Low-interest credit cards seem like a good idea until you read the fine print. Following the credit crash of 2009, Credit Card companies are less likely to offer low-interest cards, but even when they do, there are some serious drawbacks. If the owner of a credit card misses the payment due date by one day, the interest rate on the card can be jacked up to close to 30%. And you don’t have to miss a payment for this to happen. I know from experience that another tactic these jackals use is to penalize people who PAY TOO EARLY. That’s right, I was in the habit of paying ahead on my cards. I would make payments whenever I was paid (every two weeks) so that I could pay down the balance faster. One month, I paid the payment on the 1st when it was due on the 21st. The Credit Card Company raised my rate without notice because I didn’t pay on the due date even though I had paid the card early (and I had been doing that for months). They credited my account for the early payment but still claimed that I had missed my normal due date. I challenged this with the company over the phone and had my 0% rate restored, but I also paid the card off completely within a couple of weeks, as I refused to do business with people who would stoop to such tactics.
Some members of congress are attempting to pass a Credit Card holders bill of rights and it will do some good. In the meantime, if you use credit cards, be careful because these companies are smelling blood in the water and pulling out all the stops.
Here’s another piece of advice for those Credit Card holders that keep cards around with zero balances to have in cases of emergency. Credit Card companies are now closing users accounts when they don’t use them in a given amount of time. This reflects poorly upon credit card owners who are keeping their balances at zero out of fiscal responsibility. I wonder how the decision makers in these companies sleep at night or look at themselves in the mirror. A person with morals would be ashamed.
If you have been on the wrong end of one of these credit card company bait and switch tactics, here are some steps you can take:
(1)On the website for the card, you can usually setup an automatic payment. Set one up for the minimum due on the card so you at least pay this every month. You can make a second payment every month to reduce your balance if you want.
(2) If your rate is raised because of being a day or two late on your payment, call the help desk and insist that you speak with a manager. Tell them you are prepared to close your account if you are not helped.
(3) If step 2 doesn’t work, file an on-line complaint with the Better Business Bureau. These companies pay attention to BBB complaints, and they have customer service people assigned to complaint resolution. Tell the person who calls that you want your rate restored to 0%.
(4)The best advice I can give you (and I am following it myself) is to pay off your credit cards and use cash.