Seven Tips For Maximizing Rewards on Your Credit Card

Most of the rewards  credit   cards  look good at the first glance. However, it is important to make a small research on each of them before you finally select one. If you miss the fine print, the fees and other charges payable may exceed the rewards! Here are some handy  tips  for taking out maximum benefits from a rewards  credit   card .

1. Some of these cards don’t offer any rewards if you carry over a balance from one month to another. So it is important for you to clear the balance every month. It is usual for these cards to charge a higher rate of interest on outstanding balance.

2. Try to analyze the terms carefully. When the rewards use words like “up to”, it means that is the maximum you can get and you may not go up to that level unless you spend a big amount of money on your card. In reality you are likely to get much less than the advertised reward.

3. The actual cost of the points to you is a very important point. You should always calculate how much money is required to be spent to get a particular reward. That will give an exact idea about the cost factor. So if you are required to spend $10,000 for a gift voucher of $50, is it really worth the effort?

4. Your spending pattern is also important. The programs offering frequent flyer miles generally require you to spend a lot. If you are an occasional spender, then you may take years to get a free flight.

5. Understand fully the gas rewards offered before applying for such  credit   cards . With the ever increasing price of gas, these cards are extremely popular. They offer generous rewards. However to get the required points, you may be required to shop only at a gas station. If you spend in supermarkets or other locations, that may not be counted as per the rewards program and you won’t get much cash back.

6. The factor of annual fees usually defeats the purpose of a rewards  credit   card . For instance, if you are required to pay an annual fee of $35 to hold a card, you may be required to spend up to $3,500 before earning any rewards.

7. Check the limits imposed on rewards. For example, if you get five per cent cash back on purchases of gas but up to a limit of tool $250, the spending over and about this limit will be wasted. Another point is some rewards will expire in case if you are unable to use them within a limited period of time.

So my advice is, avoid temptations. If you go on spending on a  credit   card  targeting a reward, you may be a loser.

3 Tips Before Applying For a Prepaid Credit Card Online

The simple truth is that you need access to a  credit   card  immediately. Applying for a standard Visa or Mastercard through the bank is time consuming and anxiety written. Without knowing what is on your credit report, you just assume that your credit is mediocre or poor, or perhaps, non-existent. If you fall into any of these scenarios then you are a perfect candidate to apply for a prepaid  credit   card  online.

Before you do apply, there are some things that you need to do in order to avoid problems after you get the card. Choosing the right prepaid  card  will save you money and headaches in the long run and at the same time possibly improve your  credit  history and rating. Here are 3 of the most important tips before filling out the application.

Check Your Credit

If you’ve been denied credit within the past 60 days, you should have received a letter from the lender who rejected your application that states the reason why you were denied credit. If you read it carefully, you will notice that you can get a free credit report from the credit bureaus. You need this to see where you stand in the eyes of a lender.

If you haven’t been denied credit, by law, you are allowed a free credit report from each of the credit bureaus annually. It makes smart financial sense to take advantage of this at the beginning of each year.

Research Is Key

There are a bucket load of prepaid cards available but a limited number should be avoided at all costs. Because that is what it will do – cost you money, far more than it’s worth. Here is what you need to look out for when searching through the listed websites that offer a prepaid card.

Excessive fees are to be avoided for sure. There is no need to pay anything for a prepaid card. In almost all cases, the lender is not using their own money, they’re using your money to fund the credit. When you open an account, your prepaid  credit   card  limit is equal to the balance in your savings account located at the same bank. The lender often pays you less interest or in some cases, no interest and has use of your money while it’s sitting idle.

A few lenders do not use your money; they actually give you credit. But they often include fees that override any benefit you may receive. Among them are application fees,  card  initiation fee, and account maintenance fee, or an annual  credit   card  fee etc. When you total these charges, which are often deducted from your initial credit line, you discover the problem. Before you get to use the  card , the fees add up to more than your  credit  limit, which is very low to begin with, and your first bill is before you even get to use the  card . If you don’t pay it, it gets turned over to a collection agency. Avoid these crooks at all cost.

Search For Rewards

If you are going to take full advantage of the offer made by the lenders of a prepaid  credit   card  online, then look for those that have rewards attached. Some of the rewards include reward points, free gifts or discounts at preferred merchants. If you are going to spend the money anyway, why not get something extra for it.

Getting a prepaid  card  online is easy, and many people have used it successfully to rebuild their  credit . Applying these simple  tips  in addition to the other tactics for securing the best  card  will save you a considerable amount of money.

Easy Tips for Your Late Credit Card Payments

There are three reasons that you might have missed a payment on your  credit   card : either you can’t afford to pay, the payment didn’t get there in time or you just plain forgot. For whatever reason, there’s one thing you need to do, and quickly – get on the phone.

Then, apologise like you’ve never apologised before. Don’t panic, stay calm, but make it clear to the customer service representative that you’re very sorry. Say that things like this never happen to you. If you just forgot, then tell the truth about what happened. But if you can’t afford to pay, then you should say so too.

You will be surprised at how sympathetic  credit   card  companies can be if you phone and apologise. After all, the sensible ones want to keep you paying interest to them for a long time to come, so it’s not really in their interest to punish you.

Remember to show your appreciation if they let you off. Promise that it won’t happen again. Whatever you do, don’t get angry or frustrated. You need their goodwill and to be in their good books.

However, if deemed necessary, you may also want to show that you are willing to transfer your balance elsewhere if they won’t let you off this one mistake.  Credit   card  companies will usually be more accommodating to your request once you make this known.

You need to do everything you can to persuade them not to add your late payment to your credit report. Any negativity in your credit report may adversely affect your applications for any credit. Remember that any late payment can be a black mark against your name for as long as ten years.

On the other hand, if the worst happens and it does get onto your credit report, don’t worry excessively. As long as there’s only one late payment in a year or so, it doesn’t matter too much. It’s the people who consistently pay late who get the truly terrible credit ratings.

In the future, remember to make payments early. This goes especially for the people whose payments didn’t make it in time. It is just not prudent to wait until the day before the deadline to make your  credit   card  payment. Many things can go wrong at the last minute.

In a nutshell, it’s generally a bad idea to let bills of any kind stack up until you get around to them. Review your bills regularly, pay on time and you’ll live a much less stressful life.

Top Tips For Safe Credit Card Usage

In this financial climate, owning a  credit   card  has become a necessity for many of us. Although many people believe these cards are ‘bad’, they aren’t really, they provide a vital purpose. However, many people use them incorrectly which means that the expenses quickly rack up large amounts of interest, and before you know it, spending could be out of control. Follow these  credit   card   tips  however, and you will find that borrowing can be incredibly cheap.

Firstly you should always shop around for the best deal out there. Basically you will be wanting to look for the amount of interest charged, whether there is any interest free period, and of course, whether there are any subscription fees for just owning the card. One thing that ties into this really is to not own too many cards. This is one of the top  tips  offered by people in financial turmoil, most of their problems have been down to not being able to keep up with the repayments on their  cards .

Keep your ‘limit’ though (this will stop you using the card for anything but emergency purchases), and you will want to pay off the card in full every single month so that interest does not accumulate. There is no sense just paying off the ‘minimum amount’ as to be perfectly honest, you will never pay the  credit   card  back at that rate!

Try to avoid paying late on your  credit   card , not only can this lead to high ‘fines’, but it will also lead to bad notches on your  credit  report. Keep doing this, and you are going to ruin your credit score for a long time to come.

Always make direct purchases as opposed to ‘withdrawing cash’ on your card. Cash Withdrawals (sometimes known as advances) are a considerably more expensive interest wise than a straight purpose, and quite often, the interest will start racking up on them immediately as opposed to the next month.

Finally, sure you have the money in place, but be honest, do you really need to spend it? You will want to weigh up the difference between what you ‘want’ and what you ‘need’. If you follow just one of these  credit   card   tips , it has to be this one! There are so many people out there who will spend money just because they have it. So when you are considering a purchase, particularly a large one, you will want to consider whether you actually need it there and then, or whether you are better off waiting, which of course will end up being cheaper in the long run. If you provide this same sort of attention to all purchases, you will find that you won’t ‘dive’ into your  credit   card  balance too much.

Credit Card Debt Reduction Tips – Tips to Claim a Financial Hardship and Eliminate Debt

When you are deep in debt you need to come up with a strategy that will help you overcome your financial burden. There are many ways to get out of debt, but you need to decide which one is best for you and you will also need to train yourself to stop making a lot of debt. We shouldn’t only eliminate the effect of your debt, but also the cause. Here are some tips that will help you live a life debt free and will definitely make you better.

1- Step away from your  credit   card  now! You need to stop using the  credit   card  if you really want to get out of debt in this life. Make sure that you leave it at home every time you go shopping because you will definitely be tempted to use it when you get the chance.

2- Stop buying things that you really don’t need. You don’t need that new carpet that is very expensive now do you? You just want it because it’s pretty and I feel you, but you can’t continue this way if you don’t stop and change your habit. Only try to buy things you do need and you will learn that you don’t really need much to live a happy life.

3- Make a list with everything you buy every month. You will be shocked about how much money you spend on unnecessary things. Also, try to keep a certain budget each month and respect it. When you buy more, change the budget for the next month so that you covered the things you shouldn’t have purchased in the last month.

4- Only shop a few times each month. If you need groceries, shop at the beginning of each week for them, but don’t do it every day because you will definitely be tempted to buy unnecessary things. Also, make sure you only buy the clothes you need each month and you don’t venture yourself in a shopping spree just because they have big sales and reductions.

5- If you can’t manage your financial situation anymore choose one of the methods for debt elimination: debt consolidation, debt management, or debt settlement, but never choose bankruptcy because it will only make things worse.

Credit Card Consolidation Tips and Options

As the US economy attempts to pull out of the current recession, consumer debt levels remain overwhelmingly high. As more people struggle to afford their minimum payments, and others have no realistic way of cutting into their high debt amounts, individuals will continue to look for debt help.  Credit   card  consolidation is a broad term used loosely to describe any number of debt help services that allow people to pay off debt.

Due to the country’s economic woes, more debt consolidation companies are advertising on television, radio and online to try and get consumers to hire them to resolve their debt problems. Unfortunately, the majority of these advertisements sound exactly the same and it becomes very difficult for consumers to differentiate between the different  credit   card  consolidation options that exist. The following is a basic overview of those options, and who may be a goods fit for what:

Debt Consolidation Loan: a debt consolidation loan to pay off  credit   cards  works like this- a debtor receives a loan from a bank (at times with collateral) and pays of all of the owed creditors. In turn, they make one monthly payment back to the bank that gave he or she the loan until that debt is paid off in full. Often, if the loan is unsecured, it will be extended at a very high interest rate.

 Credit  Counseling: the  credit  counseling industry has been around since the late 1950’s. The majority of these “non-profit” agencies in effect work as a collection wing of the  credit   card  companies. A lot of these agencies are owned and funded by the  credit   card  companies. For every person they enroll, the  credit   card  company provides a kickback to these agencies. Clients of credit counseling agencies make one monthly payment to the agency who disperses said monies to each of the client’s owed creditors. In the meantime, the agency works to lower the interest rate on each of their client’s  credit   cards . These debt management programs as they are referred to tend to last 4-5 years, and are a good fit for people who don’t owe much, make their monthly payments with no trouble but are struggling with high interest rates.

Debt Settlement: debt settlement to pay off debt is the process of negotiating a lump sum payoff with the owed creditor for a reduction of the total debt amount. For example, someone who owes $10,000 in  credit   card  debt may be able to settle the balance for $4,000. Debt settlement programs typically last 3 years, and most companies will charge 15% of the total debt amount as their fee. Fees are typically spread out over 12-18 months. This is a solid bankruptcy alternative and is a good option for people who owe a lot and are behind on their monthly payments.

Three Quick Tips for Getting Approval on a Student Credit Card

Being a student can mean high expenses and low income, due to the fact you will need to purchase text books and other study materials because you do not have the time to work. Most students will work during the spring or summer break, but that is not always enough to get you through the term. An easy way of getting help is to apply for a student  credit   card , this is not as hard as you may think, or as expensive.

There are a lot of attractive rates and payment terms out there so follow these guidelines:

1. Search for a suitable  credit   cards 

You will not have to look far to find a company willing to give you your first  credit   card . They will either have set up a booth on campus or be at the click of a button on the internet. Make sure that you apply for a student  credit   card  as these will have more attractive interest rates and benefits like discount cinema tickets. Make sure you compare the cards to find the one that best suits your lifestyle and needs. So if you like buying music then one that comes with discount vouchers is right for you.

2. Read the terms and conditions first

Make sure that you have read the terms first and checked the amount of interest you will be paying is very important. Things to check are what the rate of interest is, how many days you have until you will start accruing interest, and what the penalty fees are.

3. Making an application

You can apply online, over the phone or buy sending and application form through the post. All you will need to do is prove you are a student and give your personal details with some ID.

The average  credit  amount will be between $500 and $1000 for a student  card  which will be enough to see you through any hard times.

Eight Tips to Manage Credit Card Debts

“How do I improve my credit score?” is the question that most people ask these days. The easy availability of money through  credit   cards  has exposed many people to risk of debt traps. If you are paying only the minimum amount on  credit   cards  every month, you should know the  credit   card  debt management  tips  to improve your  credit  score.

Know your credit rating

The first step in debt management is to get the information on your credit rating from all the three exchanges: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. This will help you to know the scars the debts have left on your credit score. “My credit score” can be obtained from the credit bureaus for a small fee.

Read Your Credit Report Carefully

Credit bureaus give free credit report once a year. You should collect your yearly report without fail. If there are any errors in the report, you should inform the respective bureau immediately and get them fixed. A small error in report can cost you a lot. You may have to pay higher interest rates on loans due to it.

Reduce Your Expenses

Cutting down on expenses may seem impossible. However, a little planning can bring down the monthly expenses by at least 10 percent. Make a budget every month and stick to it. Keep a record of your expenses. This will help in tracking the amount of money required for utilities, groceries, education and healthcare every month. It will also help to identify unnecessary expenditure. Try to control the habit of splurging beyond your means.

Use Only One  Credit   Card 

The more the number of  credit   cards , the harder it is to manage them. Therefore, use only one or two  credit   cards . If you have a handful of them, do not make the mistake of cancelling them as that may hurt your credit score. Many people ask, “How can my credit score suffer due to cancellation of them?” Here is the answer: When you cancel it, your debt to  credit  ratio dips and if you close an old account, the time duration for which you had owned a  credit   card  reduces. These things can impact your credit rating negatively.

Pay Debts With High Interest Rates First

You should first clear debts that have the highest interest rates. This will help you save money on the interest of expensive debts. Once, you have cleared the most expensive debt, start working towards paying off the second most expensive debt, and so on.

Read  Credit   Card  Statements

You should read the statements carefully. Check if all the transactions are correct and the last payment towards the  credit   card  bill is reflected. If you have not paid your dues on time, check if the interest and late fee charged are correct or not.

Pay More Than Just Minimum

If you pay only the minimum required amount on  credit   cards , you will not be able to come out of  credit   card  debt. Therefore, make efforts of paying more than the minimum amount ever month.

Seek Professional Help

If nothing seems to help, get advice from credit repair professionals. They will study your situation and develop a tailor-made solution to meet your needs.

Hope the above  tips  have answered your question, “How to improve my  credit  score?”

Help With Credit Card Debt – Some Unbelievably Easy Tips and Tricks to Reduce All of Your Balances

 Credit   cards , and revolving  credit  in general, can be both a blessing and a curse. It is definitely a blessing in a time of need when you are short of money and have an emergency. Unfortunately it becomes a curse if you are not able to repay it on time. There are a couple of simple things you can do to better manage your revolving debt, which includes charge cards, gas accounts, and department store cards.

Stop Adding To Your Debt

The absolute best thing you can do to manage your revolving debt is to cut all of your charge cards in half. Sound dramatic? Sure, it is, but it is one way to make sure that you stop adding on to the amount that you owe.

If you are not ready to take such a drastic step, start with leaving all of your  credit   cards  at home. Then they are available if you really have an emergency but are not in your wallet when you are out shopping. If you make it inconvenient to use credit you are much less likely to add to your balances.

Needs and Wants

The next step is to make a list of the things you spend money on each month. Now sit down and divide the list into two columns: one side for things you really need and the other side for things you want but don’t actually need. Each month reduce the amount you spend on wants and just spend on the needs. If you do this regularly, you will be surprised by how much you are able to save.

Now that you are saving money by spending less, it’s time to use it wisely. Start increasing the amount that you are paying on your revolving debt. Also you might consider contacting a debt management company who could give you even more ideas on how to save money and reduce your debt.

Tips on Credit Cards Debts Consolidation

Sometimes taking control of the debt and eliminating it is rather hard, since most of us tend to have more than one card and use them all excessively.  Credit   card  debts consolidation is a rather effective and efficient way to control your debt and rid yourself of a stressful situation. We all know that the pressure and stress that comes with the debt, every single month is suffocating, especially if you cannot respond not even to the minimum payment due. In this case you should really consider the way to consolidate your debt as soon as possible.

The basic form of debt consolidation is a loan that pays off the  credit   cards  and account balances, and can prove very beneficial in different ways. First of all this loan allows you to pay off your current accounts, which automatically means less dispersed money and less statements to come home. The monthly relief will be obvious right away, because in most cases the monthly payment of the loan is relatively smaller. In any case you will have to deal with only one bank or lending institution and the interest rate is also going to be just one. Most people lose a great amount of money on interest rates when owning more than one card. Your account status will change to paid and your credit report will start showing signs of amelioration; this is one of the best ways to boost your credit score and overall rating statistics.

 Credit   card  debts consolidation should be made through a company that is dependable and can offer a really reliable and secure consolidation; this refers of course to solid loans, experienced and qualified  credit  counselors and loan agents. If you didn’t have any prior experience and you don’t know anyone in particular in this industry, it is highly recommended to ask for references, as it is most likely that you know at least one person who has decided to consolidate debts and has been working with a company sometime in the past. You have to check the companies with the BBB or even checking online, so as to see what the other people’s testimonials are.

Although in some cases the debt consolidation is an immediate action, you need to take time so as to make sure that you will be working with a credible company, which has the necessary experience and ability to make a difference for you and free you from the stressful  credit   card  debt that has been tantalizing you for years.