Monthly Archives: October 2014

Don’t Get Spooked Into Choosing The Right Rewards Credit Card Halloween Addition

Many people end up choosing the wrong credit card, for a variety of reasons. Some people simply take the first offer that comes their way, without doing comparisons among the various rewards credit cards on the market today. Other people are sent slick mail offers aimed at people who just rebuilt their credit from credit card companies offering less than ideal terms. You’ve worked hard to get where you are at credit wise so you deserve the best credit card that your credit rating and good financial habits allow. If you have had bad credit but worked hard to repair it, do not let the skeletons in your closet and the ghosts of credit gone bad haunt you.
pumkins
The keys to finding the right rewards card for you are:

* Finding an offer that suits your lifestyle. A travel rewards card will do you little good if you never travel. A gas rewards card will do you little good if you do not drive. Pick the rewards card that offers you a reward you can most use. Pay attention to the fine print and other details other than simply the reward being offered, things like annual fee’s, processing fee’s and even foreign transaction fee’s if you travel abroad often. Big things to pay attention to are the interest rates and grace periods to avoid paying interest and what if anything can cause your rewards to expire.

You need to ask yourself what you can use the most. Do you want free bag checks on flights and discounted or free airfare? Do you want cold hard cash back? Or perhaps gift cards to some of your favorite stores and merchants. Do you want free hotel stays or car rentals? If you travel often what matters most to you perk wise, such as free access to airport clubs and lounges or a certain number of free bags checked, or priority boarding perhaps or all the above. There are cards out there that offer some or all of these options.

* Understand what types of rewards cards are out there in the market place. There are travel rewards cards, dining rewards cards, co-branded rewards cards for some of your favorite stores and merchants,hotel companies and airlines. Co-branded cards often give you the best value as other types of rewards cards average out at 1 cent per reward point, but co-branded cards are often much more than simply one cent per point value wise. There are also cash back rewards cards. Other types of rewards credit cards allow you to redeem points for flights or hotels or transfer your points to airline and hotel loyalty programs, or the option to convert your points to cash if you elect to not travel with your points.

* Understand that the credit card industry is very competitive and that your business is worth them giving you something for the privilege of doing business with you, provided that your credit score is at least decent. Many rewards credit cards offer rather huge sign up bonuses just to gain your business. If the offer you are considering is not an exception card and offers no decent sign up bonus, you might do better reconsidering applying for that card and instead comparing offers with another credit card which is offering a hefty sign up bonus. Also remember if the card has a sign up bonus to compare that to any potential annual fee it may have, some cards charge an annual fee the very first year and can negate completely or at worst a large part of the sign up bonus. The better cards on the market offer no annual fee the first year or simply no annual fee ever.

* Understand that you are not forced into choosing just one card. You can apply for a few cards, though I recommend not applying for more than two at any one time to keep your credit score as high as it can be and to keep your usage of available credit at or below 30% of your credit limit, this is known as your credit utilization score, and this directly impacts your overall credit score. There is no rule stating you can’t for example choose the Citibank double cash back card and a well rounded out travel rewards card. You can choose a variety of credit cards to suit your needs. For example the Chase Sapphire Preferred card earns two points per dollar spent when dining out and on travel so you can leverage that cards rewards value on those two areas of spending and use the Citi double cash back card for your other spending.

Some cards are very suited to savvy shoppers. For example the Chase Freedom card is currently giving out 5% cash back when shopping at Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Kohl’s and select department stores. If you choose to shop at Kohl’s for example and go through the shopping portal to the Kohl’s website, you get 10 points per dollar, then you will get an additional five for using your Chase Freedom card, which basically equals 15 percent back. So in essence the key to maximizing your rewards and selecting the right rewards card is to know what you want, compare current offers and maximize your rewards by shopping through online portals offered by credit cards, airlines, merchants and hotels with points or rewards programs. Lastly the credit card industry is huge, do not jump at the first offer that comes your way, you can be selective.

October 2014 Top Rated New Balance Transfer Credit Cards

If you have run up a few credit cards and desire to consolidate the monthly payments into one monthly bill, these credit card offers I have selected are just what you are looking for. Not only can you consolidate your payments into one payment, you will also enjoy a 0% intro period on any balance transfer. If you expect it will take you quite awhile to pay off your balance, pick an offer with the longest 0% intro period as possible. We have kept this list with only card offers that charge 3% or less balance transfer fee and omitted the card offers that carry a 5% balance transfer fee. The great news is that there are several providers offering balance transfers over 14 months, putting a number of these zero percent promotions in 2016!

Chase Slate
This card makes it to the top of our list due to not having a balance transfer fee. For most consumers, this is the top 0% balance transfer offer due to no balance transfer fees. Forbes Online listed this as the best 0% offer in 2013. You also get 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months, making this card ideal for a balance transfer if you can pay off the debt with in 15 months. The 0% balance transfer fee is only available for transfers that are made during the first 60 days of opening the account, so be sure to make all your balance transfers in that time, or you will face a 3% balance transfer fee there after. This card has no rewards, but it also has no annual fee. The interest rate ranges from 12.99% to 22.99% depending on credit worthiness, but any interest can be avoid by paying the entire balance off in full during the 15 month 0% APR intro period.
top zero percent balance transfer credit cards
Citi Simplicity® Card
This card offers an amazing 18 month 0% intro APR not only on balance transfers, but also purchases. The balance transfer fee is only 3% of the total balance transferred, and the interest rate ranges from 12.99% to 21.99% depending on your credit rating. This card is perfect for those trying to catch up on debts, it has no late fee’s for late payments and no interest penalty rates ever. No annual fee either. Customer service is U.S based and available 24 hours a day. The only drawback to this card is the lack of any rewards program with this card.

Discover it®

Another 18 month 0% APR on balance transfers intro card, it also includes 0% intro APR for purchases. There is a 3% transfer fee on the balance transferred, but with 18 months of no interest you can pay off the balance in full over the course of a year and a half. The interest ranges from 10.99% – 22.99% depending on your credit score. This card is the first balance transfer card on your list with a rewards program, the reward program has bonus cash back categories. Other perks include no annual fee, No foreign transaction fee, U.S.- based customer service, and your FICO score free on every credit card statement and online.

Citi® Double Cash Card

This card offers a 1% cash back on all purchases, as well as another 1% cash back when you pay for those purchases on your balance, and it also offers a generous 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. This card unlike many other cards has no category restrictions and no caps towards cash back earned. This option is ideal for people who will make some purchases while making use of the balance transfer feature. This is the top cash back rewards program available, and the APR is quite fair at 12.99%-22.99% depending on your credit worthiness. This however is not a good card if you ever expect to be late with a payment, as they assess a penalty APR up to 29.99% when it comes to missing a payment even by 1 day. This card like the rest on list features no annual fee.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

This card also features a 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 18 months. The interest or APR ranges from 11.99%-21.99% based upon your credit score. Like most of the cards on this list there is a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the balance transferred, whichever is greater. This card also has a nice rewards program called Citi® Easy Deals which awards you points for all your purchases, and the points can be redeemed for online deals on name-brand merchandise, gift cards and local deals such as restaurant certificates. This cards concierge service can even help you find deals for and book hotels, airfare and more. This card has no annual fee, but this card does require excellent credit.

UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card – The Comeback Card

For those with bad credit there is still an option to consolidate your debt. This secured credit card has no 0% intro APR however, the APR intro is 9.95% on balance transfers for 6 months, and there after the APR goes to a fixed rate 17.99% interest. Still a good deal for those wishing to consolidate a bunch of small debts onto one card and save a little but of money while doing so. This card has no rewards and does have an annual fee involved.