Choosing a rewards credit card definitely makes sense if you pay more often with your credit card than with actual cash and more importantly, you do not mind risking steep interest charges if you don`t pay your bill on time for whatever reason. However, there are different kinds of rewards that credit cards offer today. It would be a good idea if you were to know all your options first. This will help you more accurately determine which reward program is most suitable for your needs.

Credit cards that offer air miles as a reward are understandably most popular with frequent travelers. Your credit card purchases are converted into air miles and in time, you may rack up enough air miles to enjoy free flights to your destination of choice. With this type of credit card, keep in mind that the conversion rate for air miles from dollars spent varies from one card to another. Participating airline companies are also likely to vary.

Another great choice for travelers would be credit cards that offer fuel refills as the primary reward. Similar to the above type, the conversion rate for how much gas refill you get for how much you have spent would depend on your credit card`s terms and conditions. Likewise, participating fuel companies would vary.

If you prefer a broader selection of rewards from which to choose, you may probably enjoy using your credit card more if it had a point-based reward system instead. With this type, every dollar you spend using your credit card is equivalent to a certain number of reward points. And no, before you even ask it, there is no way that you will get to enjoy a $1 to 1 reward point ratio! That is mathematically impossible for any financial institution to offer. In any case, the conversion rate also varies from card to card.

Another variable would be the selection range you enjoy with your reward program. Some banks, for instance, concentrate on offering consumer products only. These include, but are not limited to, refrigerators, cell phones, laptops, designer bags and shoes. In other cases, services such as spa treatments, fine dining courses for two, or even a variety of workshops may also be included. Finally, if you are lucky, both products and services and everything else you wish for may be included. It could be a stay for two in a luxurious city hotel or even tickets to world-class shows.

Cash back cards, on the other hand, offer no limits when it comes to the rewards you get to enjoy because you “earn” your cash back instead. This is made possible by rebates, which may be offered if you purchase a particular product for a particular amount. However, this type of arrangement rarely means literally getting your cash back. More often than not, the amount of rebate you earn would be used to further reduce your credit card balance.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Rewards Credit Card

Naturally, there are other factors to take into account. Knowing what they are will ensure that you get the most out of your money when shopping with your credit card.

- How much are you being charged for interest? Is it equal to or higher than industry standards?

- How much will you have to pay for late fines and other penalties?

- What will your credit limit be?

If you keep in mind the <a href=”“>money saving money</a> tips above, there is a very good chance that you will enjoy shopping for lower rates overall. So, do your research and get those rewards.

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You don’t have to be a slave to credit card debt your entire life. You can get rid of credit card debt if you use the following tips to help you out with keeping your debts from being worse than they could be.

Avoid Using More

You need to stop using any problematic credit cards or else the debt situation will get worse. You particularly have to avoid using these cards for borrowing money as well. You might have a good credit line to use for borrowing money off of cards but the interest rates are only going to hurt later on.

Use Cash Often

It helps to use cash often if you want to keep debts out of the way. It could be used to cover any expenses or purchases you have while also reducing the amount of added pressure on your credit cards.

Try and Get a Better Rate

You may be able to qualify for a better rate on your credit card over time. You could transfer the money on a card to a different card that has a reduced transfer balance on it. This could be used to give you a lower interest rate on your debts. Some credit cards will even allow you to have a certain number of interest-free days on your transfer balances.

Renegotiations are Useful

A credit card company may be willing to renegotiate with you by setting up a payment plan or by reducing your interest rate. You may get this from a company that wants to reduce the likelihood of you declaring bankruptcy and not being able to make payments at all.

What Balances Should Be Paid Off?

You may want to take a look at what balances you should be covered first. You should consider dividing your balances between different terms to see which one is appropriate for you to cover first. These include balances like:

  • The one with the highest interest rate
  • Whatever is smallest in value
  • Any account where you have gotten more fees added onto it
  • An account that has been past due for a longer period of time


Pay More Off

The interest additions on your credit card debt can only make it harder for you to pay off your cards. Therefore, you have to reduce the balance on your cards in order to be charged less interest each month. One way how you can do this is by paying off more than what you have to pay for a minimum payment each month.

This may be used to give you more support for your card while also reducing the amount of interest that you might be charged on your card in the long run. It also reduces the amount of time you have for paying off your debts.

You have to use these points if you want to get rid of credit card debt as soon as possible. Your debt can be troublesome unless you are capable of paying it off with the right procedures to make your money easier to handle.

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  Before credit cards and their accompanying interest rates, paychecks offered a simple but absolute budget. The amount shown on a consumer’s paycheck was the spending limit allotted to the consumer. A person with a paycheck could never overextend themselves—like they might through credit lending—once they depleted their funds.

With the arrival of the credit card though, things changed. Or perhaps more accurately, people changed.

People now have the peace of mind and convenience of not carrying around a ton of physical cash. These new rectangular pieces of plastic allow consumers to purchase goods on “credit,” and repay the credit card companies on a later date.

But unfortunately, the use of credit has negated the absolute budget offered by carrying cash from a paycheck. With that absolute budget gone, many people freely charge up their credit card debt since they lack experience with credit lending and managing a credit card budget.

The Credit Card Budget

Despite what some financial advisors may preach, credit cards can be used in a healthy budget. Thanks to the inherent qualities that credit cards boast, these forms of cash advances can actually help borrowers become better at budgeting.

Like any other industry, the credit industry competes with itself. This has caused credit lenders to offer cards with a host of benefits, like earning miles or points.

Some credit cards even offer cash-back rewards. These cards give money back to borrowers based on a percentage of all purchases made with their cards. In practice, this means that borrowers are actually getting a discount on everything they charge to their card.

These rebates can be saved up and put towards vacations, bills, groceries, or any other offer approved by a consumer’s specific card. Credit lenders even offer options such as having cash-back rewards automatically deposited into a savings account to simplify saving for customers.

Let us assume for example that a young couple is remodeling their kitchen. They’ve decided to sign up for a credit card with a cash-back rewards program at their bank. The cash-back rewards program offers a generous five percent cash back rate for the first six months as an incentive by the bank to sign up. The couple decides to use the cash-back rewards program only on a high priced purchase for their kitchen since they have a small cash budget set aside for the rest of the remodeling.

The couple decides to use their credit card towards the purchase of a new refrigerator. After a weekend of shopping they decide to purchase a refrigerator for $2,329.

The couple then receives a cash-back reward into their checking account of $116.45, which is five percent of the $2,329. In effect, if the couple decides to just hold onto their cash-back reward, they then only paid $2,213 for their new appliance.

However, credit card users looking to tap into the benefits described here must know how to use credit cards responsibly. Many cards come with very high annual percentage rates (APRs), which can equate to very steep late fees. If consumers pay off their entire credit card balance each month though, then the credit cards interest rates never kick in, and the consumer freely reaps all of the card’s benefits without any of its drawbacks.

The best way for consumers to ensure themselves that they will pay off their monthly credit card bill is to treat their credit card like their checkbook. A healthy credit card budget works much like an absolute budget. Consumers should return to the basics and only use what money they have in their bank accounts.

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Are you scouting the market for the best business credit card that will help you finance your business venture and also help manage other employee expenses? Well, once you begin reviewing Capital One credit cards, the leaders in the credit card arena, there’s no way you’ll feel the need to look any further.

Consumers of these cards enjoy a wide array of features, like the free itemized report, purchase security, extended protection and many more. But the problem arises when you have to choose the Capital One card that best fits your requirements. The decision is a tough one because the array of choices they make you available can actually make your head spin, splitting you in several directions that all seem good enough. To help you make this decision easier for you, I’ve listed below my top 3 choices of Capital One business cards for 2012:

  1. 1.      Capital One Spark Cash For Business


This one has to be one of the most outstanding business credit cards in the market at present. The offers on this card include the following:

  • 2% cash back on every purchase.
  • $100 bonus cash back on purchases worth $1000 in the first 3 months.
  • No credit card fee for the first year.
  • Credit card fee is as low as $59.
  • Lifelong validity of the cash back points.
  • $50 bonus cash back on adding an employee credit card within the first 60 days.
  • APR is as low as 13.9% on all purchases and balance transfers.


  1. 2.      Capital One Spark Cash Select For Business


This business credit card comes as an upgraded version of the previous one. The offers that you will be enjoying while this credit card include the following:

  • $0 annual credit card fee.
  • Additional employee credit cards will also enjoy the $0 annual credit card fee.
  • You will earn 1% cash back for all purchases made using the credit card.
  • Your accumulated cash back amount will receive a 50% bonus after every year.
  • Your cash back points will neither have an upper limit, nor will they have any expiry date.
  • You will enjoy 0% APR on all purchases and balance transfers till January 2013.
  • You can redeem your accumulated cash back points in the following flexible manner:

ü      Check at the end of one year from the day of issue of the card.

ü      Gift cards starting from a minimum of $20.

  1. 3.      Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business


The Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business happens to be yet another winner business credit card from the stables of Capital One credit cards. The hosts of benefits you will be enjoying include:

  • $0 annual credit card fee for you and for any additional employee credit cards.
  • You will earn 1 mile from every purchase of $1 using your credit card.
  • Your accumulated miles will receive a 50% bonus at the end of a year.
  •  You can redeem your accumulated miles for the following:

ü      Travel expenses.

ü      Cash in the form of an annual check.

ü      Gift Cards.

ü      Other merchandise.

  • Your accumulated miles come with no upper limit. Nor does it come with an expiration date.
  • All your purchases and balance transfers till January 2013 will enjoy a 0% introductory APR.
  • You can set limits for additional employee cards and also monitor their expenses.


You can also take a look at the Capital One Spark Classic for Business Credit Card in case you are looking for more options!


Brenda Lyttle is a finance expert with 5 years of experience under her belt. She deals in credit card issues and swears by the benefits of the top Capital One cards, for she believes them to be the best in the market at present.

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We’ve all heard stories of individuals or couples who treat their credit cards as their own personal money tree. Instead of viewing their credit card as if it were a personal loan, they consider it an endless flow of cash. They visit store after store, indulging in all of the material items they can buy with their newly acquired piece of plastic. Their state of bliss lasts until they receive that bill one month later explaining that cash payment is due.

Then they begin pulling their hair, stressing over how they’ll repay their debt. The cardinal problem these people are guilty of is the exact problem that many payday and personal loan borrowers find themselves guilty of: they didn’t establish a healthy budget.

There’s a variety of reasons why people may not establish healthy budgets, one of which is because they don’t know how. The good news, however, is that establishing a budget is much easier than most may think. And with the virtually unlimited tools available online, creating a budget is becoming easier and easier.

The 50/30/20 Plan

One method of budgeting one’s money and expenditures is by sticking to what’s called the 50/30/20 plan. The 50/30/20 plan is one that’s touted by many economists and financial advisors. Elizabeth Warren, the former special advisor for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, even recommends the 50/30/20 plan.

The way this budgeting plan works can be seen in its name. Expenditures are broken up into three categories, and income is distributed to those categories in three allotments: 50 percent, 30 percent, and 20 percent.

Bills and expenditures that fall under one’s “Needs” are allowed 50 percent of one’s after-tax income. Needs include not only food and shelter (mortgage or rent), but also other items that are “needed” in our modern society. Minimal amounts of clothing, minimum personal loan payments, minimum credit card debt payments, insurance, transportation, gas, and anything else that is a necessity to operate successfully can be included as a “need.”

The next allotment is “Wants.” Wants are allowed 30 percent of one’s after-tax income. Most “wants” include everybody’s favorite purchases: restaurants, movies, extra clothing, video games, alcohol, toys, expensive cell phone plans, and any anything else that you can do without, but that you just really want. Also included in the wants category are extra payments on personal loan and credit card bills.

Finally, 20 percent of one’s after-tax income goes straight to the bank in the form of “Savings.” The reason for this large chunk of savings is because it creates a safety cushion of cash. This large sum of savings will allow healthy budgeters to save up for a large purchase, be prepared for an unexpected expense, or even completely pay off personal loans or credit cards.

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One advantage of buying things with a credit card is that your purchase is often insured. This is thanks to credit card purchase insurance. This insurance basically covers you against defects, breakage, theft and other problems with goods you buy with a credit card.

Many credit cards offer credit card purchase insurance free of charge as part of your credit card agreement. In essence, any time you use the card to buy something, that item is automatically insured for a certain period of time.

Credit card purchase insurance may have many restrictions. It may only apply to certain items and may have a minimum or maximum value that it covers. Most cards also have either an annual or lifetime limit for coverage. There also is a coverage period, usually 90 days, after which the insurance will no longer pay to cover the purchase. Credit card purchase insurance usually has exclusions, or things you buy that the policy won`t cover, including pets, food and big-ticket items such as motorcycles.

Examples of how it works
Say, you order a DVD player online that`s delivered by a package delivery company. The company leaves the package on your front porch when you aren`t there and by the time you return home, someone has taken the package. If you used your credit card and you have purchase insurance, the card will pay to replace your item.

Likewise, if you get the DVD player and it`s obviously damaged or it doesn`t work and the company you bought it from won`t replace or repair it, your credit card purchase insurance will pay for a new one. You will need to keep your receipt and you will need to produce a copy of a police report if the item is stolen. Credit card purchase insurance may also reimburse you if a retailer won`t accept a return for some reason.

Other types of credit insurance
In addition to credit card purchase insurance, many cards may also offer insurance to help protect your purchases in the event you can`t pay for them. These types of insurance usually cover events such as death, disability, job loss or critical illness.

Unlike credit card purchase insurance, the card company usually doesn`t offer these types of insurance for free but rather as add-ons that you have to pay for. They may be offered by the card companies themselves or a third party in conjunction with the card. If you pay for this type of credit card insurance, it will pay for your credit card purchases in the event that you no longer can.

For instance, if you are injured in a car accident, become permanently disabled and can no longer work, such a policy would then pay any debts you had accrued on any credit cards that are covered under the policy. Similarly, if you die, such insurance will pay off the bills of any covered cards so your family doesn`t have to.

If you are looking for traditional life insurance to cover your debts, you can use <a href=”“></a> or a similar website to get quotes on a policy.

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Secured Credit Cards

11 November 2011

When you apply for a credit card it is important to note that there are two different types – secured and unsecured. An unsecured credit card requires a certain credit score and credit history. Most of the offers that come in the mail are for unsecured credit cards. A line of credit is issued, up to a certain amount and the recipient can spend it as needed.

If you have no credit history at all or you need to improve your credit scores, a secured credit card can help. Instead of just getting a regular line of credit, you provide the bank with a deposit. For whatever you pay, you are given access to between 50 and 100% of the deposit. Many people look at a secured credit card much like they would a pre-paid debit card.

One of the benefits of a secured credit card is the ability to build up your credit score. When choosing a bank or company to work with, be sure that they report to the credit bureaus. Without the reporting, there is no way to build or improve upon your credit score. It will take time for the reports to be issued and you want to show a real consistency for an extended amount of time.

Unlike a pre-paid debit card, you can`t depend on your deposit to cover the charges to your card. You are still required to make payments and pay off the amount that you spent. The key is to only make purchases that you know you will be able to pay off. As payments are consistently made on time your score improves. Eventually you may be able to turn the secured credit card into an unsecured credit card account.

Before signing up with any company for a secured credit card you need to make sure that you read all of the information provided to you carefully. You already know that you want a company that will report your good credit choices to the credit bureaus, but there is more. You also want to shop around for a company that charges reasonable rates.

You can expect that it will cost you more to set up a secured credit card than it would an unsecured card. At the very least the interest rate is typically higher. There will be an annual fee and if you are late or miss a payment entirely, the fees will add up quickly. In some cases, depending on how much of a deposit you gave, it can wipe out the deposit completely. If possible, send your payments in on time to avoid overwhelming fees.

Over time your credit score will improve. If the company or bank you are working with offers you an unsecured credit card you can transition over your account. If the company does not offer this type of transition, you should be able to find another offer from a different bank or company.

If you are interested in obtaining a secured credit card, take the time to shop around for the right company to work with. As you work to repair your credit and pay off the existing debt, use a loans calculator to see just how much your debt is costing you and what type of changes you can make. For further help with loans calculations visit

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With the US unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent, federal government along with several states are now contemplating to ban employers’ right to access credit history of job applicants. While some argue that applicants with bad credit are always stuck in the same vicious circle because of their inability to get a reputable job, there are others who claim that credit checks give employers an indepedent outlook on the financial reliability and qualifications of the job applicant. 

<b>Supporters of the Ban</b>

Speaking in favor of the ban, National Consumer Law Center’s Staff Attorney, Chi Chi Wu, mentions checking the credit history of job applicants to be an absurd practice, especially during the recession when 15 million people were unemployed. Credit checks in such dire circumstances is like “kicking someone when they are down,” Wu said.

It is a vicious circle. Candidates need good credit to land up with a job, however since they have poor credit, they cannot get a job and repair their credit. So, they are trapped with bad credit.

It’s quite a ridiculous scenario, retorts Lauryn Beer, who is an Oxfor Graduate along with a degree in law from Georgetown University, and has been a victim of such a situation. She emphasises how such method of hiring is actually negating the consideration of the capability of a job candidate to perform the job in question, in leiu of their credit rating. Aggravated with her struggle, Beer started with her own blog few years back discussing the loopholes of the credit reporting industry.

<b>Employers’ Take</b>

On the other hand, employers refute this proposition, arguing that credit checks give them an objective perspective on qualification of potential employees, when many companies shrink from providing any negative reviews on employee performance for the fear of getting sued. 

Another counter point provided by employers is that only 13 percent of employers check credit history of all job applicants, as testified before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by Christine V. Walters, a HR expert. Credit checks are primarily utilized to hire for executive, financial and other similar positions. Consequences of hiring the wrong applicant can cost a great deal to a company, in terms of both safety of work environment as well as the financial losses that the company may have to bear, he says.

Although credit check is only one aspect of evaluating a job applicant, but it is definitely very useful in hiring the right candidate. It’s a good proof for an employer to determine the prowess of a candidate in handling money.

<b>Final Verdict</b>

Around 16 states are now considering to restrict the <a href=””>credit report</a> access for hiring job applicant, as given by the press accounts. This data includes states, like South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Maryland. Few states are thinking to restrict access to only financial savvy jobs, or when any specific candidate is suspected of unacceptable financial dealings.

<i>Brenda Lyttle is a credit specialist, consumer advocate, and an Internet marketer currently living in Georgia. She aims to educate public about illegal collection tactics, credit scores, and debt management through her <a href=””>credit score</a> and credit report related sites.

Lyttle is a graduate from Columbus State University in Columbus, Ga., in 2004 with B.A. degree in English Literature. She has worked as a teacher in junior high school for two years before she decided to pursue credit advice full time, working with private clients, as well as getting involved in third party credit consulting.</i>

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So you wish to fulfill your obligation of being a good American citizen and are thereby planning to pay your taxes on time. Great! But if the thought of paying taxes through your plastic money has crossed your mind, beware!

Although IRS suggests that paying taxes through your credit cards is a safe and convenient option, you must be smart enough to track that it isn’t really a cheap option. Listed below are the three primary reasons why you should avoid paying taxes through credit cards:

  1. Additional Convenience Fee – IRS contracts few companies to deal with the payments they receive through credit cards, however these companies are not paid by the government for their services. Consequently, it’s you, the tax payer, who has to pay for their services. The convenience charge usually varies between 1.9% and 2.35% and depends on the credit card you are using, as well as the company you approach to make the payment. The company names along with the rates charged by them are given on the IRS website, here. For instance, a tax bill of $1000 can cost you a convenience fee of around $23.50, and this is excluding the interest rate that will be charged by your credit card company.

So, unless there really is no alternative and you are stuck in a financial emergency, credit card payment to pay taxes doesn’t make much sense. In a dire financial need, however you will be happy to know that your convenience fee is exempted from tax. This tax deduction is allowed only until a limit of two percent, so make sure you discuss this with your tax preparer before you proceed.

  1. Interest May Accrue on Your Tax Payment – It’s common knowledge that if you do not pay your credit card bill due to any reason or simply forgets to pay it, within the grace period, interest on your tax would accrue over time, adding onto your misery. So, you will pay for your convenience fee, enormous interest rate of the credit card company, plus your tax amount. You will not even know when the next year arrives, and it will be time to make the tax payments again! Agree, some credit cards do provide you introductory offer like zero percent APR for the initial one year but still you will be paying the convenience fee extra. Aren’t the taxes that we already pay enough?


  1. It May Signify a Warning to Your Credit Card Issuer – This may or may not be true for you but paying taxes through credit cards often leave an impression that you are undergoing a financial crisis. As a result, you are suddenly viewed as a credit risk. It reduces the amount available in your credit limit. The revolving utilization ratio on your card also decreases that impacts your credit score.

Due to this, your card issuer becomes finicky about your credibility of paying their bills on time. Consequently, you may have to bear their unjustified actions, like decrease in your credit limit, increased APR, et al. Hence, if by any chance you may have to make a credit card payment for your taxes, make sure that you pay them off without any delay to dispel the apprehension of your issuer.

In a nutshell, the cons of paying taxes with credit cards far outweigh the benefits they offer. It is thereby advisable to prefer the usage of other modes of payment to pay off your taxes and discard plastic money unless you have no other option left with you.

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According to recent debt statistics, it has been seen that there is too much credit card debt that is bothering the debtors in the US. If you too are someone who has been spending sleepless nights due to the rising level of personal credit card debt level, you must be looking for some solid steps to get rid of the high interest debt burden. If you want to lead a peaceful life without the harassing calls from the collection agencies, you must take some vital steps on your own. Though credit card debt consolidation companies are there to help you with your unsecured debt burden, yet it is always better to take some do-it-yourself steps on your own so that you can save your dollars and value them. Have a look at the steps that you can take on your own in order to get out of debt.
1.    Resolve to spend less than what you make: Make it a fundamental habit to save money and spend less than what you make in a particular month. You must realize once and for all that you cannot get things that you can’t afford to pay now. Though you may be using more than 2 credit cards, yet whipping the plastics for every little purchase is not the way to go. Pay only for the things that you can do with cash and not with credit.
2.    Gather all the latest bills of all the accounts: You must gather the latest bills of your credit card debt accounts so that you get to know the exact amount that you have to repay your multiple creditors. Unless you know the amount, you can never devise a solid saving and spending plan in order to pay off your rising debt burden.
3.    Pledge to make more than the minimum monthly payment: Though the creditors may ask you to make just the minimum monthly payment on all your credit cards, you must make sure that you do not follow their words. These are just advices that can drown you into high interest debt as you may take a longer time to repay your debt burden. Try to make something more than the minimum monthly payment so that you may out of debt sooner, not have to pay too much as interest rates.
4.    Follow a frugal budget: The frugal budget is the best way to control your personal finances and without this you can neither plan your future financial goals nor pay down your credit card debt. Eliminate all unnecessary spending and spend your valuable dollars only on the things that you can’t do without.
5.    Negotiate with your creditors: You can also arbitrate with your creditors and tell them about your financial hardship. It often happens that if you tell them about your financial hardship, they can relax the terms and conditions on your credit cards, thereby expediting the repayment procedure.
Showing your creditors a well-planned budget may act as a catalyst in making them agree to a relaxed term on your credit cards. Instead of paying the professional credit card debt consolidation companies, you can certainly try do-it-yourself debt consolidation.

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