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Environment – Capping-and-Trading Carbon Credits

Both the private sector and the U.S. Congress are working from opposite on the same scheme that is supposed to stop and hopefully reverse global warming – the “cap-and-trade” system of “carbon credits.”

This is how the scheme works:

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is known to be the number one polluter of our atmosphere and thus number one culprit in global warming. Private companies, and especially utility companies that produce energy through fossil fuels like coal, are among the top producers of CO2. And right now there is no limit to the amount of CO2 that such companies can produce.

Thus, someone suggested to create an artificial “scarcity” of CO2, which would be a very good thing.

How do you do that? By passing a law to limit the amount of CO2 that each company can produce.

But what if a company produces LESS than it’s allowed amount? Or what if another company needs to produce MORE carbon dioxide for various reasons?

Then the company that is below its “carbon emission quota” can sell that “right to pollute” on the open market to the company that needs to emit more carbon into the atmosphere. Thus, such “carbon permits” can be sold and bought just like regular stocks in the stock market.

The cap-and-trade system is already in use in Europe at this writing (March 2007) and the prices of such permits tripled within the last two years.

An increasing number of giant corporations in the U.S. are now endorsing the cap-and-trade system thinking they need to be at the table when the nature and amount of caps are decided. I think they are being very smart. You either have a role in determining the rules of the cap-and-trade game or you live by its ramifications. You are either sitting at the steering wheel of this cap-and-trade juggernaut or you are going to get hit by it.


Ugur Akinci, Ph.D. is a writer with 20 years of experience. He is available for a wide variety of freelance assignments. Visit his web site for more information on his services.

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Environment – The Politics of “Carbon Credit” Incentives in New Zealand

Using “carbon credits” as a tool and an incentive to slow down global warming by rewarding those that release less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere is a solution that must be implemented with utmost care for the correct policy measures to go along with it.

If implemented within a framework of incorrect politics, it can backfire and either handicap the economy with unnecessary restriction and land use patterns or create serious political fractions within a country, or both.

A case in point is the “deforestation tax” controversy raging in New Zealand (as of early 2007).

It all started when the forest owners in New Zealand felt compelled by market forces to shift their land use from forestry to dairy farming. This would have required cutting down forests to make way for the dairy farms. By 2012, a total of 44,000 hectares of forest are expected to give way to pastures and other uses.

However, there is a problem. When live tress are cut, they eventually release all the carbon dioxide that they have stored inside. Thus deforestation by definition increases the “carbon footprint” and contributes to the greenhouse effect.

The overall cost of “deforestation liability” is estimated to hit $ 650 million by 2012 in New Zealand.

As an incentive to stop or slow down the conversion of forests to pastures, the government announced a deforestation tax for trees that were planted before 1990.

But since the tax would be applied only after a certain future date, the decision actually helped accelerate deforestation instead of slowing it down since everybody wanted to beat the deadline and shift to dairy farming without incurring any taxes.

How much should such permits cost? What should be the size limits on forest plots that would be exempted from such a tax? Which year should be declared as the cut-off date for the taxes?

These are all questions with different sets of “winners” and “losers.” Unless the political balance between such groups are addressed well, not only social justice but even a country’s economic development might be effected adversely while trying to curb greenhouse gases and global warming.


Ugur Akinci, Ph.D. is a writer with 20 years of experience. He is available for a wide variety of freelance assignments. Visit his web site for more information on his services.

Green Energy Credits Can Help Your Business Profit from Being Green!

Here’s a thought: can we control pollution by building a nation-wide program that can give financial incentives to industries that can better their environmental and operational baselines? A program for carbon emissions trading, trading green energy credits, does just that. The credits, and the trading system that has evolved from them, are a unique way to control air pollution that could benefit your company on the bottom line as well.

The 1990 Clean Air Act amendments defined a new era in means of control of air pollution: provide for an overall limit on emissions, for specific pollutants for specific industries, and let the industries work together to make certain it works, by giving them a way to benefit from doing better than the permit requires. This program was the result of the recognition that we need electricity, that energy generation emits pollutants, and that simply demanding massive reductions in emissions is a certain way to make the cost of electricity very high.

Under the EPA program, a “Cap”, or a maximum permitted amount of emissions, is defined for a group of sources. Permit holders are given allowances to emit a specific quantity of pollutants (e.g., a “ton”). The total number of allowances across a target group defines the level of the cap.

Industries can meet their emissions compliance targets by technology, that is, with air pollution control equipment, or by acquiring allowances from other permit holders, at a price. So, those who do better than their permit requirements have allowances available that can be sold to other operators, which provides all the parties in the group with a market-based means of achieving compliance, since the total amount of allowances represents the maximum allowable total emissions from that industry group.

Those who have money for technology install it and reduce their emissions. They can sell their excess allowances to those who do not have the newer technology, and they will certainly sell them for as much as they can–at more than the cost of the technology-thereby eventually forcing the others to spend the capital budget to be competitive.

Further, EPA regularly removes a number of allowances from the pool to ratchet down the total amount of air pollution. This program has been overwhelmingly successful in controlling Acid Rain.

So interest has been building in finding a similar means to reduce greenhouse gases. EPA doesn’t regulate these yet in this fashion. But a financial market has developed that is willing to assign values to credits, and in Europe an already existing program provided a model.

In the US, the Chicago Climate Exchange allows its members to trade carbon financial instruments, based on caps and offsets agreed to by members and the exchange. Members trade contracts based on 100 metric tons of carbon emissions per contract. The mechanism for defining the cap is a baseline of operations for each business or member. If your operation does not directly emit carbon dioxide, other emissions can be converted to carbon dioxide equivalents, using a Greenhouse Gas Protocol from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The membership requires a legally binding commitment to a phased reduction in carbon generation.

Entities who provide and trade these credits include car makers and coal companies, forestry companies, cities, waste companies, universities, and states. The emissions sources and offset projects are found across the hemisphere and include fleet fuels, forest plantings and agricultural methane control schemes–things that benefit our air via reduction of CO2.

So, how do you control air pollution, without limiting the benefits of of the energy we use as a modern civilization? Create a way to make limiting air pollution less costly, and even profitable! If anyone tells you you can’t make money by controlling pollution, tell them there is power in green! it’s green, like money, and trades, like commodities, and traders and industries both benefit!

Rick Demkovich is an environmental consultant with more than 20 years in the field, and is the president of Environmental Development Solutions, Inc.

Find out more about carbon credits:

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Direct Marketer – Get Your Customer Off the Couch and Swipe Their Credit Card

This article will explain the importance of getting your customer to take action with every marketing piece you send out. You must envision your customer as a big blob sitting on the couch. They have no motivation and they come across your marketing material.

What are you going to say to that person to get them to pick up the phone or press the order button? What are you going to have to do to get them off the couch to take massive action and interrupt their television show?

Every piece of marketing material that leaves your office needs to get the customer to take massive action. Whether you want the person to leave their email, turn in a free coupon, make a purchase, call for more information, put a sticker on a box, check a form, or a host of other things, do lot let that marketing piece go out the door without a built in call to action.

You cannot expect people to just buy from you out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s war out there to get people’s attention. If you have received their attention for even a split second and you have not asked them to keep moving, to take some kind of action towards buying from you, then you have wasted your money.

Look at how many television and magazine ads you see today that just show a picture of the product, have the company name, and no contact information or anything close to invoking action. Why should your customer have to jump through hoops to make a purchase? Tell them step by step what to do in the ad. Tell them who to ask for at the store for a discount. Tell them to mention the code “234” for 15% off. Tell them to call in the next 2 days or you will revoke the offer, and mean it! 

Each piece of marketing material that  you produce must fulfill that requirement, action. Without action you won’t get the sale and your sales letter ends up in the trash.

Joshua Black is an on-line infopreneur, author, and martial artist. Mr. Black is the developer of the Ultimate Makiwara Creator, a how-to course that can be viewed at:

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Americans Are More Reasonable Than the Government Gives Them Credit For

Americans have to wonder as I do, why are these representatives in Washington, continuing to insult the American people? We see the town hall meetings all over the news and don’t see violence until the left wing “Manufactured” groups get involved. You have politicians yelling at their own constituents as if the people work for them. News flash! They work for us.

It is a complete hypocrisy for the left wing media as well as the left wing administration to criticize the American people for standing up for what they believe in by exercising their constitutional rights to free speech. The critics continue to bash Americans because of the outrage shown at the town hall meetings by real Americans with real concerns.

Does anyone on the left and some on the right understand that the people have been asking these questions all along with no results? Do they understand that by conducting a meeting, and from the start, shut people down, is only fuel the anger? Why don’t they ask the people who they work for, what the concerns are? Why don’t they know the answers to these questions when they are asked? What exactly is in the bill they feel is in dispute, shouldn’t be in dispute, and why? These are simple questions any informed representative would know, without a single thought as to what the answer is.

Is this too much for an America citizen to expect from the people they put into their jobs? The questions we hear at the town hall meetings are legitimate concerns any reasonable person would ask about. This brings us back to the argument of representatives not reading the bills brought before them. These kinds of actions by our elected officials are the single reason for this outrage. People are so fed up with the Rhetoric going on in Washington, that the trust is gone and people are beginning to read the bills themselves to find out what is really in them. This is a task we used to trust those we elected to do. That is why we elected them in the first place. If we have to read everything that is brought before our delegates, we wouldn’t need them and we could just put every bill on a ballot, give us time to read it and then vote on it ourselves. Now there’s a concept.

Is this where we are as a country? Do we need to go back in time and hear what the Founding Fathers were saying? What the intentions were for our newly formed country? How about just reading, and understanding what our Constitution says and put it back in the public school curriculum as a mandatory credit for graduation. Common sense tells us that this would be the American thing to do. But, we know that Washington DC is no longer run on common sense. It is run on greed and power. If America is to survive for another two hundred and thirty three years, Americans need to continue the peaceful fight that is being displayed and criticized by the left wing media and not fear those that oppose the common sense of the American people.

These are the times to stand strong in your convictions and educate yourself on the issues that we all care so much about. If you disagree with someone, but they are true to their views and have a reasonable argument, then I say talk it out, but stand by your own beliefs based on your own research, and when all is said and done, walk away in agreement to at least, disagree. This is a common sense value people in Washington do not have. Some politicians constant insults to the American people will not be tolerated by reasonable American citizens, and what politicians don’t seem to understand or just plain doesn’t get, is that most of the American population is reasonable and does have common sense.

Michael Pomper: An American Citizen concerned for the very freedoms we have enjoyed for over 233 years and counting…

What Equipment Do I Need to Accept Credit Cards For My Business?

The basic piece of equipment most small retail operation will want is a terminal, that black box that sits next to the cash register and is connected to the card processor via phone line or Internet. Cards may be swiped or input manually and an optional debit PIN pad allows customers to enter their secret PIN for their debit card.

If you accept checks, you can also connect a check swipe reader that will scan the check through the check guarantee service of your choice and electronically deposits the funds into your account, saving trips to the bank. Connected to or part of the terminal is a receipt printer.

Instead of a terminal, you may elect to use a personal computer with a card swipe reader attached to it. Point-of-sale software installed on the computer will accept the input card and send it via internet or phone line for processing and authorization.

There are literally hundreds of POS systems available on the market, many industry-specific, such as for hotels or restaurants.

If you do not have or want a POS system, you can set up a “virtual terminal” on your PC by logging in to your credit card processor’s website and swiping or manually entering card information for authorization. Such sites usually also permit you to void, force and refund transactions or set up recurring transactions such as monthly health club memberships, automobile payments, etc.

Virtual processing usually also permits you to use you cell phone to get authorizations on the go, out in the field, and usually also offer a shopping cart that you can integrate into your company website for online purchases.

For businesses that deliver merchandise to customers, such as pizza shops, there is a new wireless terminal, most like a cell phone, that your drivers carry with them. At the customer’s home they swipe the customer’s card through this mobile terminal and get an authorization. This can represent a tremendous monthly savings over accepting orders over the phone at the store and manually keying in the customer’s credit card number. Remember, manually keyed-in cards are charged a higher Non-Qualified Rate because the fraud risk is higher when the card is not present and swiped. The mobile terminal does swipe the card and it is treated as a card-present transaction, at a much lower rate. Mobile terminals utilize Packet Radio Service or cell service and are very reliable. The driver carries a small printer on their belt to print receipts for the customer.

You can acquire equipment by outright purchase, or lease it. Each option has advantages, discuss them with your accountant. If you do lease, you don’t have to worry if the terminal breaks, just swap it for a new one. Some processors will provide you with a “free” terminal but you will usually end up paying higher transaction rates or other hidden fees. There is no free lunch.

James Hussher is a national Account Executive for Card Payment Solutions, a registered merchant services provider (MSP) for Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase banks. Contact James at, a site James maintains to inform his credit card merchant clients. Wherever you are in the USA, I offer a free analysis of your current merchant account statement. I will provide a report showing you exactly how much you are paying to accept cards in each tier, plus monthly fees; I will also propose the rates we can give you, for a clear side-by-side comparison.

Customer Focus on Proprietary Brands During Credit

The UK has seen a continual decline in economic growth and has now entered into a full recession leaving many households with higher household bills and reduced disposable income. With this in mind customer purchases are now researched in more detail with every purchase intended to be the best for their house with reliability and quality being one of the more important key determinants in the purchase. With this in mind proprietary brands are now seeing an increase in sales where brand recognition is as important as the product itself, knowing that should there be an issue the supplier can be called and the problem dealt with, with any spares being sent out directly within a couple of days, or an engineer visit arranged. In times of hardship consumers want confidence and proprietary brands offer this over cheap imports, whether you are looking at kitchens furniture, kitchen appliances, bathroom suites, bathroom furniture or showers.

Proprietary brands have always seen sustained sales in technical products i.e. electric showers, brassware etc, as these items use moving parts and the testing performed by big brands ensures that their products are held in higher esteem by consumers. Combine this with the guarantees and extended guarantees offered by manufacturers and you can see why consumers opt for the big brands when concerned with technical products as the last thing you want is to rip out your old electric shower before its time.

This focus has now started to move into all products, with proprietary brands holding a mark of distinction that increases consumer confidence, where a purchase is made in order to last a lifetime as opposed to a few years so that it can be changed again. Whilst cheap imports can very often look similar to big branded ranges it is how they were manufactured that determines their quality and more often than not consumers are asking themselves that if cost cutting occurs at the end of the process, does it happen throughout the whole manufacturing process to undermine the overall quality of the product? Whilst a bath may be a bath we know that a Rover car is not equal in quality to that of a Honda and though you are paying that little bit more you are paying for ‘peace of mind’. During these times of hardship consumers are willing to pay that little bit extra for ‘peace of mind’ as they only want to pay out once. ‘Peace of mind’ covers the quality of the product, its reliability and the after sales service should an unfortunate event occur.

Quality is key with any purchase, whether you are looking at a new bathroom suite in ensuring that the bath you buy is solid and rigid and won’t crack under pressure, wanting a quality build structure with your bathroom furniture, or an electric shower that won’t cut you short. It is the proprietary brands that are prospering with that mark of excellence from the smallest bathroom accessory to a full bathroom suite with every purchase designed to last a life time.

Michael Core – E-Commerce Manager – Bathroom suites – From bathroom furniture to bathroom accessories. is the more intelligent way to find everything for your ideal bathroom, easily and effortlessly online. From our comprehensive website, you can choose from many top name, top quality bathroom brands and a wide range of styles whenever you want, 24 hours, seven days a week.

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