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Citi Platinum Select Card Review

Citi® Platinum Select® MasterCard®With the recent recession still weighing on many people’s minds, and with the prospect of a double-dip recession causing some concern, many are looking for a credit card that can help them pay off their credit cards faster, and with a lower rate. The Citi Platinum Select Card might be just the thing if you fall into this category.

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Citi Platinum Select features a 0% balance transfer rate for an introductory period of 18 months. This is on the high end of balance transfer credit cards, providing you a longer period of time to pay off your debt without paying interest on the balance. You do have to pay a balance transfer fee, but it is a relatively low 3%. The savings in interest can more than make up for it if you are careful to plan your debt pay down.

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Citi Platinum Select & Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card: $30 Statement Credit

Citi Platinum Select MasterCard and Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card members.

Update: Citi will no longer be promoting the $30 Statement Credit previously offered with the Platinum Select Card.

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Low Interest Credit Cards

Binder Clip WalletWhile I’ve never carried a balance on my credit card before, making sure the card offered a low interest rate was always important to me. While I never intend to carry a credit card balance, I’m also a realist. I recognize that sometimes you can’t control what you can or cannot do. Things get out of your control and during those times it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared. Should you ever need to carry a credit card balance, it’s important to make sure that the cards you choose offer a lower interest rate. When I analyze credit cards, I usually look at the rewards program first, then any special offers, followed by the interest rate.

I separate the list into two camps – those who are currently battling debt and those who are like me, looking with a more preventative eye. I’ve listed those cards that are strongest for credit card debt warriors first. All the cards are suitable for those in debt, but the Citi Platinum Select and PenFed Visa Promise cards are likely best. The Discover® More and Chase Freedom, the third and fourth card listed, are better for those without debt since they offer rewards but slightly less attractive APRs for existing debt.

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7 Unwritten & Often Forgotten Credit Card Secrets

Credit card companies are just like every other business. There are essentially three concepts to understand when dealing with a business, especially credit cards:

  • They exist to make as much money as possible,
  • They have relatively well documented rules and operating procedures,
  • They’re willing to break #2 in pursuit of #1.

So, to that end, here are 7 unwritten and often forgotten credit card tricks or “secrets” (I hate the term “secrets” because how much of a secret can they be if I know it?) that may save you a few bucks someday. If you don’t learn a single secret or you have a secret of your own, please let me know! Secrets are better when you tell everyone!

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Requested Another 0% Financing Balance Transfer

After taking out three 0% financing balance transfers last year and dealing with the hassles of them, I told myself that all the work wasn’t really worth it and that I wouldn’t apply for any more cards for the purposes of balance transfers. I am happy to report that I have not applied to any more credit cards and that this time the balance transfer offer sort of fell into my lap. I wrote on Monday about how you shouldn’t cancel your old credit cards because you never know when you’ll see something nice, like a balance transfer offer for no reason, and yesterday I initiated a new balance transfer off the Citi Platinum Select MasterCard.

The major downside to applying for a new card and requesting a balance transfer is that it will have a significant negative impact on your credit score. Since your credit utilization will increase and you’ll have yet another credit inquiry, it’s guaranteed your score will fall. This isn’t a concern if you aren’t planning on going after a mortgage or other large loan but I really didn’t want yet another item on my credit history so this particular scenario is perfect. I can get a balance transfer without another credit inquiry, so in essence it’s “free.”

Now, if you happen to find one of these free balance transfers, you should request a credit line increase before the transfer. On a typical arbitrage play, the card is brand new so the credit card company won’t increase your credit line limit but if it’s an “old” card, you won’t have this problem. Request the increase so you can put more onto the transfer! Sometimes you’ll get an automatic offer of an increase of a thousand dollars or so, just take that and make the transfer. Those offers usually require no credit inquiry and so they are perfect, if they don’t offer you that and instead require you to fill out a large form, just skip it. Since you’re taking advantage of the “free” nature of the offer, you don’t want a credit inquiry muddying it up.

Good luck!


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Call Your Credit Card Before Big Purchases

My friend Perry recently had a legitimate charge on his card, for a Mac Book Pro which retails for around two thousand bucks, trip a red flag with his credit card company. They did the reasonable thing by calling him up and asking if the purchase was legitimate, he said yes, and the charge was processed. While he was surprised, I wasn’t because most personal credit cards have a liability limit of $50 (some have a liability limit of $0, because, honestly, customer satisfaction is worth more than $50) and so it is in their best interests to monitor potentially fraudulent behavior and stop it before they pay out.

I had a personal experience with this just recently when I paid for two classes (about $3000) at Johns Hopkins on my Citi Platinum Select MasterCard except Citi summarily rejected the charge on the basis that they believe it was fraudulent. No phone calls or emails either. I only knew about the rejection when Johns Hopkins sent me a letter that my account was past due (no monetary penalties, I just couldn’t register for the next semester until I paid). So, right before I pressed SEND on my online payment, I called Citi and let them know that a $3000 charge was coming through from a well known educational institution and they should process it.

So, the lesson of the day is that if you are going to use your card in any atypical manner (charging a large amount, charge amounts in a geographic area you normally aren’t in, etc.) then let your credit card company know… otherwise they’ll think someone stole your card (even if you’re paying for classes!).


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