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Our Journey to the Chambliss Center Inspired by Paycheck to Paycheck Documentary

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Chambliss Center

A couple of months ago, we (the MagnifyMoney team) watched the moving HBO documentary Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert. The film follows a struggling single mother as she tries to better her financial situation, only to be constantly knocked down by circumstances largely outside of her control.

In a sea of financial battles, Katrina had one safe harbor: The Chambliss Center for Children.

The Chambliss Center, located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, offers 24/7 extended childcare and early childhood education for children ranging in age from six weeks to 12 years old. Parents are charged a fee on a sliding scale at a substantially reduced rate compared to the typical cost of childcare. Chambliss also provides a residential program for children who have been removed from their homes and are in custody of the State of Tennessee. Some children are placed in foster care, while others live onsite at the Chambliss Center.

Inspired by Katrina’s story, we contacted the Chambliss Center to see if we could help.

Last week, we headed down to Chattanooga to host financial seminars and provide one-on-one sessions to speak with both the Chambliss Center staff and parents who, like Katrina, often deal with immense pressure to make ends meet each month and dig out of debt.

We drove up to the Chambliss Center and were greeted by the sounds of children laughing and gleefully yelling on one of the Center’s many playgrounds. Chambliss’ Vice President of Development and Administration welcomed us with a grand tour of the Center’s extensive facilities including nurseries, classrooms, basketball courts, and a swimming pool. Nearly two, hug-filled, hours later, we settled into a conference room and prepared to give our two lunch seminars for the Chambliss staff.

MagnifyMoney co-founder, Nick, spent an hour overviewing our A,B,C’s and the foundation for financial health.

A – Ask the tough questions (How much debt do I have? Am I consistently going overdraft? Do I have anything in collections? What’s impacting my credit score?)

B – Break up with your bank (Don’t stay in a toxic relationship with a bank, switch to an Internet-only bank or a credit union)

C – Commit to a long-term plan

The attentive participants asked questions about credit scores, balance transfers, overdraft fees and handling their debt.

Nick reiterated over-and-over that one needn’t be rich in order to have a strong credit score; it’s based on responsibility. Prompt by this comment, one listener raised her hand and commented about her shock that her credit score sat in the high 700s even though she had debt.

“Do you pay your bills on time?” asked Nick

“Yes,” she responded.

“Do you max out your cards?” he followed up

“Not anymore,” she said with a half-hearted laugh.

“Well, the credit bureaus see you as responsible. It isn’t about how much money you have, it’s about how responsible you act with your credit,” Nick explained. “You don’t need to be rich to have a good credit score, but a good credit score can save you a lot of money.”

A short time later, the three of us sat in front of two seventeen-year-old boys from the Chambliss Center’s residential program. At the tender age of 18, these young men will age out of the foster care system and be required to live independently.

In an effort to prepare them for their eighteenth birthday, the three of us spoke with the young men basic personal finance, building credit history and why it’s imperative to stay away from predatory lending like title loans, pay day lenders and overdraft fees.

One of the young men, who will turn 18 in four months time, lobbed us question after question about handling his finances including the astute inquiry, “I once heard no credit is as bad as bad credit, is that true?” We answered his questions and gave him our business cards, asking he keep in touch and reach out about any questions when he was handling his own financial affairs.

The next two days were spent in one-on-one meetings with members of the Chambliss staff and parents.

We spent 45 minutes blocks of time sitting down with individuals and discussing their financial situations. Some were concerned with improving their credit scores while others weren’t sure about how to battle overdraft fees and most wondered if they could dig themselves out of debt. We kept our talks conversational and educational before exploring if we could help each individual save some money. We consistently had people tell us they wanted to as much as they could about money to keep their children from repeating their mistakes. One woman went so far as to say, “In my family, bad money habits have been passed down from generation to generation. It will end with me.”

In a few cases, we were able to make a sizable dent in people’s debt and help them learn how to handle future emergencies without turning to title loans or pay day lenders. But those stories will be shared later this week.

The Chambliss Center stands as a pillar of hope for men and women struggling to raise their children while they need to work, or go back to school and often times serve as the single parent.  We felt fortunate to speak with their inspiring staff and the parents who work so diligently to ensure their children are provided with excellent care and education.

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Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Erin Lowry
Erin Lowry |

Erin Lowry is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at [email protected]

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Credit One Bank Review: Average Credit Welcome But Complicated Terms

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Credit One Bank (not to be confused with Capital One Bank) specializes in credit cards for people who do not have the best credit. Credit One provides access to credit when other people do not. However, it does come at a price.

The potential drawbacks of choosing a Credit One Bank credit card are the fees and conditions that can apply to your account, depending on your creditworthiness.

Credit One Bank Credit Card Terms

Creditone Currently, Credit One Bank offers three main credit cards including the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards, the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit, and the Credit One Bank® NASCAR® Visa® Credit Card. However, the account terms for each card above including the interest rate, annual fee, and rewards program varies, depending on your creditworthiness. This means Credit One Bank will take a look at your credit history and income before offering your credit card terms and conditions.

There are 26 available credit card agreements you may be offered by Credit One Bank after applying. Fortunately, you can prequalify to review which specific terms you will receive, and the good news is this pre-qualification won’t impact your credit score.

Interest Rates, Fees, and Fine Print

Credit One Bank does provide an easier to read terms-and-conditions disclosure document with a range of the possible fees, interest rates, and terms you may encounter as a cardholder.

We’ve also put together a quick overview of the facts:

  • The minimum credit line is $300
  • Variable interest rates vary by product. In general, the ongoing purchase variable APRs across products range from 19.99% -25.99% Variable.
  • Accounts may or may not have a payment grace period
  • The annual fee ranges from $0-$99
  • If you add on an authorized user, the fee is $19 annually
  • The late payment fee is up to $38
  • The returned payment fee is up to $38

As you can see from the terms above, the cost of borrowing from Credit One Bank can vary greatly, specifically when it comes to the annual fee. You can pay an annual fee from $0-$99. That’s no small amount of money.

For the first year, the annual fee is charged to your account right away. This means when you first receive the card the annual feel will be subtracted from your available credit line. After the first year, the annual fee may be charged all at once or split into 12 monthly payments.

The payment grace period

Another area besides fees to draw attention to is the payment grace period. The account you qualify for may or may not have one.

A payment grace period is a certain amount of days that credit card issuers give you to pay the bill before applying interest. Credit cards that don’t have a grace period begin charging interest on the day the purchase hits your account. For example, if you were to buy a nice, new couch on a credit card today, interest would start applying to that purchase today.

Again, terms vary, depending on creditworthiness, so it’s possible you can get the best terms that Credit One Bank has to offer, including the lowest possible interest rate, no annual fee, and an account with a payment grace period. But you should be aware of the most expensive scenario.

Cash Back Rewards and Card Benefits

Credit One Bank offers five cash back rewards programs and a few additional card benefits.

There are three cash back programs that reward you for everyday spending like gas, groceries, and dining, and two other programs that reward you for auto and related purchases.

Here are the five rewards programs:

Cash Back Rewards Program

  • 1% on eligible purchases, terms apply.

NASCAR Cash Back Rewards Program

  • 1% Cash Back on Eligible Purchases and Double Cash Back at the Shop, terms apply.

If you qualify for a cash back program, the cash back that you earn each month will be credited to your account statements. The cash back credited to your account doesn’t count as a payment, so you’ll need to make your regular minimum payment to keep your card in good standing.

Additional card benefits

As mentioned, free credit score tracking and a credit report summary are included. Visa Zero Fraud Liability is another benefit and means you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Visa account if you report them in a timely manner.

How to Prequalify for Credit One Bank Credit Cards

On the Credit One Bank website, you can prequalify for a card without a hard inquiry. You just need to type in your address, Social Security number, birthdate, and income.

Make sure to read through the terms you receive after pre-qualification for the interest rate, the fees, and whether you get a payment grace period before thinking about moving forward with the full application.

The Cost of Using a Credit One Bank Card

So, what’s the cost? That’s always the most important question.

Taking a look at the cost of cash back rewards first, the interest rate range offered by Credit One Bank is slightly higher than other rewards cards with similar cash back offers.

Here are a few cash back alternatives with lower interest rates and no annual fee:

  • The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer: Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay., and an APR of 15.74%– 25.74% (Variable) with a $0 annual fee.
  • The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day and 0% intro on purchases for 15 months an a 0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months, 15.74% - 25.74% (Variable) APR after that. There is a $0 annual fee.

For the most part, the cheaper cash back rewards cards listed above are also ones that require decent credit, which may be a reason why you would try applying with Credit One Bank instead.

However, Credit One Bank cards can come with fees you need to be mindful of before thinking they’re an ideal alternative. You may qualify for Credit One Bank with less-than-perfect credit, but the catch is you may also get approved for less-than-desirable credit card terms like high interest and a high annual fee.

Example of what it costs to borrow

To analyze the cost of borrowing from Credit One Bank, let’s take an example:

  • 24.15% variable APR
  • $99 annual fee
  • No payment grace period
  • 1% cash back on gas and grocery spending

If you charge $500 of furniture to this card as soon as you get it, it’ll cost you about $62 in interest to pay the balance off in 12 months with regular payments of $51 per month.

The exact interest cost will vary, depending on interest rate fluctuations and when you make the purchase during the month. (Remember, there’s no grace period.)


In total, you would pay about $161 (interest plus the $99 annual fee) to borrow $500 during your first year as a cardholder. The next year, you also have another $99 in annual fees ($8.25 per month) to look forward to paying before even swiping your card on new purchases.

From this example, you can see fees play a big role in costs and are a factor you want to measure if you prequalify for a Credit One Bank credit card.

Another caveat to this is if you planned to use this card for cash back specifically, you would need to pay off your balance the same day you make a purchase. Otherwise, interest charges from having no grace period can eat away at the cash back earned.

Other Ways to Borrow Money and to Build Credit

The big advantage of Credit One Bank is that you can prequalify without a hard inquiry so it doesn’t hurt to find out what terms you will receive. There are a few other credit card issuers that offer the same convenience. If you’re not sure whether you can qualify for cards with lower fees, you can search for providers that offer prequalification here.

To build or rebuild credit, you can also turn to store cards or secured cards. Learn more about how to build credit with a secured card here. It’s worth mentioning that not all store cards and secured cards are cheap either. You need to review the fees and interest rates to find the most affordable option just like you would with the Credit One Bank accounts.

Finally, if your focus is solely getting your hands on cash, a personal loan may offer you a better deal when you need to borrow money than a credit card. You can also prequalify for personal loans without impacting your credit score. You can shop for personal loans here.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here