Consolidate a Credit Card to Reduce Your Debt

Strange though it may sound a credit card can be a useful tool in controlling debt. The properly chosen credit card can, in fact, be used to consolidate debt. There are several features to look for though if you plan to use a credit card in this manner. As is always the case before you scrutinize any credit card option, you should first have a clear understanding of your credit situation.Whenever you are approaching a decision about your credit it is of primary importance to pull your credit report. The government has mandated that all individuals be allowed an annual free credit report. When accessing this report make sure that you have gone to a truly free credit report site. Some companies lure people into their sites by advertising a free credit report and then ask for credit card information. Free credit reports are available from such sites but if you have supplied them with credit card information you may find that your card will be billed thirty days later for a credit report update. The charges will continue ever thirty days or so after the initial billing until you have cancelled the service. The best idea is not to give out any billing information in order to receive your free report.Get a report from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Experian, Trans Union and Equifax). When you ask for your report the site will also offer to send a credit score (FICO score) for a small additional fee; knowing your FICO is also beneficial and generally worth the nominal cost. Again, read the fine print and be careful not to set up any ongoing transactions.After receiving the three reports analyze them carefully. You are unique but your name may not be. Make sure all the credit card bills are actually yours. Also check to make sure your social security number is listed correctly. Social security numbers are keyed in by hand and thus subject to error. One digit misplaced can give you someone else’s derogatory credit. Report any errors to the agencies. Make the report to all three agencies as they do not share information.Now you have a list of all the revolving credit card debt that you owe, the balances and contact information. This is the money owed that may be ripe to consolidate on one credit card. Contact the creditors and find out what the current interest rate is on each card and if there are any programs which would allow you to reduce that rate. Let the companies know you are actively shopping for alternatives to your current rates. Customers in good standing with their credit card companies, customers with high FICO scores and customers who regularly charge and make their payments are valued by credit card companies. It may be that you will be offered incentives to retain their cards. Also, inquire about any balance transfer opportunities or other programs such as frequent flier miles.Now you are going to design your own program to consolidate credit card debt. Compile a list of all the companies with columns comparing the like features: Interest rates, penalties, incentives, credit limits. When choosing which company to use to consolidate your credit cards, look at all the features not just the interest rates. Narrow down the options to two or three cards. Speak with company representatives. It may be possible to negotiate even better terms.Once you have chosen an institution with which to consolidate credit card debt [], follow through and transfer as many of your outstanding balances as possible to that one card. Adjust your credit card behavior and be disciplined about your use of credit. Cut up all the other cards. You may even wish to close all accounts other than one for emergencies. Don’t carry the two remaining cards in your wallet. Remember, charge cards are nice as long as you, not the card, are in charge.

The Pros And Cons Of Prepaid Credit Cards

Observers in the lending industry have estimated that there may be at least 50 million Americans who are not able to qualify for credit. These consumers are usually young, often members of the minority groups and unbanked…and they are faced with the long-standing dilemma of credit: how can I build my credit record if no one will give me any credit at all?One of the answers offered by credit card companies is a variety of prepaid credit cards, designed for use by specific segments in the market. The prepaid credit cards are meant for that significant portion of the population that cannot meet the qualification criteria for regular credit cards, or who qualified before but have since lost their credit due to repeated defaults and other reasons.Advantages of Prepaid Credit Cards For those who do not have enough credit history or have had it blemished, prepaid credit cards are an effective way to build or slowly rebuild credit. That may not happen immediately, but it is something to work on over time. The banks that issue prepaid credit cards are also prepared to extend normal credit the moment you are able to show that you have become a worthy credit risk.For the moment, you may have to make do with prepaid credit cards. You can use prepaid credit cards as you would any other regular credit card to purchase airline tickets, reserve hotel rooms, or order items online.Prepaid Credit Card for Students There is a special prepaid Visa credit card for students, which offers a lot of convenience not only for the students but also for their parents. These reloadable prepaid credit cards offer parents several options on how to reload. Parents can add money to reloadable prepaid credit cards by depositing money, by arranging an automatic transfer of funds from their account (a deposit account or their own credit card account), or by online transfer. Using the prepaid Visa credit card is no different from giving the regular allowance to their child, only they do so by electronic means and there is no more cash that changes hands.The big advantage of the prepaid Visa credit card is that the student is limited to spend only as much money as there is in the card. The parent is thus able to control to some extent the spending behavior of their child. They can use the prepaid credit card anywhere that the credit card brand is accepted.Prepaid Credit Cards as Gift Certificates Some prepaid credit cards function like gift certificates. You buy the prepaid credit card for a certain amount, and your recipient can purchase items with it at any of the brick-and-mortar stores or online merchants, and also for mail order items, that accept the particular credit card brand. Your recipient can use the prepaid credit card only up to the amount of money that you loaded on it. This particular version of prepaid credit cards is non-reloadable.Like any gift certificate, recipients of prepaid credit cards can buy whatever it is they want at any time they want. Unlike a gift certificate that, when it gets lost is lost forever to the recipient, prepaid credit cards may be replaced if it gets lost or is stolen.Prepaid Credit Cards for Travel There is a prepaid credit card designed for travel. These reloadable prepaid credit cards can be purchased in lieu of travelers’ checks or cash. In a way, it combines the best features of a credit card and a traveler’s check because of its convenience and security features. Should you lose the prepaid credit card while you are on travel, you can easily obtain an emergency replacement, both for the prepaid credit card and some cash.Prepaid credit cards for travel are accepted all over the world, and also allow you to obtain currency from ATM machines. When you need to reload and you are already traveling you can arrange for the reload by phone or online. Apart from the fact that it is a prepaid credit card, you can use it exactly like a regular credit card. That also means you enjoy other benefits just like a regular card — reimbursements for lost luggage of up to $1,000 per cardholder if your luggage is lost; zero liability if your prepaid credit card is used fraudulently after you lose it or have it stolen from you; purchase security up to $500 per claim for any items you buy with prepaid credit cards, which subsequently gets stolen or damaged for certain reasons.Generally, you can purchase prepaid credit cards of all the major credit card brands at their participating retailers. You don’t have to worry about not having acceptable credit because prepaid credit cards are made available without need of a credit report or a bank account. The only qualifications you need to have are that you have reached 18 years of age and that you must be able to present a valid identification issued by government.Disadvantages of Prepaid Credit Cards There are a few things about prepaid credit cards that may not be as convenient as the regular credit cards. For one thing, you load only so much money onto it. You will need to keep track of the balance on the prepaid credit card because not all of the merchant terminals where you use the card may be able to help you determine it. However, there are procedures that tell you how to determine your balance, and you will these detailed on the back of the prepaid credit card and in the instructions accompanying it.The process of reloading your prepaid credit card may be a little inconvenient to some. If you’re using cash, you would have to visit the participating outlet where you bought your reloadable prepaid credit cards. The more convenient way will be reloading online.There are also the charges. Prepaid credit cards impose an application fee, the amount of which varies with the issuer, and there is also a service charge that you have to pay monthly. You also have to pay for transaction fees, charges when you transfer funds to top up the balance, when you replace your prepaid credit card, and many other fees. To be sure about the fees, you should read closely the fine print on the prepaid credit card account.Prospects of Prepaid Credit Cards Prepaid credit cards do not provide credit; it is your money that you’re using. You are asked to pay other charges, so it is not for free. You are paying for the convenience and security of carrying plastic instead of large amounts of cash. People with bad credit will be able to act as if they had a regular credit card and enjoy the convenience of one.Issuers of prepaid credit cards realize that it is a good way to monitor the credit behavior of the cardholder. A prepaid credit card would be a source of information that indicates to the credit bureaus and issuing lenders about how you as the individual cardholder use the card to pay your bills such as utilities. If these consumer data could be formatted in such a way as to provide the basis for a statistical model on probable future behavior in spending, then this could become the foundation for building a credit history.You would benefit, because by using prepaid credit cards you are rebuilding your credit. The prepaid credit card issuers would benefit, too, because they would be making previously unproven customers bankable. More people could then qualify for regular credit, and that would mean tremendous incremental revenue for the lenders.

Tips for Credit Card Consolidation

Credit card consolidation may save you a considerable amount of money, especially if you’re transferring the balances from high APR (annual percentage rate) credit cards to low APR credit cards, or better yet, one of the many credit cards that offer zero percentage APR for balance transfers.There are five distinct reasons why credit card consolidation may very well be an excellent choice for you.The first, as we just mentioned, is because your current credit card or cards are costing you far too much in annual fee or APR. It may be that the card you use for credit card consolidation may not offer a permanently low APR but rather a short term zero or low APR percentage for any transfer. Go for it! You can always do credit card consolidation, or just one bulk transfer to yet another card when the low introductory rate runs out on this newest one you’ve chosen.Annual fees can be a strong incentive for credit card consolidation as well. These can add up, especially if you have several credit cards. While many cards have annual fees around $20 or $25 dollars, some can carry an annual fee as high as $250. Keep in mind, however, that doing credit card consolidation by transferring to a card that has no annual fee is only advantageous if you’re going to use that card for the year. If, however, you’re looking at a card whose introductory rate is six months, after which the APR skyrockets, that low or nonexistent annual rate is not going to be much help to you.Your other credit card consolidation option may well be a personal signature or collateral loan. While it might seem that using a loan as a resource for credit card consolidation is a little like robbing Peter to pay Paul, the fact is that your monthly loan payment will be much easier to accomplish than the use of one credit card. Why? Because you won’t have the temptation to use that credit card and rack up even heftier credit card debt.If your credit card payments have been continually late they’ve probably affected your credit. Credit card consolidation may be a good way to reduce the debt and improve your credit standing.One last reason for doing a credit card consolidation is to make a little money from it – right up front. There is so much competition among the various credit card companies that some literally offer to give you money back immediately if you’ll transfer your credit card balances to them. They do this by saying that they’re going to reduce that debt.If, for example, you had a total of $2000 in credit card debt on your current credit cards, you might do a credit card consolidation with a new credit card that offers to forgive five percent of your debt. What this means is that the minute you do the credit card consolidation, transferring your outstanding balances on your current cards, you’ve made five percent of $2000, or $100 instantaneously.

Credit Trap: What They Don’t Tell You About Credit Cards In College

In industrialized nations, going into debt starts early. It’s easy for an eighteen-year-old to get credit cards and fall into debt, especially if they’re headed for college.I remember my first year in college as a 17 year old. Credit card offers were plastered all over the university campus. I don’t know what saved me from falling into the credit trap when I was in college but many of my friends were not so lucky.Many of them started out by using credit cards for textbooks, then stereo equipment and clothes. Then the next thing they knew, they were drowning in credit card debt.No one told them what they were getting themselves into.
Often, credit cards that are geared toward college students come with very high interest rates. Credit card companies say that this is due to the fact that students often have limited credit histories and that they have a higher default rate than other groups.However, what credit card companies don’t tell you is that young lives are being ruined by credit card debt due to dropping out of college, bankruptcy, job rejections (due to poor credit histories), loan denials, inability to rent apartments, professional school rejection, and even suicide.A leading expert on the credit card industry reports about a number of these incidences including the suicide of some college students due to credit card debt in his book: Credit Card Nation.
I think there should be a law against openly marketing credit cards to young college students. However, the situation is quite different; credit card companies are often given free reign in college and university campuses to market their wares to unsuspecting college students.And what about those ubiquitous student loans that are often pushed at college students?Financial Aid officers make it far too easy for students to sign on the dotted line.”It’s a low interest loan”, they say. “You don’t have to pay it off until you graduate”, they say.But what they fail to tell you is that student loans and credit card debt can put you in chains for years for which you cannot afford to make one financial mistake or you and your family could be put out on the street.Furthermore, none of us know what is promised for tomorrow. We don’t know if we will be healthy or sick; nor if we will get that well-paying job after graduation from college.Speaking of getting a well-paying job after graduation, another thing they don’t tell you in college is that it may be a good idea to check your credit report BEFORE you go out on your first job interview.What does a person’s credit report have to do with getting a job you may ask?Well, a new trend in hiring these days is that many employers are checking potential employees’ credit histories first before they consent to hiring you (great, isn’t it?).So, just what are they looking for when they look into your credit report? Well, my guess is that they probably will be looking at how much debt you owe and your payment history.If what they read from your credit report indicates that you are a credit liability, then chances are you may not get that job you wanted.These are just a few of the many truths that they don’t tell college student about credit card debt before they sign on the dotted line.A prepaid debit card is a MUCH better alternative to a credit card for a college student because a prepaid debit card actually helps you to stay out of debt as the money you spend is your own. Not only that but they are also useful tools for teaching college students financial management skills.And of course, nowadays, there are a variety of debit cards available including debit cards issued by the two major names: Visa and MasterCard.So, if you are a parent of a college student, be sure to educate your child about the dangers of credit cards debt BEFORE he heads out for the college campus. And if you can, why not consider giving him a prepaid debit card to send him money while he is away at college?

Secured Credit Cards- Consumer Tips

Whether you have no credit or damaged credit, secured credit cards are a good tool for building a good credit history.Several months ago Tom, a member of, filed for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Now he is in the process of rebuilding his credit history. It’s a task that is not easy, but with patient persistence he is seeing progress already. Daily he checks his credit score and is slowly seeing improvement.1 – In addition to correcting every mistake, even the smallest ones, on his credit report, he is using a secured credit card.2 – This secured card is an important tool in the overall process of building or rebuilding credit.Who should consider a secured credit card?Someone who has no credit history.Someone with a damaged credit history.What is a secured credit card?Secured cards are credit cards opened with a deposit into a savings account, money market or certificate of deposit. The amount of deposit required varies from card to card, but generally minimum amounts range from $250 – $500. These funds are considered your security and will even earn a little interest since they are being held in a savings account. Your credit limit is determined by the amount you deposit into the savings account. Sometimes the limit will be for the full amount of the deposit; other times it will be a percentage of the total.It is important to keep in mind that a secured card is a credit card, not a debit card. If full payments are not made each month, then interest is charged on the outstanding balance. And the lending institution uses the security money to pay off the debt only as a last resort. Even though the card is secured, it is still possible to damage credit.What are the benefits of a secured credit card?Establishing credit. If you have never had a credit card, a good first step in establishing good credit is applying for a secured credit card. Assistant Professor of Economics at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN, Jerry Plummer says, “A secured card is most useful for the person starting out on their credit history, since it says that the person is willing to take the extra step to establish credit.”Reestablishing credit. If your credit history is damaged, you may only be able to qualify for a secured credit card. Using this secured card appropriately and within the set parameters will help rebuild your credit and qualify you for an unsecured card. If you have had to file for bankruptcy, however, you may not qualify until it has been discharged.Preset limit cannot be exceeded. If poor spending habits were part of the cause for bad credit, then a secured credit card will help keep spending in check.Useful for transactions that require a credit card. Hotels and car rentals require the use of a credit card. If you don’t qualify for an unsecured card but you do for a secured card, then you are still able to make the transaction.What should I look for or avoid when shopping for a secured credit card?Fees. This is the area you will really want to research when shopping for a secured credit card. Some cards will come with fees that run into the hundreds of dollars, eating away much of the credit you secured with the savings account. Professor Plummer says a card with no fee is the best, but a small one-time fee can be okay. Annual fees for attractive secured cards typically range from $20-$35. Be sure to watch out for hidden fees such as “registration charges” and “setup fees.”Interest Rate. Just because you have no or poor credit doesn’t mean you have to settle for the highest interest rate. Interest rates for attractive secured cards should not exceed 19%. Shop around and get the most competitive rate available.Read the fine print. Linda Tucker, Director of Education for Consumer Credit Counseling Service for Arkansas and Memphis, TN, stresses the importance of reading the fine print. Doing so will let you know your exact obligations to the issuing company: for example, the grace period, what happens if you don’t make a full payment, and what fees are attached if you don’t make the full payment. Understanding these details will help make sure you are not further damaging your credit.Fraudulent Offers. As with unsecured cards you need to watch out for fraudulent offers.The Federal Trade Commission gives the following advice to protect yourself from credit card fraud:
Offers of easy credit. No one can guarantee to get you credit. Before deciding whether to give you a credit card, legitimate credit providers examine your credit report.

A call to a ’900′ number for a credit card. You pay for calls with a ’900′ prefix — and you may never receive a credit card.

Credit cards offered by “credit repair” companies or “credit clinics.” These businesses also may offer to clean up your credit history for a fee. However, you can correct genuine mistakes or outdated information yourself by contacting credit bureaus directly. Remember that only time and good credit habits will restore your credit worthiness.

When will I qualify for an unsecured credit card?It can take several months to see an improvement in your credit history. Bankrate says it’s a good indicator when you start receiving flyers in the mail for unsecured cards that your credit is improving. However, it’s a good idea to continue taking things slowly. Using a secured card will help you learn healthy habits so that when you do get an unsecured credit card you remain in control of your spending and credit.Where can I find a secured credit card?Most companies don’t advertise secured cards. But you can visit the Card Reports section of to find out where and how to apply. Click on the link entitled “Cards for Consumers with Poor or No Credit”.Other tipsTom recommends sticking with only one or two cards and keeping spending to a minimum. The goal is to pay the card off each month.Tucker emphasizes the importance of paying the amount due each month; otherwise late fees can be charged, interest rates raised, privileges lost, and credit history negatively affected.Make sure you are getting a credit card as opposed to a gas card or a department store card.Make sure a reputable bank or credit union, even a local one, is issuing the card. And, don’t automatically assume a bank is issuing the card.Not all issuers report to the three major credit agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). It’s important to get a card that does report to all three agencies; otherwise you will be wasting your time. Fortunately, secured cards normally report to the credit agencies just like unsecured cards (you should verify this before applying).If you have filed for bankruptcy, you may need to wait until it has been discharged before qualifying for a secured card.Get one only if you cannot get credit, since you have no credit record; or if you have poor credit. Plummer says, “Many companies will not even count them as credit, such as automobile F&I (Finance and Insurance) people, although they will not admit it.” So, if you don’t really need a secured card, you will be doing more harm than good.Finally, whatever situation you are in, no credit or poor credit, the best way to build good credit is to set up a budget and then stick with it.1 You can pay membership fees to any one of the three credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax- to be able to check your credit score online daily. Visit our Credit Information section for more details. Tom recommends purchasing Microsoft Money 2004, which comes with a one-year membership to Experian (value of $99.00).2 To find out more about correcting errors on your credit report, read our article How to Correct Mixed or Split Credit Reports.

Credit Cards or Store Cards – Which Is Better?

IntroductionIn this article, a presentation is made of the differences between major credit cards and credit cards offered by specific stores to their customers. The purpose of this article is to provide a general overview of major credit cards and store cards to aid consumers in making decisions regarding which lines of credit lines would be the best for them in a given set of circumstances. In most situations, due to the higher rates of interest charged by most store-specific cards, it is best for the budget-conscious consumer to consider forgoing those accounts in favor of a major credit card.With that said, we are not endorsing any particular credit card brand in this article. Rather, the materials presented are for informational and educational purposes only.General AvailabilityMajor credit cards are accepted in a wide variety of places and venues. Indeed, the major credit card companies make it a point of promoting how wide spread card acceptance is in this day and age.On the other hand, store-specific credit cards are good only at the issuing store.Where to ApplyIt is simple to apply for major credit cards. Nearly any bank or financial institution can provide a customer with an application for one or another of the major credit cards. Additionally, the Internet has become a handy resource for those men and women interested in applying for and obtaining a major credit card.Store-specific credit cards only can be applied for directly at the store or shop. Additionally, if the store has an Internet presence — and many major stores and even smaller shops do so in this day and age — applications for store-specific credit cards can be made online.Annual Fee and Related ChargesMany major credit cards do charge an annual fee. Some major credit cards charge an additional or supplemental membership depending on where the card was obtained.Store-specific credit cards normally are free of annual fees and similar charges to their customers. However, store-specific credit cards carry with them notably higher rates of interest than can be found with major credit card accounts.Common Clauses and ProvisionsIn the United Kingdom, and in most European Union countries, there are clauses and provisions that must be included in each and every monthly credit card billing statement — both from major credit card companies and on store credit card accounts as
well. These clauses and provisions are:
A detailed listing of all credit card transactions

A detailed listing of the amount owed from the previous month plus the extra amount or interest to be paid on that amount owed

The total amount owed for the current month

The minimum amount that must be paid during the month. In the United Kingdom, this amount is about 3% of the balance or £5 whichever is greater.

An estimate of the interest payable if you do not pay your account in full.

The date by which the account must be paid if interest charges are to be avoided

A detailed listing of the monthly interest rate for purchases, the APR (annual percentage rate) and the
interest rate if you have used your card for cash
ConclusionIn the final analysis, one should only have as much credit as is absolutely necessary. Generally, it is not a wise decision to rake in a bunch of different credit cards. Rather, the best policy usually is to maintain one or two major credit
cards. Also consider that store cards generally do not offer the same benefits as credit cards such as balance transfers, although it is common to get brand exclusive reward schemes with store cards. Finally, one must be cautious about obtaining store-specific credit cards due to the higher rates of interest that come with these accounts.

Credit Basics: Choosing and Using Credit Cards

One of the most powerful financial tools that the modern technology has ever-produced is the credit card. And there is definitely no denying that a credit card is an extremely and overwhelmingly useful and powerful financial tool only if it used properly.This small and thin ‘plastic’ is now responsible for the seemingly endless possibilities of getting things done in just one swipe. Aside from the fact that most people-especially in the US-find these plastic cards more convenient and safe to carry around compared to cold, hard cash, many of them also appreciates the consumer protection provided by the Federal Law.But, with so companies coming out with many kinds of credit cards, it is no wonder that many people get confused and overwhelmed by the “convenience” each and every one of them offers. Since people have very diverse and different credit needs, they must be very careful in choosing the right credit card for them so that they could avoid the portent of credit traps.While it is true that there is no single credit card that will fit everyone’s need, it doesn’t mean that consumers should just take in what these creditors offer. Before your credit card lead you to a path wherein you owe more than you can afford repay, or before it damages your credit and would create trouble by careless usage, here are some vital information that can guide you to choose the right credit card for your need.SURE-FIRE FORMULASThe most basic tip in choosing and using any credit card is to identify first your credit need. You must ask yourself why do you need it and when do you need to use it. If education, health, home improvement, and business are some of your reasons, then you should start looking for a credit card. But if it is for purely convenience in purchasing the things you need, think twice and hard first. Before getting one, you must have a specific target where you can use your credit card wisely.After defining your credit need, you must conduct a credit card research so you can review and compare the credit cards available in the market. This may seem very general and vague but this is the most basic thing one should do if you plan to apply for a credit card. You may research first what are the available credit cards out there. As you may know, there are actually hundreds of banks and other finance agencies that are offering credit cards and each of them has a lot to say about their product.By doing research through online and offline resources, you can learn more about credit card offers and ratings. After doing an extensive research on all of the cards, you may now review what they offer and start the “elimination process.” By reviewing all these credit cars, you can create some sort of chart for you to see side by side and compare what important features each credit card offers.You must choose a credit card that can easily establish and strengthen contact with credit unions. Once you apply for a credit card, you become a creditor. It will be beneficial for you if you belong to a credit union since these are non-profitable organizations. They also offer a lower overhead that can offer you numerous advantages like lower interest charges.Try looking for a credit card with a low Annual Percentage Rate (APR) or the measure of the cost of credit expressed as a yearly interest rate. In choosing the right credit card, it is a must that you check out the APR because this is the amount charged to you on monthly outstanding balances. Bear in mind that the higher the rate, the higher the chances you will pay relatively high interest charges.Also consider interest rates and find out what if a fixed-rate or adjustable rate credit card would suit you best. Many people-especially those who pay off their balance monthly or those who only use cards for small purchases-opt to use cared that has a fixed rate. Even if the rate is a point or two higher than the usual, it ensures that they can pay off their loan quickly without even noticing the difference.Fees can be considered one of the bloodlines of most credit card companies. In addition to your research, you should never forget to do an extensive research on credit card fees, transaction fees, and other charges. Since numerous companies are infamous for charging their clients fees that add up quickly, you should make sure to check the fees section of the credit card disclosure section before fully indulging into it. This is also one way of knowing the recognized fees collected like annual fees and cash advance fees.Also consider length of Grace Period or the amount of time between the date of a purchase and the date interest starts being charged on that purchase. So you would know how much time you can buy before you make your payment.You must also consider taking credit cards that offer other benefits and make sure to understand all necessary and additional terminologies in the contract in your credit card application and acquisition. Lastly, take into consideration your credit limit for your ultimate credit experience.To apply online for a major credit card, visit Credit Card Info Guide

Small Business Credit Cards Advantages

A lot of people associate credit cards with just personal credit card which an individual posses and uses for shopping etc. However, there is another category of credit cards and that is called small business credit cards. As suggested by the name itself, the small business credit cards are meant for small businesses or people running small businesses.So how does the small business credit card differ from the other credit cards in general?The very obvious difference is that small business credit cards have the credit account in the name of the small business and not any individual, though the benefits indirectly accrue to the business owner. The other difference is with the terms and conditions that come with the small business credit cards. Finally, there are some subtle benefits with small business credit cards which would not be applicable to personal credit cards. Let’s check all these things one by one.We know that the credit cards provide a lot of convenience and security for an individual and a lot of other benefits too. Most of the benefits related to personal credit cards apply here too. What is interesting here is the indirect benefits that ensue from using a small business credit card.The indirect benefits associated with small business credit cards are so great that it makes them almost indispensable. The most important benefit is that you can easily segregate your business and personal expenses. So if you have been wasting a lot of time keeping track of your business bills and trying to keep them separate from personal bills, small business credit cards could help. You just need to ensure that you always make all your business payments using your small business credit card. When the credit card bill comes at the month end, you will have itemized account of all the business expenses as a single document. Thus small business cards reduce (and in some cases completely remove) the need for bookkeeping for a small business. The credit card company does that for you for free, although indirectly.Another important benefit comes from rolling credit. If you have to pay for your purchases upfront and still invoice your clients later (a situation faced very often with small businesses), you can roll the credit, you are providing your client with, to your credit card. Moreover, since these purchases are mostly urgent, arranging for money immediately can sometimes be a problem. In such cases, the small business credit card is the one which can bail you out. Well, if you are thinking that your personal credit card could do the same for you, you are a bit off the track on two fronts. Firstly, you want to keep your business expenses separate from your personal expenses and secondly, the APR on business cards is generally lower as compared to personal credit cards. A lot of the small business credit cards don’t require you to pay an annual fee even.So if you run a small business but haven’t got a small business credit card yet, it’s about time that you considered this wonderful option.

I’m a Credit Card Deadbeat: You Can Be One Too!

I am delighted to say that I am a credit card deadbeat! In fact, some of you might already be credit card deadbeats too, if so, I commend you for your excellent work! Now, as for those who don’t know what a credit card deadbeat is, before you start thinking I have a screw loose, you may want to continue reading!When I say that I am a credit card deadbeat, I don’t mean that I avoid my credit card bills. To the contrary, a credit card deadbeat is the insider term used by credit card company executives and refers to all of the credit card users who pay off their bill each month promptly; in doing so, such customers pay no interest and prevent the creditor from making any profit! That’s me! I love being a credit card deadbeat!The alternative to being a credit card deadbeat is what credit card executives call a revolver. A revolver is a credit card user that constantly carries a balance and is charged regular, monthly interest on their charges. Credit card companies love revolvers because they, in essence, increase the bottom line for the credit card company and make them a nice profit. Further, from an insider perspective, the best customers not only carry a balance, but also make their payments late, triggering extra fees and a higher interest rate.Okay, so I’ve been a credit card deadbeat for awhile now, but last year I went even further in improved my deadbeat ways. Not only did I hang onto my hard earned cash by refusing to line the wallets of the credit card companies, but I also happily lined my own wallet with their money, to the tune of $1,402. Yes, that’s right, they paid me $1,402 to use their cards; continue reading to find out how!Cash Back Credit CardFirst, I applied online for a Cash Back Credit Card and I was instantly approved. My new cash back credit card arrived to my house the following week ready for me to use. This card offered me 0% APR for 12 months and carried no annual fee; With it, I made all of my gas purchases, as well as grocery and drugstore purchases and earned 5% back cash back on the gas purchases and 1% back on all other purchases. I have a family of four and the gas purchases included gas for my spouse’s car as well. My average monthly purchases and cash back earnings were as follows:Monthly Gas Purchases $325 x .05 = $16.25Monthly Grocery Bill $1,200 x .01 =$12.00Monthly Drugstore Purchases $160 x .01 = 1.60Total Cash Back Earnings From Credit Card $ 29.85 x 12 = $358.20Airline Rewards Credit CardI also applied for an airline rewards credit card and again was instantly approved online. Like the cash back credit card, my new airline rewards credit card arrived the following week, came with a 0% introductory APR for 12 months and had no annual fee. This credit card earns 1 frequent flyer mile for every $1 charged.I charged many of my miscellaneous expenses, including major purchases and business expenses, on my new Airline Rewards Credit Card. As a result, the qualified expenses came to an average of $2,250 monthly or $27,000 for the year, earning 27,000 frequent flyer miles, more than enough for an airline ticket to Hawaii: a $500 value!0% Introductory APR for 12 Months Now here’s the kicker. Since both credit cards came with a 0% introductory APR for 12 months, I paid only the minimum payments on each card and placed the money for my purchases into a savings account earning 2.5% (rates have gone up since). Using averages for simplicity, I made 12 monthly deposits of $3,935 into a savings account earning 2.5% interest compounded monthly. By the end of the year, I earned $544 in interest!My Total Credit Card Earnings for the YearSo here is my total earnings from the cash back credit card, airline rewards card, and interest earned.Cash Back 12 x 29.85 = $358Free Airline Ticket $500Savings Account Interest $544Total Earned $1,402Just to make sure I maintain my deadbeat ways, now that the 0% introductory rate has expired, I’ve paid off my balance from the money I deposited into my savings account during the year. To be a credit card deadbeat you need persistence, determination, and discipline. I did it, and so can you!

Different Credit Card Debt Solutions

The tidal wave of consumer debt accumulating from unchecked personal credit card debt threatens to overwhelm our nation even as the lenders themselves reap the benefits. Americans have grown addicted to spending without care for their own income and budgets are something our grandparents used to employ. As a nation, we have almost lost track of the notion of saving for the future – aside, of course, from the exceedingly wealthy who no longer bother with banks within the United States – and our economy suffers as a result. More to the point, our citizens suffer as well from the drop in property values and rise in unemployment that are direct results of the consumer debt explosion. Credit card bills are killing this country, and it is past time that we do something about it.It is more than understandable how this all happened. Just turn on the television: every other commercial advertises either the untold benefits from plastic purchasing (The sheen! The class climbing! The convenience!) or the consumer credit counseling surgical practicalities (The desperation! The condescension! The oh so marketable convenience!). Somehow, along the way, the average American household managed to rack up around eight thousand dollars in unsecured debt almost wholly from credit card usage. The past decade, as home appraisals skyrocketed and well paying jobs could be plucked from the vine, there was not much reason to worry. This was the American millennium, after all, and things would never change.Somehow, an unprecedented period of economic expansion came to an end, and the real estate bubble finally burst. And, more to the point, a good number of borrowers found that they were having trouble making even the minimum payments upon their various credit cards. Who knew? The tyranny of unsecured debt has at last seeped into the household accounts of most of our citizenry and the effects are everywhere. Beyond the new budgeting, though, and the tightening of belts, families need to take a close and educated look at their credit card problems and see what can be done. There are a number of debt managements solutions that have arisen in the past few years purely to deal with such situations although the simplest debt relief is the most annoying: a halt to purchases. Serious attention paid to expenses and savings accounts are the foundation of any lasting credit card debt relief.Above all else, families must stop spending without regard to the future. Heads of household should collect all credit cards and, while not necessarily setting them aflame, at least keep them tightly locked away from the grasp of misguided purchases. One of the greatest problems facing consumers is this culture of commercialism. Credit cards really are an addiction, and otherwise ordinary people will find themselves driven to buy something they do not really want simply because they are depressed or worried. This is precisely the sort of action that the credit card companies are counting upon. This is the reason that the credit card companies offer new accounts at rock bottom rates to borrowers just exiting Chapter 7 debt elimination bankruptcy even if the borrowers successfully washed away debts owed to the same credit card companies. They figure the borrowers will be all too likely to resume past spending habits – this time, without hope of bankruptcy protection for near a decade – and, more’s the pity, the credit card companies tend to be correct.Obviously (as you would hope, actually) credit card debts are dealt with according to their debtors’ credit ratings. The Fair Isaacs Corporation devised the FICO credit scoring system more than fifty years ago expressly to guide lending institutions toward equitable treatment of borrowers regardless of rage, gender, income, or, really, anything beyond the borrowers’ history of payment and capacity of credit. To this day, the exact equations remain a mystery – and they grow more complex by the moment – but the overall methods remain a sorta miraculous triumph of democratic capitalism. No matter their earnings, consumers that maintain excellent FICO ratings will always be able to garner credit balances well above what they should ordinarily deserve.Unfortunately, that availability of credit card debt leads untutored applicants toward significant debts they have no hope of soon paying off. At this point, debt management solutions are necessary. They come in a few different flavors, but all of them contain severe disadvantages. The ideal debt management solution is – yeah, that’s right, we know – to never get yourself in debt. Careful budgeting, spending only when needed, cutting out wasteful expenses, and all proper household financial techniques will do more to prevent credit card debt from overtaking consumers’ lives than a string of limos carrying debt professionals. Alas, since you are already reading this article, we are going to presume it is too late to apply preventive measures, but there are still steps available to successfully deal with the credit card debt problems as they stand.As your credit card companies will explain (along with many, many other credit card companies that you have never heard of), the easiest solution would be to just transfer all existing credit card debts onto a single account. Presuming your credit rating has not dipped to fraudulent levels, virtually every credit card company should be eager to take on your existing debts for initial rates nudging zero percent. At the same time, every representative of every credit card will urge such a change in debt and mollify the borrower by insisting they will pay off the balances well before the adjustable interest rates would rise.Of course, the very reason most borrowers are in this state is precisely because they cannot guarantee they could repay their debts and the last thing such debtors need is more capacity to spend. Remember, not only are the borrowers consolidating their credit card debts upon a single card risking the interest rates rising to over twenty percent should they fail to repay their obligations within a specific time, but they are also allowing themselves more space for foolish purchases upon the cards that remain. It is not a double edged sword; it is a ticking time bomb. The number of credit card victims genuinely served by credit card consolidation within credit cards could be counted… well, it would resemble that initial rate offered.For some borrowers, debt consolidation loans that are not themselves tied to credit cards may make a bit of sense. Unfortunately, in order to get any sort of decent interest rate, these sort of loans tend to be secured. Low interest unsecured credit accounts do exist, but, alas, they tend to only be offered to those without credit or income issues and tend to be only above six figures. Secured debts are almost always available, witness the current sub prime mortgage lending crisis, but most debtors haven’t much significant collateral to offer beyond their own primary residence. In other words, debt consolidation loans may as well be considered home equity loans, and this creates a whole new sort of problems.Whether you first think of a consolidation loan walking through your bank and noticing the ever present advertisements or listening to the sweet sounding pitch of a telephone salesman, there is no worse way to rid yourself of credit card debts. To be sure, the rates will be lower – they would have to be – and the payments, stretched to ten or thirty or however many years, will surely be much lower. At the same point, though, the eventual money paid for that original debt will be exponentially higher considering the wonders of compound interest, and, as with debt consolidation through other credit cards, this still leaves open other credit accounts without penalty or reason to curtail destructive spending habits.There is, as every borrower knows, one worse option when eliminating credit card debts. Despite the legislative carnage wrought the past few years, Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection does still exist as a palliative, but anyone who has seen friends or family suffer the effects knows just how little Chapter 7 bankruptcies could not consider this actual protection to any borrower’s life. Above all else, the 2005 congressional alteration of the United States bankruptcy code effectively forced anyone thinking about declaring bankruptcy to surrender all assets (even cherished items handed down through generations) to threat of seizure by government authorities for court auction so as to repay the original lenders for a trifle of their actual worth. Nowadays, the court trustee must consider the filer’s assets as according to replacement value rather than, as formerly, the resale value. To fully imagine the distinction, look around your living room and imagine the worth of the items when sold at estate sale compared to the cost should they be purchased at mall stores absent haggling. The Internal Revenue Service was heavily involved in the passage of this legislation, if that needs to be said.One can always talk directly to representatives of the credit card companies and plead for forgiveness. In the case of sincere and demonstrable (and, most importantly, tragic) mishaps, they will sometimes shrug away partial debts so as to avoid the bad publicity, but one shouldn’t expect forgiveness from lenders. There are also several state and federal government programs, dizzying in their numbers, that apply to various borrower predicaments, but, at the same time, one should never expect consumer debts to explicitly fit into statutory regimens. It is not exactly a hard life for this generation of borrowers. Even thirty years ago, this sort of credit availability and (relative) unaccountability would have been beyond imagining.Still, there is a financial burden and the lenders will eventually demand payment. Should the payments be of sufficient worth, the lenders will have no choice but to start legal proceedings to attempt to recoup their losses. However, it is important remember that such action are extremely expensive and the absolute last resort of multinational corporations. More than anything else, these sort of businesses are terrified that their debtors will simply disappear or (hard as it is under current circumstances) declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It’s virtually impossible to declare bankruptcy these days, but company guidelines are famously slow to notice the evolution of consumer practices and still worry over the dissolution over promised obligations.In the wake of our sudden credit card debt crisis and the limited powers bankruptcy protection now holds (and, more to the point, the limited understanding of such among credit card companies), other financial services have come into their own which play with that slight threat yet existing. As long as Chapter 7 bankruptcy still has the potential to eliminate credit card debts, borrowers still have one ace in the hole when arguing cases with their lenders, and a new business has developed to enable the singular advantage consumers retain. Debt settlement isn’t so terribly different from Consumer Credit Counseling. The debt settlement professionals have essentially the same approach when dealing with credit card debts, but, unlike the CCC hordes, they actually work on behalf of the debtors.The ugly little truth about Consumer Credit Counseling companies is their dependence upon credit card companies. There’s a reason they have the advertising budget to blanket late night television with ever more desperate commercials, after all. The CCC industry will – at pains – lower interest rates for their favored customers as well as waive past due fees and over limit charges that never should have been assessed in the first place, but they won’t ever even try to lower actual debt balances. Consumer Credit Counseling isn’t much of a lie, really. They do counsel consumers about credit. It’s just rarely counsel that the consumers should follow.Certified debt settlement specialists, on the other hand, work solely for their debtor clients. Moreover, they place the burden for financial burdens squarely upon the lenders. This isn’t the same thing as borrowing the price of a carton of milk from the nearby store, after all. These are massive conglomerates whose profits depend upon not only convincing naïve borrowers that they can buy whatever they want without consequence but also allowing them the credit to do so. The borrowers, admittedly, are not without fault, but the lenders themselves have institutional malfeasance that must still be addressed. Fortunately, for the moment, anyways, this is where debt settlement comes into play.Debt settlement companies negotiate on the part of the borrowers in attempts to lower the overall balance originally owed. Seems too much to ask, but credit card companies regularly let loose more than half of their promised funds in exchange for a payment schedule vouchsafed by a respectable debt settlement firm. Credit cards, by their nature, as with anything that could charge twenty percent annual percentage rates, assume a certain risk that is backed up by the guarantee of tax write offs for delinquent borrowers. Otherwise, they would never lend so much to so many with so few resources. These credit card companies are conglomerates betting on fractional chances of profit one way or another. All traditional notions of ethics and morality should seem as irrational and disparate as that of someone going to war for a Klondike Bar. Credit card settlement really is a different sort of system, and owing has nothing to do with it.