Tag: Interest

Small Business Loans, TD Canada Trust, business loan interest rates.#Business #loan #interest #rates


Small Business Loan

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Or, to begin an application, call our Small Business Advice Centre at 1-866-222-3456

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Small Business Loans

Business loan interest rates

Available Fixed or Floating Interest Rates for Small Business Loans

Flexible Business Loan Payment Options

A Business Loan 1 can help you purchase or upgrade business assets, or help with your expansion plans. The choice is yours.

Secured or unsecured options

  • Available as an unsecured loan 2 in amounts from $10,000 to $50,000
  • Also available as an asset secured loan in amounts from $10,000 to $1,250,000. Flexible security options 3 include:
    • Business real estate
    • Residential real estate (full or partial)
    • Liquid or margin security (full or partial)
    • Business assets

Flexible payment options

  • Choice of 1 to 5 year fixed-rate terms
  • Amortization up to 20 years, based upon the useful life of the asset financed

Fixed or floating interest rates available

  • Floating interest rate options based on TD Prime Rate with no prepayment penalties.
  • Fixed interest rate options available with the flexibility to make 10% principal prepayments annually without penalty.
  • No review fees.
  • Set-up fees may apply.

Protection for your Business Loan

Business Credit Life Insurance can help meet the financial obligations of your business should a person who is key to the success of your business die or suffer a covered accident. Get the coverage your business needs.

Multi-unit property mortgages

We can help you build a customized mortgage for multi-unit residential properties (5+ units).

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1 Subject to complying with TD Canada Trust lending policies and criteria including confirmation of good personal credit history. Certain business documentation is required. Other conditions may apply. Set-up fees may apply. Personal guarantee(s) may be required.

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Business loan interest rates


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SBA Loan Rates – Current Interest Rates and How They Work, business loan interest

Business loan interest rates

Business loan interest rates

SBA Loan Rates Current Interest Rates and How They Work

There are three primary types of SBA loans: SBA 7A Loans, SBA Express Loans, and CDC/504 Loans. SBA 7A loans and SBA Express loans can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including growth capital and refinancing. CDC/504 loans, on the other hand, are specifically for the purchase of fixed assets like real estate and heavy machinery.

November 2017 Maximum interest rates on SBA 7A Loans range from 6.5 % to 9 %. Full Table

November 2017 Maximum interest rates for the CDC portion of CDC/504 Loans currently range from 4.08% to 4.43% including fees. Full Table

Before reading further, make sure you are qualified. Though there are exceptions, and startups are sometimes eligible, there are five general requirements for getting an SBA loan:

  • In business at least 2 years
  • Personal credit score is 680+ (check your score for free here)
  • Seeking at least $30,000
  • At least $50,000 in revenues for the past 12 months
  • Business is profitable

Sound like you? We recommend applying with SmartBiz. They are the best company we have found at providing quick turnarounds on SBA loan approvals, and you can find out how much you qualify for in 5 minutes.

Current SBA (7A) Loan Interest Rates and Explanation

The Small Business Administration (SBA) sets the maximum interest rates that banks can charge on 7A loans. The current maximum interest rate ranges from 6.5% 9%, depending on the size of the loan and the amount being borrowed.

The maximum interest rates on SBA 7A loans are also based on market interest rates. As market interest rates change, so will the maximum interest rates on these loans.

Maximum Interest Rates on SBA 7A Loans for November 2017

Detailed SBA 7(a) Interest Rate Explanation* Please note SBA 7A Express loans carry a higher interest rate for similar size amounts and terms than the standard 7A loans above. We recommend avoiding SBA Express loans as firms like SmartBiz can provide approval for the standard 7A with similar turnaround times.

As the table above shows, the maximum interest rate on SBA 7(a) loans is based on three factors:

  1. A base rate (one of the following publicly available interest rate measures): Prime Rate, LIBOR (one month) + 3.0%, or SBA Peg Rate
  2. The term of the loan: Less than 7 years or greater than 7 years. For example, 3 and 5 year loans would all fall into the same category of under 7 years.
  3. The size of the loan: Under $25,000, $25,000 to $49,999, and over $50,000. For example, loans of $30,000 and $45,000 will fall under the same category.

As the table shows, loans longer than 7 years have a maximum interest rate which is half a percent higher than similar size loans that are for terms that are less than 7 years.

Loans for more than $50,000 have 1% lower maximum interest rates than loans between $25,000 and $49,999 when taken for similar terms. Similarly, loans for $25,000 to $49,999 have 1% lower maximum interest rates than loans for less than $25,000.

Fixed vs. Variable SBA Interest Rates

7A loans can have a fixed or variable interest rate. With a fixed rate loan, the loan interest rate remains constant throughout the life of the loan. With a variable rate loan, the loan’s interest rate can change (often referred to as a reset) at regular intervals, such as quarterly or monthly.

With variable rate SBA 7A loans, the rate is reset based on one of three publicly available market interest rate numbers, plus a fixed percentage. The interest rate must always be at or below the maximum interest rate set by the SBA. For smaller size SBA loans (for example those under $500,000), banks tend to offer only variable rate loans, with interest rates at or close to the maximum allowable by the SBA.

The Base Rate And Interest Rate Resets

Banks can choose one of three market interest rate measures as their base rate. These are the prime rate, LIBOR + 3.0%, or the SBA peg rate. While there are small differences between these rates, they tend to track each other very closely. The Prime Rate is the one that s most commonly used.

Rates as of November 1, 2017:

  • Prime Rate: 4.25% (source: WSJ)
  • LIBOR (one month) + 3.0%: 4.24% (source: Bankrate)
  • SBA PEG Rate: 2.625% (source: National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders)

These rates can go up or down based on market conditions. Currently, they are at decade low levels. Over the last 10 years, the Prime Rate has been as high as 8.3%.

With a variable rate SBA 7A Loan, as market interest rates rise so will the rate on the loan. Let’s take the example of a 10-year loan for $50,000 with interest rates rising by 2%.

The maximum interest rate on the loan currently would be 7.75%, with a monthly payment of $600 per month. With a 2% rise in interest rates upon the interest rate reset, the rate would be 9.75%, with a monthly payment of $654 (this would be the monthly increase for a newly issued loan. If the loan was older, the increase in monthly payment would be lower).

Interest Rates Are Not The Only Costs To Borrowing Money: APR/APY

When taking a loan, there is often an origination fee. This fee supposedly covers the costs of the bank or financial institution of making the loan, including marketing costs. However, the origination fee is not directly based on costs and is arbitrarily set by the financial institution. An origination fee of 4% is not unusual. The fee is typically taken “off the top”. For example, a borrower taking a $50,000 SBA loan with a 4% origination fee would only receive $48,000.

SBA 7(a) loans also have a guarantee fee. Initially, the lender pays this fee to the SBA, but it s almost always passed on to the borrower at closing. Currently, the SBA has waived fees for loans under $150,000. Above that, the fee typically ranges from 3 % to 3.5 % of the guaranteed portion of the loan. The exact percentage depends on the size of the loan and the length of the loan. For example, if a borrower takes a $250,000 10-year 7a loan, the SBA may guarantee 75 % of that, or $187,500. 3 percent of that amount, or $5,625, is the guarantee fee that will be charged to the borrower. For more info, click here.

The true cost of borrowing money (interest rate + fees) is often called the APY (Annual Percentage Yield) or APR (Annual Percentage Rate). On a ten year SBA loan, the effect of fees can create an APR or APY that is around 1% higher than the loan’s interest rate. The shorter the loan the bigger the impact that fees will have on the APY/APR.

What size SBA loan could you qualify for? Apply with SmartBiz and get an estimate in minutes.

November 2017 SBA Loan Rates On Real CDC / 504 Loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) sets the maximum interest that banks can charge on CDC/504 loans. The current maximum interest rate ranges from 3.83% to 4.56%, depending on the size of the loan and the amount being borrowed.

The maximum interest rates on CDC/504 loans are also based on market interest rates. As market interest rates change, so will the maximum interest rates on these loans.

While a 7A SBA Loan can be used to purchase real estate, a Real CDC / 504 Loan will tend to provide borrowers with tremendous interest rate savings. A CDC / 504 loan is composed of two loans:

  1. A loan from a financial institution (bank) for typically 50% of the price of the property, equipment, and building upgrades.
  2. A loan from a Certified Development Company (a non-profit) for 40% of the price.

The remaining 10 % is a down payment from the borrower. The interest rates on the bank portion of the loan are not set by the SBA. However, the interest rates on these loans tend to be very low, currently in the mid-single digits. Because the bank loan is senior to the CDC loan and the loan is backed by real-estate, there is a low risk that the bank will not be able to get back the money it loans. The low-risk is reflected in the low-interest rates.

The maximum interest rate on the CDC portion of the loan is set by the SBA.

If you re in the market for commercial real estate and will occupy at least 51% of the space, you may be a good candidate for an SBA 504 loan. We recommend working with Liberty SBF for SBA 504 loans. If you have credit score is above 680 (check here for free), you ve been in business 4+ years, are profitable, and need more than $1,000,000, speak with Liberty SBF today.

If you need a commercial real estate loan of $500,000 $5,000,000, another option is a 7(a) loan with a 25-year repayment term. If you have a credit score above 680 (check here for free), you ve been in business 3+ years, are profitable, and will occupy at least 51% of the space, get prequalified in minutes with SmartBiz.


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The Average Interest Rate for Small Business Loans, business loan interest rates.#Business #loan #interest

The Average Interest Rate for Small Business Loans

Business loan interest rates

Banks sell commercial loans to investment companies.

Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

Related Articles

  • 1 What Determines the Rate of Interest You Pay on Loans?
  • 2 How to Calculate Business Loan Payments
  • 3 How to Get a Government Small Business Loan
  • 4 The Best Banks for Small Business Loans

To obtain capital to start a new business, business owners take out business loans from banks or other lending institutions. It is difficult for small business owners to obtain capital any other way. Small businesses use these loans to purchase inventory, rent building space and pay vendors. Because small businesses have such a crucial need for these loans, lending institutions can charge high interest rates on them.

Size of Loan

The average interest rate for a small business loan depends upon a number of factors. One factor is the size of the loan. For example, loans under $100,000 have a higher interest rate than loans over $100,000, according to a July rate report by Bloomberg Businessweek. This is because smaller loans will be repaid at a faster rate than larger loans. In 2011, loans under $100,000 have an interest rate of 7 to 8 percent, whereas loans over $100,000 have an interest rate of 6 to 7 percent.

Type of Institution

Another factor to determine the size of the interest rate is the type of institution offering the loan. For example, the Businessweek report indicates foreign banks tend to offer lower interest rates to small businesses than smaller domestic banks do. In 2011, foreign banks offered an interest rate of 6 to 7 percent, whereas small domestic banks offered an interest rate of 7 to 8 percent. Foreign banks can offer a lower interest rate because fewer monetary and security regulations are in place by those countries.

Type of Business

Another factor lending institutions consider in determining small business loan rates is the type of business being funded. A riskier business, such as an Internet start-up company, will be offered a higher interest rate than a safer business venture, such as an extension of an established food chain. If the small business can show the lending institution that it is a safe investment, the financial institution may consider the investment as a lower risk and, therefore, offer a lower interest rate on the loan.


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Commercial Fixed Rate Loan, Loans and Finance, Business Banking, Lloyds Bank, business loan interest

Commercial Fixed Rate Loan

  • Borrow from 50,001 up to 500,000.
  • Choose a term from one to 25 years.
  • Fixed monthly repayments.
  • Borrow on a secured or unsecured basis.
  • Break costs will apply these will be defined at the outset of your loan.
  • Read our charter to find out how we’re committed to lending to businesses.

Our Commercial Fixed Rate Loan has a fixed interest rate during the fixed rate period, so you’ll know exactly what the repayments will be each month. This allows you to plan your finances better.

Break costs will apply if a fixed rate loan is fully or partly repaid early. Break costs are defined at the outset of your loan, giving you certainty around the costs involved.

An arrangement fee will apply and is related to the amount you choose to borrow. These terms will be discussed with you before you take out the loan.

Is your business eligible? Expandable section

What you need to know before applying Expandable section

Rates and charges Expandable section

Terms and conditions Expandable section

Other loan options Expandable section

To enquire about this loan, you must:

  • Require the loan for business use.
  • Apply for a minimum of 50,001.
  • Be a sole trader, partner or director with authority to borrow on behalf of your business.
  • Be aged 18 or over.

One of our business management team will be happy to speak with you about your application. However, before you get in touch, please make sure you know:

  • How much you would like to borrow.
  • The purpose of the finance.
  • What time period you would like to make the repayments over.

An arrangement fee will apply and is related to the amount you choose to borrow. These terms will be discussed with you before you take out the loan.

You will be provided with terms conditions during the application process.

Business loan interest rates

Fixed Rate Loan

A loan with a variable rate that changes in line with the Bank of England bank rate.

Business loan interest rates

Finance Selector

Decide which of our loans and finance options could be right for your business.

Business loan interest rates

Base Rate Loan

A loan with a variable rate that changes in line with the Bank of England bank rate.

Business loan interest rates

Loans and finance

Our lending products are flexible enough to accommodate almost any business plan.

How to apply or enquire for any of our loans

Enquire online

Complete our online enquiry form and we ll contact you to discuss your business needs.

On the phone

Call us to talk to one of our business management team. Lines open 7am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 2pm on Saturday, except on UK bank holidays.

Business loan interest rates

Busting the lending myths

Answering some common misconceptions associated with business lending.

Business loan interest rates

Helpful guides

Lending appeals

Business loan interest rates

ANY PROPERTY GIVEN AS SECURITY, WHICH MAY INCLUDE YOUR HOME, MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON YOUR MORTGAGE OR OTHER DEBTS SECURED ON IT.

All lending is subject to a satisfactory credit assessment and we will need your permission to carry out a credit check on you and your business.

You should not apply for an amount that you cannot comfortably afford to repay now and in the future to avoid the possibility of legal action.

Important legal information

Calls may be recorded for our mutual protection, training and monitoring purposes.

Lloyds Bank plc Registered Office: 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 2065. Telephone: 020 7626 1500.

Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 119278.

Eligible deposits with us are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). We are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Please note that due to FSCS and FOS eligibility criteria not all business customers will be covered.


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Business Loans – Check Business Loan Interest Rate – Eligibility Online at HDFC Bank

#business loan

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Business Loan

  • Features Benefits
  • Eligibility
  • Fees Charges
  • In – Principle loan eligibility in 1 Minute online and across all branches
  • Convenience of contacting us through SMS, Webchat, Click2Talk, PhoneBanking and across all Branches
  • Business Loan is also available on the basis of repayment of home loans, auto loans and credit cards.
  • Loan Amount up to Rs. 15 Lakhs (Up to Rs. 40 Lakhs in selected locations).
  • Flexible repayment options ranging from 12 – 36 Months.
  • Credit Protect Insurance Plan:
    We help you take care of your loved ones with a Credit Protect Plan to cover your loan at a nominal premium.*

In case of Natural / Accidental Death of the customer, the customer / nominee can avail of the Payment Protection Insurance (Credit Protect) which insures the principle outstanding on the loan up to a maximum of the loan amount.

We will charge a premium for this product, and the premium amount will be deducted from the loan amount at the time of disbursal. We will also charge service tax and applicable surcharge/cess at the rates notified by the government.

Secure your business loan with Credit Protect.

Key benefits of policy

  • Protects the family by paying off the loan amount in case of death of the customer
  • Life Coverage provides peace of Mind
  • No need to use other savings to repay the loan
  • Tax Benefits as per applicable laws
  • One convenient package – loan + insurance

* Premium will be charged for Credit Protect will be deducted from the loan amount at the time of disbursal.

(* terms and conditions of the Insurers shall apply, Above product is offered by HDFC Life Ins Co.ltd)

Already have a Business Loan?

Reduce your EMI, transfer your existing Business Loan to us. Business Loan balance transfer offers special and exclusive benefits.

  • Interest rate as low as 14.99* % on existing loan transfer.
  • Processing fees as low as 0.99%

Now reduce your EMI burden with our balance transfer programme

Get details on eligibility criteria documents required for HDFC Bank Business Loan

Self Employed including Individual Proprietors, Private Ltd. Co. and Partnership Firms involved in the Business of Manufacturing, Trading or Services.

  • Minimum Turnover of Rs. 40 Lakhs.
  • Years in business: Minimum of 3 years in current business and 5 years total business experience
  • Business must be profit making for the last 2 years
  • Minimum Annual Income (ITR): Rs. 1.5 Lakhs p.a.
  • Age of Applicant: Min 21 years Max. 65 years at the time of loan maturity.

Documents you will need to submit:

  • PAN Card For Company /Firm/ individual.
  • Proof of your identity: Copy of Aadhaar Card/Passport/Voter s ID card/driving license.
  • Proof of your address: Copy of Aadhaar Card/Telephone bill/Electricity bill/Passport.
  • Bank Statement (latest 6 months)
  • Latest ITR along with computation of income, Balance sheet and Profit Loss a/c for the last 2 years. Financial should be CA Certified /Audited.
  • Proof of continuation (ITR/Trade license /Establishment /Sales Tax certificate)
  • Other Mandatory Documents (Sole Prop. Declaration Or Certified Copy of Partnership Deed, Certified true copy of Memorandum Articles of Association (certified by Director) Board resolution (Original)

Loan at the sole discretion of HDFC Bank Ltd.

Enclosed below are HDFC Bank Business Loan Interest Rates Charges


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Term deposit account #term #deposit,high #rate,fixed #rate,interest #rate,savings,yorkshire #bank


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Term deposit account

Making your savings grow

Decide how long you’d like to save – from three months to five years – then once your term deposit is opened, sit back and watch your money earn a guaranteed rate. Our term deposit account is ideal if you want to put away a lump sum – as long as you don’t want to make any withdrawals or additional deposits.

Features
  • Guaranteed interest rates – up to 2.08% Gross*/2.00% AER +. This rate is available on the 5 year Term Deposit – Interest Capitalised at Maturity account.
  • Minimum deposit of £2,000 – Maximum deposit of £5,000,000.
  • Withdrawals or early closure are not permitted during the fixed term.
  • See interest rates tab for terms available, interest rates and how this is paid to you. Our summary box is a recap of our key product information
Withdrawals are not permitted

Please note withdrawals or early closure of the term deposit are not permitted under any circumstances during the fixed term except in the event of the death of the Account Holder (or one of them if joint account). See term deposit terms and conditions (PDF, opens in new window) clause 2.3 for further information, if there is anything that you don’t understand please contact us for clarification.

*Gross rate interest is the interest payable without taking account of any tax payable. From 6th April 2016 we no longer deduct tax from the interest earned on your savings, following the introduction of a Personal Savings Allowance. If you earn interest over your Personal Savings Allowance you will be required to pay any tax due yourself directly to HM Revenue and Customs. If you would like to read more about your Personal Savings Allowance, please visit the Government website www.gov.uk.

+ AER. Annual Equivalent Rate illustrates what the interest rate would be if interest was paid and compounded once each year.

For new Term Deposits – The rate in force on the day your Term Deposit is opened will be the rate applied to your new account for the fixed term.

For existing Term Deposits that are due to mature – The rate in force on the day your Term Deposit is reinvested will be the rate applied to your account for the fixed term. For more information on your options please refer to the letter sent out 35 days prior to your maturity date.

Interest capitalised and paid at maturity – interest will be credited to the account on the maturity date.

Apply in Branch

A Yorkshire Bank current or savings account must remain open in order for the monthly or annual interest to be paid in to.

The terms and rates offered for Term Deposits are constantly reviewed. As a result the length of the terms offered may vary.

*Gross rate interest is the interest payable without taking account of any tax payable. From 6th April 2016 we will no longer deduct tax from the interest earned on your savings, following the introduction of a Personal Savings Allowance. If you earn interest over your Personal Savings Allowance you will be required to pay any tax due yourself directly to HM Revenue and Customs. If you would like to read more about your Personal Savings Allowance, please visit the Government website www.gov.uk .

+ AER. Annual Equivalent Rate illustrates what the interest rate would be if interest was paid and compounded once each year.

How to apply

Use the online application process to complete and print an application form and fill it out with exception of the 3, 6 and 60 month term deposit. Send on to the following address – no postcode required – but please note that it is important to ensure the FREEPOST address is written on one line as:

FREEPOST YORKSHIRE BANK TERM DEPOSIT ADMINISTRATION

Along with your application, you should send a cheque for the amount of your deposit. The cheque must be written from an account in the applicant’s name and made payable to the person named on the application form. For joint applications, you can send a separate cheque for each applicant if you wish.

When we receive your signed application, we will process it as quickly as possible.

  • After your cheque has cleared, we will open your account
  • Within 14 working days we will send you a certificate and covering letter confirming your new term deposit details
Apply by phone

Call 0800 587 5000 (Monday to Friday 8.00am – 8.00pm, Saturday 9.00am – 5.00pm, Sunday 10.00am – 4.00pm)

Apply at a branch

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How do savings accounts work? #savings #acct #interest #rates


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How do savings accounts work?

­The most common type of bank account, and probably the first account you’ll ever have (after a checking account), is a savings account. Savings accounts allow you to keep your money in a safe place while it earns a small amount of interest each month. These accounts usually require either a low minimum balance, like $25, or may require no minimum balance at all. This depends on the bank and the type of account.

Besides the fact that you will be less likely to spend it, putting your money in a savings account is safer because it is insured. If your home is robbed or burns down, your money may be lost forever. Banks and credit unions. on the other hand, keep your money in a locked and fireproof safe. Banks insure your money (up to $100,000) through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). This means that even if the bank goes out of business (which is very rare!) your money will still be there. (The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) insures credit union accounts up to $250,000.) The FDIC is an independent agency of the federal government that was created in 1933 because thousands of banks had failed in the 1920s and early 1930s. Not a single person has lost money in a bank or credit union that was insured by the FDIC since it began. When you put your money into a savings account, it earns interest. Interest is money the bank pays you so that they can use your money to fund loans for other people. That doesn’t mean you can’t have your money whenever you want it, though. That’s just how banks make money — by selling money! Basically, it works like this:

  • You open a savings account at the bank.
  • The bank pays you interest on the money that you deposit and leave in that account.
  • The bank then loans that money out to other people, only they charge a slightly higher interest rate on the loan than what they pay you for your account.

The difference in interest they pay you verses the interest they charge others is part of how they stay in business.

­Interest on savings accounts is usually compounded daily and paid monthly. The cool thing about compounded interest is that the bank is paying you interest on the money they’ve paid you in interest! That means that if your account earns one percent interest, then each day 1/365th of that one percent of the amount of money you have in your savings account is then added to your total. Here is the calculation:

Daily compounding = Principal (1 + interest rate/365)365 = (daily compounded amount)

On the next page, we’ll explore how banks and credit unions manage savings accounts and explain what happens when you open your new account.

Print |
How do savings accounts work 14 April 2008. br HowStuffWorks.com. lt http money.howstuffworks.com personal-finance budgeting savings-accounts.htm gt 24 June 2017″ href=”#”>Citation Date


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Credit Cards – Compare Best Card Offers & Apply Online #get #a #credit #cards,

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Compare partner credit card offers from our most
popular categories

How to choose a credit card

When looking to get a credit card, there are a variety of things you should consider. If you want a rewards card to use frequently, you might not mind paying a $100 or $200 annual fee. You should also consider the regular APR (as opposed to the introductory rate) and the interest rate. A good interest rate is dependent on how you will use the card. For example, a 20% interest rate is fine if you plan on paying off the balance every month.

It pays to ask these kinds of questions before you fill out the application form. Here are 9 questions you want answered before you sign on the dotted line.

The “very first question” the consumer should ask is, “Why am I applying for this card? Why do I need this card?” says Bruce McClary, media director for ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, a nonprofit affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling

Some positive reasons: The card has low or no fees, a lower interest rate or offers a rewards program that suits your spending habits. “It has to make sense, and it has to fit into your overall lifestyle,” McClary says.

Do you pay off your credit card balances every month? If so, “you don’t care what the interest rate is because you won’t pay any,” says Ric Edelman, author of “The Truth About Money.” “But you care about the (annual) fee,” he says.

If you run a balance, you want the lowest rate you can get, even if that comes with an annual fee.
One clue to your usage: “Look at your past history,” says Edelman. “Because what you’ve done before is what you will be doing.”

If you’re shopping for a card, chances are you’re comparing card terms. But if an issuer sends you an offer, it’s tempting to apply and see what you get.

“It’s really difficult to pick one (in isolation),” says Kelly Rogers, chief development officer for the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Orange County and adjunct faculty at Chapman University. “If someone just shows you one car, how do you know if it’s the right car for you?”

Her advice: Do a side-by-side comparison of several different cards before you apply.

Don’t be afraid to plug the card name, “complaints” and “customer service” into your favorite search engine. “I go through and see who has the least amount of complaints and issues,” says Rogers.

Some cards will give you a range of rates you could get, but often that window is pretty wide, says Nick Bourke, director of the Safe Credit Card Project at The Pew Charitable Trusts. Other cards may offer a specific rate (or terms) and either approve or reject you.

If you’re operating totally in the dark, you have another option: Apply by phone and push for an answer on your rate and credit line before the account is opened.

While there are no guarantees, sometimes you can get an answer, says Bourke.
“I’ve actually done this myself,” he says, admitting “you do have to go pretty far in the process.”
You may have to ask for the department that’s actually evaluating your application to get an answer, he says.

“The thing that you want to do is when you’re talking to the person on the phone taking your application is you want to push them as hard as you can to get your APR and credit line,” Bourke says. Then, once you have the information and before the account is opened in your name, “you can say yes or no at that point,” he says.

According to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, if a card offers a lower interest rate during an introductory period, the promotional rate has to last at least six months. While that introductory offer may be appealing, the regular rate is what you’re really buying.

So find out when the introductory APR expires and what the new rate will be. You can find this information online in the terms and conditions for the card or you can ask a service representative.

Another smart question: How long is that grace period? “Some cards start charging interest immediately,” says Edelman. A card can have different grace periods for balance transfers and cash advances than it does for purchases.

You can find information about the grace period in the credit card offer, thanks to federal rules that took effect in 2010. Look for a summary table of rate and fee disclosures, which will include a statement that explains how to avoid paying interest.

If you’re getting the card for points or rewards, this is one you definitely need to ask, says Josh Frank, senior researcher with the Center for Responsible Lending. Some issuers will revoke rewards if you’re late with a payment by even one day, he says.

“A lot of times, the answer they will give you is that they can take away or reduce your rewards for any reason,” he says. While that’s true, the issuer will have a policy on revoking or reducing points, and that’s what you want to ask about, he says. Under what specific circumstances would they reduce or eliminate a customer’s points?

In most cases, “this is one the customer service agent should know the answer to,” he says.

Some card issuers use your purchase records to assess your ongoing creditworthiness.

That means if you suddenly use your card to purchase retread tires, pay for a session with a marriage counselor or make a purchase at a market on a sketchy side of town, you could see your APR climb or your credit limit fall, says Frank. If you see this practice as an invasion of privacy, ask beforehand if the issuer does this, he says.

How to phrase it: Can my transactions ever be used in rating my credit risk?

And that’s one question the customer service representative “might not know the answer to,” says Frank. “You might want to ask them to transfer you to the credit department manager.”

If you are guaranteeing a card account by co-signing for a college student, ask if you will be on the hook for the debt after the other party turns 21, says Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney for the National Consumer Law Center.

Many times, “there is nothing to prevent the issuers from saying you’re going to be guaranteeing this card 15 years from now — long after junior is out of college,” she says.

In addition, find out exactly what has to be done to get you off the account. Are you free to complete those steps yourself? Or will you need the cooperation of someone who might not want you — and those charging privileges — to go away?

Federal regulations limit your liability for unauthorized credit card charges to $50 if you report it within two business days. The longer you wait, the more you may lose. Many issuers cap losses at zero dollars, provided you follow a few rules. So find out how the card would handle charges you didn’t make, says McClary.

Also, does the issuer monitor usage and shut down the card if it sees out-of-the-ordinary charges or spending locations? That feature can be great if you always use the card for the same types of purchases in the same geographic area, but cumbersome if you’re getting the card for travel.

While it sounds counterproductive, you want to ask some detailed questions on how the issuer will treat you if you run into financial problems, says McClary.

Will you lose points or benefits? Will you be hit with late fees or a penalty rate? Ask what those penalties are or look online at the terms and conditions for the card.

Some issuers have programs to slash interest temporarily for customers who get behind, he says. Others don’t. So find out ahead of time what kind of programs the issuer offers that will help you rehabilitate your account and restore your original terms, McClary says.

Ask about the “worst case scenario,” he says. “When do they consider an account to be charged off? And when do they send an account to a collection agency?”

“It may be a little tough to get a hold of that information because it might not be readily available at the customer service level,” says McClary. “You may have to punch it up a level.”

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How to choose a credit card

When looking to get a credit card, there are a variety of things you should consider. If you want a rewards card to use frequently, you might not mind paying a $100 or $200 annual fee. You should also consider the regular APR (as opposed to the introductory rate) and the interest rate. A good interest rate is dependent on how you will use the card. For example, a 20% interest rate is fine if you plan on paying off the balance every month.

It pays to ask these kinds of questions before you fill out the application form. Here are 9 questions you want answered before you sign on the dotted line.

The “very first question” the consumer should ask is, “Why am I applying for this card? Why do I need this card?” says Bruce McClary, media director for ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions, a nonprofit affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling

Some positive reasons: The card has low or no fees, a lower interest rate or offers a rewards program that suits your spending habits. “It has to make sense, and it has to fit into your overall lifestyle,” McClary says.

Do you pay off your credit card balances every month? If so, “you don’t care what the interest rate is because you won’t pay any,” says Ric Edelman, author of “The Truth About Money.” “But you care about the (annual) fee,” he says.

If you run a balance, you want the lowest rate you can get, even if that comes with an annual fee.
One clue to your usage: “Look at your past history,” says Edelman. “Because what you’ve done before is what you will be doing.”

If you’re shopping for a card, chances are you’re comparing card terms. But if an issuer sends you an offer, it’s tempting to apply and see what you get.

“It’s really difficult to pick one (in isolation),” says Kelly Rogers, chief development officer for the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Orange County and adjunct faculty at Chapman University. “If someone just shows you one car, how do you know if it’s the right car for you?”

Her advice: Do a side-by-side comparison of several different cards before you apply.

Don’t be afraid to plug the card name, “complaints” and “customer service” into your favorite search engine. “I go through and see who has the least amount of complaints and issues,” says Rogers.

Some cards will give you a range of rates you could get, but often that window is pretty wide, says Nick Bourke, director of the Safe Credit Card Project at The Pew Charitable Trusts. Other cards may offer a specific rate (or terms) and either approve or reject you.

If you’re operating totally in the dark, you have another option: Apply by phone and push for an answer on your rate and credit line before the account is opened.

While there are no guarantees, sometimes you can get an answer, says Bourke.
“I’ve actually done this myself,” he says, admitting “you do have to go pretty far in the process.”
You may have to ask for the department that’s actually evaluating your application to get an answer, he says.

“The thing that you want to do is when you’re talking to the person on the phone taking your application is you want to push them as hard as you can to get your APR and credit line,” Bourke says. Then, once you have the information and before the account is opened in your name, “you can say yes or no at that point,” he says.

According to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, if a card offers a lower interest rate during an introductory period, the promotional rate has to last at least six months. While that introductory offer may be appealing, the regular rate is what you’re really buying.

So find out when the introductory APR expires and what the new rate will be. You can find this information online in the terms and conditions for the card or you can ask a service representative.

Another smart question: How long is that grace period? “Some cards start charging interest immediately,” says Edelman. A card can have different grace periods for balance transfers and cash advances than it does for purchases.

You can find information about the grace period in the credit card offer, thanks to federal rules that took effect in 2010. Look for a summary table of rate and fee disclosures, which will include a statement that explains how to avoid paying interest.

If you’re getting the card for points or rewards, this is one you definitely need to ask, says Josh Frank, senior researcher with the Center for Responsible Lending. Some issuers will revoke rewards if you’re late with a payment by even one day, he says.

“A lot of times, the answer they will give you is that they can take away or reduce your rewards for any reason,” he says. While that’s true, the issuer will have a policy on revoking or reducing points, and that’s what you want to ask about, he says. Under what specific circumstances would they reduce or eliminate a customer’s points?

In most cases, “this is one the customer service agent should know the answer to,” he says.

Some card issuers use your purchase records to assess your ongoing creditworthiness.

That means if you suddenly use your card to purchase retread tires, pay for a session with a marriage counselor or make a purchase at a market on a sketchy side of town, you could see your APR climb or your credit limit fall, says Frank. If you see this practice as an invasion of privacy, ask beforehand if the issuer does this, he says.

How to phrase it: Can my transactions ever be used in rating my credit risk?

And that’s one question the customer service representative “might not know the answer to,” says Frank. “You might want to ask them to transfer you to the credit department manager.”

If you are guaranteeing a card account by co-signing for a college student, ask if you will be on the hook for the debt after the other party turns 21, says Chi Chi Wu, staff attorney for the National Consumer Law Center.

Many times, “there is nothing to prevent the issuers from saying you’re going to be guaranteeing this card 15 years from now — long after junior is out of college,” she says.

In addition, find out exactly what has to be done to get you off the account. Are you free to complete those steps yourself? Or will you need the cooperation of someone who might not want you — and those charging privileges — to go away?

Federal regulations limit your liability for unauthorized credit card charges to $50 if you report it within two business days. The longer you wait, the more you may lose. Many issuers cap losses at zero dollars, provided you follow a few rules. So find out how the card would handle charges you didn’t make, says McClary.

Also, does the issuer monitor usage and shut down the card if it sees out-of-the-ordinary charges or spending locations? That feature can be great if you always use the card for the same types of purchases in the same geographic area, but cumbersome if you’re getting the card for travel.

While it sounds counterproductive, you want to ask some detailed questions on how the issuer will treat you if you run into financial problems, says McClary.

Will you lose points or benefits? Will you be hit with late fees or a penalty rate? Ask what those penalties are or look online at the terms and conditions for the card.

Some issuers have programs to slash interest temporarily for customers who get behind, he says. Others don’t. So find out ahead of time what kind of programs the issuer offers that will help you rehabilitate your account and restore your original terms, McClary says.

Ask about the “worst case scenario,” he says. “When do they consider an account to be charged off? And when do they send an account to a collection agency?”

“It may be a little tough to get a hold of that information because it might not be readily available at the customer service level,” says McClary. “You may have to punch it up a level.”

Bankrate’s best credit cards


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