Credit Card Offers for Pet Lovers


I love our dog. Her name is Sophie, and that’s her picture above. One thing we’ve learned the hard way over the past two years, however, is just how expensive a pet can be.

Regular trips to the vet can quickly put a dent in our bank accounts, not to mention the unforeseen costs that can take place if an emergency occurs. If you’re like my mom and have more than one furry friend, then your costs can double or even triple before you know it. She has two dogs and is temporarily fostering a third. Just over the last week an unplanned trip to the vet cost her $400. One option that I have recently found that can make these costs a bit more manageable is Care Credit.

Care Credit is a personal line of credit that can be used for your pet care and your health care expenses. It works just like a credit card, but can only be used for health care services. The great thing is that it can be used for all members of the family, even the four legged ones.

The card offers a no interest option on every purchase you make. All you have to do is pay your minimum monthly payment and pay off the balance by the end of the promotional period. Not all health care providers take Care Credit, however, so be sure to check first.

Below are the two interest options Care Credit offers its card members. The no interest option is a deferred interest plan, which means the accumulating interest will be charged to you if you don’t pay the balance off in the agreed upon time frame or if you are late on the monthly minimum payment.

Important: Because terms and conditions can and do change frequently, be sure to check with Care Credit before applying for a card.

No Interest Option

The Care Credit Card offers no interest on your purchases if paid within 3, 6, 12, 18 or 24 months. A $300 minimum purchase amount is required for plans longer than 3 months on the CareCredit account. A monthly payment is required, but no Finance Charges will be assessed if you meet the following restrictions: On promo purchase balance, monthly payments required, but no Finance Charges will be assessed if (1) promo purchase balance paid in full in 3, 6, 12, 18 or 24 months, (2) all minimum monthly payments on account paid when due, and (3) account balance does not exceed credit limit. Otherwise, the promo may be terminated & Finance Charges assessed from purchase date.

On promotions requiring a minimum payment, payments over the minimum will usually be applied to those promo balances before non-promo and other balances. If you have a non-promo balance, this may reduce the benefit from the promo.

Extended Payment Plans

This option is valid on purchases of $1000 or more (24, 36, 48 months) or $2500 or more (60 months) made on the CareCredit account. On promo purchase, fixed monthly payments equal to 4.7966% for 24 months, 3.4129% for 36 months, 2.7276% for 48 months, or 2.3216% for 60 months required, but finance charges will be applied to promo balance at the reduced daily periodic rate of .03808% (ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE 13.90%) if (1) promo purchase paid in full in 24, 36, 48 or 60 months, (2) any minimum monthly payments on account paid when due, and (3) account balance does not exceed credit limit. Otherwise, promo may be terminated.

Bottom Line

I have read both favorable and unfavorable reviews on Care Credit. All the unfavorable reviews stem from the deferred interest part of the card. It is important to understand that in this case the No Interest option is a deferred interest rate. This means that if you don’t pay the balance off in the required amount of time, then the accumulated interest will be added to the balance of your card. In the event that this happens, it could add hundreds of dollars onto your balance.

There are several very good interest free cards that may make a good alternative to Care Credit.

Shop Online With a Disposable Credit Card


Discover Card has introduced a feature aimed at virtually guaranteeing your credit card number is secure when you shop online. Called “Secure Online Account Numbers,” Discover enables cardholders to create a disposable credit card number to be used at just one retailer online. Once assigned to a retailer, the card number will not work anywhere else. So if the number is stolen, it won’t do the thief any good.

Discover credit card holders will find the feature at the bottom left of the Discover home page. The links is called “Secure Online Account Number.” It gives cardholders two ways to use this feature. First, software can be downloaded to a PC or Mac. The software will generate the secure online account number to be used for shopping. Second, cardholders can set up a secure account number via the Internet from any computer.

Discover Secure Online Account Numbers

Each secure online account number can only be used at the online retailer where it was first assigned. As a result, if the number is stolen, it can’t be used anywhere else. And because it’s not the actual Discover card number, the cardholder’s account number is never at risk of loss.

There are some instances when you should use your actual card number. With some online purchases, you must show your actual card when you pick up your merchandise. For example, you should probably use your actual card number when buying airline or theater tickets. In both cases, you may have to show your actual card when you check in to get your tickets.

Another thing to keep in mind is that these online account numbers will expire when your actual card expires. As a result, when you get your new card, you’ll need to generate new online numbers as well. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen but once every few years.

7 Reasons Every College Student Should Carry a Credit Card


With the schools season in full swing there is no better time than the present for college students to make sure their financial life is in order. A student credit card can be an important financial tool as college students plan for their future. Of course, like all credit, student credit cards should be used responsibly. But with proper use, a credit card has many benefits for university life.

With that in mind, here are seven of the top reasons every college student should carry a card.

  1. Build Credit: Responsible use of a credit card can help build your credit history and credit score. It is important to begin building a credit history early, as it is one factor that goes into your credit score. This will become very important after college when you go to buy a home.
  2. Emergencies: Like it or not, emergencies are a part of life. A credit card can cover an emergency situation, particularly for college students attending school far from home.
  3. Convenience: If parents are providing some level of financial support, a credit card is a convenient way to do it. The bill can be sent back home each month and even paid online.
  4. 0% APR Offers: There are many great student credit cards offers that come with a 0% APR introductory rate on purchases. The Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Card for College Students, for example, offers 0% APR introductory interest rate on purchases for 7 months. An offer like this is ideal for a large purchase that might require some additional time to pay off.
  5. Teach Responsibility: Use of a credit card can teach you how to be responsible with credit and their money. Particularly if monitored by parents, a credit card is often the first major financial responsibility for young adults.
  6. Discount on Gas: With the price of gas skyrocketing, any discounts on gas are particularly valuable to college students.
  7. Shop Online: While there are alternatives to using a credit card, they offer the easiest way to shop online. And shopping online is important because it is convenient and a great way to save money.

Using Credit Cards to Fund a Business Start Up


Using credit cards to start a business is nothing new. In fact, I’ve got a friend who is using a 0% balance transfer business card to fund a product based business he’s just started. When all is said and done, he’ll be in credit card debt of more than $30,000. Now in his case, he has the means to pay off the credit card even if the business fails. But as reported this week in the Washington Post, some small businesses are starting to drown in credit card debt.

So in this article we’ll look first at why people are turning to credit cards to finance their businesses. As it turns out, credit cards do offer a number of benefits to small business. Then we’ll look at how to reduce some of the risks of credit card financing.

The Rewards of Credit Cards for Small Businesses

There are four basic reasons many entrepreneurs turn to credit cards to finance a small start-up.

First, accessing cash through credit cards is easy and convenient. You can now apply for credit cards online in a matter of minutes. And if you have solid credit history, you can easily qualify for tens of thousands of dollars in credit.

Second, many credit cards come with 0% introductory rate offers on both purchases and balance transfers. These offers enable new companies to finance start up costs without paying interest. With some cards, you can get a 0% interest rate for up to 21 months.

Third, business and personal cards come with many rewards and cash back offers. It’s not at all uncommon to find cards with cash back offers on gas, office supplies, and computer purchases. These cash back offers can go a long way for a new company.

Finally, other means for raising capital have become harder to access. With the credit crunch we’ve experienced over the last year, it has become harder and more time consuming to obtain home equity lines of credit or small business loans. As a result, more and more business owners are turning to credit cards to get them through a cash flow crisis.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Credit Card Financing

The ease of obtaining cash via credit cards also presents the biggest risk. More and more business owners are getting in over their heads as their credit card debt increases. So what are some of the ways you can reduce the risk that this will happen to you? Here are a few suggestions:

First, don’t spend more money just because you are putting it on a credit card. Study after study shows that we tend to spend more money when we use credit cards than when we pay with cash. If you’re using credit, ask yourself if you’d still make the purchase if you were paying with cash.

Second, make business decisions independent of your source of financing. Some folks tend to take bigger, unjustified risks if they aren’t using their own money. While the credit card company may be funding your business at the start, you’ll eventually be paying the tab one way or another.

Third, budget, budget, budget. Budgets are important for personal finance, but they are absolutely critical for a business. Set out your budget before you starting spending money and raking up credit card debt.

Finally, don’t get carried away with credit card rewards. Sure the cash back offers and discounts are nice, but they should never be the motivation behind the purchase.

Business and other credit card offers can be a great way to finance a new company, so long as care is taken not to over extend yourself.

7 Secret Perks of Prepaid Credit Cards


It wasn’t long ago that prepaid credit cards were viewed as an expensive alternative for those who couldn’t get a credit card or open a bank account. A lot has happened over the past few years to change this perception. In fact, today, prepaid credit cards come with many advantages you won’t find with credit cards or banks.

Some of the key benefits can be found in what prepaid cards don’t come with: interest charges, over the limit penalties, late payment penalties, or overdraft fees. But as the prepaid card market has grown, cards have added more advantages that many people don’t know about. Here are 7 of the more significant perks you can get with a prepaid card:

  1. Low Fees: While prepaid cards at one time were very expenses, today you can find several free prepaid credit cards. These cards come with no activation fee, no transaction fee, and even no monthly fee in some cases. The key is to understand how you will use the card and to avoid costly mistakes. For example, will you make a lot of ATM withdrawals, or will you mostly use the card at retail locations? Knowing the difference up front can help you pick a card that offers low fees for the types of transactions you plan to make.
  2. Rewards: While rewards use to be tied only travel or some of the best cash back credit cards, today several prepaid and debit cards offer various rewards. The PerkStreet debit card, for example, offers up to 5% cash back. And several prepaid cards offer bonuses if you load the card with direct deposit.
  3. High Interest Savings Accounts: Oddly enough, the best high interest savings accounts come from prepaid cards, not banks. For example, the Mango prepaid MasterCard offers an FDIC insured savings account that currently pays 5.1%, well above anything you could get from a bank. Netspend, another popular prepaid card also comes with a high interest account option. There are some limitations. For example, there is a limit on how much you can deposit and you must sign up for direct deposit. But the interest rate is exceptional.
  4. Free ATM Withdrawals: While most prepaid cards do charge for ATM withdrawals, both the Green Dot and NetSpend prepaid cards have a large network of ATMs where you can withdrawal cash from your card for free. It’s generally better to simply get extra cash back from a retailer when you make a purchase, because they don’t charge fees. But if you plan to use the ATM to get cash frequently, make sure to get a card with no ATM Fees.
  5. Online Bill Pay: Several cards offer online bill pay, much like you’d see from an online bank. Perhaps the best known offer comes from AccountNow, which offers the service for free. The Rushcard also offers online bill pay, but for a small fee. With these cards, many people manage their money very effectively without a bank account. And if you are part of the Chexsystems and can’t qualify for a checking account, these prepaid cards are a convenient, low cost alternative.
  6. Check Writing: For those cards that offer online bill pay, you can also have them write a check for you to pay bills to creditors who do not accept online payments. You simply enter the information online with the prepaid card company, and they do the rest.
  7. Direct Deposit: Finally, almost all prepaid cards offer direct deposit of paychecks and government benefit checks. With direct deposit, you don’t have to pay for expensive check cashing services, and you get access to your money immediately.

US Bank Offers No Fee 0% Balance Transfer Cards


Important Update: The Discover More card now offers a no fee 0% balance transfer for 12 months.

In a sign that balance transfer offers are back in full swing, US Bank has brought back the no fee balance transfer. On three specialty cards, US Bank is offering a 0% balance transfer for 12 billing cycles with no balance transfer fee.

Here’s a look at each credit card offer, along with links to the card for more information:

Children’s Wish Foundation Select Rewards Visa Platinum Card

The Children’s Wish Foundation Select Rewards Visa Platinum Card from US Bank is designed for those that want to support a nonprofit organization dedicated to fulfilling Wishes for seriously ill children around the world, creating precious smiles and memories their families cherish for a lifetime.

Summary

  • No Pre-Set Spending Limit
  • Earn 1 reward point with every net purchase dollar charged.
  • Redeem points for travel, merchandise, gift certificates, cash back and more!
  • Redeem points sooner — start redeeming with just 1,500 points.
  • 0.00% APR for the first 12 billing cycles on purchases.
  • 0.00% APR for the first 12 billing cycles on balance transfers.
  • No annual fee.

The Linux Fund Visa Signature Card

The US Bank Linux Fund Visa Signature credit card is designed for those that want to support Linux and open source software. Each time you buy lunch, gas, a new game box, or a big screen, a portion of your “cardholder rewards” becomes a charitable donation to Free and Open Source Software (F/OSS).

Summary

  • No Pre-Set Spending Limit
  • Earn 1 reward point with every net purchase dollar charged.
  • Redeem points for travel, merchandise, gift certificates, cash back and more!
  • Redeem points sooner — start redeeming with just 1,500 points.
  • 0.00% APR for the first 12 billing cycles on purchases.
  • 0.00% APR for the first 12 billing cycles on balance transfers.
  • No annual fee.

Baylor University Alumni Association Visa Signature Card

The Baylor University Alumni Association Visa Signature Card is designed for those that want to support Baylor University.

Summary

  • No Pre-Set Spending Limit
  • Earn 1 reward point with every net purchase dollar charged.
  • Redeem points for travel, merchandise, gift certificates, cash back and more!
  • Redeem points sooner — start redeeming with just 1,500 points.
  • 0.00% APR for the first 12 billing cycles on purchases.
  • 0.00% APR for the first 12 billing cycles on balance transfers.
  • No annual fee.

One of the big questions here is whether the US Bank balance transfer offers are the best available. While they are the only 0% offers we know of with no transfer fee, they are not the longest. That honor currently goes to Citi, which offers a card with a 0% balance transfer for 18 months with a 4% transfer fee. Which one is best likely depends on your specific situation, but if you need the cash for more than one year, the Citi offer is probably the best bet. The 18-month card is the Citi Platinum Select MasterCard.

How to Apply Online for a Credit Card


The Internet has made applying for a credit card quick and easy. Not only has the Internet made online applications a reality, but it also has made finding, reviewing and comparing credit card offers a snap.

While it may at first seem complicated to apply online for a card, it’s really simple. We’ll walk you through the process here, which only takes a couple of minutes. An online credit card application involves just three steps:

1. Compare, review and pick the card you want
2. Visit the card’s secure online application page
3. Fill out the online form to submit your application

Let’s take a look at each of these steps.

Step 1: Compare, review and pick the card you want

The first step is to choose a credit card. We’ve made that task easier by organizing credit card offers by category. In the left sidebar you’ll see five primary categories of credit cards: (1) low interest rate cards, (2) rewards cards, (3) cards by credit history, (4) cards by type, and (5) cards by issuer. These card offers include credit cards from major issuers such as Citi, Discover, Chase, and American Express.

On each page you’ll find the information you need to choose a credit card. This information includes the card’s interest rate, any 0% introductory offers, and details on any rewards offered by the card. Once you’ve chosen a card, it’s time to move to step two.

Step 2: Visit the card’s secure online application page

With each credit card offer you’ll find here at Credit Card Offers IQ, you’ll see a green or orange apply button. Pressing this button will take you to that card’s official online application page. It’s important to note that you’ll never be asked for confidential information here at Credit Card Offers IQ. All of your application information will be provided directly to the credit card company on their secure website.

Step 3: Fill out the online form to submit your application

Once you’ve chosen the card you want and gone to the card’s online application, it’s a snap to apply online for the card. By federal law, credit card companies must collect certain basic, identifying information. This information includes your name, address, date of birth, and social security number. You will also be asked about your occupation and income, and whether you have any bank accounts.

If you are applying for a card with a 0% balance transfer option, you may also be asked about the balances you wish to transfer. And if you want to add other authorized users, you will be asked for their name.

Once you’ve submitted your application, you should receive a confirmation e-mail from the credit card company stating that your application has been received. For some cards, you can actually get the results of your application in about 60 seconds. Called instant approval cards, you can check out our list of instant approval credit cards that we update daily.

3 Ways a Credit Card Can Protect Your Next Purchase


Some benefits of using a credit card are obvious. For example, some use credit cards to take advantage of 0% offers, cash back rewards, or miles. But there are some additional perks to using a credit card that aren’t as well known. One of those perks is purchase protection
Purchase protection offers you additional assurance that the product you are about to buy is protected from certain types of losses. Whiles these protections vary from one credit card to another, purchase protections usually come in three flavors:

  • Protection for purchases
  • Warranty extensions
  • Protection for returned items

Let’s take a look at each of these benefts.

Protection for Purchases

Protection for purchases cover merchandise that has been damaged or found to be defective. In some cases, the protection also covers you if the item you purchased becomes available for less than you paid. These protections usually lasts 90 days from the date of purchase. Depending on the card, there may be a minimum monetary requirement to qualify for a refund.

Examples from several popular credit cards:

American Express

  • Embedded Protection: Use your Card and Purchase Protection protects eligible purchases against accidental damage or theft for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.
  • Worldwide Coverage: Coverage includes eligible purchases made worldwide with the Card, including gifts purchased for others.
  • Shop Worry Free: Purchase Protection repairs, replaces or reimburses you for up to the amount charged to the Card.

Citi Diamond Preferred Card

  • Price Protection: If you buy something with your Citi card and then see it advertised in print for less within 60 days, you will receive a refund for the difference up to $250.
  • Retail Purchase Protection: Most items purchased with your card are eligible for protection against accidental damage or theft for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.

Warranty Extensions

Many credit cards extend the terms of any original manufacturer’s warranty, which is typically an additional year added to the warranty. Some credit card companies, however, will not extend the warranty if you haven’t registered your product.

Examples from several popular credit cards:

MasterCard

  • Extended Warranty: Doubles the original manufacturer’s or store brand warranty for up to one year when you pay with your eligible MasterCard card.
  • Satisfaction Guarantee: If you become dissatisfied with a product you purchase using your eligible MasterCard card within 60 days of purchase, and the store will not accept a return, you may be eligible for a refund for the cost of the product up to $250.

American Express

  • Embedded Protection: Charge your covered purchases that have a valid U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or less to the Card.
  • Extend Your Warranty: Charge your covered purchases that have a valid U.S. manufacturer’s warranty of 5 years or less to the Card.

Protection for Returned Items

These features guarantee customer satisfaction on covered items charged to a card. If a card holder tries to return an item and the manufacturer or vendor won’t take it back within the allotted time, the card holder will receive a refund from the credit card issuer.

Examples from several popular credit cards:

American Express:

  • 90 days of Protection: If you try to return an eligible item purchased in the U.S. within 90 days from the date of purchase and the merchant won’t take it back, American Express will refund the purchase price.
  • Up to $300 Coverage: You are covered for up to $300 per item, excluding shipping and handling, up to $1,000 annually per Card account.

MasterCard

  • Satisfaction Guarantee: If you become dissatisfied with a product you purchase using your eligible MasterCard card within 60 days of purchase, and the store will not accept a return, you may be eligible for a refund for the cost of the product up to $250

American DreamCard Review


American DreamCard™ MasterCard®

The American DreamCard is a rewards credit card issued by HSBC. The card is perhaps best known for the large monthly jackpots it awards to card holders every month. Here are the American DreamCard’s key features:

  • Over $1.1 Million Awarded to Date!
  • Large monthly cash jackpots
  • Earn entries from everyday shopping
  • Get 1,000 entries just for applying!
  • A New Winner Every Month!
  • Refer your friends and automatically receive 50 entries for each referral and get a signing bonus of 1,000 entries for each referral who is approved for the American DreamCard™
  • See terms and conditions for important rate, fee, and other cost information, and limitations

    Apply Now!

American DreamCard Sweepstakes

for every $1.00 you spend up to 1,000 entries per qualifying transaction, you get a sweepstakes entry to win the monthly American DreamCard sweepstakes jackpot. Now the American DreamCard is NOT a lottery; it is a MasterCard so there is no need to stand in line, buy tickets or pick numbers, simply use your credit card for everyday purchases and you could win!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Hit the Jackpot! – Every net $1 you spend on your American DreamCard credit card gives you an entry, up to 1,000 entries per qualifying transaction to win the monthly American DreamCard Sweepstakes Jackpot!*
  2. Receive 1,000 Sweepstakes Entries just for Applying!
  3. Tell your friends and family and earn extra sweepstakes entries! For every referral you provide to www.americandreamcard.com you will receive 50 sweepstakes entries and for those referrals who apply for the American DreamCard credit card and becomes a cardholder, you will receive a signing bonus of 1,000 sweepstakes entries for the next sweepstakes jackpot drawing!*
  4. Entries Grow! – Sweepstakes entries are good for all drawings for the current sweepstakes!

Other Features

The American DreamCard is a variable interest card with rates ranging from 14.99% to 21.99%. The annual fee for the card is $0, $39, or $59 depending on credit worthiness.

If you’d like more information about the American DreamCard or to apply online, visit www.americandreamcard.com.

Discover Card Offers Cash Over Purchase Amount


My wife and I are big fans of the Discover More card. It offers a 0% balance transfer for up to 12 months, 0% on purchases for 6 months, and up to 5% cash back on purchases. And recently, it added a $50 cash bonus for new card holders when you purchase $599 with the card during the first three months.

Because of the cash back feature, we use the card for everyday purchases. Recently I noticed at the grocery store something odd. When we slid the card through the machine at the cash register, we were asked whether we wanted cash back. You may have seen this when using a debit card, but I had never seen it with a credit card.

We pushed the “No” button, of course, believing that we would be charged a cash advance fee and high interest rates if we took any cash over the purchase price. But then a funny thing happened at the grocery store yesterday.

You’ve probably seen the coupons that print out at the store when you make a purchase. The computer analyzes your purchases, and prints out coupons for products it thinks will be of use to you. Well yesterday we got a “coupon” for the Discover More card. Here’s what the coupon said:

Skip a trip to the ATM and avoid transaction fees by getting cash over your purchase amount. The cash you get is treated just like any other purchase–there are no hidden fees and your purchase APR applies.

In small print, the coupon notes that cash over transactions cannot exceed $200 daily and $4,000 monthly. Also, retailers may set their own limits that are less than Discover’s limits. We haven’t taken advantage of this feature yet, but it seems like a low-fee convenient way to get some extra cash when you need it.