Category Archives: Credit Cards

Credit Cards for Different Credit Scores

Top Five Credit Cards for Small Business

When you’re managing a small business, you should choose credit cards that are useful and suitable to your needs. You can use credit cards to segregate your business expenses from your personal expenses. You may use a separate credit card for your business expenses like travel and other incidental expenses and use a another credit card for your personal expenses. Your small business usually spends sizable amounts for purchasing various items and also spends much for your travel to different business destinations. You should choose the credit card that offers rewards and bonuses for such transactions. Here are the top five credit cards that are suitable for small businesses:

Credit Cards for Different Credit Scores1. Chase Ink – There are two kinds of Chase Ink cards to choose from, the Ink Cash and the Ink Classic. Both cards entitle you to a two hundred dollar bonus when you spend $5,000 on your first 3 months of using the card. They offer bonus points that can reach up to 5% of your total purchases. The points awarded are convertible to gift certificates which you can use for purchasing items needed in your business.  They also offer 5% rebates for office supplies and telecommunication expenses, 2% for gas and hotel expenses, and 1% for all other expenses. This is among the top five credit cards especially for those who travel often.

2. Starwood American Express Business Card – If you do a lot of travel in your small business, this is an ideal credit card for you. They award bonuses by points and are very generous in awarding points when the card is used for hotel expenses. You get a rebate of 0.25$ for every dollar you spend and they waive the annual fee of 65$ on your first year. They also award a 500-dollar bonus signup making it one of the most suitable business cards for small businesses.

3. Capital One Spark Miles – This is another travel card that is right for small business. This card offer 2% rebate on all purchases and can be used for hotel, gas and airline expenses. They offer $100 dollar signup bonus if you spend $1,000 on your first 3 months of using the card. They also waive the 59$ annual fee.

4. The Plum Card by American Express – If your business requires you to purchase lots of sophisticated goodies, this card is most ideal. With this card, you can get a 1.5% discount for all your purchases if you pay early or you pay no interest if you pay within 60 days.  They charge customers with an annual fee of 200$ but it is waived on the first year.

5. TrueEarnings Business Card – This is a Costco membership card that entitles you to 4% rebates on gasoline expenses and 3% on restaurant bills payable by American Express.  You are also entitled to 25% discounts for purchases from selected sets of vendors like FedEx, Hertz, and JetBlue. This card does not charge any annual fee and have been cited by many as one of the top five credit cards for small business.

Credit Card Fees

Typical Hidden Fees with Credit Card

Credit cards can be quiet tempting and they provide flexibility to your purchasing and freedom on availing certain services you cannot readily afford. However, you should still be cautious on using them, especially if you’re not still savvy since purchases automatically represent certain charges and interest rates. There are typical hidden charges that must be examined such as the following:

  • Teaser fixed rates. Cards offering low or 0% interest rates are really tempting and are really designed to lure you. But these rates are not permanent and could only last for few months. After a certain period, you might be surprised of the charges that will be on your account.
  • Unessential insurance. Insurance relative to your credit card charges up to $50 but this will definitely not be useful in case your card is stolen. As a matter of fact, in the United States alone, there are federal laws at present prohibiting the issuance of this insurance to borrowers.
  • Interest rate and late fees.  Missed payment will incur interest rates which eventually may yield to an increase rate, especially for credit companies which raise them without even a warning.  Because of this, hidden costs are produced which add up to credit balances.
  • Credit Card FeesLate payment fees. There is a regular day and month for paying your credit cards, but there are companies not specifying their due dates and will just inform you right on that date or after. There are also those which are delayed on delivering bill statements. Late payments are charged from $25 to $50 thus it’s not really comforting at all.
  • Balance transfer charges. Companies are claiming that they are giving a low or 0% interest rate on balance transfer when in fact they are giving a fee of as much as 3% of the total amount of the balance you transmitted
  • Fees for maxing out. There are companies which approve transactions even if your card is already over its limit. In the end, you will be charged with penalty for maxing out. Another common instance is a customer who applied for a balance transfer without knowing that it will be transferred to a low rate card which has already reached its credit limit. The result? An additional penalty equivalent to late payment.
  • Fees for being inactive. Deciding to stop using your credit card might not be a good choice after all since some companies charge individuals who haven’t using their cards for 6 months or more. This is especially true for customers who do away with purchasing when on vacation abroad. Charges start with $15 so it will be safer to swipe your card on small purchase just to prevent additional charges.
  • Closure charges. Closing your account will still bear you up to $50 fees especially if you are still under contract with the card issuer. This may seem harsh but it’s one of the blatant practice being done by most credit companies to avoid account closure and loss of credit card customer.

There are really some companies which have the tendency to hide charges and change their policies irregularly, thus an end result will be accumulated debts for a certain period of time. To counter these hidden charges, read the detailed breakdown of your credit card policy and ask questions right from the start.

Credit Cards

Best Credit Card Concierge Services

A few years back, credit card concierge services were only available to the most exclusive types of credit cards, i.e. Black Centurion, Titanium, Coutts World, Platinum, etc. These cards come with the highest credit limits, out of this world services BUT at a price. Usually these cards will charge you annual fees amounting to a few thousand dollars. Some cards cannot be applied for, they are by invitation only. This usually means that less than 1% of the population could afford them.

The Elite 7

These are the most expensive, exclusive, and perk filled credit cards of the world:

  1. Credit CardsCoutts World Card
  2. American Express Platinum Card
  3. American Express Centurion Card
  4. American Express Citi Chairman Card
  5. Bank of America Accolades Card
  6. Barclay’s Visa Black Card
  7. US Bank Stratus Rewards Card

What Do You Get with the Elite 7?

These cards allow you access to most VIP lounge, the highest security purchases, shopping assistants to carry your purchases, and the fastest, and best trained customer service available. If you belong to the 99% don’t despair, there are plenty of credit card concierge services providers that will give you above standard perks.

Visa Signature

If your credit card says VISA Signature, it means you get the basic perks i.e., miles, reward points, cash back, etc. Aside from the basics you also get exclusive deals with restaurants, hotels, shopping centers, additional purchase security. Sometimes these cards have no pre-set credit limits, additional travel rental, and baggage insurance, warranties, etc.

This baby also comes with a 24/7 concierge service. There is no waiting on the phone listening to lounge music, no electronic directories, and no trainee representative. The client gets directed fast, and to an expert “concierge” who sounds like Mr./Ms. Belvedere.

MasterCard World Elite

This credit card is specifically for the world traveler. The above mentioned perks also applies. And it provides you with a personal concierge who will take every inquiry seriously. The client feels the representative is a personal assistant, not a call center agent. For example, if you are traveling to an unfamiliar city, and want to find the best place to buy specialty items then give the concierge a call. If you want to get to your hotel room with a freshly brought up bucket of nachos with lots of cheese, then just call the concierge provide specifics and the same will arrange it with the hotel. If you are lost, and want to find your way back to your hotel room, or have the hotel limo pick you up… yup you got it, just give your 24/7 concierge a call!

A Caveat

Credit card concierge services will bend over backwards to get you what you want. Heck, you can even ask the person for help with a crossword puzzle you are stumped on. One consumer even tried to book a flight to space, and actually got an email the next day from Virgin Galactic. Some consumers use their concierge to get daily affirmations, or just find someone to talk to.

BUT any and every service provided should be within reason. If a hotel is fully booked, obviously they cannot un-fully book it. They cannot go to your kid’s school and talk to the principal. They cannot do your laundry or do your errands. But they can direct you or arrange for the same to be made.

Credit Cards for Different Credit Scores

Quick Tips to Reduce Credit Card Fees

The popular misconception is that credit cards are free. And that so long as the consumer pays the minimum there is nothing to worry about. This cannot be farther from the truth. This article will discuss several practical ways to reduce credit card fees.

Credit Score

A high or low credit score determines in large part what type and what particular credit card provider will offer you the facility of credit. Simply put, the higher your credit score the better the offer. This is in terms of credit limits, interest rates applicable, penalties, reward points, etc. However, even the most excellent credit score cannot prevent credit card companies from charging you interest and penalties when you default.

Pay On Time and In full

If you pay before and during the due date, and in full, then credit card companies cannot charge you interest and penalties. This is the most basic advice given to every consumer. However, this is easier said than done. Below are a few tips that should help you prevent a default:

  • Credit Cards for Different Credit ScoresPay a few days before the deadline. This way you do not fall victim to emergency expenses, and even the occasional inability to make it before a bank closes for the day.
  • Auto debit: You can have your credit card fees automatically debited from your savings and/or checking account.
  • Online account: By enrolling your credit card account online, you can make payments using other accounts, usually form the same bank, to make the payment 24/7.
  • Take note of holidays and weekends. If your due date falls on a weekend or on a holiday, pay before the same. In some cases paying on the next business day is too late.

Annual Amount Charged

Most credit cards charge the user an annual membership fee. The higher the credit limit or more exclusive the card is the higher the annual fee. However, there is a way to have this waived. This is by charging an appropriate amount each year. If you meet that quota then the credit card company automatically removes the charge OR it can be easily removed with a single request. Contact you bank or lender, ask for the parameters on the same, and call every year. Do this one month before the month indicated on your credit card validity date.

Reward Points (good as cash)

By utilizing reward points you can effectively minimize any interest or credit card fees that you have paid. The same can be utilized to claim specific items or services, or it can be converted into virtual cash that will then be credited as payment on interests and penalties.

Negotiate with your Lender

If you already have a few defaults on your account, then you have already been charged interests and penalties. You can ask that the charges be reversed if you have a relatively good payment history with the same lender. You can site emergency expenses, hospitalization, loss of work, etc. Remember, sometimes all it takes to get a reduction of interest and/or penalties, is to ask for one.

Credit Card Interest Rates

Can I Pay My Taxes with a Credit Card?

We can pay taxes with our credit card if we really want to. On the internet, there are several websites that can show you the procedures to follow if you pay taxes through the internet. The Internal Revenue Service even has a website that guides taxpayers on how to pay taxes using a credit card. Some States like California and Pennsylvania have their own websites that dwell on the same topic of how to pay taxes with a credit card.

The real question is: do you really want to pay taxes using your credit card?

You Pay High Interest Charges

Credit Card Interest RatesCredit cards are noted for the high interest rates they charge on the cardholders.  If your credit card is one of those that cost less than 10% per year interest, paying your taxes with that card may be feasible. You must remember that when you pay taxes with a credit card, you have to pay a processing fee of around 2% that is charged by the service provider and this adds more to the high interest that you incur when you use your credit card.

Consider the Other Options Available 

If you don’t have sufficient funds to pay for your taxes, it may be wise for you to look for alternative financing.  Perhaps asking your relatives and friends to lend you money is a better option than using your credit card to pay your taxes. You can also refinance your home mortgage to raise enough funds to pay your taxes. The simplest way is to get in touch with the IRs and ask that you be allowed to pay your taxes on installment. You can also check if you are qualified to submit an Offer In Compromise that could lower your taxes which you have to pay in 60 -120 days.  Another option is to ask for additional time for you to pay your taxes.  You can use the Online Payment Agreement application for this or you can even phone the IRS directly.

Taxes that Can be Paid using a Credit Card

Generally, Federal and State taxes can be paid through credit cards. Federal and State personal income taxes, property taxes, Federal and State business taxes can all be paid through your card.  You have to check which cards are acceptable in your State and which cards are allowed by the IRS.

Advantages of paying taxes with a credit card

There are some advantages when credit cards are used to pay taxes. You will be paying online so your privacy and security are taken care of. There is little chance of errors to be made since you can easily correct the entries. Your payment is immediately effective as soon as the amount is charged on the card and the IRS can acknowledge receipt of your payment within two days. If you are entitled to a refund, you can receive it after two weeks. You can save valuable time and effort by preparing and paying both your State and Federal returns at the same time.

Credit Cards for Different Credit Scores

Credit Cards for People with Low Credit Scores

It is quite difficult for people who have low credit scores to be approved by major credit card companies that offer great deals and benefits.  However, there are companies that still provide credit cards to these customers who want to build or improve their credit.  Banks that offer these cards include First Progress, Capital One, National Express, Applied Bank, Open Sky, etc.

How can we determine if we fall under those people with low credit scores?

Mainly, if you filed for bankruptcy, debt settlement, have major delinquency records, several overdraft amounts from banks or credit card companies and bad payment history, expect low credit ratings.

What are the types of credit card available for them?

  • Traditional credit cards- with high interest rates, with annual membership fee, higher penalty fees for late payments, overdraft amounts and returned payments.
  • Prepaid Credit Cards- this works like a savings account.  You can use it like a credit a card; however the credit limit will depend on how much you deposited on it.

This type of credit card caters to teenagers who are not eligible to get a credit card yet.  First, due to being minors; second, they haven’t established their credit yet.

This helps their parents to train their children how to manage their finances well.  At an early age, it is advisable for parents to teach them how to be responsible cardholders to build a very strong credit.

  • Credit Cards for Different Credit ScoresSecured credit cards- these cards works like a regular credit card too, however, the account holder will need to deposit an amount to serve as secured funds to acquire a credit card.

Unlike prepaid credit cards that can be acquired by anyone, secured credit cards have age and income restrictions.  Even if we can deposit right amount to get it, there is a set of rules that should be followed.

The credit limit will not always depend on how much you put on it.  Lenders will determine how much your limit will be; these are 2 possible scenarios, either the full amount or a percentage of it.

For example, there are cases that an account holder deposited a secured fund for $1000, but the credit limit given by the bank is $700.  Though, lenders can also increase the credit limit based on payment history.

When planning to get a secured credit card, it is important to compare and review terms and conditions, the rates, membership fees, and all other fees associated before signing a contract.

It won’t hurt if we check all the details of each credit card companies that offer secured credit cards, because each of them might have the same or different deals, better rates and so on.

Do all credit card companies offer all these types of credit card?

The answer is, not all do offer these credit cards.  There are companies who only offer credit cards to those people who have a good or above par credit scores.  There are also companies who cater to those people with low credit scores or new to credit.

Once we have acquired for a new credit card, whether it is a traditional prepaid or secured credit card, what really matter now is to manage our finances well, established a good payment history and aim to get a higher credit score.  In the long run, you’ll see that all your efforts are worth it.

Credit Cards

Best Business American Express Credit Cards

American Express is a paramount world-wide credit card provider and one of the most popular companies in the world. It was recently ranked thirteenth among the top 50 of the most admired companies in the world by Fortune Magazine. It provides a compelling line up of credit cards both for business and personal use.

AmEx as what most consumers fondly call it is considered by many as the gold standard in the industry. It is not easy to secure an American Express credit card as it usually requires a superior credit score for an applicant to qualify for one. Despite the higher annual fees and interest rates, businessmen and jet shuttling corporate warriors have developed a fondness and a preference for AmEx cards. This is simply because every credit card from American Express comes packed with features, perks, and rewards no other credit card can match.

American Express probably understands the small business men better than anyone else in the industry. That is why it has developed a complete lineup of superior business credit cards that caters to their specific needs and wants.

Among the best business American Express Credit Cards are the following:

  • Credit CardsThe Gold Delta Sky Miles Business Credit Card for the small businessmen who do a lot of traveling –  This card awards you a mile for every dollar you spend on eligible purchases with participating outlets and 2 miles for every dollar you spend on Delta Air tickets. Not only that, the card lets you book a ticket with Delta anytime without worrying that the airline may have blocked out dates. Besides, you will be accorded priority boarding privileges and check in your first bag for free. You will also get 20% discount on in flight food and drinks. The best part is it won’t charge you an annual fee on the first year with a minimal $95 annual fee thereafter.
  • The Plum Card from American Express is the perfect credit card for small businessmen concerned with their company’s cash flow. This card not only gives you a 1.5% off on your credit card bills if you pay early, it also allows you to pay your credit card bills within 60 days from the due dates without charging any interest. This card gives you more cash flow flexibility by allowing you to set your own billing cycle. You can choose to receive your credit card bills at the start, in the middle, or at the end of each month. American Express pays for your first year annual fee and it will be $250 annually thereafter.
  • For the small businessmen who travel frequently and also make sizable office supplies and gasoline purchases regularly as well as dine out frequently, the True Earnings Business Credit Card from American Express and Costco allows them to enjoy the best of both worlds with remarkable cash back rewards and substantial discounts. The card doubles as a Costco membership card so you’ll enjoy an annual fee free shopping at any Costco outlet and take advantage of Costco’s low price products. Not only that, you will get up to 4% cash back on your gasoline purchases in any stand-alone gas station in the country including at Costco. You’ll also be entitled to 2% cash back at participating U.S. restaurants and 1% cash back on other purchases including those made at Costco. You’ll also be entitled to 2% cash back on travel expenses from a network of companies in the travel industry to include Jet Blue airlines and Hertz car rental services.

There are more than 20 American Express Business Credit Cards currently being offered to small businessmen by the company including the three we mentioned above. This means whatever your specific needs may be, there is an AmEx business credit card that will fit perfectly into your business. Unfortunately, your business has to be well established and you must have and an excellent credit score to be able to qualify for any of them.