Limiting how much someone can steal from your credit card

I’m sure anyone reading this page has ordered something from the internet if not many things. Every time you make a purchase you’re exposing your credit card to strangers, you might think its just computers talking to computers but at my previous company, I was hired to create a new e-commerce site for them that interacted with an AS400 system they used for phone orders.

Their old method was

1. Someone places an order online
2. Each day it was someone’s job to PRINT out the orders WITH CREDIT CARDS NUMBERS
3. That person would then hand key them into the AS400 system, if they didn’t finish them they left a stack of orders on their desk overnight tech supports, janitors, salesman, etc… basically, anyone could stroll by, glance at the order on top and get your CC number and your billing address, everything they need to use your card. This was at a multi-million dollar e-commerce site too, not just some 5 order a day place, we’re talking hundreds of orders a day, just sitting around.

As a consumer you cannot prevent your credit card information from being stolen in this manner, all you did was key it into a browser now it’s on someone’s desk waiting to be keyed in. Since that experience what I did was contact my bank and get a credit card that I specifically use for the web with a $1000 limit, so the most I could get hosed for is a grand or less if there is a balance. I’m sure a lot of people out there enter their cards with 10, 20, 30 thousand dollars available. Why take the risk, get a small card just for the net, $250, $500, $1000 limits. This is also helpful for gas stations, restaurants, etc.

I know a few people first hand, one waiter and one full-service gas pumper who would copy CC numbers down from customers cards and then use them that night to order whatever they wanted, it worked and they got away with it.

The Pros and Cons of Having a Credit Card

I am a full time student and recently I applied for a student credit card with a limit between $300-$500. This is not a lot but it will be very releasing for me to use my card online and begin to build up my business and be released to do that. I am very disciplined so I know that I will not get into excessive amounts of debt. I will be using my credit card to move my financial situation forward.

Seeing as I am applying for a credit card I thought I would share with you guys what I believe to be the pros and cons of having a credit card. You should weigh up the pros and cons for your situation before you ever decide to get a credit card for yourself.


  • You can buy whatever you need to now and pay for it later
  • You can receive rewards for using it such as frequent flyer points
  • You can use it to make purchases online
  • Many hotels require a credit card to be able to check in
  • It allows you the freedom to do whatever you want
  • Many companies and stores accept credit card as the easiest form of payment
  • You can use the money you don’t have as a way of investing into your business (as long as your return is greater than the debt you pay).


  • You can get into some nasty debt if you are not careful
  • If people find your credit card or details then they can easily use it to make purchases
  • You can live beyond your means spending more than you can afford
  • You have to pay sometimes over 20% in interest on your payments
  • Sometimes if you are not aware of the fees you can be charged fees for reasons you weren’t aware of

So I weighed up the pros and cons of getting a credit card and decided that I needed wanted a credit card because it would be useful to move my business forward and it would release me now to buy some things that I need which I can pay off when I start working full time.

Note: Personal Finance tip 101 is to never get a credit card if you can avoid it. But if it is seriously going to make your finances better through investing in appreciating assets then a credit card can be a great tool. But be careful you don’t get into too much debt or get stung by fees. The convenience of credit cards makes it extremely difficult to avoid accruing tons of debt. The general rule of thumb is: If you always ran out of money before your next paycheck, you probably shouldn’t be getting a card. On other other hand, if you saved your money and had some left before you got paid again, you probably can handle the freedom that comes with having credit.

12 Questions You Should Consider Before Signing Up for a Prepaid Card

Curious about a prepaid Visa or Mastercard?

Well they can be extremely helpful to you if you no longer want, need or have no choice anymore when it comes to a bank checking account.

Tired of banks that charge overdraft fees?  Have you had some problems in the past with opening up a checking account?  Do you have no credit history?  If any of these questions apply to you, then you are definitely in the market to find a prepaid card that will give you everything you need.  So what questions might you want to consider before signing up?

One.  How do I open a prepaid account?

The prepaid card company’s website should offer you a user friendly sign up page or the option to call them and sign up by phone.

Two.  How old do I need to be to get a prepaid card?

Some companies will allow you to open a card as young as 14 years of age.

Three.  What do I need to apply for a prepaid card?

Applying for the card should be hassle free.  Most prepaid card companies only need your name, phone number, email address, social security number, and mailing address.  The company usually sends a confirmation letter along with other information about the company and additional services they offer.

Four.  How much does it cost to sign up for a prepaid card?

It’s usually free to sign up; however once you add money to your prepaid account, they will charge you an activation fee and monthly service charges will begin. If you use direct deposit to add money to your prepaid card, some companies will waive your activation fee.

Five.  How much does it cost to activate a prepaid account?

Activation for a prepaid account is usually free if the company offers a service where you can setup direct deposit to your account. However, if you choose not to use direct deposit, a small activation fee will be applied.

Six.  Can I open an account if I am on ChexSystems?

Yes. Prepaid card companies do not do a ChexSystems verification when opening new accounts.

Seven.  Do I have to maintain a minimum balance on my prepaid account?

No minimal balance is usually required for prepaid accounts; however read the fine print.

Eight.  Does prepaid cards provide monthly account statements?

Yes.  Prepaid companies typically provide monthly online statements free of charge. You can also sign up to receive monthly paper statements sent to your home and some charge a small fee.  Also, some  prepaid card companies do offer options to get free text or email alerts.

Nine.  How long does it take to receive a card?

Most prepaid cards are typically delivered within 5-7 business days after you sign up. If you need a replacement card, you will have to request it and you may be charged a fee .

Ten.  How do you know that a prepaid card company is legitimate?

Be sure to check to see if they are an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau.   A full report on the company can be found on the Bureau’s website.

Eleven.  Can I use the prepaid card like a credit card too?

No, only money that is added to the prepaid account can be used; however check to see if the company offers a line of credit if you have direct deposit setup on your prepaid account.

Twelve.  Who can I call with questions about my prepaid card?

Every prepaid card company should provide business hours and contact information.

Other things you may want to consider when signing up for a prepaid card would be:

  • Do they have a referral program?
  • Are there any special promotions?
  • Can they help me build up my credit history?
  • When you are satisfied with the information you have obtained and all fees are outlined, sign up.

How Many Credit Cards Does One Person Need?

It’s all in how you use your card. Personally, I think one credit card should be enough for any person. Consider these points before applying for your credit card:

  1. How are you planning to use your card? Interest rates are much too high to use a credit card as a loan.
  2. Can you pay the balance off every month? If the answer is no then you should apply for a bank loan instead, they have cheaper interest rates than a credit card.
  3. Are you a compulsive buyer? If so maybe cash is a better way to control spending. Packing a limited amount of cash will slow down your spending.
  4. Do you need to keep certain expenditures separate from other expenditures? A credit card for specific expenses may work – if you pay the bill off every month!
  5. Are you observant and responsible? You need to keep track of your credit card – don’t lose it! – and review statements to catch errors and avoid theft.

Remember a credit card is relatively easy to get but nothing can drive you into debt faster than the unquestioned credit available from a credit card.


How to Wisely Use Credit Cards

A sad but true statement: more and more Americans are becoming financially dependent on credit cards for their day to day living expenses. Given the economy, rising interest rates, and fees, you can imagine where many of these folks will end up at in ten or fifteen years, if not, let me help…they will literally be up to their eyeballs in debt. What started as an account with a three hundred dollar credit limit is now a closed account, being assessed astronomical late and overlimit fees every month, with a balance of at least $600 or more. Keep in mind, that even though these people may have only purchased $200 on their card, they are still required to pay this outrageous balance due to the contract they agreed to when they filled out the original application.

It basically works like this- You have a job making good money, and decide you need a credit card for expenses, say booking a plane ticket, rental car, hotel, etc. You start to get offers in the mail for more cards, and not looking at the terms and fine print, you fill out those applications to, thinking it is no big deal, just another small monthly payment. You use the card up to the available credit limit, and make the minimum monthly payments on time each month. If you use the card for cash advances, keep in mind that you are going to pay a considerably higher interest rate than you would for regular purchases. Not all of a sudden, you have thousands of dollars in credit card debt, and the company you work for announces they are down-sizing, and that your job is one of the ones that will be getting the axe. You run off of your pension for a while, but that runs out and you still have been unable to find new employment. Now, you are having a hard time just making all those minimum payments, and keeping food on the table, and the creditors start calling. The debt continues to pile up, your credit score gets lower and lower, and the calls continue to come in, while the balances go up due to fees and default apr being charged on all of the cards. You find a new job, but it will take you years to dig out of this hole you have now put yourself in… and you look back, and ask yourself, could I have prevented all of this? Well, here are a few tips for the average consumer who relies on unknowingly gets into the credit card quagmire that may help get you out before it gets really bad.

First and foremost, on every application you receive in the mail, always pay special attention to the terms and conditions listed on the card. By law, this has to be enclosed somewhere within the application, but it may not necessarily be easy to spot. You want to really look at the area referring to annual fees, late fees, overlimit fees, finance charges, credit limit, and default interest rates. Unless you absolutely have to have a credit card and cannot do without one, try to never take a card that has an annual fee, and never one with an annual fee of more than $50 a year. You shouldn’t have to pay to have the card, especially if you have a decent credit history.

Almost all credit cards will charge late fees the day after your payment is due, most ranging from $29 to $35. If you pay everything by mail with money orders, it is a good idea to try to send your payment in the day you get your statement each month, that way you allow plenty of time for mail processing, payment posting, and will have a cushion in case the payment never makes it to the company. Always make certain that your full credit card account number is written on the money order, and that it is sent to the correct mailing address with the correct postage. Keep your money order receipt, because in the event that the company does not receive your payment, you can have it traced. If it comes back that the money order has not been cashed, the money order amount will usually be refunded to you within four to six weeks. The bad thing to this is that you will have to send in another payment to cover this one, probably before you get the money back for the lost money order. If this happens to you, it would probably be better for you to send your payment electronically by either Money Gram or Western Union Quick Collect, to ensure you don’t receive additional fees or a negative credit bureau reporting.

When mailing a check, it is still a good idea to give it plenty of time to post. The only difference with a check and money order is that if gets lost in the mail, you will not be out any money. You simply need to reissue a check. It is also easier to verify if a payment has been cashed or not simply by looking at your bank statement or calling your local branch, therefore eliminating the need to run a trace, as with money orders.

Your safest solution is to pay your bill electronically, either by the methods mentioned above, online banking, or check by phone. For those people who don’t have a checking account, Money Gram and Western Union are fast, quick options. Money Gram payments usually take around 2 days to be received, and usually will cost you around $9 to send, but in terms of late fees, $9 is better than $35 going on your credit card balance and possibly making you go over your credit limit, costing you an additional $35 for an overlimit fee. If you wait until the last minute, and have no checking or savings account, Western Union is really your only solution if you want to avoid the late fee. They guarantee the money to arrive the same day, and usually charge around $13, again cheaper than that late fee the credit card company will charge.

For those people who do online banking, this is probably the safest way to make your payment. You simply enter all of your account information, credit card account number, company name, billing address, and phone number, and then whenever you want to make a payment you just enter the date and amount and it is automatically sent out. Depending on the company you are paying and the bank you use, your payment will either be send electronically, posting in about two or three business days, or sent thru the mail by the bank, posting in seven to ten business days. Either way, you have proof of payment with your bank, and are covered in the event a payment doesn’t post to your account.

If you wake up one morning, and realize your payment is due today, you probably should call in a check by phone, as it will process that same day and post to your account, beating the late fee for you. The downside, however, is that most companies charge fees for the convenience of check by phone, ranging from $4.00 all the way to $15.00. But again, $15 being added to your card balance is better than $35.00.

You always want to stay away from your credit limits whenever possible, at least by $100.00 if you can. By doing this, in the event your annual fee catches you by surprise, or you get hit with a late fee, you can be sure you won’t be assessed the additional $35 overlimt fee.

Never send just the minimum payments if you can avoid it, it is a good idea to try to send you minimum required payment, plus and finance charges or any other fees that are charged to your card on a monthly basis. This will keep your interest charges low, and help you avoid additional fees.

Take advantage of balance transfer offers you receive, especially if they come with no fees, and no interest for a certain period of time. Just make sure that the interest rate after the introductory period is lower than what you currently pay, to ensure you are making a wise decision. By playing the balance transfer game, you can save the most money in finance charges, especially if you are able to pay your entire balance while you have the low introductory interest rate.

In closing, if you have to play the credit card game, you need to make sure that you always know what you are getting into, and constantly stay up to date on your balances, payments due, etc. If you start having problems, contact a credit consolidation company or your lender before it gets out of hand, to discuss possible solutions, before you ruin your credit and possibly triple your credit card debt. Credit cards can be a good thing, but you have to be smart, and know how to use them wisely to protect both your credit and your financial future.

Credit Cards – The Real Cost

They can be a life saver or a curse depending on how you use them. They do cost you money however if you let them get out of control and don’t manage them effectively; you could find yourself in trouble and in debt.

Self control and understanding that you are responsible for the debt that you incur is the first thing that you need to be aware of and that you will have to repay any money owing. The effect this has on your long term goals could be astonishing. It affects your credit rating and your credit rating has an effect on your lifestyle. It has an impact on your eligibility to get a loan to purchase a house or a car or any other major item. Store cards also show up on this report so if you think you can move to another location and start again, you need to know that that isn’t always the case and you may have to face the music at some later stage in your life.

On the other side of having a credit card, it can get through a rough financial patch and tide you over until the finances improve. It can get you that bargain now and as long you are aware of what you can afford to pay, it can be a lifeline. It is good to have a credit card when you don’t want to be carrying cash or when you are traveling overseas.

When applying for a card, shop around as there are all sorts of benefits that you could get such as low or no interest for a period of time, loyalty rewards and free travel insurance etc. Do the groundwork and find one that suits your needs. Make it work for you because it your money that you are spending.

Pro’s and Con’s of Having a Credit Card


  1. It’s easier to keep track of what you spend every month if you receive one statement with all your expenditures on it. ie: credit card statement
  2. You have a large amount of money available to you instantly for those expenses that require a few extra days to get funding in place for.
  3. You have emergency money available should you suddenly need it.
  4. If you use your credit card for all your purchases then you accumulate points or credits – or whatever promotion your card offers – faster. This could result in cash back, or reduced air travel fees etc.
  5. Credit cards allow for easier internet shopping.
  6. Credit cards often insure your purchase against breakage or theft for a limited period of time.
  7. Credit card companies monitor your spending and alerts you if your spending pattern suddenly changes.


  1. Vigilance and control are a must to prevent over spending.
  2. High interest rates on unpaid balances ever month.
  3. If your card is lost or stolen then you could incur huge expenses.
  4. Credit card companies could suddenly ‘stop’ your card if your spending pattern changes.
  5. You sometimes have to show your ID when using your credit card.

It is up to the individual to exercise control over spending no matter how they plan to pay for their purchases. Credit cards with high spending limits are like any other means of credit. They are no different than carrying a debit card and maintaining a high balance in the bank – or a low balance and living off of a credit line.

Unsecured Versus Secured Credit Cards

Every day, you are probably bombarded with unsolicited credit card offers.  Whether they say that you are preapproved or could be instantly approved, they seem like the easy answer to money problems.  The fact is that unsecured credit cards can cause you more financial trouble than what you began with.

The term “unsecured credit card” may seem unfamiliar, but it is actually the most common type of credit card.  Just like an unsecured loan, it is not based on any collateral.  Also like an unsecured loan, this means the interest rates can be high.  Credit cards are notorious for their high interest rates, reaching into the 20s.  In fact, this is the major problem with credit cards.  If you fail to pay your bill by the end of the month, you are charged high amounts of interest for what you have purchased using the card.  This is not even including the late fees credit card companies can charge you.

The main reason credit cards are generally viewed as a bad idea is because they can trick you into spending more money than you have.  Once they do and you have spent that money, then the fees and interest rates kick in on the things you could not really afford to begin with.

While these may seem like obvious drawbacks to having a credit card, you may not know that there is an alternative.  Just like you can get an unsecured loan or a secured loan you can apply for an unsecured credit card or a secured credit card.

There can be some advantages to this path over the unsecured one.  Depending on the program you choose, the interest rate may be lower.  Also, it could fix the problem of thinking you have more money than you think you do, as there are some programs that establish your credit line as being equal to your initial deposit.  On the other hand, some allow for a credit line slightly higher than your deposit which reintroduces the problem.  This method does not eliminate the fees.  In fact, some people have run into the problem that their deposit was eaten up by fees before they could even use the card.  Just like with unsecured cards, you should shop around for the best rates and you should always read the fine print.

In general, credit cards can be a bad idea.  If you are still determined to get one, you should look into all of your options and research your choices before making a decision.

What is a prepaid credit card?

What do you do if you have poor credit or you don’t have a bank account? These items are needed for many important transactions, such as making hotel reservations or online purchases. If you have poor credit, you will be turned down quite often for loans, and any loan you receive will have a high interest rate. In a world where money transactions are primarily done electronically, it is crucial to have some sort of plastic. If you’re trying plastic for the first time, you may try getting a prepaid credit card.

A prepaid credit card is much safer than a regular unsecured credit card. You might have heard the term “secured credit card,” and, while the two names are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. They both entail actual money placed in a prepaid credit card account. To get one, you deposit an amount of money, and you can then use the card to make similar transactions as a regular credit card. On a prepaid credit card, there are no interest charges or late fees, and you will also get a monthly statement, but not a bill; therefore, a prepaid credit card is more closely related to a debit card linked to a checking account. With a secured credit card, however, you will have monthly payments, as well as interest charged on any outstanding balance.

Most prepaid credit cards will come with a small set-up fee, and some may also have transaction fees when you make purchases. There may also be fees of a couple dollars each if you use your prepaid credit card at an ATM or when you deposit more money onto the account. One specific card, the “Mango MasterCard” prepaid card, will waive its monthly fee if you deposit at least $500 per month. Some other cards, like the Green Dot MasterCard, will waive fees if you make a specific number of purchases per month. You may be able to find some cards without these fees, so shop around before getting one.

Anyone can get a prepaid credit card, but it will not actually help to improve your credit rating. A secured credit card will do the trick, so if you’re trying to get better scores from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, go after a secured credit card. A prepaid credit card appears to be a combination of a debit card and a credit card. It simply acts as an alternative during certain purchases where a debit card might not be accepted, like hotel or flight bookings. While a prepaid credit card may not be able to improve your credit score, it may be a way for you to learn how to manage your funds electronically, and it can be a good introduction into the hybrid world of cash and plastic.

How to Get Rid of Credit Card Debt

While talking about the retirement plan, financial advisers mostly focus on how much you need to save. But you should know, that to cut your debt is not any less important, especially your mortgage and credit cards. And in order to get out of debt you need to:

1. Evaluate Your Debt
The first thing you should start with is figuring out how much debt you have to deal with. So, take a piece of paper, and put down all of your debts. This includes credit cards, charge cards, mortgages, home equity loans, car loans, personal loans, medical bills and any other debts that you’ve got. Beside each debt, include in this list the associated interest rate and minimum monthly payment. Now, count up all of your entries, and you see a true picture of your current debt load.

2. Make a Budget
A carefully thought out budget will help you to get out and stay out of debt. Be honest with yourself about your spending habits and you’ll receive a much more realistic picture. Make a list of your usual monthly expenses (do not forget about fun things, hobbies and entertainment) and calculate how much you make per month including all forms of your income. And then create a budget that will minimize the usage of credit cards, cash-only is your goal.

3. Reduce Your Spending
In order to get money for debt repayment you will have to cut your spending. Look for some ways to lower your phone and electronic bills, auto and homeowner’s insurance and all your other bills. In such way, you’ll able to use your savings directly for your debts and enjoy the fact, that you’re on the right way to a debt-free life.

4. Begin Saving
While getting out of debt, the avoiding new debt is important as well as paying off debt. So, it’s very important for you to be prepared for some unexpected expenses – such as medical bills or car repairs – that could make you start spending with your credit card again. Assess how much it may cost you and put that sum aside. You should understand that fact that building up your emergency fund may take a lot of time. So, even $20 a month will help, just do not worry if that’s all you can afford.

5. Struggle With Your Debt
Now, when you have finished with all of the previous steps, it is the right time to start struggling with your debt. Apply the money you’ve saved with your new budget to your debt. Keep this way until all your debts will gone. Of course, it may take a while, but if you adhere to this plan you’ll become a happier, stronger and debt-free person.