Million Dollar Bills Are Fake!

milliondollarbill

I just read a funny story about a man who tried to open up a bank account with a fake million dollar bill. Remember that there is no such thing as a real million dollar bill. The teller wouldn’t accept the bill and they called the sheriff on him and they arrested and charged him with disorderly conduct and forgery.

Word of advice: don’t open up a bank account with fake money.

Source: http://www.nbcaugusta.com/news/local/11852036.html

Don’t Get Bit by Snakes

snake-bite

I know what you’re thinking. What are snakes doing on a Christian Finance blog? Well, there’s a saying that says that if you play with snakes, you’ll get bit. Dave Ramsey even uses it to describe credit cards.

Well, I’ve got a great “bit by snakes” story for you. As many of you know, I’m on schedule to be completely debt free by next month. I’m still on schedule, but I hit a setback a couple days ago.

As many of you also know, I’ve been doing “credit card arbitrage” where I use 0% balance transfers and earn interest on the cash while using the cash to make payments. I don’t do this anymore, but I used a 0% balance transfer to pay off a student loan about a year ago and I made payments to a savings account to have the amount in a year so by the time the 0% was due, I would have the cash to pay it off. People can do the same thing with cheap home loans, especially when the rates are this low!

Before last week, I never had a late payment in my life. But I played with snakes and got bit! When I set my online bill payment for the credit card, I looked at the next statement date instead of the payment due date and so the payment was late. When I realized what I’d done, it was too late.

I checked my credit card account online today and almost passed out! My account “went into default” with one late payment and my interest rate shot up to 25.99% even though it was still under the one year 0% special. They also charged me a $39.00 late fee and a finance charge of $89.25!

This really wasn’t a surprise to me since credit card companies can do practically anything they want because their agreements (that you signed when you got the credit card) allow them to. So I decided to give them a call. Sometimes you can get a lot accomplished with one phone call.

To make a long story short, I got the CSR (customer service rep) to waive the finance charges and late fee and also reduce the interest rate from 25.99%! I actually was amazed at how easy it was. All I had to do was ask a few questions about the charges and then simply ask if they could be waived. It took maybe five minutes!

I’m glad I got those fees waived, but I’m still going to pay off the credit card tomorrow. This was too close for comfort and I don’t feel comfortable carrying a balance when I have the cash to pay it off. I will never use credit cards again. Lesson learned. I hope you will learn from my experience. God bless!

Post Updated November 12, 2012

Why is a merchant account better than PayPal?

For a business to accept online payments, you need both a gateway and a processing account. The gateway takes or “captures” the consumer’s credit card information, applies encryption, and transmits it to an account for processing of the payment. There, an authorization occurs, the transaction is settled, and funds are transferred. The most common dilemma businesses face in adding a payment process to their site is whether they should use PayPal or actually get an Internet merchant account.

When the fee schedules of both PayPal and more conventional payment processors are compared, the deciding factor that emerges is monthly sales volume. If you sell less than $2000 a month, PayPal is a cost effective solution. More than that, and a merchant account is the better option. This is not, however, the only criteria to consider.

PayPal routinely exhibits a delay in depositing sales into a business’s bank account and often places holds on funds with no notification to the user. You cannot access the card holder’s information, and the PayPal shopping cart is fairly rudimentary. There are no mechanisms to address shipping costs on a sophisticated level and there is no calculation of taxes.

When these features are necessary, an internet merchant account can integrate more effectively with commercial shopping carts that offer better feature sets and functionality. This means you can tailor your business to your customer bases effectively and maximize your sales. There are obviously rules that apply to both shipping and tax calculations, and you need to access customer information to build databases for marketing and sales.

This same information is needed when issues of refunds come up or a chargeback investigation is needed. These types of disputes can become difficult and protracted with PayPal, and are often cited as the main source of customer dissatisfaction with the service. As a business grows, PayPal’s limitations become more obvious, while merchant account services easily
expand with the size of your enterprise.

PayPal works extremely well for low level transactions, like those that occur on EBay where it is the standard payment system. At monthly amounts below $2000, the fees are fair and the processing capability matches the sales volume. If, however, you have a growing business with a climbing monthly volume and a need to tailor the shipping experience and flexibly access customer data, a merchant account is the better option.

Happy 3rd Birthday Christian Finance Blog!

Today’s the 3rd birthday for Christian Finance Blog! It’s hard to believe it’s been three years already since I started this blog on February 11, 2007. I know I haven’t updated as much as I’d like to lately, but the blog is still not dead. I haven’t had much time to write at all lately, but I definitely have some writing to do.

Thanks for all of you that have stuck with the blog for all these years! I can’t thank you enough. You’re the reason I started this blog! Christian Finance Blog is still alive and kickin’!

Happy Birthday, Jesus and Merry Christmas!

happybdayjesus

Today the entire world is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ! Non-Christians and Christians alike are singing about Him this Christmas season. Don’t forget the real reason for the season. And why don’t you tell Jesus “Happy Birthday” today? And maybe even give Him a gift? He gave Himself as a gift to all humanity. Can’t we return the favor by giving our lives to Him? God bless!