A Guide To Credit Cards
A credit card is a flexible and secure way of making payment for goods bought or service given. The cardholder is expected to provide the credit card before the purchase is completed.
The cards are usually issued by the bank where the account holder is granted a revolving account.
As a cardholder, the revolving account allows you to enjoy making payments and earning credit extensions via the credit card. Every faithful cardholder is entitled to enjoy flexible purchases and unsecured loans from the bank.
What Are The Features Of The Credit Card?
- The card allows you to enjoy convenient credits as you also track your expenses.
- The credit card is accepted at major commercial establishments around the globe such as shopping centres, hotels, and fuel stations.
- Some cards come with reward schemes where you are issued with bonus points that you can redeem for goods or service.
- The credit card is the best alternative to obtaining secured loans as you don’t need collateral to enjoy a credit extension.
What Are The Different Types Of Credit Cards?
When you compare credit cards, their differences depend on the cardholder. There are three major options and they are:
- Secured Credit Card: This card is secured by an owner of a deposit account. To secure the card, you are expected to make cash deposits of 100-200% of the credit that you desire. The deposit is secured in a specific savings account. You’ll still be required to make regular payments for the credit issued.
- Business Credit Card: This card is issued to a business owner in the name of the enterprise. Typically, you can only use the card for business purposes and not personal reasons. The cards are offered by most credit card issuers such as Visa and MasterCard.
- Prepaid credit card: In essence, this card is not an actual credit card as it doesn’t offer you credit advantages. The pre paid credit cards allow you to only spend the money loaded on them. The advantage is that you can use the card anywhere where a credit card is accepted.
How Does A Credit Card Work?
The credit card allows you to spend money borrowed. Essentially, you have the freedom to spend within your pre-set limit. The limit may be a few hundred or thousands, depending on your credit score.
Your spending power depends on how confident the card issuer is with respect to your ability to pay the loan. If you pay the bill within the expected time, then you are not expected to pay interests.
But, if you delay in paying the borrowed money, you’ll have to pay extra charges. The interests are also backdated. For example, if you purchased goods at the beginning of the month, then you’ll be charged interests for the whole month.
It’s not advisable to use the credit card at the cash machine when making a withdrawal as this translates to extra charges of up to 4%. If you compare credit cards from different issuers, the interest rates may slightly differ.
How Do You Become Suitable for the Credit Card?
There are a few obligations that you must comply with to be eligible for a credit card and a loan extension. First, you must be aged 18 and above to be issued with a credit card. There are other credit card providers who will insist on a minimum age of 21.
Secondly, the card issuer will have to assess your eligibility for the card when you apply. The bank will go through the credit reference records and evaluate your credit score.
If you have an impressive credit rating, then chances are high that your credit card application will be successful.
Lastly, after securing the card, you are expected to pay the loan promptly to enjoy future credits. You are supposed to pay the amount even during the interest-free month.
This protects you from damaging your credit score. Nonetheless, there are no such obligations when using the prepaid credit cards. This is because you use your own loaded money.
What are the Advantages of Using a Credit Card?
Usually, the credit card offers you the following benefits:
- Flexible payments: A credit card is accepted in more places than the charged cards. The cards are easy to carry, and their usage is straightforward. There are no technicalities when using the credit card thus you can enjoy a flexible application.
- Safety: When compared to carrying cash, a credit card is the safer option. Even if the card is stolen or lost, you don’t lose your money. All you need to do is to notify your bank, and they will have the card cancelled before someone else uses it. After this, you will go back to the bank and ask for a new credit card.
- Purchase Now and Pay Later: If you don’t have the cash to pay for a given good or service, and you need it, the credit card allows you to make the purchase through borrowed money and get to pay later. It’s a realistic way of obtaining unsecured loans from your bank.
- Financial protection: A credit card protects you from overspending. With the card, you are not allowed to exceed your pre-set limit. The card also protects you from making a wrong purchase. For instance, if you buy a faulty electronic and the seller refuses to refund you the money paid, the credit card issuer is obliged to make the reimbursement.
- Freebies: There are additional benefits that come with the credit card in form of reward points, cash back, and air miles. They are meant to encourage you to use the credit card often when making payments.
What are the Concerns When Using A Credit Card?
There are three common concerns attached to the use of the credit card, including:
- High Interest and Additional Charges: If you are unable to pay the borrowed money within the right time, you will be charged higher interests. Unlike the secured loans where the interests are lower, and you enjoy a long time of paying back, the credit card charges are usually higher, and you are expected to pay monthly. Other than paying higher interests on late payments, you get charged extra for surpassing your credit limit. There are also additional charges when withdrawing cash through the cash machine.
- Pre-authorization charges: If you use your credit card in places like a car rental firm or a hotel, the firm may charge you extra for a service resulting in you surpassing your credit limit.
- Costly to use overseas: This depends on the credit card that you possess. Some cards are expensive when used in foreign countries as you encounter higher transaction charges. Nevertheless, there are cards that are specifically designed for travellers, and you can use them when going abroad.
Credit Card Rating
If you are one those who are switching cards or have been applying for numerous cards, it is important to remember that this may affect your credit rating.
Application or rejection for a new credit card of the card is recorded on your credit file.
New providers checking your file may often conclude that you either have too many cards already or have takers who are interested in lending you a credit card. To know more about credit card rating, look as Being refused credit in Credit.
In addition, if you want to know about the different types of borrowing or are finding it difficult to use your credit card in Northern Ireland and England, Wales, or Scotland, look up Help with debt.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Credit Cards?
One of the greatest benefits when using a credit card is that it provides your extra protection when paying for goods and services.
For instance, if things go wrong when paying for goods and services using your credit card, you can make a claim against the credit card company instead of the company that sold services or goods to you.
However, when making a claim there are certain factors to be considered;
- The services and goods your purchased should be above £100 and below £25,000.
- The claim made can be more useful only if the supplier or trader has no money to reimburse or has gone out of stock.
- The credit card provider should be kept informed about the difficulties you are having with a supplier over services of faulty goods provided by the trader or supplier.
- If the credit card company does not accept any responsibility, a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service can be raised.
Furthermore, if you have problems regarding the goods and services purchased on your credit card, you can seek guidance from an experienced adviser at Citizen Advice Bureau. To know more details regarding the nearby CAB, including even those that can provide advice by email, check nearest CAB online.
Tips to Avoid Credit Card Fraud
One of the greatest problems experienced by credit card holders is the credit card fraud. To protect your card and use it safely, it is your responsibility to report to the credit card provider as soon as you find that your card is stolen, or details of the card have been copied.
- Always safeguard your PIN. The PIN (personal identification number) is basically the security number that is provided to you when you are issued a credit card. The PIN will be asked for whenever you use your credit card to withdraw cash from a cash machine (ATM) or when you buy goods using the card.
- It is, therefore, important that you do not share your PIN with anyone. However, if you discover that your PIN number is also known by someone else, it is highly recommended that you inform your card provider immediately. Failing to inform the provider can cause you to pay the money for another person who used your credit card.
- When using your credit card for paying in restaurants, shops, market or anywhere else, always remember to keep your card in sight. If you fail to see what is happening with your card always or if your card remains out of your sight, information in the magnetic stripe on the reverse side of the card will be copied and re- used illegally. In such cases, contacting and informing your card provider immediately is advisable.
- Always check your statements every month. This will ensure that the amount debited from your card is correct and allow you to contact your card provider about spending that you do not recognize.
- Destroy all your payment receipts. Since keeping payment recipes can divulge details regarding your credit card, tearing them in small pieces will prevent anyone from stealing your details.
- When purchasing online, always use secure websites, Always look for a padlock that is located in the top of the internet page, near the website address. Paying payments online to a secure website is crucial to prevent credit card fault.
- Use an online verification scheme. Card providers usually recommend using an online verification scheme, verified by MasterCard Secure Code or Visa. Setting up an additional password which is verified by your card provider before making a payment helps provide extra security to the card holder. To know more about online verification scheme, visit www.shopsafeonline.org.uk.
- One of the crucial factors to avoid credit card misuse is to report stolen or lost card immediately. To contact your card provider, check your provider’s website or look up your last credit card statement for their contact number. Additionally, if have card protection insurance, it is important that you inform your insurance company about the theft.
Making A Complaint To Your Card Provider
If you are unhappy with the services provided by credit card provider, raise a complaint to them. At first, raise a company to the credit card company and allow them to set things right.
However, if you are still dissatisfied, you can further complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
What Should You Do If You Are Struggling To Make Credit Card Bill?
If you are finding it difficult to pay your credit bill, it is always best to contact your provider immediately. In doing so, they might help you by asking you to pay a reduced amount temporarily.
In addition, asking them to freeze your interest will not only prevent your credit limit to increase at this stage, but also keep you away from getting into more debt.
Taking guidance from an adviser at Citizen Advice bureau regarding other debts can help sort out your problems and help claim benefits. To contact the nearest CAB for advice, check nearest CAB online.
The introduction of the credit cards has made it easy for everyone who is looking for a way to make secure and convenient payments.
If you are a person who travels a lot, especially in foreign lands, you need a flexible way of making payments and enjoy credit provisions. You should apply for a credit card today and maintain a good credit rating.