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Essential tips on how to get a credit card

Banks and their marketing associates and divisions are vying with one another to capture a thick slice of the “credit card pie.” Offers by phone and mail of free credit cards, pre-approved credit cards, cards with special bonanzas, money back schemes, low introductory rates, and umpteen other perks pour in tempting you everyday.

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Banks and their marketing associates and divisions are vying with one another to capture a thick slice of the “credit card pie.” Offers by phone and mail of free credit cards, pre-approved credit cards, cards with special bonanzas, money back schemes, low introductory rates, and umpteen other perks pour in tempting you everyday.

A credit card is just a form of borrowing that does not come free. Credit terms, interest rates, fees and more can lay a stress on your bank balance. Credit cards are a temptation to spend now and pay later. What invariably happens is that people spend more than they can handle.

Informed consumers must always weigh carefully the pros and cons and compare different options before deciding on a credit card.

Before you decide find out

The advantages of a credit card are that it is a safe alternative to cash. Prevents loss as well as theft of cash. Using a card wisely can build a good credit history which helps when you need a loan or subsidy. It is useful in emergencies like accidents, urgent hospitalization, and unavoidable circumstances like natural calamities and so on. It grants a breather and gives you time to pay the bill. Some memberships offer travel or accident insurance to the card owners at no cost. They also offer privileges like discounts at restaurants, shopping malls, and holiday packages.

The other side is that you can get carried away and live beyond your means, ultimately falling into debt.

To be eligible you need:

• To be at least 18 years old.

• Have some income or the backing of credit worthy parents.

• Have an operational bank account.

• A telephone.

• A good credit rating. Your monthly expenses must not equal or exceed your income. Ideal expenses must account for approximately 50% of your income.

• To get a Visa or Master card your income must exceed US$ 12,000 a year. Or, you need to apply for a secured credit card where you pay upfront a certain amount of money as security deposit.

There are many kinds of credit cards to choose from. Unsecured standard and classic cards are those with a credit limit of US$ 2000 and generally charge higher interest rates and offer lower or less favorable terms than the platinum and gold cards. Unsecured platinum and gold cards are for people with high credit ratings, and the limits for these cards are between US$ 2000 to US$ 100,000.

Here are a few links that will give information and opportunities to apply for cards online:

• Visa at http://www.usa.visa.com/?country=us&ep=v_gg_new provides information, gives tips, and has listed a number of financial institutions that offer Visa cards and a wide range of services. One can apply for a card online.

• MasterCard International at http://www.mastercard.com/index.html is comprehensive with information, advice, and options of choosing and applying for a card online. They have an online form which when filled will give information of which card would be ideal and a channel which provides instant comparison of various card options.

• CreditCards.com at http://www.creditcards.com/ has articles, FAQs, a site map, and online application channels.

Tips:

• Pick a card because it has the lowest APR.

• Pick a card because all its terms and conditions have been carefully vetted by you. Read the fine print.

• Never pick a card because it is free for a year or life.

• Do not choose a card because it offers a low introductory rate.

• Do not choose a card because it has a cash back policy or great rewards programs.

Choose wisely and live debt free.

 

For People with No Credit: 5 Tips on How to Establish It

If you are just starting out on building your credit, you want to be smart about building good credit from the beginning. Too many people rush into the world of credit and don’t stop to think about how their actions will affect their credit score and ability to qualify for credit in the future. So here are 5 tips to help you get started on the right foot:

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If you are just starting out on building your credit, you want to be smart about building good credit from the beginning. Too many people rush into the world of credit and don’t stop to think about how their actions will affect their credit score and ability to qualify for credit in the future. So here are 5 tips to help you get started on the right foot:

1. Open a revolving credit account. This means applying for a credit card at a major credit company, such as Visa, MasterCard, or Discover. When you get your card, use it. If you would normally pay cash for twenty dollars in groceries, use your credit card. Then deposit that twenty-dollar bill into your checking account and immediately write a check to the credit card company for the bill you will receive that month. You will establish a good payment history very quickly this way.

2. If you have a high credit limit, use at least a third of it. Another aspect of your credit score is the ratio of credit used to your available credit. So if you have six hundred dollars in credit limit at Visa, spend two hundred dollars and pay this off promptly.

3. Always pay on time. Again, if you can pay your credit card bills as you use your card, you will avoid forgetting to pay at the end of the month. Avoid paying late, even if you are willing to pay the late fee. This late payment will show up on your credit report and lower your credit score.

4. Avoid applying for a lot of credit. When companies run your credit to see if you qualify for a credit card or a loan, this inquiry is recorded on your report for the next two years. These types of hard credit inquiries can lower your credit score. So pick what card you want and apply for it, then stop.

5. Finally, always pay your other bills on time. Utility companies, landlords, and medical billing agencies often report your payment history to credit bureaus. Get in the habit of being prompt.

 

Five Credit Card Billing Problems and How to Fix Them

It goes without saying that your first and best defense against paying fraudulent or unfair charges on your credit card is knowing what your bill says! When you receive your credit card statement each month, sit down with it and check each item to make sure that you actually DID purchase it. If you do run into inaccuracies or problems, there are procedures to follow to report and deal with the charges.

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It goes without saying that your first and best defense against paying fraudulent or unfair charges on your credit card is knowing what your bill says! When you receive your credit card statement each month, sit down with it and check each item to make sure that you actually DID purchase it. If you do run into inaccuracies or problems, there are procedures to follow to report and deal with the charges. If you don't follow the procedure and the card company decides to notify a credit reporting agency, it could affect far more than just your balance on that one credit card. <br><br>What are the most common billing problems and how should you deal with them?<br><br>1.Hey, I didn't buy that!<br><br> If you notice a charge on your credit card statement that you didn't make, take steps to deal with it IMMEDIATELY. It could be a store error - but it could be the first sign that someone else is using your identity. Heading off problems before they start is vital. Call your credit card company and report the charge that's in error - but don't leave it at that. Follow up with a written letter stating that you dispute the charge, and requesting that they investigate the situation. The credit card company has 45-60 days to complete their investigation and notify you of the result. During that time, they can not make any attempts to collect that amount from you, nor report you to a credit reporting agency because of it.<br><br>2.Wait - I canceled that subscription!<br><br>If you cancel a subscription for which you pay via credit card - to a magazine, a club or internet service provider for instance - it may take a month or two for the cancellation and 'chargeback' to show up on your credit card statement. Again, notify the credit card company that that account has been canceled and request that the charge be removed from the bill.<br><br>3.My bill just doesn't add up right!<br><br>They're rare, but mathematical and reporting mistakes do happen. If you notice a discrepancy on your bill between their reports and your receipts, write a letter to the credit card company - being sure to use the address for reporting credit card disputes. Include copies of both the bill and your receipts for the disputed charges.<br><br>4.I returned that dress!<br><br>Like a canceled subscription, it sometimes takes a billing cycle or two for charge-backs on returned items to appear on your credit card bill. Write to the credit card company and enclose copies of your return receipt, asking that the charge be removed from your bill. <br><br>5.What do you mean, there's a late fee??<br><br>Your best defense against late fees is to make sure you send your payment in plenty of time to reach the credit card company by posting date. Keep in mind that credit card companies date payments by date received and/or posted, not by date mailed. Because of the effect a late payment can have on your credit card billing and your credit history, though, it's sometimes worth a try to get them to 'take it back'. If you have evidence along the lines of a check cleared to your bank account before the payment was posted to your account - and it's before the late payment date, you can write to the credit card company and ask for a review of the charges.




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