anyone can author but their success is also very hard to predict. Still, because they are so easy to create and send out it’s often worth giving goodwill letters a shot.

What is a goodwill letter to a creditor?

A goodwill letter is your opportunity to send in a short and sweet letter to request for your lender (or sometimes collection agency) to remove late payments from your credit report. The reasoning for the request is based on reasons that have nothing to do with any mistake made by the lender. Instead, you are requesting for negative information to be removed based on the “goodwill” of the lender.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

What goodwill letters are not meant for

Goodwill letters are typically not effective for certain types of derogatory marks, such as bankruptcies, liens, and judgments and are mostly used to remove late payments. Also, you generally do not want to send in a goodwill letter for late payments or charge offs that are not paid in full.

As you could imagine, a lender is not going to be feeling very gracious when you haven’t even paid your outstanding balance. If you’ve settled an account you might still give it a try but goodwill letters are best used on late payments for accounts paid in full.

What needs to be in a goodwill letter?

Goodwill letters do not need to be long but they do need to include some specific information in order to maximize your chances of getting negative remarks removed.

Include your identifying information

You want to make the lender’s job as easy as possible when sending in these letters. Start by properly formatting your letter to include your name, address, telephone number, and all of your account details for that lender.

If you have multiple late payments, be sure to identify the exact months and years that were late and by how many days they were late. It’s often helpful if you can print out a portion of your credit report to show them how the late payments are showing on your credit report, although this is not necessary.

Explain your situation

Your goodwill adjustment letter is your chance to show a lender why they should remove the late payments from your credit report.

This is usually done by explaining the circumstances around why your payments were late. For example, if you experienced hard times (a death in the family, loss of job, medical condition, etc.), you will want to bring up this information. You can also add information as to why it’s so important for the late payment to be removed (maybe you’re trying to buy a home, a vehicle for work, etc.).

When including personal details about your situation, disclose all of the pertinent details to build your case but try not to be overly dramatic so that you can retain credibility with whoever is reading your letter.

If you have a long track record of making payments on time with this lender then you absolutely want to highlight this by showing them how responsible you’ve been in the past. Let them see you as a valuable customer who simply had an anomalous slip-up that won’t happen again.

Sometimes you can express your willingness to do things like signing up for auto payment to show the lender how sincere you are about responsibly managing your account.

Strike the right tone

Try to make yourself sound likeable and reasonable (hopefully this isn’t too hard).

Go for a pleasant and apologetic tone. Avoid trying to “sound smart” by using an unnecessary amount of big words and don’t word your letter too sternly. That last thing you want to do is sound like a know-it-all, entitled, or like you’re taking your anger and frustration out on the lender.

Keep your goodwill adjustment letter short

You also want to just keep these goodwill letters short. Lenders see these letters all the time and sending in an entire dissertation on why your late payments should be removed is only going to increase their load and not your chances of removal. As a rule of thumb, keep these letters to a few paragraphs and at a maximum one page.

Manage your expectations

When sending goodwill letters, it’s important to not keep your expectations too high. Lenders are obligated to report late payments to the credit bureaus and are under no obligation to remove your negative information unless there is some type of error with the reporting. So give it a try, hope for the best, and consider it a surprise if it works in your favor.


There aren’t many drawbacks to sending in a goodwill letter but there are a few potential negative outcomes that could happen. These drawbacks are pretty rare but it’s still a good idea to be aware of the potential negative aspects of sending in such a letter just in case you have bad luck.

Admitting responsibility (on the record)

If you think there might be any grounds for disputing the late payments as inaccurate, you want to be careful about taking responsibility for the late payment. Sometimes lenders will use your goodwill letter against you as an admission of fault for a late payment. In the case of student loans where you might have ground to argue that a deferment or forbearance was not processed properly, this is something to be aware of.

Negative corrections to your report

If your negative mark is only reporting to one credit bureau it’s possible that the lender will see this when receiving your report and actually decide to “update” your report so that all three credit bureaus will show the negative remark. Or perhaps there were other late payments that the lender didn’t report but will discover upon reviewing your file.

Account deletion

It’s even possible that a lender could delete your entire account after processing your goodwill letter (this is more common with accounts that are already closed). If this happens, the removal might boost your score but you could lose the benefits of having the older account on your credit report.

Comment on credit report

There’s also a small chance that your goodwill letter could lead to a dispute comment on your credit report. Sometimes these comments can force FICO to treat your accounts a little differently. For example, FICO might ignore an account while it’s disputed and that could affect things like your utilization. Also, if you’re seeking a mortgage, these types of comments can sometimes cause lenders to deny you.

Send the goodwill letter

You can send your goodwill letter via mail, email, fax, online log-in portal communication, or even call in and speak to someone.

Sending a letter via mail is probably the standard procedure for sending goodwill letters. Some like to send their letters via certified mail but sometimes this can appear like you’re gearing up for a legal confrontation and could cause someone to respond defensively toward your letter.

I would personally prefer to mail my letter (non-certified), fax my letter, or send it in via email just to send out the right vibes.

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Who to address the letter to

When you send the letter to a lender you can send it to many different addresses.

Many start by sending their goodwill letters to the address found on their bills or an address for things like “card member services” but these letters will often be processed by entry level agents who many not have authority to handle your issue. You can also use the creditor’s address found on your credit report. However, many people are increasingly addressing their letters to corporate recipients.

To do this you can search a company’s corporate website for contact information and look for a “contact us” section or similar where you can find both mailing and email addresses. Feel free to take down all of the relevant email addresses you find on a corporate website and address separate emails to all of them. You never know who may or may not respond.

You can also use corporate directories like,,, and others to find contact information. Some of these might not always be updated so you’ll need to follow up.

On the company corporate websites you can sometimes find information for departments like card services. If you can’t find an individual to send your letter to then sending it addressed to a relevant department in the executive offices is still a good option. The key is to continue to try different departments and personnel until you get a response. Eventually someone will likely respond. 

Some people also have luck with other methods like email guessing which you can read more about here.

The response

Sometimes you will never get a response from the lender. Instead, you’ll need to monitor your credit report to see if any changes are made to your credit report.

Goodwill letter sample

There are hundreds of sample goodwill letter online. I recommend searching for a specific type of goodwill letter that relates to your unique situation. If you can’t find one then simply customize a sample letter by including the details of your situation. Here’s a good resource for letter samples.

Avoid drafting a cookie-cutter, cut and pasted letter that an executive will see right through. Put some originality into it along with a personal touch to make it more effective.

Final word on goodwill forgiveness removal letter

Overall, there’s never a guarantee that these goodwill letters will work but it’s usually always worth giving them a try because of how easy they are to write and the low risk of something going wrong.

What to Know About Getting Credit Limit Increases

Credit limit increases are an easy way to help decrease your credit card utilization and give your credit score a boost. With a credit limit increase, a bank will increase the limit for you on your credit card so you’re able to free up more credit but also benefit your utilization. And these are issued more often than you think, a March 2017 poll conducted by found that 89 percent of cardholders who requested a higher credit limit received one.

Hard pull inquiries

One thing you need to be aware of before requesting one of these is whether or not the bank will issue a hard pull on your credit report before they process the increase, since a hard pull could decrease your credit score by several points. Many banks will make a hard inquiry when you request a credit limit increase but not all of them will. If they do, then you’ll have to decide if another hard inquiry will be worth the increased credit limit (assuming they approve it).

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I suggest waiting at least six months before requesting a credit limit increase on your credit cards. It’s possible that you could get one sooner but many issuers are reluctant to grant you an increase until you’ve shown them some positive payment history of around six months.

How much to request

These increases are usually relatively small but generally people request about a 10% to 25% increase. It’s possible that you could be given more than that (I was once given a 50% increase) but try not get too crazy when requesting the credit limit increase. If you ask for too much, they might deny you altogether. If your request for a credit limit increase is denied, plan on waiting at least another 90 days before requesting one a second time.

How to request  

You can sometimes request these online when you log in to your account to manage your credit cards or you can just call up the bank and request it.  If you call, be prepared to explain to a representative why you want the increase.

Avoid sounding desperate and try to bring up things like your solid payment history with the bank to persuade them to give you the increase. If you recently got a raise or are in a better financial situation than you were when you opened the card you can bring that up. Also, if you’re planning on making some larger purchases in the future (weddings, remodeling, vacations, etc.) that can also be a good reason. (Just watch out because some banks will sometimes offer temporary credit limit increases to assist you with single purchases.)

Your goal is just to leave the bank agent with assurance that you’re going to be responsible with the increased credit limit and aren’t requesting one because you’re struggling to make ends meet.

Auto increases

Banks will sometimes increase your credit without you even asking. If you have a low credit limit and are constantly coming close to hitting that limit and are constantly paying off your balance, there’s a good chance you might get a credit increase. However, if you’ve been waiting for over six months, it’s probably time to call them to inquire about it.

Consider transferring credit

If you have more than one credit card with a bank there’s a possibility that you might be able to transfer credit from one card to another. Not all banks allow this and sometimes these come with restrictions but banks like Chase will usually allow you to transfer from one credit line to another. By doing this you can improve the individual utilization on one of your lines without incurring a hard pull (but always be sure to verify that there won’t be a hard pull).

Don’t wait until it’s too late

One final tip, if you want to bump up your credit line try to ask for the bump when you don’t need it. If you wait until your credit card is maxed out or when you’re only making minimum payments then the bank will probably be less likely to raise your credit limit because they will see you as more of a credit risk. Also, it’s a good idea to actually use the card you’re going to request a credit increase for. Otherwise, a bank may see no need for your increase and deny you.

The History of Credit Scores and Reports

It’s easy to take credit reports and credit scores for granted. But could you imagine living in a time where even the idea of a credit reporting agency didn’t exist? How could you go about finding out if someone had a good enough track record for you to know that they wouldn’t vanish overnight after you shell out your cash to them?

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Humans have been borrowing from each other for thousands of years. Back in 3500 BC ancient Sumerians may have first issued loans for agricultural purposes in Mesopotamia and in Babylon around 1800 BC the Code of Hammurabi codified ceilings for interest on loans for grain and silver. (Interest has been a point of contention in many civilizations and outlawed as usury during periods such as the Dark Ages due to the belief that it was something God frowned upon.)

But determining the creditworthiness of others, at least in some sort of systematic fashion, is still a relatively recent creation. In early Colonial times, bankers and merchants didn’t have FICO reports to instantly pull so they had to resort to other more simplistic means. Neighbors and other counterparts would vouch for the character of the credit applicant and after checking up through the grapevine, bankers would then decide to issue credit. If Abitha, the local basket maker, didn’t think too fondly of you or your family, your hopes for opening up the next big tavern in town may have been over before they started.

This highly subjective method of determining creditworthiness was too inconsistent, and perhaps even more problematic, it lacked the sophistication to keep up with the increasing number of transactions that came along with the rise of industrialization. Lenders were being asked to extend credit to more and more customers who they lacked knowledge about.

In places like the UK this growth helped create the first efforts for credit checks. In the early 19th Century, English tailors started sharing client information with each other in an effort to find those clients who did not pay their debts. They even started the Marvel-esque sounding “Society of Guardians for the Protection of Tradesmen against Swindlers, Sharpers and other Fraudulent Persons” in 1826 in Manchester, England. But the British ran into the same issues as those in the U.S. — gossip and hearsay could go only get you so far. Eventually they needed much more. So in 1857, the Manchester Guardian Society appointed its first “data accuracy officer.”

Back in the U.S., folks began experimenting with different ways to accurately report credit and several credit reporting experiments were born. One of the most well-known of these experiments was the “Mercantile Agency” founded in 1841 by Lewis Tappan. Tappan was an abolitionist and Calvinist who actually had strictly opposed credit and lending money based on his religious beliefs but after experiencing harsh economic times and the “Panic of 1837,” Tappan realized that extending credit might be the only way to create viable business.

The Panic of 1837 had also taught Tappan how important it was to properly extend credit and accurately assess the creditworthiness of individuals. Luckily for Tappan he had built an extensive network across the country while being a well-known advocate of the abolitionist movement. This helped him to retrieve and store information about customers located throughout the nation. Tappan built up such a large database that other merchants reached out to Tappan for his data and his business began booming.

This method of collecting and storing data wasn’t met with open arms by everyone, however. Citizens accused Tappan of invading their personal privacy with his extensive file libraries but despite the criticisms the Mercantile Agency prevailed and by 1844 it had over 280 clients.

In 1849, Tappan retired and Benjamin Douglass took over the business. Ten years later, Douglass transferred the company over to Robert Graham Dun, who changed the “Mercantile Agency” name to “R.G. Dun & Company” and continued to expand business over the next few decades.

At the same time of this name a change, another powerhouse and rival was formed. In 1849, the John M. Bradstreet Company was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, by a relative to American poet Anne Bradstreet. Bradstreet grew to popularity by publicizing the first book of commercial credit ratings known as the Dun Book. In 1857, Bradstreet published a highly detailed version of this book and the competition between the two firms picked up and in 1864, the former Mercantile Agency, R. G. Dun and Company, created an alphanumeric system that would be utilized for credit ratings for decades to come.

Thus, by the end of the Civil War the foundation was largely in place for credit reporting with commercial borrowers and by 1900 there were around 50 credit agencies operating in the US. But credit reporting focused on consumers was still not something that existed. But that would soon change, as the first credit bureau emerged near the end of the 19th Century.

In 1898, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Cator Woolford created a list of customers that frequented his grocery store that he believed were worthy of credit and then he started circulating this list to other traders. The business soon took off into other industries such as insurance and even into international markets. By 1913 his company was re-branded as “Retail Credit Company, Inc” based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Around this same time, things were beginning to change as the Worker’s Rights Movement began and workers gained more rights along with increased wages. Merchants, including the automobile industry, wanted to cash in on the new state of the economy and so they began offering credit lines. in 1919, GM via GMAC started offering automobile loans and by the 1920s more than 20 percent of purchases made in US department stores were on credit, as things like appliances, furniture, and radios were becoming increasingly common to purchase with installment plans.

Credit reporting agencies like the Retail Credit Company were growing and more and more Americans were becoming more open to borrowing money based on credit to make purchases. But once again, security and privacy issues would rile consumers.

The Retail Credit Company didn’t just mine data on credit profiles, capital, and character, but it even delved into other aspects of borrower’s lives regarding things like political affiliation, marital troubles, childhood, drinking habits, and even sexual activity. It was even rumored that the RCC would reward its employees for finding dirt on consumers. (Could you imagine this going on today?) This led to a lot of resistance toward the RCC, especially when RCC announced they would be storing this information in these new contraptions known as computers, allowing for much more rapid transmission of such personal and at times damning information.

Alan Westin wrote in a 1968 New York Times article that, “transferring information from a manual file onto a computer triggers a threat to civil liberties, to privacy, to a man’s very humanity because access is so simple.” The outcry would eventually lead to the passing of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in 1970—a landmark piece of legislation that came with a host of rights. Notably, it forced credit bureaus to make their files public; remove data on race, sexuality and disabilities; and also remove negative information after a certain time period.

The circus surrounding the hearings and the passage of the FCRA is thought to have been so damaging to RCC that in the 1970s it changed its name from the Retail Credit Company to a company called Equifax, as it is now known today.

Back in the 1950s another credit reporting agency was coming into existence. Two of the most famous aerospace engineers, Simon Ramo and Dean Wooldridge had been leaders on the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program established in response to threats from the Soviet Union. These two visionaries believed cashless payments were the way of the future and knew they could apply their scientific and technological knowledge to commercial markets to determine individual creditworthiness in order to effect such payment methods. Despite the voices of many skeptics, they worked out a deal with Thompson Products in order to obtain the needed capital and formed a joint business known as “TRW.”

TRW used some of the most talented software engineers in the US to catch up to their competitors like the Retail Credit Company and in 1968 they entered the credit reporting industry with the acquisition of San Francisco-based “Credit Data.”

(1968 was also the yearTransUnion formed as a holding company for a railroad leasing organization. A year later TransUnion acquired the Credit Bureau of Cook County, which maintained over 3.6 million card files giving TransUnion the jump start it needed to compete in the market.)

TRW’s technology-driven approach accelerated their growth while allowing TRW to remain accurate and effecient with their handling of credit reports. Some even have referred to TRW as the “Google of their time” because of their powerful informational databases used for things like targeted marketing. By 1986, TRW had become the first credit agency working in all 50 states, although RCC AKA Equifax was hot on its trail.

TRW, later known as TRW Information Systems & Services (TRW IS&S) experienced some mighty struggles in the early 90s during the recession period but they pulled out of the recession with innovative projects like “File One” which helped better consolidate credit records. In 1995, after battling for years through economic struggles,TRW IS&S decided to put the company up for sale and two private equity firms purchased them. They came up with a long list of potential names like Actua, Cogneo, Factbase, Fidelta, Informedia, Knosis, Newlight and Trustin but ultimately settled on one: Experian.

So all three credit bureaus were now born in the US: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. But as the big three emerged, there were still glaring differences between the credit reports and a pressing need for better accuracy and consistency given the growing markets for credit. And this is when FICO came in.

[Part II will continue with the History of FICO Scores]

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