Poll: What Concerns You the Most When Getting a Credit Card?
Credit card companies’ interest rate policy is the subject of a congressional hearing this week as executives from major credit card issuers went to Capital Hill to defend their actions on rising card member’s interest rates, even when they had good credit history. A USA Today story yesterday portraits a victim, Janet Hard, who paid more than the minimum required every month, but still saw the interest rate of her Discover card went up from 18% to 24.24% after Discover determined that “her other credit card balances and available credit on inactive accounts put the family at a higher risk of defaulting on their payments.” As a result, the Hards’ effort barely made a difference on their credit card balance:
Most stunning, $3,478.39 out of $5,618 in payments had gone to Discover for interest accrued over the previous two years, Hard told the panel. On a monthly level, about $176 out of her $200 payments went to finance charges. In the past year alone, Hard had paid $2,400 but reduced her debt by only about $350.
I am sure this is not a unique experience, otherwise there won’t be hearings and legislations to deal with the matter. In fact, credit card interest rate has been an issue for a long time. However, a card’s interest rate has never been a concern to me when applying for a new card. Since I got my first credit card 10 years ago, it has been my principle to use plastics only when I can pay off the entire balance when it’s due. I never had a credit card balance (except those from 0% balance transfers) and, therefore, I don’t care a lot how much interest the card will charge me if I am late in making payment (and I never late). To me, credit cards are friends rather than foes: I use credit cards to pay almost everything so I can earn some rewards back. So my focus when selecting and applying for a new card is how much I can get back for the charges I put on the card, not interest rate, not customer service.
What’s your top concern when getting a new credit card? Please give your answer with the following poll .
By the way, in that USA Today story, what really surprises me isn’t that fact the Hards’ debts seem never go away, but this:
To keep the family’s finances in balance, Hard said she paid more than the minimum payment on her Discover card every month, plus an $8.00 Internet fee.
Sorry, no sympathy from me to your situation if you have to pay an Internet fee every month when paying your bill. You got yourself to where you are!
*Photo from NY Times.
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