Escape the Trap – Reduce Credit Card Debt

The invention of money made life easy for the payment for the remuneration of goods and services. However, the invention of plastic money can be considered as a glittering trap, it is attractive and impresses everyone with the facility it provides but eventually it becomes our biggest problem. Having access to such buying power, typically a lot more than what we can afford, is as dangerous as can be. Afterwards, we often find ourselves asking how we can reduce our credit card debt. The answer to this question and the solution to this problem isnt easy, but it still isnt impossible.

The first thing one can do is to stop using our credit cards until absolutely necessary; it will help you by keeping your debt from increasing, and even in reducing it in the long run. Nevertheless, your debt has to be paid. To reduce credit card debt, you must have a proper, step-by-step plan of action that eventually results in the reduction or elimination of your credit card debt.

The first step is to figure out where you stand. Map out every transaction you make, en detail, for your own records. Also, make sure that you record bill payment dates, minimum amounts payable against every debt, rate of interest and everything else that pertains to your transactions and every credit card you have.

From this record find out the minimum amount payable against a card, and start paying that amount periodically and regularly this will eventually start to reduce your outstanding credit card debt and not using the credit card will keep it from increasing. This will serve as a double-edged sword and shield against debt!

Keep following that payment plan, and in due course when youre through all your debt on one card, start working on the next till youve cleared every credit card you have. Additionally, savings help! Use the money that youve stopped spending for clearing the payments on your other cards, and once youre through them all, save! Not only can you pay more than the minimum amount of the rest of the credit card accounts, your debt will be cleared earlier and youll have a decent sum saved up for rainy days.

When all the debts are cleared, cancel all your unneeded cards and keep only one or two that you can use in case emergencies. Credit cards are good if used properly and sensibly, otherwise, it turns into a death trap because we lose control!

What should you do if you have credit card debt

Yesterday I read some worrying news that credit card spending is still increasing dispite the past 12 months warning we’ve had in the form of the credit crunch.

UK consumers are using credit cards as means of day to day living, so using their credit cards every month just to ‘get by’ with the increased cost of living. Unfortunately the Bank of England has announced they expect inflation to continue rising in the UK and expect it to hit 5.5 per cent before the end of 2008. This level of inflation has not been experienced in the UK for well over 20 years.

Unfortunately people will continue to struggle to make their finances stretch and it looks as though people are already turning to credit cards as a means of survival.

If you already have credit card debt the best immediate action you can take is to transfer the balance onto a 0 per cent balance transfer deal. There are plenty of cards on offer and I’ve described 4 of the better cards on offer in the UK on my blog yesterday; thefinancialblog.co.uk One thing to consider is the balanace transfer fee the credit card provider will charge you. This is a set charge, usually a percentage of the total ammount you wish to transfer. For example, if you transfer 5,000 to another credit card the provider usually charges from 2.98 per cent to 3.5 per cent, so you will be charged from 149 to 175. The balance transfer fees vary from provider to provider so make sure you find out exactly how much you will be charged.

The benefit of transferring a balance to one of these credit cards is that the provider offers you 0 per cent interest for a specified time period. The longest 0 per cent deal in the UK today is 15 months. So you have well over a year of no interst, of course you still have to pay the monthly minimum ammount, but interest on a balance of around 5,000 can be as much as 20 or more.

If you are really struggling to clear your credit card debt and, as many people do, you’re using one credit card to pay off another, then now is the time to seek professional debt management advice. If you are unsure where to start looking for good, free debt advice then contact your local citizens advice bureaux; details of which can be found online or in your Yellow Pages. Take action today.

Virginia writes for the Virgin credit card. Thevirgincreditcard.co.uk is still one of the best UK credit cards and offers 0% on balance transfers. The Virgin credit card could be the perfect solution if you have other credit card balances to transfer. Get 0% on balance transfers for 20 months! With the Virgin credit card, you could get an instant decision today!

What is online credit card processing

Online credit card processing can be defined as the processing of any kind of credit card payment. An Online Credit Card Payment Processing company, usually referred to as a Payment Service Provider, will offer merchants online services for accepting payment online including credit and debit cards, direct debit, bank transfer and real-time bank transfers.

The history of credit card processing:

The earliest methods of credit card processing involved submitting credit card slips to a merchant processing bank by mail or by accessing an Automated Response Unit (ARU) by telephone.

These days the majority of credit card transactions are sent electronically to merchant processing banks for authorisation, capture and deposit. In all circumstances either the entire magnetic strip is read by a swipe through a credit card terminal/reader or the credit card information is manually entered into a credit card terminal, a computer or website.

Accepting credit card online payments:

The easiest way for businesses (merchants) to begin accepting online payments through their website is to open a merchant account with a Payment Service Provider (PSP)

A merchant account is a contract between the merchant and the PSP, without such a contract one cannot directly accept payments by any of the major credit card brands.

The reason that merchants need an account with a PSP is that any company wishing to accept online credit card payments need to process the credit card transactions through a payment gateway. The payment gateway service is provided by the PSP, some of whom will have their own payment gateway but the majority of PSPs use third party payment gateways.

The gateway usually has 2 components: a) the virtual terminal that can allow for a merchant to securely login and key in credit card numbers or b) have the website’s shopping-cart connect to the gateway via an API (Application Programming Interface) to allow for real time processing from the merchant’s website.

The fees charged by a PSP are usually dictated by the volume of transactions that are processed by the merchant e.g. the higher the volume the lower the rates. As well as a fee that is charged against each transaction most PSPs will impose a holdback charge. This charge is a set fee that is held by the PSP for a certain period of time, normally 180 days as security against any chargebacks.

PSPs will usually provide merchants with access to the payment gateways back office which allows merchants to view details about the transactions that have been processed including volumes, amounts etc.

Consumers Could Pay More if the European Commission Caps Credit Card Fees

The European Commission (EU) has threatened to cap the credit card processing charges that banks impose on businesses and shops. In turn, the banks have threatened to add higher fees and other charges onto cards used by consumers. When it all finally boils down, it’s likely that UK households will take another hit in their billfolds.

As it stands now, credit cards like MasterCard and Visa charge businesses a 0.9 percent charge on all credit card purchases. This credit card fee costs businesses 850 million annually. The charge in debit cards is 0.2 percent. The EU wants to set a flat service charge fee of 0.3 percent.

On further examination, this matter gets more complex. The fees that businesses pay to banks are known as interchange fees. These fees cover the bank’s costs of processing credit card transactions such as fraud insurance and administration. Shops and businesses give banks different interchange fees based on size. Big retailers generating tons of sales tend to pay a smaller interchange fee. A mom and pop store will pay a larger interchange fee. These fees can vary from 2.5 to 0.1 percent.

The European Commission (EC) estimates that this fee payment market has a value of 112 billion. The EC is laying out the argument that the credit card sector is expensive and fragmented. Retailers tend to agree with the EC opinion. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has been hammering the EC for a decade to end what it calls excessive and anti-competitive fees for processing credit cards. The BRC argues that consumers will benefit via lower prices if the fees are capped. At present, retailers eat these fees and charge them back into the business.

“We’re delighted with this landmark proposal,” said Helen Dickinson, the BRC director. “Capping these excessive and anti-competitive fees will support the UK retail industry by 362 million a year, boosting the industry’s ability to invest and innovate while continuing to deliver lower prices and value for customers,” Dickinson added in an interview at Daily Mail.

MasterCard Europe contends that if this EC cap goes through, consumers will be hit with a 25 annual fee per credit card. Marion King, president of MasterCard, warned that lower fees will result in less income for issuing banks, and that will force banks to charge consumers for using cards.

The EC fee proposal will force credit card companies to separate their payment card schemes from the business division that processes transactions. Essentially, this would destroy the current credit card model. The Financial Times (FT) describes this matter as the final battle in the long war between EU bureaucrats and payment providers. The Commission proposal calls for a 0.2 percent cap on debit transactions. Credit card fees would be capped at 0.3 percent. The EC estimates that EU debit card fees will be cut to 2.5 billion from 4.8 billion. Credit card fees will tumble to 3.5 billion from 5.7 billion.

Great credit card offer

The new offer includes the Abbey; 0 percent on balance transfers for 13 months 5 percent cash expenditure on supermarket, until July 31, 2008, for new customers The cash offer has been extended until March 31 for existing customers

The zero per cent on balance transfers for 13 months is available on 3 December for all new customers credit card. Abbey has also extended the popular supermarket cash offer new customers – a request for the opening of the Abbey credit card can get refunds until the end of July, and existing customers until the end of March. five percent return applies to the first 1000 the value of purchases from large supermarkets bought Abbey with a credit card. Managing Director of the Abbey credit cards, Roger Lovering, said: “Our cash rear proved to be very popular and therefore we decided to extend the offer for both customers new and existing. Those who have already signed with the offer we will be extended until the end of March, giving them more time to reach their limit of cash. New customers have until the end of July. “For those who prefer to use their cards to manage debts, we offer a competitive 13-month interest-free period onbalance transfers. This is part of our strategy to increase their market share and keep. The cash offer was welcomed as innovative, and we have more new ideas for next year. This is the model that uses Santander and one we know will strengthen our position as a serious challenger for the “four”.

Virginia writes for the Virgin credit card.

thevirgincreditcard.co.uk is still one of the best UK credit cards and offers 0% on balance transfers. The Virgin credit card could be the perfect solution if you have other credit card balances to transfer. Get 0% on balance transfers for 20 months! With the Virgin credit card, you could get an instant decision today!

Safe And Affordable Credit Card Transactions Processing Solution

Perhaps you can’t tell at first glance, but credit card transactions processing is a very involved process. It involves many players, besides just the credit card holder. Once they swipe their card, the information goes from the merchant to the merchant bank. It then goes to the credit card network where the card issuer either approves or denies the transaction. The result then goes back to the merchant bank, which passes it on to the merchant. To think that all of this happens in just a few seconds!

The debit card payment process is similar, except that if the card holder uses their PIN number, the request goes straight to the cardholder’s bank to check whether or not there is enough money in their account to cover the cost of the transaction.

Using a debit card without a PIN number is called an offline transaction. Using a debit card with a PIN number is called an online transaction. Offline transactions are the way that most merchants process debit cards, though smaller businesses benefit from processing online transactions. This is because an online transaction incurs a flat rate fee, while most online transactions incur the flat rate fee plus a percentage rate. The same percentage rate applies for all credit transactions.

Credit Card Transactions Processing and the debit card payment process are meant to be quick and convenient. Every merchant should have access to these services. Today many people use credit and debit cards for every day purchases, and they expect merchants to have systems in place to process their credit and debit card transactions.

This makes low cost credit card processing very important to today’s merchants. Running a business can be costly, and adding too much overhead can be detrimental to your bottom line. You also don’t want to spend money on credit card transactions processing services that don’t live up to your expectations. You need an easy to use system that will work when you need it to.
Low cost credit card processing is important to every business.

It’s hard to imagine a business that doesn’t process credit and debit transactions. Yes you could direct your customers to the nearest ATM machine, but this inconvenience to your customers could possibly lose your business. Don’t put off getting credit card transactions processing any longer, especially since it’s quite affordable for businesses of all sizes. The amount of money you pay for credit card payment processing pales in comparison to the advantage in keeping your business up to date when it comes to payment options.

Advantages of Credit Card Payment Solutions for Business

Consumers today often prefer to pay via credit or debit card. It is vitally important for any business to they make it easy for customers to pay for goods and services. To get set up to receive credit card payments a business needs to research reliable credit card payment solutions. These are also known as merchant payment solutions. These services are necessary because businesses cannot accept credit or debit cards without going through a third party card processing company. Optimal vision payment solutions can be a real asset for a business in need of advanced options.

What to Look for When Researching Payment Processors:

There are many companies that offer Credit Card Payment Solutions to the business community. It is important to note that these services vary greatly. Selecting the best solution for a particular business requires due diligence in researching specific aspects of services provided. It is smart to compare services to see which company offers the highest quality with lots of extras.

Flexibility:

When comparing vision payment solutions with other top services one important factor to look at is flexibility. Businesses competing for every consumer dollar require multiple payment options that are simple to set up and implement. Customers want to pay quickly and easily. It is widely known in the merchant world that consumers are quick to abandon their intended purchases when they come across obstacles to payment.

Advanced card payment solutions include online credit card processing:

Credit cards are a great convenience to consumers and many prefer paying with plastic. Merchants should be able to set up traditional merchant card processing for brick and mortar as well as online processing. Some consumers still prefer to pay by check. Select payment services that provide e-check and direct bank transfers.

Service Fee:

Another thing businesses look for in a good payment processor is affordable service rates. There are some fees associated with setting up and managing an account. Find out what the fees are and seek out vendors that offer competitive rates. Avoid those that tack on high service charges to every transaction. These will add up quickly. Monthly service charges should be reasonable. These fees fluctuate so be sure to discuss how much they charge based on estimated volume.

Security:

Each time a customer uses their card to purchase something whether it be online or offline they are trusting their personal information is protected. Credit card payment solutions always involve security risks. The best payment processing companies will have strong security measures in place to protect consumers against fraud and theft.

Finding the best credit card payment solutions should be easy once a business does their due diligence. The best card processing service provides advanced options, affordability and great security.

Save Money Do Not Borrow it on your Credit Card

Lets face it we have all been in a position where we have needed a little hard cash depending on if it is at the end of the month or a unforeseen bill that needs paying straight away. However before you go off down to the ATM and take that cash out on your credit card, lets just take a look at the reasons why you should be careful before borrowing from the credit card company.

Firstly every time you take money out of the ATM the fee for that money comes into play immediately. The cash advance that you are thinking about can have between 2 and 4 percent Higher interest rate than your regular credit card rates.

Not only will you be charged by the credit card company for borrowing the cash you will also find that you are charged a percentage by the ATM vendor. Those handy little ATM’s in the gas station can charge up to 1% to give you the cash! That is an extra 1% you have to pay to get that money.

Confused? Ok let us take a quick look at how this all works:

You see on a market stall a fantastic stereo that you have wanted for ages. The vendor being a street trader would prefer it if you pay in cash (lets face it if you use your card there he gets charged for the fact that he is using the credit card companies facilities). You decide you must have it so you go to the ATM and draw out $200 on your credit card.

This cash will be the last thing that your credit card company lets you pay off the card. So if you have $500 on your card and you take a further $500 out at the higher rate of interest as it is cash, you will pay that rate of interest until you reach zero balance even if you pay off $500 the next day! So you will still end up paying over the odds to borrow that money.

Eventually when you hit the zero balance you will notice that you have over the time that you borrowed the money been charged three times. Once by the ATM where you got the money from. Once by the credit card company for taking the cash option and once more by the credit card company who will charge you a higher rate of interest for the privilege of having cash in your hand.

Is it really worth it to get something a few days early?

Credit Card Debt Finding the Cure

Credit card debt is taking over the country, and most people are charging more due to the recession. This is not uncommon, however, the time is going to come when it is time to repay all of those debts and when that happens, hopefully those of you who have charged more because of lack of money will have what you need to pay off the debt. However, if you are one of the millions of Americans who find yourself in a difficult situation when it comes time for payback, then it is time to collect debt consolidation information from whatever sources that you can find.

When considering what debt consolidation information to use, the first thing that you should do is consider the source. Where did you get the information that you are using, is it an official source? You can get a lot of information about debt consolidation on government websites, which are very reliable sources in the respect that their information will be unbiased and will not direct you to a specific company to use for your debt consolidation.

You will learn in detail from your debt consolidation information about the two different kinds of debt consolidation, credit card consolidation loans and credit counseling services. These are two very different programs, where taking a loan means just that, however, if you have a lot of debt or bad credit you may have to use your home as collateral or get a co-signer to get the loan, which may not be idea. Credit counseling services mean that you allow a company to negotiate with your creditors for lower payments and to eliminate your interest. The downside here is that you have to close all credit accounts or the credit counseling service will not work with you, also, this does show up as a negative on your credit report, although not as negative as not paying your debts.

There are a couple of other options that may not show up in your debt consolidation information like credit card debt settlement, which is paying a company to negotiate lump sum payments with your creditors at a value less than what you owe. Another is to just do it yourself, without the help of any companies. The upside here is that your credit is not affected if you continue to make payments on your accounts. The ultimate goal for any of these plans is to pay off your debt as quickly as possible.

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Learn how to Consolidate credit card debt

In a nutshell, Credit card consolidation takes all of a consumers outstanding credit card and other unsecured debts and rolls them all together into a single loan. Many credit cards and loans have very high interest rates. A Credit card debt consolidation program reduces all of the interest rates to one low rate, usually lower than any rate you were paying before. This allow the consumer to pay off their debts much more quickly, AND more importantly, it also greatly lowers the consumers monthly debt payment, allowing them to have a better monthly cash flow.

The next great benefit that a Credit card debt consolidation program offers is peace of mind. Once you are in a Credit card debt consolidation program, the credit card companies and other lenders that have been harassing you on the phone, through the mail, over the Internet, or even in person on your front porch, must stop immediately. They will leave you alone! Once you begin to consolidate, credit card debt agents will begin to work directly with your creditors and your creditors will work with the Credit card debt consolidation companies.

Credit card debt consolidation loans are also useful if you are trying to rebuild your credit. If the reason you are looking to consolidate credit card debt is that you are overwhelmed by your bills have fallen behind on your payments have had some marks put against your credit history lowering your overall credit score, then credit card consolidation can be a very handy tool indeed. Immediately, you will be caught up on your back bills and you monthly payments moving forward will never be late! The is because when you are in a credit card debt consolidation program, the credit card debt consolidation companies make your monthly payments for you and they will never be late. This puts you on the fast track to improving your credit history and your overall credit score. Every month, your credit score will go up because the credit card consolidation company will never be late making your payments.

Now heres the most important piece of advice: BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WHEN LOOKING FOR CREDIT CARD DEBT CONSOLIDATION COMPANIES! Do a little research. Google them. Check them out on www.bbb.org. Make sure there are no complaints, or at least very few. On www.bbb.org, the Better Business Bureaus website, you can search for the company and see any complaints that have been made and if the company resolved the issue. Choosing a bad company could leave you in worse debt and with a lower credit score.