How Do Credit Card Companies Make Money?

Credit cards have gained much popularity in India over the last few years. Public sector banks as well as private banking institutions have come forward to launch a host of credit cards suiting customers with different types of needs. HDFC Credit Cards and SBI Card are the two companies with the largest market share. While banks are ready to offer you with a small loan in the form of credit cards, have you ever wondered how these banking institutions make money from these ventures?

The three main ways how card issuers make money is through the annual fee of the card, interest charged on late payment, penalties on skipping EMIs, etc. At the same time, they also earn from the businesses that accept these cards. Businesses are required to pay transaction fees to the banks which also makes up for significant earning of the card issuer banks.

But before we dig deeper into how they make money, let us first understand the term ‘Credit Card Companies’. It is easy to get confused between credit card issuers and credit card networks. An issuer is the bank or financial institution from which you take the card. You are taking a loan from the card issuer and paying back to them. A credit card issuing company is usually a bank. On the other hand, credit card network refers to companies that process the transaction. Currently, there are three main networks in India- VISA, Master Card and RuPay. Apart from these, American Express and Discover cards can also be found.

So, when you make a transaction with your credit card, your money moves electronically from your bank through the network to the merchant’s bank.

How do credit card companies make money?

As mentioned above, your bank makes money majorly from you and also from the merchants where you use the card issued by the bank to make the payment. Banks or financial institutions make money in the form of-

Fees

Banks charge different types of fees from their cardholders- some fees are to be paid by everyone whereas other types of fees are levied on condition. Let us talk about these fees and charges-

  • Annual Fees- You have to pay annual fees towards your credit card, especially when you are an elite cardholder and enjoy higher benefits than normal users. This is to be paid by all users. However, some banks may set a condition of spend based annual fee reversal scheme.
  • Cash Advance Fees- When you withdraw money from an ATM using your credit card, the bank charges a minimal fee for it which is usually correlated to the amount you withdraw. This is also included in the card issuer’s earnings.
  • Late Fees- Your card issuer charges fees from you if you delay your EMI payments. Banks make more money from late payers in the form of late fees.
  • Balance Transfer Fees- When you transfer outstanding balance from one card to another, the bank charges fees from you which again becomes its earnings.

Interest

The bank or financial institution has just gifted you a credit line. You have to pay the interest for the loan that is offered to you in the form of credit card. This interest cost adds to your expenses and is a method of earning for the banks. Interest on credit card is charged on daily basis for as long as the amount stands outstanding in your account. This is why experts always advise you to pay the total outstanding amount in full every month because interest will accrue on any amount that stands unpaid.

Let us understand this with the help of an example. Suppose the billing date is on 4th of every month and payment due date falls on 29th of every month. APR = 24%

  1. 10th March- Apparel Shopping- Rs. 5,000
  2. 13th March- Bill Payment- Rs. 2,000
  3. 19th March- Gadget Purchase (converted into 6 month EMI)- Rs. 12,000
  4. 22nd March- Dining Bill- Rs. 1,000

Now considering that the person does not have any outstanding amount from the previous bill, he will have to pay Rs. (5,000 + 1,000 + 2,000 +2,000) = Rs. 10,000.

This will be the total amount due on 29th March. Now if the person chooses to pay only Rs. 6,000, the remaining Rs. 4,000 will accrue interest for each day until the amount is paid in full. Considering that the user again pays Rs. 2,000 on the 10th of April, let us see how interest cost works out-

Interest = (outstanding amount x 2 percent per month x 12 months)* (number of days)365

In this case, the total interest charged would be Rs. 52.60 which is a total for Rs. 4,000 that lies outstanding for 11 days and Rs. 2,000 that lies outstanding for 18 days until the next payment. This is the reason why those who only pay minimum amount due tend to fall into debt burden sooner. Cardholders should also note that when an amount is outstanding in your statement, the new purchases that you make are not eligible for the interest free period. This is why interest charge is the easiest way how banks make money out of your credit card.

Interchange Fee from the Merchant

When you use your card at a merchant terminal, the merchant also pays a percentage of the amount to the bank as processing fees. This will also be added on to the bank’s earnings. It usually ranges between 1 to 3 percent of the transaction value but may differ from merchant to merchant.

How to save yourself from paying too much to the bank?

Savvy customers plan their transactions and payments in a way that they have to pay the least amount to the bank. These are the habits you can adopt to cut your costs-

  • Pay your entire outstanding balance every month; just pay the minimum amount due is not a good practice.
  • Set alerts for your payment due dates to avoid missed payments which entail late fees.
  • Create an emergency fund to replace costlier options like cash advances from credit card.
  • Choose low annual fee or free credit cards and even if you select a card with high annual fee, make sure that the rewards are worth it.

What Is The Difference Between Investment Management And Wealth Management?

Investment management and wealth management – it is easy to be confused by these terms, especially since they are often misrepresented. What do they really mean, what are the key differences, and which might be best for you?

What is wealth management?

Wealth management looks at an individual’s finances as a whole and how they can be managed to achieve their long-term financial and personal goals. In addition to handling clients’ investments, wealth management encompasses a wide set of services, such as legal planning, insurance, accounting, and financial, charitable giving, and tax advice.

There are higher minimum asset thresholds, and one can expect to pay higher fees for the more comprehensive service. Although a good manager could justify this through the savings their service provides.

Advantages of wealth management

As wealth managers offer many of the services of an investment manager, their clients gain the same benefits. However, the additional services on offer mean that wealth management can provide further advantages.

Coherent Strategy

As wealth management looks at all aspects of clients’ financial affairs, it aims to provide a custom-made strategy to realise their objectives. For example, by combining different services, a wealth manager can find the best path to paying off a mortgage or planning for retirement, whilst avoiding tax inefficiencies or undue risk.

This holistic approach attempts to understand and predict how different areas of an individual’s finances interact and organise them appropriately.

Simplicity

A wealth manager can provide a single focal point for all financial matters. Rather than having a wide assortment of advisors, a wealth manager may replace the need for a separate financial planner or investment manager, for example.

Their breadth of knowledge also means that they can act as a guide for those less familiar with the practices and technical language that often surrounds financial services.

What is investment management?

The primary role of the investment manager is to advise on, organise and grow clients’ investments.

After discussing a client’s financial goals and acceptable risk levels, an investment manager assembles a portfolio of investments appropriate to their requirements. They then will keep clients updated on the state of their portfolio, offering recommendations and implementing changes.

Advantages of investment management

Investment management services sometimes require a minimum investment and come with a fee – generally a small percentage of the assets under management. However, they can offer numerous benefits.

Reduced Risk

With an investment manager constructing a diverse portfolio, assets are less vulnerable to fluctuations in individual investments. With hundreds of smaller investments likely spread across different industries and asset classes, if one performs poorly, others are likely to compensate.

Convenience

If the client desires, they can acquire a wide range of investments with the minimum effort, making it ideal for time-poor individuals. As the paperwork and day-to-day running is taken care of, much of the stress of investing is removed.

Higher Returns

One of the biggest advantage is that you can gain the knowledge of the professionals. The best investment managers often have a wealth of experience and worldwide networks which can help them spot the best opportunities and reach better results.

Investment managers also have abilities that most individual investors do not. For example, they can increase their buying strength by pooling together several clients’ assets, with each benefiting from the greater yields.

Which is best for you?

Which service is most suitable will largely depend on your net worth and the type of assistance you require. Whilst a wealth manager offers more services than an investment manager, it is generally only available, or necessary, for the most affluent clients, with the wealthiest even receiving fee discounts.

Therefore, if you simply wish to see your investments grow, without the difficulty and risk of handling it yourself, gaining the services of an experienced investment manager could prove fruitful. However, for those with a higher net worth and a complex financial situation, the comprehensive methods of wealth management may be the best solution.

Students Loans Are Killing Americans

The United States government is about $20 trillion dollars in debt currently. The number is consistently climbing. With the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, financial institutions are more volatile than ever.

For many college graduates, student loans can feel like a financial death sentence. Child support, Taxes, Alimony, and Student loans are generally unforgivable in bankruptcy cases. So, what is a graduate to do if they cannot find a great paying job with their degree?

The good news is that there are well known options like “deferment” of payments and income based payment plans. However, many fail to realize that there are numerous grants and applications that can be used to lower your payments even further or have part of your balance forgiven.

Those who work in public service are the best candidates to have part of their loans removed. Teachers, lawyers, public defenders, and those who make less than 10K a year have a plethora of options for relief. You can also challenge the accrediting merits of a school in order to have your loan forgiven. These following program are available for those struggling to pay off these insidious loans!

Public Service Loan Forgiveness
Forgiveness from an income-driven plan
Federal Perkins Loan cancellation
Loan forgiveness for teachers
Loan forgiveness for nurses
Loan repayment assistance for doctors and other health care professionals
Loan repayment assistance for lawyers
Additional student loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs)
Military student loan forgiveness and assistance
Student loan discharge for special circumstances

If you aware of the right procedure or the right form, it isn’t too difficult to solve or mitigate a legal issue. It may take a lot of time and sacrifice, but the pain and suffering of waiting can also lead to fruitful rewards. Joining the military or applying for other scholarships are also great ways to mitigate the costs of going to school. If you are blessed enough to come from a wealthy family, you must be resourceful enough to explore these options. Even if you choose not to exercise these options, it is still encouraging to know that they are there!

Many states have recently began to discuss the possibility of suspending drivers licenses for unpaid student loans, treating them as if they were alimony or child support payments. The seriousness of the situation regarding our education system is reaching its capacity. Knowing these useful tricks and tips are more important than ever in these politically charged times that we are living in.