Credit card companies fl ood us with
card solicitations, deceive us with
misleading off er terms, and gouge us with
skyrocketing fees. As a result, consumers
get trapped into high-cost credit card debt.
What should you be on the lookout for?
How can you avoid being ripped off ?
A CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO
These days, having a credit card is almost a necessity. In most
households across the country, a credit card is essential to
building up and maintaining a strong fi nancial history while
adding convenience to daily life. On campus, students rely on credit to
pay for educational needs like textbooks, tuition and transportation.
But to make more profi t, the credit card industry has stepped up
marketing and changed the rules to trap consumers into a
cycle of high fees, penalty interest charges and other
Th e following are the tricks and tips to know
to avoid credit card debt.
Deals that are
too good to be
credit card off ers come at us left
and right. Th e average household
receives eight credit card off ers
each month. In 2006, U.S. consumers
received nearly 8.0 billion direct mail
credit card solicitations last year, a 30%
increase over the prior year, according
to CardTrak. Meanwhile, college students
who need to pay for educational needs are
solicited several times a week through fl yers,
on-line advertising and on-campus mar-
keters. Credit card companies rely on many
tactics to get consumers to apply. Here are the
LOW, “TEASER” INTEREST RATES: Th e low in-
terest rate that convinces a consumer to sign up can
expire suddenly. A temptingly low introductory rate can climb to 30
percent or higher. Th ese low rates are off ered if the consumer transfers
a balance from one credit card to another as well—in the hopes that
the consumer won’t pay off the balance and ends up paying higher
interest once the teaser rate expires.
The Credit Card Dilemma
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