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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

How to get the best Credit Card Deals!



So you took advantage of one of those credit repair credit cards with higher interest rates to help you repair your credit?

Or perhaps you missed a payment or two a while back and are now saddled with a fairly large balance on a high interest credit card. Maybe it was your first credit card, and you're still paying the interest rate offered to those with no status credit. No matter what the reason, you've got a credit card balance on which you're paying interest rates higher than average, and you'd like to cut those monthly payments. Welcome to the world of balance transfer credit cards.

Balance transfer credit cards are credit cards that offer a special interest rate on accounts transferred from another credit card. Essentially, when you take advantage of balance transfer credit cards, you're borrowing money on your new credit card to pay off the balance on your old (higher interest) credit card, then repaying the new credit card company at a lower rate of interest. 0% balance transfer rates have been a popular incentive for credit card companies to attract business for the past several years.

Lately, though, many credit card companies have found that offering 0% balance transfers is a losing proposition for them as customers play credit card shuffle, moving their account balances from one card to another whenever the 0% interest rate ends. In order to combat that practice, credit card companies are getting more creative with their balance transfer credit cards. That's why it's important to compare balance transfer credit cards to be sure you're getting the best possible deal - or at least one that actually will save you money in the long run.

Here are some things to watch for when comparing balance transfer credit cards:

How long does the introductory balance transfer rate last?

The 0% balance transfer interest rate is usually an introductory rate. As long as you pay off the entire balance within the introductory period - usually six to nine months - you pay no interest at all on the amount that you've transferred.

How much is the balance transfer fee?

Often, there's a charge for transferring your balance from one card to another. Be sure to include that fee in your costs when you compare balance transfer credit cards.

What is the interest rate AFTER the introductory period ends?

The introductory rate will end eventually. How much will you be paying in interest after it ends? Will that apply to the entire balance, or just the amount left on your transferred balance?

Are there other restrictions?

The newer balance transfer credit cards offer other incentives than 0% interest rates on your transferred balance, or may include restrictions to how long the balance must remain on the card. Many of the new balance transfer credit cards offer an interest free second year, or a one-month free payment rather than a 0% transfer fee as a way to get around the credit card balance shufflers. When you compare balance transfer credit cards, be sure to make a note of any restrictions on the balance transfer offers.

So you can see it's important to compare balance transfer credit cards to check the best deal. At www.moneyeverything.com/cards you'll find all the latest no interest balance transfer credit cards, along with details so that you can compare balance transfer credit cards to be sure you're getting a deal that will save you money.

-->by: Jon Francis

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Playing your cards right � tips for traveling with credit cards



Using credit cards while traveling is a good idea for a number of reasons:

--You have a record of your expenditures for record-keeping and tax purposes (especially important if you travel for business)
--You may get a better exchange rate when obtaining foreign currency when using your credit card.
--Credit card companies can refund disputed charges and may offer extra guarantees, special deals or warranties.
--Your liability in the case of a stolen credit card is limited to $50

But, traveling these days is often a juggling act of luggage, boarding passes, identification cards, passports and a gauntlet of security measures. These identification acrobatics can leave one slightly addled and perhaps more at risk of being targeted by an enterprising pickpocket or purse snatcher.

And, even though your liability is limited, costs can quickly add up if multiple cards are involved. Factor in the hassle and increased risk of identity theft, and it is apparent a few preemptive measures can save you from a boatload of heartache.

Consider the following tips as guidelines to traveling safely and affordably with your credit cards�.

Plan Ahead:

Anytime you travel you should make photo copies of all of your credit cards airline tickets and documents, both front and back. You should leave these photocopies with a friend or family member. Be aware that if you make copies of your cards and documents to take with you, you may be giving thieves another opportunity to rip off your personal information. Consider blacking out details such as expiration dates, verification codes and social security numbers.

If you decide not to carry photocopies of your credit cards, be sure to have the card cancellation numbers from the backs of the cards written down and stashed in your luggage.

Leave a Paper Trail:

Save receipts and keep track of the places you used your card. Make sure receipts are stored in a safe place so they can be checked against your credit card statement to ensure unauthorized charges have not been made and/or gone unnoticed.

Two accounts are better than one:

When traveling with other family members, even spouses, bring different credit cards that are on separate accounts. When a card is lost or stolen and must be cancelled, all cards on the account are cancelled as well. Having at least two cards from separate accounts will prevent the situation from leaving you stranded.

Keep it light:

Carry only the personal information absolutely necessary for vacation, such as a passport or driver's license. The less personal information you have, the better off you will be if your purse or wallet is stolen. When traveling by air, always keep copies of important documents in a separate part of your luggage, such as a carry-on bag.

Keep cards on your person. Most travel stores carry small bags that you can keep cards, cash, and other items you will need to access while out and about. Consider a money belt or security wallet.

Look out for fees:

When traveling abroad and using a credit card, watch out for the conversion fee that many banks levy to convert charges in foreign currencies to dollars, generally 1% of the purchase amount. Some banks charge a fee and some don�t so, if you have several cards, it's worth checking with the issuers to see which one has the best deal. Even with the conversion charge, many times ATM machines will have the best possible exchange rates and the lowest fees.

With proper planning, credit cards are a convenient, secure and cost-effective means of payment when traveling. Just keep these tips in mind, and the next time you�re balancing on one foot at the security gate, you�ll be glad you did.

Copyright � 2004 Luggage 'n' Travel Accessories
http://www.luggage-n-travel-accessories.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gail Corwin is a successful author and happy traveler. Please visit http://www.luggage-n-travel-accessories.com, your source for luggage and travel accessories, travel related information, timely articles and tips.

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