Monday, May 31, 2010

Credit card debt settlement

Credit card debt settlement
Credit card debt settlement

‘Credit card debt’ is the worst of all nightmares. A successful credit card debt settlement is like getting a new lease of life. Credit card debt settlement is a wonderful stress relieving mechanisms. Once you are done with your credit card debt settlement, you are assured of a much better life. All those nagging phone calls and mails will become history and all that surmounting tension would be gone. That’s why credit card debt settlement is so essential.

You can approach credit card debt settlement in 2 ways. You can either go for credit card debt settlement all by yourself or you can take advice from a credit counselling company or a professional. Any of these credit card debt settlement methods are fine, as long as they work for you and help you get debt-free quickly. If you go for credit card debt settlement all by yourself, you will need to analyse the various options available to you e.g. checking on various balance transfer offers available in the market, checking the short term loan options with the banks etc etc. However, if you want to take credit card debt settlement advice from a professional, you should be able to trust the advisor fully. So you need to check the credentials of the credit card debt settlement advisor/company. There are hordes of people and companies that advertise “credit card debt settlement in one day” or something of that kind which will look just fantastic. Such credit card debt settlement offers/advice are generally not genuine. Moreover, you need to understand that credit card debt settlement cannot happen overnight (unless you win a lottery or something like that). So, beware of such agencies. That said it’s important to mention that there are a lot of good credit card debt settlement advisors/companies available too who will not only give you genuine credit card debt settlement advice but will help you throughout until you are finally out of debt. Their advice may, in fact, more than compensate for the fee that they charge you for credit card debt settlement. These credit card debt settlement companies/advisors will be able to help you in the best way if you tell them your current financial situation correctly. Your future plans are important too, as they might influence the decision on ‘What route for credit card debt settlement would work the best for you’.

Moreover, once you are done with your credit card debt settlement, you should also take measures to avoid falling into that pit again.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Eliminate credit card debt

Eliminate credit card debt

It is easy to eliminate credit card debt

Well, anyone who makes this comment is sure to be labelled as a moron. However, let me remind you of a famous quote “Where there is will, there is way”. So that is how easy it is to find a way to eliminate credit card debt. What you really need in order to eliminate credit card debt is “Will Power”. No matter what method you adopt to eliminate credit card debt, no matter what debt assistance company you approach (for advice on how to eliminate credit card debt), no matter what your friends tell you, “Will Power” is essential if you want to eliminate credit card debt. In fact, this starts from the word go. Just examine the last part of my previous statement “… is essential IF YOU WANT TO eliminate credit card debt”, this statement itself implies that “IF YOU WANT TO” or we can rephrase that as “if you have the will power to” eliminate credit card debt.

Will power is what you need to control your urge to buy everything from the market. Will power is needed to persevere. Will power is needed to analyze your current financial situation. Will power is needed to sit and plan the ways and means that you can adopt to eliminate credit card debt. Will power is needed to approach a credit card debt assistance company. You also need will power and patience for researching the market for the best balance transfer plans. So really, will power is needed for every aspect of credit card debt elimination. Since “Will Power” is the only thing you need to eliminate credit card debt, we can say that it is easy to eliminate credit card debt. However, this is easier said than done for will power for anything (be it will power to eliminate credit card debt or something else) is hard to come by. One way of strengthening your will power, that is required to eliminate credit card debt, is to portray the life after you successfully eliminate credit card debt. Portray the peace of mind that you will get after you eliminate credit card debt. How much fun it would be!! Moreover, the sense of achievement would be no lesser either (after all not everyone is able to eliminate credit card debt). Just think about all these good things and build your confidence and your will power to eliminate credit card debt. There is really nothing as powerful as will power. And remember “Where there is will, there is way”.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Excessive credit card debt

Excessive credit card debt
Excessive credit card debt

Most people advocate the case of credit cards, quoting the benefits and convenience that arises from them. However, there is another group/line-of-thought that strongly opposes credit cards. The reason being ‘Excessive Credit Card Debt’, which is one of the most serious problems faced by the credit card holders and credit card industry. However, you can’t pull the shutters on the credit card industry just because of a few irresponsible people (or even if it’s more than few). That is not a solution for beating excessive credit card debt. Moreover, you can’t overlook the benefits associated with the credit cards.

The issue of excessive credit card debt can be looked at from 2 angles. First is addressing of the excessive credit card debt problem at the industry level and second is the addressing of the excessive credit card debt problem at the individual’s level i.e. at the credit card holder level. The first method involves increasing awareness of the excessive credit card debt problem to the masses. This is more or less being done currently too. However, there should also be an effort to tackle this problem of excessive credit card debt at an even deeper level. This means trying to devise a mechanism to nip the problem (of excessive credit card debt) in the bud. This mechanism should actually be a part of the overall system. A lot of thought needs to go into devising such a mechanism. Case studies should be taken up, statistics gathered and a proper forum formed (with representatives from the credit card holders and from the credit card suppliers). As of now, the credit card suppliers just seem to be engaged in coming out with new products and getting customers enrolled to those products. There is little attention paid towards addressing the problem of excessive credit card debt in the real sense. Something like attending mandatory seminars on the root causes of excessive credit card debt could be made part of the credit card application process. Another way of dealing with the problem of excessive credit card debt could be: developing a system for calculation of applicable credit card limit at the individual level i.e. no standard/product-based credit limits. Then there could be mechanisms for proactively warning the users about excessive credit card debt (based on their credit card usage) or even imposition of early restrictions on noticing the first signs that lead to excessive credit card debt At the individual’s level, the treatment of the problem of excessive credit card debt would include following of best practices (on credit card usage and avoidance of excessive credit card debt) by the individuals themselves. A checklist or a set of questions could be provided to individuals for recognising the first signs of excessive credit card debt.

So, the problem of excessive credit card debt can surely be dealt with by putting together some serious thinking at a broader level together with discipline at the individual’s level.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Get out of credit card debt

Get out of credit card debt
Can I get out of credit card debt?

Yes, you can get out of credit card debt. If you are determined to get out of credit card debt you surely can get out of credit card debt. Though it’s a bit difficult to get out of credit card debt, it isn’t impossible. All you need to get out of credit card debt is determination and planning. Both are equally important (or maybe determination is even more important). Determination doesn’t come without proper reason. So, you need to first ask this question to yourself – “What will I get if I am able to get out of credit card debt?”, “What difference will it make”, “What’s in it for me” or “Is it really beneficial to get out of credit card debt”. Use the answers to build your determination. The fact that all the nagging via mails/phone (by the credit card supplier and/or their collection agent), will be gone, should do good to strengthening your determination and should provide you with a reason on why you should endeavour to get out of credit card debt. Think about the stress-free life after you get out of credit card debt. Try to link various reasons together and try to see the benefits through them. All these collectively will help in bolstering your determination and prevent it from getting weak at any point in time.

The second thing that you need to get out of credit card debt is planning. The planning to get out of credit card debt will start with making a list of the credit cards that you currently posses and noting the debt and the APR for each of them. The sum total of all these various credit card debts, will give you the total credit card debt. You also need to check if you have been defaulting on payments on some of these credit cards (and hence incurring a late fee). You will need to avoid that and put it on the plan you have prepared to get out of credit card debt. The next step in getting out of credit card debt is to check your current financial position and make an assessment of what you expect your future financial position to be. Next comes the research to check the various balance transfer offers available in the market; to see if one of these can prove beneficial to you. Use all this information to calculate how much time you will require to get out of credit card debt and how you will distribute the debt payment across your various credit cards (ensuring that you payoff the debt that is hitting you the most and also ensuring that you don’t incur late fee on any credit card payments)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Consolidating credit card debt

Consolidating credit card debt
Is consolidating credit card debt a good option?

Well, the answer will more often be yes than no. Consolidating credit card debt is often regarded as the first step towards credit card debt elimination. However, even before you move to take first step towards consolidating credit card debt, you must understand that consolidating credit card debt (or balance transfer) is an action that you are taking to eliminate credit card debt. Consolidating credit card debt is not a means of deferring the problem for later.

Consolidating credit card debt is indeed a good option in more than one sense. Not only do you get relief from the rapid increase in your credit card debt, but also get other benefits too. Offers for consolidating credit card debt are in abundance and are very attractive indeed. Almost all the offers for consolidating credit card debt have an initial low APR period during which the APR is generally 0% (or some low figure). In fact, this is one of the main things which make consolidating credit card debt a very attractive option. Besides this low APR, the offers for consolidating credit card debt also include things like no interest rate on the purchases made during first 5 months (or some other initial period) of balance transfer. This is another thing that lowers the speed at which your credit card debt gallops. So these are the two most important benefits that credit card suppliers deploy to attract people into consolidating credit card debt with them. Then there are other benefits which include things like additional reward points on the member’s reward program of the credit card you are consolidating credit card debt to. These reward points can be redeemed for other attractive goods/rebates/rewards etc. Sometimes, the new credit card (i.e. the one you are consolidating credit card debt to) might be a credit card that caters more to your current spending needs both in terms of the credit limits and the way you spend your money. For example, the new credit card might be a co-branded one offered by an airline that you have started travelling with very frequently in the recent times and consolidating credit card debt on such a card may open up much more benefits as compared to your current credit card which was based on your needs at the time of you applying for your current credit card. The credit card you are consolidating credit card debt to might open up discount offers to you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

9 steps to tackle credit card debt problem

9 steps to tackle credit card debt problem
Looking for a solution to your Credit card debt problem?

First of all, you can take comfort in the fact that you are not the only one fighting the credit card debt problem. There are hordes of people who might have an even worse credit card debt problem compared to you; all of them seeking to eliminate the credit card debt problem. So what is the solution to credit card debt problem?

Well, the solution really is to smash the credit card debt problem with full force and eliminate it completely. Now how do you do that?

There are many ways in which you can tackle credit card debt problem. Different people suggest different ways of tackling credit card debt problem. However, here is a simple step by step account of what you can do to get rid of credit card debt problem.
1. Take stock of the situation i.e. draw up a table with the following fields – Credit card name, balance, payment due day (the day of the month by which you are required to make payment of your credit card bill), APR, reward points earned, redemption offers applicable for your reward points balance, remarks.
2. Fill the table up with data from your various credit cards.
3. Figure out which credit card is contributing the most to the credit card debt problem i.e. highest APR and highest balance.
4. Check if reward points can be used to make partial payments or cover any kind of fees or if the points can be bartered for something you need (spending less means preventing the credit card debt problem from getting worse).
5. Draw a comparison table of offers available for eliminating credit card debt problem (i.e. consolidating credit card debt).
6. First eliminate debt on the credit card that is contributing the most to the credit card debt problem.
7. Practice controlled and healthy spending habits (after all you are looking to get rid of credit card debt problem and not aggravate the credit card debt problem).
8. Look for alternative means of adding to your income (more money means earlier termination of credit card debt problem)
9. See your debt reduce with time and celebrate the day when you finally put an end to your credit card debt problem.

Remember this is just one of the ways of tackling credit card debt problem; you might devise your approach for doing away with credit card debt problem. Any and every approach is good if it fulfils the objective i.e. eliminates credit card debt problem.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Reduce credit card debt

Reduce credit card debt

Reduce credit card debt

“Reduce credit card debt and eliminate it before it assumes a horrifying shape” – This is really the gist of the story. So, how do you reduce credit card debt? Well, you reduce credit card debt by preventing it from increasing and by paying off what it is currently. Simple, isn’t it?

Not really. If it was that simple to reduce credit card debt, then we wouldn’t have had so many people with credit card debt related problems. We would have been able to reduce credit card debt problems and finally eliminate them (or reduce them significantly). There are all kinds of advice available on how to reduce credit card debt, but still nothing much seems to change. The problem still seems to persist and in fact, worsen. However, it’s not that difficult to reduce credit card debt. As we just said, there is a lot of advice available on how to reduce credit card debt and the only thing you need to do is put that advice, on how to reduce credit card debt, to practice in real life. Well, no one but you will benefit if you reduce credit card debt.

So the first step to reduce credit card debt is to prevent it from taking dangerous proportions. The 2 most important ways of implementing this step are – balance transfers and use of cash.

Balance transfer is often treated as the number one measure to reduce credit card debt. This is really something that can help reduce credit card debt by slowing down the pace at which your credit card debt is getting built. It also provides you relief in terms of the APR being 0% for initial 6-9 months (and hence helps reduce credit card debt faster). To reduce credit card debt using this mechanism, you need to transfer your balance from your current credit card(s) onto another credit card that has a lower APR than your current card. Thus you reduce credit card debt by preventing it from increasing so rapidly.

The other preventive measure to reduce credit card debt is to use cash instead of card (as such, hard earned cash is difficult to get out of pocket as compared to just a credit card). So you reduce credit card debt by not adding more to it. That is the simplest way to reduce credit card debt.

However, you can reduce credit card debt only if you stick to your resolution to reduce credit card debt; otherwise it will fail miserably.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Credit card debt elimination

Credit card debt elimination
Taking a step towards credit card debt elimination

So you have decided to go for credit card debt elimination and are wondering on what the methods for credit card debt elimination are. As they say, let’s take the bull by its horns and lay it all flat on the ground. There are generally 2 recommendations that are most common for credit card debt elimination: controlling the expenditures and consolidating debt. Let’s check both of these credit card debt elimination recommendations and check the list of things that you can do for achieving credit card debt elimination using these recommendations:

1. Control your urge to spend: The first thing to do for credit card debt elimination is to control your expenditures. Here we are talking about the payments you make using your credit card. Remember that the main reason being your getting into credit card debt is uncontrolled expenditures using your credit card. So if you are really serious about credit card debt elimination, this is one thing that will help in credit card debt elimination by preventing accumulation of further debt. Here is what you can do to control your expenditures:
a. You need to stay away from attractive offers that are put-up by various shops and stores. Don’t buy anything that you don’t really-really need. After all you are looking for credit card debt elimination not supplementation.
b. Leave your credit card at home. If you really-really need something, then you can fetch your credit card from your house. This will prevent you from yielding to the too-attractive-to-resist sale offers (that are actually there all the year round). This credit card debt elimination technique, again, works on the principal of ‘prevention is better than cure’. This will prevent unplanned expenses from happening.
c. Prepare a monthly budget and stick to it. This is really a very important credit card debt elimination measure. This budget will form the basis of your credit card debt elimination plan. So if you deviate from your budget, your credit card debt elimination plan will go for a toss.

2. Debt consolidation: Debt consolidation or moving from high APR credit cards to a low APR one is generally the first step (the first reactive step) for credit card debt elimination. Here are a few things that you need to do:
a. Do not go for the first balance offer you come across. Analyse various offers and choose the one that best suits you. This will be an important thing on you credit card debt elimination plan. Initial APR, Initial APR period and standard Apr, all need to be considered.
b. Read the fine print on the balance transfer offer and check the terms and conditions on these. These might affect your overall credit card debt elimination plan.
c. Compare other benefits e.g. rebates, reward points, etc, before you actually decide to go for one of the offers.

Credit card debt elimination is about proper planning and discipline. So make your credit card debt elimination plan and stick to it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Teen credit card debt statistics

Teen credit card debt statistics
What do the teen credit card debt statistics tell?

Well, you don’t really need to look into the teen credit card debt statistics to tell what’s going on. The teen credit card debt statistics would probably look very similar to any other. I think I read somewhere about teen credit card debt statistics and those teen credit card debt statistics indicated that a lot of teens in US had a significant amount of balance on their credit cards; something which they shouldn’t have (considering their limited needs for credit). Though these teen credit card debt statistics would give you a fair idea of how our teens are faring in the world of credit cards it’s really not so important to talk about teen credit card debt statistics as it is to talk about the ways of bettering the teen credit card debt statistics (I mean bettering the teen credit card debt statistics in a positive way).

So how do you better teen credit card debt statistics?

Well, the bettering of teen credit card debt statistics would, as you must have guessed, start with education. This education has to start early in the life of the teens. Here we are not talking about just credit cards related education but the education about managing their finances in general. Teen credit card debt statistics cannot be improved without explaining the actual value of money to the teens (and also teaching them how to use it). So, for bettering teen credit card debt statistics, we need to give them an all round education on managing money and finances. This can start with asking them to maintain a record of their pocket money and how they spend them. Also, engage them into education related to money management (of course, you have to customize the discussion to suit their level of knowledge and maturity). The next step would be to open a bank account for them and teach them the various aspects of managing it. Teach them what debt it and when it is considered bad. Debit card could be the next step for them. Once they start becoming comfortable with doing their bank transactions by themselves, you can get a prepaid credit card for them (something that has a preset limit of $200-250). You could also use a low limit credit card (with $250 credit limit) and teach them how to use it.

Thus you can follow a step-by-step approach to ensure that your teens learn the best practices (and hence you can keep them out of those horrifying teen credit card debt statistics, thereby contributing to bettering the teen credit card debt statistics).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Credit card debt consolodation

Credit card debt consolodation
The benefits from Credit card debt consolodation

‘Credit card debt consolodation’ seems to be the most talked-about term in the world of credit cards. It’s true that credit cards have been very useful and convenient for us and we, in fact, treat the credit cards as a necessity. However, with every good you have evil too. In the world of credit cards, ‘Credit card debt’ is that evil and ‘Credit card debt consolodation’ is often regarded as a medicine for treating credit card debt.

Anyone who has read any newspaper articles on ‘Credit card debt’ would already know what credit card debt consolodation is. However, just for the benefit of others, credit card debt consolodation, in simple terms, is the process of consolidating debt which you hold on various high APR credit cards onto just one low APR credit card. Thus, the main benefit of credit card debt consolodation is realised in terms of APR reduction (and hence reduction in credit card debt growth rate). This is touted as the most important benefit (and sometimes the sole benefit) from credit card debt consolodation. However, credit card debt consolodation comes with few more benefits as well. Some of these credit card debt consolodation benefits are widely publicised by the credit card suppliers and some not so much:

1. Initial APR: As mentioned above, lower APR is the biggest benefit from credit card debt consolodation. Since credit card debt consolodation is used by credit card suppliers as a tool to attract consumers, they generally offer a 0% APR for a initial period of 6-9 months of you joining their credit card debt consolodation programme i.e. first few months after you get the new credit card.

2. Standard APR: Lower standard APR (i.e. the long term APR) is the other important benefit from credit card debt consolodation. Though not all credit card suppliers offer a lower standard APR with credit card debt consolodation some do design credit card debt consolodation programmes with good standard APR. These credit card debt consolodation programmes offer a trade-off between initial and standard APR rates.

3. 0% on purchases: This is another common benefit from credit card debt consolodation. The 0% interest (or some lower percentage) on purchases is offered as an incentive for credit card debt consolodation. This credit card debt consolodation benefit is again applicable only for a short initial period.

4. Easy management: This credit card debt consolodation benefit is not as discussed as others. However, one benefit of credit card debt consolodation (from multiple to single credit card) is the fact that you need to track and manage a lesser number of credit cards.

5. Other benefits: The credit card debt consolodation exercise might bring you some more benefits in terms of rebates, discounts and reward points (especially if you move to a co-branded card as part of credit card debt consolodation)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Credit card

Credit card
What is a Credit Card?

Put simply, a credit card is just a small piece of plastic that easily fits in your wallet. Well, it’s not ‘just a piece of plastic’; it’s a very powerful piece of plastic which can be regarded as a compressed form of cash. We can define credit cards as a credit system that allows the consumer to borrow money on the fly from a bank or a financial institution and use it to make payments to the merchants.

In order to obtain a credit card, the consumer needs to fill-in an application form that is actually like an agreement between the credit card supplier and the credit card consumer. The credit card supplier approves the application form and provides the consumer with a small piece of plastic (i.e. the credit card). This plastic (or credit card) contains electronically encoded security information in the form of a magnetic strip (which is generally located at the back of the credit card). This information is used for authorising payments whenever the consumer uses the credit card. The consumer can use the credit card for shopping at merchant outlets or on the internet etc. Of course, this is subject to merchant’s capability to accept credit card payments. Accepting the credit cards is, however, not enough. The merchant should be able to accept payments made through the credit card provided by that credit card organization (of which you hold the credit card) i.e. VISA, MasterCard etc. You can also use credit card to withdraw cash from ATMs (automatic cash machines) – also known as cash machines or Day/Night machines.

There are eight main credit card organisations and most of them operate in a lot of countries world wide. These are American Express, Citi, Diners Club, Discover, JCB, MasterCard and VISA. Master card and VISA are probably the most popular ones. Then there are credit card suppliers or issuers who have tie-ups with these organisations and issue credit cards on their behalf e.g. you have various banks that issue VISA cards (like HSBC VISA card)

To make a payment using a credit card, the credit card has to be either swiped into special credit card processing machine (when shopping in person at shops) or the details of the credit card have to be entered on the merchant’s website (when shopping online). The credit card supplier sends across the bill for these transactions to the consumer who is then required to pay either the full amount or a partial (minimum) amount. If you pay in full, the credit card supplier doesn’t charge any interest on the amount you owe, otherwise the pre-agreed interest rate is charged. If you don’t pay even the minimum, you might land up with a late fee too. Moreover, the credit card supplier generally puts a limit on the maximum amount you can spend per month using your credit card.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Accept credit card

Accept credit card
“We accept credit cards”

“We accept credit cards” is a statement that you must have come across multiple times at various shops, grocery stores and other merchant outlets. This statement is generally accompanied by a few stickers (Visa/Master card etc). Credit cards have transformed the businesses and our lives to a great extent. A few years back there were just a handful of shops that would accept credit cards but today you will find that most of the shops accept credit cards. In fact, some shops (like those belonging to a big retail chain) not only accept credit cards but also supply credit cards. These credit cards entitle you for rebates when you use them at any of the stores of that retail chain.

With credit cards around, a lot of people have stopped carrying any cash with them or just carry a very small amount of cash with them. That means that any shop that doesn’t accept credit cards is potentially losing customers. In fact, this is one reason why almost every merchant accepts credit cards.

With the evolution of internet, credit card industry too took a new turn and up came ecommerce and e-shops. So, those stickers of “We accept credit cards”, moved on to the doors of internet shops. Thus came the era where almost every online-shop would accept credit cards (directly or indirectly). In fact, this was the premise on which the complete online-business industry was based. This is convenience at its best.

Fraud is associated with almost every financial instrument. So there came fraudsters too, who too said that “We accept credit cards”. These fraudsters use a lot of techniques to commit credit card related fraud. Some of them disguise themselves as online merchants who accept credit cards as mode of payment (the actual motive being extraction of critical credit card details). Others are people who work at merchant shops that accept credit cards. These fraudsters either clone the credit cards or just note critical information from them (and use that for online-shopping). Some other fraudsters lure innocent people into revealing credit card details in chat rooms. And then there are tech-savvy fraudsters who use computer programs/softwares/devices (called spyware) to spy on the people who use their credit cards for online payments. The spyware capture their credit card information and get it transmitted to the spy using internet.

So a lot of merchants and service providers do accept credit cards but keep in mind that the fraudsters too welcome/accept credit cards. This is something you surely need to be careful about.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

UK credit card

UK credit card
UK credit cards and balance transfers
Credit cards are pretty popular and in widespread use in UK. Credit cards are accepted at most shops and other merchant stores/outlets. As in the US, UK credit cards too are on offer from various banks and financial institutions. Again, UK credit cards too offer a number of benefits which vary from one UK credit card to another (though there are a lot of common benefits too which are same across various UK credit cards).

Due to the fierce competition in the UK credit card market, various UK credit card suppliers offer attractive balance transfer schemes too. There are some UK credit cards that offer 0% balance transfer for 9 months and there are others that offer 0% for 6 months. However, the catch here is that these UK card credit suppliers differ on their standard APR rate i.e. the APR rate which comes into effect after the expiry of the introductory 0% balance transfer offer. Further there are some UK credit cards that do not offer a 0% balance transfer but instead offer a better standard rate (APR) throughout. Some UK credit card suppliers combine 0% offers with accrual of points on a rewards programme. Another popular thing among UK credit cards is to combine cash back offers with balance transfers. Then there are some very attractive offers which give 0% not only on balance transfers but also on Purchases (for a short period like 5 month or so). You also have a few UK credit cards that can be procured by people with bad credit history too (of course, the decision on approval of such a credit card application will lie with the credit card supplier).

So what does one do if one wants to transfer balance to another UK credit card. Well, it’s quite simple. You need to take stock of your current financial situation and determine if a period of 6 months or 9 months (or maybe even 12 months) would be sufficient for you to fully payback the dues on your UK credit card. If the answer is in the affirmative, just go ahead for the UK credit card that offers 0% balance transfer for this period (even if the standard APR rate is a bit higher). However, the assumption here is that once you payback the debt on your UK credit card, you will stick to controlled spending and will pay your credit card bills in full amount by the due date for payment; otherwise, the choice of a higher standard APR will hit you very hard and you will be in deeper trouble. However, if you think that 9 months is not sufficient to pay back the debt on your UK credit card, then you should look to strike a balance between the zero APR period and the standard APR rate, and choose a UK credit card which leads to the least total outgo (you will need to sit with a calculator and calculate the total outgo on various UK credit card offers).

This is the most basic aspect that you need to consider before you decide on which UK credit card is the best for transferring balance. Other things like 0% on purchases, reward programmer points etc are secondary things.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Student credit card

Student credit card
Student credit cards

For students, the student credit cards are the best way to enter the fascinating world of credit cards. Student credit cards help the students in taking advantage of the various benefits associated with credit cards in general e.g. convenience, safety, rebates etc., much earlier in their life. Moreover, student credit cards act as training ground for students, most of whom haven’t had any experience with credit cards. The student credit cards help the students in gaining hands-on knowledge about the various aspects of credit cards and their use. Most credit card suppliers also include a small guide that helps the students in gaining a good understanding of credit cards, upfront. The students learn more and more with every transaction on their student credit card and as they experiment with the various benefits associated with the student credit cards using their student credit cards in various ways. Another important benefit is in terms of the time that student credit cards save for the students. As we know, time is very valuable for students and by using their student credit card to order things online, they can actually save a lot of time too. Moreover, the students might require short term loans (in case there is a delay in the arrival of funds in their account, for whatever reason); and student credit cards facilitate this very easily taking the burden off from the student (so students can use their student credit cards like a loan for making payments in the meantime). As such, money is the other critical thing for students. Student credit cards again become handy here by saving them some money in terms of rebates from retail stores, grocery shops etc. Moreover, the students also receive additional rewards/benefits from the members reward programmes that come with all credit cards (including student credit cards).

As students use their student credit cards, they keep building their knowledge database. This knowledge becomes handy when they are out of college and into their job and looking for a full-fledged credit card (i.e. credit cards which have lesser restrictions, more credit limit etc as compared to a student credit card). Hence the student credit cards help the students in making a knowledge-based decision rather than a fancy-based one. Such decisions and the knowledge about using the credit cards in a disciplined manner, acts as a deterrent to one of the most serious problems being faced by credit card industry i.e. the problem of credit card debt.

With so many advantages on the plate, the student credit cards are really an essential for every student.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Southwest airline credit card

Southwest airline credit card
Southwest airline credit card

Southwest airline credit cards are a good example of co-branded credit cards. Southwest airlines and Chase have teamed up to bring the southwest airline credit cards to you. At the time of writing this article, there are two popular southwest airline cards which are also collectively called as southwest airlines rapid rewards Visa cards. One of these southwest airline credit cards is for personal use (this is called Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Visa Signature Card) and the other southwest airline credit card is for business use. Both these southwest airline credit cards are aimed at getting you a roundtrip award faster.

There are a number of ways in which you can earn reward points using Southwest airline credit cards. Southwest airline credit cards have two kinds of reward points i.e. there are two denominations in which you can earn reward points - rapid reward credits and rapid reward dollars. The rapid reward credits are a much higher reward denomination as compared to the reward dollars (e.g. at the time of writing this article, 1200 reward dollars is equal to 1 rapid reward credit).

So how do you earn and redeem the reward points on your southwest airline credit card?

You get bonus reward credits after your first purchase on your southwest airline credit card. These purchases needn’t be on southwest airlines products/services, these can be just any purchases made using the southwest airline credit card. You earn reward dollars for any expenditures you make using your southwest airline credit card. There are additional reward dollars, when you use your southwest airline credit card on southwest airlines (i.e. when you use your southwest airline credit card to spend on southwest airlines products/services). By additional we mean, the reward dollars are more as compared to those earned on other, non-southwest airline, purchases. As you keep collecting reward dollars, you keep moving closer to getting a round trip award. Generally, the roundtrip awards are based on rapid reward credits. So, you can convert the reward dollars, earned on your southwest airline credit card, into rapid reward credits; and convert rapid reward credits into your roundtrip award. Another way of earning rapid rewards credit on southwest airline credit cards is through balance transfers.

Southwest airline credit cards are surely a good option for people who travel frequently by air using southwest airlines. Since the network of southwest airlines is pretty widespread, you will find that you are able to get southwest airlines flight to most places you want to travel to and hence get an opportunity to use your south west airline credit card to earn reward points (or reward dollars, as they call them).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Credit card offer

Credit card offer

So many credit card offers, what to do?

Just browse through the daily newspaper and you will be overwhelmed by the number of credit card offers advertised. Move around the town and you will find credit card offers being advertised everywhere. Same is the case is with television which seems to host a number of credit card offers too. So, the credit card offers are there everywhere. Why are there so many credit card offers? Well, quite simply because credit card business is a highly profitable business for the credit card suppliers.

In this situation, when there is no dearth of credit card offers, which is the best credit card offer?

There is nothing like a best credit card offer, really. A better question to ask would be – ‘Which credit card offer is the best for me?’ The spending habits of one person are different from that of another person. Their living styles vary and hence their needs vary too. So for deciding on which credit card offer is best for you, you need to evaluate your needs vis-à-vis your lifestyle and your spending habits (and not go just by the recommendation of someone). For example, if you frequently travel by air, a co-branded airline credit card might be more suited to you than the general purpose one. These airline credit cards offer discounts, rebates and other kind of rewards when the credit card is used for making payments (the rewards are even higher when these credit cards are used for paying for the airline tickets or other airline products). Similarly, if you have a favourite retail store where you do a lot of your shopping, it would be beneficial to check if the retailer is a credit card supplier too and if there is a credit card offer that suits you. A lot of big retail chains do offer co-branded credit cards to their customers and these credit cards offer rebates/discounts etc when they are used for making payments at the retail store. As such, you get reward points for making payments at any place but the rewards are higher on the payments made at retail store. On similar lines, we have credit cards for gas stations and grocery stores too, which you can opt for if you have a favourite gas station or a favourite grocery store where you shop a lot.

So, if you look around, you will find a lot of lucrative credit card offers. However, this doesn’t mean that you enrol for all the credit card offers. You need to first evaluate your needs and rank them. Then you need to evaluate what all credit card offers suit your needs. And finally you can make your choice and go for a credit card offer that covers most of your needs and gives maximum benefits.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Apply for a credit card

Apply for a credit card
Should I apply for a credit card and how?

Are you pondering on whether you should apply for a credit card? Well, the answer quite simply is – ‘Yes’ - you should apply for a credit card (this is true for most people). The credit cards seem to have transformed our lives. In fact, one can term credit cards as a revolution. Today, you find ads in TV/newspapers/website/shops and almost anywhere and everywhere; all asking you to apply for a credit card. When you look around, you see that most people have credit cards. In fact, most people have multiple credit cards. Everyone seems to apply for a credit card. So, why should you apply for a credit card?

There are a lot of benefits associated with credit cards; however, the most important benefit is the convenience that they offer. For most people, this is the prime and the sole reason that instigates them to apply for a credit card. This wouldn’t have been the case a few years ago, when not many merchants accepted credit cards. However, today, most merchants do accept credit cards. So, instead of carrying a lot of cash on you (which is both inconvenient and unsafe), you can just carry a small piece of plastic with you. Moreover, you get interest free credit i.e. you don’t have to pay the bills till the next monthly billing cycle. So, you can buy now and pay later (when your salary arrives) – a great reason to apply for a credit card. To add to that, there are certain merchants that offer interest-free instalment payment plan i.e. you can make a big purchase today and pay for it in instalments on your credit card. So credit cards works as instant long term loan too (not just a monthly loan). Yet another reason to apply for a credit card is the discounts on shopping. This is made possible by the tie-ups between credit card companies and the merchants. So credit cards offer many benefits.

There are various ways in which you can apply for a credit card - you can apply for a credit card in person, you can apply for a credit card on the internet and you can apply for a credit card on phone too (by asking the representative to meet you). You will as such be approached by a lot of sales representatives, all asking you to apply for a credit card with their company. To apply for a credit card, you will need to fill-in a credit card application form (which is easy to fill and the representatives of the credit card company will assist you in that). When you apply for a credit card, you basically enter into an agreement with the credit card supplier (the form that you fill when you apply for a credit card is actually an agreement). After you have submitted your application, the credit card company conducts certain checks to determine your credibility; and if everything is fine, you receive the credit card.

So, applying for a credit card is easy and to apply for a credit card or not to apply for a credit card is a matter of personal choice. However, for most people who don’t have any credit card, the recommendation is “Apply for a credit card”.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Credit card application

Credit card application
Rejection of credit card application

As time progresses, more and more people are joining the revolution called ‘Credit card’. Yes, it’s really a revolution. Now you don’t need to worry about how much cash you have in your pocket when you go shopping, just carrying this small piece of plastic (credit card) is enough to assure you of a good shopping treat. You can use your credit card to order things from the comfort of your home (on the internet). So the number of credit card applications seems to be on the rise. However, not every credit card application turns into a physical credit card. Some credit card applications get rejected too.
Let’s check why a credit card supplier would reject a credit card application when he has spent so much time and energy (and money) on wooing new customers.

One obvious reason for rejection of credit card application is human error i.e. the error committed by you in filling up the credit card application. These can be small mistakes like a wrong telephone number or wrong name or the postal code might be wrong. It’s normal to make mistakes, after all we are human being and no human being can be termed as perfect. Another strong reason for rejection of a credit card application could be missing mandatory information i.e. when you forgot to fill-in some mandatory information in the credit card application form. Sometimes, the credit card application could be rejected because the credit card application form has been filled-in in a handwriting that is illegible to the people processing your credit card application. At other times, the sales representative (of the credit card supplier) could have made a mistake in either depositing the form correctly or in guiding you in the filling of the credit card application form (newly hired sales representatives can make such mistakes).

However, these human errors are just minor errors that can be corrected later on and hence the only impact would be in terms of the delay in receiving your credit card. The main and the most important cause for rejection of credit card applications is bad credit ratings i.e. a negative credit history. If you have been using other credit cards or if you have taken bank loans/mortgages in the past, you would have already build your credit rating. If you have been making your bill/instalment payments in time (and in the correct amount), you would have already acquired a good credit rating. However, if you have been irregular or if you have been defaulting on your payment dues, you would have developed a bad credit rating. This credit rating is calculated by credit bureaus who receive feeds from various credit suppliers. All credit card applications are checked for the credit rating of the requestor and if it comes up as negative, the application is rejected outrightly.

So, these are the 2 most important reasons for rejection of credit card application and you must pay heed to them (especially the credit rating).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Online credit card

Online credit card
“Online credit card usage” – convenience at its best

Commerce and technology, combined as a one package – this is what online credit cards are.
With the advent of internet, the knowledge and communication barriers were broken. Also, with internet, came the concept of e-shops or virtual shops that existed only on the internet. You could shop at these shops by making use of their online credit card payment-acceptance ability. Once the online credit card payments were verified and approved, the goods got delivered to your door. This is what we call convenience at its best.

With more and more e-shops getting setup everyday, online credit card usage is becoming even more popular. The possibility of receiving online credit card payments has given a totally new dimension to shopping. Now, you can not only shop from the comfort of your home, you can even get discounts on these products. This is really amazing. No need to bother about the weather, no need to worry about the traffic jams or any other thing. Just go to an e-shop, select a product, make use of their online credit card payment-acceptance facility to make the payment and be ready to receive the goods at your doorstep.
With online credit card processing facility, starting a business (an online business) has become just unbelievably easy.

However, there is nothing without pitfalls. One of the pitfalls of online credit card usage is the possibility of online credit card fraud. This online credit card fraud can happen in two ways. The first one is related to the company, on whose website you made online credit card payment for purchase of goods; this company itself could be fraudulent i.e. it could take the online credit card payment from you but not deliver the goods to you. Moreover, they could use the details of your credit card (received through the filling up of online credit card payment form by you) for fraudulent purposes. The second type of fraud is committed by fraudsters who use various softwares/devices to capture the details of online credit card payments (as you enter them on the online credit card payment form of a website). These softwares are popularly known as spyware and these fraudsters as online spies. The spyware works by capturing keystrokes or taking screenshots of whatever you do on your computer and then passes it on to the spy. However, there are anti-spyware softwares available which can be used to counter such spyware.

So, the advent of online credit card usage facility is a boon to us. However, you must exercise caution when making online credit card payments e.g. don’t access your bank accounts or make online credit card payments from internet cafes (unless you are absolutely sure about the credentials of the internet café).

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Low interest credit card

Low interest credit card
Low interest credit cards

A lot of people just look at low interest credit cards when they are looking to get a credit card for themselves. The credit card suppliers too advertise low interest credit cards more that any other kind of credit cards. However, should low interest credit cards be the only ones on your list when you are hunting for a credit card? Probably not. For some people, interest rate or the APR is probably the most important thing to look for when selecting a credit card. However, that doesn’t hold good for everyone. Low interest credit cards are good and should surely be on your list, but APR is not the only thing to look for.

Let’s start with understanding what an APR (annual percentage rate) is and where its importance lies. APR is simply the interest rate that is used to calculate interest on the balance in your credit account with the credit card supplier. There is no interest charge if you make the full payment of your credit card bill (by the due date). However, in case of a partial payment, you will need to pay an interest on whatever you owe the credit card supplier. The APR is backward calculated to get a monthly rate and the same is applied on your balance to calculate the interest for the applicable period.

That means, people who are not sure about being able to pay the full amount, every time, should surely look for low interest credit cards. A low interest credit card helps in reducing your total outgo by curtailing the interest you pay on your balance. So, low interest credit cards help in slowing down the rate at which your credit card debt builds up. Thus low interest credit cards are surely important for a particular group of people, as stated above.

Besides this group, there are others who don’t really need low interest credit cards. These people are capable of (and intend to) pay off their credit card bill in full every month. Their purpose in using a credit card is convenience and other benefits associated with the credit cards. So, be it low interest credit cards or high interest ones; it really doesn’t matter for them.

So the need for low interest credit cards is more felt by a particular group of people. However, even if you go for a low interest credit card, you need to pit the various low interest credit cards against each other (vis-à-vis the other benefits they offer) and then select the low interest credit card that is best suited to your needs.

So, first you need to evaluate whether you need to go only for low interest credit cards and then select the low interest credit card that fulfils your needs. After all, you don’t go hunting for a credit card everyday.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Business credit card

Business credit card
Is business credit card helpful?


‘Yes’ –is the answer that’s comes out almost immediately. That is true at least for most businesses (especially small businesses). Before we delve deeper into how business credit cards are helpful, let’s try and understand what a business credit card is.

Put simply, a business credit card is a credit card that is owned by a business and not an individual. To understand this better, you can simply draw an analogy between the business credit cards and business bank accounts, which are in the name of the business as well. Other than that, business credit cards work in pretty much the same fashion as the personal credit cards; with a few exceptions. These exceptions are in the form of flexibility in credit limit, low APRs and some other additional benefits that are available to business credit cards only.

Even from just that, business credit cards seem a good proposition. However, business credit cards would be attractive even without those benefits because the main benefit lies elsewhere. The big-big benefit from a business credit card is realised in terms of business expense accounting. For most small businesses, business expense accounting is a big overhead. With business credit cards, this is handled very easily – you just have to ensure that you make all your business expenses on your business credit card and let the personal expenses be on the personal credit card i.e. segregation of business and personal expenses is all you need to do. So the bill for your business credit card will have all the business expenses on it and you wouldn’t need to collate all the various bills or sort out the items from your personal credit card bill. The key here is to make sure that you use your business credit card for all your business expenses (or as much as you can). Moreover, a lot of business credit card suppliers realise this need of small business and even organise the business credit card bills in a way that meets the accounting requirements of these businesses. So mostly, they will appropriately group the expenses on the business credit card bill so as to facilitate business expense accounting. In fact, some of the business credit card suppliers go to an extent of providing the bills in a format that can be downloaded and exported to an accounting system i.e. you don’t need to enter the data manually in your accounting system. In case the format is not suitable for your accounting system, you can hire a software professional to write a small quick program to convert it into a suitable format.

Thus just one reason - ‘facilitation of business expense accounting’, is enough to support the case of small business credit cards.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Eliminate credit card debt

Eliminate credit card debt
Eliminate credit card debt

How to eliminate credit card debt? – A questions that is asked by a number of individuals around the globe. These are the individuals who somehow (mostly due to uncontrolled spending) landed into the mouth of this monster called ‘Credit card debt’. So what are the ways to eliminate credit card debt?

If you are looking to eliminate credit card debt, you have already reached 50% of your goal because your decision to eliminate credit card debt is the first and the most important step towards you being able to eliminate credit debt. Having said that, it is important to mention that you also need to be firm on this decision and stick to it with complete sincerity and seriousness, till you finally eliminate credit card debt (and even after that).

To eliminate credit card debt, you need planning. This starts with analysis of current situation in terms of your debt and your finances (current and as expected in near future). So to eliminate credit card debt, you need to first check the amount you owe on various credit cards. Just use a notebook to note down the amount you owe on each credit card and the corresponding APR associated with them. Once you have this information handy, you can total up the various amounts to get the total amount of your credit card debt. After all, you can’t eliminate credit card debt if you don’t know how much it is actually. The next thing is to see if you have enough cash handy e.g. in your various bank accounts, which you can put to use to eliminate credit card debt (of course, you will need to take a view on how much cash you will need to fulfil your day to day and specific future needs). If you find that you have enough to eliminate credit card debt completely, just go ahead and eliminate credit card debt and earn your peace of mind. However, if you can’t eliminate credit card debt completely, check the amount that you can use to eliminate credit card debt partially. Next step, as you must have guessed, is to check how best you can use this amount to eliminate credit card debt (even if partially) i.e. which portion of credit card debt should you eliminate first. So, first eliminate credit card debt on the credit card which has the highest APR and which is hitting you the most. Then eliminate credit card debt on the credit card which has the next highest APR and so on and so forth. If you are incurring additional late fees etc on some of your credit cards, you might decide to reserve some amount to make minimum payments on those credit cards (before you finally eliminate credit card debt on them).

What we have seen is just some basic analysis and first steps on how to eliminate credit card debt. You might need to take some other steps to eliminate credit card debt e.g. consolidation of credit card debt is one good option. However, it’s imperative to understand that any and all methods to eliminate credit card debt will fail if you don’t inculcate controlled spending habits.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Credit card services

Credit card services
Credit card services

Credit cards have gained so much popularity amongst the masses that no business can be termed as complete and efficient if it doesn’t use credit card services. Really, without credit card services, most of the businesses would end up losing a significant chunk of business opportunities. Some people go to the extent of classifying such businesses (which don’t use credit card services) as non-serious businesses.

So what are these credit card services that we are talking about?

In simple words, by credit card services we mean the ability to accept credit cards as a mode of payment. Well, we can also term the use of credit cards as a credit card service. However, generally, credit card services will include the services that enable acceptance of credit card by a merchant. So, for a shopkeeper, use of credit card processing machines to accept credit card payments, is a credit card service that he is providing to his customers (and he himself is receiving this credit card service from the provider of credit card processing machine and others involved in making this process so smooth). Since carrying cash is no more a common practice, any shop that doesn’t use/provide such credit card services would end up losing a lot of customers because customers can’t pay with anything other than a credit card. So, for most merchants, providing credit card services (or credit card processing services) to their customers, has become very essential part of business.

With the internet boom, came a lot of online businesses. These businesses were in the form of virtual shops (or e-shops) that existed either only on the internet or were a virtual extension of physical shops. All these businesses (some selling goods, some selling services), needed a way to accept payments from their customers. This gave birth to online credit card services. The simplest use of these online credit card services is in the form of a simple webpage/web-form that asks you to provide your credit card details. These details are then verified and processed to debit the amount from your credit card and credit it to the merchant’s accounts. Since credit card details are sensitive information, these websites started implementing mechanisms/technology to secure it and prevent it from getting in the hands of fraudsters. Such sites are now called secured websites and form the backbone of e-commerce.

Besides these basic ways of implementing credit card services, the credit card services are provided in some other forms too e.g. over-the-phone payments using credit cards, use of third party online credit card service providers who provide you with an interface to accept credit card payments.

So, there are a lot of different ways in which credit card services are implemented and as the time goes by, the expanse of these credit card services is sure to increase.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Credit card processing

Credit card processing

It comes as a surprise how credit cards have found their way into our lives (and out wallet). Credit cards have gradually turned into becoming a necessity (rather than luxury). You can find credit card processing machines in almost all the shops today. With the advent of internet, online credit card processing has become popular too. ‘Credit card processing’ as such is a really interesting topic. This article tries to put into perspective the people, systems and the equipment that go into credit card processing.

First, let’s check the equipments used for credit card processing. So, there are credit card processing softwares for online credit card processing, there are credit card processing machines (i.e. the credit card reading machines at shops), there are data verification/validation devices/softwares that verify the security information on credit cards, there are communication devices/systems that enable safe transfer of credit card information from one point to another, and then there are other credit card processing equipments like the credit card processing equipment that is used for the preparation of the actual plastic (credit card).

Then there are various service providers that provide services related to credit card processing. There are suppliers for credit card processing equipment and suppliers for online credit card processing services. Then there are postal and courier service that help deliver credit card bills in time. There are merchants/petrol-bunks etc which provide facility of payment collection boxes at their premises (another important aspect of credit card processing).

Besides that there are complete systems for processing credit card applications, there are systems for credit card bill processing/generation, there are people at call centres who help in addressing the queries from credit card holders and, very importantly, there are people (sales representatives) who help you in filling the credit card application forms. Another important entity with regards to ‘credit card processing’ process is the credit rating bureaus. Credit card bureaus maintain a database of credit ratings for individuals and businesses. This rating is based on the data received from various credit providers over a period of time. This rating is the most important part of credit card application processing and a bad rating can lead to rejection of the credit card application altogether.

Thus, credit card processing involves a coordinated effort from a lot of professionals and service providers. In that sense, we can also say that credit card processing is an industry in itself that has generated a lot of employment.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Credit card debt

Credit card debt
Credit card debt

‘Credit card debt’ is a much discussed topic in the commercial and social circles. A big section of the population has been bit by this bug called ‘credit card debt’. Can’t blame them much; as such, it’s pretty easy to fall prey to this bug.

The main reason behind so many credit card casualties (rather credit card debt related casualties) is that many people don’t understand the concept of credit cards properly. They treat credit card as free money that is never to be returned. Thus all the discipline, which would otherwise have been exercised with spending hard-earned money, goes for a toss. That means people overspend and get into credit card debt. They keep spending till they reach the credit limit on their credit card. Some people go to the extent of treating that like a game and consider it a defeat (or consider their credit card under utilised) if they don’t hit the credit limit quick enough. These unnecessary spends result in a situation where they are not able to payback their credit card bills and end up paying interest on the amount they owe. This keeps building up their credit card debt and they soon find that the interest component has become a regular feature in their monthly expenses and it is there even if they spend nothing on their credit card. That is credit card debt on the prowl. Soon they find that their current credit card can no longer handle their needs and start looking to get another credit card. With the new power of credit, they let themselves loose again and follow a ‘shop till you drop’ routine. Soon the credit limit of the new credit card is reached too and they again default on payments. This is how credit card debt builds. Soon they learn about credit card debt consolidation and other credit card debt elimination techniques. They are quick to grab such credit card debt reduction techniques, but that’s not because they are serious about reducing their credit card debt but because of the attractive low APR offers. As if it were booty, they again get back to building up their credit card debt. All the while they are spoiling their credit card rating and they soon realise that no one is ready to lend them money because of their credit history. They can only get a secured credit card now (where you first deposit money into your credit account and then only you get the privilege of spending it (50-100% of it) using their credit card. Credit card debt collection agencies, auction of their goods and bankruptcy is the next thing that hits them and their dream run is blown away in a moment.

The moral of the story – “Understand the concept of credit cards and treat credit card debt with all seriousness”.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Credit card debt consolidation

Credit card debt consolidation

Credit card debt is a nightmare of a problem and unfortunately there a lot of people who face this today (and if others don’t pay heed, they might get trapped into credit card debt too). Credit card debt consolidation is generally regarded as the most important step in credit card debt reduction and elimination.

So what is ‘Credit card debt consolidation’?

Credit card debt consolidation is the process/strategy to consolidate debt from multiple credit cards into lesser number of credit cards (ideally one or two credit cards). Credit card debt consolidation is sometimes also referred as a balance transfer where you transfer your balance on one credit card to another credit card. Generally, the balance transfer (or credit card debt consolidation) is done from credit cards with higher APR to credit cards with lower APR. Credit card debt consolidation can also be achieved by going for a bank loan (at a lower interest rate) and using that towards paying the debt on the higher APR credit cards. This loan is then paid-back to the bank in the form of monthly instalments.

As you would have noticed, a lot of credit card suppliers and banks keep coming out with attractive offers for Credit card debt consolidation (or balance transfers). There is no dearth of 0% APR offers for credit card debt consolidation. However, credit card debt consolidation is a serious exercise and you must exercise caution so that you don’t get into deeper trouble. When going for credit card debt consolidation, you must properly analyze the offers from various banks and credit card suppliers. Check the time period for which 0% APR is being offered and also the APR that would be applicable after the lapse of that period. Generally, 0%APR is valid for a 6-12 month period only. So, if you are confident of paying back a considerable amount of debt in that period, this kind of credit card debt consolidation will work for you even if the APR (post 0% period) is a bit higher. However, if that is not the case, the long term APR is going to be the most important thing for you. If the long term APR is more than the APR for your current credit card, this kind of Credit card debt consolidation will be futile for you. Also, check processing charges etc before you actually go for balance transfer or credit card debt consolidation with another supplier/bank. Another good idea is to check with your current credit card supplier and see if they can offer a lower APR to you in order to help you in clearing off your debt (you would be surprised that they do oblige at times and hence eliminate the need for credit card debt consolidation).

It’s important that, with credit card debt consolidation, you also inculcate good spending habits; otherwise credit card debt consolidation would really be of no use to you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Consolidate credit card

Consolidate credit card
Consolidate credit card debt

People who are in debt (credit card debt) often get to hear this advice ‘Consolidate credit card debt’. So, what does that ‘Consolidate credit card debt’ mean? Well, pretty simply, ‘Consolidate credit card debt’ means consolidating the debt on various credit cards into one (or two) credit card. This consolidation can be done either through a low interest bank loan or by transferring balance to a new credit card (i.e. transferring the amount you owe, on one or more credit card, to a new credit card(s)).

So what should you do when you are looking to consolidate credit cards? Well, the key thing to look for is the APR or the annual percentage rate. Whatever method you adopt to consolidate credit cards, APR will always be the key; in fact, you could say that it is the sole criteria to look for. So, if you use a bank loan to consolidate credit card debt, the interest rate on the bank loan should be lower than the APR of the credit cards whose debt you are consolidating. Similarly, if you are moving to another credit card, you must make sure that the APR of the new credit card is lesser than the credit cards whose debt you are consolidating. However, there is a catch that you must be aware of when laying a plan to consolidate credit card debt. The APR rates advertised by most credit card suppliers are the short term APR rates which are meant to lure you to consolidate credit card debt with them. By short term we mean APR rates that will applicable only for an initial period of less than 12 months or some other period after which the APR rates increase. When you go on to consolidate credit card debt with these credit card suppliers, they will offer you a lower (even 0%) APR for the first 6-12 months; and a much higher APR after that. You should check what this higher APR rate is. Your decision to consolidate credit card debt will be fruitful only if the new APR rate is lower than or equal to the APR on your current credit card. You might check with your current credit card supplier to see if he is able to lower your APR (if that works, it will make things really easy for you).

Before you move on to consolidate credit card debt you should understand that consolidating credit card debt will be beneficial only if you pledge to adopt and follow disciplined approach to credit card usage i.e. controlled spending and regular/timely payment of credit card dues.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chase.com credit card

Chase.com credit card
Chase.com credit card offers



Online credit card applications seem to be the in thing and Chase too offers online credit card application facility. Here, ‘Chase.com credit cards’ refers to the chase credit cards that can be applied for online. Just for those who don’t know, ‘Chase’ is a brand that is owned by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (a leading global financial services firm).

By ‘Chase.com credit card offers’, I mean the credit card offers that are available at chase.com. Obviously, ‘Chase.com credit cards’ would be regulated by chase. Again, as with any other credit card supplier, ‘Chase.com credit cards’ on offer would be changing too.

Anyways; one night, before going to bed, I thought of just checking the chase.com credit cards section. Here is what I found:

There is a separate Chase.com credit cards section. As I browsed through the Chase.com credit cards section (the online application ones), the first one I encountered was called ‘Chase Cash Plus’ or the ‘Chase Cash Plus Rewards’. These promise faster rewards and offer 5% earnings on gas and on purchases made at grocery-stores/drug-stores. For other shopping venues, it offers 1% earnings. These earnings can be in the form of gift certificates or cash.

The next on the Chase.com credit cards section was the ‘Flexible rewards Visa signature card’. Here you earn a point for every purchase of $1. You can keep collecting these points and then finally redeem them for your choice of things (like cash, travel, gift certificates or some kind of merchandise). The redemption can start at 2500 points (and you get a bonus of 1000 points once you make the first purchase). Moreover, this one doesn’t have any annual fee either. So that was the second one in the Chase.com credit cards section.

Moving on in the Chase.com credit cards section, I found ‘Free Cash Rewards Platinum Visa card’. This one, as the name goes, offers cash rewards. You can get a $25 check or a gift certificate on redemption of 2500 points. Since there is one point earned for every $1 spend, this mean that you effectively get 1% cash back on these cards.

I had started loving browsing through the Chase.com credit cards section. So I moved on to the next one in the Chase.com credit cards section. The next one on the Chase.com credit cards section was ‘Chase Perfect Platinum MasterCard’ which doesn’t limit you to getting rebates only on a particular brand of gasoline; instead, you get rebates everywhere. ‘

Chase Platinum MasterCard’ was the next one in the Chase.com credit cards section. This one offers online account management i.e. monthly statements, bill payments etc can all be done online (also you don’t have any annual fee on this one).

There were few more cards on Chase.com credit cards section and one especially caught my attention. This one was at the bottom of Chase.com credit cards section and was called ‘Check Gallery Platinum Visa Card’. Here you could choose the design of your card from those available e.g. cowboys, smileys etc.

By now, I was so sleepy that I really had to shut down my computer and go off to sleep.



Note: The information given in this article was correct at the time it was written. However, the author does not guarantee the correctness and completeness of this information at any time.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chase credit card

Chase credit card
Chase credit cards

Credit cards have become almost a necessity in today’s world. There are hordes of credit card suppliers who issue thousands of credits cards every day. Chase (of the JPMorgan group) are a well known credit card supplier. Chase credit cards are pretty popular among the masses.

Chase credit cards come with various different benefits and accordingly chase credit cards are classified into various categories. There are general purpose chase credit cards which promise great rates and excellent service. Then there are chase credit cards for people who shop regularly with some retailers. These are termed as rebate cards since they offer rebates on shopping when you shop with certain retailers. These also offer cash rewards. There are entertainment credit cards for people who wish to get VIP access to some concerts, events etc.

Another category of chase credit cards is the travel cards where the credit card holders get travel related discounts and rewards. This category of chase credit cards is very suitable for people who travel a lot. Yet another set of chase credit cards is grouped as auto and gas cards which offer rebates and rewards on everyday purchases. Retail cards are another kind of chase credit cards where you receive points on purchases made using this chase credit card. These points can then be redeemed for shopping certificates, entertainment etc. For students, there is a separate breed of chase credit cards which is called student cards. These student cards help the students in building a (good) credit history and also offer some special benefits for students. Similarly there are college & university alumni cards for supporting your alma mater. There is another set of chase credit cards that operate on similar lines. These chase credit cards are called ‘cards to support organizations’. The organization can be something like a charity or any other organization that you want to support. Then there are military cards that are meant for the members of military (both past and present). You can support your favourite teams or sporting organizations by getting a sports card. Finally, there are business cards which can be used by businesses for organizing their expenses, availing low interest rates and getting other benefits related to business.

Thus chase offers a lot of different credit cards which cater to the different needs of various people. By comparing the features of these chase credit cards and by understanding the main objective behind them, one can easily zero-in on the chase credit card that is best suited to ones needs.



Note: The information given in this article was correct at the time it was written. However, the author does not guarantee the correctness and completeness of this information at any time.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Apply online for credit card

Apply online for credit card
Is it ok to apply online for credit card?

With the fast pace of our everyday lives, we don’t have time for anything really. This is where the combined power of commerce and technology comes in. The capability to apply online for a credit card is one such example. Yes, you can apply online for a credit card. The revolution behind providing you with the ability to ‘apply online for credit card’ is called ‘internet’. You can not only apply online for credit card but also use your credit card to do online shopping (and get the goods delivered to your door at no extra cost compared to the local store).

So, it is possible to apply online for a credit card. To apply online for credit card, you just have to fill-in an application form that is presented to you on the website of the credit card supplier (who provides the capability to apply online for credit card). This application form is very similar to the one you would have filled-in in person – the details asked are same and the processing of the application is same too. You will find that a lot credit card companies encourage you to apply online for credit card. This is because they save on the costs related to salary of representatives, paper, etc. Moreover, when you apply online for credit card, your details can smoothly flow into the database of the credit card supplier i.e. the manual intervention is minimal when you apply online for credit card. This will in turn lead to faster processing of your application. Though it is not necessarily true, if you apply online for credit card, your credit card might reach you much faster. Moreover, if you apply online for credit card, you save on all the time and hassle associated with approaching a credit card company etc etc. You can compare the credit cards (again online) before you apply online for credit card.

Some people don’t like to apply online for credit card. The main reason is their discomfort in giving out the personal information online. One quick check, before you apply online for credit card, is to see if the website address of the page (where you are required to enter your details) starts with ‘https’. ‘Https’ indicates that it’s a secure website (you might also check if the security certificate is provided by a reputed organisation e.g. Verisign). If you don’t see an https, you should not apply online for credit card of that company. Besides that, some people don’t apply online for credit card because they are not comfortable in filling up the form all by themselves. In such a case, you might either not apply online for credit card (and apply in person instead); or you might just go through the form, note down your questions/problems and seek the answers by calling the customer service centre of the credit card company.

So, applying online for credit card is surely a good option.