Build Credit History in United States: 4 Recommended Ways

It can be difficult to establish credit. And if you don’t have a credit history, it’s hard to get a loan, a credit card or even an apartment. But how can you develop a credit history that shows you’re paying back what you borrow, if no one gives you credit in the first place?

In the United States, for example, to have a credit score you must have at least one account that has been open for several months, as well as a creditor who has reported his or her activity to a credit bureau.

Some measures that can help you establish a credit history include:

  1. Secured credit cards
  2. Secured credit builder loan
  3. Loan with a co-signer
  4. Authorized user on someone else’s credit card

Whichever option you choose from the above four, make sure you use it in a way that will eventually get you a good credit score.

1. Apply for a Secured Credit Card

If you want to start building your credit score from the beginning, you’ll probably need to start with a secured credit card. An insured card is backed by money that is deposited at the beginning; the amount of the deposit is usually the same as your credit limit.

This card works just like any other: you can make purchases, make payments on or before the due date, and earn interest if the balance is not paid in full. The cash deposit is used as collateral if payments are not made.

When you close the account on this card, your deposit will be returned to you.

The purpose of a secured card is to build enough credit and qualify the user for an unsecured card without a deposit and with better benefits. You should choose a secured card with low annual fees. Also, make sure that the company that issued it, sends reports to the three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Secured credit cards are not used indefinitely. After being used to establish your credit, you can then apply for a regular credit card.

2. Apply for a Secured Loan

This loan, which is also called a credit builder, is exactly as its name suggests. Its sole purpose is to help people establish credit.

With a regular loan, you can be approved for a certain amount, and then you get the money up front and start paying it off. With a loan to establish your credit, the amount you borrowed is held by the lender in an account and you do not receive the loan money until after you have made all your payments. This is some kind of forced savings program.

If the loan is repaid as scheduled and fully, the financial institution promises to send a good report to the credit bureaus. Ideally, you will improve an average 35 points with six months of timely payments for loans as small as $100.

These loans are often offered by credit associations or community banks.

3. Get a Co-Signer

It is also possible to apply for a loan or secured credit card using a co-signer as guarantor. But you must be sure that you and the co-signer understand that the co-signer is responsible for the total amount you owe, if you fail to pay.

4. Become authorized user on another person’s credit card

A family member or partner may allow you to add yourself as an authorized user to their credit card. As an authorized user, you will be able to access a credit card and build a credit history, but at the same time you will not be required to pay for the charges.

Ask the cardholder to find out if the bank that issued the card reports the activity of an authorized user to the credit bureaus. That activity is usually reported, but you must be sure, otherwise you will spoil your efforts to build your credit.

You must agree on how to use the card before you are added as an authorized user. If the cardholder expects you to pay your share, be sure to do this even if you are not legally required to do so.

Get Your Credit Reports

In the United States, you are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three national credit bureaus. A credit report is a snapshot of how you use your credit.

12 Guidelines for New Credit Card Users

The first credit card can be exciting, tempting and intimidating. If you’re going to have your first credit card (or your child is going to have it), here are some ideas to keep in mind.

  1. A credit card is a serious matter. The issuing company lends you money and responsibility is on you to repay all the money.
  2. One card is probably enough. Have just one and avoid temptation.
  3. Keep your credit limit low. Depending on how you are going to use it, $500 or $1,000 will be enough for most first-time credit card users.
  4. Pay the balance you owe in full each month. Avoid service charges and establish a good credit history.
  5. Make your payments on time. This will help you establish a good credit record and avoid late fees.
  6. Use the card for emergencies. Start using this new comfort slowly. Continue to use cash, debit card and checks for most purchases, especially until you feel comfortable with the card.
  7. Never allow others to use your card. You are responsible for all charges on your card. Don’t let others borrow it and don’t reveal your social security number/PIN or any other personal information related to your credit card.
  8. Keep track of your card usage and compare your records to the information on your monthly statement.
  9. Keep the card active. Even if you only use it for emergencies, try to use it for small purchases every three to four months to keep it active. In that case, pay the outstanding balance before interest is earned.
  10. Avoid using the card for cash advances. The interest rate charged on cash advances is often higher than the purchase rate and you are charged interest immediately.
  11. Create a spending plan and budget. Don’t let your credit card payments exceed 20% of your monthly income.
  12. If having a credit card is a problem, cancel it or stop using it for a while.

Here are some other points to keep in mind regarding your credit card:

Credit card companies make money by charging interest on long outstanding balances. Often, the rates they charge are quite high. In addition to the interest, they also make money from annual/joining fee, cash withdrawal and others.

Choose a card that meets your requirement. First-time users should look for one that has low (or no) annual fees and low interest rates. If you are not going to use it much, benefits such as rewards (airline tickets or cash refunds) will not offset the charges that are usually applied with this type of card.

Having a good credit history is important. People with good record often find it easier to get credit in the future and often get lower rates on their loans.

Carefully analyze the details of the card. Make sure you understand all charges and how interest charges are calculated.

Why is it better to use a credit card than cash?

Why is it better to use a credit card than cash? Do you know the reasons?

At first glance we may think that using cash for payments and purchases will always be the best option, but it’s not entirely the case and here we show you why it might be better to use your credit card instead of cash.

Why is it better to use a credit card than cash?

Security

This is the main reason for using credit cards instead of cash. With this payment method you have the peace of mind of having anti-fraud protection in case of loss, theft or fraudulent use.

If you lose your credit card by calling the bank, you will be able to regain control of your money and information, whereas this is not possible with cash.

In addition, having a card is completely safer than having all the money in your wallet, but it is always advisable to keep it in a different place than the card.

Discounts

There are a variety of discounts and benefits available when paying by credit card. Some credit cards, for example, refund the difference of the purchases, you can also win prizes or points redeemable for the proper use of these.

The discounts earned can be used in stores, to accrue miles for travel or to have some kind of assistance.

Convenience

Having a credit card is more convenient than having to think about how much money to bring for a specific situation, or for example having to use exchange houses if you are traveling in another country. Someone with a credit card will never have these problems, as they will be able to access their money at any time and at any exchange rate.

However, it is logical that it is always recommended to carry some cash with you, for small payments or for purchases at street stalls, which usually do not receive cards.

It is also very convenient for the customer to make purchases and pay for them in instalments and over a long period of time, as best suits their finances.

Controlling Expenses

All purchases and expenses are recorded when paying with credit card, and can be reviewed by the customer in your transactional portal or through your mobile phone, showing detailed information, even by purchase categories.

Other Reasons

Making payments with credit or debit cards is the best way to avoid unnecessary fees and commissions, especially when you are out of your country, as you can save on currency exchange fees and cash withdrawals at ATMs.

They allow for easier tracking of expenses, a task that is quite complex when shopping with cash, as many purchase invoices and receipts accumulate, and sometimes it is almost impossible to track them.

Credit cards are not as dirty as bills and coins, which generally pass through a large number of people, bringing with them hundreds of bacteria.

It is also very important to mention that when using credit cards for payment the following month the user is financing at a 0% rate.

21 Personal Loan Schemes ESPECIALLY for Housewives/Women

Everyone has a dream or wishes to fulfill. It could be starting a business, expanding existing business, renovating house, buying appliances, etc. Although an individual can use his/her saving to fulfill the need, it is not possible for everyone to achieve their dream mainly because of lack of finance. Although there are lenders offering personal loan but getting financial assistance is difficult especially for housewives with no income since they carry high credit risk to the lender.

However in order to give confidence to women by helping in building a business, various schemes are available in the market offering personal loan for housewives. These credit schemes are especially designed for women and many of these sponsored by the government only.

Name of Scheme / LoanWho Offers?Purpose of Loan
Mudra Yojana (3 Schemes - Shishu, Kishor, Tarun)Private and public sector banks, Regional rural banks, Scheduled union co-operative banks, Scheduled state co-operative banks, Micro finance institutions (MFIs), NBFCs, societies and trusts.Refinancing to micro business
Star Mahila Gold Loan SchemeBank of IndiaPurchase of gold jewelery or coins
Can MahilaCanara BankGeneral purpose
V SwashaktiVijaya BankSetting up small business
Sakhi ShaktiIDFC BankMeet financial needs
AB Vanitha Vahan SchemeAndhra BankPurchase of 2 or 4 wheeler
Secured Gold LoanShri Mahila Sewa Sahakari Bank LimitedFor general purpose
ShringaarBhartiya Mahila BankSetting up beauty parlor
AnnapurnaBhartiya Mahila BankSetting up food catering business
ParvarishBhartiya Mahila BankSetting up day care center
Kitchen ModernizationBhartiya Mahila BankMainly but not limited to renovating kitchen
Mahila Udyam Nidhi SchemePunjab National BankSetting up small scale industry
Mahila Samridhi YojanaPunjab National BankPurchasing and setting up of internet cafe and other small businesses
Kalyani Card SchemePunjab National BankAgricultural and non-farming activities
Stree Shakthi PackageState Bank of IndiaSetting up entrepreneurial business
Dena Shakti SchemeDena BankStarting business in select industries
Udyogini SchemePunjab and Sind Bank and Karnataka State Women’s Development Corporation (KSWDC)Starting business in select industries
Annapurna SchemeState Bank of MysoreSetting food catering business
Cent KalyaniCentral Bank of IndiaStarting a new business/expanding or modifying an existing business
Stand-Up India SchemeICICI BankSetting up a greenfield enterprise in select sectors
Mahila Vikas YojanaOriental Bank of CommerceStarting small business

But each come with their own eligibility criteria especially the purpose. Meaning, you cannot avail a loan meant for purchasing a vehicle for starting a business.

Good read: Ways to earn money from home especially for housewife

Other options for homemaker women to get personal loan

In addition to the above mentioned loan schemes for housewife, there are following four options to get personal loan:

Against Fixed Deposit:

Personal loan against FD account is another cost saving option to get a loan. If homemaker has some amount then she can open fixed deposit account and get loan against it. The interest rate charged is very low compared to traditionally bought loan. Almost every bank offers financing against FD. In this case, the FD becomes security.

Against Gold:

If homemaker women has gold jewelry then she can take loan against it. She will have to keep the gold as a security with the bank which will remain in their custody until the loan is fully repaid.

Against Securities:

Similar to gold and term deposit, housewife can keep securities such as life insurance, shares, mutual fund and avail personal loan against the same.

Private Money Lenders:

Although this option is never recommended due to the risks involved but there are trusted money lenders as well offering loans at higher interest and returning the security kept with them.

Personal Loan: 7 Most Important FINANCIAL Documents Required

Credit is basically a financial agreement between the borrower and lender (banks in most of the cases) in which lender offers money to the borrower to meet his/her objective which could be buying home/car/house renovation/bike/personal. In return, creditors charge interest and certain other fees from the borrower. Loaner may also ask to keep some form of security from the loanee i.e. the borrower in their control until the loan is fully paid-off.

Since crediting is the most profitable earning source for any lender, the market is flooded with numerous financiers ready to offer you money for almost any purpose. Check your E-mail inbox or SMS to verify this. You’ll definitely see a lot of marketing messages offering your credit card, loan (personal, car, home, etc.) within a day.

However many of these messages are actually marketing gimmicks. Because any type of credit application goes through a rigorous verification process till the money is received by the applicant (salaried or self-employed).

Few of the procedures involved are:

  • Application form submission
  • Documents submission to the lender
  • Documents verification by the lender
  • Credit bureau check by the lender
  • And others on a case to case basis

In this article, we’ll discuss about the 6 most important financial documents asked by the loaner for personal loan without which getting any type of finance is almost impossible for salaried and self-employed individuals.

Financial Documents Required by Salaried Individuals

Pay Slip: No other person than a salaried can know importance of the salary slip. Whether he/she is applying for a job, any type of loan or credit card, non-availability of this proof will give sleepless nights. And especially getting finance will become next to impossible. Although there are ways to get loan without income proof document.
Based on the income mentioned in the pay slip, application is processed further and loan amount is decided.

Typically lenders will ask for last 3 months pay slip. However submitting salary slip is just the first step, lenders will then cross verify the authenticity of the document submitted:

  • Employee details verified: Salary amount, PAN, designation, provident fund number, official employee-id, issuance date of salary slip, bank name in which salary was credited and the respective account number.
  • Employer details verified: Name, logo, signing authority, address, phone number, etc.

Although there are many other factors taken into consideration by the banks such as CIBIL score, age, city, company worked for and so on.

Many people make a mistake of creating fake income proof. However beware that this can land the applicant in a big trouble and even a criminal action can be taken against the person by the company on whose name fake salary slip was created. And most importantly, career will be at risk.

Must Read: Impact of submitting fake documents for personal loan

Form 16: Many people think that Form-16 is required only during filing of income tax returns. But this document is also required while applying for personal loan (in fact any type of loan). Typically total income is checked by the creditor which is obtained by subtracting the deductions from the gross income.

If the applicant does not fall under the tax bracket, then he/she is not required to submit Form-16. Not falling under tax bracket also means, income of the applicant is also low. But poor income does not necessarily mean, personal loan application will be rejected, since your income is the most critical component that decides whether loan will be approved or not. And if approved what amount will be granted.

Check out personal loan for poor salaried.

Income Tax Return: This is not always asked by the salaried individuals and is typically requested when the loan amount is high. This document contains income from all the sources. For a salaried person, income is what is paid by his/her employer. And based on the total income earned, decision on loan approval is made.

Bank Statement: This helps salaried individuals especially who do not receive pay slip and are issued monthly salary in cash or cheque. By verifying the statement, lenders can check monthly amount deposited.

Financial Documents Required from Self Employed

Typically loan application from self employed businessman is high, so lenders ask for different set of documents before granting loan. Self employed also includes doctors, chartered accountant, company secretary, architects, and others.

The documents required are:

Income Tax Return: Similar to salaried individuals, self employed individuals are also required to provide ITR of last 3 years when applying for a personal loan. For this category of individuals, income is profit and gain from the business. And based on the total income reported, lenders decide on loan approval or rejection and the amount.

Balance Sheet: This is the document which specifies the financial health of any company (sole proprietorship/private limited/public limited, others). Through this document, lender can evaluate credit worthiness by checking the cash position, assets and any debts and then decide on personal loan approval and the amount.

Profit and Loss statement: Though many of the information present in balance sheet is also available in a profit and loss statement, but the net profit metric is what is typically checked by the lender in order to evaluate whether it is worth lending money to the self-employed applicant. This metric can be either positive or negative. And obviously a negative number indicates poor financial health. This is the reason last 3 years P&L statement is requested by the loaner, so that they can know what has been the financial health in recent years for better judgement.

Personal Loan against Salary Slip: Details Checked by Lender, Importance of Pay Slip

Whether applying for a job or any type of credit, for a working professional, salary slip is one of the most important document. No other person would know its importance than what a salaried employee does.

But why is salary slip is important for getting personal loan or any type of credit (car loan, home loan, credit card, etc.)?

The answer is – credit worthiness of the personal loan applicant is judged on the basis of income stated in the pay slip. Irrespective of what salary you say to the lender, they will rely only after verifying the pay slip. Although income is not the only eligibility criteria on the basis of which loan application is approved or rejected. But it is certainly the most important criteria considered by major lenders in India. Also the loan amount is also decided on the basis of the income of the salaried person.

Although there is a minimum income requirement but there are lenders offering personal loan to low income earners. And higher the income, higher would be the chances of credit approval since repayment capacity of the individual is assumed to be good since the income is good.

Check out getting loan from co-operative banks when your income is poor.

What details financial institutions check in a salary slip?

Apart from your gross or net income mentioned in the payslip, banks or any lender check for:

  • Authenticity of the document: This is cross checked by the company logo, signature and/or stamp of the person issuing the slip. Typically this person is from the human resource department of the employer. In many cases, if the pay slip is computer generated with no official signature, then lenders check for the company name, logo, address, phone number, etc.
  • Details of the recipient: That is, on whose name the slip is generated, designation, employee code (if available), location of work, provident fund number, PAN number.
  • Other details: Date issued, duration of the pay i.e. days worked, name of the bank in which salary was credited and the bank account number, joining date. If the applicant is experienced and has recently a new company, then income slip of the previous company is also asked.

Typically lenders ask for last 3 months slip. In some cases, bank statement for the last 3 months are also requested.

Non-availability of the document may result in rejection. However there are ways to get personal with no salary slip or income proof as follows:

  1. Against Fixed Deposit
  2. Against Securities
  3. Private Money Lenders

If you do not have pay slip and don’t want to go with above listed three options, then you can ask request bank by providing:

  1. Photocopy of the salary cheque: In India, there are many companies who give monthly cheque to their employees. If this is the case, make sure you take photocopy of the cheque received each month. This will act as a proof to validate that you are receiving salary each month, though in the form of a cheque.
  2. If income slip is not issued and employer directly deposits the monthly salary in the bank account then provide bank statement showing salary credited with the employer’s name.
  3. Offer letter showing salary details
  4. If you were employed earlier and recently joined a new job then show pay slip from the previous employer. This combined with the above 3 option should make your work done.

Lastly remember that approval or rejection is at the sole discretion of the lending company. And most importantly, never provide fake salary slip or income documents, as it may land you in a legal trouble and create problem in your career in the future.

8 Free Things You Get With Credit Card: Money, Miles, Insurance, Vouchers & more

Everyone wants credit card as it offers many exciting features which are not available in any other payment option such as cash, cheque, debit card, etc. and thus helping in saving money.

But do you know that there are free things that come along with credit card? If not, then continue reading.

Free Money

Let’s start with objective of credit card i.e. FREE MONEY. The most important benefit or we can say the objective of the credit card is to offer FREE MONEY to the user every month for spending on almost anything. Free money is a magnet which attracts users. How much money is offered by the card companies varies with each card and depends on the income, risk profile, CIBIL score, and other important factors.

FREE Credit Card

There are some cards which carry ZERO annual and joining fee. So basically what you get is a card for free. Although there are conditions associated to avoid these two fees, such as minimum spend either annually or in the first few days of card issuance, but there are cards with no such requirement.

Free Grace Period

In addition to free money, user also gets a free grace period to make the repayment. This is the duration typically 21 days in which user has to pay the money used in a month. So for e.g. if your monthly billing cycle ends on 20th of each month, then your grace period to make bill payment would be around 10th of the next month. This is quite enough time to repay the money, as there is no interest charged during this period. But in order to get a good CIBIL score, you should not wait for grace period and instead pay the bills fully and before the due date.

Free Insurance Cover

Card companies partner with insurance companies and offer users FREE INSURANCE COVER. Typically types of insurance offered are health, travel, personal accident, life, lost baggage, etc. So any unfortunate event happening, cost would be borne by the insurance companies. But remember that insurance offers on credit card comes with various terms and conditions and user has to follow regular claim process in order to receive the claim amount. So basically twin benefits are offered – free coverage with no premium to be paid.

Free Airport Lounge Access

This especially is mainly offered to premium card customers. Lounge access gives travelers a peaceful place on the airport to sleep and relax, away from the crowded places at the airport. In fact, some cards also allow users to bring guest users in the lounge. Although this feature may not interest regular card users but for a frequent traveler, this is highly valuable as they are offered luxury lounge access.

Check out travel cards for Indians going on an international trip.

Free Air Miles

Credit cards also offer free travel points (or air miles) to the frequent flyers and spends made on the card. These accumulated points can later be used for buying flight tickets for free.

No Fee on Certain Services or Free Vouchers

There are cards available in the market which carry ZERO base fare charge on flight booking. Or offer free shopping or food vouchers. These vouchers are offered by SBI SimplyCLICK card, Axis Bank Neo, FBB SBI STYLEUP and others.

Free Movie Tickets

This is especially for the movie lovers. Cards such as KOTAK PVR Gold offers 2 free movie tickets every month at PVR movie theatres.

But always remember, the word FREE is GIMMICKY tactic to entice users either in credit card/shopping etc. Because ultimately credit card is one of the biggest money making income source for the card companies.

Unless someone has no monetary benefits, why would anyone offer money for FREE in today’s world, right?
And this money is recovered in the form of charges associated with each card such as:

  • Interest on late payment or non-payment of full balance
  • ATM cash withdrawal
  • Joining and annual fee
  • Over limit penalty
  • Balance inquiry
  • Mobile alerts
  • Cheque bounce and many others

Important point to note before selecting the right credit card is to read the terms and conditions associated with all the free features mentioned above.

8 Benefits of Travel Card offered for Indians Going Abroad

Not everyone is able to travel abroad multiple times and is a dream come true for many of us. But whenever we travel, we want the best memorable experience with a complete peace of mind.

However one thing everyone wants is to save money wherever possible, be it at restaurants, hotels, air tickets, etc. But these savings are also largely possible through credit card or travel cards these days with each of these payment option having their own pros and cons.

However when it comes to saving money, travel cards always score above credit card. And here are the key benefits and features offered by travel card issuing companies/banks:

Easy Reloading:

Travel cards offer users a convenient way of reloading (i.e. adding money). Card user can load money in real time i.e. anyday and anytime as reloading service is offered 24*7. Moreover card can be loaded using smartphone or by any acquaintance residing at any location. Loading through smartphone is most convenient because it is the only device most of the people carry along with them whenever they travel. This feature particularly helps when user is travelling and balance in the card goes low.

Cross currency charges:

In case of travel card, when traveller loads money into the card at that time, forex rate gets fixed. And this rate stays the same until the trip ends. So fluctuations in the exchange rate is not a worry.

Load multiple currencies:

There are various cards out in the market which lets users to add multiple currencies. So irrespective of the country of travel, user can pay in local currency of that particular country. In short, user gets to carry a single card in their wallet with multiple currencies loaded.

Check out list of travel cards for Indian travelling abroad.

Common currencies which can be added are as follows:

  • US Dollar
  • Great British Pound
  • Euro
  • Canadian Dollar
  • Australian Dollar
  • Singapore Dollar
  • Japanese Yen
  • New Zealand Dollar and others.

Free Air Miles:

This is a money saving feature that comes along with travel card. Every international trip made earns free air miles for the user, which he/she can use during future trip.

Check out credit cards for frequent travellers.

Insurance:

Travel cards comes with another exciting money saver feature i.e. issuing companies offer coverage for loss of passport or baggage, flight delays, and many other benefits.

ATM Cash Withdrawal:

This helps when cards are not accepted at the time of shopping. User can withdraw cash at ATM located abroad.

Free Replacement Card:

It’s very common that when travelling abroad card gets lost or stolen. In such cases, when cash is not available, having an additional card is badly needed. And this is what, card companies offer – free replacement card.

Goodies:

Travel card comes with many other freebies/discounts as well. Few common ones are joining bonus, discounts on booking air tickets, reward points i.e. earn while spend and few others depending on the card chosen.

18 Travel Cards for Indians Visiting Foreign Country & How to Choose

When planning for a personal or business trip abroad, the first thing everyone wants is a peace of mind. However there is a common dilemma that often comes to the mind on how to carry money while travelling to a foreign country?

There are multiple options for carrying money when going on an foreign trip such as – cash, travelers cheque, credit card, international debit card, travel card and few others, with each having its own pros and cons. And in this article we’ll discuss about travel cards.

Travel cards are basically prepaid foreign currency card in which the person can load multiple currencies and carry just a single card. So instead of carrying multiple cards for each currency, the traveler can load multiple currencies in a single card. For e.g. someone wanting to visit USA and Korea can load the card with USD and KRW.

Travel cards are highly recommended for frequent international travelers who wants to stay away from carrying cash or credit cards or travellers’ cheque. After all everyone wants to have seamless and worry free travel and at the same time save money wherever possible.

So which are best travel cards available in India?

There are many financial entities offering travel cards for Indians going to a foreign country and here is the list:

Travel Card - NameIssuing Entity
Multicurrency Travel CardICICI Bank
Student Travel CardICICI Bank
Single Currency Travel CardICICI Bank
ForexPlus CardHDFC Bank
ForexPlus Chip CardHDFC Bank
ForexPlus Platinum CardHDFC Bank
ISIC Student ForexPlus CardHDFC Bank
Regalia ForexPlus CardHDFC Bank
Multi-Currency Forex CardAxis Bank
World Traveller Forex CardAxis Bank
Diners CardAxis Bank
Single Currency CardAxis Bank
India Travel CardAxis Bank
Citi PremierMiles CardCitibank
Multi-Currency Foreign Travel CardState Bank of India
One Currency CardThomas Cook
Indus Multicurrency Forex CardIndusInd Bank
Multi Currency World Travel CardKotak Mahindra Bank

How to choose the best travel card?

Ease of transaction: The whole purpose of this card is to ease off pain transacting in multiple/single currency depending on the country visiting. So choose a card offering seamless transaction.

Easy reloading: Make sure you are able to reload the card conveniently, 24*7, via your smartphone or through someone located in your native country. Smartphone, because this is the only device most of the people always have it handy when travelling. This is very important because if the balance is low, you may not be able to use the card further. So card should come with real-time reloading and completely free.

Cross currency charges: When you use credit card abroad there are multiple charges associated of which cross currency conversion charge is always applied. And the rate depends on the day and time of transaction. But in case of travel card, while loading or buying the card before the trip, you fix the forex rate and till the end of the trip same rate would be applied. So there is no worry of fluctuating currency.

Load multiple currencies: This is very important feature to be taken into consideration when choosing a travel card, especially by travellers visiting multiple countries. Opt for a one, which lets you load multiple currencies so that you can pay in local currency anywhere you go. Most of the cards listed above let you load these currencies – USD, GBP, EUR, CAD, AUD, SGD, AED, CHF, JPY, SEK, ZAR, SAR, THB, NZD, HKD.

Funds transfer: If you have insufficient funds in a transaction currency, the balance of the transaction will automatically be deducted from other available currency loaded in the card.

Maximum air miles: Especially for a frequent traveler, the most important thing that matters is the air miles. Higher the air miles offered, higher would be the savings as you plan your next trip and so on.

Validity period of the air miles: Choose a card with no validity on the redeeming the accumulated air miles. If you are not a frequent traveller and validity is applied on your card then it makes no sense to use a card with an expiry date. Normally there is an expiry date associated with a travel card. And within that period if the miles are not redeemed they expire. So everything is lost and so are your savings. Best solution is to choose a card with no expiry date.

Joining bonus: It is similar to a performance received by individuals in a job. This bonus is always welcomed by everyone. Same applies to travel cards as well, although you don’t get actual money but you get signup bonus in the form of free miles, discounts on dining or booking hotels, cab booking etc. and obviously it will be loved by the card user.

Insurance: Nothing better than a card offering insurance cover for your trip duration covering loss of passport or baggage, flight delays, and many other benefits. Although you can buy travel insurance exclusively, but why not save money if the coverage offered in a travel card is same as that of traditionally purchased travel insurance.

Free replacement: Loss or theft are very common but when it happens outside of your home country then it is highly worrisome. In such cases, opt for a travel card offering a free replacement for your card in an easy way.

Balance Refund: After your trip is over, if there is any balance left in your account then you should be able to encash it.

3 Low Cost Alternatives for Getting Personal Loan

Life is uncertain and so is the financial situation. You never know, when the need of money would arise. For e.g. circumstances such as medical emergency – which is unpredictable or wedding expenses which are predictable but unavoidable and in fact is a burden on most of the families.

So the first option that comes to mind when you want to meet your expenses is the personal loan by approaching the bank especially larger ones. However there are benefits when it comes to getting a loan from bank but there are certain cons as well as listed below:

High interest rate: The most important factor in a personal loan is the interest rate. Since such loan are mostly unsecured, the interest rate charges by the private banks is high. The reason behind the same is the high risk. In case of default, banks have to bear losses since money granted by them is not paid by the borrower. This adds as a negative mark on their balance sheet.

Interest is charged on the full amount: Even if part of the loan is repaid, the interest is charged on the full amount.

CIBIL score: It is quite obvious for anyone to check the repayment capacity of the applicant. And the same rule applies with the bank. In order to validate the credit worthiness, they gather financial history data of the borrower. And based on the records fetched from the bank, they calculate the score.

Strict eligibility criteria: Considering the risks involved, almost every bank has strict eligibility criteria. And the most important is the income of the applicant. Higher the income, higher is the chance of approval and so is the quantum of loan. Although there are loans for low income earners but the other terms and condition makes the process cumbersome.

Lengthy documentation process: Documents required for personal loan are many. This includes pay slip, bank statement, income tax return, business presence proof, to name a few.

Time consuming process: Although every bank claims to provide approval within 48 hours or even earlier, the actual time taken to get the money is quite high. So someone in a emergency has to face tough time till money is received.

Various charges: In addition to the interest rate, there are additional fees charged by the bank such as processing fee, cheque bounce charges, etc. This further increases the actual cost of getting a loan.

So how to save money on high interest personal loan?

Ofcourse there is no harm in asking for money from your relatives or friends. But everyone has their own problems in life and may not be able to help you out completely. These days, there are multiple low cost alternatives to get personal loan.

The options are as follows:

Peer to Peer Lending: Also called as P2PL, these are online marketplaces for personal loan. Various lenders (basically individuals) are ready to offer loans. Borrower has multiple choices to choose the lender and bargain on the interest rate too. The interest rate charged is less compared to banks. And so is the eligibility criteria and documentation process.

Few of the prominent players in the P2PL space in India are – Faircent, i2iFunding, LendenClub, Lendbox

Co-operative Banks: When someone wishes personal loan, he/she first approaches bigger banks such as State Bank of India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and others. These banks typically charge a very high interest. However there are certain categories of banks called as co-operative banks which offer personal loan with low amount and at a low interest rate. Explore in more detail about personal loan from co-operative banks. In addition to low rates, the eligibility criteria is not very strict.

Secured Loans – Against Fixed Deposit / LIC Policy / Equities / Mutual Fund, others: Not many individuals are aware of getting loan against all the mentioned securities. Since it is a secured loan, the interest rate is naturally on a lower side.