July 2005 Monthly Archive
Posted by Cap in Credit Related
on July 28, 2005 | 5 Comments
Chase finally revamped their online account website for their credit card users. One of the best change is the merging of FirstUSA and Bank One database. If you have a credit card from Bank One or FirstUSA, you can now view them all on one single site! Life just got a bit easier. Even better, it was all done automatically. I logged into my Chase account today to find that my Chase MasterCard and BankOne VISA are both showing up. Past payment history, statement, etc. are all there.
Cleaner interfance that’s easier read and navigate. Good job Chase. Now please increase my credit limit…
Posted by Cap in Deals and Discounts
on July 28, 2005 | 4 Comments
Saw the Wall Street Journal sitting on my driveway today. Got it for “free” via American Express’s Membership Reward points.
This is the first time I used a credit card reward program and there was no hassle at all. Thumbs up to American Express for easy reward redemption, couple clicks and here’s the reward (4-6 weeks later).
Posted by Cap in Personal Finance
on July 17, 2005 | 7 Comments
So. Pros and cons? Okay, maybe the answers are a bit obvious.
Pro: They return the money promptly and say they owe you one.
Con: They return the money late, or never return it at all. Trust is lost, “friendship” is broken, silence ensue, follow by hate and bitterness…
Letting people borrow money is an iffy issue. Especially if it involves family members, because unfortunately sometimes family members are the ones most likely to take advantage of you. Thankfully I don’t have family members like that, but I’ve read/heard plenty of stories.
Thinking back, high school was a period of time where people were constantly asking to borrow money from their “friends.” They can be small amounts, but they certainly add up. One particular person from back in high school still owes me $60 till today. Not a large amount really, but it still tickles my bone in a wrong way whenever I think about it.
I’ve borrowed money occasionally too, but mostly because I just don’t have cash on me. To my recollection I’ve paid everyone back ( but I’m not perfect so I probably owe a buck here or there). These days it’s not really an issue, as I haven’t let anyone borrow any money — not because I don’t want to, but because no one asked. Although I think I’ve learned my lesson, and can distinguish between those that are trustworthy and those that aren’t.
Which reminds me of something I read before on an online message board. There are two types of borrowers: Those that can pay you back but wont, and those that want to pay you back but can’t.
Posted by Cap in Credit Related
on July 16, 2005 | No Comments
As mentioned from my previous post, I got the Citi Dividend MasterCard. As I was about to activate my card, I noticed something interesting.
Did you see it? Let me zoom in a little bit…
There’s a “Use it Wisely” message on the activation number sticker that you will peel off
Of all the credit cards I’ve gotten, this was the only attempt by an issuer to remind me to use a credit card wisely. Most large credit card issuers have plenty of educational material on credit responsibility and management – you just gotta look for it. Appearantly, it’s not really their top prority if you charge their credit card wisely or not. I was surprised to see Citibank informing their customer on responsible credit usage, and I was even more amused that they choose to put that short message on a disposable sticker. Ah well, at least they made an effort.
So should credit card companies make more effort in education their customers on responsbile credit usage? Yes. Is America’s consumer debt the credit card companies fault? No, not really. (At least, I don’t think so).
Yeah, they really should stop bombarding us with offers after offers. They really should stop coming up with ways to entice people to spend their money. (Longer introductory rates, lower minimum payment requirements, reward points, cash back, travel benefits, etc. etc..) Regardless, at the end, we’re the ones swiping that card.
Yeah, sometimes the fine prints are too small, sometimes there are nasty surprises, and sometimes it’s just pure scam (delay posting payments so customers are charged late fees – FirstUSA anyone?).
But the majority of times, the majority of the reason why we’re a debt nation, could be avoided easily if we just “Use It Wisely”.
Posted by Cap in Stop Buying Crap!
on July 13, 2005 | 6 Comments
I received my subscription renewal notice today from Car & Driver and Motor Trend. They’re $12 per year each. It’s funny because they’re only $10 if you subscribe from their website online. I subscribed to Motor Trend for 4 years, and Car & Driver for 2 years.
So I looked at the stash of old magazine issues gathering dust in the corner of my room, and I looked at the the small renewal notice evenlopes in my hand. I thought about my blog’s tittle, and I toss the evenlopes in the trash can.
Now I can go into detail about how $20 per year, properly invested, compouned at a conservative 8%, multiply by the rest of my lifespan – will yield some incredible amount (minus tax); but cutting expense is cutting expense.
So good-bye for now Motor Trend, Car & Driver; I will no longer read you from the comforts of my bathroom, but instead on the sofa at the local library.
Posted by Cap in Traffic
on July 13, 2005 | 2 Comments
- Traffic = Wasting time and gas
- Wasting time and gas = Wasting a lot of money
If you live in Orange County, CA. You’ve probably experienced the infamous “Orange Crush” by now. I can’t believe there’s a name to it.
Wondering what it looks like?
If I remember right, it was listed as one of the Top 5 worse highway intersection in the United States. In fact, 6 of the Top 10 was in CA. The intersection is currently undergoing construction projects to make everything a bit better. But in the mean time, that means more traffic and more delays.
Posted by Cap in Credit Related
on July 7, 2005 | 3 Comments
Looking to buy a credit score? Be aware of scams and pay only for legitimate, true FICO scores from myFICO.com. Don’t forget to check for myfico promotional code before you buy so you can save up to 25% off! You can also consider using the free FICO score estimator found at myFICO’s website.
For those that didn’t know, there are 3 different credit scores for our credit history. Each of the scores are derived from three different credit reporting agency: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
To make things more clear, the credit score I’m talking about are FICO scores, the scoring system that the majority of lenders use to determine your credit worthiness. There are a lot of credit “scores” offered in the market, so its important to distinguish between real FICO scores and FAKO scores (a term online credit forum users use to describe fake credit scores).
Many factors account for the different credit scores; each agency gathers their consumer credit information differently; each of your creditor may report to different agencies; and balances are sometimes updated on different dates. At times, you may find that a particular agency does not even have a particular account shown on the credit report.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a credit card account from Chase. You’ve had this card for over 15 years, and have never paid late. This of course is a positive credit history. The funny part is, the account is only reported on your TransUnion and Experian report, but not your Equifax report.
This difference explains a bit why your FICO score from TransUnion is 750, the score from Experian is 770, while the score from Equifax is a lower 680. (FICO scores are on a scale of 300-850).
Now if you apply for a loan from a creditor, you get a better chance of approval, if they pull your Experian or TransUnion report, instead of your Equifax report. This is why its important to change these differences when necessary.
The difference in my FICO score
You can also take advantage of difference in credit scores. Let’s say you have a negative of a miss-payment in your Equifax and Experian report. For whatever reason, this negative is not shown on your TransUnion report. If you’re looking to apply for a credit card, it will be best to avoid a creditor that pulls Equifax or Experian.
There are numerous resources online which shows what agency a creditor pulls, and in which region. Previously located at a Yahoo Group message board, you can now to go Creditboard’s Creditpulls database to search for various type of credit that creditors pull before they approve your credit application.
Some creditor pulls from solely one agency, while others pull from two or all three. These are some of the major reasons why you should check your credit report, and change any mistakes or differences as necessary. This is especially true if you’re about to apply for a large loan soon (mortgage or auto). You should check your reports 6 months before a large purchase to give yourself time to fix and update your credit reports.
Remember that we can all request at least one free report from each agency annually. We can also request report when we are denied credit. These days, checking your credit has been made much easier via online services, so you should utilize them as much as possible. (Especially the free ones)
Here are some useful links:
- www.annualcreditreport.com – Free credit report from each agency.
- www.experian.com – You can request a free report from Experian online if you have been recently denied credit. You can also dispute information online. You can view the report for 30 days, and its updated daily!
- www.transunion.com – You can also request a free report from TransUnion online if you have been recently denied credit. You can also dispute information online.
- www.equifax.com – Although you can request a free report, if I recall correctly, Equifax does not provide the report online. You can also dispute the information online.
When you dispute information, you are entitled to an updated free report to reflect the changes. Equifax is the only one that sends an excerpted report change. Talk about being cheap.
- www.equifax.com – You can track your real FICO score here.
- www.myfico.com – You can purchase your FICO score here. This is one of the few places to get your real FICO score.
- www.creditboards.com – Need credit improvement help? This online message forum contains a vast bank of information. You should of course apply them with care, as not all advice may be suitable for your particular situation.
Posted by Cap in Credit Related
on July 6, 2005 | 2 Comments
Well I finally applied for the very popular Citi Dividend cash-back card, after I got one of them “Pre-Approve” offers in the mail. Citi’s been sending me those PremierPass offers for quite awhile now, but I wanted the Dividend’s 5% cash back on gas and groceries (and 1% for everything else).
I applied for the card on July 1st and an inquiry showed up on my Experian credit report on July 2nd.
Although I have not received the approval letter yet, I believe I’m approved because Citi has initiated the balance transfer I requested when I applied for the card. I”ll be utilizing the temporary 0% offer to put some cash into a high-yield online savings account.
Even with the $300 cash-back reward cap, this still sound like a pretty decent card. As soon as the balance transfer is paid off, I’ll be charging my gas and grocery purchases on this! Maybe I’ll get to enjoy more free money, just like Jonathan from MyMoneyBlog.
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