Consumer 6: Best Deals for Credit Cards

Monday, July 10th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Whether it's a weekend getaway or something unexpected like new tires for your car, we often turn to credit cards to cover expenses. Here are some tips on how to minimize the amount your paying when you use plastic.

Credit cards are a convenience that millions of Americans rely on, and millions are paying for the convenience. When you add up finance charges, annual fees, as well as late fees, you may be surprised to find out how much you might actually be paying for that convenience.

Credit counselors say you don't need to stop using credit cards, just use them more wisely. Their number one tip -- keep only two cards. Cut up the rest and pay them off.

A company called tracks credit card use across the country and says that while interest rates are rising, introductory rates are dropping - some as low as 2.9 percent. However, counselors say you should know what you're really getting before you sign up. "You have to read the fine print and that's where it's going to tell you what the rate applies to,” said Consumer Credit Counseling’s Meredith Exline. “Does it apply to balance transfers? Is there a fee to transfer funds over to their card?”

Many credit card companies are charging higher rates for transfers or a one-time fee for the service of changing cards. Those fees can add up, especially finance charges, if your current interest rate is high.

With all of the deals out there, you can often find a better rate, if you have good credit. You can also try to negotiate a better rate with your current credit card company. Often times a company will lower its rate to keep your business.

Don't be afraid to question a late fee if you think it's incorrect. Many times credit card companies will waive the fee. Also try to find the best credit card deals available on-line.

If credit cards have gotten you into trouble, call Consumer Credit Counseling at 744-5611. They offer debt counseling for a nominal fee.