Content of the material
How to Consolidate Credit Cards
There are numerous ways to consolidate credit. Here are a few of the most common.
This is the most literal method of consolidating credit cards. In the case of balance transfers, the consumer actually takes multiple credit card balances and merges them all onto one credit card. The idea is that this new card will have a lower interest rate than any of the cards that were consolidated.
In the best-case scenario, the consumer would open the card during a promotion at a “teaser rate.” This rate is low, sometimes zero percent, and lasts only for a promotional period, say 12 months. The goal is then to pay down as much as possible before the period ends and the rate jumps to a much higher level.
In recent years, balance transfers have become a less realistic option. New legislation has caused creditors to require higher minimum payments (so that consumers pay off debts in a timely fashion). On the other side of things, consumers have abused balance transfers by using the strategy repeatedly, hopping from card to card. Both of these factors have made creditors less willing to promote balance transfer at tempting promotional rates.
Even though cards may come with a low APR, there may still be balance transfer fees. This will have implications on how smart of a decision it is to use consolidation and may limit how much you are able to save with this method. For instance, if you transfer $20,000 and a pay a balance transfer fee of three percent, this will amount to $600. Consumers who opt for a balance transfer should implement some basic strategies that can help them save:
- Look for zero percent introductory APR offers that last for more than six months.
- Try to extend the promotional period via negotiating with the creditor.
- Use quantity as a bargaining chip. If you are transferring multiple balances, use this to leverage a lower transfer fee or a flat rate for all transfers.
Debt Consolidation Loans
This is a generic term describing any loan that is used to pay off other debts. Within this category are different types of loans, some riskier than others. The unsecured type of loans used to consolidate credit cards usually come in the form of personal loans. To make a long story short, a consumer could take out the personal loan to pay off various debts and then just make payments toward the loan. Ideally, this loan would come from a bank or credit union. The thing to consider in this case is the interest rate and any fees. If the interest rate is lower than the debt and fees are minimal, this could be a valid option.
Secured Loans: The Dangerous Options
We talked about secured debt consolidation in detail already, but let’s review. Consumers who choose to consolidate credit cards with this strategy are moving unsecured debt into secured debt. In other words, they are moving debt with mild consequences for not paying to debts that have serious consequences for not paying. These consumers are putting important financial assets, like their cars and homes, at risk in these situations and will usually lose these assets if they don’t repay.
How to make a gift card purchase
You can also shop gift cards and give them to the people you love or your clients as a present for special occasions, like birthdays, thanksgiving, Christmas, weddings, etc. Visit Amazon gift card shop and choose among many options available, including e-gift card, physical gift card, or print-at-home version.
You can also customize your purchase by adding photos, choosing the box, bag, envelope, or tag. Decide which gift card you wish to purchase and select all the choices you want to customize your gift card.
For your convenience, an Amazon gift card has no expiration date. It also has no fees. The best thing is you can have FREE one-day shipping if you click the shipping option when you checkout for your physical gift card.
How to consolidate
Follow these steps to consolidate several worksheets into a master worksheet: If you haven’t already, set up the data in each constituent sheet by doing the following: Ensure that each range of data is in list format. Each column must have a label (header) in the first row and contain similar data. There must be no blank rows or columns anywhere in the list. Put each range on a separate worksheet, but don’t enter anything in the master worksheet where you plan to consolidate the data. Excel will do this for you. Ensure that each range has the same layout. In the master worksheet, click the upper-left cell of the area where you want the consolidated data to appear. Note: To avoid overwriting existing data in the master worksheet, ensure that you leave enough cells to the right and below this cell for the consolidated data. Click Data>Consolidate (in the Data Tools group). In the Function box, click the summary function that you want Excel to use to consolidate the data. The default function is SUM. Here is an example in which three worksheet ranges have been chosen: Select your data. Next, in the Reference box, click the Collapse button to shrink the panel and select the data in the worksheet. Click the worksheet that contains the data you want to consolidate, select the data, and then click the Expand Dialog button on the right to return to the Consolidate dialog. If a worksheet containing data that you need to consolidate is in another workbook, click Browse to locate that workbook. After locating and clicking OK, Excel will enter the file path in the Reference box and append an exclamation point to that path. You can then continue to select other data. Here is an example in which three worksheet ranges have been chosen selected: In the Consolidate popup window, click Add. Repeat this to add all of the ranges that you consolidate. Automatic vs. Manual updates: If you want Excel to update your consolidation table automatically when the source data changes, simply check the Create links to source data box. If this box remains unchecked, you can update the consolidation manually. Notes: You cannot create links when source and destination areas are on the same sheet. If you need to change the extent of a range—or replace a range—click the range in the Consolidate popup and update it using the steps above. This will create a new range reference, so you’ll need to delete the previous one before you consolidate again. Simply choose the old reference and press the Delete key. Click OK, and Excel will generate the consolidation for you. Optionally, you can apply formatting. It’s only necessary to format once, unless you rerun the consolidation. Any labels that don’t match up with labels in the other source areas result in separate rows or columns in the consolidation. Ensure that any categories that you don’t want to consolidate have unique labels that appear in only one source range.
Things to consider
Although using gift cards give you a lot of advantages to purchasing online or in a traditional grocery store, you have to understand the following things for a more comfortable shopping experience:
- Multiple store gift cards can be used, but only one bank card is accepted in a single transaction because there is only one bank or credit card field.
- If you use one bank card and a store gift card, make sure that they cover the entire amount you need. Otherwise, your purchase will be rejected.
- Although nearly all brick-and-mortar businesses accept multiple cards (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express), but in Amazon, we cannot use multiple accepted cards. However, we can only use one accepted card and an Amazon gift card together in a single purchase.
- Ensure that the combination of store gift cards and the accepted bank card covers the full amount of the transaction. Otherwise, your purchase cannot be processed.
- Listen to what a gift card expert, Shelley Hunter, said, including using a general-purpose gift card to purchase an e-gift card (such as Amazon or Walmart gift cards) to be used to buy products on a particular site.
- In a specific case, you can use a little creativity. Place an order by phone and ask customer service to use up all the balance in your gift card. Then you can pay the rest by using your accepted credit card.
- Some gift cards are issued by a third-party provider like Cashstar, such as Walmart or Target. Consider that a different company has a different set of rules in using gift cards. You have to understand that every gift card is the property of its respective owners.