Credit cards are such a convenience these days, and just about everybody knows it. This means that people want them and often want them in a real hurry. Credit card companies know this, too, and often present credit card “deals” that really are not deals at all. Certainly you have probably received applications in the mail and seen various offers for credit cards on the Internet. Here are some things that you need to watch out for in some of these offers.
The Length Of The Introductory Offer
Since many people get a credit card based on the sound of the introductory offer, it is a good idea if you take some time to think about it. Determine both what it is saying and what it is not saying. For instance, notice how long the introductory offer is good for. In some cases, this offer is only good for three or six months – hardly enough time to get the card broken in. In other words, while you want the 0% APR interest, they are only teasing you with a carrot. They give it, but it is something you really can’t benefit from. In comparison, some credit card companies will give you up to 12 to 15 months to enjoy it.
Fees May Apply
Of course, credit cards have fees, but some have more than others. All credit cards charge interest after the introductory offer ends, and all charge late fees. The comparison pretty much ends there, as far as fees go. Some cards charge an annual fee, an activation fee, a minimum balance fee, and more. You can be pretty sure that if there are a lot of fees attached that you are not going to get much real benefit from that credit card – they are determined to get their money back.
Balance transfers are certainly a great idea – especially if you have other higher interest credit cards with balances on them. The balance transfer option can be a great way to save some money on interest. The problem here is that some credit cards will charge you as much as 4% for any transfers you make. While it is less than the interest you were paying before, many cards will not charge you anything for it, and some cards will also charge you 0% APR interest until your whole balance transfer portion is paid off! Also, the length of time that you might be able to enjoy the 0% APR on your balance transfers could be considerably less than for purchases.
Balance transfers are a great way to save money. They allow you to possibly consolidate some or all of your debt and enable you to pay down the principal, rather than just paying interest on the interest. With the right card it can actually help you get out of debt if you do not add further purchases to the card.
Watch Out For Late Payments
Some credit card companies seem like they are out to get you. If you make even one late payment, in some cases, it can take away your introductory rates and instantly put you into the regular interest category. If you find yourself in that situation – get another credit card.