Evaluating Credit Card Offers: Essential Terms You Must Understand

Credit card offers, they're everywhere! They appear in your mailbox. They pop up while you're surfing the Internet. They're in slick brochures next to the cash register or gas pump. They're in full-page ads in the Sunday papers.

If you need a new credit card, how do you choose? You should evaluate each offer carefully, and to do that you must understand these essential terms.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) :

The interest rate charged on your account balance. (But see "Balance Calculation Methods," because the rules for computing interest from your balance and your APR can vary.) Your statement will typically show the APR and a monthly and / or daily rate based on the APR that's actually used to calculate your Monthly interest. There may be several APRs applicable to different portions of your balance, for example an introductory rate, a regular purchase rate, and a regular cash advance rate.

A fixed APR is set by the credit card company, which can generally change it with as little as 15 days advance notice, especially if you run afoul of any of the "gotchas" in the terms. These "gotchas" are often very consumer-unfriendly. For example, many companies these days reserve the right to raise your rate if you've been late on a payment to another, unrelated company.

A variable APR is tied to some widely used economic index, such as the Prime Rate. It may be stated as "prime + x%, currently y%," for example "prime + 7%, currently 13.5%." This means that when the Prime Rate is 6.5%, your APR is 13.5%. When the Prime Rate goes up or down, so does your APR. But beware, because some of the same "gotchas" apply to variable APRs as to fixed APRs. Read the fine print. It may state that if you're late with one payment, your APR will no longer be variable but will rise to an exorbitant fixed rate, usually over 20%.

The penalty APR is the rate to which your APR will immediately be raised when you violate any of the "gotchas" in the terms. This rate is usually at least 50% higher than the regular APR. Again, be sure to read the fine print to see what situations will trigger the penalty APR. You'll often see these: failure to pay this or any other account on time, exceeding your credit limit on this or any other account, excessive credit balances on your accounts in aggregate.

Balance Calculation Methods:

These are important to understand, because your APR is only part of the story when it comes to calculating the interest you'll be charged each month. The other part is how the balance is calculated to which the APR is applied. In any case the balance is multiplied by the daily or monthly interest rate. But the balance calculation is not as straightforward as you might think.

1. Two-Cycle Balance. This is the worst method from a consumer's point of view because it can lead to the highest interest calculations. Unfortunately, it's also becoming the most widely used method. To calculate the balance, add together the average daily balances for the current billing period (sometimes even including new charges) and the previous period. Here's why this is so unfriendly to you. Say you have run a balance for a few months and finally pay it from $ 200 down to zero at the end of May. You think it's safe to use the card in June for a new $ 100 purchase, and if you pay the $ 100 by the end of the June grace period, you will not owe any interest on it. But you're wrong. Since your average daily balance in May was not zero (say it was $ 120), and since you used the card in June, your interest will be calculated on May's average balance again, so even if you pay the whole June purchase in June, you Will still owe additional interest. In other words, you must wait two months, allow the account to cycle once with a zero balance, before it's safe to use it again – "safe" in the sense that you will not incur extra interest if you pay the balance in full By the end of the grace period.

2. Average Daily Balance. This was once the most common calculation method and is still popular. Add the daily balance for each day in the billing cycle, then divide by the number of days in the cycle. Depending on the terms, this may or may not include new charges.

3. Adjusted Balance. This is the best method from a consumer's point of view, but it's rapidly going the way of the dodo. Take the balance at the beginning of the billing cycle, then subtract any payments or other credits recorded during the cycle. Do not include new charges during the cycle. For example, if your beginning balance was $ 1200, and you paid $ 400 during the cycle, the balance to which your monthly rate will be applied is $ 800, regardless of any new charges.

Balance Transfer:

This means that you're charging card X to pay off (all or part of) the balance on card Y. So the balance is, in effect, transferred from card Y to card X. Why would you want to do this? Usually to take advantage of an introductory low interest rate when applying for a new card. Look closely at the terms. Sometimes these introductory rates last only a few months. The best ones are for the life of the balance. You will often have to pay a transaction fee equal to 3% of the balance transferred. Sometimes these fees are capped at $ 75 or so. Be sure to see whether or not the transaction fee excepts what you'll save in interest. If so, do not do it. Sometimes the credit card company will agree to waive the fee, especially on a new account. Do not be afraid to ask.

Cash Advance:

A cash loan charged immediately to your credit card account. Usually there is no grace period for paying off a cash advance, which means you'll be charged interest starting from the day of the loan, even if you pay it in full by the end of the billing cycle. Also this type of charge may have a higher APR than purchases or balance transfers. Check your terms. Note that some kinds of transactions, like buying casino chips or lottery tickets, may be valued as cash advances. This can also apply to writing a purchase check to your own bank account. Be sure to read the fine print.

Credit Limit:

The upper limit on your account balance. Exceeding it may result in penalties. Be very careful if your balance is close to the limit ("maxed out"), because you can exceed it without charging anything new if you fail to pay enough. Remember that just because the company has approved you for a certain limit does not mean you can afford to take on that much debt.

Disclosure Chart:

An important portion of the Terms and Conditions statement. It's a little bit like the Nutrition Statement on a food package because the law dictates what has to be listed here. If you can not stand to read all the fine print, be sure that you read this part.

  1. Fixed APR or APRs after any introductory rate (s) have expired
  2. Rule (s) for calculating variable APR (s) if applicable
  3. Grace period
  4. Annual fee if applicable
  5. Minimum per-cycle finance charge
  6. Additional fees if applicable, such as cash advance fees
  7. Balance calculation method
  8. Late payment and delinquency fees
  9. Over limit fees

Grace Period:

The time, calculated from the account cycle date, during which you can pay the balance in full without having any interest charged. This usually applies only to purchases, and only if you've paid the previous month's balance in full and on time. (Sometimes even that's not enough. See "Two-Cycle Balance" calculation method for an additional "gotcha.")

Pre-Approved:

This can be very misleading. It does not mean the company is guaranteeing to issue you the card in the offer. It just means that they chose you to receive this offer based on some general screening of your credit report. They always reserve the right to deny or alter the offer based on a more detailed examination of your records.

Oxford- A City Guide

Oxford is a city and local government district in Oxfordshire, England,
With a population of 134,248 (2001 census). It is home to the
University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking
World. It is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by
Matthew Arnold in reference to the harmonious architecture of the
University buildings. The Oxford suburb of Cowley has a long history of
Carmaking, and still produces BMW MINIs.

History

Oxford was first employed in Saxon times, and was initially known as
"Oxenaforda". It began with the foundations of St Frideswide's nunnery
In the 8th century. The University of Oxford is first mentioned in 12th
Century records. Oxford's earliest colleges were University College
(1249), Balliol (1263) and Merton (1264).

During the English Civil War, Oxford housed the court of Charles I in
1642, after the king was expelled from London, although there was
Strong support in the town for the Parliamentaryarian cause. In the 19th
Century the controversial surrounding the Oxford Movement in the Anglican
Church drew attention to the city as a focus of theological thought.
Oxford's Town Hall was built by Henry T. Hare, the foundation stone was
Laid on 6 July 1893 and opened by the future King Edward VII on 12 May
1897. By the early 20th century Oxford was experiencing rapid
Industrial and population growth, with the printing and publishing
Industries becoming well established by the 1920s.

Places of interest

Oxford has numerous major tourist attractions, many belonging to the
University and colleges. As well as several famous institutions, the
Town center is home to Carfax Tower and a historical themed ride, The
Oxford Story. In the summer, punting on the Thames (sometimes called
The Isis as it flows through Oxford) and the Cherwell is popular.
Other notable attractions include:

  • Christ Church Cathedral
  • The Church of St Mary the Virgin (the University Church)
  • Martyrs' Memorial
  • Ashmolean Museum
  • Pitt Rivers Museum
  • Museum of Natural History
  • Museum of the History of Science
  • Science Oxford
  • University buildings
  • The University Parks
  • The University Botanic Garden
  • Cornmarket Street, Oxford
  • Turl Street, Oxford
  • Little Clarendon Street
  • Oxford Covered Market
  • Westgate Shopping Center
  • Museums and Art Galleries

    Oxford has a large number of museums and galleries open for public.
    Following are the world famous and a major tourist spot in Oxford:

  • Ashmolean Museum, Britain's old museum
  • Pitt Rivers Museum
  • Museum of Natural History, home of (the remains of) the Oxford Dodo
  • Museum of the History of Science, in Britain's oldest purpose-built
    Museum building
  • Museum of Oxford
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Science Oxford
  • Shopping

    Golden Cross, an arcade of first-class shops and boutiques, lies
    Between Cornmarket Street and the Covered Market. Parts of the colorful
    Gallery date from the 12th century. Many buildings remain from the
    Medieval era, along with some 15th- and 17th-century structures. The
    Market also has a reputation as the Covent Garden of Oxford, with live
    Entertainment on Saturday mornings in summer. In its way, Alice's Shop,
    Played an important role in English literature, it functioned as a
    General store (selling brooms, hardware, and the like) during the
    Period that Lewis Carroll, at the time a professor of mathematics at
    Christ Church College, was composing Alice in Wonderland.

    It is
    Believed to have been the model for important settings within the book.
    Today, the place is a favorite stopover of Lewis Carroll fans from as
    Far away as Japan, who gobble up commemorative pencils, chess sets,
    Party favors, bookmarks, and in rare cases, original editions of some
    Of Carroll's works. The Bodleian Library Shop, specializes in Oxford
    Souvenirs, from books and paperweights to Oxford banners and coffee
    Mugs. Castell & Son (The Varsity Shop), is the best outlet in
    Oxford for clothing emblazoned with the Oxford logo or heraldic symbol.

    Food and Drink

    Oxford offers European and Middle-East and Asian cuisine. Some of the
    Restaurants are:

  • Cherwell Boathouse Restaurant
  • Gee's Restaurant
  • Le Manoir aux Quat 'Saisons
  • Rosamund the Fair
  • Al-Salam
  • Browns.
  • Exceed these restaurants Oxford hosts some traditional and historic pubs

  • The Eagle and Child
  • The Turf Tavern
  • The Lamb and Flag
  • The Bear
  • Education

    The University of Oxford, located in the city of Oxford, England, is
    The oldest university in the English-speaking world.
    Events and organizations and institutions officially associated with the
    University include:

  • Worcester College, Backs of medieval cottages
  • The Oxford Union Society
  • The Oxford University Press, the world's oldest and largest
    University press
  • The Bodleian Library
  • Major Research Libraries (including the Sackler Library)
  • Oxford University Department for Continuing Education
  • The Taylor Institution
  • The Oxford University Student Union
  • Oxford University Newman Society – Catholic speaker society
  • The OICCU, the undergraduate Christian union
  • The Oxford University Museum of Natural History (sometimes called
    The Oxford University Museum)
  • The Pitt Rivers Museum
  • The Ashmolean Museum
  • The Bate Collection
  • Oxford Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum
  • Oxford University Sports Federation
  • Oxford University Boat Club
  • The O'Reilly Theater
  • Moser Theater
  • Rothermere American Institute
  • Said Business School
  • The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art
  • Computing Laboratory
  • Isis Innovation
  • Sports

    Oxford City FC and Milton United FC among others are two famous
    Football club and play regular club and league matches. Oxford
    Cavaliers Rugby League Club is the rugby club playing for Oxford city.
    Drayton Leisure Golf Driving Range is the golf course with 9 HOLE (PAR
    3) COURSE and 6 HOLES FLOODLIT. As a city in UK it has a number of
    Cricket teams and hosts tournaments like Bernard Tollett Oxfordshire
    Cup, National Cricket Club Championship, The Cricketer National Village
    Championship etc

    Tours and Sightseeing

    There are a number of tour operators in Oxford. The tourist information
    Center is also very helpful to find out a way to enjoy the visit
    Of Oxford.

    Hotels and Accommodations

    Accommodations in Oxford are limited, although recently, motels have
    Sprouted on theirts – good for those who want modern amenities.
    In addition, if you have a car, you may want to consider country houses
    Or small B & Bs on the outskirts of town
    Some of the notable hotels are:

  • Victoria House
    Hotel
  • Cotswold Lodge
    Classic Hotel
  • Westwood Country
    Hotel Ltd
  • Holiday Inn Oxford
  • The Oxford Hotel
  • Oxford Thames
    Four Pillars Hotel
  • Express by
    Holiday Inn Oxford Kassam Stadium
  • The Bat &
    Ball Inn
  • The Upper Reaches
  • Abingdon Four
    Pillars Hotel
  • Oxfordshire Inn
  • Days Inn Hotel Oxford
  • The Plow at Clifton Hampden
  • Marlborough Arms Hotel
  • The FEATHERS
  • Macdonald Bear Hotel
  • White Hart Hotel
  • Transport

    Oxford is located some 50 miles (80 km) north west of London; The
    Cities are linked by the M40 motorway, which also links northwards to
    Birmingham.

    Rail connections include services to London (Paddington), Bournemouth,
    Worcester (via the Cotswold Line), and Bicester. The city also has
    Regular train services northwards to Birmingham, Coventry and the
    North. The railway service connecting Oxford and Cambridge, known as
    The Varsity Line, was discontinued in 1968.
    The Oxford Canal connects to the River Thames at Oxford.

    Oxford Airport at Kidlington offers business and general aviation
    Services.
    Local bus services are large provided by the Oxford Bus Company and
    Stagecoach South Midlands.

    Reverse Phone Services That Use PayPal

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    So take the time to find a reverse service that includes PayPal and you will find the information you need today.

    How to Erase Credit Card Debt

    In order to erase credit card debt you are taking on a big challenge. You have probably come to this point after the debt on your credit cards has made your budget impossible to handle. The credit card companies send you pre-approved cards without your knowledge offering you a card without any charge for purchases for a certain period of time. It just happens to be around Christmas time or some other holiday and you could use some unexpected extra money, so you charge a few things which lead to many more. Next thing you know, you've reached the maximum on the card and it is time for the percentage to kick in. Now you owe much more than you expected and you're not sure how to get your budget back in line.

    You've heard about consolidation of debt to erase your credit card debt but you do not know much about it. The truth is you can do this yourself without paying someone else by reassessing your assets and liabilities and then setting aside a specific amount of money each month to pay towards getting yourself out of credit card debt. This will take determination and some sacrifices but in the long run it will be worth it. You will feel satisfaction in yourself and your efforts when you can look at your checking account and there actually is some money in it after you pay your bills.

    Negotiating with your creditors is the hard part. Some credit card companies are willing to work with you to erase credit card debt so that they get most of their money back, but others will not be so cooperative. This is when some people will turn to a third party such as a debt consolidation service. If you choose this course of action, it is important to make sure that the company is reliable. You can do this by contacting the Better Business Bureau who will give you all the information you need to make an intelligent decision regarding which company will best suit your needs. The problem with these debt consolidation companies is that they make statements that they can not always back up. It usually comes down to them trying to sell you their special program which you have to pay for before they'll help you.

    The better course of action is for you to take charge of your finances and work towards paying your debt with a positive attitude. This will go a long way in helping you in your negotiations with your creditors. If your creditors feel that you really want to pay off your debts and are not just trying to find some way out of paying them, they will be more willing to try to accommodate you in your attempt to do the right thing. It may take a few years of cutting down your spending habits but it can be done. You should sit down and make a detailed plan as to how you can cut your spending and which credit cards needs to be paid off faster than others.

    Another option is to move some of your credit around from a credit card with a high interest rate to one with a lower interest rate. This is called a balance transfer and will help with your monthly budget. Any extra money you receive such as a tax return or an inheritance should be applied towards the paying down of your credit card debts. If you apply yourself to erase your credit card debt, you will find that you can do this without having to pay some third party to assist you.