As we move into February, we find ourselves overwhelmed with the credit card user applications and card forms. As Servicemembers, we become flooded with this kind of mail every month. Our reputation in financial circles is well respected; so military people are expressly targeted by many of the credit card issuing companies.
Before you sign up for credit cards, you have to ask yourself, “What Kind of a Credit Consumer Am I.” Everyone SAYS they will pay off their credit card balance each month, but many people don’t, and are then stuck with a very expensive piece of plastic.
It is estimated that more than forty six percent of all American families carry some sort of credit card related debt forward from month to month. If you believe you will be in that forty six percent, then work to find a credit card with a low annual interest rate, and little or no annual fee. Some people use their credit cards for convenience, and they DO find a way to pay them off in full every month. If this is you, then perhaps the particulars about interest rates, annual fees, and other issues will not be all that important.
But for the rest of us, the small print usually means a great deal.
Interest Rates. This is figured on an annual rate, and it is not always the single most effective determiner if you have the best deal. You should check out what the interest rate is, and what it will be if you miss a payment, or if you are so many days late, etc. Fees. Fees and penalties assessed by your prospective card issuer is where you can really get socked financially. Find out what fees are charged, and when. Then examine if the card is something that will help you in convenience, or cost you in the long run. Fees for late payment, skipped payment, and balance transfer fees, all these types of fees add up. In some cases missing a payment can make your
The Fine Print. When you get a card offer, or when your information arrives from your credit card company you have now, take the time to read it all the way through. If it’s a credit card company issuing you credit find out the answer to some basic questions:
-Is there a low introductory rate?
-When does the introductory rate expire, if there is one?
-If you miss a payment, does the rate increase?
-Is there an annual fee, or penalty for late payments?
If you know the answer to these questions, then you can better judge if the card or credit offer is for you. Many times people have had a credit card for a long time, and honestly don’t know what would happen in certain circumstances. So it’s worth it to read the fine print.