Credit Cards

Payment Card and Prophecy by George Orwell

Payment Card and Prophecy by George Orwell

4 min read

Payment Card and Prophecy by George Orwell

by Gorica Gligorijevic

Cash or payment card? About this topic, most of us have been speculating on this very issue, but until now mainly from a philosophical point of view.

The current world seems to many like a dystopia. It’s a tale of the darkest times. Whose dystopia? Which writer best envisioned this time of confusion and dysfunction? Two classics from the 20th century. Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” and George Orwell’s  “1984”.

“A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories,” starts “Brave New World”. 

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,”  “1984” opens.

What horrible openings! Scary! 

Both writers wrote about how future governments will operate with a lot of energy spent in seeking to encourage economic consumption.

What we have today?

We, together, protect and transmit our secret lives through surveys and social media.

We are sharing our personal data on which we all commonly depend. And we are doing that so easily.

Do you feel the importance of this change in our own lives?

It will be more clear when explained on the example of credit cards or loans.

The customer is always right

For example, loan review. 

From this review, the police, and not just the police, can see: do you drink Coca-Cola or Pepsi Cola, what kind of bread are you eating, what beer you drink, what brand and what size of shoes you wear, what size underwear you are buying, where you were five months ago when you have paid a hotel for the other two people and who they are.

Scary enough? Who was right? Oh, how predictive was Orwell!

In some countries, cash payments are canceled, only payment cards are used. That’s the reality. We can go a step further. The government, for “justified reasons”, declares the Regulation: for certain cardholders, daily payment from a card is limited to $500. The other group of owners has a limit of $2,000 daily, while the third group has unlimited card payments. Everything is a nice and computer programmed, based on the personal data of the cardholder and done by the push of a button.

According to the banks’ published data, in the last year, 2018, they have reported record revenues. Of course, by having no limits on making trades with our money.

It is already known that some of the largest companies are implanting chips in their workers. They put the chip into a part of the body and thus, instead of the cards, they control the arrival (check-in) and departure (check-out). And when you reach your retirement they activate your check-out. 

Or, for example, Sweden. They have a state program to put chips into citizens. One chip for everything. To take your money on the ATM, to unlock your home, to pay in the store, to make an appointment with the doctor. Even more, with that one chip, you can start your car, use public transportation, make payments in restaurants, buy medications.

What a wonderful world! 

Payment Card and Prophecy by George Orwell

You are happy! When it will be possible for the whole world?

Recently, I visited Holland. For a personal reason, I carried the cash. Actually, my payment card was stolen and I had to take this trip before solving the problem with it. Holland is an extraordinary country and I like to travel there. People are relaxed, easy-going and natural (maybe sometimes too natural), everything is full of brightly colored flowers, the buildings are brightly painted too. Public transportation is one of the best in the World, the food is really good especially cheeses, meat has a special taste as much as vegetables. In one word, wonderful! But…

The first problem arose at the airport. When I tried to find a taxi with a driver who will take the cash. No luck. When I tried to purchase a ticket for the public transportation, the problem was the same. My cash was useless. I had to call my friend to come and pay for everything I needed. Well, I was never so close to anyone like my friend those 10 or 12 days, how long I was in Holland. He would pay with his credit card, and I had to reimburse him with my cash to cover my purchases.

The virtual experience of happiness

It was accidentally that several days after my visit to Holland I was watching some movie, a contemporary one. No one would understand, even me, why I was so happy when I saw in one scene, that in the front of some store was written: Cash only!

What I want to say, in some countries the law limits how much money you may have in cash. It announces a total cancellation of cash payments.

And if the rule is to make payments only through credit cards, it is obvious that someone wants to control you. 

Why we don’t have the liberty to choose the way we want to make payments? 

Yes, it is more comfortable to have one or a few payment cards in the pocket. But, how to say, no one asked us would we like more than one card, one chip or hands full of cash. And credit cards are not always the best solutions, nor are the chips.

For example, you have money in the bank and a payment card in your pocket or the chip under your thumb’s skin. And for some reason such as natural disasters, riots, power failure, or simply by someone’s order, or even by mistake, by pushing the button in the bank you cannot pay for anything. And you are out of your home and your environment, who will pay your food and water, who will and how accept your card?

It’s complete and total control and slavery of a human. Orwell’s “1984” is a fairytale of this.

Do you have similar experiences? It would be nice to share with others.

How to reduce costs and improve credit score

Planning When You Are Insolvent

2 min read

How to reduce costs and improve credit score

You don’t have enough cash, right? And you don’t know how to reduce costs.  Well, it’s more likely you don’t have a plan. First of all, try not to spend more than you earn. If you do, you would prevent the growing credit card debts and you would not have broken credit score. So, what to do when you have all of this? Honestly, you are not a lonely case. Don’t worry, you still have the chance to reach your financial intentions. 

All you have to do is to take several steps. So, let’s start. We don’t need all this stress surrounding us.

Neglect the 10% savings rule. This isn’t time for it. Forget it.

Puting10% of your salary into your savings account is a tricky part if you’re surviving paycheck to paycheck. You cannot save a cent. So, wait with that. So, the first step is to balance your budget.

Further, how to reduce costs…

Ask for bill extensions. It is often allowed. Talk to your landlord if you are worried to save a roof over your head. But consider the other possibilities to decrease your bills. For example, maybe you don’t need all the services your mobile provider is giving, or you may spend less money on electricity bills, and so on.

If your biggest worry is eviction from your apartment, talk to your landlord, but, also, see if you can get increases on any other expenses to free up money for keeping a roof over your head.

Let’s see what else you can do.

Analysis of your credit card payments. What? Do you want to tell you are using that for minimum payments? Well, you are on the right path to disaster. You will ruin your credit score! Don’t even try to avoid credit card payments. That will make your debts even worse.

Rather make the highest payment you can support. 

Decrease spending in other fields and stay focused on your debt. Yes, you may think are not saving money while you are increasing credit cards payments. But, honestly, you do. In this way, you will be able to save up to 30% per year in interest rate. For example, if you manage to pay $2,000 added this year, you will pay almost $600 ahead. It can be on-month-rate and you are on a good way to avoid eviction.

Moreover, prioritize your bills. Check what you have to pay as first and make a plan based on your paydays. If you already have some late bills, talk to representatives from bill company. Be honest with them and say you are going on a more stringent budget. Just tell them how much you can pay per month and don’t promise you will pay more with the next paycheck. What if some other costs arise? What are you going to do? So, just be honest.

Review your spending in the last month. Make a list of different categories or use online banking or some app for that. Call your credit card company or companies and try to reduce the interest rate. Negotiate!  

How to reduce costs else?

Try to reduce your expenses. Actually, you have to do so. Check your fridge! Is there rotten food? Of course, you have to shop for less fresh food. Make a menu for one week, for example, and stick with it. The big result will come with small steps. Cut back on coffee, invite friends to your home, instead to see them in restaurants. Eating out is expensive anyway. You will not need that for a while.

Give your budget a one-month chance. Make notes every day, use the app on your mobile or some software on your computer. Follow the spending of every cent. And you will see where you need to adjust your spending. Decide where to cut. Oh, yes! Don’t try to exclude supermarkets, utilities, and rent. You have to buy food, you must have a place to live and you need electricity and other utilities. Just reduce the light (you are not living in the surgery room, for God’s sake), and start to cook.

And try to find more income.


How To Get Personal Loan

Getting a Personal Loan

3 min read

Getting a Personal Loan

A personal loan is a good choice if you need funds for a particular purpose. But you have to consider many factors when deciding the variety of loan that suits you.

You can use a personal loan to decrease debt, repay unpredicted payments, make home repairs and more.

Personal loans allow low-interest rates for people with good credit. They are usually smaller loan products than other kinds of loans. We have to say, they aren’t undoubtedly the best choice for everyone.

Before getting a personal loan, you have to consider several important things.

The first thing you are asking yourself is: How much money can you get?

Well, loan sum varies from lender to lender.  Usually, you can expect between $1,500 and $100,000.  That depends on your creditworthiness. This means that the lender will estimate your ability to pay them back before they decide to lend you money.

How does personal loan work?

You will get a fixed sum and have to pay it back with interest in monthly parts until you pay back the whole amount.

That can be after 12 to 84 months. After you pay back all, your account will be closed and you, if there is a need, can apply for the new one.

Nevertheless, before you apply for any loan it’s crucial to consider why you require the money. Depending on that, you may choose the variety of loan that’s most suitable for your financial situation.

What are the types of personal loans?

You see, there are two types of personal loans: secured and unsecured.

Unsecured loans are not backed by collateral which means that the bank determines are you qualified to get the loan. The lender will estimate your financial history. If you don’t pass for some unsecured loan maybe you’ll find the lenders who want to offer secured options.

Secured loans are backed by collateral. Collateral is a savings account or CD. Why this is called a secured loan? Because if you are not able to pay on time, the lender can require your asset as payment for the loan. Your asset, a savings account or CD is the guarantee that the lender will get its payment.

Where you can arrange a personal loan

Getting a Personal Loan

In the first place, it is some bank. But you must know they are not the only place where you can get a personal loan. There are other lenders too. For example, online lenders, consumer finance companies or credit unions are places where you can acquire a loan.

The one thing is important, you have to be qualified applicants.

Also, you can take a risk and contact some online lender. There are plenty of them. But you must be careful. It’s true you can get a personal loan very quickly from them. But some of them are not legit and often they are scammers. Check them first. 

As we said previously, personal loans can give the money you need, but they are not, at the same time, the best choice for everyone. Sometimes, a credit card could be a better alternative.

But be careful with this too. If you take a balance transfer card and you are not able to pay off your balance, you may catch an enormous amount in interest charges.

For homeowners, there is a home equity loan. This kind of loan will give the aid you need. Usually,  it is a larger loan sum at low rates. You should be aware, you are giving your house as collateral for these kinds of loans. If you fail to pay, your lender has the right to use your house as payment for debt for the loan.

How personal loan may impact your credit score?

When you demand a loan, the lender will count your credit as an element of the applying process. This is recognized as a hard inquiry. It will regularly reduce your credit scores by a few points.

On the other hand, the lenders that you previously had an account with will just review your credit. This is identified as a soft inquiry and will not affect your credit score.

It is obvious where to ask as first.

Interest rates and fees

Interest rates and fees can create a big distinction in how much you will pay to the end. Here are several circumstances to consider.

Interest rates typically vary from around 5% to 36%. That depends on the lender and your credit. Meaning, if you have good credit, the interest rate will be lower. But, you will pay more interest if your loan is long-term

Some lenders will charge you a fee to cover the expense of processing the loan. That is origination fees. It can be from 1% to 6% of the loan sum depending on lenders rules.

Some lenders will charge you a fee if you pay off your loan early. What? Yes, if you pay off early the lenders will lose the full interest that they would have earned in established agreement.

You have to know all of this or you must be informed by your lender about all the circumstances before signing anything.

Bottom line

A personal loan may be a good solution when you need extra money for a particular intent. But there are many circumstances to consider. You have to decide what sort of credit is best for your condition.

You must feel comfortable.  Also, you must find the payments like the one you can afford and not feel captured. Measure twice, cut once.

Prepaid Cards

What do you need to know about prepaid cards?

2 min read

What do you need to know about prepaid cards?

Prepaid cards are similar to debit cards. This means, prepaid cards seem like credit cards and use as credit cards. But the main difference is there’s no credit behind. When using the prepaid cards you are spending your own money, banks will not grant you to spend their money. So, in essence, they are debit cards.

However, there is one difference. It isn’t needed to have a bank account to have a prepaid card. All you have to do is to download a certain amount of money straight onto the card. And you can use your prepaid card for purchasing and payments.

When the balance on the card drops low, you have to reload more money.

You can use your prepaid card everywhere, just like any card. You can pay bills, buy in the shops. 

The fees retailers pay to receive prepaid cards are lower than for credit cards, you will often find, for example, the shops that are receiving the prepaid cards rather than credit cards.

Prepaid cards are a good option instead of credit cards.

Moreover, prepaid cards allow the comfort of shopping without the troubles of administering with a bank. You may deposit your paycheck direct onto your prepaid card.

They were basically invented for people with bad or non-exciting credit history. This kind of cards is a great choice for people with credit problems. The other advantage for all of you, who are not sure how should you spend your money, is that the prepaid card expires when the preloaded money runs out.

It is a very helpful first card for youngsters or for someone who is recovering from debt.

There is no credit check, hence, it will not help you develop credit. The outgo on prepaid cards is not traced by credit bureaus.

Seek for characteristics that satisfy your needs.

What do you need to know about prepaid cards?

Amazing, prepaid cards allow you to pay bills online by setting up automated monthly payments. Some will allow you to withdraw money from an ATM.

To manage your account online, you can use some app available for desktop or even mobile. 

“Seventy percent of general prepaid card users use mobile to check balances and transaction history and receive text alerts,” said Bill McCracken, CEO of Synergistics. “So mobile capability in a prepaid card is very important.”

Opportunities to put more money on your card are growing.

You can transfer money from your bank account if you have one.

Your company can deposit your paycheck directly onto your prepaid card.

Money transfer from a PayPal account, for example, is so easy.

If the balance on your prepaid card is too low you can reload by using a reload card.

Moreover, as we mentioned before, there is no need to pay interest on a prepaid card. On the other hand, with a credit card, you have to pay. Instead, you will pay fees. 

Prepaid cards require fees from setup to reloading. The good thing is that you can limit fees. How? Just keep a minimum balance or arrange a direct deposit.

Prepaid cards can assist you to control your money if you employ it as a budgeting tool. For example, you can load the weekly budget for shopping onto your prepaid card. When you spend all amount, your spending will be stopped immediately. Well, unless you load more money. Anyway, it will help you manage your spending by limiting costs and risks.

And, you’re protected. “While prepaid cards were developed by entrepreneurs as an alternative to banking, the funds in these accounts are almost always held by a bank or credit union and enjoy federal deposit insurance,” Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB. 

Moreover, if you notify the loss or stealing of your registered card, most of the issuer will restore your balance and give you a new card. Let’s say, a prepaid card operates like a debit card, but without risks and the bank account.

Bottom line

Prepaid cards are good for people with bad credit. Especially when they are not accepted for a credit card. You can use a prepaid card as a method of building positive credit. If you make small payments frequently and pay them off every month, you’ll be able to show that you are financially stable. After some time this secured account can be changed to an unsecured one.

Attempt To Neutralize The Gray Economy Or More Control Of Citizens?

Attempt To Neutralize The Gray Economy Or More Control Of Citizens?

1 min read

One of the most read online publications brings the news that the Australian government has made big cash payments illegal.

The right question is, is it just giving a free boost to cryptocurrencies such as the Bitcoin?

Or attempt to neutralize the gray economy?

”From July 1, 2019, any business transaction over $10,000 has to be done using electronic payments. Handing over a hundred $100 notes or more will be illegal, as the government tries to flush out tax avoiders, drug dealers and the rest of the underground economy. Bitcoiners and other cryptocurrency fans predicted this, and the government is playing into their greedy little hands.” wrote the mentioned publication.

The most intriguing question is why the Australian government made such a decision.

The Australian government is quite progressive with blockchain.

They’ve given a grant to power edger. Australia Post is working with Alibaba and the stock exchange is moving to the blockchain. They are trying to reduce the gray economy and know they’ll have more success with blockchain.

At first look, everything is screaming of free will and giving out of control. I think I understand their reasons.

But, is this the right move?

Do they (the governments) realize that they are providing more room for the cryptos?

I don’t think so. Luckily!

Neutralize the gray economy?

Well, truth is that cash is used for drugs and money laundering, so at first glance, you may think that you can sort of see their point.

But if you think a drug cartel can’t find a way around, you are fooling yourselves. That’s why this isn’t a way to neutralize the gray economy.

On the other hand, the Australian government clearly stated that they want to accelerate the movement to the digital economy. Maybe the people who make the decisions want to move to digital money, but of course centralized digital money.

Governments can ban crypto in the same way, unless they’ll be able to track payments.

In most of the countries of the EU, this is already an unofficial law.

This is kind of dumb because you are forced to have your pockets filled with heavy metal coins. You can find the laws or regulations of cash limitation in Greece, Portugal, Germany, Italy…

And what they are doing is banning the free will actually! All of them!

You would like to read about banning Bitcoin in India

Cash is money outside of government control. Prohibition of cash will only divert more funds into crypto, outside of fiat system. And this is the reality with which governments will face very quickly. It’s scary that these countries limiting cash payments, and that people are not more concerned, one might say. Many people are still stuck in their old ways and refuse to see the answer. The only possibility is to continue with education. People should know that regulation will help popular acceptance of cryptocurrencies, however, you can only regulate the gateway between fiat and crypto.

That’s why this regulation and cash ban is bonkers.

Why issue bills and then say it’s illegal to use them in large amounts? Slowly but surely governments are edging towards a cashless society. And that is an opportunity for cryptos. People will realize that Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency can be used for everyday transactions.

Cryptocurrencies’ time is coming, that’s for sure!

But some people have this point of view: Bitcoin/crypto is a government’s dream. They want to force everyone to eventually use it so your payments can be totally tracked.

This applies only to those who are not familiar with blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology created the backbone of a new type of internet by allowing digital information to be distributed but not copied. The blockchain database isn’t stored in any single location. No centralized version of this information exists. Hosted by millions of computers simultaneously.

Yeah, it’s kinda tricky!

You can track 3 or 5 or 15 accounts but track billions are impossible.

You MUST read Why you shouldn’t invest in bitcoin under any circumstances

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