Consumer Planning FAQs


By: Financial Hotline
Fall 2022 (Vol. 40, No. 3)

Q: Is the price of cars coming down at all?

A: In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, vehicle prices reached an all-time high between 2020 and 2021. Fortunately, recent industry data is showing used car prices dropping from August 2021 to August 2022. In some areas, prices have dropped as much as 30%. However, considering prices soared nearly 70%, the car market is still considered overpriced. The good news is we should see prices to continue downward. The general advice is, if you can get by with your current vehicle a little longer, every month you wait, you will save money on both new and used cars.

Q: Are we seeing any relief in rising home rental rates?

A: After two years of steady increases, studies show that rent prices either fell slightly or remained flat at the end of the summer. However, things are still stopping at near all-time highs. Demand for rentals is still strong partly because mortgage rates are high and buying a home is unrealistic for many in today’s pricey housing market.

Q: What is the website where I can get a free credit report once a year?

A: Don’t wait until you need to apply for credit. You should routinely check your credit report every year. Credit reports are free, once per year from each of the major credit reporting agencies — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com, then review the reports carefully. If you find any errors, correct them by following the directions on each agency’s website.

Q: Can you recommend a good credit card for 0% balance transfers?

A: The BankAmericard® Credit Card offers 0% intro APR on Purchases for 21 billing cycles and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 21 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. The transfer fee is $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Q: My son is heading to college, are there any credit cards for students with no credit?

A: The Discover it® Student Cash Back Card is perfect for students with little or no credit to gain experience managing credit. This card offers zero annual fee, no penalty APR, plus up to 5% cashback rewards.

Q: Are there any travel rewards cards that don’t have an annual fee?

A: For a no annual fee card, the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card offers some of the best perks of the season. A 30,000 point sign-up bonus ($300 cash redemption value) after spending $1,500 in the first three months plus you can earn unlimited 3x points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, phone plans and more. Plus, earn 1x points on other purchases. Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from account opening, and a low deductible cell phone coverage. This limited-time offer expires Jan. 10, 2023.

Q: Are there any credit cards that will give someone with poor credit a chance to have a regular card that isn’t secured by my own deposit?

A: Yes. The Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card will typically approve accounts for credit scores as low as 350. It may help you boost your credit but you will pay an annual fee (up to $59) and you won’t get any perks like cash back or rewards.

Q: I don’t have bad credit, I just have no credit. I am not enrolled in college so I can’t get a student card. Is there a card that will help me get started?

A: Try PetalCard.com. When you apply for Petal, they use your banking history to instantly create a Cash Score — a measure of your creditworthiness based on income, spending, and savings history. It could help you qualify for a Petal credit card, even if you’ve never had credit before. You may also consider a secured credit card. This means you deposit money with the bank. Then you spend that money by using the secured credit card. A secured credit card works like a debit card but it helps you build credit so you can eventually qualify for a regular card.