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A credit card could be your best financial tool if you use it properly – it can tide you over short-term cash crunches, build up your credit score, and even reward you for spending on things you needed to buy in the first place. But credit cards do come with hazards that can mess up your journey to financial freedom.
A report by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau revealed issues with purchase information shown in the credit card statement was the highest complaint at 27%. Though not in a specific category, other features, terms, or problems followed at 13%. This is less by half compared to the leading complaint. However, Americans struggled the least with paying their bills, which stood at 2%.
The good thing is, even the credit card companies want to help you stay away from these problems as much as you do. Automated notifications from your card company will help you stay on a good track.
Setting a credit card alert enables you to keep track of your spending, prevent errors that could lower your credit score, and instantly identify suspicious activity.
Turning on this alert based on a small transaction helps you discover fraudulent purchases that would otherwise go unnoticed by your card issuer.
Alerts are simple, quick, and frequently free to set up.
Why Credit Card Alerts Are Essential?
Setting a credit card alert allows you to safeguard your funds. Essentially, it is a way for you to eavesdrop on every activity happening in your account. One of the important notifications is the one that tracks your credit card withdrawals.
The alert may be about your transactions or a person or online apps you have authorized. As such, if there is a transaction you cannot recognize, you can quickly cancel it or act by reporting to the authority and revoke the card to prevent further illegal withdrawals.
1. Payment Due Alert
This is a must if you need a reminder to pay your credit card bill.
Thirty-five percent of your credit score will come from your payment history. It is the single biggest factor that can pull your score up or down.
So, aside from a lower score due to some missed payments, it can also be very costly to skip on your monthly obligations. For starters, there’s a late fee – it runs around $20 to $50 each time. Plus, interest will start to accrue on your balance even if you initially intended to pay them in full.
The other negative impact of a missed payment is that you also jeopardize your future credit. When you miss a credit card bill payment, your credit score can drop by some 50 to 100 points. So, depending on how high (or how low) your credit score is, it can make getting financing in the future more difficult and expensive.
The solution is to set up a payment due alert. A payment due alert will remind you of your payable so that you (hopefully) will never forget to pay your monthly payment. This is very helpful if you are not using an auto-pay system on your bill.
Keep in mind that a good payment track record on your monthly credit card payment will bring your score up over time and keep you away from those expensive late fees and APR penalties and interests.
The good thing about this is that your credit card issuer would let you customize when you want to receive this alert, so you can set exactly how many days you need. You can also set up a payment received alert so you will know that the card company has already received and posted your payment.
As extra security, throw in a payment past due alert which will notify you if you have somehow forgotten to make your minimum payment.
2. Purchase Notification
SMS alerts can help you keep track of your money 24/7. To add more value to their products, credit card companies are promoting their transaction alerts to the cardholders more and more.
It works this way: when you use your card, it triggers an SMS alert to your phone. This way, you’ll know if there is fraudulent or unauthorized use of your card.
These notifications vary according to the card issuer. Some card companies will notify you only if the purchase is over a certain amount such as $20. Other issuers will allow you to receive a notification for every purchase.
If you receive an alert to potentially suspicious activity, call your issuing bank to check. Banks often have liability protection policies to protect you in case there are unauthorized transactions.
3. Credit Limit Usage
You can prevent yourself from going over your credit limit by knowing when your available credit has reached a certain benchmark. This is very useful in so many ways.
You don’t really want to use your credit card for emergency expenses but knowing that you have so much available credit in your card can give you a little peace of mind in case of a sudden emergency.
If you have an unexpected car breakdown or a sickness or injury that requires a visit to the emergency room, you know that you won’t have to worry about finding the money for it at the moment.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to use less than 30% of your credit card limit. Remember that the lower your credit card balance, the better would be your credit score.
Following this will help you maintain a 30% credit utilization ratio and work toward improving your credit even better. It will remind you that you’ve reached or surpassed your allotted monthly budget and keep you from spending further for the rest of the month.
Some apps will let you customize your notification up to a certain dollar amount of your credit limit.
4. Rewards Program Threshold Notification
It is now the norm for credit cards to let their cardholders earn points, miles or cashback on their purchases. It’s a cool deal because cardholders can use these rewards for their vacation, partially pay for a big-ticket appliance or even score their dream gadget.
To keep cardholders in the loop about their points reserves or rewards, many card companies have made alerts part of their rewards programs.
For example, you can set up a monthly alert balance or request the card company to notify you when you have accumulated points up to a certain amount so you can already use your hard-earned rewards. Alternatively, you can use other tools that tracked and help you to manage your credit cards rewards.
In case you have a revolving 3% cash-back credit card, you can opt to receive a text or email when you need to sign up for new categories. Some card companies will give you an alert when they offer a spcial deal or discount or when a special offer is about to lapse.
But here’s something you should remember: rewards cards are for those consumers who pay their card balances in full every month. These cards usually have a higher annual percentage rate. The principle is that you don’t want your credit card interest to be more than the rewards you can earn.
5. Single Transaction
Your outstanding debts make up the second-largest component of your credit score because it accounts for 30% of your score.
Having a balance on your credit card does not necessarily lower your credit score but lenders would opt to find a lower credit utilization rate. Credit reporting bureaus suggest that you keep your credit utilization ratio below 30% so that you can gain credit points much faster.
This is where the single transaction notification comes in handy. It alerts you if you have charged something to your card that would cross the 30% threshold.
If you are following a monthly credit card expense budget, use this alert to remind yourself that you should stop using your card for the moment and do something to reduce your card’s current balance.
This chart created with Experian data shows that those with an average to good credit score have an average credit utilization ratio of the optimum 33%. This ratio drops significantly for those with very good and excellent scores.
At the other end of the scale, the chart shows that those with poor credit scores typically have a very high credit utilization ratio, with an average of 73%. This will be a massive factor in lending decisions for those in this group.
6. Credit Card Fraud Alert
Often, credit card fraud hurt credit card companies more than they hurt the affected cardholders. Most of the time, the card issuers are the ones who suffer a monetary loss. Therefore, credit card issuers have become more proactive on this end by offering more services to cardholders to help them detect and report credit card fraud.
You can check if your credit card company offers fraud alert notifications. Simply log into your credit card’s online account or call their customer service (using the number on the back of your card).
Take note that you would have to do this step for all your credit cards. Your card company might be able to send you notifications via email, text message, or through a push notification on your smartphone screen if you have your card issuer’s mobile app.
There are many options for receiving alerts depending on your credit card issuer. The card company may simply send you an alert to transactions that they deem suspicious. Or, they can alert you for any transaction that goes over a certain amount that you’ve picked, for example, $15.
Turning this alert based on a minimum transaction is very effective in catching fraudulent transactions that would probably fall out of the radar of your card issuer. Normally, your card company can only detect fraud that happens out of your normal spending habits.
Credit card companies would have different methods for setting up credit card push notifications. Here are the general steps to get you started:
1. Log in to your account
2. Search the website menu and look for credit card notifications or alerts.
3. Click the notifications you want to set up and the applicable thresholds.
If you have successfully set your parameters, you’ll get alerts on your mobile phone or email whenever those activities take place on your account.
To set up your Citi card alerts, follow the following three steps process:
Login into your account Citi Bank Online platform. Then, click the “Enroll in” or “manage Citi alerting services”.
In step two, on your current alert page, select “manage alert” section. Do not forget to review and agree to the Citi's terms and conditions.
In Step three, select your emails or phones accounts you would like to receive notifications against types of alerts. The options here are either balance alerts, deposits alerts, bill payment alerts, or credit card alerts.
Chase bank allows you to set up your credit card alerts using either a mobile phone app or an online web app. Both platforms offer a similar simple experience.
To set alerts, login into your account with your credentials. Then, select the profile and settings option in the menu. Follow by clicking the Alerts and then the alerts option. In the alert section, choose the mode of delivery of your choice between phone or email, or both, against the type of alerts you will like to receive. If you have multiple accounts, you will repeat the process for all of them.
The American Express Card alert system is simple to use. First login to your account, and go to the Card Alerts menu. Click the menu to select the card you want to manage. If you have multiple cards, this page will show all the cards linked to your account.
The next step is to select your preferred credit card and the mode of alert delivery you would like to manage. Here, you can enable or disable either text alerts or text messages, or both. The bank also offers different types of notifications, which you can toggle for each card. Make sure you check the alerts you want to enable.
You use either their mobile or online application to enable or disable Bank of America credit card alerts.
Start by login into your account. On the top of the screen, select the bell icon and tap the allow notification prompt. It will take you to the settings section, where there are several groups of options available. Pick the option you want to change. If the next page, the account will display a list of notification options; choose the options that interest you.
Then, toggle either on or off to enable or disable the notification. Once done, select the delivery option between the push notification and the email delivery and tap the save button to save the settings.
The precise answer, yes. However, you first have to sign up for notifications. Some of the alerts you are likely to receive are either text messages, email notifications, or push notifications.
Most of these alerts are transactional, like deposits and withdrawals. You can also receive security alerts such as when there is a password change, or an attempt to login into your account. Generally, different banks offer diverse control on the types of alerts you can enable.