Category Archives: Credit Cards

Credit Cards – Why Are They So Popular?

Credit Cards – Why Are They So Popular?

Credit cards have ballooned in popularity over the last decade. While once the preserve of the very rich, or very indebted, they are now available to practically everyone who wants them. They have become far easier to get a hold of. There is also a huge variety of choice out there for anyone who wants a credit card.

Different Types of Credit Cards

There are exclusive cards that offer their holders a huge array of benefits in exchange for a fee. But there are also cards that carry no subscription fee, give zero per cent on balance transfers and sometimes on purchases to for a certain period and offer quite competitive rates after that.

Increasing Demand

The credit card industry has experienced a massive amount of competition in recent years. Not only have a huge number of new players entered the market, but with the growth of store cards and debit cards, the traditional credit card providers have had to vastly improve the terms on which they do business with customers. This means that customers have more choice and better offers than ever before and this is also fuelling the demand for more credit cards.

Foreign Travel

Credit cards are becoming increasingly popular for people who frequently travel abroad. Rather than carry traveller’s cheques or a host of currencies around with them, they simply take a credit card. This can be used to pay almost anywhere in the world, and even when this becomes difficult, you can still use your credit card in a local bank machine to take out cash in whatever currency you need. Of course credit cards will charge a fee for all of this, but increasingly, as these fees become more competitive, customers are deciding that the fees are well worth the convenience and reliability that they offer while abroad. They are also very secure and if lost or stolen, can be cancelled quickly and easily.

Shopping Online

Online shopping has been another reason for the growth in popularity of credit cards and one of the main advantages to younger shoppers who are buying more and more goods and services online. From flights, to car rental bookings, to books and cds, shoppers would find it increasingly difficult to make such purposes if they did not have a credit card.

Consumer Debt

All of these benefits are what is leading to the phenomenal growth in the popularity of credit cards, but this is also leading to a serious problem of debt. The economy is in dire straits mainly due to consumer debt and with the lure of credit within everyone’s easy reach the problem looks set to increase. Only a massive swing in consumer attitude could change this problem without the intervention of the government. The Bank of England in fact is, at the time of writing, contemplating another increase in the base interest rate in an attempt to curb further spending.

Therefore, anyone considering taking out a new credit card should check the terms and conditions carefully and find out if they can afford it or not.

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Selecting The Right Visa Credit Card

Selecting The Right Visa Credit Card

The Visa Credit Card Company

Visa credit cards are a accepted all over the world, and their card services are available to a wide range of customers as well. Visa offers a variety of cards, and it is likely you will be able to find the right card for your needs.

The Visa Credit Card Company offers an online survey that helps prospective cardholders to choose the right card for them. The survey asks a few questions about the users needs and circumstances and the ‘online advisor’ will pick out the right card and direct the user to the visa credit card application form for the card that suits them.

First Time Applicants and Rebuilding Credit

The Classic Visa credit card is a simple card with a low spending limit; the card covers complimentary rental car insurance, will secure a lodging reservation, and can be used for everyday purchases.

The Student Visa Credit Cards will give students great money saving opportunities such as no annual fee, low annual percentage rates, reward or rebate points for purchases of school related items, and some cards will even give extra reward points for making good grades and using their credit wisely.

Visa even offer a pre-paid credit card for those who do not wish to be at risk of running up debt. The Buxx Visa credit card works just like a gift card, except that it can be re-loaded, and works anywhere that Visa is accepted. It is ideal as a ‘first card’ for children, since the parents select how much the child can spend, and there is no risk of a huge bill landing on the doorstep. It also makes a nice alternative to carrying cash around while you are travelling.

The Secured Visa Credit Card is another pre-paid credit card, except this credit card has all the power and responsibility of a real credit card; it is subject to annual percentage rates, finance charges, annual fees, and Visa will report the credit bureaus to help someone with no credit or credit problems establish new credit.

Gold and Premium Cards

Visa credit cards are available in a wide range of service levels; the premium cards include the gold, platinum and signature cards. Each of these cards is available from a variety of financial institutions; many people will find their local bank or credit union will carry the premium card of their choice.

The Gold Visa credit card will have a higher credit spending limit and higher credit standards to qualify for the card; the gold card will also offer the same services associated with a Classic Visa credit card.

The Platinum Visa credit card will have an even higher credit spending limit and require a very high credit rating to qualify for the card; the Visa Platinum card will have the same auto rental collision damage waver insurance as the Visa Classic card, as well as Visa’s Standard services.

The Signature Visa credit card is the most premier of all Visa credit card offerings; with super premier features such as travel insurance, rewards programs and many other high end services.

There are Visa cards for all types of customer, and Visa have made it easy for people to choose the right card for you. All you need to do is head over to their web site and let the survey guide you to the right card for your needs. You can even apply on the web site, and it only takes a few minutes – no paper forms, no hassle.

Credit Cards Terminology

Credit Cards Terminology

Credit card terminology these days has become rather complicated and credit card users should understand some of the key terms that are used, and exactly how they influence the charges associated with the cards use. Incentive programs, interest rates, compounding methods all combine to make the use of a credit card a potentially costly experience.

The first term that is very important when it comes to credit cards is “Annual Fee”. Some credit card companies charge more then just interest. Some card companies charge a fee, paid annually to the card holder just for the privilege of having the card. This charge is applied to the card, even if the card is not used. This fee may rage any where from .00 to 0.00 and is usually only found on credit cards that are tailored to the very high end market.

Another common term used by the credit card companies is “Introductory rate” or “Intro rate”. This term will be found on credit cards that are offering discounted interest rates as an incentive to the buyer to accept on of these cards. Usually this rate is substantially below the regular interest rate charged by the credit card company. Often this rate is valid for a limited time period and once it expires the regular rate applies. Those considering this type of credit card should be very sure that they are aware of what the actual rate on the credit card will be after the offer’s expiry date. It is quite common for people to get trapped by running up a credit card on a large purchase thinking they will pay it off in a short period of time, and then get quite a surprise once the interest rate jumps back to the normally charged rate.

Many credit card companies encourage users to transfer the charges off their existing credit cards onto those of the new card. Usually this is offered or encouraged when the credit card has a low introductory interest rate. The credit card holder should be very careful and read the fine print to make sure they are not going to be charged a fee for this privilege. Often credit card companies have a “Balance transfer fee” that they charge to their customers when ever they consolidate the balances of all their other cards. This fee is often more money then would be saved by taking advantage of the lower interest rate.

Credit cards are a wonderful and convenient financial tool when they are used wisely. Making sure that the card holder has a complete understanding of the card, will guarantee this financial tool is used properly and the risk of financial hardship will be reduced.

Rewards Credit Card – How to Find the Best One for You

Rewards Credit Card – How to Find the Best One for You

Of all the credit card options available to you today, rewards credit cards are wonderful way to get something back for everything you spend. A rewards credit card comes in many different forms, from a variety of financial institutions, and with a number of reward offer options. In order to find the best one for you, you will need to do a bit of research and put some thought into what will pay off the most for you and your family. The best rewards credit cards will give you back something you really want without doing anything more than spending as you normally do every day.

How Rewards Credit Cards Work

You will find a wide assortment of rewards credit cards. Each one offers a different type of reward, but most of them work in a similar fashion. As you spend money with your credit card, you earn a specific number of points or rewards points per dollar amount. Most companies offer a basic one point per one dollar system.

However, you can also get some bonus points for various transactions. Perhaps your financial institution is affiliated with some large chain stores. You could get bonus points, such as five points per dollar spent, when you do business with these selected merchants.

For another rewards credit card, you might earn mileage toward a vacation. Some airline affiliated cards offer you a certain number of miles per dollar spent. When you accumulate a specific number of miles, you can apply them toward the purchase of a ticket with that airline.

Types of Rewards Cards

Again, the best rewards credit cards are those that suit your lifestyle. If you travel a lot, then an airline rewards credit card would be great for you. You can charge all of your regular purchases and get the airline miles you need to travel any time of year. But be careful that you read the fine print well. Some credit cards give you reward miles that are only good during a certain period of time or to specific destinations.

There are other travel cards that take advantage of Disney packages. You charge your purchases to one of these credit cards and you can earn reward points toward a Disney vacation of your dreams.

Of course, the most common type of rewards credit cards is the one that allows you to use your rewards points in any number of ways. The company that issues your card makes a deal with other merchants, and you can use your points as you would use cash at these merchants. Most of these rewards categories are gift certificates or other set amount items. For example, if you have four hundred reward points, you might be able to get a ten dollar gift certificate at your favorite restaurant, electronics store, or department store.

Still other cards allow you to earn points that transfer into money donated to a charitable cause of your choice. This is a great way to give back to your community or to the world without missing anything in your pocket.

Overall, the best rewards credit cards are those that have a low interest rate and give you back something you can really use.

Select The Right Credit Card Before The Holiday Spending Season Begins

Select The Right Credit Card Before The Holiday Spending Season Begins

With the holiday spending season just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about strategies for not overspending. Ideally, you’d like to be able to get through to the end of the year buying as little as possible on credit. The average family ends the holiday season having spent between ,000 to ,500. Since most people don’t plan on the expense of their giving, those holiday costs are typically racked up on credit cards, making your new year miserable with money concerns and busted budgets.

If you begin saving a small amount monthly in January, you won’t be tempted to dip into your credit cards. Contributing 0 a month to a Holiday Spending Account will help you save 00 annually (not including accrued interest). Even though we’re months away from the holiday season, setting aside 0 to 0 for the next few months will give you a bit of relief from your credit cards come December.

So start your Holiday Spending Account today. If you don’t end up using it this year, at least it will be in place for the following holiday season.

If you are tempted to buy on credit in addition to starting a Holiday Spending Account you should find the credit card that’s right for you. With the large number of credit cards available today, finding the best credit card can be overwhelming.

Below is a four step process to guide you in selecting the right cards for you.

STEP ONE: Define your objectives. Do you want to lower an interest rate on an existing card? Do you need to keep your business expenses separate from your personal expenses? Clearly define your objectives before moving on to step two.

STEP TWO: Know the different types of cards. While Credit cards are separated into seven different categories, we’ll focus on the following:

• Regular Credit Cards: These are the traditional credit cards. They give you a specific credit limit based on your financial history and then charge you an annual percentage rate on your outstanding balance.

• Rewards Cards: A Regular Card with “bells and whistles”. As an incentive to use the card, you are provided certain rewards depending on how much you charge. These rewards can range from a cash rebate to air travel rewards or benefits at particular retailers. There are many variations and combinations available.

• Business Cards: For business owners and sometimes employees. These are good if you need to separate business from personal expenses. They are basically a Regular card but may also have Rewards features.

STEP THREE: Know the terms of your current cards. If you’ve owned the same card for a while, you’d probably be surprised at how many of the details you’ve forgotten about your card. If you already own credit cards, take a look at the details to see if you can improve in any of the following areas.

- Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on purchases and cash advances
- annual fee
- balance method used for calculating the finance charge
- are there rewards?

Get all the details, then start comparing your existing cards to the alternatives.

STEP FOUR: Choose a card. Now that you know what your objectives are and are familiar with the terms of your current credit as well as the different types of, you are ready to find the best credit card. As a general rule, how often you pay your bills will have a major influence on the type of card you may want to choose. In short, if you carry a balance, consider a credit card with a low APR. If you’re a business owner, you should consider a business card to keep business transactions separate from personal transactions.

Take time this week to review your current credit cards and last year’s holiday spending habits. A little time can save you money and help you begin the New Year in style.

Understanding Credit Card Apr

Understanding Credit Card Apr

If you have a credit card or are looking to get one, it is important that you understand the ins and outs of credit card APR. Credit card APR is the biggest factor in determining how much you pay for your credit card, and so to get the best deal you need to know what it is and how it works. Here is some advice regarding the ins and out of credit card APR.

What is APR?

APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate, and is a measure of the cost of the credit you borrow. The APR is the amount that you pay yearly in interest on the money that you borrow on your credit card.

How much is credit card APR?

Credit card APR can vary massively depending on your financial situation, the type of card you want and the deals on offer. Generally, credit card APR ranges from 10-18%. If you shop around then you will find the best deal for your needs.

How do I find out the APR?

Credit card APR is very easy to find out, and all lenders are required to tell you the APR of a card before you sign up for it. Also, credit cards are generally advertised by the cost of their APR.

Comparing APR

If you are trying to find the best credit card deal, then there are many places online where you can compare the various APR rates of credit cards from different lenders. Although there are other costs involved with credit cards, generally a lower APR is better.

O% APR deals

If you are looking for a credit card, then you might see 0% APR credit card deals advertised. Although many of these deals are not what they seem to be, there really are some great introductory offers to be had. Some cards do offer 3 or 6 months with 0% APR, meaning that you can use your credit without paying any interest during this period. This gives you basically free credit, providing that you pay it back in this time.

Drawbacks of 0% APR

The drawbacks of these deals are that there are often hidden costs involved, such as high fees if you miss payments or go over your credit limit. Also, once the 0% period ends the credit card is generally has a higher APR rate than other cards. To use 0% APR cards to your advantage, you should look for one that has a fairly low rate after the initial period, or swap cards once the 0% period ends. If you invest a little time and effort you can skip from 0% APR to 0% APR on various cards. Of course, this can make you look financially unstable so you should be careful when swapping cards frequently. However, if you understand APR rates then you will be able to find a great credit card deal.

How To Us A One Time Credit Card

How To Us A One Time Credit Card

A lot of people are worried about using their credit cards online and rightfully so. It is no secret that there are many crooks out there in cyber-land whose sole purpose is to cheat as many consumers as possible in order to make a profit. Many of these credit card scams are incredibly sophisticated and hard to detect. So what can the average consumer do to foil their plans? One easy solution is to use one time credit cards for your online purchases.

What is a one time credit card?

There are a couple of names that these one time credit cards go under. You may hear them called controlled payment cards or perhaps called virtual account credit cards. Regardless of what they are called what they do is protect the security of your regular credit cards.

In simple terms, these one time credit cards work by allowing you to make online purchases with a credit card that is linked to your regular credit card account but you do not have to use your actual credit card number (of the regular card) in order to make the purchase. In other words, the one time credit card can act as a buffer or filter between your regular credit card information and the information that you use for an online purchase. It is a very good to protect yourself.

For the most part, a one time credit card number will expire after just one purchase or use. This is not true with all of them so make sure you check before taking on, and get the type that will best suit your needs.

Consumers who may be wondering what the benefit is to these cards should understand that by using a one time credit card, if your information is stolen by some means the one time use card information that they get would be worthless since you have already used the one time use account number associated with that particular card.

Also, because you have not used your regular credit card number you have protected that account from being raided. Anyone who has had the credit card number hacked can attest to how much trouble this causes and how much time it takes to get the problem resolved.

If using a one time credit card seems like a good idea to you and you wish to get one, the first place to check is with your current credit card company. More and more companies are beginning to offer these cards as it protects them as well as you from fraudulent claims and outright theft. Most cards have a toll free number on the back and you should call that number to see if your company if currently offering this service. You may also want to look into the system that PayPal is currently offering.

Almost all consumers who use a one time credit card will be able to better protect their accounts and their personal information from hackers and thieves. They will also be able to shop online with confidence.

College Credit Cards Help Smooth Out Credit Wrinkles

College Credit Cards Help Smooth Out Credit Wrinkles

College student credit cards have replaced student loans as a freshman’s first student credit experience. At the sophomore level, out of a sample of 100 students, over 90% were found to be holders of at least one college credit card. The question is why do many students find themselves in a vicious cycle of debt with their college credit cards? Why are so many students astonished with the huge bills they receive each month? Most importantly, must it necessarily always be this way for a college credit card user or is there a simpler way?

There are plenty of statistical indicators to suggest that students run up credit bills regularly yet they do not pay their monthly dues on time. Approximately 21% of college credit card users have balances between ,000 and ,000. The number of credit cards in an average student’s possession keeps increasing, indicating that they might be acquiring new cards to pay off balances on old ones. However, this can lead to credit balances increasing even faster, adding more debt in this never-ending downward spiral.

Five Steps to Avoid the College Credit Card Debt Trap

The core reason of this pathetic plight is the absence of a disciplined and planned system of using credit. If you, as a student, wish to optimize the use of your college student credit cards, use the following guidelines to plan credit spending and you will not go wrong:

- Pay up on time. Late fees are the most unnecessary source of debt accumulation. Ensure that you always meet the minimum payment on your bill. Ideally, you should try to pay more than the minimum amount to reduce overall charges.

- Use the 20/10 rule. Be careful that you never, ever borrow more than 20% of your annual net income and never spend more than 10% of your monthly income on your monthly payments. In other words, balance your credit to avoid irregularities in monthly payments.

- Plan your credit expenses. With college credit cards at your disposal, it is easy to give in to the temptation of impulse purchases. This leads to escalating card balances and higher and higher payments over a long period. It is ALWAYS better to plan purchases on your college credit card for so you can ensure you only build up credit balances that you know you can easily pay off.

- Avoid taking cash advances. The finance charges for these are generally higher than if you were to make credit purchases.

- Avoid approaching your credit limit. There may be extenuating circumstances that will require you to make unplanned expenses. So overall, if you stay clear of the credit limit by avoiding unnecessary charges, you can have the mental satisfaction of knowing that you can comfortably use the credit when it is really needed.

The Boon or Bane of College Credit Cards

If these guidelines are kept in mind, you will find you can live comfortably with college student credit cards. These tips are especially useful if you see yourself opting for that extra job in order to pay your credit card bills. Your savings are precious so don’t bring yourself to a point where you need them to bail yourself out of your credit-happy ways. A balanced budget is the best way to handle all your expenses. College credit cards are most certainly a boon, and yet they can become a bane if you are not careful.

Options To Consolidate Credit Card Debt

Options To Consolidate Credit Card Debt

Consolidate Credit Card Debt

When managing your existing credit cards seems overwhelming, one effective way to ease both the financial and emotional burden of the cards is to consider the option to consolidate credit card debt. There are several ways to consolidate credit card debt, and there are many benefits that arise from the choice to consolidate credit card debt.

First, what does it mean to consolidate credit card debt? One way to consolidate credit card debt is to take out a new personal loan and use the proceeds to pay down your existing credit cards. Another way to consolidate credit card debt is to perform a balance transfer; this involves applying for a new credit card which will allow you to transfer all the balances from your existing cards onto this one new card.

Both of these methods to consolidate credit card debt involve opening an additional unsecured credit account. Another alternative to consolidate credit card debt is to look into borrowing against your home equity. One way to do this is to take out a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), which is credit line against the equity in your home. You would then use the proceeds of this to pay down all of your credit cards. Another way to take advantage of the equity appreciation in your home to consolidate credit card debt is to refinance your existing mortgage. As part of this refinance, you would use some of the proceeds to pay off your existing credit cards. This type of refinance is often called a debt consolidation refinance – you are consolidating both your old mortgage and your existing credit cards into one new mortgage.

Now that you understand how to consolidate credit card debt, it is important to understand the benefits of this strategy.

•Lower Interest Rate: Perhaps the most significant benefit that results when you consolidate credit card debt is that the new account that you are opening will carry a lower interest rate than the rates on the credit cards that you are paying off. This means that it will cost you less over time to pay off your debt. If your credit is strong enough, you may even qualify for a 0% balance transfer, which means that you will not have to pay interest charges on your debt for a set period of time. Moreover, a secured loan (e.g. mortgage refinance, HELOC, etc.) will generally have a lower interest rate than your existing credit cards.

•Faster Repayment Period: Along with saving money over the long term by lowering your interest rate, you will also more than likely be offered a lower monthly payment. This may be very attractive given your current financial situation. However, if you are able to maintain your present monthly payment amount after you consolidate credit card debt, you will be able to pay off the new balance much more quickly than you would have with the old credit cards.

•Ease of One Bill: Another very important benefit that comes with choosing to consolidate credit card debt is the simplicity of having one monthly bill that comes with the new account that you have opened. With multiple credit cards you are receiving multiple bills, more than likely with different payment due dates throughout the month. Not only is this difficult to keep track of, it also increases the likelihood that you will miss a payment and end up paying late fees and incurring higher interest rates. It is easy to see how one monthly bill can lower your stress level considerably!

These are just some of the many attractive reasons to consolidate credit card debt. Be sure to examine all of the financing options available to you before deciding on the right one. You may be eligible for a loan or credit card with very low interest rate relative to what you are paying.

Instant Approval Credit Cards: Instant Credit For Today’s Consumer

Instant Approval Credit Cards: Instant Credit For Today’s Consumer

Customers shopping for a new credit card can avoid waiting long weeks to learn whether or not they have been approved. Instant approval credit cards provide applicants with a fast online response. Online credit card websites offer a variety of instant approval credit cards, allowing customers to choose the card that best fits their financial needs.

How “Instant” are Instant Approval Credit Cards

The “Instant” in instant approval credit cards refers to the minimal waiting period involved. After customers fill out an application online, a reply is sent to their e-mail account within minutes. In some cases, the process may only take seconds.

While the application response time is quick, other steps in the process are not instantaneous. Customers will first want to carefully search for the right credit card. Like most credit cards, instant approval credit cards come in a variety of forms. Some offer a 0% interest rate for the first six to twelve months. Others include cash back bonuses, travel benefits, or rewards programs. Cards with no annual fees are also available. A list of instant approval credit card offers can be found on most credit card websites.

Before applying, it is important to understand the fine print involved. Customers should read through the credit card’s term and conditions. Many companies include charges for late fees. Others have interest rates that are subject to change. By reading through the card’s detailed information, customers will be aware of any included charges.

The Application Process

When filling out an application, customers will be asked for basic personal information. This may include levels of income, housing status and employment details. Certain credit cards require additional information. When the application is sent in, the applicant’s credit report is quickly reviewed. Customers with good to excellent credit have the highest chance of being approved.

Once the application has been approved, the card itself is sent through the mail system. On average, this takes from five to seven business days. When the card arrives, the customer may be asked to call a toll-free number to authorize use of the card. Once this is done, customers are free to use the credit card for purchases.

How Secure are Instant Approval Credit Cards

In some ways, filling out an application online is more secure than sending it in through the mail system. Personal information is sent directly to the appropriate source. Credit card companies and websites take extra measures to ensure security. Most issuers implement the latest data encryption for security purposes.

Before filling out an online application, customers should check the site for safety features. A small padlock and explanation of security terms may be listed. If anything looks questionable, customers are encouraged to investigate further before proceeding with the application process.

When to Apply

With the ease of the Internet, applications can be sent in any time. After careful research, customers can choose the best instant approval credit card for their needs. Once the application is sent in, the response will quickly follow.