Interest Charge of a Credit Card

Credit card issuers usually waive interest charges if the balance is paid in full each month, but typically will charge full interest on the entire outstanding balance from the date of each purchase if the total balance is not paid. For example, if a user had a $1,000 transaction and repaid it in full within this grace period, there would be no interest charged. If, however, even $1.00 of the total amount remained unpaid, interest would be charged on the $1,000 from the date of purchase until the payment is received. The precise manner in which interest is charged is usually detailed in a cardholder agreement which may be summarized on the back of the monthly statement. The general calculation formula most financial institutions use to determine the amount of interest to be charged is APR/100 x ADB/365 x number of days revolved. Take the annual percentage rate (APR) and divide by 100 then multiply to the amount of the average daily balance (ADB) divided by 365 and then take this total and multiply by the total number of days the amount revolved before payment was made on the account. Financial institutions refer to interest charged back to the original time of the transaction and up to the time a payment was made, if not in full, as a residual retail finance charge (RRFC). Thus after an amount has revolved and a payment has been made, the user of the card will still receive interest charges on their statement after paying the next statement in full.

The credit card may simply serve as a form of revolving credit, or it may become a complicated financial instrument with multiple balance segments each at a different interest rate, possibly with a single umbrella credit limit, or with separate credit limits applicable to the various balance segments. Usually this compartmentalization is the result of special incentive offers from the issuing bank, to encourage balance transfers from cards of other issuers. In the event that several interest rates apply to various balance segments, payment allocation is generally at the discretion of the issuing bank, and payments will therefore usually be allocated towards the lowest rate balances until paid in full before any money is paid towards higher rate balances.

Numerous Faces of Credit Cards

Numerous Faces of Credit Cards

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Credit Cards Benefits and Cost Towards Merchants

Prior to credit cards, each merchant had to evaluate each customer’s credit history before extending credit. That task is now performed by the banks which assume the credit risk. Credit cards can also aid in securing a sale, especially if the customer does not have enough cash on his or her person or checking account. Extra turnover is generated by the fact that the customer can purchase goods and/or services immediately and is less inhibited by the amount of cash in his or her pocket and the immediate state of his or her bank balance. Much of merchants’ marketing is based on this immediacy. For each purchase, the bank charges the merchant a commission (discount fee) for this service and there may be a certain delay before the agreed payment is received by the merchant. The commission is often a percentage of the transaction amount, plus a fixed fee (interchange rate).

Merchants are charged several fees for accepting credit cards. The merchant is usually charged a commission of around 1 to 4 percent of the value of each transaction paid for by credit card.The merchant may also pay a variable charge, called a merchant discount rate, for each transaction. In some instances of very low-value transactions, use of credit cards will significantly reduce the profit margin or cause the merchant to lose money on the transaction. Merchants with very low average transaction prices or very high average transaction prices are more averse to accepting credit cards. In some cases merchants may charge users a credit card supplement or surcharge, either a fixed amount or a percentage, for payment by credit card. This practice is prohibited by most credit card contracts in the United States, and is actually illegal in 10 states, although the contracts allow the merchants to give discounts for cash payment.

Merchants are also required to lease or purchase processing equipment, in some cases this equipment is provided free of charge by the Processor. Merchants must also satisfy data security compliance standards which are highly technical and complicated. In many cases, there is a delay of several days before funds are deposited into a merchant’s bank account. Because credit card fee structures are very complicated, smaller merchants are at a disadvantage to analyze and predict fees. Finally, merchants assume the risk of chargebacks by consumers.

Parts of a Credit Card

Parts of a Credit Card

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Problems regarding the Use of Credit Card

Credit card security relies on the physical security of the plastic card as well as the privacy of the credit card number. Therefore, whenever a person other than the card owner has access to the card or its number, security is potentially compromised. Once, merchants would often accept credit card numbers without additional verification for mail order purchases. It’s now common practice to only ship to confirmed addresses as a security measure to minimise fraudulent purchases. Some merchants will accept a credit card number for in-store purchases, whereupon access to the number allows easy fraud, but many require the card itself to be present, and require a signature. A lost or stolen card can be cancelled, and if this is done quickly, will greatly limit the fraud that can take place in this way. European banks can require a cardholder’s security PIN be entered for in-person purchases with the card. The PCI DSS is the security standard issued by the PCI SSC (Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council). This data security standard is used by acquiring banks to impose cardholder data security measures upon their merchants.

The goal of the credit card companies is not to eliminate fraud, but to reduce it to manageable levels. This implies that high-cost low-return fraud prevention measures will not be used if their cost exceeds the potential gains from fraud reduction – as would be expected from organisations whose goal is profit maximisation. Internet fraud may be by claiming a chargeback which is not justified “friendly fraud”, or carried out by the use of credit card information which can be stolen in many ways, the simplest being copying information from retailers, either online or offline. Despite efforts to improve security for remote purchases using credit cards, security breaches are usually the result of poor practice by merchants. For example, a website that safely uses SSL to encrypt card data from a client may then email the data, unencrypted, from the webserver to the merchant; or the merchant may store unencrypted details in a way that allows them to be accessed over the Internet or by a rogue employee; unencrypted card details are always a security risk and even encryption data may be cracked.

Credits cards are not perfect, it has flaws.

Credits cards are not perfect, it has flaws.

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The Decade-Long Battle with Prostitution

More than ever before, prostitution has become institutionalized, organized, and globalized. The streets around us we show the explosion in budget hotels which are so clean but not so good, the all pervasive sight of girly bars and the numerous high class clubs and establishments that seem to cater for so many well to do clientele. Different forms of prostitution thus exist: street prostitution, bars, brothels, akyat-barko, “massage parlors,” escort services, sex tourism, cybersex, local & international sex trafficking. Prostitution in the Philippines has become a de facto legal industry. Even back in the summer of 1982, Manila was depressingly tagged at the biggest brothel in Asia. There were 50,000 registered hospitality girls in the tourist entertainment in the early 70′s, and in 1987 there were 300,000 bar girls not to mention the unlicensed ones who were estimated to amount to a significant figure from the the national figure then. In 1998 it was estimated that there were at least 400,000 to 500,000 prostituted persons in the Philippines with 75,000 of these being children.

Prostitutes looking for clients on the street

Prostitutes looking for clients on the street

 

 

In one survey of those engaged in prostitution along Quezon Avenue in Quezon city, the main reason given by the respondents for being involved was Poverty. Prostitution is officially illegal in the Philippines. However, it is also “regulated” in some ways. For example, comfort women in establishments are required to get regular health certificates to prove they are free of diseases. Other factors cited by NGO’s involved in anti-prostitution work include coming from dysfunctional homes, deception by recruiters, pornography, tourism that capitalizes on Filipino women and a general apathy of the society and Church towards this reality. It is important to be aware of these so-called “push-pull” factors. People who work in ministries seeking to rescue and rehabilitate prostituted women will tell you that they have never met a woman who wanted to be a prostitute. Instead they will recount countless stories of young women, coming from poor backgrounds that often have a long history of prior physical and sexual abuse. Many young women are deceived by recruiters to leave the province, where work opportunities may be few and far between, to come to the big city with the promise of decent work. Arriving there, the vulnerable person is often tricked or even coerced into working in the sex industry.

Apprehended Prostitutes in Manila

Apprehended Prostitutes in Manila

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How does a Credit Card Work?

Electronic verification systems allow merchants to verify in a few seconds that the card is valid and the cardholder has sufficient credit to cover the purchase, allowing the verification to happen at time of purchase. The verification is performed using a credit card payment terminal or point-of-sale (POS) system with a communications link to the merchant’s acquiring bank. Data from the card is obtained from a magnetic stripe or chip on the card; the latter system is called Chip and PIN in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and is implemented as an EMV card. For card not present transactions where the card is not shown, merchants additionally verify that the customer is in physical possession of the card and is the authorized user by asking for additional information such as the security code printed on the back of the card, date of expiry, and billing address.

Each month, the cardholder is sent a statement indicating the purchases made with the card, any outstanding fees, and the total amount owed. In the US, after receiving the statement, the cardholder may dispute any charges that he or she thinks are incorrect. The Fair Credit Billing Act gives details of the US regulations. The cardholder must pay a defined minimum portion of the amount owed by a due date, or may choose to pay a higher amount. The credit issuer charges interest on the unpaid balance if the billed amount is not paid in full, typically at a much higher rate than most other forms of debt. In addition, if the cardholder fails to make at least the minimum payment by the due date, the issuer may impose a “late fee” and/or other penalties. To help mitigate this, some financial institutions can arrange for automatic payments to be deducted from the cardholder’s bank account, thus avoiding such penalties altogether, as long as the cardholder has sufficient funds.

Many banks now also offer the option of electronic statements, either in lieu of or in addition to physical statements, which can be viewed at any time by the cardholder via the issuer’s online banking website. Notification of the availability of a new statement is generally sent to the cardholder’s email address. If the card issuer has chosen to allow it, the cardholder may have other options for payment besides a physical check, such as an electronic transfer of funds from a checking account. Depending on the issuer, the cardholder may also be able to make multiple payments during a single statement period, possibly enabling him or her to utilize the credit limit on the card several times.

Template of a Credit Card

Template of a Credit Card

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Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card is a type of credit card secured by a deposit account owned by the cardholder. Typically, the cardholder must deposit between 100% and 200% of the total amount of credit desired. Thus if the cardholder puts down $1,000, they will be given credit in the range of $500–1,000. In some cases, credit card issuers will offer incentives even on their secured card portfolios. In these cases, the deposit required may be significantly less than the required credit limit, and can be as low as 10% of the desired credit limit. This deposit is held in a special savings account. Credit card issuers offer this because they have noticed that delinquencies were notably reduced when the customer perceives something to lose if the balance is not repaid. The cardholder of a secured credit card is still expected to make regular payments, as with a regular credit card, but should they default on a payment, the card issuer has the option of recovering the cost of the purchases paid to the merchants out of the deposit. The advantage of the secured card for an individual with negative or no credit history is that most companies report regularly to the major credit bureaus. This allows building a positive credit history.

Although the deposit is in the hands of the credit card issuer as security in the event of default by the consumer, the deposit will not be debited simply for missing one or two payments. Usually the deposit is only used as an offset when the account is closed, either at the request of the customer or due to severe delinquency (150 to 180 days). This means that an account which is less than 150 days delinquent will continue to accrue interest and fees, and could result in a balance which is much higher than the actual credit limit on the card. In these cases the total debt may far exceed the original deposit and the cardholder not only forfeits their deposit but is left with an additional debt. Most of these conditions are usually described in a cardholder agreement which the cardholder signs when their account is opened. Secured credit cards are an option to allow a person with a poor credit history or no credit history to have a credit card which might not otherwise be available. They are often offered as a means of rebuilding one’s credit. Fees and service charges for secured credit cards often exceed those charged for ordinary non-secured credit cards.

Securing Life through the use of Credit Card

Securing Life through the use of Credit Card

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What is a Credit Card?

A credit card is a payment card issued to users as a system of payment. It allows the cardholder to pay for goods and services based on the holder’s promise to pay for them. The issuer of the card creates a revolving account and grants a line of credit to the consumer, or the user, from which the user can borrow money for payment to a merchant or as a cash advance to the user. A credit card is different from a charge card: a charge card requires the balance to be paid in full each month. In contrast, credit cards allow the consumers a continuing balance of debt, subject to interest being charged. A credit card also differs from a cash card, which can be used like currency by the owner of the card. A credit card differs from a charge card also in that a credit card typically involves a third-party entity that pays the seller and is reimbursed by the buyer, whereas a charge card simply defers payment by the buyer until a later date. The size of most credit cards is 3 3⁄8 × 2 1⁄8 in (85.60 × 53.98 mm), conforming to the ISO/IEC 7810 ID-1 standard. Credit cards have a printed or embossed bank card number complying with the ISO/IEC 7812 numbering standard. Both of these standards are maintained and further developed by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 17/WG 1. Before magnetic stripe readers came into widespread use, plastic credit cards issued by many department stores were produced on stock slightly longer and narrower than 7810. A credit card issuing company, such as a bank or credit union, would enter into agreements with merchants for them to accept their credit cards. Merchants often advertise which cards they accept by displaying acceptance marks. The credit card issuer would issue a credit card to a customer at the time or after an account has been approved by the credit provider, which need not be the same entity as the card issuer. The cardholders can then use it to make purchases at merchants accepting that card. When a purchase is made, the cardholder agrees to pay the card issuer.

Sample of Credit Cards

Sample of Credit Cards

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The Credit Card and its Detriments

Merchants that accept credit cards must pay interchange fees and discount fees on all credit-card transactions. In some cases merchants are barred by their credit agreements from passing these fees directly to credit card customers, or from setting a minimum transaction amount which is no longer prohibited in the United States, United Kingdom or Australia. The result is that merchants are induced to charge all customers, including those who do not use credit cards, higher prices to cover the fees on credit card transactions. The inducement can be strong because the merchant’s fee is a percentage of the sale price, which has a disproportionate effect on the profitability of businesses that have predominantly credit card transactions, unless compensated for by raising prices generally. In the United States in 2008 credit card companies collected a total of $48 billion in interchange fees, or an average of $427 per family, with an average fee rate of about 2% per transaction.

A credit card’s grace period is the time the customer has to pay the balance before interest is assessed on the outstanding balance. Grace periods may vary, but usually range from 20 to 55 days depending on the type of credit card and the issuing bank. Some policies allow for reinstatement after certain conditions are met. Usually, if a customer is late paying the balance, finance charges will be calculated and the grace period does not apply. Finance charges incurred depend on the grace period and balance. With most credit cards there is no grace period if there is any outstanding balance from the previous billing cycle or statement interest is applied on both the previous balance and new transactions. However, there are some credit cards that will only apply finance charge on the previous or old balance, excluding new transactions.

For merchants, a credit card transaction is often more secure than other forms of payment, such as cheques, because the issuing bank commits to pay the merchant the moment the transaction is authorized, regardless of whether the consumer defaults on the credit card payment. In most cases, cards are even more secure than cash, because they discourage theft by the merchant’s employees and reduce the amount of cash on the premises. Finally, credit cards reduce the back office expense of processing checks/cash and transporting them to the bank.

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Some of the Credit Card Companies

Some of the Credit Card Companies

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Criticism about the Payday Loan

The likelihood that a family will use a payday loan increases if they are unbanked, or lack access to a traditional deposit bank account. In an American context the families who will use a payday loan are disproportionately either of black or Hispanic descent, recent immigrants, and/or under-educated. These individuals are least able to secure normal, lower-interest-rate forms of credit. Since payday lending operations charge higher interest-rates than traditional banks, they have the effect of depleting the assets of low-income communities. The Insight Center, a consumer advocacy group, reported in 2013 that payday lending cost U.S communities $774 million a year.

A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York concluded that, “We…test whether payday lending fits our definition of predatory. We find that in states with higher payday loan limits, less educated households and households with uncertain income are less likely to be denied credit, but are not more likely to miss a debt payment. Absent higher delinquency, the extra credit from payday lenders does not fit our definition of predatory. The caveat to this is that with a term of under 30 days there are no payments, and the lender is more than willing to roll the loan over at the end of the period upon payment of another fee. The report goes on to note that payday loans are extremely expensive, and borrowers who take a payday loan are at a disadvantage in comparison to the lender, a reversal of the normal consumer lending information asymmetry, where the lender must underwrite the loan to assess creditworthiness.

A recent law journal note summarized the justifications for regulating payday lending. The summary notes that while it is difficult to quantify the impact on specific consumers, there are external parties who are clearly affected by the decision of a borrower to get a payday loan. Most directly impacted are the holders of other low interest debt from the same borrower, which now is less likely to be paid off since the limited income is first used to pay the fee associated with the payday loan. The external costs of this product can be expanded to include the businesses that are not patronized by the cash-strapped payday customer to the children and family who are left with fewer resources than before the loan. The external costs alone, forced on people given no choice in the matter, may be enough justification for stronger regulation even assuming that the borrower himself understood the full implications of the decision to seek a payday loan.

Payday Loans

Payday Loans

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Benefits of a Credit Card

The main benefit to the cardholder is convenience. Compared to debit cards and checks, a credit card allows small short-term loans to be quickly made to a cardholder who need not calculate a balance remaining before every transaction, provided the total charges do not exceed the maximum credit line for the card. Different countries offer different levels of protection. In the UK, for example, the bank is jointly liable with the merchant for purchases of defective products over £100. Many credit cards offer rewards and benefits packages, such as enhanced product warranties at no cost, free loss/damage coverage on new purchases, various insurance protections, for example, rental car insurance, common carrier accident protection, and travel medical insurance.

Credit cards can also offer a loyalty program, where each purchase is rewarded with points, which may be redeemed for cash or products. Research has examined whether competition among card networks may potentially make payment rewards too generous, causing higher prices among merchants, thus actually impacting social welfare and its distribution, a situation potentially warranting public policy interventions. Low introductory credit card rates are limited to a fixed term, usually between 6 and 12 months, after which a higher rate is charged. As all credit cards charge fees and interest, some customers become so indebted to their credit card provider that they are driven to bankruptcy. Some credit cards often levy a rate of 20 to 30 percent after a payment is missed. In other cases a fixed charge is levied without change to the interest rate. In some cases universal default may apply: the high default rate is applied to a card in good standing by missing a payment on an unrelated account from the same provider. This can lead to a snowball effect in which the consumer is drowned by unexpectedly high interest rates. Further, most card holder agreements enable the issuer to arbitrarily raise the interest rate for any reason they see fit. First Premier Bank at one point offered a credit card with a 79.9% interest rate. However, they discontinued this card in February 2011 because of persistent defaults. Complex fee structures in the credit card industry limit customers’ ability to comparison shop, help ensure that the industry is not price-competitive and help maximize industry profits. Research shows that a substantial fraction of consumers, about 40%, choose a sub-optimal credit card agreement, with some incurring hundreds of dollars of avoidable interest costs.

 

Visa Credit Cards

Visa Credit Cards

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