November 19, 2013
Over time credit cards have become one of the most popular finance options. Their flexibility means that they can be used in almost any financial situations; whether you’re looking to spread the repayments of a large purchase, spend money overseas, build your credit history or earn loyalty points or rewards on transactions.
Unfortunately though, when they are not managed properly credit cards can cause real financial problems – and because of their relatively high interest rates; the longer you leave it the worse it gets. Throughout this article we are going to run through a 5 step guide to how you can overcome credit card debt and get your finances back on track:
Step One: Calculate how much you owe
Although it may be tough to face the reality of your problems, this is ultimately the first step to overcoming your debt. So, find your most recent statements and see how much you have outstanding on each card. Until you are debt free it’s definitely a good idea to stay away from spending anymore on your cards.
When noting down all outstanding balances it may also be a good idea to include the interest you’re being charged highlighting any interest free deals or bonuses that you are currently benefiting from.
Step Two: Create/ recreate your budget
There are three possible reasons you got into debt in the first place:
1. You overspent month on month
2. Your budget wasn’t effective
3. You didn’t have a budget
Whatever the root cause of your problems, you need to draw a line underneath it and work on putting things right. The single most effective way of doing this is by creating an effective monthly budget.
To do this you firstly need to note down all sources of income that you’re receiving month-on-month. This will include your mainsalary, any other jobs you may have, anything you may be earning on savings or investments and finally any benefits or tax credits you may earn. Having added all of these together you now need to calculate your level of outgoings.
In order to determine how much you are spending throughout the month you firstly need to gather as many recent bank statements as you can. Arguably the most effective way of listing your outgoings is to split them into compulsory, essential and luxuries. Your compulsory outgoings will be payments that you make each month without fail, so things like: your rent or mortgage, utilities, council tax, loan repayments and insurance costs. Your essentials are things that you couldn’t get by without but often differ in cost each month, such as food, petrol, mobile phone and broadband bills, car maintenance costs, TV licence and parking costs. Finally, you luxuries are things that you don’t necessarily need such as entertainment costs, night outs, dining out, gym memberships, holidays and gifts.
It will be evident by simply looking at your bank statements whether each expense differs on a monthly basis or stays the same. For those expenses that differ, take an average from the past three months and if you’re in any doubt always overcompensate.
Your final step is to calculate your disposable income; this simply involves deducting your total monthly outgoings from your total monthly income.
Step Three: Adjust your budget
Now it’s time to make some adjustments to your budget in order to increase your level of disposable income. There are two ways of doing this; increase your income or decrease your outgoings. Decreasing your level of outgoings will be the simplest way of doing this, and your first stop should always be the luxuries section. By simply reducing the amount you spend on eating out, takeaways and seasonal gifts you could find yourself £100 better off over the course of the month.
Always assess your subscriptions too; do you get the most out of your gym membership? Do you really watch TV enough to warrant having Sky TV? Remember, the more you can save the more you can put towards credit card repayments and subsequently the quicker you can get debt free.
Step Four: Calculate how much you can afford to contribute each month
Now that you know how much money you have left over at the end of each month you can start to calculate how much you can contribute to repayments. Often the most effective way of getting debt free is by snowballing your debts. Snowballing is basically just the process of paying off debt in order of interest rate (from highest to lowest). So while you may only be paying the minimum payment on three of your cards, you are taking large chunks off the balance of your highest interest card.
It may be tough at first, but you need to condition yourself to churn any additional disposable income into your credit card debt. So, if you get a bonus at work or do some overtime then this needs to go towards your credit card repayments. The lower your level of debt gets the easier it will become.
Step 5: Keep your eye on the prize
There are temptations to spend every day you just need to ensure that you keep your eyes firmly on the prize of getting debt free. The rewards of being debt free will feel so much better than the five minutes of joy you get from an impulse buy.
, Credit Card
, Credit Card Debt
, Financial Problem
September 3, 2013
For a long time now, we have become very used to living off credit. This is unfortunate as we may find ourselves out of our depth, having totted up a huge bill and struggling to make the repayments on a monthly basis. And the trouble is it is just too easy to do. Credit card companies are continually offering us card after card and, being only human, particularly if we find ourselves short of cash one month; it takes just a few minutes to apply. OK so our immediate cash flow problems are resolved but what about the bigger picture? Maybe it is time to take a fresh look at our borrowings before our total debt is larger than we can manage.
But if it is not to be credit card, or even bank overdraft, what exactly are the options? Agreed that it is sometimes impossible to manage on our salary alone, particularly when unexpected debts knock our carefully planned budget for six. On paper, it may all look rosy. Our income is in excess of our expenditure and we should even be able to save £50 a month. But like most well-made plans, it doesn’t always work out like that. The £50 gets swallowed up by sundry expenses like lunchtime snacks and trips to the supermarket. The end result is no savings, so that when the car breaks down or the bike needs a service, the funds just aren’t there to cover the cost.
As we can see, credit cards can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. So how about looking for something different that will not land us with long term, ever increasing debts? An internet search for ‘payday loan’ will bring up the name Wonga. But if you have never heard of Wonga or ‘payday loans’ then you can be excused for wondering what on earth this is all about. It’s a very simple process. Unlike credit cards and similar types of borrowing which let us borrow large amounts and pay back over extended periods, payday loans have to be paid back, in full, within 28 days or less. At first glance you may think that this is not so good. After all, with a credit card you can pay it back over years can’t you? But think again. The longer you borrow the money for the more it costs you. A payday loan can work out cheaper as there is no option to spread the loan over a longer period.
Added to that, a Payday Loan truly is fast and can be in your account within minutes. Once you have repaid it in full, the debt is gone. Wiped out. No horrific huge sum of debt stockpiling into the future. No worrying about monthly repayments. It really is worth thinking carefully before you take out another credit card to shuffle your debt from one card to another. Once you have gotten used to the new way of dealing with your money shortages, you should find it refreshingly simple and easy to use. Bye-bye credit cards!
Tags: Cash Flow
, Credit Cards
, financial planning
June 27, 2013
There is nothing better than opening a high risk merchant account for businesses operating in high risk environments. It solves the purpose for such risk prone institutions and their dealers for a long term. However, the real ordeal begins after opening one such account. High risk merchant accounts are nothing less than “cash cows” for such businesses but proper management is necessary in order to avail benefits in the long run.
It doesn’t need a lot of effort to manage high risk merchant account but having a prudent strategy is a must.
Here are some tips that might help in maintenance of high risk merchant accounts.
- Easy access: High risk merchant services should try to make it really easy for the customers to get in touch. The easier it is for customers to contact the merchants the better for the business as it would increase satisfaction quotient among them. Generally, most merchants lose out on this point and maintain distance from the customers for numerous reasons.
- Communicate: The more often a business communicates with its customers, the better. It is always advised to keep them updated about the orders placed by them. In addition, any issue related to customer or his payments should be taken as a top priority. It increases the level of communique with customers and increases their satisfaction level too.
- Short response time: It is always better to solve customer query yourself than allowing banks to mediate as it would only worsen the situation. The moment banks enter the confrontation, the scenario becomes all the more complicated. Therefore, it is always recommended to deal with customers’ concerns in the beginning instead of dragging the whole issue further.
- Monitor the accounts: It is very important and should be followed religiously. Businesses should always review and keep track of suspicious orders and online credit card processing.
- Fraud protection: High risk merchants should always employ automated fraud detection systems. They can also use velocity controls on the gateway to filter out potential frauds that have been recognized by experts till now.
Most importantly, high risk merchant banks should guard against excessive charge backs. High levels of charge backs are the primary reason for termination of majority of the high risk merchant accounts. A merchant should not entertain a transaction till authentication is not accepted fully.
The most important feature that ensures high level of security in risk free merchant accounts is settlement of transactions in the form of a lot on a daily basis. This will ensure stable and fraud free mechanism. .
At times, most merchants go out of the way to please their customers and clear high ticket items without adequate proof. This practice is unhealthy as proper verification complete with signatures and other essential details can significantly eliminate the possibility of default. .
Last but not least, all the high risk merchant accounts should make it their duty to comply with merchant agreements provided in writing. .
In case of any changes in the account make it a point to contact the payment processor in advance and maintain hassle free mechanism for years to come. .
Jason Simms is a professional writer for AMSLV.com, who has fanatical knowledge about it. He writes informative articles and blog posts on merchant accounts as well as credit card processing services for high risk businesses. He has been into this business for several years. High Risk Processor offers the services of merchant accounts that are easy to maintain and process.
, Credit Cards
, financial planning
, Merchant Accounts
May 10, 2013
Obtaining zero down auto loans might seem impossible if you have bad credit but it can be done. You’ll just have to work a little harder when it comes to finding a perfect dealership that accepts bad credit. There could be 2-4 dealerships in your city that will accept bad credit so it’s always a good idea to call around. Ask some of your friends where they got their first car when they were younger and didn’t have good credit. They’ll give you a few places that you can use so cross your fingers that they are still in business.
In order to obtain a zero down auto loans, you can always get a co-signer. This is basically a person who will take responsibility for the vehicle if you do not pay. Being a co-signer is a huge job and most people will not want to sign because they don’t want to take the risk. So seriously, how can you get someone to sign for you? This is fairly easy – just ask one of your family members or a very close friend. There are some people who are willing to sign and they know where to find you in case you don’t pay up. This is why you should make sure you can get a car you can afford.
There are many cars available on the lot. Remember that you will have to pay monthly so the car can be anywhere from $150 to even $500. We don’t recommend paying $500 a month for a vehicle because most of the time, this will be out of your budget. Low payments are considered to be anywhere from $150 to $250. Middle range goes up to $350 while anything more than that might seem ridiculous for someone who is not expecting to pay a lot of money. Most cars that are brand new will be on the high end and this is why a used car is best.
To get zero down auto loans, you should be able to show a good proof of income. Since you have bad credit, the dealership will need to prove that you are working each day and that your income is more than the car payments are each month. Remember to write everything down accurately on your application, otherwise you could be denied. You obviously don’t want to purchase a car that you are not able to pay for. A car salesman will only show you cars that fit your budget and if you want something that is a little better like GPS or some car that is upgraded, this may be difficult to get.
Almost everyone pays a down payment at the dealership. Those with good credit don’t have to. Since you are a liability, you probably will have to put a down payment on the car. Now, you can always talk your way out of this. If you have an old junk car, you can always trade this for the down payment. Most dealerships will be able to accept these car and sometimes sell them for parts to other companies. They will look over your car and see if it’s worthwhile.
No one wants to give a down payment most of the time and some people will try to get around it when it comes to zero down auto loans. You can simply say to the dealer that you have good credit so you won’t be a problem in case something were to happen. They can work with you and even lift the down payment so you’ll be only paying for the car each month. A down payment is only used to protect the dealership in case anything happens to the car. People with bad credit will almost always have to pay a down payment before they actually get to drive the car anywhere but this is not the case for you so don’t let a car salesman push you for a down payment. Most dealerships can do without.
Overall, it is always a good idea to get everything organized before you walk into the dealership and demand cars with zero down auto loans. Gather up all of your income stubs and a recent credit report if you don’t want to wait for the credit approval process. You can also call them to give them your details and they can run the credit approval beforehand. Otherwise, you will need to wait a few days and this will delay the process of getting a vehicle so if you need a car quickly, always make sure you are prepared. By showing them all of your documents, they can give you a car without any down payment.
, personal finance
May 8, 2013
Your credit card, while serving as a powerful tool for all your financial needs, can lead you to a world of trouble if you don’t use it the right way. Credit cardholders must avoid getting trapped in a deep hole called debt. However, they often find it hard to consider the immense amount of expenses, especially if a bank already gave them enough credit to just charge these costs. Moreover, this powerful financial tool can oftentimes be considered as the worst form of finance because of the fact that incurred debts are classified as unsecured. Also, they carry an interest rate that is higher than a home or car loan. Compared to other types of loans such as home mortgage or student loan, credit card debts are not tax deductible.
If you have a credit card, you don’t want to use it on certain things or events that could definitely spell disaster on your financial and economic standing. In fact, many experts say that you should not use it in these situations:
- Paying for your college tuition. Using the credit card while in college is never good to begin with, because of the consequences that doing so may bring. Many college graduates have experienced dealing with credit card debt during their time at school, and their financial woes continue to pile up as they advance in age. For one, upon graduation from college, you might not be able to find a job at the soonest possible time, which would make it hard for you to earn income to pay off your credit card debt.
- Paying for your wedding costs. In such a prolific event like a wedding, planning is a key priority. Saving for years with your soon-to-be wife or husband for the significant day is a very important way if you want it to be extra special and start your married life on the right track. However, you shouldn’t use your credit card in financing your wedding costs, as this will backfire, causing you newlyweds to deal with debt during your first few years of marriage.
- Going on a vacation spree. If you are planning for a vacation, it is best that you save on cash money for your out-of-pocket expenses rather than using your credit card all throughout your out-of-state or out-of-country trip. Financing your trips through the use of your credit card will just create a mountain of debt upon your return.
- Paying for your medical expenses. Dealing with the costs of your medical treatment can be very daunting, but that does not mean you should resort to using your credit card to finance them. Some health providers offer rate adjustments and payment plans that might be suitable for you.
Using your credit card is still important, but using at frequently and as a means of covering much of your finances is not good at all. Next time you encounter the abovementioned situations, think twice before dealing with your finances. Use your credit card in moderation, or suffer consequences along the way.
, Credit Card
, Credit Card Debt
, financial planning