Simple guide to understanding your Citi Credit Card
Have there been occasions where your best purchases have been just a card swipe away and you’ve found yourself wondering if your Citi Credit Card was a bit like Spiderman? Brilliant but hazy.
You are not alone. While the credit card is a brilliant tool to manage your finances, the accompanying number of clauses, terms & conditions and acronyms may make you feel confused at best and ready-to-give-up-on-responsible-investment-and-go-live-in-a-cave at worst.
Have no fear, credit card jargon buster is here – a handy guide to understanding some of the most frequently used terms that’ll help you maintain healthy credit and make the most of your Citi experience.
APR or the Annual Percentage Rate
The APR or Annual Percentage Rate is something you have to worry about only if you are unable to pay your balance in full each month. It’s the rate of interest that credit card companies may charge for paying less than the full balance due. It’s the cost of carrying balances from one month to the next and is expressed as an yearly rate. The higher the APR, the more you have to pay. For more on APR, click here.
CICs or Credit Information Companies
Credit Information Companies or CICs are companies like CIBIL, certified by the RBI, that collect your financial data to determine if you are credit worthy or not, based on your past repayment track record. Banks and other financial institutions seek this information when you approach them for loans as they are concerned about your ability to pay them back.
If you think your bill is wrong, write to your credit card issuer at the address listed on your statement, within 30 days of transaction date. You can also call on the 24*7 Citiphone helpline or click on the transaction alert link sent to you via SMS. The credit card issuer must correct the error or explain why they think the statement was correct within two Billing Cycles, after the receipt of your letter.
And here's a tip to help your dispute: If you notify the credit card issuer of a possible error in writing, you may not have to pay the amount in question while it is investigated. (Though you do have to pay the rest of your bill.) To learn more on disputes, click here.
EMI or Equated Monthly Installments
You can buy all the big things you always wanted to and choose to pay in small, instant installments on your Citi Card. Convert your purchases above Rs. 2,500 into manageable EMIs with a call, the click of your mouse or even on-the-go using Citi Mobile. Tailor your flexible repayment schedule to what you are comfortable with. Plus, you save on the higher interest and service charges on credit cards by opting for the smaller interest rates on your EMIs.
EPP or Easy Payment Plan
Citi’s Easy Payment Plan lets you enjoy interest-free installment payment on your credit card. It’s just another option to manage your finances when life’s surprises come around or when it’s time to splurge on something special. You can choose your preferred credit card repayment plan, either for a single transaction or total balance, and make credit card payments over a more manageable period.
MAD or the Minimum Amount Due
The Minimum Amount Due is the smallest amount you can pay by the due date each month without defaulting. However it’s important to remember, that if you pay only the MAD each month, you’ll be incurring interest payment on your outstanding amount. For example, if suppose as a Card Member, you spend Rs. 5000 and pay back exactly the minimum amount due every month, then it may result in repayment stretching up to 9 years with consequent interest payment on the outstanding amount. Therefore, you should, whenever possible, pay back substantially more than the minimum due. This will also help to free up your spending limit and improve your credit rating.
OTP or One Time Password
This is the second layer of defense against any financial fraud. As security measures increased, an additional layer of cross checking called OTP was introduced (in addition to the CVV or Card Verification Value code at the back of your card). Before your card payment is accepted, the bank or the payment gateway sends an OTP to your registered mobile phone number, using encrypted data to prevent misuse. Unless you enter the OTP as generated by the system, your transaction would not be completed. As the name suggests, OTP can be used only once and is valid for a limited time period and therefore need not be stored.
PDD or the Payment Due Date
PDD or the Payment Due Date is the date by which you should pay your credit card bill to avoid any late payment charges and continue maintaining your card account without any hiccups. It’s the monthly due date for payment to be credited to your Citi credit card. PDD is communicated each month through monthly statements and CitiAlerts.
PIN (APIN and IPIN)
PIN is short for Personal Identification Number, a set of personal numbers you use to prove positive identification. For Citi credit cards, you can seamlessly issue both APINs and IPINs on the website for ATM and online authentication (APIN is ATM PIN and IPIN IS Internet Password).
Reducing Balance Interest Rate
The Reducing Balance Interest rate or the Diminishing Balance Rate, as the name suggests, is the rate of interest calculated each month on your outstanding loan amount. In this method, the EMI includes the monthly principal amount plus the interest payable on only your outstanding loan. Therefore, after each EMI payment, the outstanding loan amount gets reduced as does the interest payable for the subsequent month. In practical terms, the reducing rate method is better than the flat rate method (where the interest is calculated on the principal amount of the loan).
TAD or the Total Amount Due
TAD or The Total Amount Due is the full amount payable by the due date each month. You are encouraged to pay TAD each month, because not only does it improve your credit rating, it frees up your spending limit and saves you from incurring interest payment on your outstanding amount.
An unauthorised transaction is a fraudulent usage attempt on your card or a transaction not initiated or approved by you. In case such a transaction occurs, you should promptly report it to the Bank, so that your card is blocked for further usage and you are not held liable. You can report using Citibank Online, CitiPhone or by notifying the bank branches. For good measure, you should actively update your mobile numbers at all times with the bank. To understand more about your liability in case of unauthorised card transactions, click here.