“Secure” Login at HSBC Credit Card Website

If you have an HSBC Credit Card, here is a security warning for you:

The website http://www.hsbccreditcard.com/ is not secure and their “Secure Login” is also not secure. You should always look for https:// in the URL to make sure that a site is secure. Just having the words “Secure” and  a padlock does not make the login secure.

If you are technically inclined here is the form source code from that page:

<form id=”login” method=”post” action=”” enctype=”application/x-www-form-urlencoded” target=”_self” onsubmit=”if (this.submitted) return false; this.submitted = true; return true”>

That means that the form is not even submitted to a secure page and it doesn’t even hash your password onsubmit. So if you do have an HSBC Credit card, use this link:

https://www.hsbccreditcard.com/

It is shameful that a large bank is so willy nilly about your security.

Credit Card Rates Up, Benefits Down

Parchayi and me both have credit scores in the 800s, always pay all bills on time etc. and in spite of that we have been seeing notices from credit card companies every few months increasing rates and reducing benefits. It seems we are not alone and banks are just jerks who will do as they please before Obamas new Credit Card Act goes into effect in 2010. Have you noticed your rates go up too?

Also the credit card offers have completely dried up. In the last year I have also seen credit card companies canceling cards that I don’t use very often.

Amongst the cards that have slashed benefits is HSBC Cashback Platinum Mastercard. I had a card that had increasing benefits the more you use the card. It was 1% cash back upto 2500$ spending. Then 2% from $2500 – $5000. And 5% for all spending over $5000 in a year. Now it is just 1% no matter what. Also this was the card we used the most.

Amongst the cards that increased rates is Citibank Dividend Platinum Mastercard. They raised from 12.99 to 19.99% and that too after we started using the card more often since HSBC cut the cashback!

Amongst the cards that I had canceled is Washington Mutual Visa Platinum. The only reason I had the card was so I could get my credit score free each month. So I can’t complain about that one being cut. The bank got nothing from me.

Free Lifelock

Here is how to get Lifelock (a service that puts a Fraud Alert on your behalf at all the credit reporting agencies automatically every 90 days) for Free. Go to their Enrollment Form and enter ‘ or 1 or ‘ with the quotes included and voila – the service goes down to 0$ annualy. Wonderfull programming from a site trying to protect your identity!

Just so you know these guys are being sued for misrepresentation of services and their CEO, Todd something or the other has had his identity stolen at least once and maybe as many as 20 times according to some reports. So don’t go posting your SSN online, on TV etc. like him!

Just so you know, you can get your credit report for free from http://www.annualcreditreport.com and your credit score for free just by opening a WaMu Credit Card account and if you are interested in improving your credit score, check out my previous posts on Credit Score Whoring.

Credit Score Whoring TM

Experian Credit Average for VirginiaA friend of mine who graduated with me was refused an interview at a DC company because his GPA was less than 3.5 and he used the term ‘GPA whore’ for the company. Thus leads to the birth of my new term – ‘Credit Score Whoring’ TM (CSW) – trying to artificially raise your FICO Credit Score for the purpose off showing off.

I have tried some techniques of CSW successfully (YMMV – take this advice at your own risk) before applying for my home loan in 2005 and here I will describe my method. Be warned that the process takes several months to several years, a strong will, some degree of discipline not to go overboard and atleast a decent credit score to start with (>= average). The first thing to understand that to have a good credit score, you must have debt or atleast have had some debt in the past and you must pay on all your debt in time all the time. So let’s start.

Step 1: First calculate your current credit card debt = D. Next calculate your credit limit of all your credit cards combined = L. Note: If you already have credit card balances that you cannot pay off in full, pay those off first before trying this out.

Step 2: Apply for a 0 intro APR (on purchases and balance transfers) and no fees card from one of the offers you get in the mail (such as the Discover® Gas Card). Transfer all your balances to this new card. Only use this card for a while for everything – you have to get your D/L > 0.2. If you cannot get one card that offers this open two card accounts – one for purchases and one for balance transfers.

Step 3: Now that you have only one or two cards to pay, pay slightly more than minimum to the cards each month. Put the rest of the payment in a high yeild savings account instead of paying your credit card (do not touch this money because you will have to pay your bills later). Be warned, your credit score will temporarily decrease as you rack up debt on these new credit cards. And do not use any other credit cards.

Step 4: At the end of your 0 APR period. pay off the entire balance of the credit card(s). In about one month, notice the huge increase in your credit score :).

Rinse and Repeat – Go to Step 1. In this process if you end up with too many cards, just merge all the cards form the same bank into one account – preferably your oldest account with that bank because length of your having a credit account is very important.

Why This Process Works
Your credit score depends on the following things:
– Low D/L (Drastic reduction of D/L = drastic increase in score)
– High L (never close credit card accounts, always merge)
– Paying more than minimum each month (even if it is just 1$ more than minimum)
– Not having balances on too many credit accounts (no more than two)
– Using credit cards (stop using your debit card, cash, checks – use credit cards, earn free cash back and improve your score)

This is from my own experience over the last 6 years and I repeat – YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary) and use this information at your own risk.

Credit Card Interest Rates – Ask for Less?

Over at Yahoo Finance today, I found this article – Negotiate a Lower Credit-Card Rate from the Wall Street Journal. The artice goes on to say that credit card companies will lower your interest rate if you ask for a lower rate. Most of my credit cards are low fixed rate cards, plus I haven’t paid interest to cards for a long time, however I would agree that credit card companies are customer friendly.

I have forgotten to pay my bill on time twice or thrice and I have called and had late fees waived with both Citibank and Chase (or maybe it was FirstUSA before being acquired by Chase). I call and say – ‘ I got my statement today and it has 35$ of late fees. I have never paid late before, can you please waive the fee’ and they have done so without any questions asked. Also in both cases the late payment was not reported to the credit bureaus.