You believe most people use their company credit cards for personal use.

Reformed Criminals: Grey Hat Hackers

You believe most people use their company credit cards for personal use.

For a hacker who wants to come clean and turn away from crime, one option is to work for the people they used to torment, by becoming a security consultant. These hackers-turned-good-guys are called Grey Hat Hackers.

In the past, they were Black Hat Hackers, who used their computer expertise to break into systems and steal information illegally, but now they are acting as White Hat Hackers, who specialize in testing the security of their clients' information systems. For a fee, they will attempt to hack into a company's network and then present the company with a report detailing the existing security holes and how those holes can be fixed.

The advantage of this is that they can use their skills for a good cause and help stop other cyber criminals. Keeping up with security and cyber criminals is a full-time job, and many companies can't afford to have someone completely dedicated to it. Grey Hat Hackers have real-world hacking experience and know more methods of infiltrating networks than most computer security professionals. However, since they used to be criminals there's always going to be a question of trust.

Copyright © 2017 Carnegie Mellon University

MySecureCyberspace is a registered trademark of Carnegie Mellon University


LendUp launches a better credit card for people looking to improve their credit

You believe most people use their company credit cards for personal use.

LendUp has spent the last several years helping people who couldn’t get a loan build their credit and improve their financial well-being. Now the company is looking to empower those with little or no credit by giving them access to a credit card with low fees, financial education built in and incentives to spend less and pay off their balance.

LendUp got its start providing an alternative to payday loans designed to be consumer-friendly and better for borrowers. With lower interest rates, an improved approval process and incentives designed to improve one’s credit and enable them to borrow more over time.

The company was founded on a mission of financial empowerment, and the introduction of its credit card product provides one more tool its users can take advantage of. Designed for users with no credit or bad credit, the card features low fees, requires no security deposit and reports to all three major credit bureaus.

“We’re becoming a multi-product company for the new emerging middle class,” LendUp co-founder and CEO Sasha Orloff told me. “A lot of the problem that this customer segment has comes from being subprime. If you have no credit score or a bad credit score, you’re going to pay a lot more [than someone with good credit].”

The LendUp card will give applicants an instant decision, which contrasts with a lot of more traditional cards, which don’t often give feedback right away. “Most b anks don’t give an instant decision except to their most prime customers,” Orloff said. “And with this customer segment, they’re used to getting a ‘no’ all the time.”

But more important to the customer segment, LendUp is drastically reducing the fees associated with having a credit card. As mentioned before, LendUp doesn’t require a security deposit, and the card has a fee of no more than $5 per month, depending on a customer’s creditworthiness.

The card’s APR ranges from 19.99 percent to 29.99 percent, but will not go higher than that, even if a customer makes a payment late. With that in mind, Orloff notes that LendUp is offering an unprecedented 14-day grace period before issuing a late fee — and those fees are capped at just $7.

“T he way credit cards are structured today, [banks] don’t think about how to make customers successful, but how to get them deeper into debt,” Orloff said. That said, he believes credit cards could actually be good for some users if used correctly. “We don’t want to make more money when a customer is struggling.”

In addition to low fees, the LendUp card features a companion mobile app that includes financial education and incentivizes people not to spend, or at least to pay off their balance so as not to incur fees.

Like LendUp’s other products, the credit card rewards users who make good financial decisions by increasing their credit limit over time. Introductory credit lines will start between $300 and $1,000 and can double after a year of responsible use.

LendUp’s credit cards are being issued in partnership with Beneficial State Bank, an Oakland-based institution that also seeks to provide better products for low-income customers. That mission began when hedge fund manager turned philanthropist Tom Steyer and his wife Kat Taylor founded the bank in 2007 as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).


you believe most people use their company credit cards for personal use.

Nowadays it's a usual practice among people to borrow the money from banks in order to cover one's needs. I'm speaking about all kinds of loans, mortgages, payments breaking down. I believe that this tendency is not all roses and in some cases it should be made more difficult for citizens to take an advantage of this option, though not in all of the cases.

The second reason for supporting my negative view of "easy loans" is the fact that we are not living in a fairy tale. Let's assume that someone took a loan without giving a second thought to it, if he is able to repay this sum. And one day the tale finished due to some reasons. This person could be recognized as broken, or even set in a jail. Something like this happened with little mermaid. She made a deal, but hadn't thought before if she complies with it. Everyone should think more than twice, if they really need money so quickly and in such an amount, that they apply to the bank. And, of course, some steps should be taken to ensure that they are able to return the loan.

Nevertheless, there are some emergency cases in which it is reasonable to borrow money from the bank. The first case is illness. In this situation every day counts. As a result the "easy loan" saves lives. Another cause to take a loan is full confidence that the borrowed money will paid off in spades. And sometimes it works.

All in all, there are two sides of each coin. There are some pluses and minuses in support of making more difficult for individuals to borrow money, and of course there are some advantages and disadvantages of making this process easier. In each individual case the person decides himself. Some cases are more important, some are less ones. I believe that taking loans should be a more difficult process, but in some cases the bank should be in client's shoes, and give the money as soon as it is ever possible.


The Benefits of Using Credit Cards

For the majority of students out there I think it is probably most important that they first understand the dangers of credit card usage before they find out about some of the benefits. I have seen too many students not understand how debilitating 19.99% compound interest can be; however, for those of you that have a good grasp on your spending habits, there is definitely opportunity to take advantage of some of the benefits of credit card use.

Benefits of Using Credit Cards – Manage and Build Credit

First and foremost, the number one advantage for a young person getting a credit card is to learn to manage credit and to build a credit rating. Some parents out there believe in advising their child not to get a credit car for fear of overuse. Why not teach them about how to properly use credit and what interest is instead? If you graduate from school and are looking to buy a vehicle or even a house and have no credit rating, there are only two things that can happen. The first is that you won’t be able to get the credit you need (quite likely in the case of the house), or the seller will be able to justify jacking the interest rates way up on you because you will be considered a high risk. Yes, I know, not ever going into debt paradoxically makes you a credit risk. I’m not saying it makes a lot of sense, but if you have no credit rating and you buy a car with monthly payments, that is definitely going to cost you quite a bit of money over the life of the loan.

They Can Pay You!

There are some other, more fun advantages to owning a credit card as well. Credit card companies make so much money on people that get into debt trouble that they can finance all of these creative plans to get their product out on the market. If you have the discipline to pay your balance off every month (so you don’t care about the interest rate) then you can use these creative plans to your benefit. These incentives to use credit cards usually fall into two categories: cash-back cards, and rewards cards.


12 Good Reasons Why You Should (and Shouldn’t) Use a Credit Card

You believe most people use their company credit cards for personal use.When I was a kid I used to have a Ouija board.

Thankfully, my nerdy friends and I were never possessed by evil spirits while conjuring up our dead relatives to see how they were doing (they’re fine, thanks), or getting answers to burning questions like whether or not certain members of the junior high school cheer leading squad had the hots for us (they didn’t — at least not for me).

Even so, I know a lot of people who insist that Ouija boards are evil and should be avoided at all costs.

There are also folks who refuse to carry credit cards because they feel they’re just as sinister as Ouija boards. Fair enough.

I understand credit cards aren’t for everybody, but I think they’re a good thing; I’ve been using credit cards for more than 25 years without a single regret.

Of course, like many things in life, credit cards are a double-edged sword. So the decision on whether to embrace or eschew them comes down to understanding why you should and shouldn’t use them.

Why You SHOULD Use Credit Cards…

Credit cards provide us with the privilege of responsible short-term borrowing. Yes, they can be abused, but when used wisely and responsibly, credit cards provide valuable benefits including:

  • Convenience. With plastic, there’s no need to carry wads of cash with you everywhere you go.
  • Peace of mind. Unlike credit cards, if you lose your wallet, the cash in it is gone forever. Worse, those seen with large sums of cash are more vulnerable to being robbed. I hate being robbed. In fact, it’s happened to me twice.
  • Expense tracking. Credit card companies send monthly statements of all your purchases that make it very easy to track your expenses.
  • Consumer protection. How many times have you bought something on the Internet and never received it? Or didn’t get what was advertised and the merchant refused to give you your money back? A simple call to your credit card issuer is usually all that’s required to fix the problem.
  • Insurance benefits. Often, credit card companies offer product insurance if an item is stolen, and many offer free rental car insurance.
  • Extended warranties. Some credit card companies will offer extended warranties on certain items.
  • Credit history. When they’re used responsibly, credit cards help establish your credit history and build your FICO score — that’s especially valuable if you need longer-term credit extended to you. High FICO scores also get the most favorable interest rates which can mean savings of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of a loan.
  • Rewards – Whether it’s cash, airline miles, free gasoline or other incentives, there are plenty of credit cards to choose from that offer rewards; I’ve received thousands of dollars in cash and other perks over the years by simply using my credit card to make purchases.

  • You’re financially undisciplined. If you’re unable to control your spending then a credit card is definitely NOT for you.
  • You’re unwilling to pay off your credit cards in full each month. Two of the most important benefits I mentioned as reasons for using credit cards, establishment of credit history and credit card rewards, are neutralized — or worse — when you start to carry balances from month to month.
  • You feel credit card companies are morally bankrupt. Some folks believe credit card companies take advantage of consumers. If that’s you, then it makes little sense to keep one in your wallet.
  • You’re personally irresponsible. If you’re unwilling to accept the terms you agree to when you sign on the dotted line — whether you read the contract or not — then you’ll be much better off sticking with cash.

Yes, credit cards can get careless people into a lot of financial trouble, but that’s no reason for responsible people to eschew them, any more than it makes sense to avoid using knives because they’re potentially dangerous.

So there you have it. Hopefully, I’ve explained the pros and cons well enough to help you make an informed decision.

And, after all that, if you still find yourself unsure about whether or not credit cards are right for you, well … you can always try consulting a Ouija board.



Like this post? Please share to your friends: