As a trained and experienced credit risk assessment planner, when counseling with families I am always amazed how few people ever shop and compare credit cards when deciding upon entering a world designed to keep you on the hook for a minimum of 25 years.
Oddily, people shop houses and give serious consideration to a 30 year loan. People shop cars and give serious consideration to 10-15 year loan. But people DO NOT research the one thing that does the most damage to relationships, lives and cost the most in interest, the credit card !
Not all credit cards are the same, nor do they all treat their customers the same. And like wicked step parents, they certainly do not discipline their customers the same for late payments or other random acts of misconduct.
Good credit cards aren’t necessarily easy to find, especially these days. And the big boys in the industry may not offer them at all. If you check out the website www.Bankrate.com and perhaps: www.CreditCardGuide.com or www.CardRatings.com you will be able to shop and compare to see which would actually be best for your lifestyle personal spending habits.
Consumers to protect themselves really need to research the offers, conditions and terms. Remember: “The big print giveth, and the small print taketh away !” The best way to avoid traps is to pay your balance in full every month. However, it is wise to know the terms just in case you get into the position where you are not able to pay the full amount.
- You should watch out for rates that go up for no reason, the new law will help slow this down, but you still need to watch for it.
- Under the “Universal Default” is not your friend. For example, because you are late on your car insurance, they raise the interest rate on your credit card. Yes, I know, there is no connection, but through “Universal Default” credit cards can get by with it.
- Know exactly what fees are in store for you in case you default in any way.
- Know exactly what your grace period, and understand they change things without notice.
- Know the ‘default rate’ which they will bump you to for the smallest infraction. And it isn’t cheap.
17 out of 22 credit card companies surveyed (77%) say they change terms at ANY TIME for ANY REASON ! July 2010, the game rules will change, many to your benefit.
Spectrum Resources has counseled for over 7 years families trying to live inside their income. Our mission is to provide education and resources that make a positive difference. Call (863)-967-0660 or email: SpectrumResources@tampabay.rr.com
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