Weird debt pay-off tricks that work

Sage debt pay-off advice often sounds like this: “Reduce your spending. Start paying the balance with the highest interest rate first.”

But forget “sage” for a moment, and let’s get weird. Debt payoff can become a slog, and sometimes you need a more out-there tick or motivator to keep going.

We reached out to 12 people who paid off large amounts of debt – and professionals in the personal finance industry — for the creative and quirky methods that, somehow, worked.
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Get 10% back at restaurants with Blue Cash cards (limited-time offer)

Offering temporarily elevated rewards (instead of permanent changes to the rewards program) is a good way for card issuers to get new applicants in the door. And American Express is using this enticement strategy with its Blue Cash cards.

New cardmembers who apply for the Blue Cash Preferred ($95 annual fee) or Blue Cash Everyday (no annual fee) by May 3, 2017, can get 10 percent cash back at U.S. restaurants for the first six months of cardmembershilp. That’s up to a cap of $200 in cash back. American Express is a CreditCardForum advertising partner.

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What new World of Hyatt program means for cardholders

Hyatt is rebooting its Gold Passport loyalty program (and renaming it “World of Hyatt”) on March 1. While nothing is ostensibly changing with Hyatt’s co-branded credit card (issued by Chase), some of the program changes affect cardholders. And, in some cases, having a Hyatt credit card will help you weather some potential status downgrades in the new program.
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USAA has raised the cash-back bar. Its Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature Card gives an advertised “limitless” 2.5 percent back on all spending with no annual fee.

There are limitations, however, particularly when it comes to your ability to get the card. More on those – and what the card provides to those who can get it – in this review.

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Can you lose your FICO score?

Thinking about moving abroad for a while? Going cash-only? Your FICO score may no longer be there when you need it.

FICO scores, which were designed to be useful to lenders, require recent credit activity. If you don’t have any, you may be unscorable when you later apply for a loan.

Here’s how you may lose your FICO score – and how to rebuild if you do.
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