Credit Card Offers
credit offers may require some investigation to make sure you choose a card
that fits your budget and spending habits. To assist in determining if an offer
is right for you, the BBB suggests the following tips.
Not all credit
offers are legitimate, so proceed with caution if you receive:
- Classified ads,
e-mail or telephone solicitations that offer guaranteed credit cards for
advance fees. These offers may have terms and conditions that severely
restrict their use, or you may never receive the card at all.
- Promises you'll secure a credit card
regardless of your credit history.
- Solicitations from credit card
issuers not located in the United
States and/or that require a fee to
process your application.
- Offers that appear to be for a credit
card, but in reality only extend a credit line for the issuing company's
website or catalog products.
To find a
legitimate offer, you might consider talking with your bank representatives.
Your bank may issue a card that suits your needs, or may have recommendations
for finding legitimate offers with other companies. If your credit history is
bad, it may be in your best interest to get a "secured" card. A
secured card requires you to place a deposit in an account at the issuing bank
equal to your credit limit.
Other tips for
- Talk with a credit card broker. Keep
in mind you will pay more if you deal with a broker instead of directly
with the credit card issuer.
- Look for offers that do not charge an
- Read the fine print. Find out all of
the card's terms and conditions, including if there is a grace period
during which you may avoid finance charges and late penalties by paying
your balance in full by the due date. Make sure to get details about the
offer in writing.
- Look for low annual percentage rates
(APR). Read the fine print to make sure you understand under what
conditions the APR may change, such as if payments are late, etc. Be aware
that cash advances may incur much higher APRs.
- Obtain a Better Business Bureau
reliability report on the issuing company before accepting an offer.
Once you've obtained a credit card, the BBB suggests
some basic steps to make sure you maintain a good credit rating.
- Accept a smaller line of credit until
you're certain you can pay off your balance each month, or within a
reasonable amount of time. Avoid the temptation of high credit lines.
- Pay more than the minimum monthly
payment due. If you cannot pay the full balance each month, at least
double the minimum payment to pay down your balance sooner.
- Avoid over the limit fees by
frequently checking your balance and staying within your budget.
- Do not use cash advances except in
- Make sure you avoid late charges by
remitting your payment at least ten business days prior to the due date,
or consider making online payments.
more information, contact:
New York State Attorney General
New York State
Consumer Protection Board
This report is
general in nature and is not intended as a reliability report on any company,
service or product.