This Is For You – How to Really Use Your Credit Cards

Credit cards are a double edge sword. People are addicted to the plastic crack. They buy stuff they don’t need to impress people they don’t like. Plastic money has Americans hooked. Advertisements for cards are everywhere. How bad is it? According to some statistics the average American household has over $15,000 in credit card debt.

I do not advocate that everyone should have a credit card. If you can not control your cash you definitely can not control your plastic spending. I teach Financial Peace University classes and we strictly preach debt freedom and get rid of your cards. Why? Because most people will spend when they carry a credit card. Furthermore those same people will not pay off their current charges and carry a balance. Thus putting them back into credit card debt.

There is a myth that you need credit. That is a lie. You don’t need credit to survive. It does make it easier to travel, rent cars, and book hotels. But the truth is you can do that with a debit card. The buy now pay later syndrome is why so many people are in debt. This is how people get trapped and are on the path to financial disaster.

Only The Responsible and Disciplined

I use my cards everyday. But I pay off my balance every month. Paying interest is stupid. I still think that most people should not own or use a credit card unless they are responsible and disciplined to pay it off every month. As I mentioned earlier if you can’t control your cash you will do worst with credit cards.

Hear me out again. Paying interest on things you buy is just stupid. If you can’t pay off the balance do not buy the darn thing. Do you really need it anyway? Is that new big screen necessary now. Or is happy hour that important? Think before you pull it out. Better yet leave it at home.

Not For Emergencies

They shouldn’t be used for emergencies. This is an excuse that people use because they are not financially ready. What are emergencies? The tire blew out, the air conditioner doesn’t work, kids need new shoes, you are hungry, and broke. You pull out your plastic to pay for these things and then you start to rack up that balance. You fail to pay the balance and the next month another “emergency” pops up. If you don’t have an emergency fund then you are setting yourself up for failure.

Here are 4.5 Ways to Really Use Your Credit Cards:

1. To Make That $$$

Wealthy people use cards to expand their businesses. They use it to make that $$$. Here is the key! They pay off their balances at the end of the month. They generate income with their cards and then pay it off. They hate paying interest. I am an affiliate marketer and I use my credit cards for marketing and I pay the balance every month.

There is a daily limit on your debit card usage. But not with credit cards and I don’t need limits on my spending. My credit cards help me make money. If your plastic can help you increase your income then by all means use it.

2. Not for Personal Use

If you can’t pay the balance by the end of the statement do not buy it. If you couldn’t buy it with cash then don’t get it. I know you will pay it off later. If that was true there wouldn’t be all this credit card debt floating around. Don’t even carry it with you. Just having it will give you an urge to buy stuff. Stuff is what kills people financially.

Broke people pay fees and interest rates because they can’t afford to buy with cash. That is the consequences of not having enough money to buy what you want. Fees and interest add up. You are just giving money away when you can’t pay it off before the statement date.

Here is a trick I use. I always have a monthly budget. I know where every dollar is going. I take that budget and put it on my credit card. In fact I create a positive balance on my cards. Then I stick to my budget and I am never owing a balance. Why do I do this? You will see when you read #4.

3. Your Personal Bookkeeper

This is why I use my credit cards for every purchase. I get a statement at the end of the month, quarter, and year. I see where my money went and they add graphs too. I download the statements to my Quick Books software and give the year-end statements to my tax guy. Boom accounting is done.

4. Perks, Privileges, Rewards, and Points

The icing on the cake is all the perks, privileges, rewards, and points you get by using your cards. I am a cash back guy and I will get a lot of cash back this year (which I save to my investment accounts). My business credit cards gives me all the perks. I get points, miles, discounted VIP event tickets, and I don’t have to pay exchange rate fees when I travel around the world.

I get travel insurance, rental car insurances which saves me $$$ on rental cars, and much more. Plus all this stuff is free when you pay your balance off. When you use your credit cards correctly you can cash in on the benefits

4.5 To Start Your Business

I caution you to not use your credit cards to start your business. Especially if you are a newbie with no experience in the field you are about to enter. The risk is too great. Now I used my credit cards to invest into my business. That was around $20k. That was a huge gamble. But I had 4 years of experience when I took the plunge.

I also kept my day job to help make the monthly payments. I created multiply streams of income to pay off the balances faster. Those balances are at $0 now but I had to rise, grind, and shine. It took some time but my business is successful. If your business fails you still have to pay those credit cards.

Bottomline

Most people should stay away from credit cards because they can’t control their cash and credit cards will make it worst. Only use it if you can afford to pay off the balance every month. Remember paying interest and fees is stupid. Don’t be stupid. It’s a great accounting tool and the perks are worth the discipline and responsibility.

 

You Should Know – The Top 3 Export Credit Financing Mistakes Businesses Need To Avoid

Any type of business requires funds to sustain their day-to-day operations. Import and export companies face the same situation as well. Fortunately, there are various export credit financing solutions that importing and exporting businesses can rely on. With these solutions, these businesses will have fewer worries regarding the funds they will need for their operations.

To be successful in acquiring and getting the most out of these export credit financing solutions, it is important to avoid certain mistakes. These top 3 mistakes you have to avoid are:

1. Failing to fully understand your credit utilization ratio. Banks and financial institutions may examine the existing debts you have on your business’ books to see if your current and projected cash flow can handle taking on additional debt. You can avoid getting a rejection from these establishments by learning beforehand how to calculate both your personal and business’s credit utilization ratios (the amount you owe compared to your credit limit) before applying for a new loan or any type of financing option. Financial experts say that a good rule of thumb is to keep your utilization rate below 30 percent for both overall and for each revolving credit line.

2. Not calculating your annual percentage or APR. There are many numbers and fees involved with any financing offer. Interest percentage rate, daily debits, and service fees are just some of these numbers. You can understand and make sense of all these numbers by first calculating the APR of your offer before signing any contract. The APR pertains to the true cost per year of borrowing money and is usually higher than the advertised interest rate. It takes into account the interest rate and compounding effects as well as any additional fees and charges. As such, it is essential to ask about the APR when looking at loan offers. If you can, learn how to calculate it yourself. If a bank or financial institution won’t give you the information you need to calculate the APR, they may not be looking out for your best interests and it would be best to consider another company.

3. Not asking for feedback from banks or financial institutions that rejected your application. Lastly, if one of your financing applications is rejected, don’t give up easily. Ask the institution for feedback and make an effort to learn from the process. Business financial consultants say you should politely ask for an explanation of the lender’s decision to see what and how you can improve for your next attempt.

You Have To Fix It – Life Is Tough When Your Credit Score Stinks

Whether it was a foreclosure, short sale, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, a job loss or just plain irresponsibility, there are some steps you can take to get your credit score back into the range where it is attractive to mortgage lenders and you can finally buy that house.

Where does my credit score come from?

Credit scores range from 300 (the worst) to 850. Although a score of 700 will get you lower rates and more credit opportunities than lower scores, 760 and above is considered prime.

If you’ve ever ordered your credit report you did so from one or all of what are commonly known as “the big three” credit reporting agencies: Experian, Trans-Union and Equi-fax.

These agencies compile massive amounts of financial information obtained from companies from which Americans have obtained credit in the past. From this, they determine each person’s payment history, the length of the person’s credit history, the various types of credit he or she has and the amount of credit debt held.

When the big three agencies turn their information over to Fair Isaac Corporation (F.I.C.O.) or, in some cases, Vantage, it’s fed into a complicated formula and out pops a three-digit number that pretty much rules your financial life. Thankfully, your credit score adjusts, according to how risky you appear.

Pay on time

The best way to repair your credit score is by paying your bills on time, every month. Yes, it sounds simple and it is the responsible thing to do, but it’s also one of the quickest ways to pump your score into a more acceptable range. Don’t believe us? According to a study conducted by Experian,100 percent of super prime consumers and 97 percent of those with prime credit have no late payments on their credit reports.

Furthermore, The Raleigh Area Development Authority says that a person with a 707 credit score can raise it 20 points, just by paying bills on time for one month.

Manage the plastic

credit score

Your use of credit cards may be the culprit when your score is at rock bottom.

First, credit scoring agencies look at the age of your credit. New credit, such as opening new credit card or department store accounts, makes them leery. Just what will you do with all this new-found credit? Since they don’t know, you become a higher credit risk and take a 10 point ding on your score.

High balances make you appear risky as well. If your cards are maxed out you may lose up to 70 points on your credit score.

Don’t close your credit card accounts, just pay them on time. Consumers with no credit cards or installment loans look risky (it’s that fear of the unknown again) and tend to be penalized with lower scores. Besides, closed accounts still show up on your credit reports and may still affect your score.

If you have the money in your budget, another quick way to raise your score is to pay down high credit card balances. Try doubling your payments for a few months or at least pay a payment and a half.

If you build it, you can buy it

Many Americans didn’t do anything to deserve a low score other than to have never used credit. To credit scoring agencies, these people are, again, unknown entities. How they will use credit when they receive it is a mystery and therefore makes them a credit risk in the eyes of the agencies.

Unlike the folks that need to slow down on their credit card usage, you need to obtain a card, use it and pay the balance on time. Ensure that you obtain a card from an institution that will report your responsible use of credit.

To make it easy on you, we’ve compiled this handy, fix-your-credit checklist:

– Order your credit reports from each of the big three agencies to determine where you stand

– Dispute any errors you find on your credit report. Some shady credit counseling companies may suggest you dispute everything on the reports, which may do way more harm than good. The Federal Trade Commission offers advice on how to file disputes on its website.

– Pay all your bills on time, every month

– Pay down your credit card balances. If you can only afford to pay one at a time, pay department store cards first, if you have them, otherwise, pay off the one with the highest balance first. Aim to get the balances within 30 percent of your credit limit.

– Use old credit cards that you haven’t used lately to keep their histories active. Remember, old credit is worth more than new credit when it comes to your score.

– Obtain a secured credit card if you have no credit history. Use the card for small purchases and pay the balance on or before the due date.

– Consider obtaining a small loan if your credit report lacks an installment loan history. Ensure that the lender reports to all three agencies.

– Ask creditors to re-age your accounts. This might be challenging but if even one creditor agrees to do so your score may improve dramatically.

Ask the credit card companies to increase your credit limit

Erika Bentley

Keeping Real Estate Simple