I find it indeed quite funny that the 'make money' ebooks tell you everything about how to make money with 'no investment', but strangely enough, they don't mention the fact that without credit card you cannot move a step. Whether you are doing business online or buying stuff from internet-based stores, you need the help of plastic cards (there maybe alternative options for US folks but most of us, overseas guys have no other option). And you all know that my credit card problems have taken up so much of January 2008 that I may well call this month 'the month of my credit card woes'. Anyway, even from my problems, I learned something, and I am going to share with you what I learned.
Don't take cards from third parties: Actually, my bank didn't issue the card directly. They JVed with a credit card company and that is how I got the cards. You may well call it my hamartia, or 'error of judgment' but one of the biggest mistakes I made was that of going ahead with the card creation even when my bank said that they won't be taking any responsibility for the credit cards (funny, talk of shirking responsibility).
At that time however, I had no option; I had to hop from one Paypal account to another, leaving behind a lot of funds as I couldn't buy anything once my account reached the sending limit; that is the reason I created the cards. Anyhow, lesson learned, and right now, I am contacting only those banks who issue credit cards directly rather than through third parties; this way I can go to the bank for redresses.
Conduct local enquiries: Whether you are getting cards directly from your bank or a third party company, you should always conduct local enquiries. My second mistake was that I didn't make any enquiry about the credit card company from other card holders. Much later news flashed that the credit card company is involved in fraud amounting to thousands of rupees. For example, in one case, they credited an amount of Rs.40, 000 to the account of someone who has never taken any credit card from them at all! And there was this woman who had paid up most of her loan installments but the repayments were not properly recorded and her loan balance defaulted to the original amount. Well, that was when I realized that I have made a great mistake, but it was too late!
Keep a backup credit card: Mistake#3 I made was that of not keeping a backup card. I just relied on the credit cards issued from one source and didn't make any attempt to get a couple more from other banks, not realizing what will happen to my business (which relies totally on credit cards) if my one and only card becomes non-operational!
Never ask anyone to lend their card to you, because no one will: I wouldn't call this exactly a mistake, but I requested two of my friends and one warrior (who is known as a kind man) to lend me cards for just one month, with the condition that I would Paypal them all the money that I spend from the card (it so happens that some of the most important services that I use such as hosting, autoresponders, etc,. don't accept anything less than a credit card), and I made a fool of myself in doing this, because all of them politely refused me (some even threw in some tangent generalizations)! Not their fault exactly, but if you read the newspaper regularly you will realize why they refused it!
My father has a friend who possesses a credit card and we were discussing about requesting him to lend the card for a month on the condition that we would send him a check for the total expenses; but my father is quite hesitant because you know, it is a question of credit cards!
Last week I read a news that a niece (or nephew, I don't remember) stole her aunt's card and made a long list of purchases! The aunt, who had never used the card in her life, was left stumped when she was handed over the huge credit card bill at the end of the month. And it all happened in the good old Calcutta! Who am I to blame if my friends refuse to lend me cards? You see, no one can be trusted these days, not even those with blood relations.
Never throw away your old cards: If your old cards have become non-operational or invalid for any reason (perhaps you have asked the card issuing bank to block them), don't destroy them! You see, I realized that it becomes easier to get new cards by showing the old cards. I actually used my invalid card to get card from another bank (my old card served as proof of my credit); when they saw my old cards they were not interested in seeing anything else; they even stopped asking questions about my monthly income!
Register your phone number in the bank's "do not call" registry: During the process of card creation, you will need to give your phone number to the bank. Trouble may start when you receive non-stop offers from the bank staff. That is why, a few months after your card has been issued, you may safely register your phone number in the bank's do not call registry (most reputed banks have one). I did this and after a month they have stopped harassing me with their stupid offers.
I learned many things from my bad decisions and mistakes, and sincerely hope that you won't repeat the same! A credit card is your good friend but it can also turn into your worst enemy and give you the kind of nightmares that I had to go through. Some simple precautions will ensure that they don't happen frequently!