Category: Credits

Avoiding the ATM Pitfalls: 7 Credit Card Tips for Traveling Abroad

card using tipsHere are some pointers on how to use your credit card wisely abroad and suggestions for using a travel card plus other savvy tips that should ensure you get the benefits of using your plastic on foreign soil without costing more than it should.

Before you go

It should be remembered that some credit cards are more attractive than others when it comes to overseas use and it would be a smart move to check out which of the cards in your wallet are international-friendly.

Using your credit card abroad will often incur a transaction fee and a withdrawal fee at the ATM, but you will find that some card companies either don’t charge any extra fees or offer much lower transaction charges than some of their rivals.

Shop around and check to see which is the best card to have with you abroad.

ATM agony

Drawing cash out of an ATM is quick and easy but it can be one of the most expensive ways of using your credit card, especially abroad.

The card company will likely charge you a cash advance fee and interest on the amount you take out and there may well be a foreign transaction fee on top of that too.

Try to plan your trip so that you don’t have to use an ATM unless your card provider is one that doesn’t apply punitive charges and interest.

Keep it local

Another potential sting in the tail is when the merchant offers to convert the transaction into your local currency rather than theirs.

This is invariably a bad idea as the conversion rate is not normally as good as the “mid-market rate” that card providers use when they make the conversion on your statement.

Tell your credit card company

Having chosen the card or cards that you are going to use abroad it makes good sense to tell them of your travel plans in advance.

If your card starts being used abroad and you haven’t told them beforehand they might assume that the transactions are fraudulent, which could mean they decline a purchase or block the card altogether.

Save the hassle by notifying the card provider so that they won’t flag foreign purchases as suspicious.

A bit of peace of mind

It is worth pointing out that there are definite benefits to using a credit card abroad too, and one of those plus points is the fact that you should get payment protection.

If you buy something that is faulty and it is not feasible to get a refund from the retailer your card company should offer payment protection and cover any potential loss you might otherwise have suffered if you paid for something in cash.

Find a secure connection

If you are using a banking app or accessing your account over the internet while abroad make sure that you find a secure connection rather than rely on somewhere more vulnerable like an Internet cafe.

You don’t want to find that your personal details have been compromised.

Lost or stolen

If your credit card is lost or stolen don’t waste any time telling your credit card company.

Any delay could give someone the chance to wreak havoc with your card if it’s fallen into the wrong hands.

Even though it might be a pain to interrupt your holiday to call your bank it could save a lot more hassle later on.

Avoid the classic credit card pitfalls and if you choose your card provider wisely it should make using it abroad a breeze.

Why you should Fintechs instead of Private Banks for your credit requirements

banking servicePrivate Banks have always been the leaders as far as offering credit products are concerned. This has however, changed in recent times, thanks to the emergence of Fintech companies. Popular surveys have indicated that Fintechs command a larger market share in the lending space, and this has occurred due to a lot of reasons. While we look at these reasons, we’ll go on to determine why Fintechs are a better option than traditional lenders for instant personal loans.

Turnaround time for loans from Fintechs vs turnaround times of banks

The equation is quite simple and straightforward actually. While traditional lenders take at least 7-8 business days to complete the processing and subsequent disbursal of your loan amount, Fintech companies boast ridiculously low turnaround times of 24-48 hours.

Eligibility Parameters – Fintechs vs Traditional Lenders

Traditional lenders generally have stringent eligibility parameters as far as the credit score, income and other parameters are concerned. For starters, applicants need to have a minimum credit score of 750 to qualify for a personal loan with a traditional lender. However, most Fintechs allow individuals with low credit scores to apply for loan, with the more popular ones such as Fintechs requiring scores of as low as 575 to become eligible. As far as the income parameter is concerned, top private banks require applicants to have minimum monthly income levels of at least Rs. 30,000 to qualify, while on the other hand, Fintechs allow for income levels starting at Rs. 20,000 per month.

Processing of application – Fintechs vs Traditional lenders

Fintechs are literally the reason why instant personal loans have evolved. Unlike traditional banks that haven’t shifted completely to paperless and digital processing, Fintechs have made the transition to a digital and paperless application, thereby saving a lot of time and resources. Moreover, applicants can get instant approval when the apply for a loan based on their credit assessment – which is performed by a credit assessment algorithm – allowing them to choose a different lender if they face rejection.

How to Buy Rewards Points Instead of Waiting to Earn Them

card reward pointsNot many people know but it’s true that you can buy rewards points without having to wait to earn them. This has been a somewhat hidden option all this time. You can actually top up your account by buying points for a redemption. And the best thing is that the cost of doing so is not as unreasonable as you might think it will be.
People can buy points by their Membership Rewards Linked Cards, and at $25 for 1000 points, they’re not as expensive as one might think they’d be. These points are still cheaper than buying from an airline. So in this article, we’ll discuss how you can buy rewards points and why you might want to do that.

Why Buying Rewards Points Makes Sense

The main reason to buy rewards points is to top up your account for a particular redemption. Membership Rewards points happen to a flexible currency. This means you can check how many points you have and how you wish to use them. If you’re short, then you can buy as many points as you want to use them for whatever purpose you intend to use them for.

Buying points to top up your account when you know there’s an airline seat that can be redeemed is another reason to buy rewards points. This way you can secure the seat earlier instead of waiting until you have earned the remaining points from your day to day spends. If let’s say you’re another 1000 points short, then it could take a very long time to earn that many points, and the airline seat that you’re after won’t obviously wait for you for that long.

Important Details When Buying Rewards Points

The process of buying rewards points can easily be conducted over the phone number given at the back of your frequent flyer credit card or charge card. With American Express, you have to buy points in chunks of 1000. There is no limit on the number of points that can be bought. For more details about buying points, you can visit Points Bank.

Whenever you buy Membership Rewards points you’ll have to transfer them or redeem them over to a partner program at the time of purchase. So it’s better if you buy these points with a specific purpose in your mind. Points can be purchased on request immediately, and the transfer of points is also initiated at the same time.

Another advantage of buying points is that if there is any bonus promotion running at the time when you buy points, then the points will be offered to you at the bonus promotion that is being given at that time. However, you won’t be able to earn more points on the purchase of your points.

Buying rewards points is actually very easy. All you have to do is just make an account with Points Bank and state how much points you would like to purchase and for what purpose. These orders usually take 72 hours before your purchased points can be seen in your account.

Loan Options Available if You Have Less Than Perfect Credit

loan approvalMost people will encounter a time in their lives where they fall short on cash and need to borrow to cover their expenses. If you have a savings established you simply have to make a quick withdrawal. However, if you have no savings set up for emergencies and your credit is less than perfect you may think that you have no options. Luckily there are lenders willing to loan money to people who have a lower credit score, as well as other options available.

Short Term Loans

When you think of short-term loans, you may think that the only one you will qualify for is a very high-interest payday loan. Thankfully, there are payday loan alternatives. There are online lenders who offer low-monthly installment loans to people with less than perfect credit. And, unlike a payday loan, you have several different repayment options.

Title Loans

If you own your vehicle, there are lenders who are willing to use your car as collateral against a loan. Depending on the Blue Book value, this type of loan can give you access to more money than a short-term loan.

401K

If your company has a 401k plan and you are a contributor, you can borrow up to 50 percent of the vested amount. Since you are borrowing the money from you, the chances for a quick approval are very good. The best part about this type of loan is that while you will pay interest, you pay it back to you.

Pension

While you should never touch a retirement fund. If an emergency arises and you need the cash to prevent losing your home or your vehicle, and the company you work for allows it can give you access to a lot of cash in a lump sum. If you are less than 59.5-years old there is an additional fee of 10 percent plus the 20 percent withheld for the IRS.

Borrowing from Family

If you don’t have a savings account, a 401K or a pension that you can withdraw from, you can see if a family member is willing to give you a loan. If someone in your family does front you a loan, remember to treat it the same as you would any other lender. Come to an agreement before accepting the loan and then stick to it. It’s very easy to put a family member on the back burner and pay other bills first. Make every effort to repay per the terms agreed on and if you should have a rough month contact them and advise them when the next payment will be. This way you’ll stay on good terms should you need their help in the future.

Take on a Part-Time Job

If you find that you are having trouble making ends meet often, you may need to find a way to bring in more money each month. If you have a talent, you can sell items or services to fill in the gap until you reduce your overhead. If not, you may need to consider taking on a second job for a while to get you on your feet.

Hard times can happen to anyone. Maybe you lost your overtime or you have extra expenses like school or medical bills. Whatever the reason, there are many ways to dig out from under and get on an even platform. If your monthly expenses are very high, look at your bills and see where you can make cuts, even for the short-term. For instance, if you have a large cable bill, go to basic service. Also, if you eat out often, reduce it to once a month as a treat, brown bag your lunch for work and use coupons when going food shopping. By pulling in your belt, you will have the money you need to cover your expenses and work towards improving your credit score.

The Pros And Cons Of Your First Credit Card

money cardsYour first credit card is milestone in being able to stand on your own two feet. Not only can you improve your credit score, making mortgages more available to you, you can afford more bills and groceries each week, and you have plenty of backup cash in storage just in case of an emergency. However, we all know it isn’t simply sunshine and roses, so we need to think about the benefits and drawbacks of having a credit card. If you’re a young adult or someone older who never got the chance to before, and you’re just deciding to invest in a card of your own, here’s the biggest things for you to consider.

The Pro: Credit Cards Have Reward Systems

Credit cards, the more you use them, often have rewards for you to use at the end of the week or month. This makes them a lot more useful when it comes to shopping, and provides a little more incentive to use a credit card in a healthy manner. For your first card, looking into the systems each provider offers can require a bit of shopping around (to make sure you can use them for all purchases), so don’t make any decisions based on simple want alone!

The amount of different cards there out there means rewards can vary wildly from person to person. For example, with this in mind, you can get a variety of things on your credit card use, such as cashback for the standard types, or free flights for people using a travelling orientated card. It’s often a good idea to have more than one card in your possession, as being able to handle more than one at a time shows off how versatile and responsible you can be with money. It also means more rewards!

The Con: Debt Can Pile Up

Let’s face it, we can lie to ourselves a lot when it comes to money: ‘I need a new TV’ or ‘A few more dog treats won’t hurt!’ Even just thinking about the hypotheticals shows off how many different walks of life can bring in some debt when we let ourselves lose control.

At its core, credit is predatory, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use it safely. With this in mind, we can all agree that debt is a big drawback of using a credit card, and using your available credit too much is dangerous. Even the fact that credit card consolidation loans exist suggests that this is a common habit for people to fall into, so be aware of making excuses for yourself to use your credit card.

Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the amount of options there are on the market for getting a credit card. They’re there to help you rather than hinder you, and there’s no trap for you to fall into when you fully research terms and conditions, and any better alternatives! Balancing a checkbook gets easier and easier when information is so accessible like this.