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Reviewing hundreds of credit cards, one of the first things to become obvious is the fact that some cards just have more to offer than their counterparts do. This certainly stands true for the Citi® Upromise® Platinum Select® MasterCard®. While not perfect in every category, it does put forth some unique and powerful features when it comes to offering rewards.
The Credit Card’s Most Notable Feature
Not all rewards credit cards are created equal. While some favor gas rebates and others perhaps airline frequent flier miles, the Citi® Upromise® Platinum Select® MasterCard® is different from any other. Most notably, it partners up with Upromise, the well known college savings program, to apply percentages of purchase to a Upromise college savings account.
For those with children approaching college age and who realize the massive expenses associated with these years, the Citi® Upromise® Platinum Select® MasterCard® delivers assistance on multiple fronts. Applying 10% of qualified store purchases, 2% of certain gasoline purchase, and 1% of all other purchases to the matching Upromise account, the most notable feature of this credit card is how these rewards add up. Granted, the 10% reward is only good at specified participating grocery and drug stores, but it’s still difficult to find and other reward card with a percentage this high.
The Other Features Worth Making Note Of
The Citi® Upromise® Platinum Select® MasterCard® is indeed accepted at any merchant accepting MasterCard, so rest assured of widespread coverage. While most of the other details of this credit card besides the Upromise rewards are rather average, it is worth noting that it does skip the annual fee. Many other rewards cards are of the “pay to play” variety.
How Does This Credit Card’s Day to Day Interest Rate Stand?
Hitting the best interest features first, the Citi® Upromise® Platinum Select® MasterCard® extends a zero percent balance transfer interest to those who would like to move a higher balance from another card and attack the principal balance for a 12 month period. More or less standard these days, balance transfer fees do apply.
Other than the 12 month interest free balance transfer period, this credit card only offers an average interest rate for purchases. Those with good to excellent credit can no doubt do better in this area, making this card really best for those who pay off their balance in full with each and every bill.
So, What’s the Overall Consensus?
The Citi® Upromise® Platinum Select® MasterCard® is not the perfect choice for everyone. Those who plan on using the credit card for every purchase possible and then paying off the balance in full every month will benefit the most.
All things considered, the card does offer substantial rewards when it comes to college savings via the Upromise program. And if big college costs are in the future, why not go after the rewards that can help knock them down?
In reaction to the passing into law of The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (aka The Credit CARD Act), credit card issuers are raising rates, fees, and charges prior to the phasing in of the acts provisions beginning in August. Reaction to the bill has been swift as banks are notifying card holders that their fixed accounts are being switched to variables, grace periods on purchases will no longer apply, and that annual fees are being reinstated. Among the most severe of the increases is Chase’s hike of its minimum payment on balances to 5% from the standard 2%.
For card holders targeted by the hike, that increase will have an immediate and drastic effect on already stretched budgets. For those carrying substantial balances it could be devastating. For example, for a card holder with carrying a total of $40,000 the current minimum payment is currently about $800. With Chase’s new minimum, that payment will go up to $2,000 per month. With other options, like a refi to pay down the balance likely to be unavailable, a card holder still has a couple of choices on how to handle the increase.
The first option is to transfer the balance away from Chase. Balance transfers can have a lot of traps for card holders but, with a little bit of homework, can provide a solution which can take care of the minimum payment issue and save thousands of dollars in interest payments. Here’s a checklist for getting the most out of a balance transfer:
* Look for a long lasting low interest or interest free deal – With the major issuers raising fees and rates, there will be others offering deals looking to attract new customers. Be sure to go through the fine print to see exactly how long the deal lasts and if there are conditions under which it can be changed.
* Make sure that the balance transfer fees on the receiving end are reasonable – These fees are increasing as well at many issuers. A deal that looks great can get expensive quickly if the balance transfer fees are high. Many of the majors have already raised this fee to 4 or 5% of the transfer.
* Get familiar with the payment hierarchy on the receiving account – You getting a deal on transferred balance but additional purchases on that account will probably be treated differently. Many issuers will allocate monthly payments toward reducing the no or low interest balance on the account while letting the balance of purchases made on the card increase. In other words, if you make a $1,000 in purchases and write a check for a thousand when you pay your bill, your transferred balance will be reduced by a thousand while your purchase gets charged interest. If that situation repeats for a few months, you’ll be paying much more interest than anticipated. If your new account is going to treat purchases in this manner, consider making purchases with a different credit card to maximize the benefits of the new account.
* Prioritize your payments – If you get a low or no interest deal, assess the other accounts where you’re paying interest. Prioritize payments toward the ones with the highest interest rates to pay them off faster.
Times being what they are, if you’re trying to transfer a balance but carry a low credit score you make have difficulty finding a deal that makes sense. If you know that you’re not going to be able to keep up with the minimum payment increase at Chase, consider your options for a debt negotiation. There are many companies offering debt negotiation so be sure to enlist a law firm with experience and a track record of successful solutions. Entering into a debt negotiation requires an assessment of your total financial picture so, in addition, insist on working with a firm that takes consideration of your circumstances in order to get optimal results.
Your immediate benefit will be an approximate cut of 50% on your payments on the account with a long term benefit of paying off your debt much faster than if you were just to continue making minimum payments. A debt negotiation can also involve multiple accounts so if you are struggling with more than just your Chase account, you can include other credit cards, department store debt, signature loans, and other unsecured accounts. The same percentages apply, giving you a payment cut of 50% on all accounts included as well as a reduction of 40 to 60% on the amount of the collective balance.
As many credit card companies continue to make it more difficult for their card holders with higher expenses and interest rates, it is extremely important to look for solutions to mitigate those costs as much as possible. In the case of the pending increases on accounts being held with Chase, these solutions should be acted upon sooner rather than later.
Learning online has many advantages that most young working people recognize instantly. But deciding on which online certificate course you should take deserves careful thought.
Online learning is about the most personalized learning experience you can get. You learn at your own convenience: anytime, anywhere; without the hassle of traveling to a campus. And most of the times, your online certificate course will provide online learning materials too. And the whole World Wide Web is yours to sift for references and backgrounds. Better online certificate courses will also give you access to a tutor to help you, as and when you need it – and keep you motivated when your spirits are low.
A critical factor in choosing an online certificate program is the credibility of the certificate. You need to know if it has recognized accreditation. Getting an online certificate from accredited organizations will help establish your academic or professional credentials for your next promotion or increment, or the next distance education program you apply for?
Once you have verified its standing – you can do it by asking the right people – you need also to make sure that the course content, syllabus, etc. fit your particular interests and needs. You may find many online certificate programs with the same or a similar title, but slight variations in content.
Accredited online certificate programs are available across the career spectrum – from healthcare to hospitality, business to administration, law to finance, IT to electronics, marketing to graphic design, and more.
A handy and valuable resource is Queensland based Accredited Online Training (AOT), Australia’s most reputed online training organization. Nationally recognized, its courses cover a range of subjects that includes project management courses, human resources management, Certificate III Business Administration, Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, IT, industrial safety, financial services, marketing and many more.
Visit http://www.aot.edu.au today and enroll yourself.
Starting your own blog on the Internet is an exciting venture and teaches you many interesting things about the Internet. Once you have decided on the idea that you want to start your own blog you are faced with two of the most important questions. One, what software or blogging platform do I use and two, should I get my own web hosting account? Both of these services come in both free and paid versions and is outlined below.
Free Blogging Platforms
A free blogging platform in most cases also provides you with free hosting on their own site. The most popular free blogging platforms are Blogger and WordPress. In addition to the free service they also provide free templates and plugins for members to use. Given that everything is free, you should also be aware of the disadvantages that such blogging platforms can give you.
However as it is free, it would be a great place to start out if you are a complete newcomer and wanted to test out what it is like to blog. As your blog grows and you wish to expand, then it would be wise to consider a paid option.
Paid Blogging Platforms
Paid blogging platforms have some premium features over the free blogging platforms. Some of these features are: more designs and templates to use (this allows you blog to look more unique), give you unlimited number of blogs (if you want to diversify your blogging skills), premium customer support (for priority service and reliability), and flexibility to control the entire blog yourself and allow you to have extra authors for your blog.
Free Web Hosting
There are web hosting services that exist on the Internet that are free to use. As with anything that comes free there are restrictions. Some restrictions include limited bandwidth, limited web space, limited number of email accounts and limited support. In addition to these restricted features, some free web hosting services do not allow the usage of your own domain. This can be inconvenient for you if you want to use your own domain name or planning to brand your services in any way. Not only that, but most free web hosting services also place their ads on your website. These ads may cause you website to appear unprofessional and in some cases depending where they place the ads can be an inconvenience to the functionality of your website.
Paid Web Hosting
Paid web hosting services have plans that are usually charged on a per month basis. Packages can starts anywhere from $5/month. This price usually varies depending on the term of the contract. The longer you sig up for the less per month it would cost you. Most web hosting companies have plans to suit all needs. Basic plans in most cases are usually sufficient enough when you are first starting out with your blog.
Overall, there are many ways you can go about starting your own blog. Each option will depend on your budget and your expectations. If blogging is a hobby and you are starting out for fun then the free options give you a great starting point, where you can always upgrade later. If you are planning to be a serious blogger and making some money online then make sure you make you r blog more professional by opting for the paid service. The most popular combination for most people is to use a free blogging platform and pay for a reliable web hosting plan. This way you can host your blog on your own domain and develop some recognition and credibility.
Typically when the time arrives to search the web for a charge card, it is for an immediate reason. Perhaps there may be a health related emergency, or something in the home has broken down, or a car requires quick repairs in order that it will be able to take you to work. Or it could possibly be smaller but just as important: needing to fill the gas tank or purchase groceries or pay the light bill.
Maybe nothing so serious has taken place, but your existing cards are not perfect and you’d like minimal delay between closing one charge card and making use of the next. Whatever the case, when looking at the ample offers for plastic on the internet, instant approval credit cards can quickly capture your attention. But exactly what are they in reality?
The first cautionary word is the fact that “instant” indicates different things to different suppliers. In the event that you are provided a store credit card with immediate approval, generally you’ll be able to put purchases on that credit card during that exact same trip. This is so the stores are able to persuade you to purchase higher price merchandise, utilizing promotional start up offers.
Online, on the other hand, “instant” quite often signifies that you get conditional acceptance – dependant on credit score checks that may take weeks, as well as waiting around for the physical charge card to show up in the mail. Always read the small print for any kind of charge card offer, not simply for instant approval credit cards.
A second note of caution is the fact that too numerous requests for instant credit might have a negative effect on your general credit rating. While you might find continuous reminders from companies to look at your credit score to be tedious, it really is critical to know your rating at least approximately. The influence it has on charge card offers will go considerably beyond simple approval or denial.
When you have poor credit most credit cards may well only give you a secured account. This requires you to create a special account; the amount of money you deposit will be the amount of money you’ll be able to charge. This protects the bank in case you later on are not able to pay your bills. A financial institution that approves an unsecured application for a person with poor credit standing may perhaps use it as the opportunity to pile on the fees. This goes behind a high annual percentage rate, including shocking credit account start-up costs, late fees, and substantial penalties for charging over your credit limit.
When you have good credit, then instant approval credit cards will work for you just as well as credit cards obtained by way of a longer application process. Just be sure the standard fees and annual percentage rates are satisfactory to you, and that when you need to, you’ll have the power to utilize the credit account right away without waiting around for the postal service to deliver your credit card.
Imagine a blond sixteen year old teenage girl, who just got her license. Her dad, a Chief Executive Officer for Columbia Records, just bought a brand new BMW with all the bells and whistles for her birthday. As soon as she got behind the wheel, she was anxious to tell all her jealous friends about what she had just received. This was of course, her brand new 2011 BMW M3. As she was driving, she took out her brand new Blackberry Storm and began to punch in a message to her friend. While at a stop light, her typical routine would be to: quickly glance at her phone, reply back to a text message, and hit the gas pedal down the road. Not knowing an eighteen- wheeler was ahead of her vehicle, she continued to concentrate on her Blackberry while her BMW was accelerating towards the semi-truck. As soon as she looked up, it was too late. The BMW hit the back of the semi-truck head on at fifty-five miles per hour. The paramedics arrived, but it was too late. She died of severe head trauma because her head slammed into the steering wheel. There is a problem about this picture. Teens and people in general are being injured or killed as a result of texting while driving. This is a deadly habit and if it is not addressed and corrected, more fatalities will occur in the future (Personal Story). Let’s face it, everyone texts while they drive right? There was an incident in the Chatsworth district of Los Angeles, California where an engineer was operating a train and was distracted because he was texting(“Texting while driving,”2010). The train eventually ran through a red signal which resulted in twenty-five unfortunate deaths (“Texting while driving,” 2010). This is the exact reason why punishments and fines should be harsher on people who text while they drive. Instead of fining the person one hundred dollars, why not revoke their license and put them into a class where they can learn about the dangers of texting and driving. I have heard the excuse “this is an important text message, I have to read it now” and the person whip out their phone in the middle of an intersection. Then there was also a story about a famous plastic surgeon from Beverly Hills, California, Dr. Frank Ryan. He was in a fatal accident on August 26th, 2010, due to distraction while texting. What happened was that Dr. Ryan drove his Jeep Wrangler off a cliff on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California and was pronounced dead at the scene (“Texting while driving,” 2010). That story should make a person think twice about texting behind the wheel.
Another way to reduce and help stop the bad habit of texting while driving is to spread the dangers of texting while driving through the media. Commercials, big Billboards, and have famous people speak out on the issue, are all great ways to help get the message across. I have seen a few commercials about the dangers of texting while driving, but the message presented is just not effective. People address the issue more as a joking matter rather than a serious matter. If there is going to be an end on texting while driving, people need to take this issue more seriously.”On January 3, 2008, Heather Leigh Hurd was killed by a truck driver who allegedly was texting while driving” (Texting while driving,” 2010). As a result of this tragic incident her father, Russell Hurd “has been actively supporting a law in various U.S. states called Heather’s Law that would prohibit texting while driving” (Texting while driving,” 2010). Without a law banning texting while driving, the problem will still be escalating. The best way to deter and correct the issue is to have parents talk with their children about the problem with texting while driving. Some of the statistics are eye boggling. “Half of drivers 16 to 24 say they have texted while driving, compared with 22 percent of drivers 35 to 44″ (Texting while driving,” 2010). The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study founded that “text messaging had the greatest relative risk, with drivers of heavy vehicles or trucks being more than 23 times more likely to experience a safety-critical event when texting. The study also found that drivers typically take their eyes off the forward roadway for an average of four out of six seconds when texting, and an average of 4.6 out of the six seconds surrounding safety-critical events” (Texting while driving,”2010). “The study revealed that when traveling at 55 mph, a driver texting for 6 seconds is looking at the phone for 4.6 seconds of that time and travels the distance of a football field without their eyes on the road” (Texting while driving,” 2010). Imagine the impact at that high rate of speed. Too many lives are at risk due to this careless habit of texting while driving. The only way to help minimize the problem is to take action as those discussed earlier. It is good to learn from the dead rather than be dead. Texting while driving is a serious problem and a danger to society. Let’s learn a lesson from the blond sixteen year old girl’s story, Dr. Frank Ryan’s story, and Heather Hurd’s story. These unfortunate deaths can and should be prevented. The best ways to start is by putting that Blackberry down and wait until you reach your destination to pick it back up. Who knows? It could save a life.
The Major Difference Between Visa, MasterCard And American Express
American Express Credit cards made their presence known in the financial jungle in the early 50’s. Visa and Master Card also came into the scene around the same time and served the same market segment – Credit. There soon developed their own model for serving the market and established themselves as leaders in the credit card providers the world over.
While American Express or AMEX as it is popularly known in the European countries has grown to be the most widely recognizable of credit cards and is a name that describes exclusivity in a way. However, not many credit card holders throughout the world know the difference in the three major players in the credit card industry. Actually there is no difference between Visa and Master Card, the main difference is between these two players and American Express credit cards – The major difference is in their style of operation.
Visa Card and Master Card are primarily methods of making payments. These are tow financial companies that have grown into institutions by themselves. They negotiate and setup payment systems at different merchant locations across the globe but never issue any credit cards themselves. Visa and Master Card set up business partnerships with merchant establishments where customers can use the credit cards and banks or financial institutions that actually issue credit cards to their customers. Visa and Master Card make the payment to the merchant establishments where the cards are used and charge the company that actually issued the card to the customer a fee for making the up front payment on their behalf. The card issuing company on its part charges a fee for issuing the card, an annual rental for the card and an interest on the amount of payment paid out to the merchant establishment.
These credit card companies are billed by Visa or Master Card and they in turn bill the card holder. The holder never pays any cash directly to Visa or Master Card.
American Express is different in that they have an entirely private setup. They issue their credit cards under their own name and logo. They also directly make payments to merchant establishments where the card is used. American Express do their own marketing of services to merchant establishments and card customers. The other difference is that American Express has a limited usage through the world while Visa and Master Card are accepted at over 20 million merchant establishments in over a hundred and fifty countries.