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Monday, November 17, 2008

Are Retailer's Credit Cards A Good Idea?

By Steven J. Talrechi

The ads are nearly inescapable. They beckon to us from everywhere; telling us that we can buy with no money down ad accruing no interest for as long as three years!

However, are these retailers' credit cards really the deal they seem to be? Let's take a look at what happens when you take on a credit card from a retailer.

While these credit cards really do let you buy with no money down, offer a 0% interest rate and let you avoid making payments for the first couple of years. This offer is usually limited to a specific purchase, however. Lets' say that you apply for one of these retailers' credit cards at a furniture store. They may offer a discount of 15% off of the purchase price for signing up, offer no payments for two years and a 0% interest rate for this introductory period.

This is a great deal, with one caveat. If you don't completely pay off this retailer's credit card within those two years, you'll be charged interest on the purchase ? not just from the day that this no payments period runs out, but retroactively. The interest will probably also be compounded every thirty days over that two years; this can really add up.

So, you have to be careful here. If you want to use one of these retailers' credit cards, you have to be willing to be very, very conscientious and pay off the balance on that credit card before your introductory "special" period ends. If you don't, you're going to be paying a lot more for that purchase than you intended to -- and here's the thing; a lot of times, retailers' credit card interest rates are HIGHER than those of your traditional Visa or MasterCard. Therefore, you're also going to be hit with a higher interest rate for those purchases.

If you're not at all sure you're going to be able to pay for the purchase in full before the introductory period ends, don't do it. Now, of course, the best scenario is not to get into debt with these types of purchases at all and instead pay cash for things you really want or need. However, if you must use credit to make this type of purchase, a better bet may be to use a lower interest rate but "generic" credit card such as Visa or MasterCard, and pay down your purchases as soon as possible. Even though you won't save a percentage of the sale price as the retailer might promise you to get you to sign up for the card (such as 10% off if you purchase with the retailer's card), you'll save money in the long run because you'll be paying lower interest rates.

If the retailer's credit card in question is from a shop where you are a regular and you know that you can afford to pay the entire balance before the end of the introductory period, then these cards can be a good deal for you. If not, then you would be well advised to avoid these retailer's credit cards. Those retroactive interest charges can really hurt you otherwise. Make sure you can afford to quickly repay the balance before you sign up for anything.

Keep in mind that no matter what kind of credit card you use to make a purchase, you should always make sure to pay off your balance as quickly as possible. In fact, it's best not to carry a balance on your credit card for more than 30 days ? this will prevent your having to pay interest. Credit cards can be a big help, but you need to use them very responsibly.

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Learn How To Settle Credit Obligations

By Jessica Bradbury

It is not exaggeration if one says that most Americans are dependent on credit cards to buy things. Credit cards are used to purchase basic necessities such as food, clothing and paying for the children's tuition to paying for restaurant bills, booking flights and hotels, among others.

This major yin to credit cards' yang would take shape with payable accounts, debts, to put things bluntly.

Statistics show that the average American household owes more than $10,000 in credit card debts. The figure gives emphasis on just how much people have become dependent with using plastic over cash. Used to pay for restaurant bills, paying for education costs, hotel bookings, travel expenses, and more, the usual trend in credit card usage is followed with monthly bill statements, which, more often than not, pile up, in time.

The banks have allowed us to shell out minimum monthly payments instead of having to make full payments so this scheme helps us manage our finances. But this payment scheme has setbacks. One is that we would have to pay for our outstanding for a longer period of time if we only pay the minimum required amount.

Credit card debt settlement options are basically options for credit card holders, should their accounts reach a point where managing them becomes rather difficult. Many make the mistake of charging expenses on their credit cards, without actually thinking about the implications of their purchase.

In extreme cases, you have to take another loan just to manage your finances effectively. You can also choose to get a credit card debt settlement, an agreement where the card holders and your banks meet halfway in a compromise payment.

Should this be one's condition, it is very wise to start looking into what credit card debt settlement options there are, to resolve one's pending payables from piling up. The most extreme of cases call upon filing for a loan, geared to pay for one's credit card debts, just so to give a halt on the rising interest rates, should payment due dates not be met. Its the "borrow money from Peter to pay Paul" step, which actually spares people from having to deal with rising interest rates.

Your bankers will decide on the amount and interest rates you're going to pay. All you have to do is keep your end of the bargain.

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Financial Trouble? Consider Debt Negotiation

By Daniel Atolben

Are you drowning in debt and finding it difficult to make your monthly payments? Even if you've had no problem controlling your debt in the past, there may be something unexpected that has come up. You may have recently become unemployed or there may be an illness in your family. These types of problems affect everyone and if you have little or no savings then you can easily find yourself in financial trouble. This is when debt negotiation with your credit card companies is a viable option that will benefit both you and the credit card company.

Debt negotiation benefits you since you'll be able to get your credit card bills under control. It benefits the credit card company by ensuring they receive payment (or partial payment) and preventing your account from going to a collection agency. Since credit card companies won't be getting all the money that you've agreed to repay, they will not accept all requests.

You can try debt negotiation on your own without the assistance of an outside service. Simply contact your credit card companies and ask for a lowered interest rate, lower payments and/or a suspension of penalty fees. If you're willing to close out the account on the spot, the credit card company may be willing to accept less than the balance. You'll need to give the agent a good reason why; be honest about the reason and what you can afford.

Each credit card company has different policies. The agent that you initially speak to may be able to help you but more than likely you'll need to talk to a supervisor. The initial agent may only be able to waive a fee or suspend a payment so it's beneficial to talk to a supervisor or manager in any case. If an agent isn't able to help you then ask for a superior.

Depending on your credit history and reason for negotiation, credit card companies may be able to work with you. Even if they're not able to help you, ask the agent to document your account so future agents can reference your request. Since each credit card company has different policies, you may not succeed with all of your requests. One company may be willing to work with you while another may not.

If you're not able to succeed in getting your bills under control then you can get the help of a debt counseling service. There are many to choose from but it's best to find one that has an office in your area so you can meet face-to-face with a counselor. Look for one that is non-profit or not-for-profit and funded by the government. They will usually offer you a free consultation and their fees are nominal. Try to negotiate your debt on your own but some credit card companies are more willing to work with counseling services.

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Ridiculous Ways to Lower Gas Prices

By Drieick

There's a new facebook group called, "15,000,000 for lower gas prices".

I don't have anything against petitions (it's constitutional), but I think stupid petitions like this one should be illegal. Let me explain:

Ways to lower gas prices:

1. Invade Iran and Saudi Arabia and take their oil 2. Have the government cover a majority of the prices 3. Use the Federal Reserve system to artificially change the prices

Let me explain why this group is completely moronic. First, invading Iran and Saudi Arabia obviously won't work (unless we take all of our military strength). Second, how will the government cover most of the prices? Well, through taxes,which just means you'll still be paying for it. Tax money is the people's money. I know! Why don't we just tax the hard working CEOs, doctors, and hard working families that make twice as much as I do! They may have a whole corporation and God knows how many jobs on their shoulders, but they can spare a few thousand dollars! We the people deserve that money, anyway! Who cares about lawyers and surgeons, anyway?

Neither of those will work. The second will lower gas prices, but you'll be paying the taxes; you'll just be paying two bills, which doesn't make any sense. In fact, it'll actually raise the prices, simply because filing an entire country's taxes probably costs more than oil. Why pay for oil and the expenses it takes to tax?

The last one will definitely not work. To tell that market to shut its mouth is probably the most destructive thing to do. This means that when the market says prices should go up, they go down; when the market says the prices go down, they go up. It's all mathematical: lowering prices now will cause the companies that provide those services to operate under the breaking point (when the profits equal the expenses), and that'll just eat at their savings, and then they'll be forced to either; file bankruptcy or raise prices.

Price: $500 = Artificial price (lowered price): $400 = Profits down by 100x = Sells increase = Profits go down (more sales than predicted) = Supply goes down = Company's savings down = Prices go up = Sells go down = Demand goes down = Prices go up (not by much, since supply & demand helps is rather stabilized)

x = number of sales

Pretty much what's going on in this country right now. In fact, step #3 could be considered an expense: their profits are to 500x, but instead it 400x (500x ~ 100x). Let's not forget the stock market.

Last change: increase drilling. It is true that North America has lots of oil, and that the US government is stopping people from drilling (all to "help" the environment). Of course, I don't know anything about that, so if you have any info, please share.

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Payday Loans-The Shocking Truth About Them

By Jacob Williams

People acquire their good and bad habits at an early age. If you need to become a responsible person, you have to practice the right things now. Handling money is a very important task because if you make it a habit to spend more than what you really earn, that is very bad and it can cause troubles in the future. Opting for payday loans is not a really good option because this is considered one of the risky solutions available to over spenders.

Payday loans can be a good solution for people who want money when a imperative situation develops. But before you apply for a payday loan, you need to weigh up the risks, you do not need to be caught up in a debt trap that can only worsen your current situation.

There are decided disadvantages in applying for payday loans. One really plain reason is the high cost. The annual interests can reach 400 to 800%. With this rate, it would be even much better to invest on high risk stocks because you can enjoy investment returns from 20 to 30%.

Always try to budget you money with appropriate fiscal planning. If you do not, then you will often resort to borrowing money. It is better that at the start of every month you set a realistic monthly budget, this is so that you can already balance out your pay and outlays. Make sure if at all practicable that you keep a portion of your salary for that unpredicted bill or emergency, this way your savings will stop you having to apply for a payday loan. There are many counseling agencies that can help you out in preparing your monthly budget and best of all most of these are free.

Suppose you ended up borrowing money and now you have a creditor. Some individuals will tend to borrow once again from someone else or in all probability apply for payday loans in order to pay the creditors. This is not good and it would be better to talk to your creditors and ask if they can wait until your next wage. You can save a lot on the interest if you follow this advice

Any payments that are desperate can be made through your credit cards. This is a far better choice than taking out a payday loan, as the interest is much lower. If you do not have a credit card, then consider talking to your employer and asking for a cash advance, be open and genuine and you will find normally that you employer will be very understanding.

If things are that bad, do not go for payday loan yet. You could always ask your friends or relations if they can loan you some money and tell them precisely when and how long it will take you to pay them back. As long as you do pay them back on time, they will invariably help you out in the future.

There are also community social services that give urgent fiscal assistance to those who may need it. You can ask if you are qualified to receive such help.

Thus there you have it; you just have to know your other choices before you plunge into applying for a payday loan. Payday loans have good sides too but the disadvantages are so obvious and as long as you can avoid it, try to do so. Just apply for one when you have exhausted all the other choices.

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