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Consider Prepaid Debit Cards for Travel

Nothing like a beautiful sandy beach, a turquoise ocean and a cabana boy ferrying mai-tais to let you convince yourself you CAN spend a little extra. The credit card limit is twice the debt on there now, after all.  You won’t be angry at yourself for. . . say . . . another ten days or so. And you’re having so much fun!

Taking convenient prepaid debit cards on your trip instead ensures today-self and future-self remain in harmony.

European, Asian and the Middle Eastern travelers have been using prepaid debit cards for years. It’s time Americans get with this convenient — and budget-friendly — payment method. Prepaid cards are safer than cash because they require a code to redeem. You can get a prepaid card in a few days online without having to go to a bank, and there are no credit dings for getting one. Some prepaid cards can even be pre-loaded with the currency of the country to which you are traveling. In that case, if exchange rates favor your currency, you can save on purchases once you land!

Prepaid cards ensure you’re not stuck, either. You can always reload them as long as you have access to the internet. Because you reload them with funds from your bank account, you’re less likely to put too much more onto the card. Also, just the process of having to go to the internet and make the transfer helps to stop you from your impulse purchase.

Another advantage of using prepaid debit cards for travel is that you have a list of all your purchases available either via your computer or phone. This is particularly important if you have teens traveling with you. They want their independence and a little money to spend. But before you let them out of the hotel, make it clear you will know where their money is going.

While you will miss out on the rewards that credit card companies now offer, the prepaid debit card helps protect you from your own lack of discipline. That can mean more savings. Get this aspect of your travel taken care of when you order prepaid debit cards online now.

How to Manage Employee Expenses with Prepaid Debit Cards

We’ve all seen movies depicting employees whipping out the corporate credit card to pay for extravagant meals and entertainment. Business owners shudder at these scenes, and they should. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners tells us that 15 percent of all employee expenses can be categorized as fraud. In another study, 66 percent of employees admit to abusing the company card with:

  • High-priced dinners
  • Office supplies for home use
  • Mobile phone and app purchases and upgrades
  • Airline upgrades

Another portion admit to inflating transportation expenses, getting a cash refund from an expensed item and even creating a fake expense. These last three are full-on fraud. Still, with every opportunity, some people will take advantage. The credit card with a limit of thousands of dollars just trips some kind of spending wire in some employees. When a card’s limit set at $5,000, a $75 dinner for one seems reasonable.

Business owners can reduce their exposure to “expense padding” and fraud when they give their employees secure prepaid debit cards as opposed to credit cards. Like a teen with a set spending amount, employees must budget within a the debit card’s finite amount.

When presented positively, the prepaid debit card can be just as appreciated by employees as the credit card. Simply explain that the debit card works best for your taxes and/or accounting structure. Make this expense tool a decision based on business goals, not something to keep employee spending in line. Avoid mentioning potential expense abuse or fraud all together.

Other benefits of the prepaid debit card for business includes:

  • Easy availability: get instant approval from the best online sources. With online banking now as secure as traditional, bricks-and-mortar banking, anyone can apply for and receive prepaid debit cards within days of ordering. Pay using your credit card or business bank account.
  • No credit card dings: prepaid debit cards do not intersect with your business’s credit rating in the least. From the moment you buy it until the moment the employee spends the last $5, the debit card involves only up-front cash transactions.
  • Convenience: Prepaid business cards are accepted everywhere the issuers’ cards are accepted. In-store, online and phone purchases all work with a prepaid debit card.
  • Better employee spending controlLoad the card with a set limit of money and task the employee to stay within that amount. As with a credit card, debit cards allow you to track exactly what the employee spends. Some companies even let you monitor business card transactions from your computer or mobile app. Business owners can even freeze and unfreeze the debit card as needed.

Prepaid Debit Cards Control Employee Spending So You Don’t Have to!

Some businesses choose company credit cards rather than debit cards because of the potential for rewards and the lower fees. Debit cards can also come with more fees than credit cards. Still, when compared to the financial losses due to abuse, these fees are negligible.

When a small business becomes a mid-sized business, expenses accounts follow quickly, especially for sales professionals. Then, additional office locations can mean travel expenses. Debit and credit cards empower employees to make their own decisions while keeping spend under control.

Overlooked Benefits of Credit Card Usage

Want to maximize your money and scrutinize your spending? Use credit cards! Most come with no monthly fee, and if you pay them off every month, no interest accrues. In addition to convenience at the parking structure exit and online store, credit cards make life easier in so many ways.

Credit Cards Protect Your Purchases

Hopefully, you choose your purchases only after careful consideration. If you want extra protection, however, use credit cards for online purchases and even large in-person transactions. Money transferred via debit card, check or cash is far tougher to retrieve if the purchase turns out to be defective or not what you have expected. With credit cards, however, you can call the issuer and dispute the charge. This puts the financial transfer on hold until the vendor can satisfy the buyer, until the vendor agrees to return the money, or the bank sides with the consumer and refuses to pay. The protections afforded by the credit card give you a chance to try out the product so you can make sure you’ve gotten what you expected.

Consider, too, putting home and lawn remodeling on a credit card to protect yourself. If you cut a down-payment check up front, that money is gone. A landscaper can leave your yard an excavated mess and never show up again. If you put the down-payment on a credit card, you can dispute the charges and hopefully get your money back from the bank. While a dispute is pending, you won’t have to pay interest charges according to federal law.  If your credit issuer decides in your favor, you won’t owe anything.

Credit Cards Protect You from Fraud

Barely a month goes without hearing about how a large company’s customer data has been hacked. Your financial liability for charges resulting from identity theft depends how quickly you find out about it and alert the card issuer. Federal law mandates that your liability for credit card fraud can never be more than $50.00.

You Want Vacation Benefits

Hotels, restaurants and car rental companies know your credit card most likely has a higher limit than the money in your checking account. They want you to use your credit card and will offer all kinds of incentives if you pull out the plastic. All you need is a little self-discipline to take advantage of the perks without getting into over-spending. And, whatever you do, don’t fall for messages that you can afford more. Stick to your budget. They’re happy to run your credit cards up to the limit, but you have ultimate control.

The cards themselves, too, pass along incentives from time to time. If you read your credit card agreement, you may find extended warranties on large purchases, insurance coverage on rental cars or price guarantees on products bought with the card. Want to leverage every penny you earn? Read your credit card fine print! You won’t find rewards on debit cards.

Transacting business in the United States today often takes credit cards. They not only make life convenient, they make it safer and filled with more fun perks. If you want a credit card that fits your lifestyle and helps you achieve your goal, don’t hesitate to review First Financial’s wide variety of credit cards here.

5 Signs It’s Time for a Personal Loan

cash from personal loan

 While the prospect of a personal loan can be intimidating, trepidation didn’t stop Donald Trump, the founders of Starbucks or flamboyant Virgin Airlines owner Richard Branson when they needed funds. A short-term loan goes a long way in providing a better quality of life and setting up a flush future.

In our blog post, “When the Personal Loan Works Better than the Credit Card,” we explain that the personal loan can:

• raise a credit score
• save a borrower half in monthly interest charges when compared to credit card rates
• help borrowers plan (because the monthly payment is fixed.)

The personal loan can actually brighten your financial picture. Considered an installment loan rather than revolving credit, when you use it to consolidate credit card debt, banks see it as your dedication to paying it off rather than defaulting or going into bankruptcy in order to escape it. Experian and TransUnion often raise your credit score within a month or so. See? The personal loan isn’t so bad!

While you will be in debt with a personal loan, the regular payments (often sent automatically from your account through bill pay), help you budget better for the month. Knowing a set amount will come out of your bank account keeps your urge to splurge under control.

Now that you know the personal loan is a common way people pay for purchases and/or emergency expenses, read the following most common scenarios where people use personal loans.

1. You are paying credit card debt at the average rate of 15% or more (23%? 29%) when you can most likely get an unsecured personal loan for 7 to 10%.
2. Collections agencies are calling you about medical bills. NerdWallet Health’s survey found that 56 million Americans have trouble paying their medical bills. More frightening, 35 million American adults get collections agencies calls for them bills and they cause 17 million Americans to receive a lower credit rating.
3. Moving expenses become overwhelming. U.S. News found the average cost of a move within a state is $1,170, and between states, $5,630. These expenses are most often necessary for family members to earn a living. When a company doesn’t foot the bill, they land on individuals. Putting these expenses on credit cards just sets you up for high interest expenses. The personal loan only calculates interest on the principal amount, not the principal plus the interest the way credit cares do.
4. Your car or computer isn’t running. Unless you live in a city like New York or San Francisco that has reliable public transportation, you’re going to need a car. Even GoCars and ZipCars prices add up, particularly if used regularly. Most important, however, a car adds to your quality of life.
5. Your home equity isn’t sufficient for critical home repair expenses. Failing to qualify for a second mortgage doesn’t mean you have to go without a working water heater, air conditioner or mold remediation. All of these things are critical for your family’s health and well-being. Home prices have remained steady for several years now and chances are your home value will go up if you stay in it long enough.

It’s in these five circumstances that most Americans seek out personal loans.

A+ Rated First Financial’s Personal Loans: Manage from Home and On-the-Go!

First Financial has the most competitive rates for high-credit-score borrowers. We even welcome those with fair, poor and bad credit because they make up 56% of the current American population. Use your laptop or tablet to make payments, review statements, and update account information. You can even check your rate without impacting your credit score!

Apply now for a personal loan with First Financial, A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau!

High Risk Merchant Accounts

High Risk Merchant Accounts

Does First Financial support your business type? Contact us

All businesses must accept credit and debit cards, whether are in the high-risk category or not. A+ rated First Financial is proud to provide secure, convenient credit card processing at reasonable rates to a wide range of merchants in high-risk industries. Talk with us today about establishing a high-risk merchant services account for your business. We approve terminated merchants, international businesses, select industries and more.

A+ Rated Better Business Bureau

Merchant Services Help You Increase Your Sales – Call 1 (800) 950-0212

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Our guaranteed 24-hour response and 48-hour approval time gets you capturing every sale. Our A+ Better Business Bureau rating should set your mind at ease about our proven security and reliability.

No doubt about it: customers now expect the convenience of using credit and debit cards to purchase products and services. A recent study from the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve reveals that 33 percent of shoppers prefer to pay with credit cards and 44 percent with  debit cards. That’s 77 percent of all consumers. Today, just 12% of consumers pay with that old stand-by, cash.

Categorization as “high risk” has little to do with how you run your business. It’s about your industry, the behavior of the customers in your industry and several other practical considerations based on trends that have nothing to do with your business. While merchants in high risk industries do pay more in fees, we even provide the tips to keep your fees as low as possible.

First Financial keeps you accepting credit cards whether you’ve been terminated through another service, began selling to international markets or started in an industry where consumers are not fully honest about their address, have a history of default or frequently return items. Despite some minor challenges, these businesses have long and healthy lives. Yours can be one of them!

High Risk Merchant Services Perks from A+ Rated First Financial

With our low-cost guarantee merchant accounts, you get the lowest overall costs now and in the future. More, with no long-term contracts, you retain control over your account. Call us today or submit a request. We use your information to create a custom solution based on your business needs and opportunities. We understand that every merchant is different.

Reviewed at Business News Daily, Top Ten Reviews and more, First Financial’s processor ranks as one of the top two credit card processing options. Merchants rave about:

  • The lowest overall costs on your processing services
  • No contracts or commitment obligations
  • No application, setup, programming, annual or termination fees
  • A knowledgeable dedicated account manager
  • Free analysis & honest review of competitive quotes or offers
  • A fully disclosed merchant processing agreement

We answer many more questions on our merchant services FAQ page.

High Risk Credit Card Processing Includes Plug-and-Play Equipment

The days of expensive, clunky credit card processing equipment are over, even for high risk merchant accounts.

Advances in software engineering, smart phones and the miniaturization of so many devices have spread to the credit card industry as well. In most cases, the point of sale equipment arrives in a small box and is simply “plug-n-play.” If you struggle with the directions included, our customer service representatives lead you step by step through set up and your first few sales.

Get Started Today with First Financial

Our easy application requires just a few lines of information. Click here to get started. One of our representatives will call you within 24 hours to finish the process. We are here to help you maximize your profit over the life of your business!

Just Learned that You Qualify Only for a High-Risk Merchant Account?

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First Financial

First Financial ® Corporate Headquarters 2850 Womble Road Suite 100-604 San Diego, CA 92106

Client Service Center:  Main: 1-800-315-7791  Fax: 1-800-215-0217 (Monday–Friday 5:00am–6:00pm Pacific or 8:00am–9:00pm Eastern)

Merchant Services / High Risk Merchant Accounts: Main 1-800-950-0212  Fax: 1-800-215-0217

 

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