How do you avoid credit card traps?
When it comes to credit cards, making a choice can be tough, especially with so many options available. The new credit CARD law may offer consumers protection against unexpected changes in the rates and fees but it surely doesn’t prevent credit card companies from making attractive offers as part of their marketing strategies.
Let us discuss how to avoid credit card traps.
Indistinct words or phrases.
Some consumers may get enticed to sign up for a credit card upon seeing the phrase “up to” or “as low as”. You might see reward credit cards that offer “up to” 5% rebates or “as low as” 1% interest rate on purchases. But does it guarantee a great deal? Technically not!
Phrases like “up to” and “as low as” are applicable only when specific conditions are met. For instance, you can earn the maximum 5% rebates or you can enjoy “as low as” 1% interest rate only if used your credit card at affiliated stores. If you’ll look closer, the affiliated merchants could be high-end shops that only sell expensive goods.
Stringent rules on giving rewards.
There is a tough competition going on among reward credit cards in the market so issuers need to offer bigger and more attractive rewards to stay on top. However, credit card companies try to find subtle way to make up for their losses. For instance, they could impose very stringent rules when it comes to collecting points and redeeming rewards. One late payment and you could lose your opportunity to get rewarded. Some issuers may shorten the expiration period on the points you earn or impose blackout dates, making it more difficult for the cardholder to enjoy the rewards they thought they can have.
You may find credit cards that offer zero percent interest rate on balance transfers. Indeed, this type of credit card can be used for consolidating debt but don’t forget to check out the fees. For instance, how much will it cost you each time you want to transfer a balance from another credit card? You may need to pay 5% of the amount you are transferring or even higher. Consider this: will the transaction fees defeat your purpose for acquiring a 0% APR card?