Your checking account is likely your most active financial account. Money flows through your checking account constantly: paychecks, refund checks, meal share cash, etc come in, and payments for credit card bills, rent, services, etc. go out. Continue reading The purpose of a checking account
It is almost the holiday shopping season, the merriest time of the year for all, and the most profitable time for the retail industry, and I’m sure each of us has our own shopping list for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And every year, millions of dollars’ worth of stuff is returned to stores right after the holidays. If you have a change of heart about a gift you bought and try to return the gift for a refund ….
In this time and age, e-commerce is gradually replacing physical store transaction as the preferred method of shopping. And with this comes the variety of online stores that sell everything under the sun. While reputable sites such as Amazon and Newegg have standard policies regarding product quality and warranty, others are not generous or clear about their policies. Do you trust the store enough to buy from them? What if you pay the money and they never ship the goods? What if you pay for one thing and they ship another? What if the goods come in broken?
Luckily, credit cards provide you with insurance against the undesirable situations.
Update: the recent Home Depot security breach kicked the importance of this up one notch.
Many young folks, especially those that haven’t been in the US that long, conflate debit cards with credit cards. Debit cards have almost nothing in common with credit cards despite their similar physical appearances.
Back in January I shared with you my personal experience with Bank of America throughout my credit journey: https://hiepsfinance.com/2013/01/30/bank-of-america-is-awesome/ . To sum it up, Bank of America has done all the good things for me: gave me a secured card with cashback rewards, unsecured it and eliminated the annual fee a year later, and then raised the credit limit six-fold! 2 days ago I took another step further and asked them to lower my APR of 20.24% typical of secured cards but a little high for a non-secured card.
The representative looked at my profile to see if my account would be eligible for a lower APR. Sure enough, she came back with a new interest rate of 11.99%, the lowest in my current credit card portfolio by a wide margin!
Let me clarify why I asked for a lower APR. I didn’t ask for an APR lowering because I planned to carry a balance; I wanted a low APR in case of emergency when I may have to make a large purchase without sufficient cash. If I had a house struck down by lightning for example, I’d need some cash flow available immediately to start rebuilding, and if I had just paid a large medical bill I probably wouldn’t have the cash at my disposal right away. In that kind of scenario, the BofA card with a relatively reasonable APR would come in handy.
I may give BofA another call in a few months to see if they can bring the APR down to below 10% – that would be the last thing I need from Bank of America for this incredible Cash Rewards card.
I am a loyal customer of Bank of America, at least for their credit card and banking products. If you are still looking for a bank to get your first credit card from, seriously consider BofA.
Hope you have a great weekend!
Richard (Hiep Tran)
Absolutely! I applied for my Bank of America BankAmericard secured credit card as an H-1B visa holders, and I wish I had obtained my first credit card when I was an international student at Colgate. By the way, to my American readers who may not be well-versed about immigration stati, any foreign citizen that is living in the US is classified by the IRS as an alien. Those like me that don’t have permanent residency either are called non-resident aliens. Someone from the IRS has a good sense of humor.
I know that I asked myself this question at some point while being a college student, and so did many of my friends who were international students. So for the future generations of international students, let’s settle this once and for all. The answer is, again: Yes you can! Continue reading Can international (F-1) students / non-resident aliens (H-1B visa holders) apply for credit cards?