Apr 22, 2012

How do credit cards work?

Today credit cards became the essential and the most common way to perform money transactions between a customer and a merchant, but not all of the everyday credit cards users know how exactly it works from the inside.

A credit card is issued by the credit union or a bank for a particular individual. Credit card is connected to a revolving account and opens this person an access to a credit line with particular limit which is known as a credit limit. The size of the limit is usually determined by the type of the credit card, the person’s credit score and credit history. Credit limit is not a constant value – it is first defined when opening a credit card, but then it can be reviewed by the bank periodically based on the changes in credit score and the length of the relationships with the client.

Credit card is issued to be used in one of the leading multinational payment systems – Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover, or a smaller national one. The actual plastic card will have a logo of the supported payment system on its face. Credit card processing companies provide services for merchants, from a small souvenir shop up to a big retailer, to enable them to accept credit cards of the international payment systems with an option to accept local payment systems (what is needed for example in a tourist areas).

Visa Master card AmEx logo at merchant

Valid credit card should have a 16 digit credit card number, card holders name and valid date embossed on the face side. The reverse side has a CVV code that is used to confirm the possession of the credit card by the person who makes payments online (in “card not present” transactions).

Credit card number and CVV

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Sep 2, 2011

Top Best Miles Credit Cards

If you are looking for a credit card that will add extra miles to the frequent flayer program you participate in, you definitely need to pick one of the miles credit cards. If you don’t participate in any airline program it is not a big deal, because a lot of credit cards offer you flexible miles that can be redeemed for a flight, car rental or other travel merchandise.

Normally you get 1 mile for each dollar you spend and you get extra miles for shopping at selected online stores. Some miles credit cards also offer you huge sign up bonus that can be from half to the whole price of domestic flight. Frequent flyers credit cards seem to be very attractive especially if you travel a lot. But you should not forget about the annual fee that is charged by some issuers.

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Aug 28, 2011

Best Interest Free Credit Cards

If you are shopping around for a new credit card, you should definitely pay attention to credit cards with 0% interest. Though such generous offers last for introductory period only zero percent credit cards are excellent way to save some money. 0% APR cards attract a lot of new customers to banks but unfortunately they are available for people with good credit score only.

When you apply for 0% interest credit cards, you should pay attention to the duration of introductory period length and know what the regular APR will be. You should also evaluate the annual fee and rewards program offered. If you are going to transfer the balance to the new card check the rates and fees for balance transfer cause they can be different from the purchase APR.

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Aug 25, 2011

The Lowest Interest Credit Cards

We are also looking for the lowest interest rate credit card, but from year to year credit cards with low APR are becoming rarer. Low APR can be a big deal if you tend to carry high balance on your card. When you apply for a low rate credit card you must check whether it’s during introductory period only or it is regular APR.

While banks are trying to make more money in tough economy, credit cards with low APR are becoming available for people with excellent credit score only. If you suffer from bad credit history, the lowest APR is not for you. If you are looking for low rate cards check your local credit unions. The average credit union APR is lower than the banks one, but they don’t offer much rewards and not everyone can apply.

We’ve selected the lowest regular APR cards along with the longest introductory periods: Continue reading »

Aug 10, 2011

Top Best Credit Cards for Balance Transfer

Balance transfer credit cards can save you much money due to lower or 0% interest. Today’s consumers tend to use their credit cards more wisely, that is way 0 balance transfer offers are becoming more and more popular nowadays. It can be a huge a relief when you find out the card that will reduce your monthly payments and make you debt free faster. Although most cards offer a balance transfer option, not all of them worth it. We have found the best 0 balance transfer credit cards for you.

Well, 0 APR will not last forever, but it can be beneficial to use such offer at least for the limited time – the longer, the better. And then if your APR can be dropped from 25% to 15% – your annual savings can be huge. The only weird thing about best balance transfers credit cards offers is that your credit score must be good or even excellent.
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Aug 10, 2011

Best Cash Back Credit Card

A cash back is honored to be the best reward that people look for in the credit card. Banks are not very generous today as they used to be, but we’ve selected the best cash back credit cards for you. They will not only return cach, but also offer the lowest annual fee and reasonable interest rates.
Based on the customers reviews the best offer in terms of cash back is a Discover cash back cards that offer up to 5% cashback with $1500 quarterly cap. American Express also have a better than average cashback offers. The only drawback of Discover and AmEx is that both are not accepted everywhere even in US say nothing of other World. If you need a VISA or Master Card consider Chase Freedom card or Bank of America Cash Rewards card.

Unfortunately most of the attractive offers are available only for people with excellent credit. Read our cards comparison started from cards available to fair credit up to excellent credit.

Fair Credit

If you have a Fair Credit or No credit at all the only option you have currently is

Capital One Cash Rewards for Newcomers

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1% cashback on everything, 2% cash back on travel (transportation, hotels, tickets, etc)
  • Rather high APR of 24.9%, so do not even think of carrying a balance on this card.

Our resume: A perfect first card for fair or no credit. Never carry a balance – the APR is too high.

Average Credit

And again Capital One is nearly the only bank that is targeting people with average credit with a cashback offers

Capital One Cash Rewards

  • Cash back up to 1.5% – 1% regular cashback and 50% additional rewards at the end of the year
  • Annual fee is $39
  • APR is 19.8% variable

Our resume: A good offer – not a great cashback but available for average credit. Annual fee is something nobody

Good to Excellent Credit

That’s the field where banks are really competing for the best clients. If you are lucky to have an excellent credit you have a best choice of rewards and will be able to find the card that fits your spending patterns most.

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom seems to be the most awarded cash back credit card. It often becomes the editor’s choice and there are some reasons why. Chase Freedom credit card offers 1% cash back for all money you spend and 5% for purchasing items at selected categories (categories change each 3 months). $1500 quarterly limit applies for 5%cashback. Now the card comes with extra $100 sign up bonus (when you spend $500 during the first 3 months). For on-line shopping at Chase Store you can get up to 10% rebate. There is no annual fee and variable APR is between 12.99%-22.99%.

Our resume: Chase freedom is excellent choice with cash back that never expires, generous sign up bonus and no annual fee, but you must have excellent credit score to apply for it.

Discover Cash Back

Discover is well known for they excellent rewards. Here’s the best cards:

Discover More Card

For many years the owners of Discover More Card are the most loyal customers. And that is why: there is no annual fee and a it offers variable APR from 11.99% along with attractive rewards. Though the math of earnings can be a little bit complicated (you earn 1% for
all purchases, 5% at selected changing quarterly categories (you need to participate at every 5% category) and up to 20% when shop on-line through Discover.com) your overall earnings will not disappoint you. The best part is that you have 0 % introductory APR for balance transfer and purchases for 15 months.

Our resume: One of the longest introductory offers along with no annual fee brings this Discover More card to the board of best cash back offers. Be aware of the3% transaction fee if you want to move a balance on that card.

Open Road Card

  • 2% cashback on first $250 gas and restaurants purchases, additional cash back bonus applies
  • 0% intro APR for 15 month for balance transfer and purchases
  • 3% balance transfer fee

Our resume: A cap on the cashback is $250 per month and 2% on gas and dining is not the best offer on the market.

Motiva Card

This is a very interesting card that is encouraging you to pay on time not only by adding fines and penalties like regular credit cards but with an incentive of giving you 5% of your interest charged as a cashback if you pay on time.

  • No annual fee
  • 0% APR for purchases and balance transfer for 15 first months
  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • Excellent credit needed.

Our resume: Interesting move from Discover to encourage people to pay on time, but cash back will be only 5% of the interest that will be no more than 1%.

Blue Cash American Express

Blue Cash Card from American Express is the best card for everyday purchases. 3% cash back on supermarket purchases, 2% on department stores shopping and fuel and 1% everything else. If you don’t want to check rewarding categories each month, this card is the best one to apply for. By the way it comes with no annual fee and up to 12 month intro APR.

Our resume: Blue Cash American Express is the best way to earn cash back on everyday credit card spending.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred

  • Annual fee $75
  • Amazing cashback – 6% on groceries, 3% on gas and department stores, 1% one everything else.
  • 150 $ sign up bonus (if you spend $1000 in the first 3 month) will help you to deal with the annual fee for 2 years
  • 0% purchase APR for the first 12 month
  • 17.24-22.24% balance transfer APR
  • 3% balance transfer fee

Our resume: Excellent card with amazing cashback. But not the best options for balance transfer and you need to spend on this card to justify the annual fee. Rather high APR.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards

  • 3% cashback on gas, 2% on groceries (with a quarterly limit on 2% and 3% returns), 1% on everything else
  • Zero APR for 1 year, 12.99-20.99% APR after that
  • 4% balance transfer fee

Our resume: Average card with good benefits, 4% balance transfer fee seems a little bit too much.