Topic: Spending Money
Can I Rent A Car Myself For My Spring Break Trip?
Before making a reservation for a cheap rental car for your Lake Tahoe trip, you should first read the fine print or even call about the age requirement. Sure, you can make the reservation online, but you are likely to get stuck at the rental counter when you present your driver’s license (required and yes, the real one!) Most car rental companies have a non-negotiable minimum age requirement of 25. Some companies will allow younger drivers (usually 18 to 24) to rent a car but you may be subject to a “younger driver” surcharge which could really blow your budget. Also be aware that if you want that big Suburban to cram everyone in and share the cost, some agencies impose an upper age requirement for certain specialty vehicles like the Suburban or convertible BMW.
Make sure to check with the car company’s policies online to get clear details about the “younger driver” policy and your particular situation. Also note that if you want to rent a car while abroad, international companies have different requirements for each location.
Finally, if you are in the military you might be able to rent a car as young as 18 because the car company may exempt you from the minimum age requirement, but the vehicle may also have to be for on-duty purposes only.
Most rental companies need a guarantee for the rental of their cars. Therefore, they will require your credit card information as a deposit.
Having a bad driving record will (understandably) influence your eligibility to rent a car. The better your driving history, the better chance of renting a vehicle. The best thing to do is check the company’s policy regarding driving records prior to pickup.
How Much Could I Lose If I Lost My ATM Card?
Your liability for unauthorized transactions using your ATM or debit card depends on how quickly you notify your bank of the loss. Guidelines for determining your liability are as follows:
Unauthorized use of card
There must be an unauthorized use of your card.
Within two days of discovering card missing
Your liability is limited to no more than $50 if you notify your bank within two days of the time you discover your card is missing.
More than two days after discovering card missing but less than 60 days after unauthorized transactions appear on bank statement
Your liability is limited to no more than $500 if you notify your bank more than two days after discovering your card is missing but less than 60 days after the unauthorized transaction appears on your bank statement.
More than 60 days after unauthorized transactions appear on bank statement
If you wait more than 60 days after receiving a periodic statement showing unauthorized transactions, your liability is unlimited. This means you could lose everything in your account and possibly more if your account is attached to an overdraft line of credit.
Unauthorized use of account number without actual card
If a thief finds out your debit card number without actually taking the card, this information can be used to shop by phone, mail, or on the Internet. You would probably not know your card is being used fraudulently until the transactions appear on your bank statement. Your liability for this type of unauthorized transaction is limited to $50, as long as you report the fraud within 60 days of the time the information first appears on your bank statement. Failure to report fraudulent use within this time frame can increase your liability significantly.
Oh No! My ATM Card Is Missing? What Should I Do?
Notify your bank
If you discover that your ATM or debit card has been lost or stolen, or if you see strange transactions when you log on, notify your bank immediately. You should call your bank first, since this is the quickest way to notify it. Write down who you spoke with, along with the date and time and include that in a follow up with a letter so that you have a record.
Stop using your card
As with a credit card, most banks will deactivate your ATM or debit card as soon as you report it missing in order to prevent further loss. They will generally issue you a new card right away and if you need it overnight, just ask. They usually will accommodate you.
What Should You Do If Your Credit Card Is Lost Or Stolen?
Call the card issuer immediately:
If you discover that your credit card is missing, or if you discover someone else has you’re your card, call the card issuer immediately. Most card companies provide 24-hour customer service for such emergencies, but you have to know the number. If your card has been stolen, you won’t be able to flip it over and dial the toll-free number printed on the back. It’s important to keep this information in a safe place so we hope you put it in DivaDocs app!
You’ll need to provide your account number when you call, so make sure you have recorded this information too. You can take a pic of the front and back of the card with the app to make it super easy! Just click on DivaDough and you are good to go! But you need to do this before it’s stolen!
Follow up with a letter:
Many card issuers will require you to follow up your phone call with a letter. This letter should include your name and account number, the date you realized your card was missing or discovered the unauthorized charges on your statement, and the date you first reported the loss. Write down the name of the customer service representative who takes your phone report and include that in your letter as well.
Don’t use your account:
Most card issuers will freeze your credit card account as soon as you report your card or account number lost or stolen, in order to prevent further loss. This means that you (and anyone else who is named as an authorized user) won’t be able to use the account. The card issuer will usually issue a new card and account number immediately.
What Should I Consider When Shopping For A Credit Card?
Evaluate the costs and benefits
All credit cards will cost you something (although some may cost more than others), and most of them will offer you a variety of benefits. When evaluating a credit card offer, here are some points to consider:
- How widely (internationally, nationally, regionally, or locally) is the card accepted?
- How much is the total credit limit, and how much is the cash advance credit limit?
- What’s the interest rate, and how is it calculated?
- Will different interest rates for purchases, balance transfers, and/or cash advances apply?
- What method determines the outstanding balance used to calculate the finance charge?
- What is the grace period (if any)?
- What fees may be charged?
- If your card accesses an automated teller machine (ATM) network, are the machines conveniently located?
- What special services or other enhancements (e.g., purchase protection, credit insurance) are available, and will you incur any additional cost for them?
But be careful not to apply for too many…
Credit card issuers tend to be cautious when they notice certain patterns appearing in your credit report. For example, if you apply for several cards at once, issuers may want to know why you have a sudden need for multiple lines of credit and may deny your credit application.
Why Do I Need A Budget? To Reach YOUR Goals!
Once you know where you stand financially by creating your first budget only then can you work toward reaching your goals. Want to buy a car or go on that Caribbean trip for Spring Break? With a plan, you are in a position to know whether you can ever afford it. Without a plan you are shooting in the DARK and you will be forced to make the same lame excuse to your parents that you “want” but you have not proven to be responsible with what you already have. Prove them wrong by presenting the plan to get that 2002 Jetta or trip to CA. You will know how aggressive you need to be in order to achieve these goals, and therefore you can design a spending or savings plan that fits YOU!
Just as with a plan that falls short of delivering on your goals, a plan that is overly aggressive relative to your resources is likely to lead to budget frustration. Keeping goals aligned with objectives is a critical part of the process and essential to budgeting successfully. In other words, the BMW convertible should be taken off the wish list…at least for now!
Remember that it is a plan and that plans change as needed
Flexibility is always an important ingredient in the planning process. As life’s circumstances change, as they inevitably will, you will need to adjust your spending plan accordingly. The important point is that the budgeting process keeps you abreast of how these changes are occurring and allows you to make changes as you find them appropriate to your needs and resources. We promise, you will get good at this, especially as you see the results!