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5 Useful Tips To Use Your Credit Card Abroad

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Traveling internationally is one hell of an adventure. Experiencing different cultures, food, and sights is truly a great experience of a lifetime. And with those experiences comes expenses.

To anyone who had experience traveling outside your own country, you for sure have different ways of spending money during your travel and for some, you may also have experienced the need for extra cash aside from the one you already have in hand. 

While you’ll always need some cash, having a credit card can significantly simplify traveling overseas. You won’t really have to deal with converting currency, which means no more worries about converting just the right amount of money, and you will automatically get one of the lowest conversion rates possible.

In this generation where people mostly have debit or credit cards, we rely on these so much nowadays and if you’re like those people who don’t want to have any cash in their pocket, using their cards has become a norm in payment transactions almost everywhere.

Before you embark on a new journey to travel overseas, it is also important to keep in mind some tips when you are using your credit card smartly overseas. 

Options

Although it’s advisable to use one card intentionally to best monitor your expenses, it is best to have at least 2 different types of credit cards or debit cards from different major networks. The top 2 highly used credit card providers are Visa and Mastercard. There are also other credit card networks you can use but it is smart to have at least 2 of them handy. It is helpful to have a back up in case one of the networks has an outage or the place you want to use your card with doesn’t accept the other provider.

Local Currency 

Some establishments will ask you if you want to pay in US dollars or in the local currency. Quick tip: Opt for the local currency because there’s a better chance of getting a better exchange rate on foreign transactions versus the vendor itself.

Foreign Transaction Fees 

It is advisable to use or have a credit card that incurs no foreign transaction fees. You can check with your provider for the terms of your card to make sure you have those options because foreign transaction fees usually adds 3%to the cost of the purchase made abroad.

Inform your Bank Ahead

 It is helpful to let your credit card company know ahead of time if you have plans to use your card abroad. In that way, you can avoid having your account flagged or blocked if they notice an activity that it was used at an unusual location. Also, this is the perfect time for you to discuss the terms you have with your bank regarding overseas transactions. 

Hold your Receipts

In the event that you may experience some unusual charges when your billing statement finally arrives, keeping your receipts will be helpful in this situation. This will support your claim when you have to dispute these charges. 

Having cash on hand is good when traveling but its still safe to have credit cards on hand. In this era, most people really rely on credit cards for payment transactions, and using them anywhere had become easier nowadays. So it is best to be prepared and have some useful tips to keep in mind for your security and worry-free vacation outside the country. 

We hope you find our tips helpful and have safe travels, everyone!

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Get Your Credit Score Soaring High in 5 Easy Steps

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A good credit score pays you an affordable life. 

       BRUCE McGlary

Sneaking a way towards the best credit score is everybody’s business. It is every person’s dream to be granted with fantastic loan deals and offers in the future. Unfortunately, most people undervalue the essence of a good credit score in making life more affordable and convenient for them.

A 760 credit score or above enables us to get our loans approved at its best terms. Thus, getting a faster loan approval at a low-interest rate is incredible. As a bonus, a high credit score saves us money on cell phone plans and other utilities too.  

In calculating a credit score, various factors are considered such as payment history, length of credit history, and outstanding loan balance. However, a low credit score does not mean the end of the world for us. The good news is that we can do something about it by bouncing our spending back on the right track. 

Improving a credit score cannot be done overnight. We must have the heart to get going no matter how challenging the process could be. 

5 Easy Steps to Improve Your Credit Score

Experts and credit counselors have worked hand-in-hand to list down useful steps to bump up your credit score. 

1. Know where you stand. 

It is important to get familiar with your credit risks. Be watchful of your credit score. Getting your credit score reviewed annually (at least) does not have to cost you any amount. There are plenty of third-party websites today that gives you the advantage of checking your score for free. Credit card companies have also incorporated it into your statement. Regrettably, these free credit score review services do not give you a heads-up of the risk factors that go along with your credit score. Invest a small amount of money to purchase your score along with the list of risks and areas to improve. 

2. Keep away from missed payments. 

Missed payments can stain your credit history. Here’s the catch. Lenders are hesitant to lend money to someone who has records of missed payments. One month late payment for utilities and credit card debt drags your credit score down by a hundred to three hundred points. The secret to avoid missed payment is to loan what you can pay in full and make clever spending decisions. 

3. Keep your loan balance low. 

One best way to improve your credit score is to manage your debts intelligently. Think of a strategy to keep the balance low to get rid of the high-interest rate. It is even helpful to pay more than the monthly amount that you are expected to pay. Paying twice a month does the trick too.  

4. Drop some of your credit cards off. 

The use of a credit card is far better than getting an installment loan. You can decide on how much to charge and pay with your credit cards. However, doing so might be risky; the fact that credit card companies might incur high interest on your debt. Be clever enough to spend within your means. Refrain from overspending. Lastly, cancel out those credit cards that you are not using regularly. A credit card or two is more than enough to manage your spending without messing up your finances.  

5. Be patient and consistent.

As I said earlier, improving a credit score does not happen in just a drop of a hat. You should be consistent in making on-time payment. Make it a habit.

Your credit score plays a vital role in your financial life. Though there is no specific timeline as to when to start dragging up your credit score, it is always a good idea to start earlier. The sooner, the better as they say. However, before raising your credit score, make sure that you have embraced all the challenges ahead. There is no shortcut- that’s for sure.

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What Do You Do When Your Credit Card Benefits Got Cut?

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Don’t you know that as a credit card user, you have the power over your credit card issuer? 

Yes, you heard it right. 

Many credit card users failed to understand that they can do something the moment that their credit card issuers cut some credit card benefits and change terms. Banks make money by increasing the credit cards’ annual fees by 22%. For credit card users, nothing could be more heart-breaking than this. 

For instance, Chase Sapphire Reserve’s announcement of an increased annual fee by $100 has upset many credit card holders all over the country. Though such increase was paired with perks like Lyft Pink membership and DoorDash credits, the new rate is indeed a royal pain for a lot of people.

Aside from Chase, Citi concluded the Price Reward feature while American Express increased Delta-branded credit cards’ annual fees. These credit card issuers implemented new restrictions to Centurion Lounge access.  

But don’t take these changes so hard. Although your credit card company takes away some benefits that make you a happier customer, you are not powerless. You can do something about it. 

What Can You Do as a Credit Card Owner?

Are you ready to break up with your credit card? If not, listed below are the options that you can 

do. 

Decide which card is worth-keeping. 

Knowing that the annual fee has increased, choose from among your cards the ones that you can’t afford to lose. As they say, fewer cards mean fewer headaches. Having two credit cards in your wallet is more than enough for cashless and convenient purchases. 

Go for a card downgrade.

To steer clear from the annual fee, go ahead and consider downgrading your card. What’s the point of keeping a Chase Sapphire Reserve and pay a $550 annual fee when you can have a Chase Freedom Unlimited at zero annual fees? With the downgrade, your account history and card number remain intact. So, you can still keep your credit line and existing rewards. 

Nevertheless, downgrading might lose the value of your points. This means that you can no longer spend the points you earned based on its actual worth.

Request a retention offer from your bank.

As you are serious about canceling your credit card, the bank will provide you with a retention offer. The bank can always modify its terms and conditions just to hold you up from canceling your credit card. 

It may waive or reduce annual fees by providing you bonus points once you’ve met a minimum spending cost. 

Cancel your credit card.   

If you think that the above options are not workable, try this last option. 

Since the terms and conditions aren’t good enough, it is best to cancel your credit card. And if such a decision can free you from all the financial discomforts that you have been facing right now, go ahead and dial your bank’s customer care number. 

But, here’s a thing. Once it is closed, make sure to pay the balance to avoid problems on overblown interest. Thus, credit card cancellation can harm your credit score.

Though credit card users do not have the power over banks’ legal changes and alterations, they are properly notified by the bank about these changes. Through a notification letter, they are made aware of the added fees that they need to pay in the future. Lastly, it is perfect to know that the government sees to it that these credit card holders’ rights are well- protected by providing regulations that credit card companies ought to follow. 

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Why Teens Should Have Their Own Credit Card?

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Deciding on whether or not to allow teens to use a credit card is every parent’s challenge. For most of them, the idea is dreadful because teens are impulsive buyers. No matter how responsible they are in doing home school chores, they are anxious about getting a shopping spree every time they see a credit card. 

Since young people aged 13 to 18 do not yet have the privilege to apply for a credit card, their parents authorized them to utilize a credit card associated with their account. That having said, parents become vulnerable to messing up their credit record if their teens fail to use their credit card intelligently.  

Amidst all these negative thoughts on providing teens with a credit card, many parents haven’t figured out yet how important it is for young people to be taught with proper fiscal management. Good parents allow them to establish a good lending record at an early age. This way, parents shape their teens’ future.  

Top Three Reasons Why Teens Should Be Authorized to Use a Credit Card

If you are torn between the idea of giving your teens a credit card or not, reading this is a sure thing. Listed below are the few best reasons why they should have their own credit card.

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1. They become more financially-educated.

Make them understand that credit card purchases incur an amount to be paid with corresponding interest. Emphasize the need to pay it on or before the scheduled payment to establish a good financial reputation. Give them the idea of the consequences of unintelligent credit card purchases. Through this, you will teach them the value of self-control and financial accountability.

2. Teens learn how to manage their finances on their own.

Teenage years are tough since it is where transitions happen. Young minds cannot yet decide on their own as they move out of being a child. So, they should be exposed to opportunities that require them to make little decisions. The best way to do it is by authorizing them to use a credit card.

On a similar note, this enables them to be aware of their own spending. They would learn good banking habits like using a checking account and paying the bills on time. But before handing them one, make sure to walk them through the process of writing checks and maintaining their checkbook register.

They become more knowledgeable in debt management and monthly budget. They cannot learn all these things if they do not have money to manage. But make sure to set a credit limit. Don’t mess up your own finances in paying their credit card debts just to give them some teachable moments.

3. Teens start to build their own credit record.

As they get themselves ready for college, they must start establishing a good tracking record with a chosen lender. This prepares them to get a student loan in the absence of their parents’ signature. Allowing them to have a credit card before college helps them become responsible and trustworthy borrowers. So, parents worry no more about loaning money for their children’s college tuition in the years to come.

There is no such thing as a perfect age to start using a credit card. The decision remains at your hands. But teaching your teens the right way of spending as early as now can save them from being financially wild when they become adults. But here’s a thing. Raising a financially-responsible adult cannot be done overnight. Constant reminders and proper guidance to them at their teenage years are deemed important.

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