Use Credit, not Debit, for your online shopping

The common wisdom is to spend money you have before you even consider spending money you don’t. In other words, buying with a credit card is relatively expensive compared to using a debit card.

Although it seems sensible enough, there are other factors to consider. For example: what if your card details end up in the wrong hands? Fraudulent financial activities are always a grave concern, especially online where there is often a fear that hackers will intercept all the information you enter on a website.

Well the good news is that credit cards are protected against fraudulent activity. Your maximum liability for online purchases? Zero.

In truth, all transactions are protected somewhat by law, but experts reckon that for online purchases, credit cards offer the most protection. Read more at http://www.savvysugar.com/Should-I-Use-Credit-Debit-PayPal-When-Im-Shopping-Online-12126895

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The return of the 0 APR balance transfer

Those with great credit scores present a bit of a dilemma to credit card issuers. On the one hand, they’re pose much less of a risk than your average Joe, and are statistically unlikely to default. On the other hand, however, they’re usually very well organised, and because they often clear their balance every month, they don’t generate much profit for the card providers.

That probably explains why 0% APR balance transfer offers have been drying up a little in recent years, but the trend looks set to reverse again, according to SmartMoney.com

However, the terms of balance transfers will probably start to change. More people will pay a reduced introductory rate, rather than 0% APR, or perhaps a higher annual fee to help increase profits. On the positive side, other incentives will become more prominent, such as longer introductory rates and grace periods.

You can read the full article at: http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/debt/the-return-of-0-percent-apr-credit-cards/

Roundup of 4 travel reward credit cards

As most travellers find out pretty quickly, credit card issuers love rewarding jetsetters. People rely on credit cards so much more when they’re abroad, and card companies try and encourage this behavior every step of the way!

With all the options available, it’s nice to get a shortlist once in a while outlining a small number of credit cards that reward travellers. Even better, if the same list includes a card that doesn’t require a pristine credit score.

Well, I found this article today, and hopefully it will be of use to you: http://www.quizzle.com/blog/2010/10/4-best-credit-cards-for-travel-rewards/

Don’t cancel that credit card!

When you consider the interest rates you’re paying on your credit card debt, it’s natural to think that the best financial decision you could make would be to simply cancel it (or them, if you’ve got several).

Don’t be too hasty though!

Here’s the thing: credit card debt is expensive, for sure, and paying off your balance is a good thing. In fact, it’s better to pay off credit card debt than it is to save. But once you stop carrying a balance, there are some very good reasons to hold on to your card. For example, it shows commitment to banks and credit bureaus while keeping your debt to credit ratio low, both of which will improve your credit score.

That’s not to say that owning 20 credit cards is a good thing: anything over 7 will probably start to hurt your score.

The Motley Fool have a great article about this subject that you really should read: http://www.fool.com/personal-finance/credit/dont-cancel-that-credit-card.aspx

How to Make Balance Transfers Work for You

If you’ve got a lot of credit card debt, and the high interest rates have you locked in a never-ending battle to clear your balance, perhaps a 0% APR balance transfer is the best reward you could ask for.

Be warned: shopaholics need not apply. If you’re going to switch to a zero interest card, make sure you’re serious about using this break (usually 6-12 months) to get your debt under control.

Watch out for the small print too. Some ‘free’ rates still apply a transfer fee, and there could be other charges that reduce your benefits significantly (annual fees, zero rate on transfers but not new purchases, introduction rate void on any late payment, and so on).

As ever, look beyond the initial offer, and make sure that the long term conditions offered by any credit card are good enough. For a great article on how to make the most of the balance transfers game, check out Motley Fool’s tips:

http://www.fool.com/personal-finance/credit/how-to-win-the-balance-transfer-game.aspx

Can’t understand your Credit Card agreement? Join the club…

It’s shocking to think that credit card agreements are written at a level beyond what 4 out of 5 Americans can understand. Why? To protect the credit card providers against lawsuits. But there are some good starting points included in this video from CreditCards.com that will help you to level the playing field:

It’s vital that you understand your credit card agreement. Usually, there are enough consumer laws out there to protect you from the excesses that have plagued the industry in the past. Even still, it’s worth asking your provider to explain areas you have difficulty with. If nothing else, their willingness to cut through the legal and technical jargon should give you confidence that you’re dealing with an open and trustworthy company.

A lovely, humane look at budgeting for generosity!

Most financial advice is introspective: making YOUR dollar go further, paying YOUR bills. Yet, whenever we help someone else out, we do feel good about it, don’t we?

Now, this article isn’t for everyone. If you’re struggling to make your own budget cover your outgoings, it’s going to be difficult to help anyone else out. But if you have a little spare change, what could be better than giving someone else a helping hand?

A controversial idea, perhaps, but certainly food for thought. Check out the article in full at: http://christianpf.com/how-to-build-generosity-into-your-budget/

Image Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1105757