How to Save 1000s of $$$ with Low Rate Credit Cards

Credit card balances are rising faster than consumers can pay them off. And with a high interest rate card it can be difficult to even make a dent in debt. According to Consumer Action, a non-profit, membership-based organization, a March 2004 survey revealed that only 39% of the people said they pay their credit card balance in full each month. So if you are like 61% of everyone surveyed and carry a balance from month to month, then your number one priority for a credit card should be a low interest rate.What is considered a low interest rateAccording to Linda Sherry, editorial director and spokesperson for Consumer Action, anything below 10% is an attractive rate in today’s market.Look at the SavingsAre the savings really all that much with a low
rate credit card? Here’s an example to show you just how much you will save.Let’s say you have a $2500 balance on your credit
card, you make the minimum 2.5% payment, and you don’t add any new charges to the card. With an 18% APR (annual percentage rate) it would take you 20.3 years to pay the card off at the
cost of $3365.51 in interest alone.If you are able to lower that interest rate to the
average standard, fixed rate of 12.99%* you will reduce the time it takes to pay off the debt to 15.2 years and your total interest will be $1732.95–a 48.5% savings over the 18% APR.But if you can qualify for a 9% APR, your
debt will be paid off in 12.6 years with a total of $977.48 in interest–a whopping 71% savings over the 18% card. And if you commit to paying the first month’s minimum payment of $62.50 each month until the entire balance is paid off, then you will shave off another 8.6 years and another $494.01 in interest.Who can get the lowest ratesIn order to get the lowest advertised you will need a good credit rating. While most issuers have their own criteria for a good credit rating, Sherry says that in general a FICO score of
675+ is good and 750+ is excellent. If you are in a situation where you need to raise your current score, please read our article is a Credit Score Calculated and How Can I Improve My
Credit Score?Where you Can Find the Lowest RatesIf you do have a good to excellent credit rating, then according to Gerri Detweiler, founder of and author of The Ultimate Credit Handbook, if you are paying more than 10-12% you need to start searching for a lower rate card and there are several different avenues of approach.Read Your MailOften times the best offers come right to your mailbox. But you need to read through the offer very carefully to determine if it is an introductory rate or a long-term rate (ongoing). Also, Sherry says you need to look for the words “you are
pre-approved” as opposed to “you are invited to apply.” If it is an invitation only, you may not qualify for the rate advertised, and you won’t know until after you apply. You should also be aware that you may not get the rate advertised in a pre-approved offer. In fact, you may even be declined for the card. Please be aware that almost all of these mail offers are marketing schemes rather than true pre-approved offers.Learn to NegotiateMail offers and other low rate credit cards you carry can come in handy as a negotiating tool with your current card issuer. Scott Bilker, creator of and author of Talk Your Way out of Credit Card Debt,
suggests calling your issuer and letting them know you have better offers elsewhere and that you are considering
switching to another card if they won’t lower your rate.Don’t be afraid to take back control…in today’s saturated market, credit card issuers are looking to hang onto customers. If you want to know exactly what to say to a credit card customer service rep., check out Bilker’s book which contains transcripts from actual telephone conversations with reps.Local Banks and Credit UnionsWhen shopping for a low rate credit card, looking to a local bank or credit union may be a good option. In addition to a good rate you may find the customer service more personal and appealing. But beware of banks that offer a rate significantly lower than the big banks or below the , especially if you know your credit is not good enough to qualify. Another thing to consider is that introductory rate offers from local banks and credit unions are not generally as aggressive as introductory offers from larger banks.AssociationsSherry says it’s a good idea to investigate any credit card offers that may come through associations you are part of such as alumni groups. These large groups often have more muscle to negotiate special terms for their members. For example, for their members, AARP got the binding arbitration clause, which has come under scrutiny recently by consumer advocates, left out off the terms and conditions of the AARP credit card.OnlineFinally, offers detailed comparisons of the lowest rate cards currently available. Browse our
Card Reports section and conveniently apply online to start reducing your interest charges.So Many Choices…Some things to ConsiderVariable vs. Fixed Rate Credit CardsMost of the low rate credit cards offered today are variable rate cards. This means the APR is attached to an index such as Prime or LIBOR (London Inter Bank Offered Rate) and changes according to changes in the index. The credit card terms and conditions will say something like “Prime + 4%.” So if Prime is 6%, then your interest rate is 10%.And although not currently common, it is still good to be aware that issuers can apply a floor, or minimum, to the rate. For example, if the terms are Prime + 4% with a floor of 10% and Prime drops to 5% you would get a 10% APR rather than the 9%. According to Sherry this was more common 3 years ago when interest rates really dropped, but became a less frequent practice as consumers started pressuring issuers to ban floors.Even with low rate cards advertised as having fixed rates, keep in mind credit card issuers reserve the right to change the terms and conditions, including the APR, of the card
for virtually any reason at any time. If changes do affect your fixed APR card, your issuer is normally required to give you 15 days written notice; so it’s very important to open all your mail because if you happen to throw out the notice, then you will forfeit any right you may be given to opt-out of the rate increase. And Sherry says once you make a purchase under
the new rate terms, even if you didn’t read the notice, you have agreed to accept the new terms and conditions.Credit card issuers can even change a fixed rate card to a variable card and vice versa with little notice. Fixed rates are rarely fixed forever. In the credit card world
Bilker defines forever as the time it takes to pay something off. :0) The only real advantage of a fixed rate card is the rate usually doesn’t increase as often as a variable rate card in a rising rate environment (this can work against you if rates are falling).Is the low rate for purchases only?Most of the time a low APR applies to purchases, but not cash advances. The cash advance APR is generally much higher. If you do end up taking a cash advance on a low rate card you need to be aware that issuers normally apply payments to the
balance with the lowest APR–so your cash advance balance will keep earning interest (usually at a much higher rate) until your purchase balance is paid off. However, a few cards do come with a low cash advance APR, so make sure you read all the fine print.FeesAnnual fees are pretty much a thing of the past. The one notable exception is credit cards that have very low ongoing rates, usually defined as being within 2 points of Prime. If you do come across a card offer that has an annual fee and rate within 2 points or so of Prime, then use our online
calculators to compare the cost savings to a card without an annual fee and a little higher APR.If you plan to transfer a balance to a low rate card, then determine how much a fee you will pay before initiating the transfer. Detweiler says a cap of $25 on balance transfer fees is generally okay, but if they charge a fee of 3-4% with no cap it’s probably not worthwhile. Doing a few calculations will help
you determine if the savings are there.Using a Low Rate Card to Your AdvantageThe point of using a low rate credit card is to save you money if you carry a balance month to month. Here are some tips to make sure you are maximizing its usefulness.Make your Payments EarlyIf your credit card issuer uses the average daily balance method to calculate interest (see glossary below), then you will benefit by making payments before the due date because it reduces the average daily balance your monthly interest is based on.Manage your Credit WellWith a low rate credit card you need to make sure your payments are always on time, you never exceed the credit limit, and that your payment will be honored by your bank, otherwise you will end up paying the default, or penalty, interest rate which is significantly higher than the normal purchase APR.Also, don’t max out the limit (i.e. carry a balance that is close to your credit limit) on your new low rate card because that will adversely affect your credit rating; and if your credit rating goes down, many issuers have the right to raise your APR. Detweiler says to use no more than 50% of your credit limit on any given card.In addition, defaults on any other credit accounts can affect your low rate credit card. Most credit card issuers have a universal default clause in their terms and conditions
meaning that if you default with any other creditor (not just another credit card company) they reserve the right to raise your APR to 20+% in some cases — read our Universal
Default article for more information. Sherry says they have the right to pull your credit score and review your account. If they find any reason to raise your rate they will–as Bilker says, they are just waiting for the opportunity to do so. And even though the Truth in Lending Act requires they give you notice of an increased rate it doesn’t have to be in advance. So make sure you check your statement every month for any changes in the rates.Tips for the Savvy Consumer
Consider consolidating higher rate credit cards to your lower rate credit cards. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that credit card companies usually apply payments to the balance with the lowest APR. This means if your low rate credit card has an introductory 0% balance transfer APR and you are carrying a monthly balance on purchases, then your payments will reduce the 0% balance transfer first while you continue paying interest on purchases–the resulting APR is called your effective rate and it is normally much higher than the balance transfer APR. The effective APR should be indicated on your monthly statement.

Detweiler says if you really want to save as much money as possible consider using a reward card for a big-ticket item. After you earn the reward, immediately transfer the balance to a low rate credit card. This technique requires self-discpline and attention to detail.
Important Terms to KnowCredit card issuers use their own language, which can be confusing. Below is a table of some important terms you need to
understand as you shop for the lowest rate credit card.
Purchase APR Annual Percentage Rate charged when you carry a balance month to month on any purchases made with your card.Balance Transfer APR: APR for balance transfers, typically different than the purchase APRDefault/Penalty APR: APR charged if you default on the account. For example, making a late payment, exceeding your credit limit, or bank not honoring your payment.Variable Rate: Interest rate that changes according to the index (i.e. Prime and LIBOR) it is tied to.Fixed Rate: Interest rate that does not change. However, in the credit card world there is no such thing as a truly fixed rate as a change in the terms and conditions can change a rate at any time.Prime: The lowest interest rate banks charge their most credit worthy customers, usually corporations. A common index used for variable rate credit cards.LIBOR: London Inter-bank Offered Rate, the interest rate banks borrow money from other banks in the London wholesale money market, usually lower than Prime. Another index used for variable rate credit cards.Monthly periodic rate: Monthly interest rate. APR divided by 12 (number of months in a year).Average Daily Balance: Daily totals of charges and payments divided by the number of days in the billing cycle.Average Daily Balance Method: Method for calculating interest–average daily balance multiplied by the monthly periodic rateTwo-Cycle Billing Method: Method for calculating interest based on the sum of the average daily balance for the previous and current billing cycle.Amount Due: Refers to the minimum amount due (usually around 2-4% of the entire balance)Finance Charge: Interest charge on outstanding credit card balances.FICO Score: Fair Isaac & Co., the company that develops credit scores (aka FICO scores) used by 75% of mortgage lenders and many credit card issuers.With a little bit of knowledge beforehand you will be able to shop for the best low rate credit card for your needs. Investing a little bit of time doing so could save you 1000s of dollars and will definitely be time well spent!

A Bad Credit Credit Card

“Bad credit card card” is used to refer to credit cards that can be obtained even with a bad credit rating. The bad credit card cards provide opportunity to people (with bad credit rating) to improve their credit rating. In that sense, bad credit credit cards act as rescuer for such people. So, bad credit credit cards also act as necessary a training ground for people who have not been able to control their spending urge in the past.Bad credit card cards are commonly known as secured credit cards. The bad credit card card (or secured credit cards) requires the individual to open up an account with the credit card supplier and maintain some cash balance in the account. Why is that required? Well, credit cards are a business for the credit card suppliers; so how can they trust someone who has defaulted on his/her payments in the past? After all, a business is about profits and such risks are a threat to profits. The bank or the credit card supplier will generally pay interest on the balance in your account. However, it’s best to check this with the bad credit card card supplier/bank. The credit limit on the bad credit card card is determined by the cash balance in the account and is generally between 50-100% of the cash balance. These bad credit card cards are also referred to as debit cards, owing to the fact that they work less in a credit-giving manner and more in a debit-giving manner.There are plenty of bad credit card cards available in the market. When searching for the bad credit card card that is best suited to you, you should consider 4 things in particular: the minimum balance that you are required to maintain in the bank account, the credit limit that you will receive (i.e. the percentage of your bank account balance that you are allowed to spend on your bad credit card card), the fees/other-charges applicable to the procurement of bad credit card card and the rate of interest that you will receive on the balance in your bank account. An ideal bad credit card card would have no fee/other-charges associated with it and would require zero or a very small amount as minimum bank balance. It would also have something like 90-100% of bank balance as its credit limit. Moreover, an ideal bad credit card card would also offer a good interest rate on the bank balance.Bad credit card cards are really a good concept that provides respite to people with bad credit rating by letting them enjoy the benefits of credit cards while they mend their credit rating.

Equipment Lease Rate – What Does It Actually Mean?

Before we understand equipment lease rate, let us define equipment leasing. It is acquisition of vehicle, machinery or any other equipment on rent. By taking the advantage of this facility, you’ll not be required to invest capital and can reduce the cost of buying equipment. The ownership of these equipments is in hands of leasing companies. You can cut down expenses by taking possessions on lease. These days you can obtain anything on lease and can keep purchasing costs diminished. If you are opening an office and looking for computers in bulk, then renting them at lowest equipment lease rate is a favorable option. Leasing is the best thing to acquire at present time when inflation is reaching the sky. Now, when you have understood what equipment leasing is, let’s have a look how to fetch best equipment lease rate.

Whenever you reach a leasing firm, the first question you hit is- what is the lease rate? No matter for what you have landed the finance company, your main concern is the rate at which you are leasing. It is something which you are supposed to pay in form of interest to the owner. Equipment lease rates vary from lender to lender and are available in wide range. It also depends upon the geography of the place and according to that funding is being done. Equipment lease rate largely rely on the volume of deal. For larger borrowings, the lease rate will be higher than the small borrowings. You can fetch equipment on rent from any renowned firm. All you need to do is to perform little bit of digging by searching the financial institutions that suits your needs.

There are various advantages of low rates like you will not have to pay higher amount on a monthly basis. Further, lease rate is fixed and does not fluctuate. Working capital can be conserved and an instant access to innovative business tools is also offered through this procedure. If you are going for lease, then you can easily make out what is the difference between equipment lease rate and the rate at which you actually purchase it. With this comparison, things will become clearer to identify which is the better route.

There are various financial firms from where you can look for this procedure. Banks and affiliated firms offer lease at lower rate, but in reality they are difficult to find. These firms deliver exceptional customer service. Equipment dealers also arrange this facility for their customers. Apart from them, there are many leasing companies which are operating independently and providing the advantages. In leasing, you may also see the interference of brokers and packagers.

In a nutshell, equipment leasing is workable for all businesses. Internet is a treasure where you can acquire best information about best equipment lease rate. Nothing additional you have to perform. Believe on your senses and look for the competent and effective leasing company so that you may not have to feel regret. This is far better than acquiring things on loan.

Credit Cards – Guidance and Useful Tips

Credit Card companies have introduced a lot of specific cards based up on the customers satisfaction and their current necessities. The severe competition led the worldwide banks and credit card companies to introduce numerous card products and numerous offers been introduced and its still continuing. Lets see some details behind this. Every surfer possibly came across hundreds of affiliate sites and the worldwide banks own websites promoting number of products. But, what’s the catch? and where to find the exact details?. Every one trying to market their products in numerous ways like text ads, RSS feeds, niche websites, pay-per-click and article marketing. But it’s very easy to hide the traps by using some exclusive attractive content.Important and Informative: The FICO score normally known as “Credit Score” is become an unavoidable thing for people in america. This credit score determines the person’s benefits with the banks and other financial institutions. Lower credit score makes the banks to reject one’s application for any financial approach. But a lot of new credit cards have been introduced and named as Bad Credit Credit Cards and Guaranteed Approval Credit Cards helping the people with bad credit. Also “” provides a reliable solution for people with bad credit to obtain loans and recommendable credit cards. It’s always important to read the term and conditions of a credit card, before applying for a credit card. Always try to make the payment in time, or apply for a credit card which provides the option to pay overtime.There are some specific offers available, which allow its card members to pay the amount in overtime. Cards like Platinum Business FreedomPass Credit Card from OPEN(sm) the small business team and Bank of America Rewards(TM) American Express® Card provides the flexibility to its card holders to pay in over time.Total Protection: It’s a more important thing to consider about the security provided for the card holders. Because we cannot see the Total security Protection with every offers, only some specific offers provides this facility to ensure its card members safety. It’s very important to ensure that the card provides 0% fraud liability. There should be absolute fraud protection against unauthorized use, online and offline. Some recommendable offers on these categories are BoatU.S.(TM) Platinum Plus® Visa® Card and Financial Rewards® Visa® Platinum Plus® Card are considerable products, but there are still more products offering this security services available in U.S market.Fee and Interest Rates: This is the most important thing to keep in mind before applying for a credit card. because it has been estimated that more than 100 million americans carrying monthly credit card debt. There are possibilities that even if you make the payment on time, the credit card companies might charge you. So, the card holders must watch out for carrying balances. Also the fixed rates are not constant, the credit card companies may increase the interest rates by informing you, 15 days prior to change. Mostly this communication happen through your monthly credit card statement. So, spend some considerable time and go through your monthly statements. So one should be careful before applying for a credit card. Should read the user agreement thoroughly and also it is must to enquire about the conditions apply section. There are lot of cards have been introduced as low interest credit cards, no annual fee credit cards etc.. some specific offers are Discover® More Clear Card and Chase Freedom Cash are recommendable offers but there are still more offers to go.Reward points: The credit card companies compete against each other with attractive incentives such as cash back, points reward schemes and balance transfer offers at zero percent. There are lot of new offers have been introduced in U.S by worldwide banks. but please think twice because, no one will offer anything in real life just to make others to enjoy benefits. The most gentle offers will carry this exact proportion (profit 50% plus customer satisfaction 50%). The Discover® Motiva Card and Blue from American Express® are good based on its card members opinion.Some Useful Tips: Ask yourself these questions that do you need the card?, can you afford a credit card? and will you be able to pay the monthly balances each month?. Think twice before purchasing anything. Because, chances are there that you won’t be able to pay, when the credit card bill comes in. As a credit card consumer, you can request and obtain a free credit report once in every twelve months. You can obtain your credit report from the three major credit reporting companies 1.Equifax, 2. Experian and 3.TransUnion. Be smart when using your credit card at overseas. Because a lot of complaints filed with credit card companies that the consumers have been charged extra amount. Don’t use your credit cards at less reputable places.Complaints and suggestions: If you would like to file a complaint about any credit card issue, go with the reliable organization. As far as i know the is one of the best at its services and they are well experienced to handle all the issues. The comptroller of currency and the Federal Reserve Board are also best places to go for the solution. Before filing a complaint, please discuss with the same credit card company regarding your issue. Because every organisation have their own concern about their customers.I will also recommend to read a lot of articles about credit cards, because every article has its own opinions and advantages, that’ll let you know the exact details about every new credit card offers. Please use the credit cards based on your convenience and not for luxury. Because having your own money in your wallet will be more comfortable and safe. Even there are a lot of debit cards have the same advantages like credit cards. But as you know, these new debit card offers are based on your own amount and there’s not even a single dime comes as credit.

Secured or Unsecured Credit Cards are Options for Bankruptcy Reports

If you are considering applying for a credit card after having gone through bankruptcy, the best advice is to apply for secured credit cards that initiate collateral usage for the credit card application other than applying for unsecured credit cards.Have you ever wondered how secured and unsecured credit cards differ from one another? By the word itself, you know that the secure credit cards are secured while the unsecured credit cards are unsecured. The secure credit cards uses your saving accounts as collateral, usually starting from five hundred dollars or more that the credit card issuer use to determine credit limits for you, and as mentioned used for collateral purposes if there is a default in payments. For instance, in your savings accounts you have the amount of $500 dollars that can be used as collateral used for possible problems that are most likely to occur that can result in default payments. When you default, the card issuer automatically deducts the payments in your savings account to pay for the credit card.Unsecured credit cards are also an option for those in need of a credit card but application for these credit cards may be difficult due to related bankruptcy problems. In applying for unsecured credit cards you are required to fill in an application form that is based on your income, credit report, and other necessary information stated on the application form that credit card issuers need to grant approval to your credit card application. These credit cards are approved with credit limits based on your income and credibility. Although applying for unsecured credit limit does not entirely mean that you are qualified for the unsecured credit card, instead applications are also based depending on the credit card issuer’s guidelines too.In cases like bankruptcy, applying for secured credit cards are best. Besides, unsecured credit cards depend on the history of your credit, lessening your chances for unsecured credit cards. The moment the credit card issuers learn you have a record of bankruptcy in file, the issuer will definitely be questionable and may not grant you a credit card. On the other hand applying for secured credit cards have higher chances in getting a secured credit card whereas unsecured credit cards are difficult to apply for due to credit report such as bankruptcy.Many companies offer secured credit cards that you may consider great, but the truth is all secured credit cards can be strenuous and could make troubles for you. Secured credit cards are not all the same therefore consider researching the different types of secured credit cards in limiting your choice by applying for the best credit cards. There are some criteria mostly important before applying for secured credit cards.The following criteria you should consider are low interest rates, application fees if any, and be sure that a secured card issuer informs all three credit bureaus about the application. You should consider searching for secured credit cards that has low interest rates and no application fees included. Also, the important thing to remember is all secured credit cards should be reported at all credit bureaus for approval.Applying for the right credit cards need time and effort for researching different types of credit cards offered by companies. If you feel that you are still not satisfied with secured credit card, you can also try unsecured credit cards. However, because of a bankruptcy background, the best to apply for credit cards are secured credit cards.

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.

How Do I Get My First Credit Card?

In the economic environment of today, although you may not need to use it, having good credit is vital to survival. It positions you as a fiscally responsible person and can help ensure that:You get better rates on your mortgage;
You get better rates on your car loan;
Your security deposit, if your utility company requires it at all, is as low as possible;
Your potential landlord favors you over someone with a bad credit rating; and
Your potential boss favours you over a candidate with a bad credit rating.That being said, you should always keep in mind that the ability to obtain credit is a privilege not to be abused. It takes a long time to build up a good credit record but your reputation can be destroyed in a very short time. Do not borrow money that you cannot afford to repay.How do you get your first credit card?There is a slow way to get your first card fast. (And get a good credit rating)And there is a quick way to get your first card fast. (You only need some collateral)My hope is that if you are still young enough you will implement the slow way. If you are not – well keep on reading.The slow way to get a credit card fastOpen a debit or savings account (having an account demonstrates stability.)
Become an authorized user on a parent’s, siblings or friend’s card (do not use this card and make sure that the primary account holder is financially responsible.)
Get a student credit card.
Consider an auto loan (the interest rate is usually higher but it is a simple way to build good credit.)
Pay all accounts on time (set up debit orders to pay your bills or have a reminder system in place so that you’re never late with a payment. This includes utility bills, cellphone accounts and accounts at stores.)
Keep your employment history clean (your work consistency and stability in holding onto jobs is very important.)
Maintain a stable place of residence for as long as possible (this home address can even be that of your parents. Having a fixed home address greatly affects your credit rating.)
Consider a loan from a peer to peer lending site (individuals who offer these loans compete with each other to offer you the lowest rates. Often lower
than the bank’s rates. Ensure that these sites report to all the credit bureaus.)
Get a copy of your free credit report every year and make sure there are no mistakes.Building good credit is about proving financial responsibility and that you can reliably repay money you are trusted with. A single missed payment can negatively impact your credit score and take many years to disappear.If all these things have been taken care of, getting your first card will be quick and painless. Just make sure you are able to pay the balances when they fall due or all of your planning and sacrifice will be for nothing.The quick way to get a credit card fast1. Pre-approved CardsCompanies which offer pre-approved cards get information from you through an electronic trail that you leave behind every time you apply for a card. If you have a good credit rating, you would be able to get a loan every time you apply and can prove that paying it back will not be a problem. You would also be able to get the benefits and privileges given to people with a good credit rating.Everything is also visible online if you happen to have a bad rating. Potential lenders are also able to see that you have been disallowed credit and how often. This is a clear evidence that you are in possession of a bad credit rating. Only those with bad credit ratings get continuously rejected.As such, they send you invitations so that you will be able to get hold of their pre-approved cards. If you take a good look at what they are offering, especially the conditions, you will see that they are asking higher interest rates. But, given your situation, this is may be a pretty good opportunity to try to bounce back.2. Instant Approval CardSearch online for offers by banks and credit institutions for instant approval cards. These cards can be approved or denied in as little as 60 seconds.Compare the benefits and obligations attached to these cards.Apply for those that suit your needs and re-compare all those that are accepted. Most times, you will only need one card. It is not necessary to get all the cards for which you are approved.3. Secured CardWith a secured card the credit card company will require a deposit held against the card’s use that will be used if you fail to pay the account. The deposited funds for a secured card are not used to pay for the goods and services as you use the credit card. This deposit will also determine the limit on your card.Secured card providers report to the credit reporting agencies.Pay all your bills on time and after six months of ‘good behavior’ you can consider applying to the same lender for an unsecured card. By this time, you will have established yourself as a responsible borrower.If your application for an unsecured card is turned down, find out the reason. Not all lending institutions are the same. Some may require that you wait a little longer before applying for an unsecured card. Say anything from 12 to 24 months.Do not re-apply every month. Unsuccessful applications reflect on your credit rating and can leave you with an unfavorable rating.4. Pre Paid CardA pre paid card is very similar to a secured card in that it also requires a deposit up front. However, unlike a secured card, the amount available from this deposit is reduced every time you make a purchase. In this way, your card actually functions as a debit card. The details of account behavior on a pre paid card are not normally released to credit bureaus. So, if you are trying to build up a good credit rating, this is not always the best option.5. Retail AccountsSome retailers issue cards for use only at its own stores, while gasoline companies offer cards for fuel purchases. Gas and retail cards are more likely to approve consumers with little to no credit history. Retailers and gasoline companies report activity to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion and are useful credit rating builders.6. Joint AccountsYou can make use of a parent, a spouse, a close relative or a friend with good credit by opening a joint credit card account with that person. The bank approves the application based on the other person’s high credit rating, and the account gets reported in both cardholders’ credit files.Use your card responsibly and always pay on time or you may damage your joint account holder’s excellent records. Make sure that your joint account holder does the same. You will want to get your own card eventually and a bad credit report will hurt the process.7. Charge CardsThe providers include Diner’s Club and American Express.Charge cards are similar to credit cards, but the difference is that the balance of a charge card must be repaid in full every month whereas a credit card balance can be carried over to the following month. Charge cards don’t have credit limits either, so you have to be sure to spend only what you can pay off at the end of the month.The cards mentioned above can usually be obtained on the same day that they are applied for – sometimes within minutes. How fast is that?

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 Card Secrets You Must Know

When you were little, your introduction to the world of personal finance management most likely came about in the form of a gift from your parents: a pouch, perhaps a small canister, or any container where you could deposit loose change – any money that you mean to save up for use in the future instead of the present. By learning the fundamental practice of setting money aside now so that you can have something to spend later, you are able to develop a mindset that does not hanker to spend every last riyal that ends up in your hands; what you gain, instead, is a culture of responsibly ensuring that you have the financial resources for any need that may arise by preparing for such instances and making wise use of the money that you do spend.

This is the same when applying for credit cards as a means of having another source of funds to spend. Most of the time, having credit cards are often associated to financial loss but with the right ways of handling it, you will be able to see how helpful it will be. Below are some tips and tricks you must know if have a credit card:

Check For Annual Fees

Most companies charge a certain amount of annual fee on the cards. However, very few people know that they can easily get rid of such fee, especially if they have a good credit score. For this case, all you need to do is to pick up the phone, call your bank and request for the fee to be removed. Tell them that you are going to dump the card if they don’t remove the fee.

Universal Rules

Say for example, if you are late in making the repayment of one of your cards, you will be charged with a much higher rate of interest on your other cards. So, one of the most important credit card tips for you is to make the payment on or before the due date. This is considered to be part of their universal default rules which is a disadvantage to the subscriber if he has no idea of this.

Try Waiving The Late Fees

If you have never been late before paying your balance and fees, you can call up the credit card company to have them waive the late fees for you. Some representatives may refuse this request but it doesn’t harm to just call them and try. You may call another time and you might just be lucky with the next representative.

Stashing cash away among your possessions is certainly not an option in this day and age. If you want to have total convenience and security with your finances, as well as a smart management strategy, then turning to reliable banking institutions for their products is the best thing to do.

Do You and Your Insurance Company Know Your Liability?

Do you and your Insurance Company know your Liability?

Traffic signs are everywhere. They provide us with warnings, directions and information. They can be found along public roadways, private roadways and parking lots. As of June 13, 2014 all agencies with public and private roadways which are opened for public travel are required to have a traffic sign assessment and management plan in place.

I know what you are thinking, that’s great the government has more paperwork to add to their already inflated bureaucracy. Though that may be the case, if you are a commercial or industrial business, mall, shopping center, home owner’s association, convenience store, gas station, just to name a few, with a parking lot or roadways, you should be preparing for traffic sign Retroreflectivity.

Why should you be concerned or taking note of traffic sign assessment and management? Well simply put if you allow motorists to drive on your property, which would almost be impossible not to, you are entering new realm of possible liability.

You along with your Insurance Company should know what the failure to prepare and plan for traffic sign assessment and management can mean. I bet most agencies and businesses don’t even know what traffic signs are their responsibilities.

Why don’t you humor me and let me give you an example how this can affect you. When your property was built, more than likely you or the owner at the time had to obtain a driveway or highway occupancy permit to enter and exit the public roadway. More than likely your plan had a stop sign at the entrance, no big deal, right? Wrong, if a driver leaving your property pulls out into the path of an oncoming vehicle and there is an accident, one of the things that the investigating agencies will be looked at is whether the proper traffic signs are in place and in operational condition. They will look at the signs in helping to determine who is at fault. Maybe not a huge deal if it is a fender bender, but what if there are major injuries or even worse a death. Now you can be certain the insuring parties, or family of the injured or dead are going to be looking for someone to pay for the damages and pain and suffering.

Get my point! In the example above we are only talking about one sign, a stop sign. Let me ask you a few things that the investigators will probably asking.

Property owner, what was the date the stop sign was installed? Do you have records of the purchase? Did the stop sign meet the highway traffic sign standards at the time of installation? Where did you purchase the sign? Was it installed to the proper height and mounting standards as required by the highway standards? When was the sign last assessed for compliance?

Holy cow! As a property owner how would you know any of that information? Simple: a traffic sign assessment and management program.

Now many permit and civil plans for properties have more than one stop sign on them, many have multiple signs. Did you also know that some state, county and local agencies add wording to the permit plans that give responsibility for the new roadway signs added during construction to the property owner. I know, you are asking why, would they do that. Simple, alleviate or pass the responsibility to someone else. Smart on their part, but bad for you and you insurance company.

The MUTCD (Manual on Uniformed Traffic Control Devices) is about to make all of our lives a little bit more interesting. I believe the door is opening for a flood of liability claims relating to traffic signs. The MUTCD and Federal Highway Administration have stated that private roads open to public travel are required to meet provisions of the MUTCD, including the minimum retroreflectivity standards. I know some people will argue that parking lots are not included, however I believe this extends to parking lots. My logic behind this is that there are drive lanes in a parking lot and what is a drive lane other than a private road. But hey I will let the lawyers argue that point in court.

A statistic obtained from Auto Insurance, indicated that Nationwide Insurance’s 2012 claim data showed 13 percent of all accidents occur in parking lots. During my research I have found that injuries to pedestrians are one of the fastest growing types of accidents which occur in parking lots. So my next question is are your Pedestrian crossing signs compliant?

As you can see, I am trying to make a point, if you do not have a traffic sign assessment and management plan in place or think that it can’t happen to you all I can say is good luck. But just remember an implemented plan may be the cheapest insurance you could purchase.

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