Credit cards are fairly easy to get these days, but getting a good one…not so much. With high interest rates, annual fees, and finance charges added to all those purchases, the debt can rack up very quickly. There’s a lot of competition out there for anyone who is trying to obtain a card, but those with bad or no credit may have a tough time finding deals on them. And even for those with a spotless credit history, there may be some unwelcome details tucked away in the fine print of their agreements. Here are a few of the good and bad secrets banks won’t volunteer about credit cards.
First of all, the terms of your credit card agreement don’t have to be set in stone, and even if the bank won’t bend to your will, you’ll never know until you try. Since competition is fierce, if a loyal long-time customer balks at a certain fee or a potential new one is being offered lower interest rate on charges somewhere else, the company may be willing to negotiate a little to get or keep the business. There may be room for adjustment on interest rates, credit limits, fees and payment due dates, especially for those with high credit scores and a good history with the company. The bottom line is, it’s up to the customer to ask for what they want…the bank isn’t just going to give it away unless they have to.
You may be perfectly satisfied with the terms of your current credit card agreement, but it’s still important to keep an eye on those monthly bills. There can be fees for late payments, exceeding credit limits, foreign transactions and unauthorized charges on the credit card if it’s stolen, among other things. If there’s something that looks suspect, it never hurts to pick up the phone and call. Again, these companies are looking out for their best interests, not those of the customers, and won’t hesitate to add any fees that they’re allowed. However, a loyal customer may be able to get certain fees or charges waived – if they ask.
Thorough research is important when selecting a card. Carefully read over any new offers or your current agreement, and compare introductory offers if you’re planning to change. If you’re making a switch to another company to get certain perks or rewards, be sure you understand exactly what you’ll be getting before you sign up. Do the work before you sign the papers and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want…you just might be get it and end up saving a lot of money.