Eight Ways To Compare Credit Cards

Not all credit cards are created equal, and comparing credit card offers can be challenging. What is best for one person may not be best for another, so it is important to weigh a multitude of factors, including interest rate, fees, rewards programs and member benefits.

Here is a breakdown of some of the most important factors one should look for and compare in a credit card offer.

1. Type of card

Credit cards have many variations, but they fall into three major classes.

  • Secured cards require a security deposit and are for those who have no credit or bad credit.
  • Regular cards do not require a security deposit but have few features. They have higher credit limits than secured cards but lower limits than premium cards.
  • Premium cards (gold, platinum, titanium) offer higher credit limits and usually have extra features such as travel insurance or emergency service.

2. Grace period

This is the number of days you have to pay your bill in full without triggering a finance charge.

3. How the finance charge is calculated

This is the dollar amount you pay to use credit, and it depends in part on your outstanding balance and the annual percentage rate (APR). Companies use various methods to calculate your outstanding balance, and the method can make a big difference in the finance charge. Your outstanding balance may be calculated over one or two billing cycles; including or excluding new purchases in the balance and by using the adjusted balance, average daily balance or previous balance. Know if the card has a minimum finance charge.

4. Fees

Some cards have annual fees, over-the-limit fees, late payment fees, foreign transaction fees, balance transfer fees and more. Pay attention to the fine print.

5. Cash advance features

Most cash advances carry a much higher interest rate than regular purchases. If you plan to use cash advances, look for information about access (ATM, "checks," APR, fees, limits and how payments are credited).

6. Credit limit

Your personal credit limit will be determined by your credit history, but some cards come with a preset credit limit.

7. Incentives and reward programs

Rewards cards can include cash rebates on purchases, online account access, frequent flyer miles, additional warranty coverage, car rental insurance, travel discounts, concierge services and more. If you have no credit or bad credit, you may have to work on building good credit before you are approved for a card with rewards and incentives.

8. Interest rate

Interest rates will be described in the credit card offer as fixed or variable, although in practice, there is not as much difference as the names imply. Variable rate cards will have their APRs pegged to an index -- most commonly the prime rate -- and will go up and down as short-term rates change in the larger economy. You may think you avoid the interest rate risk with a fixed rate card, but you won't. Federal law allows card issuers to change any terms of the card, including its rate, with just 15 days' notice.

If you are the type of person who pays your entire credit card balance each month on time, Stroh says, "A low interest rate credit card is not as important as one with no annual fee or and a longer grace period."

Unfortunately, many people are not so disciplined about paying off their credit cards in full and on time every month. If you occasionally or often carry a balance on your credit cards, a low interest credit card may be best for you. The difference between a low 10 percent APR interest rate and a higher 20 percent APR interest rate is significant over time. Just remember that some cards have an introductory 0 percent APR for several months to a year, then jump to higher APRs. If you have large purchases to make, it is wisest to pay them off during the time in which your introductory APR is still active.

If you plan to use the card for cash advances, look for a card with a lower APR and low fees on cash advances, since APR for that type of transaction can be quite high. "Understand that a single credit card may have several APRs," Stroh says. "They include APRs for purchases, for cash advances, for balance transfers, penalty APRs for late payments, introductory APRs, delayed APRs, which come in after the introductory rate expires, fixed versus variable APR and tired APRs, which happen when different rates are applied to different levels of the outstanding balance."

When determining what the best credit card is for you, remember that credit cards all have unique terms and conditions, which should be scrutinized and compared before you fill out an application.

Source: CreditCards.com

How To Get Free Samples For Almost Anything

Deciding When Your Teen Should Get a Credit Card

One Mom's Five Step Plan for Establishing Ground Rules with Teen Credit Cards

As a parent, for me to give my teen a credit card, the following would have to occur. As a teen is still under my roof and should not have the type of expenses one might need a credit card for (which is non-perishable items) - so the credit card would be for emergencies only, unless the teen is very, very financially fit.

Step One: Teens need to have an income

A teen should have a job with income, outside of their allowance. This puts them on a path to responsibility and if they have the credit card, they can pay it off - which is as it should be. No job, no credit.

Step Two: Teens need to have a savings account

If your teen has not learned the importance of saving, and accruing funds - they don't know what spending really means. Some kids really think that you just go to the bank to get money with a plastic card (and forget that the money was earned as is not from an umlimited fountain of wealth)

Step Three: Teens need to have a checking account

This will teach your teen yet another way money is exchanged, and help them with record keeping which is needed for staying financially fit. By using a check register to keep track of expenses, your teen will see where and when they spend.

Step Four: Teens need to have a debit card

If your teen is successfully using a checking account, it's time to introduce a debit card. Many of these are visa or mastercards as well, but you can have that option turned off the card. This will teach teens how easy it is to get cash from a machine, and how easy swiping your card for inconsequential items like a pop and burger can turn into a zero account balance.

If the debit card is tied to their checking account, the money is immediately removed. If you allow them the visa or mastercard check cashing debit card then they may have a delay. If your teen can't handle this form of credit without overdraft fees they are not ready for a credit card.

In all cases, a debit card tied to a checking or savings account should be sufficient for a teen even in an emergency situation. If your teen is travelling or away at college, you may consider them using a parent credit card for approved expenses which you discuss ahead of time, or allowing them to apply for their own line of credit.

Step Five: Teens should apply for their own line of credit

Eventually your teen will be a grown up, and unless you've taught your teen to be a cash only person, it's likely that establishing credit is not a bad idea. If they have shown responsibility in the preceeding steps and are holding down a job, then allowing your teen to apply for their own line of credit can be a good thing.

Be sure to help your teen decide what sort of card they need, and an American Express may be the best bet for a starter card as it teaches you to pay off in full each month.

If you've adhered to the above plan and taught your child all you can about budgeting and having enough money to cover your purchases, you can do no more as parent's eventually have to let control of their teen go so they can grow into adulthood where they will make their own financial decisions.


Tips in Choosing the Best Credit Card for Bad Credit

Having bad credit does not mean one can never apply for good credit cards. Because of so many people having problem with bad credit, credit card companies saw the potential in providing service for this people. Thus, credit card companies came up with bad credit credit cards. As the name suggest, these credit cards are especially created to cater people with less than perfect credit history.

Bad credit credit cards or secured credit cards do come with higher interest rates and fees to make up for the risk from customers who have a poor credit history. When compared with standard credit cards, these cards also impose lower credit limit for its card holders since they were not able to present impressive credit.

However, this doesn't mean that bad credit credit cards are inferior since these cards can be a tool for people with bad credit to regain their credit reputation. Just how is this possible? By submitting regular payments on your account, secured credit cards report to the major credit bureaus to ensure that your credit report is updated.

Understandably, not all credit cards for bad credit that are offered in the market are great and it is up to you to do your choosing carefully. One of the first things you should look for with a credit card for bad credit is whether it reports to the major credit bureaus. There are some secured credit card providers that do not have this important provision. This is crucial in helping you rebuild your bad credit history.

Of course, just because you don't have an excellent credit doesn't mean you have to settle for unreasonably high rates that credit cards impose on their clients. It is possible to find secured credit cards with interest and fees that do not take advantage of your bad credit.

Another important factor to check about secured credit cards is the minimum amount of deposit required to get an approval. This security deposit is held in your account in case you default on your debts, thus giving the bank a guarantee that they can use this money to pay for the debts your defaulted. Take note also that some banks place this security deposit in an account that bears interest. Make sure that you'll be able to claim this security deposit along with its interest after building your credit.

The use of your security deposit may also differ depending on your bank. Some creditors will take your deposit if you miss a single payment in your account while some banks allow at least 5 to 6 months before deciding that the card holder has completely defaulted his debts.

Most importantly, choose a secured credit card that allows you to convert your account to an unsecured one after a certain period if you can prove that you are submitting all your payments dutifully and timely. This way, you can enjoy the privileges that unsecured credit card holders enjoy such as lower APR, higher credit limit, and less restrictions.

Source: CredoDebit

Advantages of Credit Card Merchant Accounts

These days at least twenty percent of all purchases by consumers are made through credit cards. This percentage is growing steadily from year to year. Many people are finding it more convenient to carry their credit cards with them when they go out shopping than carrying a billfold full of dollars. Also credit cards are useful when people make impulsive purchases when they find a good deal while shopping. Thus it is important for merchants to be able to accept payments through credit cards or debit cards. Having a credit card merchant account enables a merchant to accept payment by credit or debit cards instead of cash.

The other non cash payment alternative of accepting payment by check is not preferred by most merchants as checks may bounce. Earlier many merchants were hesitant to accept credit cards because of the hassle of collecting the receipts and sending them to the credit card company like Visa or Mastercard. However with the rapid advancement of technology every thing is done instantaneously and the money is in the merchant's bank account immediately. Technology has simplified the process to such an extent that many merchants find it more convenient than handling cash.

There are two types of credit card merchant accounts, card present and MOTO. In the card present system the card has to be presented for the payment to be made. The card is swiped through a credit card terminal or some such appliance that can 'read' the card. Once the terminal validates the card the customer simply has to sign the receipt for the sale to be completed. MOTO stands for 'Mail Order Telephone Order'. This means that the card information is sent by telephone or mail and the card is not physically presented. This type of merchant account is less prevalent. It is preferred by mail order businesses.

Credit card merchant account providers have greatly simplified the process of setting up an account to start accepting credit card payments. Although the merchants have to bear the cost of hardware required like the Credit Card Terminal, virtual terminal, credit card imprint-terminal combination and imprint style, in most cases they provide free set up, free service and free software because they make a lot of money from the transactions. The credit card terminal or swipe system needs an internet or phone connection to be able to receive and send information to the provider about the transactions. The process is actually very simple to use. Every time a customer uses his or her credit card to pay for a purchase, once it is approved the amount is deposited in the merchants bank account after deduction of fees.

The fees charged varies from one merchant account provider to another. Thus merchants should do some comparison shopping before deciding on one. The things to consider for the purpose of deciding are fees, service and support and flexibility of payment options. The extra fees is offset by the increase in sales and profits because customers usually tend to spend more when they are using credit cards. The standard fees usually consist of swiped charges, mail, internet or phone charges, transaction fees on per transaction basis and monthly statement fees. 24 hour service support must be available as merchants would not like to lose any sales.

Every year Americans are spending billions of dollars (estimated to be more than $500 billion) every year in credit card purchases. This figure can only increase in the future. It is a well known fact that people tend to spend more when they use credit cards. Many merchants have found that their sales have gone up by as mush as 1000% after they started accepting credit cards. With so many advantages no merchant can avoid having a credit card merchant account. This system is convenient both for the customer and the merchant and that is why more and more merchants are preferring to have a credit card merchant account.


Using Your Credit Card to Manage Your Finances

Before I begin, only someone who is wise enough not to get into debt can use this method and if that person figures he is getting over their head, he should pay by cash, check or debit card. However, the wise money manager can use this method to manage his finances.

True, you may need cash and loans for big items. For instance, tollbooths and some dollar stores do not take credit cards, and neither does it look good to put your name and your credit card number in the collection plate at Church, but for most purchase, you can depend on your Master Card or Visa.

First, this will only work if your credit card carries no annual balance, has a cash-back, or points system. You must be able to pay your balance off every month and not even carry over one cent and think of your credit card as a debit card with a bonus. After so many points, you get a trip, an Mp3 player, new sheets, or whatever.

It also helps if you have a high interest savings account that you will transfer into your checking account and then after that, placing the amount you spent onto your credit card account. If you got one of those credit card insurance, it would be best to put the money on the statement before you use the card, and after a time, you will be able to estimate how much you will need.

Now many checking accounts do not carry interest unless they run into thousands of dollars, and many businesses prefer either credit or debit cards. With debit cards, the money comes out of your bank account almost instantly, whereas with credit cards, you get a little leeway.

Before you use this, you have to make sure you know what your spending habits are, because if you put almost everything on credit, and pay off each month, you cannot have surprises. So, the first thing you should do is to figure out what you cannot put on credit, the purchases you make at the Dollar Store, the odds and ends you pay cash for, and the surprises such as group wedding gifts, showers, et cetera, also anything that you cannot use your card. After this, figure out your annual payments or anything that costs considerably much. For these, you will have to deposit money into your high interest savings account and then when you have enough, you withdraw the money into your regular savings or checking account, charge the item, and then you are so many points to your goal.

After this, you make a list of what you spend each month, and then you are all set. You can now use your credit card as a debit card with no worry.


Five Unnecessary Credit Card Fees You Can Avoid

Credit card companies are in business to make money. They don't run charities for down-on-their-luck consumers, and they don't have access to the Money Fairy who provides them with funds to give their customers. Instead, they make money off fees and finance charges paid by the people who depend on them. Of course, this makes credit card companies sound evil, which they are not.

However, you can find yourself going broke over credit card fees, particularly when you don't know how they work. When your statement comes in the mail, you might find yourself unpleasantly surprised by the total owed, which is to be avoided wherever possible.

Following are five credit card fees you can avoid if you practice due diligence in maintaining your accounts.

1. Late Fees

If your credit card payment isn't sent and posted by the due date, you will be charged a late fee, which in some cases can be up to $39, depending on your balance owed. Late fees not only cost you in the present, but they can also be ammunition for the credit card provider to raise your interest rate and increase your finance charges.

To avoid late fees, you can sign up for electronic alerts with most credit card companies. Six or seven days before you minimum payment is due, they will send you an e-mail reminder. It gives you sufficient time to post a payment and can save you plenty of money in the process. You can also sign up for automatic payments with some accounts, which are withdrawn directly from your checking account.

2. Over-the-Limit Fees

When the balance on your credit card exceeds your credit limit on the account, you will be charged an over-the-limit fee. This can happen if your forget about interest charges on your purchases, or if you forget how much you've already charged during a billing period. Unfortunately, most credit card companies will allow you to go over your limit without declining the card, ostensibly to collect the over-the-limit fees.

If you want to avoid this scenario, you can request that purchases that exceed your limit be denied. Some financial institutions-such as WaMu and Bank of America-allow this to help protect their customers. Overdraft protection is another option, but fees are usually associated with this service as well.

3. Balance-Transfer Fees

Another credit card fee to avoid is the balance-transfer fee. In addition to charging interest on the amount you transfer, your credit card will also be charged a fee under most accounts. The amount varies from 1% to 3% of the total amount, though it is usually capped at around $75. Unfortunately, these fees can also put you over your credit limit (see above).

To avoid balance-transfer fees, find a card that doesn't charge them. Although they are few and far between, some cards have special balance transfer rates for an introductory period, and you can consolidate your debt without incurring any fees.

4. Foreign Conversion Fees

When you use your credit card in another country, the credit card issuer (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) will charge you a foreign conversation fee, which is usually around one percent of the total purchase price. In addition to that, your financial institution will charge you another fee (between two and three percent) to add insult to injury.

Some credit cards, such as the Discover More card and a few Capital One cards, don't charge foreign conversion fees. Apply for one of these and use it exclusively while out of the country to avoid these enormous credit card fees.

5. Payment Fees

A growing trend among credit card companies is the push for customers to pay online. With many companies, you get charged a fee ($3-20) if you insist on paying by telephone. The fee will be charged to your account and payable on the next billing cycle.

If this is the case for you, avoid the fees by signing up for an online account and paying over the Internet. This is easier-no hold times-and you won't be charged extra for the convenience.

Source: Credit & Debit Cards

CVV2 Credit Card Scam: What You Should Know

Because credit card fraud is becoming such a hot issue for consumers, many merchants who accept credit card payments are beefing up their security. Some ask for your billing zip code to verify that your credit card is valid, while others ask for the CVV2 number-or security number-on the back of your card.

MasterCard, Visa, AmEx and Discover cards usually have a CVV2 number, which is usually two or three digits printed on the back of the card, near your signature. This code is unique to your card and is placed in the system with your credit card number, and is one of the safest ways to verify who you are and that you actually have the card. This way, even if a scam artist has stolen your account number, they can't necessarily use it for "card not present" transactions.

The CVV2 credit card scam began several months ago, and is increasing in frequency as more fraudulent users determine that this is the only way to effectively use stolen information. If they can input the CVV2 number online or over the phone, they have access to your entire available credit.

How the Scam Works

This credit card scam is quite ingenious, particularly for consumers who don't bother to verify callers when they answer the phone. The scam artist calls to inform the consumer that a charge on their credit card is suspected to be fraudulent. They'll ask if you purchased a $750 digital camera or a 2002 Ford Explorer-something that you probably didn't purchase.

When you exclaim that of course you didn't buy a $2,000 washing machine, they'll offer to return the money immediately if you can answer a few security questions. This is how an actual credit card company representative would handle the situation, so it sounds legitimate. They might ask you to verify a previous address or give your mother's maiden name. Even if they don't have that information, they'll agree with whatever you say.

The last question they'll ask is to verify the CVV2 number on the back of your credit card to verify that you have it in your possession. Without thinking, you whip out the card and read off the number, and the scam is successful. Then they thank you for your time, assure you that the fraudulent charge will be removed, and hang up the phone.

Why the Scam Works

The CVV2 credit card scam works because consumers simply don't pay enough attention. They assume that if someone calls claiming to be from the bank, it must be true. These people usually have professional voices and seem to know what they're talking about, and they'll thank you for using Washington Mutual or try to sell you the Privacy Protection for your account.

This scam is similar to the e-mails that have circulated from financial institutions and PayPal. Consumers click on the links to update their account information or change their passwords, only to fall victim to a scam in the process. The CVV2 credit card scam is incredibly dangerous, which means you need to know how to protect yourself as a consumer.

How to Avoid Being a Victim

If someone calls from your bank, ask for the number so you can call back and verify. In addition, you should call the normal 800 number to ask if the number given is actually one of your bank's official lines. If it isn't, you'll know that you were almost duped.

Whatever you do, never give out personal or identifying information over the telephone, such as your social security number or the CVV2 number. Legitimate banking officials won't ask for this information over the phone line unless you have called them specifically.

Want to protect your credit card information? Don't give out your CVV2 number!


Debit Card

If for any reason you don't want have a credit card, you want to make sure that you have a debit card. If you have a checking account, in most cases, you will be allowed to get one of these cards. They can be used almost anywhere credit cards are excepted, but they do work in a different way. These cards will only allow you to buy something if you have enough money in your account. If you have problems with credit cards, this might even be a great alternative to stop you from overspending.

A good debit card is one that offers you buyer protection. Though not all of these cards will do this for you, you will want to ask a your bank to see if yours will. The good debit card will offer you the same protection a good credit card will, and you should be able to use it anywhere you buy or spend money. They are especially useful if you want to buy things online, or if you are going out of town were you know no one will accept a check from you.

If your debit card comes with credit protection as an optional feature, make sure you sign up for it. Also remember that your debit card is vulnerable if someone else were to get their hands on it, so if you find that your debit card is missing make sure you contact your bank at once. They will be able to cancel your card and possibly issue you a new one immediately. In some cases, you will not be liable for fraudulent charges made against your account while your card was out of your hands. However you must act fast if you find it missing or there may be nothing the bank can do.

As with a credit card, make sure you have a secure server when you are using your debit card online. Also remember that there are scam e-mails that will ask you to enter your debit card information under false pretenses. If you receive an e-mail from your bank asking you to go to a web site to enter your information, you should delete the e-mail once and contact your bank. Your bank will never asked you for this information online. If you enter your information on one of these fraudulent sites, you have just given criminals the keys to your bank account. If you are ever in doubt call your bank over the phone. If there is a problem, they will address it with you then.

Source: Associated Content

Using Your Debit Card May Not Be the Best Idea

Sometimes the Debit Card Just Isn't the Answer

One of the biggest misconceptions floating around in personal finance land is that a debit card is always better than a credit card. The problem with this thinking is that it just isn't true. In some cases, using a credit card is actually a better idea. Especially when you think of the ways in which a debit card is woefully lacking.

Debit card issuers cash in on overdraft fees
Remember when you could count on your debit card to be rejected in the case of insufficient funds? Not anymore. Debit card issuers are now cashing in on overdraft fees. If you forget to keep track of every little thing (and this is very possible when you are using the convenience of plastic to buy your morning coffee and donut), then you might find that you are over the limit. And banks are finding if they just let you go over, they can charge you $28 to $38 per transaction. You might have three or four transactions before you even realize that you are over the limit. That can be as much as $152 out of your pocket!

Less protection
Last time I went on vacation, I left the debit card home. Why? A debit card offers less protection against loss or identity fraud. Plus, it is much harder to dispute purchases with a debit card than it is with a credit card. With a debit card, you are liable for what happens before you get it canceled in cases of theft or loss. With a credit card, as long as you report the problem within 48 hours, your liability is limited to $50. Also, a credit card protects you to a certain degree against "blocking." Many hotels and car rental companies do this. They block out more than the amount you owe to cover incidentals. The final transaction is correct, but until you check out, or return the car (and sometimes two or three days after that), the amount shown as "reserved" in your account is higher. On a debit card, this lead to an overdraft...that may not really be an overdraft.

Fewer rewards
Despite the attempts by some debit card issuers to offer credit card style rewards programs, they really aren't that good. Most debit card rewards programs aren't even close to what is offered by credit cards. For the most part, debit card rewards come encumbered so much that they are literally not worth the trouble. Credit cards, the old hands at the rewards game, are much better.

The main caveat is that you need to use responsibility when using a credit card. Make sure you pay it off every month, and you can reap the rewards without paying the interest.

Source: Associated Content

5 Tips To Prevent Credit Card Late Fees

Have you ever received your credit card statement and been shocked to discover that you were charged $30.00 for the previous month's late payment? You were sure that you'd sent your payment on time, but obviously the credit card company disagrees. Credit card late payments can become a financial disaster, especially if that extra few dollars puts you above your credit limit. Following are five tips to prevent credit card late fees.

Prevent Credit Card Late Fees: Read the Fine Print
Most people are too busy or too negligent to read the little pamphlet that arrives with every credit card. Read it! These are the issuer's guidelines and must be followed if you want to prevent credit card late fees. The pamphlet will explain grace periods and other policies which might affect how and when you pay your bill. For example, it might contain information as to how quickly the financial institution processes your payment. If they guarantee same-day processing, then you have a little bit more leeway. If not, however, then you'll have to be sure to get the payment in the mail as quickly as possible.

Prevent Credit Card Late Fees: Packaging the Payment
Many Americans pay all of their bills online or over the phone, so this tip doesn't apply to you if that is how you handle your finances. However, if you still write checks and send payments by mail, then you need to pay attention to how you package your payment. To avoid misdirection of your payment, always use the envelope provided by your credit card issuer. This identifies the mail as a payment, and will ensure that it gets to the receiving department. Secondly, make sure that the check is properly filled out and that you have written legibly. Print your credit card number under your personal information at the top of the check and include your telephone number if it isn't pre-printed.

Prevent Credit Card Late Fees: Adjust Your Due Date
Although you were probably assigned a due date for payments when you first opened your account, you can usually change it. Call your credit card issuer and ask that your due date be changed to the day after payday. You might also want to try and make sure all your bills arrive at the same time; that way, you can get it all done and not worry about any bills you might have forgotten. The most common reason for credit card late payments is simply forgetting to write the check.

Prevent Credit Card Late Fees: Automatic Deductions
If your credit card issuer provides this service, you might want to take advantage of it. An automatic deduction means that the credit card company takes a specified amount out of your checking account when the payment is due. You can set it to pay the bill in its entirety or just the minimum payment, whichever is convenient. That way, you know that your bill has been paid even though you didn't place the phone call or write the check.

Prevent Credit Card Late Fees: Set a Reminder
Think about the place in which you normally pay bills. At the desk in your home office? The kitchen table? Your favorite arm chair while you watch television? Wherever it is, write a note and place it in a visible location so that you remember to pay your credit card bill. Next time you sit down to pay the light and phone bills, you'll have a reminder that the credit card bill is also due.

Source: Associated Content

The Dangers of Credit Card Debt

Do you own one or more credit cards? If you do, how well do you use them? Unfortunately, a fairly large number of Americans are using their credit cards the wrong way. This often, in turn, leads to credit card debt. If you are on the verge of credit card debt, you are urged to alter your spending habits immediately. If you don't, you may end up suffering the wrath of credit card debt.

One of the many dangers of credit card debt is that you owe money, essentially, that is what the debt is. Emotionally, credit card debt is a lot to handle. Letters and calls from debt collectors are often more than what most people can deal with. Also, it is not uncommon for those indebt to regularly worry about the debt that they cannot repay. In fact, a large number of individuals literally lose sleep, worrying about their current credit card debt.

In addition to just losing sleep or being worried all the time, you will find that there are a number of other consequences to having credit card debt. When you are unable to pay your credit card bills, your information will likely be turned over the one of the many credit bureaus. If this is the case, your debt will remain on your credit report, often until you can pay it off. Your credit report has a significant impact on you being able to obtain financing for a number of things, including a car or a home. In the event that you need to take out a loan, for an emergency, your credit card debt may prevent you from getting the needed money.

Your credit card debt can not only have a negative impact on your ability to obtain financing for a new home or a new car, but also with finding a job. A large number of employers are now beginning to request background checks on all of their applicants. In many cases, these background checks include a credit report. If you have a poor credit score, which is most commonly seen with credit card debt, you may be eliminated as a potential new hire. Not all employers will take your credit report into consideration, but a large number of them do.

As you can easily see, there are a number of different credit card debt dangers. In fact, these are just a few of the many dangers. To prevent yourself from having to go through sleepless nights, you are advised to eliminate your credit card debt, if you have any. If you currently do not have any credit card debt, you are urged to try and keep it that way.

Source: Associated Content

Low-rate Credit Card Offers

Those with good credit typically find several credit card offers in their mailbox every week, and people who want to protect their good credit have the chore of destroying these unwanted credit card offers. Unwanted credit card offers can fill up a shredder bin in nothing flat, and for many, these offers are nothing but an annoyance.

Once in a while a credit card offer grabs the attention of a recipient. Big bold numbers boast fantastic low rates and offers that for many are too good to pass up. Low-rate credit card offers should be accepted with extreme caution. These credit card offers are lures to bring those with good credit into a trap they will have a hard time getting out of. People often try to manage their credit to the best of their ability by accepting exceptionally low-rate credit card offers and transferring higher rate balances, but these offers can actually ruin good credit.

Low-Rate Credit Card Offers
The bait is almost too good to pass up. You have just received a low-rate credit card offer from a reputable credit card company. This well-known company is offering to transfer your higher rate balances to 0% until your balance is paid in full. Wow! What a great offer! You decide to accept that fantastic credit card offer. It’s too good to pass up, and an offer like this is a good way to manage debt. Your credit is already good, and you’re going to make it even better with this wonderful offer. You’ve just taken the bait, and the credit card company has lured in another unfortunate sap.

Credit Card Companies are Waiting for a Mistake
Credit card companies aren’t doing anything wrong when they present these fantastic interest rates and offers, but you must stop and contemplate how credit card companies make their money. If everyone accepted the wonderful low-rate offers made by credit card companies, how would these upstanding credit card companies survive? Credit card companies are in business to make money. Credit card companies aren’t in business to reward those with excellent credit. Credit card companies don’t care if your credit remains excellent or even good for that matter.

Low-rate credit card offers are often great offers, but these offers aren’t a privilege. Low-rate credit card offers in reality are nothing more than legal bait and switch methods. The credit card companies are counting on you making a mistake, and they can’t wait for that unfortunate mistake. When you make an honest mistake and the credit card company unfortunately, receives your payment after the due date, you will pay dearly.

Credit card companies are unforgiving corporations that are banking on mistakes, and they most definitely want you to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, and sooner or later you are bound to screw up, and your credit card payment will eventually be late. It may not be your fault, but the credit card company will be ready to pounce. Your attempt to manage your excellent credit will more than likely backfire. No matter how hard you try, you will probably make an eventual mistake. When you make an honest mistake in paying your credit card bill, get ready to be financially gouged, and maybe even financially ruined.

Your once low-rate credit card interest rate could very easily go from 0% to 23% or more in the blink of an eye. Just one honest mistake and you could owe hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest on a high balance credit card. Read the fine print on the back of the next credit card offer you receive. These are not offers worth risking. It’s best to never put yourself in a risky position such as this. Run away from low-rate credit card offers and any credit card offer for that matter, and don’t look back. There are better ways to obtain the credit you need, and these ways don’t involve risk.

What to do if You Make a Mistake That Raises Your Credit Card Interest Rate
If you made a mistake that shot your credit card interest rate up, don’t count on your credit card company to be forgiving and lower the new ridiculously high percentage. The credit card company has been waiting for you to make a mistake, and they are not likely to give you a second chance. When you agreed to the terms and accepted the credit card offer, you agreed to accept the consequences if you should happen to default on those terms. You are more than likely stuck, but not forever if you take a smart step to obtain a fair rate.

If your credit card has a high balance, your best bet is to obtain a fixed-rate loan to pay off the credit card. Find the best loan to remedy the problem, and cancel the credit card account immediately. Send the credit card through the shredder along with any and all new offers. Don’t give another credit card company a chance to legally take advantage of your good credit and human vulnerability for error.

Returning the Favor
If you are tired of receiving credit card offers send them back as soon as you get them. Cross out the area where credit card companies request your personal information, and send a note telling them to remove your name from their list. Tell them in no uncertain terms not to send any further offers. Use their postage-paid envelope to send back the junk. If everyone receiving unwanted credit card offers would do this, credit card companies might rethink their unscrupulous marketing strategies.

Source: Associated Content

The Pitfalls of Credit Card Usage

We've all heard of that dangerous piece of plastic that some people carry in their pocket. This piece of plastic can be more addictive than heroin and cocaine, and sometimes it can have the same long term consequences. This piece of plastic is the credit card. Thousands of American's and people world wide area in debt created by credit cards. Credit cards are marketed so aggressively, that many consumers find it difficult not to own a credit card.

Credit cards are very simple devices that allow you to make purchases with money you don't have. If you pay them back in the first month you have no interest, and this process can be very important in credit building. Credit card companies do, however, make it just as easy not to pay off the debt. If the consumer doesn't want to or have the money to pay off the debt in the first month, then they simply pay around 20% more next month. At first this doesn't seem like a lot of money, for the benefit provided, but then you must realize that credit cards radically increase customer spending power.

When people go shopping with a credit card they effectively have no limit on what they can spend. Credit card companies are more than happy to increase credit limits in order to drive the consumer into a deeper debt, which, in turn will create a greater profit for the credit card companies. This slim plastic card or even just a series of 16 numbers in some cases can wreak havoc on a carefully planned budget.

After people have fallen into the initial trap of the credit card, then the credit card debt continues to compile. Eventually you are paying debt on the debt, in a process that economists call compound interest. Compound interest is one of the most powerful money making tools, but can also become one of the most deadly financial depleting weapons when turned against you. And in the case of the credit card this weapon is turned against you with both barrels loaded.

Credit card companies and banks target young people with offers that will allow them free stuff in exchange for creating a credit card account. Some stores even offer 30% discounts on your purchase just for the simple act of creating a card that allows you to purchase things with debt. These incentives seem like a great offer (their free, after all), but most people don't realize that credit cards and aggressive marketing will eventually overwhelm their financial and personal life.

The use of a credit card in a responsible manor is a required step in the process of building a credit history that will eventually allow people to buy a house. When using a credit card people need to be aware of the financial repercussions of their actions. Having a well paying job does not make you immune to the effects of credit card debt, and even the richest of the rich need to learn to charge responsibly.

Source: Associated Content

4 Reasons to Pay Your Credit Card Bill in Full

Do you dread each month when you are looking at your credit card bill? You are like many Americans who are overwhelmed with credit card debt. However, it is vitally important to your finances to get this under control as quickly as possible. I am going to list some reasons why it is important to pay your bill in full each month. If you are unable to pay the bill in full, you need to consider creating a strict budget and sticking to it, as well as consider obtaining a lower interest rate loan to pay your balances off, or even consider applying for a new card that allows interest free transfers for a certain period which will allow you to quickly pay the debt off.

Reason #1. Your credit rating. If you are only paying the minimum payment each month, you are setting yourself up for problems here. It is very important to keep your credit rating as high as possible so that your credit card balance does not provide a problem when you are looking to purchase a home or car. You want to make sure payments are paid off as quickly as possible.

Reason #2. Interest. Each month the balance is not paid in full, you are incurring interest charges. I liken this to going outside, making a nice little bonfire, and placing the money in your wallet in the fire one bill at a time. You are doing no better by carrying the balances on your bill. Interest rates are quite common to be around the 15%-20% range sometimes higher depending upon your credit score. This is a lot of wasted money each year that could be spent on things your family wants or needs.

Reason #3. This is similar to Reason #2. If you make a great purchase online for a wonderful item at a killer, price and you pay with your credit card you are not saving any money! If you save a couple of hundred bucks on the price of the item, but pay several hundred dollars in interest fees you are not saving any money, and are in fact paying more! Credit cards can hurt you in this respect.

Reason #4. Budgeting. If you are using your credit cards to pay your bills without paying off the balance every month then you have a budget problem somewhere. If you cannot afford to pay the balance each month then you need some serious budget revisions. When you are having to use credit cards to merely make ends meet there are huge budget problems that can create devastating effects on your credit report. There are several consumer-financing companies that can assist you in reducing your monthly bills, as well as getting a workable budget set up so that you are able to pay your bills each month.

As you can see, credit cards can be either good or bad for your budget, finances, and credit file. You want your credit to be as spotless as possible, and dragging balances over months is never a good idea. Good luck with all your credit cards and you should be able to work out all budget issues quickly with some work.

Source: Associated Content

Wired Plastic Prepaid Debit Card Review

I have been using my Wired Plastic Visa card for nearly a year. The program is a better alternative to All Access Prepaid Visa services. It does have its downfalls however. You are charged a monthly fee of $3.95 , for the privilege of using the card. It is accepted everywhere that accepts Visa. I would also like to point out that you are charged a fee of 95 cents every time you are required to use your pin number. Fortunately not many places ask for this info. In my experience I have only needed to enter a pin number at the grocery store. Additionally you are charged a fee of around $10 to activate your card.

The card is delivered to you quite fast once you request it. However there are some downfalls to using the Wired Plastic prepaid Visa. If you purchase gasoline at the pump, they will put a $50 hold on your account. Under normal circumstances this $50 hold is credited back to your account in a prompt and timely manner. However I have had several instances using the Wired Plastic prepaid Visa when I did not purchase gasoline at the pump , but I did occur "holds" or authorizations.

In my case I purchased my goods from the retailer, who I frequently shop with. I checked my balance several days later to find my transaction had posted, the retailer received the payment and I found I had an authorization pending for the same amount. It took over three months for my account to be credited for the amount which was pending. This made no sense at all considering the payment had cleared.

When contacting Wired Plastic for customer service issues you are left desiring much better service. To begin with it is not a toll free number for customer service, and at times you might be put on hold for quite a long time, which just runs up your phone bill. Also the customer service agents are not at all helpful. When I have had reason to call them for assistance I felt that the customer service reps went out of their way to be rude, and unhelpful. I actually had to be rude back on one occasion and request a supervisor, which I didn't get to speak to. I also had to resort to threats about contacting the better business bureau. They could make changes to greatly improve their service but I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

The good things about this card. It is easy to get. If you do not desire the commitment of a checking account this might be the card for you. You can direct deposit your paycheck into your account. You can also load your card via Western Union. That might be a nice feature for some people but I find the fees are too high for this service, it depends on the rates your local western union office charges.

You can use this card for pay-pal payments which is nice if you are doing business on line. All in all the card is affordable and convenient . Also Wired Plastic has a point program where you earn a point for each dollar you spend. You can only redeem the points for prepaid cell phone minutes. This is nice if you use a prepaid cell phone. However for some reason not all purchases earn points. I have no idea why and what the guidelines are as the company does not specify the details. If you don't have enough points for free airtime you will receive a discount of about $1 for every 200 points redeemed. I find it to be a much better value than the All Access Visa card. The fees are lower, and you are not charged a fee to check your balance via the phone, unlike The All Access Prepaid Visa. They were charging 50 cents per call for balance inquiries. When you think about it that is not a good thing when you have to spend money to find out how much money you have on your card.

About the best alternative to Wired Plastic I have found is Bank of America offers free on line checking with no monthly fees if you are able to open a checking account. The program is called My Access Checking and it is a reliable bank. It is definitely worth looking into if you need a checking account as well as a debit card. For those of you who would like to have a debit card without a major commitment Wired Plastic's Prepaid Visa should work out just fine for you.

Source: Associated Content

Online Credit Card Usage

Also, with the advent of the internet, has come the arrival of e-shops (electronic shops) and virtual shops that exist solely on the internet. Now, since we have e-shops and virtual shops we, consumers, are able to make purchases from these online stores using a credit card. This we can do by making use of the online store's credit card payment approval facility. Once our online credit card payments are accepted and verified, the purchased goods are delivered to our doorstep. This is purchasing convenience at its best.

Having more and more e-shops popping up everyday, online credit card usage is becoming more popular than ever. The option to receive online credit card payments has brought an entirely new dimension to shopping, for both merchants and consumers. Now, you can both shop from the comfort of your home and get discounted products purchased on the internet. This is makes shopping far more pleasurable. Shopping on the internet, you have no need to worry about the weather, traffic jams or other things needed to shop outside your home. Instead you can go to an e-shop, select product/s, and make use of the merchant's online credit card acceptance and approval facility, to make the payment for your goods. Then, all that is left to do, is wait to receive the products at your doorstep. Online credit card processing also makes starting an online business very easy.

As with almost anything else, credit card usage on the internet is not without its pitfalls. A pitfall of online credit card usage to guard oneself against is the possibility of online credit card fraud. Credit card fraud typically happens in two ways. The first way has to do with the online merchant that you are going to purchase goods from. This merchant may be a fraudulent merchant who takes your online credit card payment, but does not deliver the products to you. Moreover, they could use the credit card details you have put on the credit card payment form, for dishonest purposes. The second kind of fraud is committed by fraudsters who use spyware software and devices to intercept the details of online credit card payments. The spyware software captures keystrokes or takes screenshots of what you do on your computer and sends it to the spy. This type of online fraud is easily managed by using anti-spyware software designed to counter the effectiveness of spyware.

It is readily observed, the advent of online credit card usage gives a very useful purchasing option to consumers and merchants. However, caution must still be exercised when making online credit card payments. And, always remember, don't access your bank accounts or make online credit card payments from internet cafes, unless you are absolutely sure the internet cafe is reputable and rightly credentialed.

Source: Associated Content

How To Get the Right Credit Card To Meet Your Needs

When I migrated to the USA, I was amazed to see that almost all the people have credit cards and more than one. Some of my friends and relatives have four or more credit cards. I got my first credit card through my son, as a secondary cardholder, and my son made the payments as the bills were coming on his name only as he was the primary credit card holder. I started my own survey/research to get my own credit card in my name so that the bill of the credit card would come in my name. In the meantime, I opened both a saving and checking accounts with Wachovia and Chevy Chase banks. Both these banks offered me their credit cards but I did not opt for them. I was still trying to get the optimum deal for my new credit card.

Finally, the deal came in the form of a letter from American Express. They offered me the City bank credit card free of cost for the first year. This offer came through American Air lines, where I am a member of American Advantage mileage. The most attractive part was that if I accept that credit card and make my first purchase on that credit card, I was to be credited with 20,000 miles to my American Airlines mileage account. These mileages are sufficient to earn me a free round air ticket of American Air Lines for any destination in the USA. I immediately applied for this credit card with my financial details and I was issued the credit card within 3 weeks. The credit card was having a credit limit of $8000. Moreover, I was credited one mile in my American Advantage account for the every dollar spent by me through this credit card. I have been using this credit card since last 8 months and my American Advantage miles score have reached up to 29000 miles, enabling me to buy a round fare air ticket of American Air Lines even in first class for any destination in the USA. As I have to travel frequently in the USA, this credit card proved very beneficial to me. Subsequently, I applied for the similar credit card for my wife and got the same. Her American Advantage miles are also around 29,000. This is the most optimum deal I could get for having our own American Express City bank credit cards.

I have made the entire operation of both these credit cards online on the web site www.citicards.com. This saved me my physical visits to the bank or any postal expenses for the payments of the credit cards bills. This online operation is very easy and effective as you can view your monthly statements of the credit cards online and even can pay the bills online by linking up your bank account with this credit card account. Such a procedure is immensely helpful to the senior people like us who find it difficult to go out on their own. This scheme is still going on and all my AC friends can avail it to derive maximum benefits. It will be required to become a member of American Advantage Mileage program to get entitled for such credit card. This can easily be done by logging into the website www.aa.com.

The points earned through such credit card in American Advantage program can be helpful to all of us even if we do not intend to fly in near future. You can sell your American Advantage miles on the web site www.points.com. This web site offers cash money as well as the gift cards for the various stores in lieu of the AA points. You can easily get around $200 in cash or gift card for about 20000 AA points. If you accumulate your AA points up to100, 000 points, you may be able to get a round trip international air ticket also. As soon as you complete one year of this credit card, there are two alternatives with you. One is to stop the card after one year. The other is to pay the annual fee of $50 for the next year. As soon as you pay $50 annual fee for the next year, your AA account will immediately be credited with 5000 points. However, my advice is to stop the credit card after one year and look for such other schemes. The only catch in this scheme is not to forget closing the credit card before one year is completed as otherwise, annual fee of $50 will be charged to your account immediately.

I feel that new senior immigrants like us should not miss this opportunity, as it would be highly beneficial to all of them.

Source: Associated Content

Choosing the Right Credit Card

Are you interested in acquiring a new credit card? If so, you are definitely not alone. Each year, a large number of Americans consider applying for a new credit card or accepting a credit card offer that was extended down to them.

When it comes to getting a credit card, you will find that you, literally, have an unlimited number of options. There are hundreds of credit cards that you can choose from, many of which have different fees, "perks," and so forth. For that reason, it is important that you take the time to choose the credit card that is best for you and your needs. Should you not do so, you may be preparing yourself for financial hardships in the future. A few of the many points that you will want to keep in mind, when looking to acquire a new credit card are outlined below.

Know What You Are Singing Up For
All too often, many individuals end up signing up for the first credit card offer that comes their way. This is most common with first-time credit card holders and those in debt. Before agreeing to a credit card contract, you are advised to fully read it. Of course, you will want to be on the lookout for high interest rates or credit card offers that are stacked with fees.

Determine What You Will Be Using Your Credit Card For
When it comes to choosing the right credit card, its use is extremely important. For instance, if you are planning on having a credit card for emergencies, you will want to pick one with a low line of credit. You will also only want to have one credit card. Having a large line of credit or more than one card, when you don't need one, will not only cost you money, but it may also cause you to accumulate debt.

Determine How You Will Be Able to Payoff Your Credit Card Balance
Credit cards come in a number of different formats. For instance, there are some that come with low interest rates; however, those are sometimes difficult to qualify for. If you are planning on paying off your credit card balance each month, the interest rate may not be as big of an issue for you. That, however, does not mean that you should automatically go right out and obtain a card with high interest rates. However, you may want to be on the lookout for credit cards with other benefits.

Beware of Introductory Offers
Credit card offers are often introduced with introductory offers. Introductory offers are just what they sound like; they are only for a limited period of time. When it comes to introductory credit card offers, you will often find low introductory interest rates or low credit card fees, such as yearly or monthly fees. Although the introductory rates may sound enticing, it is important to remember that they will not last forever. You are advised to learn what your interest rates or other credit card fees will be after the introductory period ends. If they sound too high, you should start to look elsewhere.

By keeping the above mentioned points in mind, when looking to acquire a new credit card, you are more likely to find the credit card that best suits you. As a reminder, this is important, as the wrong credit card can literally become a financial trap.

Do You Need to Cancel Your Credit Card?

Knowing when to apply for a credit card, when to use it, how to pay it off and when to tuck it away in a drawer can be a complicated thing. Credit cards can be lifesavers for those in nasty situations, but they can also be akin to a bottomless black void that sucks in the naive and drowns them in debt. If you use your credit card as a safety net for every little expense, it might be time to examine your credit woes. But do you need to cancel your credit card?

First of all, credit cards which aren't used don't do any damage to your credit. Unless you pay an annual fee, you won't be charged anything for your inactivity. It is possible to have a credit card for twenty years, not use it, and suffer no consequences. However, you have to understand how credit cards work, and how credit cards affect your credit score.

Amount of Credit Available
When you apply for a loan or a line of credit, the lender will run a credit check. They will discover whether you have dilinquent accounts, how well you pay your bills, and how much credit you have available to you. Every credit card currently open under your name has a credit limit, which can be anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to several hundred thousand. The amount of credit available to you through credit cards can affect whether or not a lender extends credit.

Credit Card Payment History
A potential lender can also view your payment history and find out if you have any outstanding accounts. If you pay your credit card debt on a regular basis and keep a small or zero balance, then you're more likely to have credit extended to you. However, if you have multiple open credit card accounts but never have a balance on any of them, the lender may view this as a negative red flag. It shows the inability to manage your credit cards and your finances.

Multiple Cancellations of Credit Cards
It can also be a negative red flag if you suddenly cancel several credit cards. Let's say, for example, that you find yourself in several thousand dollars worth of debt. In a panic, you call every credit card in your wallet, thinking that if you don't have the option to spend, you won't. However, the next time you attempt to take out a loan or a line of credit, the lender will see this sudden cancellation of your credit cards. Again, another red flag.

Should You Cancel Your Credit Card?
If you have a credit card in your wallet that you simply don't use, or that you don't want, there is no immediate penalty for cancellation. You won't have a black mark on your credit report. However, you should carefully examine the reasons for cancelling your credit card. Is it because the annual fee is too high? The interest rate is undesirable? You've had problems with the credit card company in the past? All of these are valid reasons for wanting to cancel your credit card. However, if you are just looking to dump avenues of credit, you might want to think again. If there isn't an annual fee, you won't be penalized for leaving the credit card open.

Final Words
Consider evaluating exactly how much credit you have available to you. If you believe it's too much - for example, it might deter a lender - then begin to whittle it down. Don't go out and cancel all your credit cards at once, but slowly begin to weed them out. When you have too much credit available to you, potential lenders might not want to issue you a loan or line of credit in the future. However, don't make any rash decisions. If you're unsure, contact a financial advisor for more information and for an individual consultation of your credit.

Source: Associated Content

How to Guard Against Credit Card Fraud on Your Website

Identity theft is not just a problem for the consumer; it is just as much of an issue for businesses that accept credit cards. Since it is much easier to commit credit card fraud on the Internet than in a brick-and-mortar store, e-commerce sites have to be particularly careful about how they do business. Following are several tips on how to guard against credit card fraud on your website.

Credit Card Fraud Tip #1: Require the Verification Number
By now, you've probably made at least one Internet purchase during which you were asked for the three- or four-digit number on the back of your Visa or MasterCard. This is what is known as the CVV (card verification value), and is meant to protect against Internet credit card fraud. If you offer products for sale on your website, requiring the verification number will help to control the theft of card numbers.

Credit Card Fraud Tip #2: Contact Customers if You Are Suspicious
There is no law that says a website purchase has to remain over the Internet. Hopefully, you have collected the customer's contact information through your website (name, address, phone number, etc.), so you can call that customer and verify the transaction. If you receive a number that is disconnected or if the person who answers doesn't know what you are talking about, you should cancel the transaction immediately.

Credit Card Fraud Tip #3: Pay Attention to Conflicting Addresses
When you sell merchandise on your website, you should be requesting both a billing and a shipping address. If the two are different, it should send up a red flag. Obviously, many of these instances will be completely legitimate; if the customer has recently moved or if he wants the product shipped to another location, the addresses will be different. However, if you have a billing address in California and a shipping address in New Jersey, you might want to go the extra mile to verify.

Credit Card Fraud Tip #4: Use an AVS System
Another way to guard against credit card fraud on your website is to use an AVS (automatic verification system). This matches the zip code entered by the customer with the zip code on his or her billing address. If it doesn't match, the purchase doesn't go through.

Credit Card Fraud Tip #5: Beware Webmail Users
There are plenty of cases of credit card fraud that include webmail users, which means that the customer signs up for a free e-mail account -- such as Yahoo! or Hotmail -- rather than a paid e-mail account. Since these e-mail addresses aren't tied to the user in any way, they facilitate credit card fraud. Of course, I have a Yahoo! account, and so do other legitimate customers. Just beware if there are other red flags in conjunction with a webmail account.

Source: Associated Content

Why Use a Prepaid Credit Card?

Why should anyone consider using a prepaid credit card? First of all booking or ordering almost anything without having a credit card is near impossible, or at least incredibly inconvenient and downright embarrassing! In today's society not having a credit card effectively isolates you from the convenience of the modern economy. if you don't believe me try renting a car, booking air tickets or reserving a hotel room or even theater tickets without one!

The simple fact is that not everyone qualifies for an unsecured credit card (for unsecured credit card read "normal credit card"). Normally this is down to previous credit problems. Everything involving credit comes down to a computer credit score nowadays and unfortunately computers don't care about your divorce problems, that you were laid off last year or that you had some unexpected emergency outlay such as major home repairs - if you have a low credit score then you will not get approved for lines of credit and having a conventional credit card is not an option. Gone are the days when you could perhaps discuss your problems with a friendly bank manager who knew your history, computers decide on your eligibility for credit using raw data from credit institutions.

There are, however, a couple of options if you find yourself unable to get approved for a card. The first and most popular option is a prepaid credit card. this essentially means you have a credit card that is accepted worldwide - such as Visa or Mastercard - but you have to prepay, the credit limit is set at the cash balance remaining on the card. This allows you to have most of the convenience of a credit card and also stops you from getting into any further financial difficulties. Also when you use these cards no one will realise it's a prepaid card, it looks just the same as any other credit card. essentially these cards operate much like debit cards. The only difference is the money does not come directly from your checking account, you have to credit the card with payments first. the only downside to these cards is they will not help you rebuild credit, the payments you make to the card will not show up on your credit file.

To re-establish your credit you need a secured credit card. This works in a similar way with your initial payment setting a credit limit. However this initial payment does not go onto the card as a balance. The payment is kept as security in case of default and the card operates in much the same way as a conventional card, with interest payable. If the card is run in a satisfactory manner then over time the credit limit extended will increase over and above the initial deposit and payments made are reported to the credit bureaus. This can mean an increased credit score and eventually the end to your credit problems. The disadvantage with this type of card is that it is possible to get into financial hot water once again!

Source: Associated Content

Student Credit Card Basics

Most high school and college students will find it difficult, if not impossible, to be approved for a standard credit card. Fortunately, there’s another option. Students can apply for a student credit card, which is not only easier to get, but can help them start building a credit history.

For the most part, a student credit card is just like a standard credit card. But, because this is the students first chance to prove they can be financially responsible, a student credit card might come with added restrictions and limitations.

A Student Credit Card Will Have a Lower Credit Limit
A lower limit is the providers attempt to prevent misuse and abuse. Until the student can show that they can be responsible, and will actually repay the amount they’ve charged on their credit card, the provider will try to limit the amount they could potentially lose if the balance is never repaid. Usually, the limit on a student credit card is between $500 and $1000. Once students have shown that they can be responsible in paying their bills on time, the limit might be raised.

A Student Credit Card Will Have a Higher Interest Rate
This is another way providers try to limit potential losses. The theory is that, since most students don’t have a proven track record of paying their bills, there’s a higher probability that many of them won’t, which could mean a financial loss to the provider. By charging a higher interest rate on every student credit card they issue, the provider is, in a way, making up for the money they could lose on those who might never pay off their credit card balance.

You Might Need a Co-Signer on Your Student Credit Card
This is another form of insurance for providers. A co-signer is someone who agrees to be responsible for the balance on your student credit card if, for any reason, you are unable to pay it yourself. The co-signer on a student credit card is usually a parent or guardian. And, as the co-signer, they will have control over whether or not the limit will be raised.

While there are some restrictions and limitations on a student credit card, getting one can be the first step to building a good credit history. It can also be a great help in easing the financial struggles many students face, especially when they first get to college.

Reasons to Have a PayPal Debit Card

There are many good reasons to have a PayPal debit card. Anyone with an active PayPal account can apply for the PayPal debit card. It is tremendously helpful.

Depending on your bank, it can take up to seven business days to transfer money from your PayPal account to the physical bank. In the meantime, you do not have access to the money while the transition is occurring.

The PayPal debit card works as both a debit and a Mastercard credit card. You know what your account balance is each day. With the PayPal card, you can use it in virtually any store.

You can make purchases online that do not take PayPal. If you want to make a partial transfer, you can have instant access to your other PayPal account funds while the transfer takes place.

If you have a PayPal account that is strictly business you can use the PayPal card for nothing but your business expenses. Record keeping is easier if you use only one account for your business expenses.

The PayPal card can save you time and make life easier in general for you.

Don't Leave Home Without It

Source: Associated Content

How to Effectively Compare Credit Card Offers

Each day there are millions of Americans who are faced with a credit card offer. These credit cared offers make their way into our mailboxes and in our email accounts. The majority of these credit card offers are legitimate; however, that does not mean that a credit card offer should not be researched before it is accepted. Comparing credit card offers have a number of benefits and this is how it should be done to save cardholders time and money.

There are many credit card offers that entice individuals with a low introductory interest rate. What many cardholders do wrong is that they fail to ask how long the introductory interest rate will last. There are some credit cards that offer their introductory interest rates long than others which allows cardholders to same more money in interest. In addition to learning when an introductory interest rate expires, there are individuals who fail to determine what the regular interest rate will be after the introductory interest rate expires. This is what gets many credit cardholders into trouble and into debt. There are many credit cards that have an extremely high interest rate; however, many cardholders do know that before they sign a credit card offer.

Many individuals looking to compare credit card offers often want to transfer the balance from an existing credit card over to a new one. This is often done when a credit card with a high interest rate has acquired a large balance. The majority of credit cards will allow a balance transfer to take place; however, there are some cards that will not. If a new credit card is being obtained solely for the purpose of transferring a balance it is important that individuals verify that this process can be done before being stuck with another credit card.

The credit of a person may also have an impact on the type of credit card offers they get in the mail. Before responding to a credit card offer or looking for one on their own individuals are encouraged to check their credit and try and clean it up a little bit if at all possible. A bad credit score may prevent an individual from even being approved for a credit card at all. There are others who may have to pay higher interest rates or an annual fee. The majority of credit cards do not charge an annual fee. That is something else that individuals looking to compare credit card offers should fully examine. An annual fee is typically less than fifty dollars; however, there are other restrictions that may apply to a specific credit card.

Reward points and reward cards have greatly increased in popularity over the past few years. Individuals looking to respond to a credit card offer should find one that offers them rewards for the products they purchase or use everyday. Many travelers obtain credit cards that offer gas rebates, hotel rebates, or airline miles. Whatever the person there is as credit card offer out there that is perfect for them. Finding that credit card may take some time and a lot of comparing, but there is no reason to settle for less.

Source: Associated Content

Accept Credit Card Payment Online

Everyone is selling on the web these days. When we ponder this concept, most of us immediately think of EBay. After all, this is pretty much where it all began. I have to give props to the fellow who started the online auction phenomenon. As of now, he's definitely sitting pretty. Since then, so many nuances have stormed cyberspace. Now you can pick and choose from a variety of online forums and auction websites that sell products. You too can get in the game and sell a few items of your own. The cool part is you don't even have to bother with checks and money orders. Why not just accept credit card payment online? Anyone can do it now. Welcome to the age of big business.

I was speaking with a custom knife vendor on the phone the other day. I wanted to purchase one of his products, but wanted more information before I actually threw down the cash. I decided to call him up and get a feel for who he was a bit. This is so much more personal than emailing. Well, needless to say, we chatted about knives for some time. Once I had decided on a piece, he asked me if I wanted to pay him with a credit card or via PayPal. Now, for those of you who aren't in the loop with PayPal, it's an EBay company that allows you to send and receive electronic payments. You can accept credit card payment online with this service. If someone wishes to buy from you, they can add a credit card to their PayPal account and quickly send you the funds. It's ideal if you buy and sell online a lot. Anyway, I was stoked that I could simply PayPal the knife vendor. This makes life easier for me. I typically don't want to use my credit card at all, but I do keep some cash in my PayPal account. Anyone can open one of these on the web.

Imagine you're selling some big ticket items on EBay. The person who wins your items will most likely hope you accept credit card payment online, or have some sort of Paypal account set up. It just makes life a heck of a lot easier now days. No one wants to bother with money orders and checks are becoming obsolete. Thank God! So check into PayPal and see how you can begin to accept credit card payment online as easy as pie. This is ideal for anyone who sells on the web.

Source: Associated Content

Common Debit Card Errors

We like convenience. But with convenience can come problems. Case in point, the use of a debit card.

There are three kinds of debit cards. One type is the ATM debit card which is used in ATM machines to deposit or withdraw money. Another type of debit card is a check card. The check card debit card is a wonderful tool. You don't have to write those pesky checks, holding people up in check out lines. You just have to be diligent about keeping your receipts and knowing just how much you have in your account. Nobody wants to pay any over the limit charges. Then there is the combined ATM debit and check card which you can use to transfer and deposit funds from your account via an ATM machine and also use it as a check card. Sounds easy enough to handle; right?

It would be easy, if you didn't factor in a few problems that could turn your nice easy going debit account into a nightmare. Problems, you wonder in fear? Don't worry; if you are aware of some of the pitfalls and watch your statements closely you can stop the errors before they become big problems to your account and to your credit.

The first mistake that could threaten your debit card account is basic human/computer error. First this reason, keep all your monthly transaction receipts. This means all the receipts from any stores you use your debit card and any time you add money to your account.

The second common mistake is when you sign up for a service and then discontinue it. Sometimes companies will offer you an incentive to try a service for a certain period of time for free, providing you sign up using a credit or debit card. Sounds good. It can be good. But what the company hopes for is that you will like the service and continue or at least are to lazy to cancel the service. Be sure to write a note and the date you must cancel before billing starts on your debit or credit card. If you don't want the service cancel before that date. Then after canceling make sure the fee doesn't show up on your account. If it does, call the company immediately.

Theft. We all know this is always a chance we take when it involves money or something that acts like money. In the case of a debit card you do have some protection, depending on how quickly you notice that your debit card is missing and how soon you report it. If you report it missing before any transactions is made from it, you are not responsible for any purchases or cash advances made toward the card. If you report it missing within 2 days of it being stolen and being used, you are responsible for $50 of the amount spent (less if the amount spent on it is lower than $50). If it takes you more than 2 days to report it missing, you are responsible for $500 of the amount spent (less if the amount spent is lower than $500). If you wait for 60 days to report it missing, you are completely responsible.

But also be warned, under Government guidelines set for financial institutions they have up 20 days to provide provisional credit to your account due to losses due to theft or unauthorized use. What does this mean? They have up to 20 days to issue you a new card and replace the money back onto your card, even if you report the card missing within a few hours of its disappearance.

What about errors? How long does Financial Institutions have to investigate errors? They have 10 days. But they can have up to 45 days. Yet, if it takes them that long they must add the money back to your account while they do their investigating.

What else can you do to protect your debit card accounts?

Know where all your cards are at all times

Never give out your account numbers via the phone or the internet unless it is to a trusted company.

When using your debit card via the internet use a secure browser

Don't keep PIN numbers and the cards at the same place

Never sign a blank transaction slip

Tear up carbon copies of receipts and keep saved receipts in safe place

Review monthly statements for errors

Inform the issuer of your debit card the minute you realize it is lost or stolen

Keep a list of all debit cards account numbers, expiration dates and the telephone number of the issuer in a safe place in case of theft or if it is lost. This makes things easier if you ever have to report your card missing.

Should you stop using your debit card? No, not necessarily. Just keep one thing in mind, that plastic card represents money. Keep it safe.

Source: Associated Content

How to Use a Dedicated Business Credit Card

If you use one credit card for all of your expenses, you might find it difficult to separate business from personal expenses later on. Using a dedicated business credit card will not only help you to stay organized, but it can also make a large difference once tax season roles around. A dedicated business card is a credit card that is used only - no exceptions - for business expenses. Read the following tips to learn how to use a dedicated business credit card.

Dedicated Business Credit Card: Choose Your Card with the Highest Interest Rate
If you have several credit cards, it is often best to use the one with the highest interest rate as your dedicated business card. Although you cannot deduct interest on personal credit cards, interest earned on business expenses is almost always deductable. Annual fees are also deductible, so that should factor into your decision.

Dedicated Business Credit Card: Charge Slips
Make sure that your dedicated business credit card allows you to receive copies of all the charge slips in addition to your monthly statement. If it doesn't, you will have to be careful to save them at the point of purchase. You will need these charge slips either for your business expense account or for your taxes.

Dedicated Business Credit Card: Frequent Flier Miles
If your business requires that you travel, you might want to get a dedicated business card that allows you to enroll in a frequent flier program. You'll earn free miles with your business expenses, which is always a plus. If you don't travel, consider a card with other benefits, such as reward points or cash back. You might as well be earning some kind of return when using a dedicated business card.

Dedicated Business Credit Card: Keep it Separate
Store your dedicated business credit card in a separate place from your personal credit cards. If you accidentally use it and then forget to record the purpose for the personal purchase, you could wind up in trouble with your boss or - worse - the IRS. Make sure that your spouse and any other family members also understand that it is a dedicated business card.

Dedicated Business Credit Card: End-Of-Year Report
Many credit card companies provide card holders with an end-of-year report that categorizes expenses related to different purposes, such as entertainment, travel and office supplies. Try to find a credit card that supplies this kind of report because it will be much easier to handle your taxes when you have it.

Dedicated Business Credit Card: Employer vs. Taxes
When making business purchases on your credit card, it might be a good idea to note who will be reimbursing you for the expense. If is something like mileage, which will go on your employer's expense report, make a notation on the charge slip or in your register. If, along the same lines, you will need to deduct it from your taxes, you should write that down as well. It will help you to keep the two separate and to fill out expense reports and itemized tax statements.

Source: Associated Content

A Look at the PayPal Debit Card

Looking for a debit card to manage your finances, but dislike paying "point of sale" fees for every purchase? The PayPal debit card is financially similar to a debit card, deducting purchases directly from your PayPal account balance, but can also be used as a credit card anywhere MasterCard is accepted. If there is not sufficient funds in your account, the sale will be denied, assisting you in the process of refraining from spending money you don't have.

Requirements to Get the Card
There are several prerequisites to requesting a PayPal debit card. In order to request a PayPal debit card you must be a PayPal user for at least sixty days and must have a premier or business account. There is no charge to upgrade your account, but, unlike a personal account which can accept non-credit card payments free of charge, you will be charged the standard PayPal fee of $0.30 + 2.9% of the transaction amount to accept funds (both credit card and non-credit card) from other users. In addition, you must register a credit card with your account. The statement for this card must be sent to a physical street address, not a P.O. box. Finally, your account must be verified by linking it to your bank account.

The Debit Card
The PayPal debit card works just like a normal debit card issued by your bank. Funds can be withdrawn from your PayPal account via any ATM with the Cirrus logo at a cost of $1.00 per withdrawal, plus additional bank ATM fees if applicable. You can also make debit purchases with a PIN. You may request up to two debit cards per PayPal account. The PayPal debit card carries no annual fee and there is no fee to request an addition card.

A MasterCard in Disguise
The PayPal debit card doubles as a MasterCard Premier BusinessCard. The card can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted and works in the same fashion as a standard credit card with the exception that the funds are deducted directly from your PayPal account. It is possible to overdraw your account, however, if the merchant does not request the full amount of your transaction to be immediately debited from your PayPal account. For example, when you purchase gas, a $1.00 "hold fee" will be billed to your account when you swipe your card before you pump. A few days later, this charge will be removed and the full charge will be posted. It's critical to track outstanding purchases in order to avoid overdrawing your account.

PayPal Preferred Program – Get 1.0% cashback
Another great feature of the PayPal debit card is the ability to receive cashback on your purchases. Any purchase in which the card is used as a credit card is eligible for cashback. While an eBay account is not required in order to sign up for PayPal and the debit card program, if you are an active seller on eBay with at least one listing every three weeks, you are eligible to receive 1.0% cashback on purchases processed from your debit card as credit card transactions. If your eBay sales drops below the minimum requirement, PayPal indicates they will notify you that your preferred status has been suspended until you list another auction. (Note that this does not suspend your debit card, but simply the ability to receive cashback.) Alternatively, you can achieve PayPal preferred status by incorporating PayPal into your e-commerce website. You must also list PayPal as the only accepted online payment option on either your eBay auctions or your website. Once enrolled in the "PayPal Preferred" program, you will begin receiving 1.0% cashback on all purchases involving your debit card in which you select "Credit" rather than "Debit" at the checkout process.

Security Measures
In order to provide security to your account, your debit card has daily withdraw limits of $3,000.00 for purchases and $400.00 for ATM cash withdrawals. If you decide to request an additional debit card, this limit applies to your account and is not a limit per card. If you use PayPal extensively to accept payments online, the PayPal debit card is a convenient means to spend the funds directly from your account. Even if you don't receive many PayPal payments, you can still transfer funds from your bank account in order to receive 1.0% cashback on all of your purchases. While other credit cards offer cashback rates of greater than 1%, it is important to note that the PayPal debit card does not require a credit history since it is a debit card in reality.

Source: Associated Content

How to Avoid Credit Card Debt

In modern day society we are accustomed to having what we want when we want it, and trying to keep up with the fast paces of life and consumer society of play havoc on our bank accounts and pocket books. The perceived need to have the latest computer software, the latest looks in leather jackets, and the hippest car frequently drives us to a point of overextension and financial insanity.

Instead, we should take a step back and look at what we have instead of what we think we need. For instance, two years ago you bought yourself a new laptop computer. Your laptop has a CD/DVD burner combo drive, is light weight, and upgradeable, but you suddenly feel that your system does not have enough “bells and whistles” because you do not have an internal card for wireless internet access or your graphics are the standard version instead of extreme graphics version two. Hence, you feel the burning need to dump your current laptop and purchase a new one. But, do you really need that new laptop? No, the upgrades for your current one would cost you a fraction of the price, and drivers for your graphics card are easily downloadable (and usually free or minimally priced). Yet, you still believe that you need a new laptop because yours is no longer displayed on store shelves, and you subconsciously believe that upgrading your laptop (over buying a new one) is settling for second best. But, you are not settling. Instead, you are being prudent and consumer conscious — prudent because your laptop is still running smoothly, is internet adaptable, and is compliant with commonly used software and consumer conscious because you know that holding out for another two years will prove wise for your next major laptop purchase. After all, laptops generally have a lifespan of four years, and waiting two years will enable you to buy a laptop will a DVD/CD burner, extreme graphics, and more bells and whistles than are currently on the market.

This latter fact is common knowledge on the market, and any one who has ever purchased computer equipment on a whim can tell you how they spent more money than needed on the spur of the moment buy. This scenario, of desperately needing a new laptop because yours is becoming “outdated,” is a classic example how many individuals rack up credit card debt and make purchases that they do not need. The prudent consumer, who purchased upgrades over a new system, would have saved approximately twelve hundred to one thousand dollars on their computer system—thus, enabling them to apply that money for other needs/desires.

These needs and desires could be real—like new tires for the family car—or they could be imposed—like the longing to go away for a weekend at a nearby beach resort. Again, the new tires for the care are a safety factor, and the beach front vacation is a luxury.

Credit card spending on either purchase should be avoided, but if credit use is needed opting for new tires is the safer investment. And yes, credit spending for new tires (or any item) is an investment because you are paying back the money loaned with interest. Average credit card holders spend ten to twenty years paying off credit card debt, on basic monthly payments, that they procured in their twenties. This long-term payment system is an investment because the items you bought are slowly being paid for—often long after you have discarded them—and their end price is considerably higher that what was initially paid.

Thus, your investments onto credit cards should be well thought because they will not be paid off for several years. Your purchases should be well thought and considered with a heavy heart. Placing purchases on credit cards should come from heavy heart because you really need to ponder if you absolutely need that item. More importantly, paying off a vacation or a new article of clothing ten years down the road seems a little ludicrous. By the time you pay off these purchases, many of them will be forgotten and the items will have dissipated from your possession.

Thus, weigh the need and desire for purchases heavily, calculating the interest that you will pay, and the amount of enjoyment or productivity that will derive from them. Tires for your vehicle—those are a must have purchase, and putting them on your credit card is not a major financial infraction. Well, that is unless you are putting the tires on your credit card so that you can use your cash for an upgraded car stereo system. This choice would also fall into the disillusionment category because using credit for tires so that you can make a luxury purchase is the equivalent of putting the luxury item on the credit card. Robbing Peter to pay Paul never works . . . and do not fool yourself. It will not work for you either. Accordingly, before making a credit purchase weigh it wisely—do you need it or desire it!

Source: Associated Content