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Many people living in and around the Indianapolis, Indiana area have multiple options when it comes to banks and lenders.  Some may seek out a First Merchants Bank Indiana secured credit card as this is one of the more popular financial institutions in the area.  Whether borrowers live in Carmel, Lawrence, Greenwood, Fishers, Mooresville, Franklin, Greenfield, Noblesville or Lebanon there are First Merchants Bank options in the area.  Bad credit borrowers may also look online for different types of secured credit cards.

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First Merchants Bank Credit Card Offers

When looking to re-establish or build credit it never hurts to look for secured credit card options.  Even those with little to no credit will have an opportunity to borrow money with these types of credit cards.  Below is the information on the First Merchants Bank secured credit card from the bank’s website:

24 Hour Customer Service

Zero Fraud Liability: Cardmember is not liable for fraudulent purchases when card is lost or stolen.**

Verified by Visa

Car Rental Discounts with Avis, National and Hertz

Travel Accident Insurance

Extended Warranty Insurance

Payments Made Easy – Auto Pay, Telephone Payment, Internet “You Pay,” Mail, CSR-Assisted Phone Pay

Easy Banking – Online Account Access, 24/7 Customer Service, Full-Service Telephone Banking

There are three other types of credit cards that are currently offered by First Merchants Bank Indiana.  These credit cards are as follows

  • Visa Bonus Rewards Card
  • Visa Platinum Card
  • College Rewards Visa

Take the time to look over these options but it often takes a credit score above 650 to qualify for these types of opportunities.  If students are looking for a credit card it would be a good decision to apply for the College Rewards Visa before looking at any secured credit card options in 2013.  Before hitting the submit button on any application all borrowers should recognize that this could hurt a credit score.  If individuals have built up a huge amount of debt and they are looking to gain access to more cash applying for a new credit card is probably not the best opportunity.

What To Do When You Run Out of Money

Rather than applying for a First Merchants Bank Indiana secured credit card when money is low it is a smart decision to create a very strong weekly or money budget.  This is not difficult to do as all it takes is a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil.  For a full week write down every single penny that is spent.  This includes the cup of coffee going to work.  This includes the pack of chewing gum at the local gas station.  This includes the tub of popcorn when watching the latest movie at the cinema.

After one full week look at all of the expenses.  There is a good chance that some of this stuff is not needed.  Instead of paying $60 for a haircut and shampoo it is quite possible that a haircut under $30 is available.  Instead of paying for floor tickets to the musical it might be worth it to sit in the upper deck for once.  Cutting back on some expenses will make a financial life much easier.  Although this sounds easy it can sometimes be difficult.  If someone has lived an affluent lifestyle for several years or even decades it can be hard to cut back.

This is why it is imperative that every single penny spent is written down.  To make the process easier, try to not use any secured credit cards or rewards credit cards.  Go to the local First Merchants Bank and take out $20 cash every day.  Most people should be able to reduce daily expenses to $20 or less.  If this is difficult then work needs to be done.  Spending strictly cash will also help as borrowers won’t be charged any interest on the money they spend.

After this week or two week process is complete it is time to decide how much money needs to be earned to live a certain lifestyle.  If more money is going out than coming in there is a huge problem.  Either a second or third job needs to come about or expenses should be cut back.  Once again, this can be difficult but it is possible.  Something that can be very positive about a second or third job is the fact that taking up the majority of the day working means there is much less time to think about spending money.  In fact, there will be much fewer opportunities to spend money because the jobs are taking up so much time.

These are just some suggestions when it comes to saving money.  If this is not a huge issue then a First Merchants Bank secured credit card might be an option to build credit.  When building credit, all borrowers should recognize that there is interest charged on money that is not paid off every single month.  This is something that is very difficult to understand for new borrowers.

First Merchants Bank Secured Credit Card Interest Scenario

If a credit card has a 10% interest rate or APR that means that every $100 spent that is not paid off will earn $10 interest over the course of a year.  This interest compounds every month so it will likely be more if borrowers keep building up a balance on their credit card.  Also note that late payments and other expenses can add up when it comes to borrowing money through a credit card.  No matter what, avoid credit card check advances at all costs.

For those who may not understand this process here is a brief overview.  Credit card companies will often mail blank checks to borrowers stating that they can write an amount on the check and go cash it at the local bank.  Unfortunately, this is not free money.  If you write a check for $2000 you will have to pay the $2000 back with interest.  Once again, interest becomes a huge issue for anyone who does not understand the basic idea behind compounding interest.  Doing some research on compounding interest should be required for anyone that plans on applying for a First Merchants Bank Indiana secured credit card in the near future.

If applicants are 100% certain they are going to pay their credit card off every single month the First Merchants Bank secured credit card would be a good choice.  Unfortunately, most people go into the borrowing process with this in mind but something happens.  They may have tire issues with their car or an unexpected accident happens that requires $500.  Instead of using cash many people will simply swipe the credit card and forget about it for a few months.  This seems to be all too common during the holiday shopping season.

Let’s go back to the practice of writing down every single expense.  Something else that borrowers may want to do is write down every dollar they earn versus every dollar they spend.  If an individual makes $500 a week they will make $100 a day Monday through Friday but they will make $0 on the weekends.  This means they will need to make certain they save up enough to get through those days when no money is coming in.

There are plenty of great spreadsheet software options online and I would strongly suggest Google Docs.  Google users with a gmail address can access these documents anywhere they can check their gmail.  Creating two separate columns for money coming in versus money going out is not difficult at all.  With spreadsheet software you can also set it up where it adds up the columns for you.  This could be a tool that is used over the course of your life so you don’t have to think about applying for secured credit cards when money gets low.

Cashiers Check or Money Order with Secured Card Application

This is something that is very important for anyone who will be applying for a First Merchants Bank Indiana secured credit card.  This is quoted directly from the First Merchants Bank website:

How does the Secured Card work?

To establish a secured savings account, simply send a cashier’s check or money order along with your application. The minimum deposit amount is $300 and the maximum amount is $5,000. Your credit line will equal the amount of your security deposit. You still must make payments to your Secured Card account like you would with any other credit card.”

That means that an applicant must have at least $300 to go along with the credit card application.  This is one of the reasons it is a good decision to improve a credit history.  Applying for a regular rewards credit card will not require a deposit.  Unfortunately, most of those who will be applying for some type of secured credit card do not have the credit score or credit history to qualify for some of the better credit cards that are currently available.  The amount of the cashiers check or money order will be the balance on the credit card until a credit score drastically improves.

Building credit over the course of time with a secured credit card is a good idea but consider many other options.  Instead of having to use cash as collateral consider using a debit card or bank account to make purchases.  This may not improve a credit score as quickly but it will help to get you out of the “credit card mindset.”  Too many people simply pull out a credit card and swipe it for any purchase.  This means that it becomes a habit and some bad credit borrowers may select the wrong credit card when making a purchase.  There is nothing worse than using a high interest rate retail credit card when a debit card could have been used.

Alternatives to First Merchants Bank in Indiana

Although First Merchants Bank Indiana is a fine financial institution that is secured by the FDIC it might be a good idea to look at alternatives when it comes to credit cards or bank accounts.  Remember that Visa and MasterCard are credit card issuers but many times it is the banks that take the applications for the lines of credit.  Here are a few alternative lenders in the Indianapolis area:

  • National Bank of Indianapolis
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • KeyBank
  • PNC Bank
  • Forum Credit Union
  • Old National Bank
  • Teachers Credit Union
  • First Financial Bank
  • Union Savings Bank
  • Harris Bank
  • Family Horizons Credit Union
  • Woodforest National Bank

Note that many of these banks are not exclusive to only Indianapolis or Indiana.  In fact, many banks are starting to branch out to a new area as they are gaining their financial footing after the credit crisis.  Sometimes it is worth it to deal with a local community bank as they will know your name rather than simply your bank account number.  That being said, there are some limitations to a local community bank.  If you travel a lot there is a good chance you will not be able to find bank locations in other states and especially in other countries.  Another issue may be the fact that smaller banks do not offer as many financial products such as ATV loans, farm loans or unsecured credit cards.

There are plusses and minuses to all financial institutions.  Before hitting submit on a First Merchants Bank secured credit card think about a credit union.  Credit unions have very strict guidelines when it comes to credit cards.  They cannot charge an interest rate above a certain level which is very important for those that carry a balance on their secured credit card.  Unfortunately, not everyone will be eligible to apply for a credit union secured credit card.  Do plenty of research on local credit unions to see what application requirements are set.

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