These days we are inundated with credit card offers. Banks and credit card companies will do anything to get us to spend on their cards. Credit card debt is becoming a major issue and one of the big reasons why our economy is in such a dire state. We keep spending and spending and when we run short, we just get more credit. This is not a smart way to handle your money. Sooner or later it will catch up with you – and it always does.
Credit cards are actually a very convenient way to manage spending. At least the way they were intended to be used. It allows you to manage your cash flow and gives you the benefit of not dealing with cash all the time. More recently it also gives you the opportunity to shop online which is the ultimate in convenience. Unfortunately its become a huge business and banks and credit card companies are making a fortune from ill-educated people.
One of the most important aspects you need to look at with any card is the interest charges. These days its considered “normal” for an APR of 20 % plus on a card and we’ve kind of become accustomed to it. If you go and sit down and look at a 20% APR more closely you will see just how ridiculously expensive it is. Now wonder we are losing all our savings to credit card interest and why most people in debt never get ahead.
Finding the lowest APR card is one of the most important things you need to look at. Even if you can just get 1 or 2 percentage point saving it can have a huge effect over a year. The next thing you have to look at is charges. Now, most charges remain a “mystery” and rightfully so because this is how they really cash in. Fortunately the FTC has stepped in and all cards must now state their terms in very clear and easy to understand terms. If you are unsure, phone them and ask. The biggest expense of any credit card is the interest charges, so make sure you know exactly what’s involved.
One of the ways in which we get “sucked in” these days is with special offers. All sorts of incentives are being offered and stuff like interest free cards and frequent flier miles are often what inspires us to get the card in the first place. You need to double check this. It usually has some very strict terms attached to it and make sure that you stay within the limitations of the special offer.