Consumers start seeking out premium credit cards


A $450 annual fee for a credit card? Is that something a value shopper would consider?

According to a new article, value shoppers are doing much more than that – they’re actually seeking these cards out. It all has to do with the perks, and some savvy consumers and bargain hunters are realizing that they actually can save money of they’re good at using the points for stuff like travel and vacations.

If you’re interested in rewards credit cards, or curious as to which of the many offers you get in the mail are worth pursuing, then check out the link and see what works best for your desired lifestyle and spending habits.


Check Your Books Before Heading to the Casino

Nobody who plans on an evening at the casino expects to lose money. The vision that runs through everyone’s head is of loud noises and colorful lights heralding them as the next big winner. Just to be safe, you should check your financial books before heading out to the casino.

(image courtesy of geek7 at Flickr)

Whether you are going to a physical casino or you are getting ready to enjoy the convenience of an online, no-deposit casino, you should still keep close track of your finances. A fun night at the casino can be ruined if you realize that you just gambled your mortgage payment away.

Create A Monthly Budget

Developing a monthly budget is good financial advice. But if you intend to make frequent visits to the casino, then balancing a home monthly budget will allow you to see how much you have to gamble with each time. This is how you prevent yourself from gambling away the mortgage payment or losing the grocery money for the week.

Plan On Losing

It is entirely possible that you will win some money at the casino. But if you really want to keep your casino visit checkbook friendly, then you should only take as much money as you can afford to lose. Check your monthly budget and set aside monthly gambling money that you can afford to do without.

Leave The Plastic At Home

When people head out to the casinos, they will sometimes take their ATM or credit cards with them. This defeats the entire purpose of setting a budget and staying with it. Limit your spending by taking cash from your bank account and using that for your gambling. Once your cash is gone, you are done. Leave the plastic at home.

Walk Away A Winner

If you can walk away from the casino a winner, then consider yourself lucky. When you start winning on the slots or at the tables, try to limit how much of your winnings that you put back into the casino. If you can come home with half of your winnings, then you can use that for your next casino trip. It will also help you to keep your personal budget balanced.

Adjusting your finances prior to heading out the casino can seem like it takes the fun out of gambling. But gambling can be a lot more fun when you plan it right and avoid losing money you cannot afford to lose.


Using prepaid credit cards

Fortune has an interesting article about the entrepreneur who created prepaid credit cards.

When the card was rolled out, kids didn’t show much interest but adults who couldn’t get checking accounts or credit bought the cards in droves, using them for such prosaic tasks as paying household bills. “I thought, ‘We have the right product, just the wrong target market,’ so we retooled,” Streit recalls.

Streit rechristened the company Green Dot (GDOT), got backing from Silicon Valley venture firm Sequoia Capital, and now is the largest provider of prepaid debit cards to the “underbanked” in America, a class estimated at 73 million people. Green Dot went public in 2010: Sequoia’s original $5.8 million stake is now worth around $270 million.

Its breakthrough came in 2005 when Wal-Mart (WMT) partnered with it for the Walmart MoneyCard, which customers load with money when they cash a paycheck or tax refund at a Wal-Mart. The retailer now accounts for 60% of Green Dot’s revenue, which hit $117 million in 2011’s first quarter, up 26% over 2010. With 4.3 million cards outstanding, it is far ahead of its closest rival, netSpend (NTSP), with 2.3 million. Wal-Mart was so impressed that it bought 9% of the company last year. Even the U.S. Treasury has started a pilot program to issue tax refunds on Green Dot cards.

It’s interesting how the card was created for students and then became popular with people who couldn’t get credit cards.


4 Ways to make sure your credit actually stays credit

Credit cards can be useful, but they are also potentially dangerous things. When provided with a credit limit that on the surface doesn’t appear to affect their bank balances, many consumers can end up overspending on their credit cards and go into debt. Credit cards are only really useful when they are used in an emergency or when making especially large purchases. Bearing the following pieces of advice in mind will help you make sure that you don’t overuse your credit privileges and end up getting into financial difficultly later on.

Pay Your Balance Quickly

One of the quickest ways to get into trouble with a credit card is by accruing interest. Credit card companies require a minimum amount to be paid off each month. If you continue to add purchases to a card that already has a deficit, then your minimum repayment figure will go up and up. Pretty soon, you may find that you are only paying off the interest each month and not making a dent in the overall balance. Make sure you keep up monthly payments of a sizable figure to help take large chunks out of your debt in one go. If possible, pay it all off at once.

Don’t Pay Late

This is another common problem with people in debt. Putting payments off because of poor cash flow or bad financial planning can lead to serious problems. Paying a balance late reflects badly on your overall credit score. If you consistently pay bills later than 30 days after their due dates, then you may be the subject of an investigation. Even if you can’t pay off the entire balance on time, at least try to pay some of it off.

Use a Prepaid Credit Card

One way to avoid the regular mishaps of having a credit card is to use a prepaid card. These cards keep you out of financial trouble because you can only spend the money that you have, rather than using credit that you don’t have. You can control spending with the REACH card to help you keep out of financial trouble.

Keep Your Old Credit Cards

A good way to build a strong credit rating is by using a card that you have had for a while. The longer you have owned your credit card, the more trust you will have with the banks because the chances are that you have been paying off debts for a long time. This means that the chances of your become a risky investment for them further down the line are smaller.
Banks will be more likely to reward you with bonuses such as a higher credit limits and lower interest rates.

A little credit can be a dangerous thing, but if you pay attention to your finances and keep and eye on what your credit rating is like, you should be able to keep yourself out of financial trouble. How have you managed your credit? Have you encountered any difficulties not include above that other people should avoid?