Credit Cards

Tips, news, reviews, caveats, trends, updates and analysis related to consumer and business credit cards, and prepaid debit cards. From the interest rate specialists @

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Advanta Platinum Business Credit Card Tops Competitors As The Business Credit Card with the Best Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

The latest news from the front of the business credit card wars is that The Advanta Platinum BusinessCard tops competitors as the business credit card with no annual fee that has the lowest annual percentage rate (APR): The Advanta Platinum BusinessCard currently has a fixed APR of 7.99%, and also makes its competitors green with envy by adding a 5% travel or cash back rewards program and a 0% APR on balance transfers for an extraordinary 15 months!

Right now, the average business credit card has an APR of 9.91%, and the average business credit card with rewards has an APR of 11.37%.

Click here for more information about the Advanta Platinum BusinessCard.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Wachovia Bank Jumps Into The Prepaid Debit Card Game with the Introduction of A New Prepaid Payroll Card

As a testament to the increased popularity of prepaid payroll cards, Wachovia Bank has just unveiled a new prepaid (Visa) debit card designed specifically to compete in the prepaid payroll card market. Here is a snippet from today's press release from Wachovia:

"Wachovia today announced that it has launched Wachovia Direct Pay(R), a Visa-branded prepaid debit card that provides employers an additional option for increased participation in payroll direct deposit. Employers can electronically deposit employees' net pay and other payroll-related funds to the card via ACH. The employees/cardholders can then use the card to access their net pay at ATMs and merchant locations.

Businesses can use Wachovia's Direct Pay to deposit payroll funds for employees who do not have a traditional bank account and do not participate in a direct deposit program. This service reduces the costs associated with processing, printing and mailing paper checks and can help eliminate the expenses related to replacing and reconciling lost or stolen checks.

'Direct deposit of payroll is more secure than paper checks and employers of all sizes can realize long-term cost savings from sponsoring a payroll card program,' according to Michael S. Daley, Senior Vice President and Head of Product Solutions with Wachovia's Treasury Services Division. 'Wachovia's Direct Pay cards are funded via standard ACH direct deposit transactions and require no changes to a company's direct deposit file.'

For employees without bank accounts, payroll cards provide quicker, safer access to their money than a paper check by eliminating the check cashing fees incurred by non-account holders and saving time by not having to wait in line to cash their payroll checks. Payroll cards give employees a convenient way to securely access their funds 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Wachovia Direct Pay cards are accepted worldwide at ATMs, including more than 5,300 Wachovia ATM locations as well as more than one million ATMs in the Visa/Plus network. In addition, employees can maximize their purchasing power by using the card to pay for goods and services at the 24 million merchant locations that accept Visa debit cards. Cardholders can access account information 24 hours a day via the Web, via Interactive Voice Response (IVR) or by speaking directly to a customer service agent.

Wachovia supplies its clients with marketing materials to help promote this service and card use to their employees. With its fast and easy implementation process, the service can be set up within a few payroll cycles. 'When employees do not have a bank account, Wachovia Direct Pay provides employers with an easy option that allows them to deposit their pay electronically. Cardholders benefit by having access to their funds more quickly than with a paper check,' says Dana Blaylock, Vice President and Card Products Manager with Wachovia's Treasury Services Division. 'A payroll card is a secure option for an employee and is cost-effective for the employer.'

As payroll cards continue to evolve, Wachovia continues to evaluate features and functionality to enhance and expand its prepaid card offerings."

FYI: Wachovia is America's 4th largest bank holding company based on assets and is the 3rd largest full-service brokerage firm based on client assets. Wachovia has $512 billion in total assets, $48 billion in stockholders' equity and average deposits totaling $297 billion.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Balance Transfer Alert: Washington Mutual Bank Merges with Providian National Bank

I received a letter today with the news: Washington Mutual (Wamu) is taking over Providian National Bank. This news has significance for anyone planning on taking advantage of a 0% balance transfer offer from either Washington Mutual or Providian, because, as you probably know from caveat #5 on the credit card balance transfer homepage, any balance transfer request made between two credit card brands that are owned by the same bank will almost certainly result in a rejection letter (and any type of credit card related rejection doesn't look good on your credit report.) So, in accordance with today's news, you shouldn't try to perform a balance transfer between any credit card owned by Providian and any card owned by Washington Mutual (and vice versa, of course.)

Earlier this year, Bank of America took control of MBNA, so you shouldn't try to transfer balances between credit cards owned by these two banks as well.

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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Multi-Purpose Payroll Cards: The Next Generation of Prepaid Credit Cards

For lots of reasons, consumers around the globe are turning to prepaid credit and debit cards as an alternative to standard credit cards (no debt, privacy, worldwide acceptance, etc.) Now Corporate America is jumping into the prepaid game, looking to take advantage of the many benefits that prepaid cards can offer businesses, the most significant being the use of prepaid cards as a money-saving alternative to paychecks.

Businesses will find the latest news from USA Paycard, Inc. exciting. USA Paycard has added several new features to its prepaid payroll card that are sure to get noticed by payroll officers across the country. Here's a snippet from a recent press release:

The payroll card traditionally allowed employers to use direct deposit for employees who lack a traditional banking relationship, translating into lower payroll check processing costs – an average of $48 per employee, per year according to a 1999 NACHA study. Now businesses are able to benefit from:

Commission Prepaid Credit Cards – conveniently allows staff to receive commission funding on their PayCards, which gives them instant access to cash at over 1 million ATM domestic and international locations and 30 million domestic and international point-of-sale terminals.

Termination Cards – efficiently distributes termination pay to employees at very little cost. Each terminated employee receives a PayCard which serves as their final paycheck. Employees have immediate access to their funds upon receiving the card from their employer.

Per-Diem Cards – distribute expense payments to employees working off-site in real time. By using a 'Funding PayCard,' money can be sent to any other PayCard in real time at a fraction of the cost of a standard wire transfer.

Budget Cards – allows employers to distribute budget funds to key personnel efficiently. Money is allocated to the proper personnel for business use and can be monitored by supervisory staff members anywhere internet access is available.

USA Paycard, Inc. and its partners handle the card set up, customer service and transaction processing. Additionally, USA Paycard assists employers with employee solicitation, sign-ups, and answering any card related questions. There are no employer costs to the program and the cards can be used by employees for free using the 'cash-back' option at retail POS locations."

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