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Start Planning NOW For Holiday Spending September 9, 2011

Posted by CredZoo - Tame Your Credit in New Credit Information, Tips For Good Credit.
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It sounds crazy, right? Starting in August or September to plan for things you won’t buy for months? But these days with pennies being pinched as tight as they are, planning ahead is the best thing you can do! Listen to financial expert Mike Brescione and get some expert advice to help you prepare for the most wonderful, and expensive, time of the year!

Click on this link for the video:

Are Credit Cards Outdated? August 18, 2011

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How long will it be before you’re paying for purchases with a simple swipe or “bump” of your iPhone, or other mobile device? Experts say, not long!

The concept of credit has been around for centuries. Starting in the early 1800s, local merchants allowed trusted customers to make purchases without paying the total cost upfront. This intuitive concept allowed sellers to reach a larger base of customers who could then pay their debt over time. As the Internet emerged as a global marketplace where people can purchase goods and services without ever leaving their homes, the credit card, with its snazzy designs and black stripe on the back, has become outmoded.

Today’s savvy consumer expects a different experience, and the bottom line is the credit card wasn’t designed with the Internet in mind (and certainly not with an Internet-connected mobile device). Using a credit card to complete an online transaction is riddled with functional deficiencies. One of the most basic examples: we can all agree that it’s downright painful to have to repeatedly type in your credit card number and security code every time you go to make a purchase online, right? And from a merchant’s perspective, the cost of accepting credit cards — and the associated hidden fees — can make accepting payments online prohibitively expensive. Clearly it’s easy to see why credit-based products that were designed from the beginning for the online experience are rapidly gaining market share.

When it comes to mobile commerce the differences between credit cards and alternative payment methods are even more pronounced. Sure, a little device that allows you to take credit card transactions via a mobile phone is nice, but it’s far from revolutionary. Meanwhile, so-called alternative payment providers with their digitized, multicurrency networks are enabling consumers to transact by simply swiping a mobile device or even bumping mobile phones together. This is the notion of the “mobile wallet” starting to be realized.

The mobile device holds the key to the future of payments, for both consumers and merchants, because it blurs the lines between online and offline. Many predict it won’t be long before the credit card will be the alternative payment method and services that were designed for the online experience from the start will become the norm.

(Excerpts from an article by Bill Zielke; senior director of Merchant Services at PayPal, which recently announced the initial rollout of Mobile Express Checkout. Bill is responsible for the development and marketing of product strategies related to PayPal, and for counseling merchants with product recommendations.)

Installment Debt April 8, 2011

Posted by CredZoo - Tame Your Credit in New Credit Information, Tips For Good Credit.
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Part II in our “How to Manage Debt & Credit” posts: What is installment Debt? Is it good or bad?

Debt comes in many forms, and most types help us in our daily lives — when used responsibly. Most people cannot buy a home without some financial help, and many cannot buy a car (especially a new one) without some sort of financing. The money borrowed to purchase large-ticket items is called installment debt: The debtor pays a portion of the total at regular intervals over a specified period of time. At the end of that time period, the loan with interest is paid off.

Installment debt allows you to purchase items at a competitive interest rate: for example, 5% to 7% for a 30-year home mortgage and 8% or 9% for a car loan. The loan is paid back on an amortizing schedule, monthly payments of a fixed amount that remain constant over the life of the loan. At first, most of the monthly payment consists of interest. In later years, principal begins to be paid down.

Installment debt is easily budgeted and the debt is eliminated on a predetermined date. Even for those who may actually have the cash to purchase the desired item, installment debt can make financial sense if you can earn a higher return (after taxes) on your investment of cash than you must pay on your installment debt.

Having an installment loan can also help an individual establish credit. One factor considered by credit reporting agencies when calculating credit scores is how many types of debt a consumer has utilized. If a person has made timely payments on both a credit card and installment debt, he will receive a higher score than if he his only obligations have been revolving credit. While it is good to be cautious before entering into any loan agreement, an installment debt may be a good option. Handled properly, it is a way to acquire a large ticket item through budgeted payments. The lower interest rate and set term can be an attractive alternative to large credit card purchases.

10 Ways to Combat Peer Pressure to Spend March 11, 2011

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by Logan Sachon, for Bundle

You love your friends, and your friends love to spend money. They spend money on new clothes that put yours to shame, on expensive presents for your birthday, on fancy bottles of wine for your dinner party, on drinks for the table at the bar. The pressure to reciprocate — and keep up — can be intense. But don’t fear: just because you have high-rolling friends doesn’t mean your bank account is in jeopardy. Big spenders and little spenders can indeed be friends, but it requires some finesse so you aren’t always feeling poor and they aren’t always feeling bad because you’re poor. We’ve got ten way to keep your spend-happy friends close and your wallet closed.

1. Tell yourself: Own it

Do not covet your neighbor’s phone (or his car, or his fancy MacBook). Instead, embrace your old-school flip phone, your car-less lifestyle, your two-inch-thick Dell laptop. Having new things sure would be nice, but you don’t need them; don’t let your gear-toting friends make you think you do. Your things aren’t old and crusty — they’re old and trusty. Own your own stuff.

2. Tell yourself: A bottle of wine is a bottle of wine

Just because your friend brings a $20 bottle of wine to your dinner party doesn’t mean you have to stray from your $3 Trader Joe’s standard when he’s hosting. Get the cheap stuff. It’s okay.

3. Tell yourself: It really is the thought that counts

If your friend buys you a massage for your birthday, do you have to reciprocate in kind come hers? You do not. Sweetness need not have a price tag. Flowers from your garden, a homemade cake, a thoughtful book: these are all fine presents.

4. Tell your friends: You’re coming down with something

The price of dinner doubles when you add booze, and ordering just one drink is a dangerous move: it’s too easy to order another one. Nip that temptation in the bud by not drinking with dinner, and nip your friends’ pressure on you to drink with dinner by saying you’re sick. And no, friends, margaritas do not kill germs.

5. Tell your friends: You’ve only got cash

At the bar, it’s so easy to tell the table, “I’ve got this.” You don’t have this, because you don’t have your card. All you have is cash, and you only have enough for your own drink. We’ve all left our debit card at home on accident before. You should leave yours there on purpose.

6. Tell your friends: You’re saving for something big

Your friends don’t want to hear that you’re trying to be more frugal — it calls attention to the fact that they are anything but and that’s no fun. But you know what is fun? Vacations. You’re not skipping the $20-a-head concert because you can’t afford it. That sounds icky. You’re skipping the $20-a-head concert because you’re saving for Maui. Much better.

7. Tell yourself: Your friends like you for you, not your money

Remember that your friends are your friends because they like you and you like them: the exchange of money or goods isn’t a part of the equation. If you pick up the bar tab, that’s a nice perk, but it’s not what keeps your friends around. They will like you even if you split the check.

8. Tell your friends: You’re bored with going out

You’re not suggesting a game night at home because you’re broke. You’re suggesting a game night at home because the bar scene is tired. At your house it’s cozier, the music is better, and there’s no line for a beer.

9. Tell your friends: You already ate

Don’t skip your friend’s birthday dinner because it’s at a restaurant you can’t afford, but don’t go and order nothing. Eat beforehand, own up to it, and order a $10 dessert when everyone else is ordering $30 entrees. You’ll have the best plate at the table, and your friends won’t feel uncomfortable by you not eating.

10. Tell yourself: There is nothing wrong with staying home sometimes

If you really can’t spend money right now, don’t put yourself in situations where you can spend money. Going to the bar and not ordering anything while your friends keep the cocktails coming is hard. Not going to the bar while your friends are there and keeping the cocktails coming is also hard, but less so. Catch up on your reading (or last week’s episode of Gossip Girl).