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Credit card Essay

1.0 Background of credit cards

The general-purpose credit card was born in 1966 by the Bank of America. Today, Master card and Visa are the well-known international credit card companies in Europe and their cards are accepted in more than 24 million outlets worldwide. Credit cards work to make attractive revenues to credit card companies, banks and retail sales. Nowadays, credit cards have such high interest that they are no longer attractive to purchases the unnecessary items. Credit cards are primarily seems to be used on important events to avoid indebtedness.

The used of credit cards started up with individual firms, like oil companies as well as hotel chains, began to issue them to their customers. At first, these cards were just involves between the merchants who offer these cards to their customers and it had been proved to be a major way of ensuring customer loyalty. Later on, the companies began to accept each other’s cards to expand the uses of credit cards.

The first bank issued credit card was the Charge-it, which came up in 1946. The card was introduced by John Biggins and was issued by the Flatbush National Bank of Brooklyn in New York. In this, the merchants could deposit the sales slips into the bank and it would in turn get it from the customers. Then, in 1950s, the Diners Club credit card was issued. The card was invented by Frank McNamara, who was the founder of Diner’s Club. MasterCard was then been introduced in 1959, these cardholders no longer had to make the full payment on or before the due date, it gave customers greater flexibility in managing their money.

In Australia, the first credit card was issued in 1974. It is known as a Bankcard, was a shared brand credit card and was issued by the Australia financial institutions, and functioned only in limited locations such as Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. The card soon caught the fancy of the entire region and dominated the credit card market in Australia, during the late 1980’s. A report shows that Bankcards were applied by around 2.3million users in Australia and accepted by 350,000 establishments in 2004.

Besides that, the earlier cards were made from metal coins, plates, as well as celluloid, fiber and paper. These days however they are mostly made of plastic. The usefulness of credit cards and charge cards is actually similar but the only different is the credit balances due date and the amount have to be pay. A charge card is actually a type of credit card that require you to pay your total balance in full at the end of each billing cycle instead of making payment on the lowest limit of the total balances. The cardholders won’t pay any interest on a charge card balance because they are not allowed to carry a balance beyond the due date. However, they’ll face a late fee if their full balance didn’t paid by the due date, the late fee could be a flat fee or a percentage of their balance.

A charge card is typically issued by one company these days, America Express such as Amex’ Zync, Green, Gold, and Platinum cards. A credit card, on the other hand, allows you to have a revolving balance that you can pay off over a period of time. Credit cards also have a late fee that’s charged when the cardholders didn’t make their minimum payment by the due date. So nowadays, people are preferred to use credit cards more than charge cards because of the due date and the amount that must pay on due date. However, credit cards may cause more terrible debts than the charge cards.

2.0 Related information
2.1 Types of credit cards

There’s two types of credit cards which are variable payment cards (VPC) and fixed repayment card. The VPC is a credit card which allows users to make purchases of variable sizes but limited to the credit limit imposed by the company. The fixed repayment cards allow users access to one month’s credit but with settlement of a minimum payment, say, 15% of the balance. 2.2 Advantages of credit cards and charge cards

2.2.1 Provide a means of obtaining credit

The financial institutions which provides credit cards and charge cards products is actually issue credit or loan to the cardholders because when the customers spend money by using credit cards or charge cards, they can enjoy the goods and services first before they really have to pay for it, which means that they can buy the goods and services by credit but not cash.

Although credit means that owe to the financial institution but as long as customers able to pay before the due date, it is a very convenience way to shopping with the credit cards and charge cards.

2.2.2 Interest free credit is given from a week to 4 weeks

Financial institutions actually didn’t charge interest on credit to the credit card holders and charge card holders during the first 4 weeks after they spend on it, so customers may spend as much as they want within their credit card or charge card’s limit without making any burden to themselves. But the most important is they have to remember to pay the credit within the first 4 weeks, or else interest on credit will be charge by the financial institution.

2.2.3 Easier to use as payment than cheques

Credit cards and charge cards are easier to use as payment than cheques because they are just a small and flat plastic cards which can easily keep in wallet compared to the cheques that need to bring along the cheque book to make payment. Cheque book is very inconvenience to bring along especially without bringing a bag, it have to be hold on hand and it can be dirty, folded and wet easily, once its messy, most probably it will be return by the financial institution after make payment by cheques. Credit cards and charge cards can be dirty too but it can be wiped by tissue or cloth easily and even if its wet also not a problem to continue use it to make payment.

2.2.4 Cardholders can also withdraw cash over the counter or from an ATM

Credit cards and charge cards not only can be function on the credit card machine such as MBF machine, it also can be use to withdraw cash over the counter in the financial institution or from an ATM. Although the financial institution will charge the cardholders on withdraw cash by using the credit cards or charge cards, but when the cardholders need cash for emergency case especially during midnight, it can be easily withdraw cash from an ATM.

2.2.5 Global acceptance

Cardholders can enjoy goods and services by using credit cards and charge cards in any countries because it is acceptable in global. It will be very convenience especially during travel or a business trip, cardholders don’t have to look for foreign currency exchange, all they need is just a credit card or charge card will do. Even when they really need cash at overseas, they can withdraw cash through an ATM or over the counter, so they don’t have to scare any robbery when they take out their cash in an unfamiliar countries.

2.2.6 Easy bill payments and earn reward points

Cardholders are able to make their bill payments through online banking savings account, by cash or cheque at the financial institution branches, standing instruction and Cash Deposit Machines ( CDM ) or Cheque Deposit Machines ( QDM ) easily. They just have to pay it monthly and when they spent money using the credit cards and charge cards, they will earn reward points which can be used to redeem gifts from the financial institution. So some people might think that if they spent money by cash or cheque, they get nothing extra like the reward points but if they spent money by using credit cards or charge cards they might get extra gifts, it will be more worth than spending by cash or cheque.

2.2.7 Discount on other cooperate stores

Some stores will cooperate with the financial institutions, so they will give discount to the specific financial institution’s cardholders when they spend on their stores by using their credit cards or charge cards, this will encourage the cardholders to spend more on their stores to get more discount. For example, Hong Leong Bank provides GSC-Hong Leong Credit Card, the ultimate movie card. The cardholders can enjoy 50% discounts up to RM100, subsequently up to 10% discounts on movie tickets purchase at all of the GSC outlets.

2.2.8 Provide 0% interest installment plan

Some of the financial institution will provide 0% interest installment plan which the cardholders can purchase from those specific stores. For example, HSBC bank provide 0% interest installment plan for their credit card holders to purchase goods and services from a lot of shops such as Canon, Gintell, SASA Cosmetic and so on. That means the cardholders who don’t have enough budget also can enjoy the goods and services through the interest free installment plan without any guarantor needed.

2.3 Requirements to apply credit cards and charge cards

There are several requirements to apply credit cards and charge cards which are minimum age, minimum annual income and latest salary slips or relevant documents. At least 18 years old and above for the supplementary and between 21 to 65 years old for principal to apply credit cards and charge cards, this is required by every financial institutions in Malaysia. For the minimum annual income, it depends on financial institutions, they have different requirements on different types of cards. For example, CIMB required RM 24,000 per annum to apply the classic card, RM 30,000 per annum to apply the gold card and RM 60,000 per annum to apply the platinum card. For the charge cards, Maybank provides three types of charge cards only. The American Express Personal Card required RM 30,000 per annum, American Express Gold Card required RM 48,000 and The Platinum Card required RM 190,000 per annum to apply it.

3.0 Current issues of product
3.1 Addicted in using credit cards and charge cards will lead to debt disaster

Most of the cardholders will become addicted in spending by using credit cards and charge cards because of at the moment they use the cards they actually don’t have to pay for what they purchases, at least they get to enjoy first before they really need to pay for it. Besides that, purchases with cards and cash have the different feeling, purchases with cash will be not willing to pay for it due to consumers have a clear picture that their cash is really flowing out from their pocket while purchases with cards won’t really feel about that because when you’re not looking at your money flowing out, you won’t feel that it’s actually already been spent by credit. So, this kind of bad habit will make cardholders overspend without realize especially to the shopaholics, therefore it will lead to financial difficulties. There’s still a lot of Malaysian suffering from the credit cards’ debts, some of them just able to pay the lowest limit of their debts every month due to the high interest rate charged, it is quite similar to loan sharks as they just able to pay back the interest of credits every month and became a burden which they unable to bear.

3.2 High interest rate of credits

Most of the financial institutions in Malaysia offered tiered interest as per Bank Negara Malaysia credit card interest rate structure. The tiered interest rate structure rewards those cardholders who willing to pay their credit card bills in time. For those who pay credit card bills in time for every month in a year will only be charged 13.5% per annum for the interest rate, those who pay credit card bills in time for at least 10 months in a year will be charged higher interest rate than pay in every month which are 16% per annum, while those who pay credit card bills in time for less than 9 months in a year will be punished on the interest rate charged with 17.5% per annum which are the highest interest rate charged in Malaysia.

So, for those who pay every month consecutively for a year will get to enjoy a lower interest rate on the 13th month compared to those who didn’t pay the bills every month consecutively for a year. However, some financial institutions offer a lower interest rate. For example, Affin Bank credit card offer 9.99% per annum on the interest rate of credit card bills and AMEX gold credit card is only 9% per annum. So, cardholders will have to choose wisely before they apply the credit cards.

Normally financial institutions only require cardholders to pay the lowest limit every month which is 5% or RM50 depends on whichever higher of the total outstanding balance of their credit card bills. But they will have to take a long time to clear all the outstanding balance without any new spending if they only make lowest limit payment.

Apart from the high interest rate, cardholders are also subjected to finance charges which will be imposed from the day the transaction is posted to the card account if they just make partial payment or less than that on or before the payment due date. Cardholders will have to make full payments every month consecutively to avoid the finance charges and also get to enjoy the interest free credit for retail transactions for 20 days on retail transactions but it’s not including the cash advance, balance transfer and installment payment plan programs. Even the cardholders didn’t make payment on or before the due date, they also subjected to late payment charges minimum of RM5 or 1% of total outstanding balance, whichever is higher, and it will be up to RM50.

3.3 Declared bankrupt due to credit card debts

There are 41 of the Malaysian declared bankrupt every day on average and most of the reason is because of the credit card debts. The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations ( FOMCA ) had discovered that most of those who declared bankrupt due to credit card debts were below 40 years old because of their poor financial management, they didn’t think wisely on what they’ve spent and don’t care about the consequences they need to face for the rest of their life. It is very tough to face financial difficulties too early in life and they are actually not mature enough to manage on their financial.

For those cardholders who always overspend and unable to make full payment on the credit card bills, the outstanding balances will still remaining and it will become more and more expensive due to the high interest rate charged by the issuers. Usually most of the credit card debts are from the moderate income group because the financial institution only issue credit cards to those who earn at least RM 24,000 per annum, so if they didn’t settle the full payment every month, they will have to suffer from the high interest rate charged and unable to settle the credit card bills easily especially for those who owned more than one credit cards unless they stop spending by using the credit cards and they will need around 2 years to settle the outstanding balances.

3.4 Insecure in using credit cards and charge cards

Nowadays there are many cases on the fraud of credit cards due to the technological advances such as exists of hackers, insecure websites during payment and so on. Some of the consumers rather use cash instead of credit cards if they lack of information on credit cards protection. The fraudsters are always creative on thinking a new way to steal the information of the cardholders. The credit card phone activation scam is to cheat the owner of the cardholders’ in order to ask them call a number to activate their new credit cards from their own home number, after the card is activated, the card can be used fraudulently. Just a phone call and the legitimate credit card owner will become a pitiful victim that have to pay the amount from spending that doesn’t recognize which may lead the victim to bankrupt.

Some of the credit card scammers might steal or trick the cardholders to tell them the security code and then make purchases over the internet or the telephone. Once they know the credit card’s PIN, they could get cash advances from any of the ATM using a duplicated credit card where the legitimate cardholders’ details have been copied into the magnetic strip of another card.

The most popular credit card fraud is use credit card numbers to online purchases in unknown websites which we not sure whether it is a secure website or not. Most of the cardholders didn’t check the safety of making payment with their credit card numbers during online purchases, it is a very dangerous case that will loss a large amount for the careless consequences. In addition, fraudsters also targeting the cardholders through email links and attachments. Once they click on the links or open the attachments they reveal themselves to computer viruses that can detect their keystrokes when they log on to their accounts.

3.5 Teenagers struggle to get control of credit card debt

Recent laws designed to prevent young adults from running into credit card debt, it seems teenagers haven’t been doing enough on their own to find debt relief. Parents who want their teenagers to learn to use credit responsibly and effectively often try to train them by giving them a credit card of their own, co-signed by one of the parent and for only a low credit limit. Most teenagers still, however, struggle with some aspects of credit card management, including paying them on time. Few of the teenagers know how to properly manage their accounts, but most of them failed to do so. According to a study entitled Financial Literacy and Credit Cards: A Multi Campus Survey, published in the International Journal of Business and Social Science, about 36 percent of teenagers have two or more credit cards in their name. The report said, just 9.4 percent of those polled said they pay their balances off in full at the end of every month and very few actually knew the cost of their account. Only 14.6 percent of them knew the interest rate on their card, while 24.3 percent and 29.2 percent claimed knowledge of their late payment and over-balance penalty fees, respectively.

Altogether, only about 10 percent said they knew all three. They pay little attention to interest rates, terms, and card features. The card they choose may set them up for failure right from the start. In addition, many young people are not adequately educated about credit cards and debt. They may know that you have to pay the money back, but they may not be prepared to understand the effect of high interest rates, minimum payments and the devastating effect that late payments can cause. And when most young people have relatively low-paying or part-time jobs, it can become difficult to keep up with credit card payments. There are some reasons teenagers struggle with credit cards. The first reason is teenagers don’t make enough money. Teenagers often have a very narrow scope of the world and of financial matters in particular.

For example, they often simply don’t see that they won’t be able to pay off the expensive new sound system for their car on their Rm150 a week part time job. They also get sucked in by the minimum payment offer and don’t really consider how much interest they will be paying in the longer term. Besides that, teenagers believe that their parents will rescue them. Teenagers may not admit it, but they need their parents to get them out of trouble. Often, these young adults will spend their credit card limit foolishly because they believe that if they really can’t pay it their parents will step in and rescue them, as most parents lend a helping hand when their child is in trouble. Also, they may believe that their parents will fix their damaged credit history if they end up with a poor credit score later.

4.0 Recommendations / Suggestions / Opinions
4.1 The ways of using credit cards and charge cards intelligently 4.1.1 Choose wisely

When selecting a credit card, be aware of all of the interest rate and repayment options. Compare different cards based on your needs and your ability to pay all purchases in full. There are several things that need to be consider wisely which are a low annual percentage rate (APR), which will reduce the interest you have to repay, the interest calculation method which can change how much interest you pay, low or no annual fees, which issuers might charge, all other charges such as late payment fees, transaction fees, over the limit fees and others which can add to the total cost of your charges, credit limits for cardholders should be low, and the services and features such as cash rebates, frequent flyer miles, extended warranties, convenience checks.

4.1.2 Don’t spend more than you can afford to pay on a monthly basis

You can make wise decisions about purchasing items you need versus those you simply want. We’ve all used the word “need” to describe something we really just wanted badly. Using your credit card responsibly and recognize which things you really need and which you just want. Responsible use of your credit cards will help you establish a solid credit rating and avoid financial problems.

4.1.3 Keep track of your spending

It is important to monitor more often than once per month when you receive your statement of credit cards. You should check your account online frequently, save receipts and keep accurate records, consider signing up for balance notices and billing statement notifications from your credit card provider.

4.1.4 Keep an accurate record of the following in case your card is lost or stolen

Keep the important informations in a secure and safe place at home such as account number, issuer’s name, phone number, and photo copy of the front and back of the card.

4.1.5 Don’t apply for credit that you don’t need

Although your first few credit card accounts build and improve your credit score, there’s a point when acquiring more will reduce your score. Where that point is, no one knows, but generally, two or three cards are all you need. You should say “no, thanks” when the cashier offers 10% off your purchase in exchange for filling out the store’s credit application. In my opinion, store credit cards aren’t necessary and the interest rates are horrendous, unless there’s some overriding benefit that will offset the ding in your credit- like getting Rm500 off a Rm2000 refrigerator.

4.2 The ways to reduce credit card debts

4.2.1 Hide your credit cards

The first step is to hide your credit cards in a place where you could access them in an absolute emergency, but that they’d be very difficult to find. For example, put them in a little box way in the back up in the attic, freeze them in a big chunk of ice, or hide them in the back of the cupboard at your mother’s house. Make sure it’s somewhere where you can’t easily access them. Then, go to every online account where you use a credit card regularly and delete your credit card numbers there. For example, Amazon, PayPal, and World of War craft. Make sure that you’re not forgetting anything. If you absolutely must retain a service, use a debit card number instead of a credit card number. Why should you do this? Your credit card balances need to go down, but not up and the biggest step in doing that is to break yourself of the habit of using them without a connection to the real money you’re spending. That means going back to using cash, checks, and debit cards. If you don’t actually have the money, you’re not spending it.

4.2.2 Write a budget plan

To start reducing your credit card you need to work out where you’ve been going wrong and ensure you do not continue to mount up further debt. You can start by writing down a list of all your monthly incomings such as wages, dividends from shares or interest from savings and so on. Following this, write a list of all your regular outgoings such as mortgage or rent payments, personal loans, council rates, utility, phone and internet bills, fuel and vehicle maintenance, insurance, health and groceries. Besides that, don’t forget to you include other aspects of your life such as entertainment, eating out and clothes shopping. Once you have these figures you can calculate your monthly cash flow by adding up your total incomings and subtracting your total outgoings. Hopefully your incomings will exceed your outgoings leaving you with positive monthly cash flow. However, if you find your outgoings exceed your incomings you have negative cash flow and are pushing yourself further into debt each month. Next, search through your expenses for areas where you could cut back.

Maybe you are eating out too often or treating yourself to more new clothes or shoes than you really need. You need some nice treats to look forward to but make a budget for non-essentials and entertainment and stick to it. You can then use the spare cash flow each month towards paying off your debts. 4.2.3 Figure out what you owe and what the interest rates are The next step is to dig out the most recent statements for all of your credit card bills and determine exactly how much you owe and what the interest rates on each of the bills is. This information should be easily found on your most recent statement, but if you’re having difficulty finding the information, call up your credit card provider and get that information. You should be making a list of all of these: credit card name/type, current balance, and interest rate. This helps when you develop a plan, you can use this master list to figure out which credit card to pay first.

4.2.4 For teenagers’ problem, it’s still up to the parent

If parents want their children to have good spending habits and resist the temptation that can come with having a credit card, it’s up to parents to educate them. Teenagers need to know the benefits of having a card and the devastating consequences that can come from misuse. As parents, they need to sit down with their sons or daughters before they head off on their own. Discuss the reasons why it’s important to have a credit card and credit history. Also, parents should help teenagers find a good credit card so they don’t end up signing up for the first one they come across. Once teenagers obtain a card, make a purchase and walk them through the process of making the monthly payment. Either by check or electronically so they know what to expect and are familiar with the process. Finally, go over the ground rules. Parents should explain exactly what the credit card should be used for and who is responsible for the payments. If parents take the time to educate teenagers at a young age so they can establish credit in a responsible manner, they will be in a position to hit the ground running with a solid credit history and have established sound financial habits going forward.

4.3 The ways to solve unsecured credit cards

Credit and charge card fraud costs cardholders and issuers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. While theft is the most obvious form of fraud, it can occur in other ways. For example, someone may use your card number without your knowledge. It’s not always possible to prevent credit or charge card fraud from happening. But there are a few steps you can take to make it more difficult for a crook to capture your card or card numbers and minimize the possibility. The best way to deal with credit card fraud is to avoid the crime altogether. Internet commerce is one of the most common places where credit card fraud occurs. Do research on the site and only give out your credit card if the transaction is secure and the vendor is reputable. To verify a site is secure, before using, check out the “security or encryption” software used to see if is reliable. If you are unsure of a vendor, look for a physical address and be wary of temporary addresses, such as PO boxes. Cardholder has to be cautious when responding to special, unsolicited email offers and to avoid overseas vendors. Besides that, by keeping a list of all your credit cards and account information will help you to avoid uncertain problems. If you notice anything suspicious, refer to your handy list, and call the authorities immediately.

To prevent credit card and charge card fraud, don’t lend your card to anyone or leave it lying around. When you sign a receipt, draw a line through any blank spaces above the total. Write your account number on a postcard or the outside of an envelope. Give out your account number over the phone unless you’re making the call to a company you know is reputable. If you have questions about a company, check it out with your local consumer protection office or Better Business Bureau.

5.0 Conclusion

As a conclusion, we can know more related information about credit cards and charge cards. By using credit card can make consumers more convenient yet troublesome. All are stated in advantages and disadvantages of credit cards and charge card’s part. Besides that , we have found out some current issue about credit card and charge card such as article about high interest rate of credit card, debt disaster and bankruptcy all these related articles. To solve these current issues and problems of credit card and charge card, we have recommended some ways such as how to use credit card intelligently, ways to solve unsecure credit card and ways to reduce credit card debts. Therefore, we should use credit card wisely to prevent the misuse and overuse of credit card.

6.0 References
Internet
The New York Times Company. ( 2012 ). The Difference Between Charge Card and Credit Card. Retrieved from http://credit.about.com/od/creditcardbasics/a/Charge-Card-vs-Credit-Card.htm. Maybank. ( 2011 ). Identity Theft. Retrieved from
http://www.maybank2u.com.my/mbb_info/m2u/public/personalDetail04.do?channelId=CRD-Cards&cntTypeId=0&cntKey=CRD08.12&programId=CRD08-Utilities&chCatId=/mbb/Personal/CRD-Cards. Maybank. ( 2011 ). American Express Personal Card. Retrieved from http://www.maybank2u.com.my/mbb_info/m2u/public/personalDetail04.do?channelId=CRD-Cards&cntTypeId=0&cntKey=CRD02.01&programId=CRD02-ChargeCards&chCatId=/mbb/Personal/CRD-Cards. CIMB Group. ( 2012 ). CIMB Bank Credit Card. Retrieved from http://www.cimbbank.com.my/index.php?ch=cb_per_ca&pg=cb_per_ca_prod&ac=2&tpt=cimb_bank#. HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad. ( 2012 ). 0% Interest Installment Plan. Retrieved from http://www.hsbc.com.my/1/2/personal-banking/credit-cards/smart-privileges/0-installment-plan/household-and-furniture. Hong Leong Bank Berhad. GSC-Hong Leong Gold & Platinum Credit Card. Retrieved from http://www.hlb.com.my/pfs/cc/ccgsc_fb.jsp?flag=ccgsc. Golden Screen Cinemas. ( 2012 ). GSC-Hong Leong Credit Card – The Ultimate Movie Card. Retrieved from http://www.gsc.com.my/gsceonbankcard/Default.aspx. Lawyerment.com. ( 2012 ). Shocking reasons why Malaysians are living beyond their means. Retrieved September 22, 2011 from http://www.lawyerment.com.my/boards/article-Malaysia_Business_Consumer_Bankruptcy_Law-1650.htm?Page=20. 1-million-dollar-blog.com. ( 2012 ). Credit Card Interest Rate, Charges & Debt Calculator. Retrieved January 18, 2011 from http://1-million-dollar-blog.com/credit-card-interest-rate-charges-debt-calculator/. The New York Times Company. ( 2012 ). Credit Card Fraud – Credit Card Phone Activation Scam. Retrieved from http://banking.about.com/od/securityandsafety/a/creditcardfraud.htm. Free Malaysia Today – Free and Independent. ( 2012 ). Nearly 50% of credit card holders gone bankrupt under 30. Retrieved from http://archive.freemalaysiatoday.com/fmt-english/news/general/3216-nearly-50-of-credit-card-holders-gone-bankrupt-under-30. Debtmerica, LLC. ( 2012 ). College kids struggle to get control of credit card debt. Retrieved from http://debtmerica.com/industry-news/11-credit-cards/1171-college-kids-struggle-to-get-control-of-credit-card-debt. Debtmerica, LLC ( 2012 ). Consumers doing a better job making payments on time. Retrieved from http://debtmerica.com/industry-news/11-credit-cards/1168-consumers-doing-a-be


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