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Choosing the Right Credit Card

In this day and age, credit cards can seem to be a bit of a necessary evil. Everyone seems to hear horror stories of people getting stuck in unreal amounts of credit card debt and not being able to find their way out. However, to be able to make big purchases like a car or a home you need to have built up credit and the easiest way to do that is responsibly using and paying off credit cards. In this post we’ll cover several tips that you can follow to choose which credit card is best for you.

As you begin your search for a new credit card it’s important to keep in mind that just like payday loans or cash advances, credit cards can be a great tool if they’re used correctly but unfortunately, many people use credit cards to buy things that they do not currently have the money for. When that happens, they are using the money that a financial institution lends them to buy something that they want right now.

While this idea makes sense in theory, in practice it is often detrimental. People think that they can buy whatever they want because they do not have to pay for it at the time of purchase.

They do not think realistically about time and so they predict that they will just pay off their debt “later.” Later always rolls around eventually, and many times people do not have the money to pay off their debts.

This is when things get hairy. If credit card payments are not paid by the time they are supposed to, fees are incurred.

Fees can stack up, which just creates more fees. Now it is clear how people who use credit cards can get themselves into loads of financial trouble.

It is important that people who are about to get a credit card realize the risks and hazards of getting a credit card. Many people decide not to get a credit card because they do not trust themselves with one.
They can predict that they will not use it wisely, and so they do not obtain one. Other people, however, trust that they will be able to handle and manage a credit and so they go ahead and get one.

People sometimes do not know which credit card to get. Here are a few tips on how you can get the right credit card for your needs.

Find the Best Card For Your Current Credit Score

One of the most important things you’ll need to know before you get a credit card is what state your credit score is in. Your credit score basically reflects how good you are at paying your credit card bills on time.
If you are bad at paying your credit card bills on time, your credit score is going to be lower. This tells the credit card companies and other financial institutions that you have a history of not being great at paying off your bills.

Credit card companies and financial institutions want to know this information so they can know if you are a safe customer to lend to. If you are not going to pay your payments on time, the credit card company is more likely to decline your business because they could lose money by accepting you onto their plan.

If your credit score is lower, you will have to accept that this is very likely to happen when you try to apply for a credit card. This is the reason that credit card companies and financial institutions require you to apply for a credit card.

With your application, they will be able to check your credit score and see if you are customer that they want to have. A good credit score is usually a score of 720 or above.

If you have good credit, the sky is the limit. You will most likely be accepted for any type of credit card you want.

Find a Card With Rewards That Best Suit You

There are many different types of credit cards. You can apply for credit cards that are very specific to your hobbies and passions.

For example, you can get credit cards for places like airlines, hotels, and gas stations. Many of these rewards cards will give you cash back.

If you have mediocre credit, you will most likely just have to apply for a regular credit card. This type of credit card will probably not have an annual fee.

A Secured Card Might Be Your Best Option

And if you have bad credit, you will probably have to get a secured credit card. Secured credit cards have a bad reputation, but they are not always bad.

The reason why they are called secured is because those who plan to use them must give the company a deposit right away that serves as collateral in case they go against the credit limit. The credit card company does this so they can be protected in case the person with bad credit is not wise with their card.

Always Read Through The Terms and Conditions

Another key thing to remember when trying to decide on a card is the terms and conditions of the credit card agreement. Reading the fine print of an application is advised.

It will probably not be a very exciting read, but it is crucial that you read it so you know what you are getting yourself into. Do your best to understand credit cards before you apply for one.

Common Credit Card Mistakes to Avoid

It seems almost everyone has a credit card these days, whether it’s a prepaid credit card or the highly sought after American Express Centurion card the benefits to having a credit card of some sort are numerous. Whether it’s an easier way to pay the bills, track your expenses or pay for something you might not have the money for right now, credit cards can help out in a number of ways, as long as you are disciplined about using them correctly.

How Credit Cards Work

Credit cards can sometimes be confusing, so here is a quick explanation of how they work. You buy items with your credit card, but you don’t actually pay for the items with the card right there.
Later, you get the bill in the mail for the items you bought with the credit card. You have to pay off this bill within a certain amount of time, or you will get charged a late payment.

Late payments are the most common downfall of credit card users. People get in over their heads and cannot make the payments on their cards, getting further and further in debt.

Consequences from not making your payments on time can also include late fees, higher interest rates, and even a lower credit score. It is important that you read the fine print on the card you are using to make sure you understand what happens when you miss a payment.

Is a Credit Card Right For You?

Some people do not realize the damage that late payments can do to your credit score. If your late payment is more than 30 days overdue, this is when the payment begins to do the most serious damage to your credit score.
The lesson to be learned from this warning is that you should pay your bills on time every single time you receive a bill. If you cannot do this, then perhaps you should not be using a credit card or you should look into using a prepaid credit or prepaid debit card.

Credit card companies are required to send out bills at least 21 days before the payment is due. This protects the consumer so that they have sufficient time to pay the bill and get it returned to their lender.
Many companies offer the chance for people to pay their credit card bills online, which can be very efficient for some people. You should look into whether or not your credit card company offers the option to pay online, because many people have chosen to pay this way.

Card Hopping Can Be Dangerous

Another common mistake that people with credit cards make is trying to switch between different plans. This can sometimes be a good idea, and sometimes not.

Most people try to transfer their debt from a high-interest-rate card to a card with a low introductory rate. This means that, on the new card, you won’t have to pay as much back on your debt.

This seems all well and good, but what happens is that people switch over to the new card, and then they are not able to pay back their debt within the time period of the introductory phase. They usually end up paying back more in total than their original debt.

Switching to a different card with a different rate is only a good idea if you think you can pay back your debt within the short introductory period that only lasts for a certain period of time. If you want to see if you should switch over to a different card, you should look into exactly how long the introductory period lasts.
Don’t fall for the gimmicky sales pitch of a salesperson. They are just trying to get you to switch to a card that will help them make more money.

Make sure that you make decisions about your finances based on your needs, not a salesperson’s needs. As mentioned earlier, salespeople more often than not do not have your personal interests in mind.

When you are trying to decide whether you should switch cards, make sure you know if there are any transfer fees that will apply when you do end up switching cards. There are very few cards that offer a completely free transfer fee.

Watch Out For Minimum Payments

Another pitfall comes when people decide they are only going to pay the minimum payments required on their credit card bill. While this may make sense, and you will have extra money left over to buy clothes or shoes, this will probably not be the best choice for you in the long run.

If you only pay the minimum amount that you have to every month, you will rack up quite a bit of money in interest that you hadn’t planned on paying before. Pay more each month and you will pay more overall.

Getting Out of Credit Card Debt

If you are like most Americans, you use plastic to pay for a lot of your major purchases. The term “plastic” here means a debit or credit card.

A debit card is a card that is connected to your specific bank account. When you make a purchase with your debit card, money is pulled directly out of your bank account.

A credit card, on the other hand, is quite different from a debit card. When you make a purchase with a credit card, the card pulls money out of nowhere to make the payment.

However, this money isn’t really coming out of nowhere. You have to pay back that money that you spent, just at a later date.

Credit cards are good in some ways and bad in many others. Credit cards are good when you’re making a big purchase and you don’t have quite enough money in your account to make the purchase.

You can just swipe your credit card and then pay the amount in full at the end of the month when it is due. This can be very useful when you are trying to catch a sale on an item, like a TV or furniture set, and you don’t want to wait to buy it because then the sale will be over.

As you can probably guess, credit cards have their downsides as well. Many times people don’t actually have the money to buy whatever it is that they want to buy, so they just put it on credit.

By the time the bill comes in the mail, they still don’t have enough money to pay the bill. What’s worse is that the bill comes with a certain amount of interest tacked onto it.

So with a credit card, you’re not just paying the amount for the thing you bought, but you’re paying interest as well. You can probably see how it can be easy for people to rack up inordinate amounts of credit card debt on their cards.

If you have found yourself in this situation, try not to panic. There are things you can do to help yourself get out of debt.

There is no panacea, however. There is no cure-all where you can snap your fingers and all of your debt will go away.

The process may take time, effort, and even more money, but you can get out of debt. And it is worth it to be free of debt.

One of the most important things you can do to start getting rid of your credit card debt is to take inventory of how much you actually owe. This can done by examining all of the statement your credit card company has sent you.

If you can’t remember how much you owe, or you’ve lost the statements they’ve sent you, give them a call or look online. There will be a way for you to find out how much you owe.

Another important thing you can do is to try to start making a budget. Figure out how much money you’re making and where your money is going when you spend it.

This can be difficult at first, but with time, you’ll get better at it. Budgeting is crucial to successfully managing finances.

One of the next steps you can take is to try to understand why you are in so much credit card debt. Think about the things you bought with your credit card and the justifications you made to yourself so you could feel good about buying each thing.

While you may have wanted the items you bought with your credit card, were they really necessary? Sometimes the answer is yes, but most of the time the answer is going to be no.

It is important to be honest with yourself in this process, because you are the one who has to worry about the credit card debt that is piling up. Try to pinpoint why you’re in so much debt and work on solving that specific problem.

The next step could be to stop getting into more debt. There are several ways to do this.

One way is to simply stop spending money using your credit card. This may sound easy, but if you’re used to paying for things with your credit card, it will most likely be very difficult to just stop your credit card usage cold turkey.

Work on cutting back on your credit card usage, and soon enough, you’ll have conquered your problem. If you find yourself in the midst of credit card debt, follow these simple steps. They will help you get back on your feet and out of your credit card debt.

Modern Day Allowance on Prepaid Credit Cards?

For most parents, the thought of having a credit card as a pre-teen or teenager was unheard of for their generation but more and more parents are finding out that it’s a reality for kids growing up today. There are several reasons that prepaid credit or debit cards are now becoming commonplace for kids in today’s society. One of the largest reasons that credit cards for teenager and kids are becoming so common is that a lot of parents realize that credit cards are going to play a huge role in their children’s lives and will most likely be the sole form of payment that they use in the future.

And looking into the future it’s not just credit cards that will be used, if Google has their way people will begin making the move to their “Google Wallet” platform and when that happens all you’ll need to do to make a purchase is wave your cell phone over a credit card reader and that will be it. With all of these advances in technology it’s becoming even more important to kids and teenagers to become familiar with electronic purchases.

Credit Cards For Beginners

As we discuss providing credit cards for kids or teenagers it’s important to point out that it’s still important to teach children about money the old fashioned way by earning and spending real money. By teaching kids with real dollars and coins as opposed to putting them straight onto credit cards, kids will understand that when there are no more dollars or coins in their wallet, they are out of money.

Once your children or teenagers have a good understanding of money, how to count it, what it takes to earn it, and how to be responsible with it you can ease them into learning about how credit cards work with a prepaid credit or debit card. The reason we don’t recommend going straight to a prepaid debit or credit card for educational purposes is the fact that when you do that, the money isn’t real to them and they have no understanding of the consequences of poor money management. Believe it or not, most people when they move out of the house and on their own have no understanding of how credit cards work and before they fully gain an understanding they can find themselves in hundreds if not thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

In addition to teaching kids about money, there are several other reasons where a prepaid debit card or prepaid credit card comes in handy for kids. The fact of the matter is kids today want different things, where kids used to be happy with a few bucks so that they could go down to the store and get a back of baseball cards, today they’d rather have a few dollars loaded on an iTunes card so that they can download their favorite music, games, or television show within seconds. Some of the most common reasons kids like to use credit cards today are:

Online Purchases- With parents working more and more kids have found a way to become more self-reliant, one way that they’ve done that is by not sitting around and waiting for mom or dad to have time to take them to the store they need to go to down town but by finding what they need online. More than any other generations before, kids today have an ever increasing comfort level and knowledge of how to order the products they want online. To make these purchases possible parents can either trust their children with their personal credit cards or set up a prepaid credit card for them.

iTunes- iTunes has become an all in one media marketplace for over 500 Million users and whether it’s music, movies, TV shows, games, or the “in app purchases” that you hear so much about in the news iTunes is the source. Kids know what apps their friends are playing and what music is popular and they like to be able to download it instantly, all of that is possible with a prepaid debit or credit card.

eBay Items- If people can’t find something on a typical ecommerce website or are looking for a deal or something off the wall, eBay is the next logical step after. Most teenagers today have found something they want on eBay and some have already made thriving businesses on eBay so it’s no wonder that teenagers may need access to a prepaid debit or credit card for these purchases. In addition to prepaid debit or credit cards another common form of payment on eBay is through a payment transfer company called PayPal. As we mentioned earlier in the article it’s important that kids understand how all forms of electronic payment work so that they can be as disciplined as possible with it and by training kids with a prepaid debit card, they will gain an understanding of how to become more disciplined with their PayPal purchases as well.

Gaming Mods- Going in line with some of the off the wall purchases that kids have grown accustomed to, “gaming mods” are upgrades or additional levels that kids can purchase within modern day video games. Again, to be able to purchase these mods kids will need a credit card so the safest way to limit these purchases is with the use of a prepaid debit or credit card.

The fact that kids are becoming more comfortable with these online purchases is a great sign for the technology available today but as we mentioned before, without a solid understanding and appreciation of what it takes to earn and effectively manage real money, these electronic purchases can get out of hand quickly.

Another thing to take into consideration is that a lot of time with these “Gaming Mod” or “In App Purchases” where real money can be spent to buy virtual items or money in the games can cause the lines to get blurred between real money and virtual money which can lead to overspending. As long as kids have been taught to be disciplined with their finances they’ll be more likely to approach even virtual purchases in a disciplined manner.

If you’re interested in setting your kids or teenagers up with a prepaid credit card visit your local Check City location and talk to one of our helpful tellers to see which option is best for your needs.

Using Prepaid Debit Cards to Cover Costs without Worry

Prepaid debit cards are a great asset to have. Whether you are gifting money to someone else or you would like to have a more theft proof account for your own purposes, these cards make it easy to pay for things without worry. As such, these cards have a lot of utility and benefit connected with them. It is worth it to look into what you can do with a prepaid debit card at this time.

Should you want to gift money to someone else, a prepaid debit card is a very fast and easy way to do it. You can load funds onto these cards which are then drawn from until completely depleted as the cards are used. Since the account used is self contained, you don’t have to worry about other people interfering with it at all, giving you a completely secure method of giving money.

Another benefit to using a prepaid debit card is the fact that you can use it as a primary way of spending without needing to worry about account security. You can use a prepaid card for transactions, and then transfer funds into it as needed. This way, you will not need to worry about identity theft if the card is misplaced or stolen. As the account is self contained to the amount on the card, it cannot really be utilized to farm further funds from you if stolen.

Lastly, these cards are great if you want to stay within a budget. By loading specific amounts onto them, you can completely control the amount of money that you will spend. For budgeting purposes, this is a very useful function and it should lead to better results overall.

At Check City, we are proud to offer great prepaid debit cards for you to select from. Visit any of our locations in order to pick one up today!

Help Limit Spending With These 4 Tips

Most people are continually on the lookout for different ways to limit spending. Saving money is a common and essential practice among most individuals. Different methods to be smart with one’s money are always being studied, adjusted, and modified. Some methods to help limit spending have always been in place for generations and they continue to be intelligent money management solutions. Others seem to fade as better and more efficient methods are created. Although there are new ways, it’s always important to remember those methods that have been around for generations. Some of these time honored solutions to help limit spending include:

Opening a Savings Account

Opening and contributing regularly to a savings account is one way to limit your spending. If you do not have a card that is linked directly to your savings account, then it is harder to spend the money in that account. A growing savings account can look more and more tempting, so it’s important to set goals in advance what you are going to take out. You may want to have two separate savings accounts or at least two sections of money in your savings account. One section for specific needs like education, vacation or food and the other section for emergency needs.

Budgeting

There is nothing like good old budgeting. Setting and sticking to a budget is hard, but it is one of the best ways to save money and limit spending. By living within your means you can save more money each and every paycheck. If you have never actually set and stuck to a budget before you can try it out yourself or you can try talking to a professional. Sometimes if you get someone else involved you can cut more and really limit spending. Budgeting is a great way to see exactly where all of your money is going. It is very helpful and will help you reduce unnecessary spending. There are a lot of very good budgeting tips and techniques like envelope budgeting, spreadsheet budgeting, etc. Talk to a professional to see what technique best fits your situation.

Use Cash

One additional way that people can save more money is by using cash to pay for items instead of purchasing items with a credit card. This may seem like an old fashioned idea but it is for that very reason that it will work for you. In today’s market, it is rare to see paper money changing hands at the grocery store or other similar mercantile places. With the convenience of credit cards in place of money, there is a trend emerging among individuals who overspend on their credit cards not realizing that they do not have the funds necessary for their purchases. By using cash, people will be less likely to spend money on items they don’t need because they see the physical loss of money at the time of purchase.

Consider purchasing a prepaid debit card from Check City. A prepaid debit card from Check City will have the same money saving result as using cash because you decide how much money to put on the card at any given time. This way you can get the best of both worlds!

De-Clutter

Although this isn’t a “classic” way to limit spending, it is a very creative way. This may just seem like a keyword for cleaning your house but it can actually help you limit your spending. How so you ask? By eliminating the clutter in your home you make it nicer to live in and nicer for other’s to come visit. This will result in staying in and eating your meals in your clean uncluttered house. Now you can spend more time eating at home and having friends over to do fun activities instead of going out and spending money.

We hope you have enjoyed these tips to help you limit spending and save money. Thanks for reading!

4 Reasons to Start Early Christmas Shopping

Christmas Shopping

Christmas shopping can be a joy or a chore. Trying to find the sold out, overpriced gift the day before Christmas in a crowded store can be very stressful. But don’t worry, we are here to help! With these early Christmas shopping tips and tricks, your Christmas shopping experience will be nothing but fun.

Save Money

It’s never too early to start Christmas shopping! Don’t wait for the high prices around the Christmas season. Start now, and chip away at your Christmas list. Whether you have a large family, or small, your budget will feel less of a pinch if you spend a small percentage each month, rather than a chunk in December. Not only can you save money by spreading out your Christmas shopping, but you keep the spirit of Christmas alive all year. You can savor the feeling of finding just the right gift for a loved one.

Save money by early Christmas shopping during big sales. Take advantage of great prices and sales and look for Christmas gifts. From Black Friday to Holiday/seasonal sales, these are all great ways to save money.

By getting your shopping done early, you can have a stress free holiday season and spend your time with family and friends, rather than stressing about Christmas shopping.

Early Essentials

Start your Christmas essentials shopping the day after Christmas. Lights, tinsel and other decorative necessities go on steep discount after Christmas. This is the perfect time to stock up on decorations for next year’s festivities. It may be challenging shopping for Christmas decorations after Christmas, but you will thank yourself for doing that a year later. Don’t be late, start your early Christmas shopping today!

If you have kids, you might want to carefully consider what your kids will like in a year’s time. If your kids like toys now, will they in 12 months? Any gifts you buy at this time should be a projection of what will be pleasing later.

Make a List

Start with a list of family and friends you intend to buy for. Include doormen, bus drivers, no matter how small, your list should be complete. Review your list periodically to keep your recipients fresh in your mind. Reviewing your list is really helpful so you won’t lose track of anyone. If you’ve missed someone, add them to the list so you can buy for them later.

Everyday Shopping

While you are doing your normal shopping, keep an eye out for the perfect gift for someone on your list. If you’re looking for a blouse, and spot a dress your mother would love, buy it and put it away.

As you buy items for your list, remember to put all the gifts in the same place. If you leave gifts in various places, you run the risk of misplacing gifts, or the recipient sees the gift lying around. When you keep the gifts in the same place, you keep the idea of “gift” alive and well.

When you plan your Christmas shopping throughout the year, you can save money, time, and stress. If you have your shopping done early, you are free to enjoy the holidays! Start your early Christmas shopping today!

Why You Need a Prepaid Debit Card

Prepaid debit cards are a great tool and can be used in so many different ways. Whether you are trying to practice good budgeting habits, or need a reliable card for you and your family, a prepaid debit card is a great solution. Here are some great reasons why you should have a prepaid debit card:

Pay On-Time with a Prepaid Debit Card

If you do not have experience in making on-time payments, you should start with a prepaid debit card. Using this method will enable you to set aside a set amount of money each month to pay for food, bills, and other necessities. A prepaid debit card allows you to learn good spending habits. Prepaid debit cards do not allow you to spend more than you have. Each month, you can add a new balance to help you better you budget.

Budgeting

A prepaid debit card is a great way to help with your budgeting. Deposit a certain amount each month, and have the certainty that you will not overspend. With prepaid debit cards, you cannot spend more than you have. Start budgeting today with one of the great prepaid debit cards with no monthly fees.

Prepaid Debit cards can also be a great tool to teach your young ones how to budget. Give them their selected budget and go over their purchases with them each month. By doing this, you can teach them better budgeting solutions.

Convenience

The process is simple with prepaid debit cards. Simply purchase one at any of our Check City locations. After you have purchased one, visit any Check City location to upload funds to your card!

Whether someone is looking to control their own finances or wants someone else to have spending money, these cards provide a versatile and effective platform for financial transactions. Be sure to stop by Check City and speak with a customer service representative about a prepaid debit card.

Why Prepaid Debit Cards for Your Kids are a Great Idea

Today there are many different ways to give money to your children. Some more efficient than others. One of the most efficient and safest ways is a prepaid debit card. Here are some reasons why prepaid debit cards for your kids can be great idea:

Convenience

Prepaid debit cards are as convenient as it gets. Simply transfer money into their account. Having their own card and transferring them money is a lot easier and more convenient than letting them borrow your card.

A prepaid debit card is very convenient during an emergency when your children may need some extra money and you aren’t close to them.

Budgeting

Prepaid debit cards can be a great way to teach your children how to budget. By having the benefit of tracking everything they are purchasing, you can both sit down and work out a budget together. Help them by reviewing their spending habits and encouraging them to make better decisions next month. When they are in high school, prepaid debit cards for teens are a great way to teach lunchtime budget. They will come to realize very quickly that the money you give them needs to last them the desired period of time.

By giving them this responsibility you are teaching them how to budget and spend more wisely. They will learn how to stretch that money and use it for their needs and not just their wants.

Money Management Skills

If you hand over money without any expectations, your children could spend it on things they want instead of the items you intended. It is important to teach them money management skills so they know what they should or shouldn’t spend their money on.

Safety Net

By using a prepaid debit card, you are putting a cap on their spending. They cannot go over that limit. They will have to learn how to budget their money, and you don’t have to worry about them going on a shopping spree. This is a great reason why prepaid debit cards for your kids can be very helpful.

Stop by a Check City and get a Netspend Prepaid Debit Card today. The only money you pay is the money that you put on the card. These cards even offer you the ability to add more funds when the money on the card runs out. Prepaid debit cards for your kids are a great resource when they need money with the added benefit of learning important life skills.

Being Able to Manage Your Credit Cards

If you are having any kind of issue with credit card debt or problems with too many cards and lines of credit, it can seem a bit overwhelming at times. Such issues can be stressful to deal with and it can be a bit confusing figuring out where to turn or what to do. The good news is that there is always hope when it comes to credit card situations.

Being able to manage your credit cards is mostly about simplification and building up good financial habits over time. If you are having problems keeping a lot of cards and lines of credit separate, then cutting down on the total number of cards that you have is a good idea. You are going to ideally want to have one or two credit cards to use.

Please note that cancelling a card does not take care of unpaid credit issues. Therefore, pay off cards in full and then cancel them in order to avoid penalties there. Use your remaining one or two cards for all of your purchases, and try to pay them back promptly. Doing this will not only simplify things and make it easier to keep track of your finances, but this will also be a viable way to improve on your credit score.

Improving your credit score and getting all of your lines of credit under control are both great goals, and if you can combine them then that is even better. When it all comes down to it, a lot of people run into problems because they grab cards and lines of credit and think that it somehow equals more money. Instead of doing that, being consistent and careful with credit cards will lead to better financial power. Try it out! It is a very effective process overall.

If you’re sick of credit card debt and bank overdraft fees, try the Check City NetSpend Prepaid Debit Card! No hidden fees or overage charges.

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