Monitor Your Credit Card Usage for Financial Success

Monitor Your Credit Card Usage for Financial Success

Monitoring your credit card usage is an effective way to cut down your unnecessary spending and save money. But how can you keep track of your credit transactions without waiting until your bill arrives?

One of the things that can keep you from being financially successful is spending more money than you actually make. One way that people do this is by using their credit cards with their “buy now, pay later” mentality. Unfortunately, many people don’t even realize they have a spending problem until they take a look at their credit card statements at the end of each month and by then, it’s often too late to get a handle on it. If this sounds like you, consider the following suggestions to help you monitor and keep track of your credit card usage so you can begin your journey to financial success.

1. Sign up for a transaction alert.
Most credit card companies have a system where you can sign up for a mobile or texting alert every time your credit card is used. This will help you monitor the usage of your credit cards by the members of your family and yourself. It will also let you know if there is fraudulent activity on your card right away. When you get transaction alerts, you can get a better idea of your spending habits and get a better handle on them.

2. Get receipts.
You might think that a record of your purchase on your credit card statement is good enough, but this simply isn’t true if you want to monitor or keep track of your credit card usage. By the time you receive your monthly statement, you could have accumulated hundreds or even thousands of dollars of charges without knowing it. But if you get a receipt for each purchase and then add them up at the end of each day, you can see immediately how much you are spending on a daily basis. Add up the receipts and keep a written daily record so you can see where all of your money is going.

3. Find an online program to keep track of your spending.
There are several online programs that are free to use and they keep track of all of your credit, debit and checking accounts for you. Every time you pay for something using one of these methods, it logs it. With some programs, such as Mint.com, you can even categorize your spending and the program will automatically give you a pie chart or bar graph that shows where your money is going. You can compare month to month to see if you are progressively getting better or you can simply see which fast food restaurants you frequented during the month and how much you spent at each one. If you’re not accustomed to keeping track of your credit card spending, this program can provide a real wake up call for you and your family.

Monitoring your credit card usage is essential for budgeting your money and seeing where every dollar is spent. This can help you see patterns in your spending habits and make changes where necessary.

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Image: Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

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Save Hundreds with the Capital One Platinum Prestige Credit Card

In a time where many people are trying to save pennies by switching to generic toothpaste, people with excellent credit can save hundreds in interest with the no-fee Capital One Platinum Prestige Credit Card.

MSNBC reports that Americans are continuing to cut back on credit card use, in an effort to save more and spend less. If you are paying high amounts of interest on your credit card, your interest payments could be taking your money just as fast as if you had went to the mall and purchased something. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re getting the very best interest rate possible on your credit card.
 
Credit markets are beginning to thaw, but lending standards are still pretty tight overall. If you excellent credit, you may want to look into a card that not only offers a good 0% APR introductory offer and will still give you a decent APR after the introductory period is over. One card to consider is the Capital One Platinum Prestige Credit Card. This card has no annual fee and gives a 0% APY in all purchases and balance transfers until August 2011. After that, you’ll pay a regular 11.90% variable APR. You will have to pay a 3% fee of the amount of each transfer through the 8/2011 billing period, but if you’re currently paying a high interest rate on another card, the transfer fee could be well worth the cost. If you have a $10,000 balance and currently pay a 14.99% APR on your current card, you could save $1,048.00 by paying $300 a month on a 0% APY (including the 3% fee).
 
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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

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Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Is the Annual Fee Worth the Rewards?

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Is the Annual Fee Worth the Rewards?

The Capital One Venture Rewards credit card offers double-rewards for every dollar spent, and the process is streamlined and simplified if you redeem the rewards for travel. Because of the annual fee, you should only apply if you have excellent credit and if the card program already fits your spending habits.

Editor's Note: This product, as described, below is no longer offfered by Capital One bank.  BestCashCow reviews the best cash back credit cards here.
 
You may have seen the television ads for the new Capital One® Venture® Rewards credit card. The ads tout double rewards for every dollar spent, which made the advertisement seem a little too good to be true. I immediately expected to find large annual fees and heavy penalties if the program guidelines aren’t followed exactly. So, I decided to investigate.
 
If you have excellent credit and usually pay your bill in full every month, the rewards are very attractive. The rewards never expire as long as your account remains open, and you also earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles if you spend at least $1,000 within three months of your membership enrollment date. If you want to use your rewards for an airline ticket, there are no restrictions on airlines and there are no blackout dates. The amount of rewards you need for a ticket depends on the dollar amount of the ticket; you would multiply the amount of your travel purchase by 100 to determine the amount of rewards needed. For example, if a ticket costs $300, you would need 30,000 rewards for the ticket. Since you earn double-rewards, that would be the equivalent of 15,000 miles in most other rewards programs. Additionally, you can book anywhere. That means if you find a really great deal on your favorite website, you can still use your rewards to book the flight. The card also comes with the added benefit of Visa Concierge service, which gives you assistance with travel arrangements, entertainment planning, and more. You could also redeem the rewards for cash, gift cards, or merchandise.
 
The current APY for purchases is 13.9%, which will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Cash advances are made at a significantly higher APR: 24.9%. In addition to the higher APY for cash advances, you will be hit with a cash advance transaction fee of either $10 or 3%, whichever is greater. If you make a payment that is more than 60 days late, you will also incur a 29.4% penalty APR. Late payments will also incur a $39 late payment fee, and you will lose any rewards applied to your rewards balance during the billing cycle that contains the late payment fee.
 
The card comes with an annual fee of $59, but it’s waived for the first year. Because of the annual fee, I wouldn’t recommend this card unless you spend a lot every month (which you need to, in order to break even on the annual fee) and you pay off the balance regularly. Since the first year’s annual fee is waived, you could always try out the card for a year to determine if it’s worth it for you, and you can close the card if it’s not. Keep in mind that closing accounts can negatively affect your credit score, so you should only try it if the program is already a good fit for your spending and bill payment habits. You can find some reward cards for a $0 annual fee, but the double rewards may be worth the annual fee if you spend enough. Capital One does offer a no-annual fee version of the card, but you get 1.25 rewards per dollar spent. Both cards incur no foreign transaction fees, which is a great benefit for those people who travel abroad frequently.
 
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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.