A credit card works differently. With a credit card, someone has given you a fixed line of credit. Say, $1000. Anytime you use your credit card, the amount is deducted from your credit line. Then each month you will get a bill. You can either pay all that you owe or only pay a required minimum of the balance due. What you don?’t pay will stay on your account and collect interest each month until it is paid off. This might sound like a great thing: buy now, pay later. However, the interest can quickly multiply and cost you much more than you ever spent to start with.
I wanted to get a credit card but I do not have any credit history. Are there other ways to build a credit history?
To someone seeking credit for the first time, it may seem like a vicious circle: You cant get credit without a credit history, and you cant establish a credit history without credit! Frustrating, isnt it? Interestingly, some institutions only look only at your salary, job and the other financial information that you put on the application to determine if you qualify for their card. However most will be interested in your track record -- How have you handled other debts -- and will ask to see your credit report.
To get the story on you, institutions will turn to information provided by credit-reporting agencies or credit bureaus like Equifax that collect, store and quantify information about borrowers. The records show your credit history -- how much credit youve received and how faithfully youve repaid. Fortunately, even if youve never had a Mastercard, American Express, Visa, Discover, or other major credit card, you can still build a good credit history:
?• Open a checking account or savings account or both. Although not part of your credit history, your accounts may be checked by potential lenders as evidence that you have money and know how to manage it.
?• Cancelled checks can be used to show that you pay utilities or rent bills regularly, a sign of reliability.
?• Apply for a department store credit card. Stores dont ask for credit histories as often as major credit card institutions, so you should be able to get a card based on your annual salary. Then, repaying your store bills on time becomes a major ""positive"" in your credit history.
?• Look for a financial institution that will allow you to deposit funds to serve as collateral for a credit card. Some institutions issue a credit card with a credit limit equal to the amount on deposit. These cards are relatively easy to obtain and as with your department store card, paying these bills on time will enhance your credit history.
?• If you dont have a credit history because you?’re new in town, request a summary of any credit record kept by a credit bureau in your former town. Dont know whom to contact? Ask the bank or department store in your former town for the name of the agency it reports to.
You may already have a great credit history and not realize it. If you do, its time to ""comparison shop"" the credit card companies and find out who has the best deal to offer you.
Correcting Billing Errors
Federal law provides specific rules that the card issuer must follow for promptly correcting billing errors. The card issuer will give you a statement describing these rules when you open the credit card account and, after that, at least once a year. In fact, many card issuers print a summary of your rights on each bill they send you.
May I obtain a U.S. issued credit card if I have an excellent credit history in another country?
Yes, you might be able to use your past excellent credit history to obtain a U.S. issued credit card. However, it will take some time and effort on your part. Many people come to the U.S. with a positive credit history. Normally, this credit history is not transferred to the U.S. As a result, when you apply for a credit card the creditor will not see your excellent credit history. They will then deny you credit based on the fact you supposedly have no credit history established. Getting a social security number is the first step you should take. You must have a social security number to get a U.S. issued credit card. Next, contact Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (the three major credit reporting bureaus) to see if they will transfer your excellent credit history from your home country. This usually does not happen, but in some cases it can. For example, TransUnion does transfer Canadian credit histories to the U.S. If you can get your credit history transferred, this will make it much easier for you to get a U.S. issued card. If you find that you cannot get your credit history transferred, you will have to start from scratch and build a new credit history in the U.S. You can look into applying for secured credit cards, bank-issued credit cards and other credit cards that can get you started. These cards may charge fees or high-interest rates, so be sure you understand all the terms before applying. Whenever possible, try to apply by phone. This way you can explain your situation in person and possibly get approved or denied on the phone. If denied, you can apply in writing and state in your letter application that you have an excellent credit history in another country. If possible, include a copy of your credit report with the application. The creditor may then be able to approve you after some investigation. If there has been no response in 30 days, contact the creditor to check on your application.
When should credit card payments be credited?
A card issuer must credit your account on the day the issuer receives your payment, unless the payment is not made according to the creditors requirements or the delay in crediting to your account does not result in a charge. To avoid delays that could result in finance charges, follow the card issuers instructions about where to send payments. Payments sent to other locations could delay getting credit for your payment for up to five days. If you lose your payment envelope, look on the billing statement for the address for payments or call the card issuer.
I would like to re-build my credit. I filed for bankruptcy three years ago. How do I find a lender that will give me reasonable annual fee and interest rate?
Its true: after filing for bankruptcy, credit can be difficult to obtain. And what makes things worse is that your credit score will drop even lower each time a company disapproves your application. That means its doubly important that you apply for a card that youre likely to get rather than risk a turn-down. Youre definitely "at risk" at this time?…a target for unscrupulous lenders with big promises and shady deals. Many lenders will try to entice you with "super-low interest rates for those who filed for bankruptcy." It all sounds good until they come up with some questionable reason why you dont qualify and then try to convince you to sign up for a card with high rates and fees. Beware! Other companies may offer low teaser rates, but then hike the interest after a short period of time. And if you miss a payment -- look out! Some impose outrageous fees for late payments, sticking you with a $25 fine when youre late on a $5 payment. Heres a secret credit card companies dont want you to know: Late fees represent as much as one-third of the income of some credit-card issuers.
Move the Due Date
Ever been short on cash right when your credit card bill is due? Still waiting for your payroll check? No problem. Call you credit card issuer and negotiate a new due date. Most likely, your request will be honored. A new due date will allow you to better manage your cash flows, so that you have enough cash (in bank, or on hand) to pay your bills.
A credit report is a history of your credit reported by credit bureaus. This report shows your credit history, including payment history and total debt owed. It can be accessed by anyone considering lending you money. It may also be accessed by employers, car dealers and landlords. This report shows your ability (or lack of) to pay on debts owed. A good credit history can help you buy a house one day, get a low payment plan on a new car you want buy, or simply convince a prospective landlord to rent you an apartment. If your credit history shows late payments and other negative items, you can find yourself unable to do any of these things. Or, for example, you may be able to finance a car, but it will have very high interest rates and cost you a lot more money
What is the difference between an additional card and co-signer card?
An additional card is a card you get on your personal credit account with another person?’s name on it. This means that the person now has access to your credit account as if it is their own account and can charge as much as they want without your permission beforehand. In addition, this person is not held accountable by your creditor for making any payment on the account. This responsibility falls on you, the account holder. As a result, no matter how much this person charges on your card, you have to pay for it?—even if the person promises to pay you back and doesn?’t. A cosigner card is a credit card someone applies for and gets a cosigner to sign on. Essentially, it is the applicant?’s credit account, but if they stop making payments, the cosigner is then responsible for the account. The history of the account goes on both person?’s credit reports. The cosigner will have to make special arrangements with the creditor before cosigning to get monthly statements on the account or reports of late payments. Otherwise, the cosigner will not have access to the account information. If you do cosign on an account, remember that you assume equal liability.
Do I have a right to know whats in my report?
Yes, if you ask for it. The CRA must tell you everything in your report, including medical information, and in most cases, the sources of the information. The CRA also must give you a list of everyone who has requested your report within the past year?—two years for employment related requests.