What You Should Be Looking For in a 0% Credit Card

Interest rates on credit cards are one of the most important features to consider when searching for the right credit card. There is much competition in the finance industry, which has led many card companies to offer features such as a 0% card deals to entice consumers.

A zero percent offer sounds like a wonderful thing and it can be helpful and a good financial decision. However, there are some things you need to look for in a 0% credit card to insure that it is indeed a good decision.

- Annual Fees: These are fees that some banks charge for the use of the credit line. These are yearly fees, though they can sometimes be paid in monthly installments.

- Maintenance Fees: This is really just another word for an annual fee. A maintenance fee though is usually a monthly fee and there are some credit card companies that require both an annual fee and a maintenance fee.

- Balance Transfer Fees: This is a fee that is charged if you transfer a balance from another card. You usually transfer these balances because of a lower interest rate, but you should take a look at the balance transfer fee to make sure the transfer will really save you money.

- Introductory Period Length: How long does the 0% interest rate last? Most last 6 months, though some will last as long as a year.

- Interest Rate on Balance Transfers: Balance transfers are often given a good introductory rate as well, though there are some companies that offer 0% interest over the life of a balance transfer if done during the application period. Make sure you know if and when the introductory period is over, and then be sure you know what the new interest rate will be.

- Interest Charges on Cash Advances: Cash advances are normally not a good idea with a credit card, as they generally carry higher APR rates than purchases and balance transfers. Still, you should be aware of the cash advance APR on a zero percent credit card.

- Interest Level after Introductory Period: What is the interest paid on purchases after the introductory period is over? This is the biggest concern you will have. A 0% card will only last for a short time and the rest of the time you own that card, you will have to deal with its standard interest rate.


Balance Transfer Credit Card Application - Your Savings Solution

Credit cards have become an indispensable means of conducting financial transactions in modern times. We use them to pay bills, shop for clothes, and purchase services. These cards are not only easy to carry but more importantly are very convenient to use. Just swipe them up and voila, it is practically like paying cash.

The advantages of using these cards are countless. For one, it enables you to go shop or travel without having to carry big bulks of money. It is also good financial means since most of these cards are widely accepted even internationally and you can have easy access on goods and services. Moreover, it is an effective way of keeping track of your finances because of the transaction records that it provides.

A vital thing to remember though is that using or choosing these cards is not entirely a simple process. In fact, there are many methods that revolve around credit cards that you should know about, one of which involves credit card balance transfers.

This process allows a cardholder to transfer the balance of his or her old accounts to a new credit card. Many companies nowadays offer low APR credit card application to attract customers and encourage them to sign with their company.

So what should one do before completing a balance transfer application?

Before you sign on the dotted line keep these important factors in mind...

Like a business credit card application, an application for a balance transfer requires serious thought. First, you have to ensure that you have a good payment history to be allowed to do the transfer.

Second, you should look into factors such as the APR and fees of the new card you are planning to move into so that you can be sure that you are going to get a better deal in terms of product and service. What is the point of transferring if you are moving to a more expensive card right?

In addition, it is necessary that you examine the terms and conditions with utmost care especially the fine print so that you can watch out for common pitfalls. Some companies may offer low or 0% APR balance transfer credit card application much to your delight but then it will dismay you to find out that the other costs such as annual fees are extremely high.

Furthermore, you have to see to it that the balance you are going to transfer does not go over the credit limit of the new card.

Questions to ask before moving to another credit card company:              

1. Is there an introductory interest rate available? How long is this period?

A number of companies offer low or 0% interest rates for balance transfer credit cards. This is great in the sense that it will reduce your monthly finance charges for a certain time. Most of these introductory rates last from six months to one year.

2. What is the regular APR after the introductory period is over?

This is a crucial piece of information that you should know about since the savings that you have made from enjoying a 0% or low APR introductory rate would be worthless if the normal rate were very high. You may end up spending even more.

3. How much are the balance transfer fees?

You have to ensure that there are no hidden charges. Transferring your balance to a new credit card is the first step in organizing your finances and getting a better deal. 

Keeping these three major points in mind will help you successfully choose the credit card that best suits your financial needs. Always be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions set forth in the credit card issuers disclosure statement before you apply. It is important that you fully understand interest rates, fees and billing cycles.


Student Credit Cards With Rewards

Student credit cards were not available for a long time since it was difficult for students to provide any credit history or employment history. But nowadays credit companies have started offering credit cards specifically to students recognizing that by offering cards to at a very tender age they will get a customer for lifetime. Companies have now started a new segment of cards called student credit cards or also known as college credit. These credit cards typically have a low credit limit usually between $500 to $1,000 and generally do come with a higher interest rate as well. There are many benefits attached to a card. But there are also certain things you should look out for when comparing cards.

What are the Benefits of a Student Card

It helps to establish credit. Student credit cards are great for helping you establish credit history. Many students have little or no credit history so it is all the more difficult for them to get approved for a loan or even an unsecured card. These cards have lower credit requirements, in the sense they are easier to acquire then a typical unsecured card. This allows a student who has little or no history to get a credit card easily. Once you have one, you will be able to build your credit history by paying your credit card bill regularly each month.

It helps to earn rewards. Many student credit cards now offer many rewards when you use them. Typically you can earn one point per dollar you spend with you student card for your purchases. You can redeem points for merchandise, gift cards, or cash back. Student credit cards typically offer extra rewards when making purchases at gas stations, groceries, clothing stores, or restaurants.

Helpful tips on choosing a card

You should always pick a student card that has no annual fee. An annual fee can be costly for someone who lives on a limited budget. Most cards don't have an annual fee but always check to make sure the card doesn't have one before applying for the same. You should look for a card that has the lowest interest rate. Many college students carry a credit card balance each month. If you think you may carry a balance you should look for a credit card that offers a low interest rate to avoid paying too much interest.

And finally you should make sure to manage your credit wisely. Numerous college students have accumulate a big quantity of credit debt by expenditure irresponsibly. This is very much harmful. Your first credit card is an important step in establishing your credit rating and developing good financial habits. So make sure to use it with care.


Cash Back Credit Cards - Get Free Money

Money is the best reward when it comes to getting something back for using our card. Cash back cards are offered by a wide variety of issuers. If you use a credit card this is the one card you should have. There are many incentives that credit card issuers will offer but cash gives you the flexibility and control to be the bass.

The popularity of these cards continues to increase as consumers have realized the advantages. There are two basic ways they work. The first way is that the credit card company will simply send you a check when you have accumulated a $50 or $100 credit. The credit balance should appear on your monthly statement. The second method that companies operate is to have you call and request the check. This information will be in the terms and condition section of your contract.

A major factor to consider with these cash cards is to know what purchases will get you cash back. Most cards will reward you a flat 1% on all purchases. Those cards will also have bonus merchandise, such as gas and groceries that pay a 5% bonus. This is where you really can benefit. When shopping for a card look for the items that will be in your normal monthly budget, you spend these dollars anyway. Every time you spend $1000 you have $50 of free cash! That is a nice reward for simply using your credit card on items in the monthly budget.

Be wise in the use of this card. If you carry a balance on the card then the interest charged will negate the benefits of the cash reward. Pay off the balance on time and the maximum benefit of the card is realized. Use the card for budgeted items and this will not be a problem.

Cash back cards give you the most control and flexibility in the reward category. Compare card offerings and see what best works for you.


Credit Card Processing Services

Sorting Through A Merchant Service Statement: Find Those Hidden Costs

When you first signed-up for a merchant service account, you were inundated with sales pitches from everywhere. Your service representative promises were fantastic. How could you have been so smart, or so lucky? At least that is what some merchants think before they get their first statement. Those merchants find themselves saying things like, "The rep said they offered the lowest prices, and yeah, he did mention that there would be a statement fee, and a monthly minimum, but those are to be expected, what are all the other costs, for signing up for a lower rate why am I not keeping more of my money, what is up? "They promised next day deposits, but these rates I am being charged are absolutely NOT worth it, I am finding a new processor now."

Paying bills is not fun. Paying for something that you did not agree to buy is maddening. Not understanding what exactly you are paying for is just wrong. Merchant statements are frequently filled with cryptic codes and indecipherable jargon. Too often that is precisely what some banks or independent processors intended. If you can't read it, you may not notice that while you got a great rate quote, the fees they charged you are equal to or more than you saved on those deceptively lower rates. Many banks and processors lure the merchant in with low rates, and immediate deposits. Once you have been hooked the rate offered is now only an introductory rate or the cost of services outweigh the benefits of immediate deposits. Merchant statements can be so complicated that it nearly impossible to assess you REAL costs. Every processor calls commonly expected fees by different names. It is important to understand what the expected and necessary fees are, and what fees can be avoided by finding a top quality processor. The most common fees are: Monthly Statement Fees Monthly Minimum Fees Chargeback Fees 12 B Letter Fees Transaction Fees Authorization & Capture Fees Return Transaction Fees Batch Fees Wireless Fees Customer Service Fees AVS, ARU, Electronic AVS, and Voice Authorization Fees Annual Fees Reprogramming Fees Set-up Fees

A top quality processor will not charge quite a few of these listed fees. Annual fees, reprogramming fees, set-up fees, can almost always be avoided. The rest of the fees will be charged outright to you, or the bank and processor will pass them on to you in other areas. Negotiate the fees with your processor. While many of these fees are set by the associations, the mark-up can be negotiated. Often processors will offer "interchange plus" fees. Depending on your type of volume and industry, credit card processing costs can be greatly reduced. However, as always be aware that banks and processors can pad other charges to you to make up the difference.

Monthly statements should contain your total daily card sales and the fees charged to process them. If you were informed correctly by your processor's sales representative, they quoted you a "qualified rate", a "mid-qualified rate", and a "non-qualified rate." The interchange you are charged for a transaction plus the processing costs will be reflected in your costs. Far too often processors and banks do not inform merchants of the different rates a merchant may be charged. The merchant has been advised of the lowest rate, and not of the increase in rate they might pay when a transaction is "downgraded". Downgrade is the term used when a transaction is assessed a higher than "qualified rate." Reward credit cards and on-line transaction are charged a higher rate. Billbacks are used to hide higher interchange rates from the merchant. Some processors use something called ERR (earn reduce and recover), which is just another term for billback. Don't' fall for this scheme. A processor will charge a low discount rate on all of a merchant's transactions in a given month, bill back the higher rates on transactions the following month. Billbacks are coded with a BB, or ERR. The processor is passing on the additional cost of handling those transactions without showing clearly the actual rate a merchant is charged. To estimate your actual rate, determine your average sales ticket (transaction) and multiply it by the number of transactions for a given billback or ERR, and divide the charge by the previous amount (ticket amount X number of transactions). The merchant can save tremendous money by negotiating lower rates for "mid-qualified" and "non-qualified rates."" Don't let the sales representative get you to focus on the low "qualified rate" while ignoring the rates that cost you more and more, especially in light of the growing popularity of world and reward cards.

Banks and processors do not always pass on to merchants the savings of debit card use. Visa and MasterCard charge lower interchange fees when a customer pays with a debit card instead of credit. The processors, though, aren't required to pass these savings on to you. Quite the contrary, many sales people will actually use debit transactions as a very lucrative revenue stream.

Batch fees are common, and normally are very low, between $.20 to $.50 per batch or settlement. Most merchant settle their charges or "batch out" once a day. It is almost always in the merchant's best monetary interest to "batch out" within a 24 hour period after the sales transaction. Be weary of some processors who take a percentage of their fees when they reconcile your account at the end of each business day. The amount ("total card fees") is not a complete total, as it only treats all transaction as "qualified" and does not reflect the downgraded differences, transaction fees, and monthly fees etc.


The Evolution of Credit Cards

Life without credit cards is unimaginable. It's a payment system that has revolutionized the way the consumers and the service providers such as the hospitality and the retail industry communicate. As the name suggests, this plastic card provides with funds on credit for stuff that you may want to buy.

Way back in 1887, an American author and socialist, Edward Bellamy spoke about buying commodities with a card in his novel, 'Looking Backward'.

In 1914, US-based 'metal card' for select customers with an 'interest-free period'. General Petroleum Corporation followed in 1924. This system of payment became so popular that during the 1920s and 1930s, it spread to other companies such as railroad, hotel chains, airline, oil companies and department stores.

The 1930s saw the launch of the 'Bell System' credit card by the American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) Company.

One card that changed the face of credit card and gave it the 'global avatar' was the Diner's card. The credit card, launched in 1950 could be used for avail of general services, unlike its predecessors.

This Diners Club Inc card could be used in restaurants, for general travel as well as entertainment. Most merchants began to accept it because it meant more expenditure on the part of the consumers.

In 1951, New-York based Franklin National Bank introduced Charge-It cards. The applicants had to submit a loan application and the approved customers were given the card.

Year 1958, the American Express Company entered the credit card business with their version of the universal credit card, having the marketing tagline as "Don't leave home without it".

1959, the Bank of America in California launched the BankAmericard, which was a significant event because it brought in the concept of 'revolving credit'.

By 1967, the Master Charge or as it is known today, the MasterCard International (renamed in 1979) came into existence. This company was a group of four California banks that had come together to form this new entity.

Visa (earlier known as BankAmericard) came in 1977. These new bankcard processing associations expanded their services and increased income potential, and formed mutual relationships with large national or international banks.

In 1966, Barclaycard in the UK introduced the first credit card outside of the US.

This is not to mean that credit cards were popular worldwide. Even though credit cards gained popularity in countries such as the US, Canada and the UK, there were countries where transactions were much more cash-oriented. Or, alternative forms of cashless payments evolved. Carte bleue or the EC-card was introduced in countries such as Germany, France, Switzerland, among many others.

In these places, the take-up of credit cards was initially much slower. It took until the 1990s to reach anything like the percentage market-penetration levels achieved in the US, Canada or UK. In many countries acceptance still remains poor as the use of a credit card system depends on the banking system being perceived as reliable.

Today, credit cards are popular. But, it was only post the 1990s that making such a statement was possible. Regulatory issues and presence of 'poor countries' are some of the reasons why this plastic currency took a while to make a niche among the consumers


Credit Card Debt - Please Go Away!

America's love affair with the credit card has led to debt problems for many families. Between bank cards, retailer cards, cash back cards and debit cards the average family has seven to nine cards. The average debt is in excess of $5,000 and the balance is being carried at a 10% plus rate. This a formula for personal financial disaster that none of us want.

Families did not get into this debt overnight and it will not go away overnight. Most people start out with one card and then we have ten! To gain control over this problem we need to take one step at a time.

The first step is to evaluate your credit cards.

-What cards do you really need?

-What cards have the best benefits?

-What cards are used for necessities?

-What cards are used for extras?

-What cards have the lowest APR?

-What do you charge that could be paid for with cash?

An honest evaluation should allow you pare down to two or three cards that suit your family the best. Set the card[s] aside that you need and take the scissors to the rest. Call those companies to terminate your account

Paying down the balances will take time and discipline. Remember that it took time to get into this situation. Minimum payments on this debt will never give you relief. Consider paying 10% of the total balance for starters. That means it will take about one year to pay off the balance. If you have an extremely large balance you may want to consider a debt consolidation loan from your local banker. The interest rate should be lower than your APR and you will only have one check to write.

Another option is to get a balance transfer credit card. Many issuers offer a 0% introduction rate for up to 12 months. This is basically an interest free loan and will save a lot of money on interest payments. Do not use this card for new purchases because there will be interest charged on new purchases.

Use your remaining card[s] strictly for goods and services in your normal monthly budget. Prioritize your monthly budget and put the credit card payment as the number two on the list, right behind the mortgage/rent payment. The discipline you exercise will be rewarded with reduced debt and an improved credit score. You can benefit by applying for a 0% transfer credit card.


5% Cash Back Credit Cards - Top 3 Reviewed

Cash back credit cards have been around for over 20 years now. Up until the last 5 years or so, the actual percentage back that you could earn was mediocre at best, usually offering somewhere between 0.25 and 1%.

Over the last half decade, however, with competition amongst credit card issuers at an all time high, it is not uncommon to find credit cards that will pay you up to 5% cash back for your purchases.

I spent a bit of time comparing cash back cards that offer a 5% return and there are basically 3 credit cards that offer this high rate of return to customers.

1. Blue Cash From American Express

  • Earn up to 5% cash back on everyday purchase, including gas
  • 0% Intro APR for up to 12 months on purchases
  • 2.99% for 12 months on balance transfers
  • Express Approval. Get a decision in less than 60 seconds.

2. Discover More Card

  • Unlimited cash rewards
  • Up to 20% Cashback Bonus when you shop online
  • Double rewards with more than 100 of their "Cash back Bonus Partners"
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on Purchases and Balance Transfers

3. Discover Motiva Card

  • Gives you extra cash back for good credit management and paying on time
  • 5% to 20% Cashback Bonus at many top retailers
  • Unlimited cash rewards available, so there is no limit
  • Ability to double your rewards if you turn it in for gift cards with retailers
  • 3.99% Intro APR for 6 months on Purchases, and 12 months on Balance Transfers

All of these cards are good, no annual fee credit cards, but is important to note that there are many different terms and conditions that pertain to rewards programs. Make sure to read the card details before applying for a cash back credit card.

If used properly, a 5% cash back credit card can earn families as much as a couple thousand dollars back each year. By setting up recurring bills to charge to a cash back card rather than a checking account, you give yourself the opportunity to earn a great deal of cash rewards on purchases you were going to need to make anyway.


Credit Cards For Anyone

The fact that credit card companies extend multitudes of ridiculous offers to so many people is because there are actually people who fall for these deals. Remember that sub-prime companies count on this and they take advantage of desperate people by having vague and complicated terms, exorbitant fees, and low credit limits. If you have a high credit score you will be offered the better deals, but if you have a low score life can be harsh and unfair.

The question is, how can you protect yourself if you have less than desirable credit and want to establish good credit and make ends meet? To protect yourself you must read the fine print and forget about the fancy up front ads that are meant to lure you in. The real deal is in the fine print so read it all if you have to.

Forget about deals that sound too good to be true, because they probably are. With lower scores and a tainted credit history, you must seek out the fair and honest deals that help you re-establish your credit and pay off your debt responsibly. Most people don't realize that you can go to your bank and apply for a credit card. If you had a checking or savings account at some point then they might be open to extending credit to you at a fair rate.

Secured credit cards are also available for those who still have trouble getting approved. It involves securing your credit through a bank where you have a savings account available to secure your balance should the payments not be made. This is another option, but certainly there are some ridiculous deals out there that one should never consider because they are meant to simply take advantage of anyone who is desperate or gullible.


Free Credit Card


Free Credit Card is issued to such a customer who has an excellent credit history. It is given to the residents of USA. In this the customer is required to fill up a form either through an agent of the card issuing company or online.

Free credit card actually signifies which does not charge any annual charges. The cards generally flash this point to make their cards more attractive.

Eligibility criteria

It is given to only those people who have a formidable rating.

Facilities offered by the Free Credit Card

In addition to non payment of the annual fees the customer is entitled to get low interest rate, transfer of balance with no additional charges and many more.

The offer also offers 0% introductory APR (Annual Percentage Rate) to them as a special feature of the card. It is generally mentioned in the terms and conditions of the credit card that this APR will not be taken for a limited period only and after that thin fee will be charged to the holder.

The customers having a bad credit card rating or history can also access to these cards but have to compensate it with small amount of fees. But this naturally helps the customer to rebuild credit and avail all the perks associated with the card.

Credit card works best for the small business enterprises. The small entrepreneurs are always short of money to start or run their businesses. In such cases card issuing companies offer free business credit cards to these needy small entrepreneurs. It come as a boon to them as they don't have to pay for the annual fees. Along with this the APR are also low but are only introductory in nature.


Free Credit Card generally charge all the other charges like purchase fee and monthly fee and are re-loadable in nature. These cards can be availed from retail shops and is accepted almost everywhere including the ATMs. This is normally offered through the Mastercard brand.


In Search of the Holy Grail of Credit Card Offers - 15 Month 0% Balance Transfers

Three years ago, credit card companies were throwing 0% APR cards at anybody who would take them. No fee balance transfer offers were common. Twelve month balance transfers were also the norm, and 15 month or longer transfer offers could be easily found. With the credit crisis upon us, however, longer term offers are becoming harder and harder to find. It turns that there are some great 15 month 0% APR cards available. I'll show you how to find them, but first, a few things to keep in mind.

Keep cards you use to transfer balances separate from your other cards

There is a potential gotcha with transfer offers that you must understand. If you make purchases with a credit card that you have also used to transfer a balance, the purchases are typically subject to interest charges. Some mistakenly believe that they can pay off the purchase balance to avoid finance charges, while keeping their balance transfer amount on the card. That's not how must credit cards work.

Instead, when you have two balances, one subject to finance charges and one at 0%, payments are allocated to the 0% balance until it is paid in full. Only then will your payments go to the balance subject to finance charges. That means that even a $20 purchase will accrue interest until your transfer balance is paid off. For this reason, I never make purchases with cards that I've used to pay off other debt. In fact, a cut them up! Once I've transferred a balance to the card, there is no need to keep it.

Keep on eye on transfer fees

The days of no fee balance transfers a gone. Today, you need to look at the specific terms of the transfer fee, which come in two flavors. The transfer fee will either have an upper limit, or it won't. Typical is a balance fee equal to 3% of the amount transferred, with a cap of about $75 to $90. What that means is that the most you will pay to transfer a balance to the card will be the capped amount. If the fee is not capped, you pay 3% of the entire amount transferred.

The difference between a capped fee and one that is unlimited can be significant. For example, let's assume you plan to transfer $20,000 to a 0% card. With an unlimited 3% transfer fee, your cost will be $600 (3% x $20,000). With a fee capped at $90, your fee will obviously be just $90. As you can see, the transfer fee can make a big difference.

Where can you find 15 month 0% APR cards with capped transfer fees?

So now we get to the real issue--where do we find 15 month 0% APR offer with reasonable, capped transfer fees. The answer is Advanta. Advanta offers these long-term balanc transfer offers with a capped transfer fee. My favorite is the Kiva BusinessCard, In addition to a 15 month 0% transfer feature, the card also offers up to 5% cash back on a variety of purchases. It even offers up to 5% cash back on charitable contributions made with the card. The Kiva card has no annual fee, and although it is a business card, individuals can apply.

As an individual, you can apply as a sole proprietor. Simply enter your name as the business name on the application, and enter your social security number for the tax id. It's as simple as that, and in many cases, you'll receive a decision on your online application in less than 60 seconds. You can follow the links below to get more information about the Kiva card and other balance transfer credit card options.


Credit Cards - Why You Should Compare?

When you think about getting a credit card, it is tempting to think that they are all alike. After all, can't you, for the most part, just use them anywhere? And don't they all use the same basic idea? So why should you carefully compare and try to pick one? Well, there are a lot of factors to consider.

1. How much credit do you want?

One of the real dangers in getting a credit card is spending a lot of money without being aware that you are doing it. On the other hand, you don't want to have too low of a limit and not be able to use it at times, even though you can easily afford it.

2. What is the interest rate?

Different cards carry different interest rates. The interest rate isn't much of a concern if you plan on paying off the card each month, but if you have balances that carry over from month to month, a high interest rate can add up fast.

3. What other fees are there?

Many cards carry a monthly fee, or fees for using your card to withdraw cash. Other cards can allow you to transfer your balance from a previous card---but also with a fee. Finding out which cards carry which fees can save you a lot of money.

4. What other features does it have?

Some cards have extra security---others give you free rewards like frequent flyer miles. Look for cards that suit you!

It may seem like all credit cards are the same, but there are real advantages to shopping around.