Graduating Secured Credit Cards to Full Featured Products

In Mercator Advisory Group’s research on secured cards, we noted how the market changed since the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act) eliminated a series of unfair practices. Before the regulation, the market was filled with hard money lenders who took advantage of borrowers with sky-high interest rates and even worse junk fees. Things like application fees, activation fees, and risk fees tainted the product. The CARD Act cleaned up the business, and now top lenders, from Bank of America, Chase, Discover, and US Bank, offer worthwhile cards, with interest rates ranging from 11.65% to 24.99%, and reasonable, in-range fees.  Mastercard and Visa also came out with more rigorous standards for their franchisees. We peg the U.S. market at almost 5 million cards today, with the potential to embrace 500 percent more, given the number of low-banked, underbanked, and unbanked in the market. Working in credit for decades often brings friends and acquaintances with questions about “what is the best card for me to get?” Many times my answer is something along the lines of a Chase Freedom card, which I like because it carries an excellent reward str...

Acrylic is a fantastic material to create intricate designs. With a Laser Cutter, you can cut

Acrylic is a fantastic material to create intricate designs. With a Laser Cutter, you can cut any 2D design you want! In this article, we explain the process of creating a vectorial design and share a few hints to simplify the intricate process of laser cutting acrylic. First thing’s first: Before getting into laser cutting acrylic, it’s important to understand what a laser cutting machine is and how it works. A laser cutting machine is a device that uses a beam of radiation to cut, fuse, connect, and evaporate materials. It’s a technology centered around high speed and precision. A typical laser cutter connects a computer and works in the X and Y axes. (In other words, it’s a bidimensional machine.) The computer controls the laser (power, frequency, speed). Other aspects — like table setup, lenses and focus, exhaust, gas, and material preparation — must be done manually. All these variables can influence the quality of the laser cut. With the acrylic sheet in place, the laser will vaporize the solid material, creating a thin, smooth, and glossy surface with extreme precision. To laser cut, it’s important to have a good vector model. This model is comparable to a drawing with a ...