How the Sub-Prime Crisis Changed the Credit Card Game

Before the so-called “subprime loan crisis,” credit was easy and the percentage of loss in bank’s credit card divisions was compensated for by increases in market share. With banks taking multi-billion dollar losses as a result of fallout from that crisis, this is no longer the case. Instead, banks are doing everything they can to squeeze every ounce of profit and prevent taking on any additional risk in their credit card divisions. In other words, if you think credit card companies were sneaky before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

This has resulted in several significant changes in offers for credit, particularly in offers for promotional credit rates on credit cards. The first of these changes is that most banks have significantly increased their up front balance transfer fees on promotional rate offers.

Prior to the crisis, it was not uncommon to see balance transfer offers with no up front fee. More commonly, the fee would be 3% with a maximum of $75 or $99. Now, not only is there usually no maximum on that 3% fee, but some banks have started to charge a 5% up front balance transfer fee with no maximum, resulting in actual interest rates almost as high as regular rates on credit cards!

The second change is that before the crisis, it would be common for accounts in good standing to offer 0%-2% interest promotional rate offers, including low interest “life of the loan” offers. The strategy of the credit card companies was to increase market share of debt, knowing that a certain percentage of borrowers would forget their promotional rate was ending, and therefore start paying regular interest for at least a month or two, or maybe more. Now, it is all but unheard of for people to get 0% offers on existing credit card accounts, and “life of the loan” offers, while still being offered are often at rates above those offered for home lines of credit.

It still is common for people to get 0% offers for opening new accounts, but frequently these offers are deceptive, because the balance transfer fee is – you guessed it – 3% up front with no maximum.

One strategy some have found effective is to cancel unused credit card accounts, and then apply for new ones. While it can get you better offers, it might also affect your credit rating, so beware if you are looking to buy a house, refinance, or finance a large item.

The third significant change is that credit card companies are doing their best to unhinge low interest “life of the loan” deals they made in the past. This is how they do it: Let’s say you owe $10,000 on a 1.9% promotional rate for the life of the loan. You will almost certainly be inundated by offers on that account for 0% interest loans for a short period of time, say three to six months.

The reason for this is sneaky, cleaver, and obvious. The bank hopes that you will take advantage on that 0% loan, and not pay it off before its due date. If you do pay it off completely before the revert rate, fine. If you fail to pay it off before the rate reverts to the regular rate of the card, you will find yourself in a classic credit card company trap: Because credit card accounts allocate all payments to pay lower interest balances before higher interest ones, all your payments above actual finance charges will go to pay off that low “life of the loan” 1.9% balance, leaving your regular rate balance earning high interest, perhaps as much as 18% or more for the credit card company.

In order to pay off that new balance costing you 18%, you would have to pay off the entire 1.9% balance in full. As I said, its one of the classic credit card company dirty tricks.

Frequently, banks make these offers not only with 0% interest, but without any balance transfer fees whatever. While these kinds of offers can be utilized effectively – if you know what you are doing and know how to plan effectively – one mistake, one lapse of attention that results in your not paying the complete balance of the 0% loan before it reverts will trap your balance at the high regular interest rate of the card until you pay off the low interest life of the loan balance.

In summary, read all promotional offers carefully, and do the math to make sure you really want it before taking advantage of it. And before doing any really tricky maneuvers, plan it out carefully – hopefully as a result of a long term strategy – before opening yourself to be slammed by yet another credit card company dirty trick.

Debt Solutions – How the Federal Government is Promoting Credit Card Help

Taking loans or any other form of debt is not a new thing. People all around the world have been taking financial liabilities to cover the expenses which they cannot cover with their earnings. Other than that people also use credit cards to have an alternate payment mode. Some people also do not prefer carrying cash and prefer carrying cards.

Recession as a issue has created problems in every part of the world. Most of these problems are related to monetary issues and have affected the earnings of the working class. Along with people doing regular jobs, small scaled traders and entrepreneurs have also have to battle financial complications.

In the United States, people have lost their jobs and companies have reached the stage of shut down. A large percentage of people have lost their jobs and have a large credit bill which they owe the bank. The situation is even more complicated as banks are facing sever financial crisis.

This is because of the credit process which they have. Money granting companies pay a large sum of their cash funds to loan takers. As more and more cash is spent in a liable form, the amount of charged interest increases and the bank earns more. During recession as well, the same strategy was used.

As a result of economic problems, a lot of people had lost their jobs and thus were weakened in monetary terms. This is not the only reason for being a defaulter and people do not manage their credit expenses and land up in a long liability. Debt Solutions were introduced by the United States to create coordination between the loan giving bodies and borrowers.

Now, let’s understand how debt solutions work. The initiation of the process is done by the loan takers. They search for a relief company to get them a reduction settlement. The first step in the procedure is to get a dependable settlement company. The relief firm is the key role player in the entire negotiation process.

Most of the hard work is done by the relief company which prepares all the parameters which have to be discussed. A lot of people have been fooled while selecting the relief company. This is because a lot of them do not have the technical knowledge to test the organization in the right manner.

Commonly, people just check whether the company is offering the required services or not. They do not even ensure whether the firm is legitimate or not. Haste is a very negative factor while searching for reliable debt solutions.

7 Tips For Credit Card Management

The invention of credit cards was a giant leap forward for humans. People around the world use their credit cards for all kinds of purchases and payments. The credit cards give the people, the freedom of purchasing what they want, without having to depend on their bank balance. Credit cards are used by all kinds of people in cities and towns across the world. It is a fact that a credit card can be a boon as well as a bane at the same time.

At times, people do not know how to effectively manage their credit cards. This is why, their credit score is severely affected and they find it hard to acquire financial assistance from banks and other lenders. In order to make sure that your credit score is not affected, you need to effectively manage your cards. You need to be careful about making payments and using the card for any purchase.

When you make your credit card payments on time, your credit score improves and you can obtain higher amount of credit. On the other hand, if you fail to make the payments on time, your credit score is negatively affected and you may not get any further credit from financial institutions. Here are a few important tips which will help you in effectively managing your credit cards:

1. Plan your purchases – Before purchasing or buying any product, determine if it is necessary to buy it. You must make a list of your priorities and stick to that so that you can arrange for the money needed to pay your credit card bills. At any point of time, make sure that you do not purchase something too expensive as it will make you cross your monthly budget or the credit limit on your card.

An effective way of way of planning your purchases is to make a shopping list. At the beginning of the month, try to make a list of things you need to buy with the card and stick to that list as much as possible.

2. Always check your statements – Check your statements on a monthly basis as the statements will help you understand your spending pattern. Based on your observation, you can try to avoid unnecessary purchases. Also, checking the statements will help you in knowing the minimum payment due for a particular month, so that you can make that payment on time and avoid extra charges or fees.

You can easily check your statements online, and you can also use your smartphones to keep a track on your card usage. Mobile alerts can be very helpful in ensuring that you do not end up paying more than what you are supposed to, when you use your credit card for any transaction.

3. Try to make full payment – Try to make full payments, whenever possible. When you pay your credit cards in full and within the due date, you do not have to pay any interest on the billed amount. Besides, paying the credit card balances in full will help in improving your credit score. Even if you are not able to pay your credit card balances in full, you should always make sure that you pay the minimum amount due, within the due date.

Apart from saving a substantial amount of money on interest, you will also be able to improve your credit score and increase your chances of obtaining more credit in the future.

4. Keep a track of supplementary cards – At times, you might forget the fact that you have provided supplementary cards to your family members and these cards are linked to your credit card account. The way these cards are used can have an impact on your credit card account. Hence, you should keep a track on them and also ensure that the transactions completed with them are paid for within the payment due date.

Besides, you also need to keep a track of these cards so that you can ensure that the credit limit of your card is not exceeded. If it is exceeded, you will end up paying an over limit fee and other hefty charges.

5. Look out for promotional offers – Why pay more when you can get the same product by paying less? Be a little smart when using your plastic money and make sure that you utilize the variety of offers and promotions provided by the card issuers from time to time. These promotions can provide you with access to discounts, deals and privileges across different segments such as dining, travel, shopping and so on.

You can not only save money through these promotional offers but you can also enjoy a variety of other exclusive privileges which will enhance your experience of using a credit card. Make sure that you always visit a website where you can find information about such promotions so that you can take full advantage of them.

6. Make multiple payments in a month – Do not just limit yourself to making a single payment within the payment due date every month. Instead, try to make multiple payments even if you pay small amounts. It has been observed that the credit card issuers and the credit bureau tend to send payment reports more than once every month, if there is a lot of payment activity in an account.

When you make multiple payments you make sure that the lot of positive information about your credit card usage is being sent to the credit bureau and in the process your credit score will get a big boost. For example, if the minimum payment due for the month is S$1500, do make a payment of S$1500 and apart from that also make other amounts in the same month.

7. Avoid cash advances – You will be provided with the feature of withdrawing cash with your credit card but you should avoid utilizing this feature. When you withdraw cash with your card, you will be charged a cash advance fee and you will also not get any interest free period to make the payment.

Cash advances will increase your minimum payment due and the overall balance of your card and will make it difficult to pay off the balance in full. It can also have a very negative effect on your credit score and so it is important that you try to avoid cash advances as much as possible.