Tag Archive | "Credit card"

Debt Card Safety Tips

Debt Card Safety Tips

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Do you know where your debit card is? It is essential to your overall financial security that you keep your debit card in a safe place at all times. Safety, above all else, is of utmost importance. If you are careless with your debit card it is only a matter of time before it backfires on you.

What does it mean to be safe with your debit card? Well, this means different things to different people. To give you an idea of how to improve the safety of your card, follow the tips below.

1. If you lose your debit card do not wait too long to call your bank. The biggest mistake you can make is thinking that you are going to find your card in the near future – just to learn that this never happens. It is better to be safe than sorry. Call your bank, explain that your debit card is missing, and have them cancel it at once. Sure, it is an inconvenience but you will receive your new card in no time at all.

2. Do not share your debit card number and other information with anybody. There is never a good reason to give somebody else the information from your debit card.

3. Only use your debit card at reputable stores. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is using your card at stores that are unknown or do not appear to be legitimate. This holds true for both land based and online stores.

4. Speaking of online stores, make sure you proceed with caution. In today’s day and age it is simple for anybody to start their own store. At the same time, it is just as simple for somebody to steal your debit card information by doing so. Along with this, make sure all the information you transmit to an online store is kept 100 percent secure.

5. Memorize your PIN number. Did you know that some people keep their PIN number in their wallet? Worse yet, there are users that write their PIN on the back of their card. While this may sound silly, it is an all too common mistake. To avoid these types of issues, all you have to do is memorize your PIN. Don’t worry about forgetting it. If need be, you can always reset your PIN number at a local branch or even over the phone.

There is no reason to take a safety risk with your debit card. Instead, follow the five tips above. They will keep you, your finances, and your debit card safe.

 Debt Card Safety Tips

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Steps to take if you lose your Debit Card

Steps to take if you lose your Debit Card

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Did you recently lose your debit card? Did you have a scare that makes you think this could happen to you in the future? Losing your debit card is a big deal for many reasons. Although this may never happen, it is good to be prepared for the worst.

Here are several steps to take if you lose your debit card:

1. Call your bank as soon as possible. It is common to wait a few days, hoping that your card turns up. While this could happen, it is better to be safe than sorry. Remember, the longer you wait to report your debit card missing the more chance there is that somebody will use it in a fraudulent manner. Are you really willing to take that risk?

2. Mail your bank a letter reiterating the information that you already spoke about on the phone. This may seem like a waste of time, but it is beneficial for many reasons. Above all else, this gives you a record of what you are requesting. If the rep on the phone does not cancel everything properly and in a timely manner, you can use the letter as proof of what you requested.

3. Request a new debit card. Since your old card has been canceled you are no longer able to use it. In turn, you need to make sure you receive a new debit card from your bank as soon as possible. After all, you do not want to go to long without one.

4. Remember to change any automatic payments that you have setup with your old debit card. Since your number and expiration date have changed, you will no longer be able to use the card for automatic payments – until you update your account, of course. This is one step that many people forget to take upon receiving their new debit card.

Tip: you can usually change your account information online.

5. Watch your account for fraudulent charges. From the time you lost your debit card until the time it was canceled, there is a chance that somebody used it to make fraudulent purchases. Keep an eye on your account, and if something looks suspicious make sure you immediately contact your bank.

One final tip: don’t make the same mistake twice. Losing your debit card can cost you a lot of time and money. Do whatever it takes to keep your card safe and secure at all times.

If you lose your debit card make sure you follow the steps and advice detailed above. It will help get you back on track soon enough.

 Steps to take if you lose your Debit Card

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Can a Debit Card Help you Build Credit?

Can a Debit Card Help you Build Credit?

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Can I use a debit card to build my credit? This is a common question, especially among younger individuals as well as those who have had credit issues in the past. Most people are aware of the importance of an above average credit score. While this may not sound like a big deal, the higher your score the better chance you have of securing a loan in the future. Along with this, it can help in many other aspects of your life, such as when applying for a job.

The answer to this question is yes and no. There are several differences between a debit card and a credit card. The main one being that your debit card is attached to a bank account. In other words, nobody is lending you money. When you use your debit card, the funds are coming out of your account. On the other hand, with a credit card, a company (Visa, American Express, and MasterCard) is lending you money and trusting you to pay it back later. Simply put, a debit card is nothing more than an easier way to access money in your bank account.

It is important to note that debit cards do not report to credit bureaus. In turn, using one of these cannot directly help you build credit or increase your score.

That being said, it can help build your credit if you show your financial institution that you can be responsible with your money. Your bank will realize that you have been using your debit card in a responsible manner, which will work in your favor if you want to apply for a “real” credit card such as one through MasterCard, American Express, or Visa. This is not a direct way of building your credit, but over the course of many months/years it will go a long way in showing your bank that you are worthy of a credit card.

Should I use a debit card since it does not do anything to help my credit? The answer to this question is up to you. Remember, just because it does not benefit your credit doesn’t mean that everything is bad. With a debit card you have quick access to funds in your checking account, while also making it easier to manage and organize your finances.

If you are looking for a direct way to build credit you should not rely solely on the use of a debit card. Fortunately, the responsible use of a debit card can help you build your credit in the future.

 Can a Debit Card Help you Build Credit?

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Have your Government Benefits put on a Debit Card

Have your Government Benefits put on a Debit Card

Did you know that you can have your government benefits put on a debit card? This has become very popular over the past few years, as more and more baby boomers reach retirement age. Even if you do not opt for this method, you should consider the process as well as the benefits.
If you are interested in having your benefits put on a debit card, the following advice should be useful:
1. Do you know what a government debit card is? This is nothing more than a card that is preloaded with cash from SSI, Social Security Disability, or retirement Social Security. In addition to the convenience that they offer users, the government is interested in this program because it helps reduce paper usage while saving them money.
2. A government debit card works just like any other debit card or credit card. For this reason, users are well aware of how to use the card from day one. Preloaded debit cards can be linked to any government payment or payroll check. If you are currently receiving your government benefits in the form of a check, consider what it would mean to your finances to change over to the debit card option. You may find that this is much more convenient. After all, you will never again have to go to the bank to cash your check.
3. For more information, you can visit socialsecurity.gov – a debit card page is available with additional information. If you would rather speak with a live representative, you can contact Social Security by calling 1-800-772-1213.
Remember, this is a relatively new program that the government is aggressively promoting. They are encouraging people to use a debit card, as opposed to paper check, because of the overall convenience and security.
Are you excited about the prospects of having your government benefits put on a debit card? If so, you may be surprised at how quickly you can make the change. Once you get in touch with the proper party, such as the Social Security Department, you will be well on your way to receiving and using your debit card instead of paper checks.
To learn more, follow the advice outlined above.

 Have your Government Benefits put on a Debit Card

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I Need A Debt Management Expert!

I Need A Debt Management Expert!

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In today’s world there are no shortage of people with debt management issues. So where do you go for debt management help? Here are a few quick tips from the debt management expert…

1) Go to Debt Management Expert web sites: This site is organized to give you helpful advice on a variety of debt management issues. We are specifically looking at large issues involving your home and credit. We also recommend that you look to other debt management sites to get helpful tips. There is no substitute for reading up on the issues that you face and looking at how different experts recommend you approach those issues.

2) Talk to people who may be in similar debt management situations: They may not be debt management experts but they certainly will give you another perspective. It may be uncomfortable but it is highly likely that someone in your situation has tried something to help their situation that may actually help your situation. If you don’t know anyone directly join a debt forum and learn in a more anonymous fashion.

3) Explore debt management and debt settlement companies as potential debt management experts: These companies can help but there a both pros and cons to working with them. Make sure you really understand what you get out of this before taking the dive. Many are debt management experts but they are also trying to make a buck. For more information on this read our recent post: Enrolling in a Debt Management Plan to Help Your Monthly Budget and How Debt Management and Debt Settlement Companies Can Simplify Your Financial Life.
4) Attorneys as debt management experts: Talk to a bankruptcy attorney or a loan modification attorney. Attorney’s can be a good solution if you need to modify your loan or if you are considering bankruptcy, but again this comes down to your specific situation. Don’t limit you conversation to one attorney. Talk to several if you go this route and then toughly reference them to make sure that they are debt management experts with good track records.

If you spend the time to do all these well, the next time you look in the mirror you may see a Debt Management Expert.

Related Articles:

 I Need A Debt Management Expert!

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Creating a Personal Budget and Sticking to It

Creating a Personal Budget and Sticking to It

Overview
Have you ever tried managing your money by creating a personal budget and sticking to it? Do you find that managing your money works or does it seem like a waste of time? The hardest part about managing your money by creating a personal budget is using information from it to modify your spending habits.

With any household budget when you are trying to manage your money, you should be trying to prevent overspending, not only on the large, more infrequent expenses such as vacations, major repairs, end-of-the-year holidays as well as birthdays, but also on the day-to-day and monthly expenses that you incur throughout the year. Only after you have a handle on what and how you are spending does sticking to a household budget make sense and seem worthwhile. It is important to have control over your expenses, even if money management does seem to be somewhat illusory.

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One recommended approach to managing your money by creating a personal budget is to carefully track your spending during the month and then adjust your budget targets up and down in each category, so that your total expenses never exceed your income.

There are many software programs that can help you create a personal budget to track your expenses, however those programs can only display results based on the information provided by you. It is up to you (and your significant other, if applicable) to designate categories for each type of expense in your household budget.

While those categories in your household budget only need to make sense to you, expenses allocated to those “buckets” should be done consistently so that you can track and compare expenditures over time. It rarely matters what you are overspending on — dining out, entertainment or clothes, for example. What matters more as far as managing your money is knowing where it was spent and how that amount differed from the same time period measured previously, for example, so you determine how and where to best change your spending habits within your household budget.

Whether you would like to buy a new or newer car, put a down payment on a new home, or do a major house renovation project – non-discretionary expenses all of which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars in your household budget, you need to be able to carefully track other costs so that you can build the “rainy day” funds to afford those bigger expenses. And when it is anything other than a one-time non-discretionary expense, tracking costs becomes even more significant so that you stick to the household budget allocated for the project.

Understanding Your Expenses
Tracking expenses is helpful, but managing your money also involves understanding the types of expenses in your budget. Here is a list of some expenses, delineated as fixed, committed or non-discretionary that may impact your household budget. Committed expenses are not required for survival, but they are expenses you commit to for yourself or your family that generally impact your household budget and your quality of life.

Fixed (essential)
Home mortgage or rent
Basic food and clothing needs
Essential household expenses
Basic utility bills
Taxes
Student loans

Committed
Insurance premiums
Charitable contributions
Non-essential utility bills (satellite TV service, internet, phone – land line and cellular)
Health/sports club memberships (for self, and spouse and children, if applicable)
Music lessons (for self, and spouse and children, if applicable)
Sports equipment (for self, and spouse and children, if applicable)

Non-discretionary (optional)
Car purchase
Home purchase
Home renovation
Home repairs
New home appliances
Dining out
Entertainment (e.g., movies, theater, sporting events)
Vacations
Holiday/birthday gifts
Other clothing or consumer goods purchases

Establishing a baseline for what is an acceptable allocation of expenses and keeping a lid on your committed and non-discretionary expenses, compared to your monthly and annual income, will go a long way toward helping you succeed with managing your money by creating and sticking to your household budget. Doing so will also provide you the maneuverability to save for retirement, long-term non-retirement savings, as well as to save for “rainy” day expenses and isolated “fun” expenses that you may not want to track in your household budget.

For a lot of people, part of the difficulty in reducing committed and non-discretionary expenses comes from the need to make big monthly credit card payments. If you’re carrying a substantial amount of non-mortgage debt in your household budget, you should cut up your credit cards and aggressively pay down your debt first before allocating funds for long-term and retirement savings, unless you or your spouse’s employer is contributing a matching amount toward that retirement account. Cutting back on matching funds from your or your spouse’s employer is not a good way to manage your money since it is like leaving free money on the table.

The real secret to creating a personal budget that really works is creating a sustainable structure for your finances, one that balances spending and income and that leaves enough room to handle the unexpected.

 Creating a Personal Budget and Sticking to It

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Ten Tips to Increase Your FICO Score

Ten Tips to Increase Your FICO Score

OVERVIEW
Here are 10 tips to help you increase your FICO score by using credit responsibly.

In order to keep your finances in great shape and increase your FICO score, it is important to use your credit responsibly.

Your FICO score is a score created by credit bureaus such as Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Institutions lend money based on the FICO score created by credit bureaus. Here are some tips for keeping the FICO score in good shape.

1. To Increase Your FICO Score, Pay Your Bills On Time
Late payments have a negative effect on your FICO score. Do your absolute best to make sure every payment arrives on time. If you have missed payments, get caught up. The longer you have a good record of paying your bills on time, the more your FICO score will increase.

2. To Increase Your FICO Score, Keep Balances Low on Revolving Accounts
Credit cards are a type of revolving credit. This means you can pay off the line of credit and then use it again. Keep balances low on this type of credit. Having high amounts of credit card debt will lower your FICO score.

3. To Increase Your FICO Score, Pay Off Credit – Don’t Just Move it Around
Moving credit around is not the same as paying it off. Your FICO score will increase if you consolidate your credit. If you have a balance, but fewer open accounts, your FICO score will increase.

4. To Increase Your FICO Score, Don’t Open Accounts Your Don’t Need
People will often open a number of accounts in order to try to increase the amount of available credit. This strategy can often backfire and lower your FICO score, instead of increasing it.

5. To Increase Your FICO Score, Avoid Collection Accounts
Be aware that any account that has gone to collection will stay on your credit report for seven years. These accounts will negatively affect your FICO score.

6. To Increase Your FICO Score, Open Accounts and Pay Responsibly
If you’ve had trouble in the past with credit, it pays to open a new account and use it responsibly. Establishing a pattern of responsible credit use will help to increase your FICO score over time.

7. To Increase Your FICO Score, Avoid Closing Accounts
Closing an account doesn’t make that account disappear from your credit history. Each account you’ve opened and closed will show up on your credit report and will affect your FICO score.

8. To Increase Your FICO Score, Use Credit Cards
People who have no credit history have a difficult time obtaining credit. It’s important to obtain credit early on and use it responsibly. People who do this have higher FICO scores than someone who never uses credit at all.

9. To Increase Your FICO Score, Seek Credit Counseling
If you are in trouble with debt and your FICO score is lower than you would like, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of a legitimate credit counselor. These counselors can help you navigate your credit report as well as help you make a concrete plan to help you increase your score.

10. To Increase Your FICO Score, Remember it Takes Time
Remember, there are no quick fixes for increasing your credit score. It takes time to establish a good credit history, or to repair damaged credit. If you look at it as a process, you’ll be able to create solid goals and to achieve them.

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Even With Bad Credit, You Can Get a Credit Card

Even With Bad Credit, You Can Get a Credit Card

200px Smartcard2 Even With Bad Credit, You Can Get a Credit Card
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OVERVIEW
Applying for a secured credit card and paying off your monthly balance can help you to reestablish your credit rating with the major credit bureaus.

Have you been told that you have a poor credit history? Have you run into some trouble with credit card debt before, which now you have cleaned up? Perhaps you have declared bankruptcy and you are trying to reestablish your credit? Here are several key ways that to reestablish your credit by securing credit.

Secured Credit Cards
A secured credit card is one of the most straightforward and safe ways to reestablish your credit. Typically, a credit card will advance you money from the credit card company. Secured credit cards ask you to put up that money in advance. A secured credit card is similar to a debit card; you set up a bank account and deposit an amount of money associated with the card. The account draws from those funds to pay your charges on that credit card. If you put $500 into your bank account, you can only charge up to $500 on your card. You should pay off the balance every month to establish a good relationship. With secured credit cards, you are typically rewarded for good behavior. A bank will increase your credit line without asking you to deposit more money. Slowly, a credit relationship is developed. Some banks only offer secured credit cards to people who are establishing credit for the first time, rather than people who have mishandled their credit in the past.

Be smart when shopping around for a secured credit card. Be on the lookout for a secured credit card that doesn’t charge an application fee. Every secured credit card will charge an annual fee, but they can vary dramatically. Shop around for the secured credit card with the lowest fee. Credit unions often offer secured credit cards to their members at a reasonable cost.

Unsecured Credit Card
Many banks don’t offer secured credit cards, but will offer credit cards with low credits. These cards almost always have high interest rates and fees.

Questions to ask when searching for a secured credit card.

• Does the credit card company/bank report to the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion? This is a very important factor in reestablishing your credit. You’ll want to establish a relationship with a credit card company that will make your credit history available upon request.

• How long do I need to have a secured credit card with your company before I qualify for an unsecured credit card? Typically, the time frame is about a year. You’re looking to establish a relationship with a company, so be sure it is one that will meet your needs for the next few years.

• How much interest will my deposit earn? Look for a credit card company that will give you about as much interest as you would get from a savings account at the bank.

• How can this secured credit card boost my credit rating? A secured credit card will boost your credit rating if you use it to charge a few things every month and then pay off the entire amount. Do not carry a balance on the secured credit card.

Keep in mind that if you do have bad credit history, you don’t have to live with it forever and you can take steps to improve it.

 Even With Bad Credit, You Can Get a Credit Card

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Tips to Get Yourself Out of Credit Card Debt

Tips to Get Yourself Out of Credit Card Debt

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OVERVIEW
Do you have too much credit card debt? It will take commitment and discipline, but here are some tips to get yourself out of credit card debt.

Do you have too much credit card debt? Many people are embarrassed or ashamed of how much credit card debt they have or how they got to that point in their lives. If you have too much credit card debt, admitting that is the first step toward getting yourself out. It will take commitment and discipline, but here are some tips to get yourself out of credit card debt:

• Too Much Credit Card Debt? Stop Using Your Credit Card
Stopping your credit card usage can be the toughest step of all, but it’s the most important. If you are aware you have too much credit card debt, you need to stop using the cards. Not incurring more credit card debt is the best way to digging yourself out of further problems.

• Too Much Credit Card Debt? Find Small Ways to Save
Take a good, hard look at where your money goes every day. The latte you grab on the way into work and the $10.00 sandwich are expenses that add up if you incur them every day. Take a look at your cell phone plan, your cable bill, and any other subscription services you have that could be trimmed or entirely cut out. Seemingly small savings of $50-100 can make a big difference when paying down your credit card debt.

• Too Much Credit Card Debt? Check on Interest Rates
Contact your lenders and ask about lowering the interest rate they’re charging on your credit card debt. The credit market is very competitive and many companies are willing to work with you and not lose your business. Once you’ve gotten your interest rates lowered, prioritize your payments, paying off higher interest rate credit card debt first.

• Too Much Credit Card Debt? Contact Your Creditors
If you find yourself in the position of having to miss a payment, contact your creditor and let them know about this. Try to set up a payment plan that you are sure you can meet. You don’t want to come back to them at a later date and try to renegotiate.

• Too Much Credit Card Debt? Home Equity Loans
It’s possible to tap into your home equity for a secured loan to pay off your credit card debt. You can secure a lower interest rate, fixed monthly payments, and peace of mind. Be sure to only do this if you have kicked the credit card spending habit. Many people will pay off credit card debt with home equity, only to run up their bills again.

• Too Much Credit Card Debt? Debt Consolidation
Unsecured debt consolidation is a possible solution to your credit card debt problem. Finding a non-profit debt settlement company can help you get your credit card debt consolidated into one monthly payment that you can afford.

Credit card debt has become immensely popular these days, with every nearly every other person finding themselves in debt problems. The trick is, in knowing how to deal with your credit card debt situation and taking steps to rectify your problems.

 Tips to Get Yourself Out of Credit Card Debt

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Are You In Trouble With Debt?

Are You In Trouble With Debt?

OVERVIEW
People often don’t recognize that they are in trouble with debt until it is too late. Ask yourself these questions to see whether or not you are in trouble with debt.

People often don’t recognize that they are in trouble with debt until it is too late. Ask yourself these questions to see whether or not you are in trouble with debt.

1. In trouble with debt: Do you have a clear picture of your credit card debt?
Many people feel they have a credit card debt problem, but they refuse to acknowledge it. They avoid looking at their credit card balances. They still use their credit cards, even though they know they shouldn’t. They pay off one credit card with a check from another. They transfer credit card debt balances instead of making payments. These are all signs that your credit card debt could be getting out of control.
2. In trouble with debt: Do you pay only the minimum credit card payment every month?
Paying only the monthly minimum can get you into credit card debt trouble quickly. Paying the monthly minimum will cover the interest and fees associated with your credit card, but it will not begin to decrease the credit card debt you owe.
3. In trouble with debt: Do you make late payments? Have you missed payments entirely?
Making a late payment usually means you’re waiting for the money to come in. This means you’re behind already and you will have trouble catching up. Missing payments entirely just means you’re getting further behind on your credit card debt.
4. In trouble with debt: Are you using credit cards to buy things because you don’t have the money to pay for them at that time? You can get into trouble with debt quickly with credit cards if you’re using them to buy things you cannot afford. If you can’t afford an item this month, it’s likely you’ll not be able to afford it the next month either. If you continue to buy things you cannot afford, you will get into more credit card debt trouble.
5. In trouble with debt: Does your paycheck only your bills? If your paycheck is already spent before you get it, chances are you have trouble with debt.
6. In trouble with debt: Do you choose the longest terms for a new debt? If you buy a new car, do you choose to pay over 60 months or 36? If you consistently choose the longest loan period for a major purchase so that you can afford the payments along with all your other payments, you have a problem with the amount of debt you’re carrying.
7. In trouble with debt: Have you already gone through a home equity loan to pay down your debt? If you have and you’re still running up more debt, you have debt trouble.
8. In trouble with debt: How much monthly debt do you have every month when compared to your income? If your unsecured debt (not including mortgage or rent) is more than 20% of your paycheck, you are in trouble with debt.
9. In trouble with debt: Do you have savings for a rainy day? If you don’t have a fund for an emergency and you have debts, you are in trouble with debt.
10. In trouble with debt: Do you worry about money? If you spend more time worrying about your debts than you do paying them, chances are you are in trouble with debt.

 Are You In Trouble With Debt?

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