Cards, Cards and more Cards (Credit, etc.)

posted Aug 16, 2012, 8:00 AM by Jalandhari Kom   [ updated Aug 16, 2012, 8:00 AM ]
Americans have a love/hate relationship with cards.
It is a fashion to collect cards of all types and store them in ones purse. The cards here refer to the plastic type e.g. credit cards.
So there are cards such as:
Credit card,
Debit card,
Bank ATM card,
Shopping Store cards (e.g. Sears card; "SEARS" is the name of a chain of stores in the U.S.)
Medical benefit card,
Telephone calling card,
Public library membership card.
Most purses have transparent packets to keep these cards in order.
Credit/Debit Cards:
A credit card allows you to pay for your expenses without bothering about availability of money at the time of payment. The Credit Card Company pays for you and later sends you a statement every month elaborating the payments made. You can then, pay the credit card Company by check. There are certain limits imposed on Credit cards with regard to the amount of credit available to you, which vary.
VISA and MasterCard are the most widely accepted credit cards. The other being American Express card. (Called Am-Ex for short).
A Debit card is almost like a check, since it allows you to spend from your available resources only (no credit business). The banks, where you have an account, generally issue this debit card.
It is not so easy to get a credit card for the first timer in U.S. The application is scrutinized by the Credit Organization/Bank and the credit history checked up (They call up the banks where you have an account, to find out your balance and credit status etc). Actually it seems the credit history is traced from your Social Security No. Usually the period of stay is also an important criteria e.g. at least 6-month stay is essential to be considered eligible for a Credit card.
To build up a good credit history, many people take loans from the bank. e.g. to buy a car and repay it in time. This increases the chances of getting a Credit Card sooner.
The most easiest to get is the American Express Card. They ask for a letter from the employer regarding salary status etc. once the initial application is verified. The other easiest way, is to open an account with Credit Unions like Digital Credit Union http://www.dcu.org and then applying for a credit card.
The Gold Card is the next thing to aim for, once you have at least a card. The Credit limit is higher on the Gold Card apart from other benefits.
The most difficult to get is the DISCOVER credit card.
Most Credit cards offer other benefits too, such as mileage accumulation for some airline enabling you to travel free on that airline anywhere in the U.S. once about 20,000 miles have been accumulated, at the rate of 1 mile per dollar. Some others offer Rental Car Insurance coverage and so on.
Most organizations (health clubs etc.) issue membership cards with neat plastic lamination too.
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