Signing Rather than Chip & Pinning

By: DoItLikeThat
The new Chip & Pin credit card system has been officially in use for several months now, but in some cases you'll still be able to sign rather than use your Chip & Pin. Specifically, if you are disabled and cannot enter a PIN, you'll still be able to sign for your purchases as you always have and the cashier will compare credit cards with your signature as always. You'll also still be able to sign for your purchases if the merchant doesn't yet have a Chip and PIN reader, or at many overseas merchants.

As of February 14, 2006, all credit card customers should be have and be using the new Chip & PIN cards that have been issued since late 2003. The Chip & PIN card is meant to make credit card purchases more secure and cut down on credit card fraud, a goal that is already happening, says APACS, who report that credit card fraud was down by 13% between January 2005 and February 2006. In order to fully benefit from using Chip & PIN cards, though, it's important that you follow some safe-use rules for your new card.

1.Don't give your PIN to anyone - not even the police or the credit card company.

2.Choose a safe PIN.
- No more than two numbers in sequence.
- No more than two of the same digit.
- Don't use easily found personal data like your full birthday.
- The safest PINs are randomly generated numbers, but you can make a PIN that's easy for you to remember and hard to guess by combining two numbers that have personal significance to you. Try something like the street number of your first house and the day your youngest son was born, for instance.

3.Be careful when entering your PIN at the till. Stand so that no one can look over your shoulder or read the keypad.

Safety isn't the only thing you should take care with when it comes to credit cards. Start being careful from the beginning when you choose a credit card. Before you apply for any credit card, compare credit cards online to be sure that you're getting the best credit card deal for your situation. When you compare credit cards, be sure to read all the fine print in the card member agreement to avoid any surprises from unexpected fees and charges when the account comes due.

Some points to compare when you're deciding on the best credit card are:
- APR (Annual Percentage Rate)
- Annual fees if any
- Late payment charges
- Method of calculating interest
- Rewards for using your credit card to shop

Depending on your situation, you may not qualify for the best credit card rates and fees. If you've had trouble with your bills, for instance, you may be offered a 'bad credit credit card' with a higher rate of interest than the typical rate (the APR that is offered to at least 75% of those that qualify for credit with that company). If that happens, don't think that you have no other choice. As with any other kind of credit card, there are many companies that offer the so-called bad credit credit cards. Just as you would with any other credit card offer, be sure to compare credit cards against each other to make sure that the one you choose is the best credit card offer that you can manage. Taking care up front can save you money over the long run.
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