You can if you want to – simply add his or her name as an authorized user on your account, and have him/her do the same for you. Then you’ll each be issued cards on each other’s accounts and both be able to use all of your combined accounts.

But should you?

Since money issues are a prime cause of divorce, the first thing to do is get into agreement about how your credit cards – and the rest of your financial picture – will be handled. Of course, this issue should have been settled long before the wedding, but if it’s still a question, now is the time to face it.

If your spending habits are similar – good – especially if you’re both conservative spenders. But if one of you is a free spender and the other is conservative, you probably shouldn’t blend your cards.

As far as the credit bureaus are concerned, each of you is an individual entity – with an individual credit history. So if you’ve taken good care of your credit and your spouse spends freely – you probably want to keep your own cards separate. And since joint accounts – such as utility bills – may be reported under both your names, you probably want to oversee payment of those accounts.

Because each of you will be treated as an individual for credit reporting, it is a good idea for you to either have separate accounts or a joint account – with both of you being responsible for payment. A joint account will be reported to the credit bureaus under both of your names, and your credit will be improved or harmed by the way you handle that account.

Many widows have found out too late that merely being an authorized user on their husband’s accounts did not give them a credit history. So when they were widowed needed credit, they had none – even if they had been the person responsible for bill-paying during their marriage.

Every person needs a good credit history, and thus should either have a credit card that is solely in their own name, or be a joint holder on an account – not just an authorized user.

So if your spouse is irresponsible with spending and should not have a credit card – share the account, but shred his/her card!

When the time comes for you to purchase a house – probably together – both of your credit scores will be considered. So it pays for both of you to keep your FICO scores as high as possible.

In cases where one spouse has maintained good credit and the other has not, lenders can write the mortgage in just the name of the “good credit spouse” – but in that case can only use the income from that party. This could be a blessing in disguise if using your combined income would cause you to buy a house with payments that put a strain on your budget.

If you don’t have a credit card in your own name, look over the possibilities and make an application. If you have no credit yet, you may need to choose a high interest card, but if you use it sparingly and pay the balance in full each month, you’ll build your credit and soon will be eligible for a lower rate card.

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Want a good incentive for using a prepaid credit card?

How about cash back every time you use the card? How about a $25 bonus every time you refer a friend to First Vineyard? How about an extra 1% back on every dollar you spend online through the First Vineyard MarketPlace™? How about cash back on the dollars your friends – and their friends – spend on their everyday needs?

First Vineyard’s compensation package could have you earning up to $800 per month in cash back fees – from your own spending, and from the people you refer, and the people they refer. The more people you refer, and the more they refer, the more you earn.

It’s like MLM marketing, but without asking your friends to buy or sell your products.

The First Vineyard Prepaid MasterCard® is available to any U.S. resident over 18 years of age with a valid social security number and verifiable address. There are no credit checks, and no employment verification.

You’ll pay a one-time activation fee of $39.95 and a monthly fee of $6.95. Regular purchases made in the U.S. have no fees, and the ATM withdrawal fee is only $2.

You can add cash via direct payroll deposit, Pay Pal, or by cashiers check or money order for free. (Fees do apply to electronic funds transfers and other means of re-loading your card.)

With the First Vineyard Prepaid MasterCard® you’ll enjoy the convenience of powerful online management tools, including spending summaries, account details, and current compensation due you for cash back rewards.

You can also transfer money to any checking, savings, or money market account and send money to any First Vineyard member. Our Click-n-Pay™ service means you can pay any bill, even if your biller doesn’t accept MasterCard.
.You can even use your First Vineyard card to place long distance calls from any phone.
Once you’ve joined our First Vineyard family and qualified for compensation, we’ll help you build your compensation tree. When new members come in without a direct referral, we insert them into existing member’s trees. That means you could receive cash back when a total stranger goes out to dinner and a movie!
But that’s not all… you can also receive a portion of the First Vineyard MarketPlace Pool. At the end of each month, a portion of each sale at the FV MarketPlace is divided evenly among qualifying members. And qualifying is easy. You qualify for rewards any time your First Vineyard Personal Group has $50 or more in group spending for the month.
Follow the links for more details on how your First Vineyard Prepaid MasterCard® can actually increase your income each and every month.

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Shielding the kids from the realities of consumer finance can set them up for failure later on, so begin early to teach them the risks and rewards of credit card use.

One good method is to get a credit card that is used only for their purchases – and whose payments are made from their budget / allowance.

Begin by doing the research together – look at the different credit card offers, consider the benefits of each, such as interest rate, reward offered, and any annual fees.

Since you will be monitoring this use and hopefully keeping purchases to a minimum, a card with an annual fee in exchange for rewards would be a poor choice. However, show your child the math before rejecting that card.

Compare the cards offered to a person with a high credit score vs. a person with a low credit score, so that the benefit of maintaining high credit stands out in black and white.

Next, have your child assist you in filling out the application. Let him or her learn what information is required.

As you wait for your new card to arrive, work with your son or daughter to set up a budget for its use. Show him that if the budget / allowance for the month is $20 and he spends only $20, he can pay the bill in full when it arrives and pay no interest.

However, if she charges $40 instead, it will take 2 months to pay the principle and she’ll still owe interest – which will have to come out of her budget for the 3rd month.

At the same time, you can and should set up a savings account, and encourage your child to put any unused money for the month into that account. That will give you the opportunity to teach how interest can be a benefit when it becomes a credit to your account rather than a drain on your funds.

Since consumers are right now drowning in debt, and since interest and penalties are making their debts double and triple, teaching kids to plan ahead and wait to make a major purchase could be one of the most beneficial lessons you teach as a parent.

So consider that your son wants a new “toy” that costs $100. Show him how putting that $20 into a savings account and making the purchase after 5 months will leave him with money left over, while making that $100 purchase now and paying $20 per month will leave him still owing interest after the original $100 has been paid.

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First Option Visa®

21 December 2009

No income or credit verification is required to obtain a First Option Visa®, but applications will be subject to identity verification and approval. Under the USA PATRIOT act we must obtain your name, address, date of birth, home phone number, and other identifying information.

To become a First Option Visa cardholder, you must open a savings account in an amount of $300 to $5,000. This account will be the security for the card. Should you decide to open your account with a small balance, you will be able to increase it at a later date. Your credit limit will be equal to the balance in your savings account.

The annual fee for the First Option Visa® is $59 and the annual percentage rate is a fixed rate of 19.5%. There is no grace period for charges or cash advances, and the interest is computed on an average daily balance, including new purchases.

Late payment and over-limit fees are both $20. The cash advance fee is 2%, with a minimum of $1 and maximum of $20.

To apply, submit an application and processing fee of $99.95. The bank will then confirm receipt and send the documents needed to open the savings account that will secure payment. If you supply accurate information and the bank is unable to verify your information, the bank will refund your savings account and return double your processing fee.

The savings account currently earns interest at a rate of 6.0% interest for the first three months, then 2.0% interest for the next nine months, for a 3.0% Annual Percentage Yield (APY). After the first twelve months your account earns 2.0% APY. These rates are subject to change.

Your account activity will be reported to the credit bureaus, so when used wisely, your account with First Option Visa® will help you build or re-build your credit rating.

When you qualify for a non-secured credit card, and your credit card charges are paid in full, you will be able to close both the credit card account and the savings account. At this time all monies in the savings account will be returned to you.

First Option Visa® is rated 4 stars (Excellent) by Bauer Financial Services. Cardholder deposits are insured up to $100,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

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Credit card safety is more important than ever, now that identity theft has become big business. Not only can a credit card thief use it to run up huge debts in your name, the talented ones can use it to gain access to even more of your personal information.

You cannot completely eliminate risk, but you can take steps to minimize it.

The first thing you should do with every credit card is record the number, the expiration date, the numbers on the back, and the number to call if your card is lost or stolen. And keep this record in a safe place where it can’t be easily accessed by prying eyes.

A safe or a safe deposit box would be a good place. A file in your laptop labeled “Credit card numbers” would not be a good place, especially if you carry your laptop with you.

Next, never leave your purse or wallet out of your sight. If you must leave either in an employee break room or in a gym locker, leave your credit cards either at home or tucked in your pocket. Your checkbook should also be at home or on your person at all times.

A locked car is not a safe place, even in a well-lighted parking lot.

Restaurants can be dangerous

Every day in restaurants across the nation, credit card holders are leaving themselves wide open to credit card and identity theft.

How? By handing their cards to their servers when the bill is presented. The servers take the card, run it through the machine, and bring the receipt back for a signature. Most of the time, that’s fine.

But it takes only one dishonest employee to take an impression of the card and make note of the numbers on the reverse. Think how many card numbers a person could accumulate over one week-end in a busy restaurant. The wait person is probably not the end user of these numbers, but instead is the middle man – gathering the numbers to be sold.

Telephones are dangerous, too

There’s just one hard and fast rule to use with regard to telephones: Never give out any information – whether it’s your credit card number, your address, or even your date of birth – unless you are the one who placed the call.

When anyone calls you asking for private information, hang up. Even if they seem to know all about you, and can tell you your credit card account numbers – don’t talk to them. Even if they say they represent your bank or your credit card issuer – Hang up and call the number you have on file. Never call a number they give you.

It’s sad to realize that we have crooks in our midst, but we do. It’s up to you to protect yourself from them.

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The Chase Freedom Card

16 December 2009

The Chase Freedom Card offers unlimited cash back rewards that never expire. There is no annual fee, and promotions offer 1% cash back on all purchases, and 2% on each dollar you spend on air travel booked through the Chase booking tool.

Cardholders with a U.S. mailing address can also earn 3% cash back in a quarterly bonus on rotating categories.

A current promotion offers 0% interest for 6 or 12 months, depending upon your credit history. To qualify for this card, you must possess a credit history clear of any bankruptcy and clear of any serious delinquencies. In addition, you must not have been turned down for credit in the past 6 months.

While credit card rates and programs are always subject to change, as of this writing, the Chase Freedom card offers 3 different pricing schedules:
Elite Pricing at a 13.24% variable rate
Premium Pricing at 18.24% variable
Standard Pricing at 23.24% variable (0% introductory rate limited to 6 months)
(These quoted rates are based on the prime rate of 3.25% on 12/22/08)

All rates are subject to change and based on the prime rate, which is defined as the highest prime rate published in the Money Rates column of The Wall Street Journal two business days before the Closing Date on the statement for each billing period.

Rates are also subject to change based on the consumer’s use of the account or “at any time for any reason.”

Balance transfers and cash advances are charged at 3% of the amount, but not less than $10. International fees are also charged at 3%.

Chase will charge a late payment fee of $15 on balances up to $99; $29 on balances of $100 up to $249; and $39.00 on balances of $250.00 and over. The over-limit fee is $39.

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Using a credit card to save money really is possible, with wise use of gasoline rebate cards. When you pay your balance in full each month and avoid interest charges, it’s like free money – as long as you aren’t paying an annual fee.

Here’s what to look for when you compare gas cards:

The annual fee, of course. If you travel extensively and the rebate is high, it might be worth choosing a card with a fee. But do the math before you choose.

Next, the amount of the rebate. Cards vary from 1% up to 5% for some station-specific credit cards. And that makes a huge difference! Say you spend $300 per month on gas – which is not at all unusual with today’s prices. A 1% rebate would earn you only $3, but a 5% rebate would bring back $15! Over a year’s time, the difference really adds up.

When choosing your credit card, check to see if rebates apply only to gasoline, or if other expenses will also earn you rebates. Some cards offer 3% on gasoline and 1% on other purchases.

Since brand-specific cards generally pay a higher rebate than others, check to make sure you choose a card that is good at stations where you regularly stop. If the locations are off your beaten path, or if you have to drive a few extra miles to get there, your savings aren’t worth much.

If you do a good deal of cross-country travel for business, you’re probably better off choosing a credit card that will give you a rebate at any gas station – rather than trying to find the right brand in unfamiliar locations.

Next check to see how and when you’ll get your rebates. Will the amount be credited back to your card, or will you get a check in the mail? Can you get your reward any time you choose, or when your rebate reaches a set amount? Or, does the card issuer give all rebates at a certain time each year?

Even though you may intend to pay your balance in full each month, check to see the interest rate you’ll be paying if you have to carry a balance at any time. If the interest rate is high, your rebate for the year could be wiped out in just one month.

If you’re planning a trip that entails extensive car travel, find a gas credit card that offers a greater rebate for the first few months. Some go as high as 10% as an introductory rate, and then drop to the standard 3 to 5 percent. Just be sure to apply in time to get the card before you leave home!

Are you ready to choose? Compare cards today!

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With the Platinum Zero™ Secured Visa® Credit Card all you need to do is have your identity and residence verified and make a deposit of $500 to $5,000.

While the maximum deposit and resultant credit limit is $5,000, cardholders may begin with as little as $500 and increase it at any time.

You are guaranteed approval, with no credit or income requirements, and no application fee. This card features timely credit bureau reporting, so using Platinum Zero™ wisely will help you build or re-build your credit scores.

While you will pay 9.99% interest on cash advances, there is zero interest on purchases – and this rate won’t change, even if you’re late with a payment.

Platinum Zero™ is a product of Applied Bank, in Wilmington, Delaware.

Card holders are protected by a zero percent liability in case of fraudulent use.

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Rewards credit cards come in several varieties, in addition to cash back. They are generally offered only to individuals whose credit is rated “excellent” or “very good.”

Some have no annual fee, while others, with more generous rewards, carry an annual fee of up to $450.

The rewards card you choose should reflect your lifestyle and the way you use your credit card.

Two of the most popular are “miles” and “points.”

Miles, of course, refers to airline miles. Some cards are specific to one airline and some are universal. Some give miles for all purchases, and some only for travel-related purchases. Some offer 2 miles per dollar for travel purchases and 1 point for all others.

Often the card offering the most miles per dollar also comes with a higher interest rate, so it pays to compare all the features. Unless you pay your balance in full each month, the rewards can quickly be eaten up by the higher interest rate.

Points are awarded in a similar fashion, with some cards offering points for every purchase, and some for only specific purchases. If the majority of your credit card purchases are for gasoline, choose a card that doubles credit card rewards for gas purchases. If you spend more shopping at a grocery store, choose a rewards card that rewards grocery store purchases.

Some cards give double points for week-end spending, so do carefully consider the choices and pick a card that rewards the way you spend money. With the dozens of offers available, you’re sure to find one that compliments your lifestyle.

You may even want to use different cards for different kinds of purchases. Some consumers find it convenient to use one card for all gasoline purchases so they can pay the balance in full each month and earn rewards, while using a different card with a lower interest rate for larger purchases such as appliances or auto repairs.

You should, of course, use a separate card for business purchases than personal purchases. Not only will your statements give you a clear record of expenditures, but you may be able to deduct any interest you’ve paid over the year. If you mix personal items with business, that interest will probably be denied. *Check with your tax preparer for details.

Before you choose a “Points” rewards credit card, study the offers. Of course you’ll want to compare interest rates, but you should also compare the kinds of merchandise for which you can redeem your points. Then compare the number of points you accumulate per dollar spent against the cost in points for merchandise you might want.

A few rewards credit cards, such as the Advanta Customizable Platinum Business Card with Unlimited Rewards, let you choose between cash back, travel, and merchandise.

One sometimes overlooked rewards credit card: Charitable Giving

Charitable giving rewards credit cards are another option. If you have a favorite charity, go to its website and check to see if they offer a credit card. This is a painless way to give.

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Why choose a secured credit card, when you are required to make a deposit equal to your credit limit? Several reasons.

First, owning and using a credit card is a way to establish credit – it’s great for students just beginning their financial lives, as well as for those who have run into credit difficulties in the past and need to re-establish themselves.

Second, a secured credit card is a handy and safe way to manage expenses when you’re traveling or on the road for business. Cash can be easily lost and gone, but your Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Credit Card is protected by zero percent fraud liability.

To apply, you need only to make an initial deposit of at least $200 in a FDIC insured Applied Bank Deposit Account and give us enough information to identify you in keeping with the requirements of the U.S. PATRIOT Act. No income verification and no credit verification are required.

You can deposit up to $5,000 and you will enjoy a corresponding credit limit. Both purchases and cash advances are billed at a low 9.99% APR, and your annual fee is only $50.

Over limit and late fees range from $32 to $35 and unlike many cards, your interest rate will not be raised due to a late payment.

Why pay high annual fees and high interest rates when an Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Credit Card is so affordable?

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