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Some credit card strategy.

March 3rd, 2006

If you ever felt you didn’t have much say in how your credit card company handles you, think again. Below are some ways you can be in control, remember you are the consumer.

You don’t have to play (or pay) by their rules. A credit card company usually will have a minimum amount due. Are you one that pays just that amount? Well this is cleverly calculated to keep you forever as a customer. For example a $4,500 balance will take 44 years to pay off at the minimum amount due. This is even if you don’t put another red cent on the card.

“Hidden” credit card charges.

March 2nd, 2006

How can a credit card company make money? Let me count the ways…

  1. Universal default penalties. Card issuers regularly check their customers’ credit reports for late payments on any of their bills. Any late payment can be used as an excuse to increase your credit card’s interest rate, regardless of the fact that you have never made a late payment to the card issuer.

  2. Bait-and-switch card offers. Direct mail offers generally advertise the issuer’s premium card at low interest rates. However, the fine print says the company can issue a more costly non-premium card with a higher annual percentage rate if you fail to qualify for the premium card. So when that issuer’s card arrives in the mailbox, check the actual interest rate that you have now signed up for.

  3. MasterCard International taking more security precautions for consumers.

    March 2nd, 2006

    One credit card company is showing that it does have concerns for the consumer. MasterCard International launched an initiative to help credit card-accepting merchants tighten up their protection of personal consumer information. They are also taking actions to entice merchants into incorporating security for the consumer.

    The credit card association is working with merchants to provide them with information, tools and support to help safeguard consumer information.

    The effort is designed to combat credit card fraud amid increasing concerns about identity theft. It comes after a series of high-profile security breaches involving credit card data.

    Controlling a teenagers spending with a credit card.

    March 1st, 2006

    With the ever changing technology we can now give our children a credit card which will control spending.

    An Arizona company has introduced a debit card, which uses a V-chip-like computer control, letting parents set spending limits, review statements and even select where it can be used. For example, parents can make sure their children’s debit cards work at gas stations but not liquor stores. This card is called the Allow Card.

    For the parent it is a way to teach the child about money and for the child it is really easy to use and they do not have to worry about carrying money around.

    What does your credit report report?

    March 1st, 2006

    You have heard about credit reports, but what do they really report? What does your credit report say about you?

    It reveals how prompt you are in paying back loans, how much money you could borrow should you decide to go on a spending spree, and how many times you’ve applied for credit. What it does not reveal is your salary or business debts (unless you personally guaranteed a loan).

    Your credit record also might not reflect all of your credit accounts—such as travel, entertainment, gasoline card companies, and credit unions—since some of these creditors do not supply information to the credit reporting agencies. Your deposit information, such as your saving’s account balance, are not part of your credit report.

    Credit card debt and bankruptcy increased in 2005.

    February 28th, 2006

    Now-a-days it seems like the mail box is just more bad news. The credit card bills are coming in faster than the money. This is the case for more Americans than ever before. This is now backed up by a new survey.

    The survey finds that low- and middle-income families are acquiring credit card debt to pay for essentials at the same time that business practices in the credit card industry are making this debt more costly and harder to manage.

    Did your credit card minimum payment increase?

    February 9th, 2006

    Regulatory guidelines on credit card minimum payments were made three years ago. Read on to find out how this will affect your credit card bill.

    Most of the top 10 credit card issuers have raised their minimum payments the last quarter of 2005. The result is that your payments have increased even if you have not added to the card.

    The higher minimum credit card payments are the result of guidelines issued in January 2003 by the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision. Card issuers were to adopt higher minimums by the end of 2005, sooner if feasible.

    Here is the latest on credit card concepts

    February 9th, 2006

    It did not seem so long ago that the plastic credit card was new and innovative. Some creditors are looking to revamp it so that the consumer can spend less time at cash registers. Like anything new, it does bring forward questions about safety and spending habits.

    Chase wants you to ‘Blink’, MasterCard wants you to ‘Tap and Go’ and American Express wants you to ExpressPay. What does all this mean for you?

    It means that you can have incremental time saved when making purchases. The retailer may lose sales if the lines are too long or too slow. Proponents say it will save time for consumers and could make money for merchants.

    Who benefits with 0% financing?

    February 8th, 2006

    Do you read the fine print when you are filing out finance forms? Here are some things you should know regarding the 0% financing for 12 or 24 months. It may be the bankers and not the consumers who are the winners in this game.

    Retailers are taking a financial approach that’s proving popular. It is the offers of 0% financing for 12 or 24 months when shoppers buy big-ticket items like plasma televisions and washing machines. Even though such deals can lead to write offs as the customers drawn to them often have less discretionary income and are more likely to default; retailers feel they can live with the delinquencies. Yes, retailers are willing to do this because the delinquencies have less margin-killing than mark down merchandise.

    Do you have to give out your Social Security number?

    January 19th, 2006

    Do you know when you can say no to giving out your Social Security number (SSN)? Do you know why you would not give it out to someone? Read on to find out these answers.

    Put your Social Security number in a computer and poof; access to information such as your bank account, your phone number, where you work, where you live, etc.

    Today, schools, phone companies, utilities, health clubs, insurance companies, video stores, just about everybody wants your Social Security number. Some of the more prevalent uses are to get your credit rating and determine whether you pay your bills, and to keep track of you through name and address changes.

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