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Credit Card Holders, Beware!

May 13, 2008
No modern man should be caught dead without a credit card, but credit card holders beware. There are more disadvantages to owning that strip of plastic than living without it because once you've missed a credit card payment, you're done in. Here's how to avoid the trap of getting the reverse Midas touch.

Pay Or Borrow As You Go?

The lure of credit cards is irresistible. You have the purchasing power in sticky situations - paying an emergency bill or renting a car. You can have your card swiped anywhere and anytime. Credit card holders also have the edge of making purchases with companies that only accept credit card payments.

With a credit card, you can go anywhere in the globe and have dinner or cocktails in a ritzy resto-bar without having to worry about paying in exact denomination. But this privilege is not without responsibilities.

Credit card holders should be aware that their credit cards should not create debt, but pave the way for them to have good credit. If you are mulling the idea of getting multiple credit cards, think twice before submitting yourself to a life of delayed payment fees, surcharges, and transaction fees for the singular irresponsible act of paying your credit card purchases late.

Late payments automatically accrue interest that creates insurmountable debt and bang goes your credit worthiness. When it comes to credit cards, it's a matter of self-restraint and responsibility because not everybody can manage their credit card debts well. Others fare better in pay as you go, rather than swipe their credit cards anytime they please.

Choose a Credit Card Wisely

Ordinarily, when you go shopping for a new pair of shoes, you look for style, comfort, and affordability. It is the same with credit cards. You have the option to choose a credit card that is suited to your needs.

Take the time to compare credit card offers. Watch out for those low or teaser interest rates during the honeymoon period before the axe falls. For teaser rates, it takes about six months before reality sets in. Also, compare the annual rates that may eat any savings you could have otherwise enjoyed from the low rates at the start.

Seasoned credit card holders know that there are cards that have the same rates, but one will have no annual fee. So fine-tune your search for a credit card that will not charge you steep fines and surprise you with hidden fees.

To enjoy the privileges offered to credit card holders, pay your dues on time, and eventually, you can request to lower your Annual Percentage Rate or APR, enjoy the rewards, and other deals that may crop up. Find out, too, if the credit card company charges a variable or fixed rate.

If You Are Not Careful

Here's the scenario if you take your credit cards lightly. You'll be overwhelmed with the interest rates that'll be the stuff of your nightmares. Consider this - the credit card companies can change the rules anytime they feel the urge. They can just raise your interest rate any time you are late in paying your bills. The credit card companies charges punitive interest as much as 30% for $100 you have neglected to pay.

Before you get a credit card, know how credit card holders cope with identity theft or stolen credit cards.
About the Author
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