Drug testing

Avoiding Credit Card Traps

The next time you open your credit card statement, take a closer look at the small insert titled "changes to your credit card agreement". You know the one I'm speaking about. It's that small, folded paper written in legalese that you promise to read some other time (but of course that time never comes) or you just discard it with the other "junk" inserts.

First and foremost you must understand that using your credit card after you've received this notification results in your automatic "agreement" to the new terms in the notice. To prevent these new terms from affecting your account you must stop using that credit card immediately or by the date given in the notification statement.

The most common modifications to credit card agreements include new APR's (annual percentage rates), new fees and/or changes to existing fees, or a change to the grace period on your account. The grace period is the number of days during which any credit used for purchases may be repaid in full without incurring a finance charge.

Not knowing or not keeping track of the dollar amount limit on your card is another trap you should avoid. Credit card issuers will allow you to charge a small amount over the limit set on your account. However, don't be surprised when you get hit with an "over limit fee", usually around $35.00 or higher, on your next statement. Also, be prepared for your APR to be increased if you go over your credit limit.

You'll also trigger an increase to your interest rate if you miss your payment due date. Some companies consider your payment late if not received by noon or 1 p.m. on the date due. Along with the higher rate, you'll also pay a "late fee" of $29 on up. Be sure to use the company's preprinted envelope when sending your payment. These envelopes allow the pre-printed bar code to be scanned by the post office so that it can be delivered more efficiently.

If you've counted on those few extra days from the time you mail your check and the time the check clears your bank, beware! Many credit card issuers have switched from the traditional method of processing checks to a new electronic process. This new system shaves off a day or more from the traditional method it normally takes for your check to clear by electronically debiting your account.

If you're considering paying your credit card bills online, check to see if any additional fees will be charged for using this type of payment. I recently received an e-mail message from one of my credit card companies announcing how easy it would be to make my payments online. Included in fine print at the bottom of the e-mail was this note - "A fee of up to $14.95 may be charged for this service and will be deducted from your checking account". Hmmm, spend 37 cents on postage and mail my payment five days before the due date or pay now and get charged an additional $14.95 fee? I'll bet you can guess which choice I made.

Taking the time to carefully read and understand your credit card agreement now will help you save money by avoiding unnecessary fees or climbing interest rates later down the road.

? 2004, http://www.yourfreecreditreportnow.com

About The Author

James H. Dimmitt

James is editor of "To Your Credit" a FREE weekly newsletter focusing on money management news and tips. You can subscribe to his newsletter and also get a FREE copy of your credit report when you visit: http://www.yourfreecreditreportnow.com

jimdim815@aol.com

limousine chicago service
In The News:

Online Credit Report and Online Credit Reports

Online credit reports are easily accessible to those interested in... Read More

Credit Traps Snag Consumers

Nearly 20 years ago I worked for a small consumer... Read More

Warning: Free Credit Report Imposter Websites Springing Up on the Web

A recent amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act... Read More

Rebuild & Keep Good Credit Ratings by Understanding Your Credit Cards

Secured Credit Card is similar to a prepaid credit card... Read More

Trying to Land a Job? Poor Credit Scores May Hurt Your Chances

Many employers are now looking at an applicant's credit report... Read More

Identity Theft : They Got Him

His hard earned money? Gone. Creditors on his back everyday.... Read More

Building Your Credit History

Today, credit is an indispensable part of our lives. In... Read More

Avoiding Credit Card Traps

The next time you open your credit card statement, take... Read More

Dont Trade Your Future for Todays DooDads

"Easy Low Down Monthly Payment," "Buy Now Pay Later," "You... Read More

Student Credit Cards 101

Almost all students have and use student credit cards. Some... Read More

Which Credit Card?

Bewildered by the sheer variety of debit cards and credit... Read More

How To Read Your Credit Report

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, signed into law... Read More

Identity Theft ? Monitor Your Credit Report

The recent security breach at credit card processor CardSystems Solutions... Read More

Easing Your Financial Burdens With Credit Counseling

It is a well-publicized fact that more of us are... Read More

10 Simple Steps to Manage Your Credit

By far the greatest invention the banks have ever come... Read More

Finding the Right Credit Card

There are so many credit cards out there to choose... Read More

The Things That UK Lenders Like to See on Your Credit File, (and? What They Don?t Like to See!)

Lenders are quite fussy about what they like to see... Read More

Debit Card vs. Credit Card, What Are The Differences ?

Ah, the "good old days". If you are a baby... Read More

Is it Safe to Use Online Car Finance?

Online car finance is convenient. You can apply over the... Read More

Credit Cards - The Top 3 Things You Need To Know

Today there are so many different credit cards available, student... Read More

FREE Credit Report Offer - Careful, It Might Carry Hidden Charges

FREE credit checks or free credit reports. What are they... Read More

Get Your Credit Score To Soar In The Twinkling of An Eye

Ever wonder how a creditor decides whether to grant you... Read More

Identity Theft ? Additional Protection for Soldiers on Active Duty

Congress passed the Fair Credit Reporting Act several years ago... Read More

Figuring Out the Ever Nebulous Numbers Called Credit Scores

Credit Score FactorsThe information contained on our credit reports affect... Read More

What Does Your Credit Say About You?

A credit report is more than just a snapshot of... Read More

led parking lot induction street light bulbs Pete's produce ..