Beware Of Credit Card Antics Still


Even with the CARD legislation in place, credit card companies are still doing whatever they can to make up their profits and while ?whatever they can? is significantly less than it was prior to CARD, there are still enough pitfalls that the average consumer needs to be careful.

For example, a ?fixed rate? is not necessarily fixed. With appropriate notice, of course, since that is now required with the CARD act, the credit card issuers can raise your rates. Not on your existing balance anymore but still on everything new that you charge. And they can do it for some of the most arbitrary of reasons. If they check your credit report and you have some negative marks, even if it is a mistake and not yours, they can raise your rates. If you are late with your payment they can raise your rates. That does not mean ?late? as in a day or two, or within a grace period, but ?late? as in an hour or two. Anything that is not posted on or before the actual due date is late. So your ?fixed rate? credit card is not necessarily a ?fixed? rate. Beware.

Also, the credit card companies can still charge exorbitant late fees, like $35.00 for a $5.00 charge. While there is currently some proposed legislation on this, nothing has happened yet and your late fees can start as high as $35.00 or more and compound from there. Beware.

Also be aware of the minimum payment. Many cards these days require cardholders to pay only 2% of the monthly balance, which can significantly increase the length of payoff and the interest paid if only the minimum is paid. One good thing to look at though, is the disclosure on every statement of how long it will take to pay off the debt at the minimum payment and how much the payment must be in order to pay it off in 3 years.

With credit cards a consumer needs to follow the old adage ?Buyer beware?.