CREDIT FRAUD: Your credit card might be keeping information from you

Posted By: Matt in Credit on 03/25/2014 at 08:17:26

Do you ever read the fine print on the back of your credit card application or page 2 of your bill·

Chances are, you don't. And, you're not alone.

That small typeface font might be fooling you to the point that the relationship between you and your credit card couldn't be better. You pay your bill, they send you the bill in the mail or via email, and all is right with the world of credit.

But beyond the simple charge, pay, charge, pay repeat process between you and your credit card, you may want to pay closer attention to your credit card terms, in the event you suddenly see a hike in your interest rate.

What some credit cards try to cleverly hide are incidental charges on your card when you pay late on your bill, transfer a balance or how they define their interest rate initially.

You'll always want to look for a fixed interest rate versus one that is described as "variable," which suggests that the credit card company can change the rate on you. And speaking of rate increase, make sure you pay your bill on time, because you'll get slapped silly with up to $35 or 40 for a late fee. And, if you're in the midst of a promotional rate or if it's just any, old month, the credit card company can change the rate because you're late.

Suddenly, you're realizing that these stipulations were conveniently stashed on the back of that application, much smaller than the "0% interest for 14 months" slogan that adorned the front of your envelope.

Interest rates also change after that promotional period, which most of you know before you decide to open the card and transfer higher interest rate balances to your new card. Not only should you check to see just what that rate is going to be after the introductory rate but also be mindful of transfer fees that typically carry a percentage with them. If you owe $10,000 in credit card debt, that 3% transfer fee is going to sting you for another $300 bucks.

Credit certainly is a wonderful thing when you you're in a pinch or an emergency that goes above and beyond what you have saved comes to fruition. But lurking behind that simplicity and salvation that can be credit cards are repercussions that could leave your financial future reeling.

And if you think you can call the credit card company and complain, they'll have four simple words as a response to your requisition: check in your agreement.

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