Credit Card Companies Are Out for Your Money
You're probably thinking "Tell me something I don't know" but in this time of low interest rates you might be thinking that you've got a great deal since credit card interest rates are low. Wrong. Credit card companies have a cutoff as to how low their interest rates will go. So when interest rates are low for lending, that doesn't mean your credit card rate will be low as well. If you don't know, or aren't sure, if your credit card company has a minimum interest rate just look at the fine print on your next credit card bill. If you can't read that small of print, and most of us can't, give the customer service a call. If your credit card company does have a minimum interest rate then I'd plan to look around and go with the credit card companies that don't. Because when the interst rates drop, you should get a break on your credit card rate.
The fixed rate on credit cards actually rose in the last twelve months. Why? Because the credit card companies have been actually losing money due to record numbers of delinquencies and bankruptcies. Those who can't pay now for their purchases in the past are sticking their bill to the rest of the credit card holders.
So you may think that you want to get that credit card insurance being pushed by credit card companies that will pay your bill if you become disabled or unemployed. Not so fast. The average payout on a credit insurance policy is 30-50%. The National Association of Insurance Commissions actually recommends a payout of at least 60%. Payouts for debt cancellation and debt suspension is in the 1-3% range. That's definitely not worth the premiums. Get enough regular life insurance and disability insurance to cover your debt as their premiums are much cheaper and have greater payouts.
Beware of a credit card company trick that I recently ran into. I mailed a payment a week early but yet was still charged a late fee. Impossible I say. I found out the payment had to be in the credit card company's processing center by a certain time on the due date. Think of my credit card payment making it's way through the mail, to a P.O. box, then getting picked up, sorted, sent to the processing center, opened and recorded. And this has to be done by a certain date on the due date. Ouch. I suggest mailing in your payment at least two weeks early.
Christine Breen is the owner of the website www.1stop-creditcards.com which helps consumers learn about credit cards and find a card to work for them.