Chasing dollar…..always

Archive for the ‘Credit’ Category

Are you the victim of ‘skimmimg?’

I am updating this post on request of a friend and fellow blogger, Marc. Hey Marc, hope you will enjoy reading this 🙂

One swipe is all it takes. And this could drain your account of all your money. When you hand over your credit card to make a payment in a shop or insert it into an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), you could run the risk of being the next victim of an international crime called ‘skimming’.

The cyber crime cell of the US police department have received more than 25 complaints from persons who have fallen victims to such scam.

The victims complained that they lost money from ATMs through forged credit cards. According to a senior police official ‘skimming is done in connivance with an UK-based gang that clones credit cards using a small machine called a skimmer which reads the data on the magnetic strip of the card and clones it. The forged cards are then sent to the US.’

Last year the cyber crime police have recovered 160 fake international credit cards through which a four-member gang had planned to withdraw 30,00,000 US dollars, said a senior police official.

They had cloned credit cards to shop at five-star hotels, malls and jewellery stores in the city. The accused had skimmed credit cards of tourists, he said.

He urged the credit card-users to keep an eye on suspicious individuals who may be present when using your credit or debit card.

He also asked them not allow a credit or debit card to be swiped out of your view. Also remain aware of unusual devices or card readers attached to an ATM machine.

An office-bearer of the US Credit Cards Users Association said ‘Apart from complaints on banks, we do receive complaints pertaining to skimming these days which we are forwarding to police officials. ’‘We are also planning to conduct awareness programmes in this regard,’ he said.

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How to choose the right credit card?

Choosing a credit card for yourself can be quiet a daunting task. With so many offers put out by different credit card companies, things can really become confusing. So how do you go about choosing the right card for yourself? You should keep a few things in your mind while shopping for a credit card.

The first thing that you should think about is how you plan to use the card. This is important as certain cards would make more sense for you depending on how you use it. Say for example, if you know that you will carry a balance on your card then you need to be concerned about the interest charges and the APR. Here, a low rate interest card should be your ideal choice.

If you are someone who wants to transfer balance from another card that you need to pay off then you should shop around for a balance transfer card that offers a 0% interest for a substantial time. Check the details thoroughly so that the card is cost effective for you.

If you are interested in rewards program then there are hordes of options available for you. You can avail good discount programs and free travel and many other similar offers. Just be sure to check out all the details properly so that you are truly benefited by the rewards card.

Be sure to check the fine print of the card that you have opted for. Some cards have changing annual fees that you need to pay each year. Many customers are charged a set fee for not using their cards for a certain period of time. Therefore, pay close attention to the fine print of the card and check the terms and conditions thoroughly.

Now you know which card you is the right one for you. Well, do you know your credit score? Credit score also determines which card you can qualify for. So, don’t miss out on that. If your credit score is low then you may need to build it up before you can get the credit that you require.

These are some points to help you choose your credit card wisely. But remember, whichever card you use, one thing always remains constant: being responsible. Proper use will ensure that the credit card company is reporting you in a good light to the credit bureaus every month and this will work to your advantage in more ways than one.

 

Can you avail 0% APR for years?

How you wish that you could enjoy 0% APR for years to come! The primary benefit of a 0% APR credit card is the introductory 0% APR interest rate. You need to choose the best card for yourself so that you can reap its benefits always. Don’t know what you should do to have that constant low APR? Read on to know.

  • Many consumers are misled because they don’t care to read the small print. Read each and every point carefully to ascertain what offers you are getting. In particular, read the clauses that differentiates between purchases and cash transfers.
  • Stick to the agreed credit limit as it is written in the agreement. Never exceed this balance limit or you might incur extra charges.
  • Make sure that you are always paying the minimum charge in full. It is best to set up a direct debit with your bank and make the payment electronically from your account each month.
  • You can be charged late fees if you do not pay on time. Therefore, always pay on time. If you are habitually late in making your payments, is can add up and eventually pose problems for you.
  • Are there any extras in the agreement? Read everything properly in the fine print. Some companies make an annual charge to offset the 0% APR.  If you are paying this annual charge, you are practically not getting a 0 APR card.
  • Issue a new low interest 0 APR credit card to which you can transfer the balance of your present credit card. It’s not necessary that you enjoy the benefits of 0 APR credit for 6 months or 12 months only. You can avail these benefits for years to come. Join an internet forum that deals with these matters to keep yourself updated.
  • Transfer the balance of your existing credit card to your new credit card in full and on time. Allow for time to process the balance transfer and the paperwork involved. Make sure that the opening balance allowed on your new 0 APR credit card is the same or exceeds the balance that you are transferring from your existing credit card.

Fight off your credit card debt woes!

Are you burdened with a hefty credit card debt? Thousands of Americans are facing credit card debt problems and filing for bankruptcy.  If you think that bankruptcy is the only situation out of your debt problems, then wait! Read below to learn how you can keep debt problems at bay.

1) Don’t use too many credit cards: The point is simple; if you have a number of cards you simply increase your chances of overspending and inviting debt. Limit the number of cards that you carry and control your spending.

2) Opt for a low interest card: Be smart and transfer all your balance from a high interest rate to a low interest rate credit card. Merge all your credit card dues into a single payment so that it becomes easier for you to pay off your dues.

3) Budget: This is very important. You must keep a track of your spending and budget your expenses. If your spending exceeds your income, then you increase the chance of falling into debt manifold. Controlling your expenditure according to your income would make sure that you do not spend beyond what you can afford to.

4) Try to negotiate with your creditor: Most people think that negotiating with their creditor won’t turn out to be fruitful. Do not fall prey to your guessing game! The point is that you should at least try to crack a deal with your creditor. Show him that you are concerned and persuade him to lower the outstanding balance so that you can pay off your debt affordably.

5) Clear your dues with the high interest rate cards first: Make a list of your dues and the interest rate for the respective credit cards. Keep higher interest rates at the top and make a determination to pay them off first. This is done to ensure that you can stop the high interest rate card from piling up your dues all the more.

Keep these points in mind and you will be well on your way to fight away debt. The best thing to do is to stay away from the use of credit card wholly, this way you make sure that you limit your purchase with what is there in your wallet!

Ten steps to a good credit score

Credit score! You have probably heard a lot about it. It is a measure of your financial stability. You go for taking up a loan today and your creditors would surely be concerned about your credit score. It helps your lenders to predict the chances of you defaulting on your loan.  Read on to know how you can boost your credit score.

  • Ask for credit reports: You get a free copy of your credit report from the three main credit reporting agencies i.e. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion every year.
  • Look out for errors in the credit report: Check your report for inaccuracies; if there are any items that you have settled but is still showing as unpaid or any account that you have closed but which is still showing open.
  • Pay attention to the most recent 12 months first: Your credit report is affected most by collections and unpaid accounts which have occurred recently.  You can take care of older items later.
  • Dispute errors that appear on your report: If you find any error in your report, write a letter to the card issuing company asking them to delete the item. The company should respond to your dispute in 30 days.
  • Keep all communication documented: Ask your creditor for a letter which states that your account has been settled. Keep copies of all the letters so that you can produce them whenever necessary.
  • Request the credit reporting agencies to delete the errors from your credit report: Send copies of letters to all the three credit reporting agencies and request them to delete the errors form your report.
  • Negotiate: It is best to negotiate with your creditors; they usually work with you, unlike the collection agencies.
  • Get help: If you feel that you need help in repairing your credit score, you can always opt for credit repair and credit counseling companies. These companies can help you to restore good credit.
  • Close unused accounts: It is best to close your unused accounts if you want your credit score to improve.
  • Pay on time: The most important step to establish a good credit score is to make your payments on time. Pay off your balance each month and never be late on your payments.