Everyone hates being stuck in traffic. It makes you late, and causes many people’s tempers to flare up. But it’s also quite bad for your wallet – in fact, congestion costs the average driver over $1,400 per year in the U.S., which has 10 out of the world’s 25 worst cities for traffic.
Congestion isn’t the only concern on the road, though. People want to know that they will be driving on safe, well-maintained roads before heading out. The U.S. has a fairly good track record in these regards, but certainly doesn’t top the list. For example, the World Economics Forum only places the U.S. at rank 10 of 137 when it comes to road quality.
For a growing number of Americans, a good education is the ticket to a better future. College opens doors to more career opportunities, higher earnings and new social connections, among other benefits. But how much schooling one receives also matters to some extent. Generally, the higher the level of education one completes, the higher their income potential and the lower their chances of unemployment become.
In this study, WalletHub examined the key factors of a well-educated population: educational attainment, school quality and achievement gaps between genders and races. We compared all 50 states across 20 total metrics grouped into two categories. The data set ranges from share of adults aged 25 and older with at least a high school diploma to average university quality to gender gap in educational attainment.
The Verdict: The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card is both the best card that Wells Fargo (a WalletHub partner) has to offer and one of the best cash back credit cards from any issuer. But a limited-time offer has a lot to do with that. New applicants can now earn a $200 cash bonus for spending just $1,000 within three months of account opening. That’s tied for the second-biggest cash bonus among consumer credit cards, according to WalletHub’s database of 1,000+ offers.
Without its initial bonus, the Cash Wise Card is still very good, just not elite. It doesn’t charge an annual fee, which makes it $17.35 per year cheaper than the average credit card offer. It gives you at least 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which is roughly 50% higher than the average cash rewards card’s base earning rate. And you even get a bit more (1.8% back) on mobile-wallet purchases for the first 12 months.
Michigan might be known as the hub of the auto industry, but it’s also a good state for raising kids, too. In fact, 65 percent of Michigan children live in two-parent households, which is right in line with the national rate.
But what makes the Great Lakes State a good place parents and their children? Its nickname is a giveaway, for starters. No one in Michigan is ever “more than 6 miles from a lake or stream.” And there are countless other family-friendly attractions that encourage an active, outdoor lifestyle such as over 100 state parks and thousands of miles of trails, according to the state’s website.
In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. introduced the world to his dream of a colorblind society — one that focuses on character, not on complexion. America has certainly come closer to realizing Dr. King’s vision. But segregation and discrimination continue to persist.
Views on systemic racism also differ sharply across racial lines. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of blacks said that “whites benefit a great deal or a fair amount from advantages that blacks do not have.” In contrast, only 46 percent of whites agreed with that statement. However, most Americans have positive views on diversity in general. Another Pew Research survey found that 58 percent of Americans think increasing diversity makes the U.S. a better place, while only 9 percent say it makes the U.S. a worse place. 31 percent think it makes no difference.
The Verdict: The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is an attractive everyday spending vehicle for people with excellent credit (Bank of America is a WalletHub partner). Things begin on a positive note, with no annual fee to worry about and the ability to earn a $150 initial bonus for spending just $500 in the first 90 days after account opening.
The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card even supplements its base 1% cash-back earning rate with 2% back on groceries and wholesale clubs and 3% back on a category of your choosing. But there’s a catch. Those bonus earning rates apply to only the first $2,500 in combined grocery, wholesale clubs and gas purchases each quarter. So if you spend more than $833 a month on such everyday necessities, you will wind up hitting that limit and earning only 1% back — slightly less than the market average of 1.06% — on all your purchases for the rest of the quarter.
Retirement might be the end of your career, but it doesn’t have to be the end of financial security or life satisfaction. Retirement generally coincides with the age at which we may receive Social Security or pension benefits. However, not everyone can retire when they want to. 25 percent of non-retired adults haven’t saved any money for retirement, though not necessarily through any fault of their own.
But in addition to when to retire, a good question to ask is where. Finding the best states to retire can be difficult without doing lots of research. Even in the most affordable areas of the U.S., most retirees cannot rely on Social Security or pension checks alone to cover all of their living expenses. Social Security benefits increase with local inflation, but they replace only about 39 percent of the average worker’s earnings.
A good APR for a credit card is 14% and below. That's roughly the average APR among credit card offers for people with excellent credit. And a great APR for a credit card is 0%. The right 0% credit card could help you avoid interest entirely on big-ticket purchases or reduce the cost of existing debt. But you generally need at least good credit to qualify for such a card, and 0% APRs only last for a limited time. As a result, the very best APR for a credit card is one you don't need to worry about. If you pay your bill in full every month, your credit card's interest rate is irrelevant because it will never apply. And you don't need a certain credit score to accomplish that.
Credit card miles work by rewarding you for making purchases using your card and then allowing you to use your stockpiled miles for travel, gift cards, cash back or other options. Credit card miles are one of the three major types of credit card rewards, the other two being cash back and points. Points and miles basically function the same way, but miles are more closely tied to travel, especially air travel.
Getting the right credit card doesn’t have to be a struggle or a guessing game. Sure, shopping for plastic might seem like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are hundreds of offers with similar-sounding names to choose from. There’s lots of terminology to learn. And who has either the time or the eyesight to pour through all the fine print?
But finding and ultimately getting approved for the best possible credit card is fairly easy when you know where to look. For starters, you can use WalletHub’s anonymous CardAdvisor tool to get a recommendation based on your answers to a few simple questions. You can get more-personalized picks by signing up for a free WalletHub account. Or you can simply head straight for the top card in your category of choice, as selected by WalletHub’s editors from 1,000+ offers (some offers are from our partners).
The Verdict: The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express wouldn’t be our first choice for an everyday credit card, but it is one of the best balance transfer credit cards around (American Express is a WalletHub partner). So if you have some credit card debt that you’d like to get rid of and the good or excellent credit needed for approval, you should definitely consider Amex EveryDay.
Most importantly, this EveryDay Amex offers 0% intro rates on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months your account is open. There’s also no balance transfer fee and no annual fee. You just have to transfer your balance within 60 days of opening your account. And you’d be wise to repay what you owe before a high regular APR takes effect after 12 months.
USAA (a WalletHub partner) offers nearly 30 different credit cards to current and former members of the military, as well as their immediate family. That means determining whether you meet the organization’s membership requirements is only step one. After that, you’ll still need to identify the right credit card for your needs from the many available offers.
To help make the process as painless as possible, we compared all of USAA’s cards to find the best offers for the most common consumer needs. You can find our selections below, along with the best alternative from other issuers for each usage scenario. If you would like a personalized credit card recommendation or to check your latest credit score, just sign up for a free WalletHub account.
When you tally up the pros and cons of credit cards, a couple of things are clear. There are many reasons to use a credit card, from convenience and credit building to 0% financing and rewards. But considering how easy it is to overspend with a credit card, how expensive credit card debt can be and how missed payments can hurt your credit score, there’s also reason to be cautious. We rack up billions of dollars in credit card debt each year, for example. And anytime you’re 30+ days late on a payment, it’s noted on your credit report for seven years. Most importantly, though, the advantages of credit cards vastly outweigh the disadvantages for most people. You don’t even need to make purchases with a credit card to benefit. Just educate yourself on what to do and what not to do, and you’ll be alright.
You have to be at least 18 years old to get a credit card account. But there is no minimum age requirement for authorized users to have a credit card from most major banks. So an adult could even add a baby as an authorized user on a credit card, giving the baby a card with his or her name on it and the ability to begin building credit before learning how to walk to the store to make a purchase. But while there’s no legal minimum age for authorized users, individual issuers may add their own restrictions.
A secured credit card is a type of credit card for people with limited or damaged credit that requires the user to place a refundable security deposit, which the card’s issuer holds as collateral until the account is closed. This deposit makes it less risky for banks and credit unions to issue credit cards to inexperienced applicants and people with a history of payment problems. If something goes wrong, the issuer can just keep the money. As a result, secured credit cards offer the highest approval odds of any type of credit card. And they don’t need to charge the same high fees as unsecured credit cards for bad credit.
Getting a credit card can be quite simple. Just compare offers online, and click “Apply Now” once you find one you like. From there, you’ll fill out a straightforward credit card application on the issuer’s secure site. And that’s it. You’ll find out whether you’ve been approved within 14 business days, if not immediately. And your card will arrive in the mail soon thereafter.
You can check your credit score for free in less than two minutes on WalletHub, the only site with free daily updates. Just quickly confirm your identity, and you’ll get access to your latest VantageScore 3.0 credit score, based on your TransUnion credit report.
There are four ways to increase your credit limit on a credit card: 1) Request a higher limit from your credit card’s issuer; 2) Wait for your credit card company to automatically raise your credit limit; 3) Add to a secured credit card’s security deposit; and 4) Apply for a new credit card account. Which you choose depends on what type of credit card you have and whether you’re looking for more spending power or a higher limit for credit-improvement purposes.
Low credit card limits are more than just an inconvenience. They can also lead to credit score damage due to high credit utilization. So people have different reasons for wanting to increase credit limits. And it’s no surprise that getting a higher credit limit is a popular goal, considering that some credit cards have starting limits as low as $200. Even many credit cards for people with good credit scores have credit limits of just $500+.
World Elite is Mastercard’s highest benefits level. World Elite Mastercard benefits include everything you’d get with a regular or World Mastercard, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars more in travel insurance, exclusive discounts on many travel services and special nightclub access. The best World Elite Mastercard benefits include: purchase protection, price protection, extended warranties, travel accident insurance and multiple discount programs. Other good perks include a ShopRunner membership and exclusive PGA Tour golf experiences.
More than 7 in 10 0% balance transfer credit cards charge a balance transfer fee, according to WalletHub data. The average fee is equal to about 2.6% of the amount transferred. And that would cost the average household over $200, if they were to transfer their nearly $8,000 in credit card debt.