Secured Credit Cards – the Basic Facts

Credit card is a part and parcel of modern life. The credit card offers us the ease and simplicity to spend money without carrying cash, is versatile and handy to use and provides us the means to establish and recreate our credit rating. The secured credit card is however, not without its disadvantages, the main one being high interest rates charged on it. How would you rate your capacity to purchase a home or the car you want or the loan you simply need? How significant is it for you to have a good credit rating? In order to establish and spruce up your credit score, the best possible option is to have a secured credit card. A secured credit card is in effect the opportunity to regain a sound financial position. Due to the easy accessibility of credit reports through well-established credit bureaus today, credit issuers rely increasingly on these reports to make their final decision on providing you credit. A credit card is often denied to you when you do not have a credit history. This is often in the case of the young adults who have never taken out a loan or have so far used a credit card through a parent. It can also occur in the case of divorced people who have never had a credit card in their name. Secured credit cards [http://www.creditrunner.com/secured-credit-card-offers] thus provide the best means for anyone to establish a credit history. The secured credit card by virtue of being secured by your own money allows the issuer to feel safe, ensuring their money back in case you default. Since the issuer is also holding your money, they persuade you to make your payments regularly instead of losing your security deposit on the secured credit card. Secured Credit Card – A credit card with a security deposit Very often when you rent an apartment, the landlord will ask you to deposit an amount equivalent to a month’s rent into a special account. This amount acts as security and is not used till you move out. When you move, this money along with interest is returned to you. You will not owe the landlord any money if you leave the apartment without any damages. The same rule applies to the secured credit card. In a secured credit card you have to deposit an amount as security equivalent to 50-150% of your credit limit in a special account with the credit card issuer. The credit card issuing company will provide you with a secured credit card which is used like a regular credit card. The only difference being that only you and your credit card issuer know that the secured credit card has attached to it a security deposit. Provided you use your secured credit card wisely, the security deposit will not be used. This means that the secured credit card will be used to make reasonably priced purchases and the monthly bills will be paid regularly and fully as far as possible. To increase the credit available to you on your secured credit card, you can either increase your security deposit or get as many secured credit cards as possible. The credit card issuer will soon increase your credit limit from 50% of your deposit to anywhere between 75% and 100%. The interest rates on secured credit cards are usually quite high. In the even that you have been rejected for credit by some companies you will be thought of as a significant credit risk. The issuing companies are taking a huge risk in lending you money through secured credit cards, and these interest rates are based on these risks. A secured credit card is not suitable for people with a solid and established credit rating as they can avail of credit cards with lower rates, rewards and other benefits. A secured credit card is for people who have had a bad credit or no credit to start with and need to mend their credit scores through a responsible show of credit card handling.

Secured Credit Cards- Consumer Tips

Whether you have no credit or damaged credit, secured credit cards are a good tool for building a good credit history.

Several months ago Tom, a member of CreditBoards.com, filed for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Now he is in the process of rebuilding his credit history. It’s a task that is not easy, but with patient persistence he is seeing progress already. Daily he checks his credit score and is slowly seeing improvement.

1 – In addition to correcting every mistake, even the smallest ones, on his credit report, he is using a secured credit card.

2 – This secured card is an important tool in the overall process of building or rebuilding credit.

Who should consider a secured credit card?

Someone who has no credit history.

Someone with a damaged credit history.

What is a secured credit card?

Secured cards are credit cards opened with a deposit into a savings account, money market or certificate of deposit. The amount of deposit required varies from card to card, but generally minimum amounts range from $250 – $500. These funds are considered your security and will even earn a little interest since they are being held in a savings account. Your credit limit is determined by the amount you deposit into the savings account. Sometimes the limit will be for the full amount of the deposit; other times it will be a percentage of the total.

It is important to keep in mind that a secured card is a credit card, not a debit card. If full payments are not made each month, then interest is charged on the outstanding balance. And the lending institution uses the security money to pay off the debt only as a last resort. Even though the card is secured, it is still possible to damage credit.

What are the benefits of a secured credit card?

Establishing credit. If you have never had a credit card, a good first step in establishing good credit is applying for a secured credit card. Assistant Professor of Economics at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN, Jerry Plummer says, “A secured card is most useful for the person starting out on their credit history, since it says that the person is willing to take the extra step to establish credit.”

Reestablishing credit. If your credit history is damaged, you may only be able to qualify for a secured credit card. Using this secured card appropriately and within the set parameters will help rebuild your credit and qualify you for an unsecured card. If you have had to file for bankruptcy, however, you may not qualify until it has been discharged.

Preset limit cannot be exceeded. If poor spending habits were part of the cause for bad credit, then a secured credit card will help keep spending in check.

Useful for transactions that require a credit card. Hotels and car rentals require the use of a credit card. If you don’t qualify for an unsecured card but you do for a secured card, then you are still able to make the transaction.

What should I look for or avoid when shopping for a secured credit card?

Fees. This is the area you will really want to research when shopping for a secured credit card. Some cards will come with fees that run into the hundreds of dollars, eating away much of the credit you secured with the savings account. Professor Plummer says a card with no fee is the best, but a small one-time fee can be okay. Annual fees for attractive secured cards typically range from $20-$35. Be sure to watch out for hidden fees such as “registration charges” and “setup fees.”

Interest Rate. Just because you have no or poor credit doesn’t mean you have to settle for the highest interest rate. Interest rates for attractive secured cards should not exceed 19%. Shop around and get the most competitive rate available.

Read the fine print. Linda Tucker, Director of Education for Consumer Credit Counseling Service for Arkansas and Memphis, TN, stresses the importance of reading the fine print. Doing so will let you know your exact obligations to the issuing company: for example, the grace period, what happens if you don’t make a full payment, and what fees are attached if you don’t make the full payment. Understanding these details will help make sure you are not further damaging your credit.

Fraudulent Offers. As with unsecured cards you need to watch out for fraudulent offers.The Federal Trade Commission gives the following advice to protect yourself from credit card fraud:

Offers of easy credit. No one can guarantee to get you credit. Before deciding whether to give you a credit card, legitimate credit providers examine your credit report.
A call to a ‘900’ number for a credit card. You pay for calls with a ‘900’ prefix — and you may never receive a credit card.
Credit cards offered by “credit repair” companies or “credit clinics.” These businesses also may offer to clean up your credit history for a fee. However, you can correct genuine mistakes or outdated information yourself by contacting credit bureaus directly. Remember that only time and good credit habits will restore your credit worthiness.

When will I qualify for an unsecured credit card?

It can take several months to see an improvement in your credit history. Bankrate says it’s a good indicator when you start receiving flyers in the mail for unsecured cards that your credit is improving. However, it’s a good idea to continue taking things slowly. Using a secured card will help you learn healthy habits so that when you do get an unsecured credit card you remain in control of your spending and credit.

Where can I find a secured credit card?

Most companies don’t advertise secured cards. But you can visit the Card Reports section of http://www.CardRatings.com to find out where and how to apply. Click on the link entitled “Cards for Consumers with Poor or No Credit”.

Other tips

Tom recommends sticking with only one or two cards and keeping spending to a minimum. The goal is to pay the card off each month.

Tucker emphasizes the importance of paying the amount due each month; otherwise late fees can be charged, interest rates raised, privileges lost, and credit history negatively affected.

Make sure you are getting a credit card as opposed to a gas card or a department store card.

Make sure a reputable bank or credit union, even a local one, is issuing the card. And, don’t automatically assume a bank is issuing the card.

Not all issuers report to the three major credit agencies (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). It’s important to get a card that does report to all three agencies; otherwise you will be wasting your time. Fortunately, secured cards normally report to the credit agencies just like unsecured cards (you should verify this before applying).

If you have filed for bankruptcy, you may need to wait until it has been discharged before qualifying for a secured card.

Get one only if you cannot get credit, since you have no credit record; or if you have poor credit. Plummer says, “Many companies will not even count them as credit, such as automobile F&I (Finance and Insurance) people, although they will not admit it.” So, if you don’t really need a secured card, you will be doing more harm than good.

Finally, whatever situation you are in, no credit or poor credit, the best way to build good credit is to set up a budget and then stick with it.

1 You can pay membership fees to any one of the three credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax- to be able to check your credit score online daily. Visit our Credit Information section for more details. Tom recommends purchasing Microsoft Money 2004, which comes with a one-year membership to Experian (value of $99.00).

2 To find out more about correcting errors on your credit report, read our article How to Correct Mixed or Split Credit Reports.

Credit Cards For People With Bad Credit, No Credit, And Poor Ratings

We live in the world of credit. Most of the banking institutions offer different forms of credit from credit card to signature loans.

Majority of people often find themselves in bad credit situations like court judgment, bankruptcy, repossession, foreclosure and loan default,due to lack of enough financial knowledge and discipline which often make it difficult for them to get any credit at all in future. So – what exactly is credit?

Credit means that you are getting a service or cash grant to rent for your own purpose. You are often bound with a contract or agreement to repay in future as agreed with lender or service provider. Credit exists in different forms like loan, mortgage, signature loan, or credit card.

Every financial institution or lending agency, will first check your credit history, before they will consider giving you credit. If you have defaulted on credit or loan before or have bad credit history you will find it almost difficult to get credit any time you apply for it.

However, it’s possible for you to improve your bad credit history or build a new good credit history by repairing your bad credit, thus re-establishing your credit-worthiness. This process is called credit repair. It’s the process in which consumers with unfavorable credit histories attempt to re-establish their credit-worthiness.

Though there are lots of credit repair companies nowadays that promises repairing your bad credit for you, but if you can follow simple guide, it’s very possible for you to do it yourself – after all it’s your credit.

If you repair your bad credit it will make it easy for you to get low interest credit, car or home loans. However, with poor credit rating you may not be able to get loan or be subjected to high interest rates and several other unnecessary conditions. So it’s very important that you repair your credit if you have bad credit. You will get lots of tips on how to do this easily in this book.

Your credits score – how you can improve it.

Your credit score is a very important in any financial transaction that you make or intend making in future. So it’s good you know what exactly your score is, understand its meaning and learn how you can improve it if it’s not good enough.

“Many factors can contribute to a negative rating from the credit reporting agencies. Many factors like are non-payment of an account or late payments over an extended length of time, can contribute to someone getting a “bad credit” rating or poor score. Whether non-payment of an account is willful or due to financial hardship, the result can be the same, a negative rating. … But there is hope to get credit cards for people with bad credit, poor credit or lower credit score”

Credit report – its effect on your personal credit

Credit report is a compilation of your credit history, past financial transactions and personal information possible. This report is usually compiled by accredited agencies known as credit reporting agency.

Credit reporting agencies are organizations that help credit card companies, loan companies, banks, and departmental stores in the country to ascertain the credit worthiness of their would be clients.

Once they have detail information from these sources, they give it to any organizations in need of it when requested. Though they keep on file information concerning you and your credit, they don’t make final judgments as to your credit worthiness. The decision is up to the credit card companies or any lender which you are dealing with.

Credit cards: – types and what you need to know about them.
Nowadays, everybody wants to have at least a credit card. Everywhere you go you see adverts from various banks and other financial institution offering you credit card. However, before you apply for a credit card, there are several factors you need to consider. So it’s very important that you know more about the types of cards available, and one that will work best for you.

Secured credit card: – A secured credit cards for people with bad credit requires a security deposit as collateral before you can get approval. Its type of card that best suit the need of people with no or poor credit who are trying to build their credit history. Your collateral must be equal or greater in value of the credit amount you are applying for.

With a secured card you put up your own money (into a savings account with the bank you are applying for credit card) and that amount (or part of it) is the credit line for your card. Put in $500 and you could have up to a $500 credit line. You can deposit anywhere from two hundred to two thousand dollars into an account, and that will be your spending limit.
This will give you the flexibility of using a credit card and because if you pay off every statement you are letting creditors know that you can handle credit (again) and your bank may soon begin extending your credit line beyond what you have put in. So you are on your way back to healthier credit, to a status where you will no longer need a secured card.

Business credit cards: – These are the card that’s available for business owners, directors and business executives. They come with several features just like any traditional credit cards. You have to consider the terms and condition for these types of cards too before applying.

Student credit cards are another type of credit card specifically for students. These types of cards are made for students because of their lack of credit history, and if given chance they can build their credit history with such card.

Prepaid credit cards: – are set of cards that are just acceptable wherever the traditional credit cards are acceptable, but they are not credit card. You will have to always transfer money to your card before you can make use of the card and you may not be able to spend more than you prepaid for the card.

Presently this is almost the best card for people that want to avoid interest and other fees charged on traditional credit card and also for people with bad credit. However, other little charges like monthly fees, application; over the limit and ATM fees are still applicable, but these gets offset if you pay your bills via money order

Whichever card you decide to choose make sure that you go over the terms applicable very well to avoid putting yourself in financial bondage. In second part of this article we will continue looking at other types of credit card.

Balance credit cards are unsecured standard cards designed to allow consumers to save money in interest charges by transferring higher interest credit card balance onto a lower interest rate credit card.

Low interest credit cards are other types of non secured standard credit card. They offer either low introductory APR that change to a higher rate after a certain period of time or a low fixed rate. You can take advantage of the low introductory APRs to make larger purchases for now and pay them off several months later. It wont be possible to get this credit card for people with bad credit

Air Mile Credit cards are cards that are good for people that travel frequently or planning to go on vacation. It’s a form of reward card that allow you opportunity of obtaining a free airline ticket. You will need to accumulate specified air miles before you can be entitled to free ticket. All accumulated mile points will be based on dollar amount of your credit card purchases over a period of time based on predetermined point level.

Specialty credit cards are other set of standard non-secure cards designed specifically for individual business users and students with unique and special needs.

Make sure that you study the terms of any of the card that you pick very well to avoid risking your credit rating. Also, when you pick any of the reward cards make sure you study the forms and offers very well because credit card issuing companies do offer different reward programs and their promotional offers often change. So make sure you thoroughly look over the card’s terms and conditions of each specific card before applying.