Home > Credit Cards > 4 Ways Credit Cards and Baseball Are Alike

Comments 0 Comments

Spring is in the air and that means it’s time for baseball. I love to hear the crack of the bat and watch skilled players flash leather. Most importantly, I finally have an excuse to eat a hot dog without guilt. I believe that when your team’s starting a new season, you can, too. It’s a great time to take a fresh look at your credit cards. (Don’t you just love that seamless transition into credit cards?)

Baseball and managing your credit cards actually have a lot of things in common. I could come up with dozens of connections, but to hold your interest, I’ll stop at four.

#1: Curve balls are inevitable.

How can I put this delicately? Stuff happens. You go on vacation and forget to pay your credit card bill and you’re slapped with a late fee. You buy something for the rewards points, but oops, you lose your job and you don’t have enough money to pay off the bill when it arrives.

Hitting a curve ball is one of the hardest things to do in baseball, especially when it’s delivered by a crafty pitcher. If you’re expecting a fast ball, you’ll probably have a swing and a miss. Players spend hours and hours learning how to anticipate and hit a curve ball.

Just like a baseball player, you can learn how to handle a credit-related curve ball with finesse. Persistence is the key. If you have a late fee and it’s a simple mistake, call the issuer and ask (nicely, but persuasively) to have the fee removed. If it’s more serious, like a job loss, call and ask to have a payment postponed or have the minimum payment reduced for a while. Keep at it and you’re likely to come away with a little success.

#2: If you don’t pay attention, you could get hurt.

When you have credit cards, you have to pay close attention to your statements. Check your accounts once or twice a week online. You want to look for errors and for any clues that suggest someone has stolen your card information.

You also want to check your credit reports for the very same things. You can get a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus each year or you can use Credit.com’s Free Credit Report Card for an overview of your credit standing along with a detailed explanation of how it works. Don’t ignore this “credit housekeeping” chore or you might get knocked in the head by an unpleasant surprise.

Speaking of which, getting hurt in baseball can involve both players and fans. I go to a lot of baseball games and when the batter swings I’m paying attention. I’ve seen too many foul balls and flying bats to let my mind wander during a game. You know how fans often jump into a pile with little regard for personal safety when there’s a foul ball to be had? You won’t see me in that bunch. I’ll be under my chair!

#3: Beware of busting your budget.

If you don’t pay your bill off every month, you’ll pay interest on your purchases, and that’s never good when you’re trying to stay within a budget. With planning and organization, you can be sure you’re never late. You can get text and email alerts from your bank or from free online money management tools, such as Mint.

Just taking your family to a baseball game can cost a small fortune. If you and your brood enjoy buying merchandise with your team’s logo, you can save by using the Major League Baseball Extra Bases Credit Card from Bank of America. You get 15,000 Extra Base bonus points if you spend $250 within the first 90 days. This can be redeemed for $120 cash back or a $150 MLB.com gift card or merchandise. You get one point for every $1 you spend.

Take the gift card if you earn the bonus points. The point value if you redeem for cash is only 0.8 cents. If you redeem your points for the gift card, you get the standard point value of 1 cent ($150/15,000 points = .01). You get a zero percent intro APR for 12 months and then a 12.99 percent to 20.99 percent variable APR. There’s no annual fee.

#4: In the end, it’s all about the score.

Your credit score is a major consideration when you apply for a credit card. If you have a FICO score of around 750 or better, you have excellent credit. That’s what you need to get the cards with the best interest rates and rewards. The bottom line is that we’re judged by our credit score. That’s not the only thing a bank considers when you apply for a credit card, but it’s highly important.

Baseball games keep score, but players are also judged individually by many other “scores” that are kept. Batting averages, RBIs, stolen bases, and much more. Pitchers have ERAs plus a million other stats to evaluate their talent.

The major difference, though, is that a baseball game ends and one team comes out on top. With your credit score, continue to manage your credit responsibly and your score will keep improving.

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team