Credit Card Tips
In Banking and Credit I said that this article
would be "BOMBS AWAY". I'll try to be nice, but you may want to
get a little emotion going with
Credit Cards - They're Just Like Drugs.
Additionally, for a major eye opener about how
we have been duped and what the real costs of "Madison Ave.
Manipulation" are, I strongly encourage you to see The
Monthly Payment Scam Part 1
and Part 2. Finally,
tying last week together with this, the following categorized
pages each offer external links which may be of assistance:
But I've got to continuously pinch myself, "Mike,
the purpose of this series is not to attack credit cards (uuuggghhh!!)
but to find cost saving tricks to develop a 10% Accelerator
Margin. The following is a little home-spun savvy.
And thanks to Maryland Consumer Protection
- If you're stressed out or depressed,
don't buy items to make yourself feel better. Go window
shopping or just browse around in your favorite store. But
don't carry a credit card (or any money or check for that
matter) especially when your depressed.
- Which leads to the next point to reduce
your budget in the area of credit cards... Never carry a
credit card! I guarantee it is not against the law to be
without one and the police will not stop you for "not
- I can't think of anything worse than
charging on a card unless its paying for something you did
not charge. If you charge, keep your receipt in one place.
Verify that the charges are correct by matching your
receipts to the credit card invoice. Too many reports are
coming out that we do not verify our invoices and erroneous
charges are going undetected.
- Protect not only your cards (sign them
immediately, have a picture on it if possible), but the
number. Shred trash with the number. Avoid giving your
number over the phone or Internet. Insure sales people shred
any manual carbons in front of you.
- Draw a line through any blank spaces
above the total when you sign.
- If you move, insure you notify credit
card companies even if you have no balance. You might have
your new card mailed to your old address. Notify credit card
companies IMMEDIATELY of a lost or stolen card.
- Don't put your address and phone number
on a credit card transaction form. Under Maryland law [and
many other states], businesses cannot record or even request
this information as a condition of accepting your credit
- If you pay by check, don't allow
salesclerks to record your credit card account number.
However, they are allowed to see your card and record the
type (VISA, Mastercard, etc.) and the name of the issuer.
- Memorize your PIN number (personal
identification number) and don't keep it with your card.
Don't select a PIN that someone could easily guess, such as
your phone number or name.
- The details of the credit card contract
are usually in small print on the back of the letter
offering you the new card. READ IT before you sign.
Make sure you fully understand the terms of the credit card
being offered. You might be surprised at what you find.
- If you want to use a new, low-interest
rate card to consolidate and pay off your higher interest
rate debt, find the card with the longest time period for
the low-interest offer. This will allow you enough time to
pay off your balance.
- Credit card companies should disclose how
long the "low-interest offer" will last and what the
interest rate will be once the low rate ends (usually 3
months). Most of the higher rates are quite high _ typically
9.9 percent above prime, or close to 19 percent.
- "Pre-Approved"--- Don't count on it. C.C.
companies pay an agency for your name. However, if your
credit status has changed recently, you may not qualify for
the card you've been offered. Once you call to accept the
offer or send in the form, the credit card company will seek
your full credit report and determine if you qualify.
- Some cards charge a fee to transfer the
balances from other credit cards to your new card. That
could eat into anything you might save by having a lower
interest rate. This should be explained on the back of the
- If you paid for your goods or services by
credit card, you have rights that you don't have if you paid
by check, money order or cash. The federal Fair Credit
Billing Act sets up procedures that require creditors to
correct mistakes quickly and resolve disputes between
consumers and merchants. Your rights are summarized on the
back of your credit card statements.