Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lowey Your Credit Card Interest Rate

You've received credit card applications in the mail promising low interest rates. Now, instead of an annoyance, you can use them to get a lower rate on your current credit card. We hit Macarthur Center in Norfolk, to find people willing to put our game plan to lower your rates to the test. We asked people to call the customer service number on the back of their credit cards.

Once they have a person on the phone, they make a simple four sentence statement. "Hi, my name is (your name). I am a good customer, but I have received several offers in the mail from other credit card companies with lower annual percentage rates. I want a lower rate on my credit card. Can you help?"

The people we spoke with saw a drop between 5% and .6%. It didn't work for everyone, but you can always try again and ask for a supervisor if you don't get anywhere with the first person you talk to. Keep in mind it may take a month or two before your credit card statement reflect the change in interest rate.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Check Your Credit Score Annually

Most North Americans no little or nothing about their current credit rating. What is your credit file and how did it get there?

Every time you apply for credit either through a credit card company or if you apply for a mortgage, buy new furniture on the don’t pay for 5 years plan, the banks, financing companies, credit card companies etc. send specific information about the transaction to the credit reporting agencies. This credit file contains all the information about your credit activities that companies have send in.

So why do you need to review your credit report annually? Because companies make mistakes when they send information in to these credit collection companies and this misinformation could be very damaging to your personal credit rating.

This alone is the major reason to check your credit score regularly.

Who has access to your credit file?

No one can access your personal credit report or file without your consent. Each time someone pulls your credit file, a note is made on the file to track this.

People can only have access to your credit file for the following reasons:

  • Applying for some form of credit – card, loan etc.

  • Debt collection

  • Housing rental

  • Applying for employment

  • Applying for insurance

How to obtain a free credit report:
You can obtain your free credit report 2 ways. Is a free online credit report available?

There are a number of companies that will try and offer a free online credit report. Credit Report Score:
Every item of credit history is given a score or rating by the credit grantor. Lenders want to lend their money out or extend your credit.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Some common myths about credit score

Today lot of myths about fico score rating is spread and some of myths are totally obsolete. So avoid bad information as it can cost you money. So here are some common credit score myths:

  • Checking your credit report will hurt your credit score

  • Closing old accounts will improve your credit report score

    Generally closing old accounts do not improve your credit rating score but the effects are reverse. If you need to close some accounts, close your new accounts. Apply for a new credit lower your credit score.

  • You need to check more than just FICO score rating

  • Credit counseling will hurt your score

The best way to improve your credit report score is paying your bills on time and paying down credit card debt. Check your credit report regularly for any errors and make sure you don't fall for these common credit score myths.

How to prevent credit card frauds

Here are some quick tips for you to prevent credit card frauds:

  • It’s actually safer to order online! Don’t call that order in

  • Never give out your 3 digit security code over the phone

  • Never email the credit card information or password

  • When purchasing online look for the Hacker Safe and BBB logos.

  • Keep on checking your credit history frequently

  • Cross out blank lines on all credit card receipts.

  • Don’t use your check card online.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Credit cards offer high-end clients some luxury rewards

Credit card issuers are raising the bar on rewards to encourage well-heeled customers to charge their purchases during the busy holiday shopping season.

On Tuesday, American Express (AXP) will announce an expanded rewards program to allow Platinum and Centurion card holders to redeem points for high-luxury items such as a one-year lease on a $260,000 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder convertible (10.5 million points), a more than $900,000 Chopard 53.2-carat, diamond-encrusted watch (93.2 million points) and Tiffany gift certificates.

Credit card holders already "can go on spacewalks, hobnob with celebrities, have unique experiences," says Ralph Andretta, a general manager at American Express. The new program "just brings (rewards) to another level."

American Express says it expects enhanced rewards to drive credit card spending during the holiday season, the most profitable months for retailers. The launch comes as competition for the well-heeled consumer heats up and American Express — which pioneered the Platinum credit card two decades ago — finds itself in the uncomfortable position of fending off growing challenges to its market dominance.

In an August report, Morgan Stanley analysts Kenneth Posner and Betsy Graseck wrote that, as issuers roll out more cards geared toward high-end consumers, "The question must be raised as to the possible long-term implications for AmEx's growth."

Every card issuer defines the affluent segment differently, but these households earn a minimum of $100,000 annually. While this group makes up 1.5% of all credit card holders, it accounts for 20% of card spending, according to Nilson Report, a payment-systems newsletter.

"Everyone wants a piece of them," says Rick Ferguson, editorial director of Colloquy, a consulting firm. Issuers "are all trying to outdo each other" with rewards programs to attract these consumers.

In recent years, MasterCard (MA) and Visa issuers have aggressively courted well-to-do consumers with their World and Signature credit cards, offering rewards such as Super Bowl parties and theater tickets. MasterCard, in September, launched a World Elite card that offers additional perks such as free companion airline tickets, concierge service and access to special events.

High-spending consumers respond to service and rewards tailored to them, says Nicole Risafi of MasterCard. "It's really not solely about the trip to Italy. ... It's about being able to experience Tuscany in a way few people can."

Affluent consumers often don't carry debt on credit cards, so issuers don't profit from monthly finance charges.

But their high spending levels are a boon to issuers, which receive payments from merchants for each credit card transaction.

Rewards encourage consumers to charge their purchases. They also provide consumers with another reason to hang on to their credit cards. At American Express, customers enrolled in a rewards program tend to keep their cards three times longer than those not enrolled, Andretta says.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Co-op Bank raise credit card charges

The Co-op Bank has raised charges on its credit cards for both new and existing customers.

The cash withdrawal fee for all cards has risen from 2% and a minimum of £2 to 2.5% and a minimum £2.50. Furthermore customers with the Platinum Base Rate Tracker card will have to pay a £2 monthly fee.

This move follows hot on the heels of the Co-op Bank receiving rave reviews for lowering late payment charges to £11, however their critics claim this is their way of trying to recover the money lost in the offer.

The annual percentage rate has also been increased on their variable rate Infinity cards by 1%. This brings the current rates to: the Standard card-18.9%, the Gold card 16.9 per cent, and the Platinum Advantage 14.9 per cent.

A researcher from Moneyfacts comments that whilst Co-op did well to reduce their default payments, they are now however charging more of their customers in their attempt to retrieve some of their losses, and this is affecting ones who pay on time.