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10 Cons Of An International Credit Card

(category: Credit, Word count: 422)
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Credit card fraud is a fast increasing crime in the world. International Credit Card holders are mostly the victims of this unauthorized access to their accounts. Let's take a closer look of the problems faced by international credit cards.

1. Repetitive use of credit card numbers. After a credit card number has been used and disregarded, say cancelled, credit card companies would reissue the same number to other cardholders. The personal identification numbers (PIN) is changed as well as the credit cardholder's personal information. But it still bears the same credit card number.

2. Low standards when it comes to the use of cards by the participating merchants. This is a common problem encountered by international credit cardholders. Employees of the participating merchants have the full access to the account number as well as the security number of the card.

3. Account Statements given out by credit card companies contains less information about the participating merchant. It does not include relevant information about the vendor that charged any transaction on the credit card.

4. Unreliable blocking functions. Once a card loss is reported, it will still take months for the credit card companies to block the transactions being made through the stolen or lost credit card.

5. Lack of validation software. Participating vendors should have better validation software installed on their computer system.

6. Consumer unfriendly policies on fraud management. The policies on the present fraud management take the blame on the cardholders though not directly stipulated. This means that the policies on the fraud management of international credit card companies protect not the consumers but the company.

7. Lax standards on investigation about fraudulent transactions. This is the sad part for the victims of fraud through their credit cards. Getting the suspects charged though proven guilty of fraud seems to take on slowly.

8. Credit card fraud is usually committed through online transactions. This means that credit cardholders are not protected with the authorized or unauthorized use of their cards on purchases or services paid online.

9. Most of the companies that typically appear on charges are those associated with pornography industry. These companies are the ones that accept transactions even without verifying the cardholder's information.

10. Most of the banks' system is not compatible with other international credit card companies for the e-commerce. This is a potential weakness that would mean loss of clients so they would prefer to keep quiet about it.

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Consolidating Credit Card Debt

(category: Credit-Card-Debt, Word count: 420)
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Is consolidating credit card debt a good option?

Well, the answer will more often be yes than no. Consolidating credit card debt is often regarded as the first step towards credit card debt elimination. However, even before you move to take first step towards consolidating credit card debt, you must understand that consolidating credit card debt (or balance transfer) is an action that you are taking to eliminate credit card debt. Consolidating credit card debt is not a means of deferring the problem for later.

Consolidating credit card debt is indeed a good option in more than one sense. Not only do you get relief from the rapid increase in your credit card debt, but also get other benefits too. Offers for consolidating credit card debt are in abundance and are very attractive indeed. Almost all the offers for consolidating credit card debt have an initial low APR period during which the APR is generally 0% (or some low figure). In fact, this is one of the main things which make consolidating credit card debt a very attractive option. Besides this low APR, the offers for consolidating credit card debt also include things like no interest rate on the purchases made during first 5 months (or some other initial period) of balance transfer. This is another thing that lowers the speed at which your credit card debt gallops. So these are the two most important benefits that credit card suppliers deploy to attract people into consolidating credit card debt with them. Then there are other benefits which include things like additional reward points on the member's reward program of the credit card you are consolidating credit card debt to. These reward points can be redeemed for other attractive goods/rebates/rewards etc. Sometimes, the new credit card (i.e. the one you are consolidating credit card debt to) might be a credit card that caters more to your current spending needs both in terms of the credit limits and the way you spend your money. For example, the new credit card might be a co-branded one offered by an airline that you have started travelling with very frequently in the recent times and consolidating credit card debt on such a card may open up much more benefits as compared to your current credit card which was based on your needs at the time of you applying for your current credit card. The credit card you are consolidating credit card debt to might open up discount offers to you.

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American Express Blue Sky Card No More Restrictions

(category: Credit, Word count: 505)
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One of the chief complaints heard from consumers regarding rewards credit cards are those cards that promise the world, but restrict you from getting there. Specifically, credit cards that allow you to accumulate a large number of points within a short period of time, but when it comes time to redeeming those points for free air miles, restrictions kick in. All those points and no where to least on your schedule, that is. Well, American Express is doing something about all of that and its recently introduced American Express Blue Sky card is certainly getting a lot of attention. American Express is saying "farewell" to travel rewards restrictions and you can too. Please read on for all the exciting details!

Restrictions: Who Needs Them?

Planning a trip can be enough of a hassle without worrying about rewards credit cards restrictions. Arranging time off from work, booking the hotel room, renting a car, and more is half the battle with the other half of the time spent trying to figure out which dates you can fly on. Oh, sure, you can fly whenever you want, but not if you are relying on redeeming your rewards credit card points. In most case, blackout periods will determine when/if you can fly. Getting there can be hassle because of redemption restrictions.

Fortunately, the American Express Blue Sky card has changed all of that. If you have the Blue Sky card you can:

Travel where you want, when you want: there are absolutely no blackout dates or travel restrictions. That means you can fly to Paris at the height of tourism season or to Honolulu whenever you want. No restrictions on renting a car, booking a hotel room, taking a cruise, etc.

Be free of fees: no annual fee and a 0% APR introductory rate for the first six months.

Accumulate points fast: Spend one dollar and get one point. On everything!

Benefits Beyond the Standard Package

The American Express Blue Sky card offers many other benefits well beyond the typical rewards card. They include:

Express Cash: When you need cash on hand, you can visit one of over 500,000 automatic teller machines and access your credit line. This can be helpful especially when you need cash to tip your porter or pay for a taxi.

Insurance: When you charge your cruise, flight, rail, or bus ticket to your American Express Blue Sky card you are automatically covered for up to $100,000 for accidental death or dismemberment.

Car Rental Loss/Damage Insurance: Paying $8-$16 per day for rental insurance on cars is a thing of the past when you charge your car rental on your American Express Blue Sky card. For a one week rental, that can mean big savings for you!

Clearly, the American Express is addressing the number one complaint consumers have had with airline credit cards by removing blackout dates and travel restrictions with the Blue Sky card offer.

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What You Should Know About Using Your Credit Cards

(category: Credit, Word count: 653)
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Today, almost everyone is in possession of one or more credit cards. But does everyone understand how the credit cards should be used? ; doesn't seem so. Some credit card holders only know how to spend on their credit cards till the credit limit is reached. Others know only about using credit cards for shopping and bill payments. Still others are too afraid to use their credit card. A lot many are unaware about the ways to protect their credit cards.

So what is it that you should know about using credit cards?

The first thing is the fact that whenever you use your credit card to make a payment, you are borrowing that amount from someone (credit card supplier in this case). Thus you will need to return this borrowed money to the credit card supplier within a specified period of time failing which you will incur a late fees and interest on the borrowed amount. So, you should be careful about your credit card payments. Besides the late fee and interest, they also affect your credit rating and we know how important the credit rating is. A bad credit rating can lead to rejection of mortgage applications, loans, subsequent credit cards and even a job application. You should also make it a point never to exceed 70-75% of the credit limit on your credit card. Not only does this shield you from getting into a credit card debt trap but also protects your credit rating.

Credit cards need protection against fraud and every credit card user should be aware of the ways to protect their credit card(s). There are generally a set of very simple precautions that the credit card holder need to follow. All the credit card companies supply instructions to this effect at the time of credit card delivery. These include things like signing at the back of credit card, reporting theft, PIN/Password protection etc.

Besides the security related instructions, it's also important to read through the instructions related to the benefits on your credit card in order to realize the full potential of your credit card. These include discounts on shopping, travel, car rentals etc. Then there are cash back options as well which have become very popular lately. There are some really good benefits for travelers too. These include things like free travel insurance and baggage protection. Besides the regular benefits, the credit card suppliers generally include some joining benefits too for the new customers. The joining benefits are generally in the form of discount vouchers.

Another important thing to note is the various kinds of fees and commissions charged by your credit card supplier. Besides the annual fees and APR there are other services too which attract a fee or commission e.g. there is a fee associated with cash withdrawals; similarly there is a commission associated with foreign exchange transactions. All these charges are clearly mentioned in the instructions booklet that you receive with your credit card and any changes to these are separately communicated by the credit card company.

Credit card suppliers keep coming up with a lot of different offers throughout the year. Be on the lookout for these offers. Some of them might be of interest to you. Generally, you will receive intimation about these offers at your billing address or your email address too.

Almost all credit card companies have a membership rewards program too wherein you earn points for any payments made using your credit card. Once you have accumulated enough points, you can exchange them for free gifts. Very often the catalogue of these gifts is also supplied at the time of you joining the membership reward programs. It's important to note that there might sometimes be an annual fee associated with the membership rewards program.

So just learn more about your credit card and make full use of its capability.

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What Do The Numbers Indicate On Credit Cards

(category: Credit, Word count: 460)
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Ever wondered what the numbers on your cards indicate? Well you might have written them down at several points, either as reference or as a security measure in case of theft, but did you ever sit down to think what they might mean? Here's the answer.

The first number on your credit card denotes the system of the card. Is it a visa, master, or entertainment card? If the number is 3, it means it could be an American Express or Diners Club card or any other entertainment or travel card. Whereas a card with 4 as the first digit denotes that the card is a Visa card and a 5 means it is a MasterCard. A card that starts with the number 6 means it is a Discover card.

The number on the card also denotes the system of the card. For instance, a Diners Club card starts with 38 while, an American Express card number starts with 37. The third and fourth numbers denote the currency used on the card while the rest of the numbers till the 11th give you the information on account number. The digits from 12 to 14 is the credit card number and the last digit, the 15th is a check digit. This is the configuration in an American Express card.

A Visa and a MasterCard are similar in concept with some variations. They basically provide the same details, though the numbers and rules vary slightly. These numbers offer complete information on the user's account and one must keep a photocopy of the card with the number or write the number down safely in case of card theft at any point in time. This reference number needs to be quoted to block your cards from being misused.

If you think this is all there is to a card, you are mistaken. The back of a card is even more configured with information and codes. The magnetic strip you see on the back of your cards (also called the magstripe) is made of iron-based magnetic particles. It is however plastic like in appearance. The card is often swiped at a business center or a store when you make a purchase and it is the magstripe that needs to be read by the magstripe reader.

Sometimes you may encounter problems with your card at stores or even at the ATMs where the reader fails to accept your card. This could in all likelihood be due to a dirty or damaged magstripe. In fact, even if your card has been exposed to magnets, it can damage the magnetized strip. So do take good care of your credit card and keep it protected from damages.

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Question When Is A Credit Card Better Than Cash Answer When It S Stolen

(category: Credit, Word count: 303)
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For many people, bring up the term, "credit card," and they'll roll their eyes. Most of us understand the powerful pull that pulling out the plastic has on us. It's almost addictive, the ability to pull out your credit card and use it to charge anything, anywhere, anytime. Many money counselors will advise you to lock your credit card up and go on a cash basis if you're having a hard time with your debt.

But what many people don't realize is that carrying credit can be a lot better than carrying their cash and here's why: the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA). If you're carrying your plastic and lose your wallet, you'll never have to pay more than $50 of unauthorized charges to your credit card. Depending on how much cash you carry along in your wallet, this can save you some money in the unfortunate event that your wallet or purse is lost or stolen.

According to the FCBA, if you report that you're credit card is lost or stolen before it's used again, you're not responsible for any of the unauthorized charges. Otherwise, the maximum amount that you're legally responsible for is $50. Something else to consider, if only the number was stolen and not the card, then you're not liable for any of the charges that the "number" thief puts on your credit card account.

Keep a list of your credit card numbers along with contact information for the credit card company some where handy but separate from your actual credit card. This way in the event that your card is stolen or lost, you can more easily take care of reporting your loss. Hurry, those minutes saved might save you $50!

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Credit Card Penalties

(category: Credit, Word count: 429)
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What's the thing that seems to always happen every time you are finding it difficult to meet your credit card payments? You get slapped with a penalty fee. These fees or penalties seem to always happen just at the very moment you need them least. Someone once described a banker as a man who will lend you his umbrella, and then ask for it back as soon as it starts raining. This seems typical of many people's dealing with the financial services industries.

What are the reasons that you can be hit with a penalty from your credit card provider? Well the most common is that you fail to make your minimum payment on time. This is by far the penalty that most people hate the most and the one that seems to hit customers at the least convenient times. There are other credit card penalties that can occur for various administrative breaches you commit such as writing a credit card check that bounces, or going over your credit card limit.

There are a number of reasons why you may commit one of the acts that cause credit card penalties to be applied to your account. If it is a first time occurrence or a once off, you may be able to call your credit card provider and request them to waive the fee in this instance. They are only likely to do this if you have been a customer of theirs for some time and have been good at keeping your payments up to date. However, it is always worth asking as many credit providers do allow their employees to give once off good will gestures to customers.

It is generally good practice to take the maximum of care to avoid costly credit card penalties. One of the best and most effective ways of doing this is to arrange to have your credit card paid by standing order or direct debit. Obviously this is only a real option if you are certain to have enough money in your bank account, as if you do not, you will not only receive a penalty from your credit card provider, but will probably face another one from your bank!

However, if you can afford at least your minimum payment each month, and most customers can afford at least this much, then you should consider this option as it means your bill will be paid on time every month and you will not have to worry about incurring a late payment credit card penalty ever again.

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Features Of A Pre Paid Credit Card

(category: Credit, Word count: 349)
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A pre-paid credit card is just what it says, a credit card paid for in advance. Once the credit limit is reached, the credit card is just a piece of plastic. You have to again pay upfront to renew it. The credit limit is thus known, fixed and limited.

Advantages Of Pre-Paid Credit Cards

Pre-paid credit cards are sure guarantee against empty bank accounts and credit-induced poverty. Your pride remains intact as pre-paid credit cards look just like the usual credit cards. No one will know that your spending is restricted. They are boon to shopaholics and impulsive buyers who end up with a mountain of debt before you can say Jack Robinson. They are an excellent buy for parents whose teenagers want to be treated as adults. Teenagers can also independently use their pocket money, summer job earnings and cash gifts to buy one. Some, like the Visa Gift Card, make an ideal birthday or wedding present. After all, buying presents can be nerve-wracking if you do not know what the prospective recipient wants or will appreciate, and sometimes because you do know! Others like Visa's Travel Money Card are like traveler's cheques without the attendant's hassles. Most such cards may also come with benefits like protection from card theft, identity theft or fraudulent purchase.

Some companies find it a good substitute for paychecks. Employees get pre-paid credit cards limited to their salaries and linked to a single bank account of the company. The employee does not need a separate salary account. Additionally, he can step out of the office and into a shop, restaurant or a mall. No frustration of standing in queues to encash that salary check.

Some Problematic Areas

One of the disadvantages of pre-paid credit cards is that they charge a fee. It is also possible that the places where you shop, eat or buy may not accept pre-paid credit cards.

However, overall the benefits outnumber the drawbacks. All those in need of fiscal discipline for themselves should go for pre-paid credit cards.

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Cash Back Credit Card How Rewarding Is It

(category: Credit, Word count: 509)
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As the credit card market becomes more competitive than ever, banks and lending institutions are coming up with new marketing and financial strategies to obtain more customers. One of those strategies used to acquire more customers is through the use of a cash back credit card.

By definition, those are credit cards that will return a fixed percentage of cash back to the customer according to the amount of purchases charged on the credit card. Usually, the cash back rebate is typically anywhere between 1 to 2% and is computed within a given time frame. Therefore, cash back credit cards might result in a good saving tool if used properly and conscientiously.

Let's assume that a given person will use his/her credit card and will also carry a monthly card balance. If the ongoing interest rate is very high, the finance charges will or than likely offset any of the savings gained from the cash rebates. On the other hand, if the card balance is paid in full at the end of every grace period, the cash back rebates earned from the credit card will usually end up earning the cardholder money back and sometimes a significant amount depending on how often the card is used.

Cash back credit cards will payout the cash rebates earned either by crediting the actual earned rebate back against the existing card balance or will pay the cardholder with a rebate check, usually in $50 to $100 increments.

With the notion of accumulating cash with card purchases, people will psychologically tend to use their credit cards more than other payment options. Very often, cardholders will set a specific time frame for their card purchase activities in order to accumulate the most cash rebates possible. As more and more companies accept credit cards, cardholders are becoming more and more comfortable with using their respective cards to pay virtually everything including utility bills, mortgages and rent payments. With a 1% to as high as a 5% cash back bonus on all purchases, cardholders anticipate some hefty savings from a cash back credit card.

Not surprisingly, cash back credit cards are very popular with consumers. But cardholders must be wary of using them correctly, if they wish to derive maximum benefit. Banks and credit card issuers typically design the cards to maximize their own profit not the consumers profit because card issuers anticipate the cards will not be used efficiently by some, if not many of the cardholders utilizing these cards.

Cash back credit cards are among the many financial tools that can be truly rewarding for cardholders that use the cards effectively and look beyond just the pure attraction of receiving cash back. If cardholders are vigilante about paying off their card balances each and every month, they can potentially rack up significant savings from a cash back credit card. But if not, they might end up paying out significantly more in finance charges over time than their old credit card.

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