After Months of Tight Credit, Banks Begin to Mail Credit Card Offers to Atlanta Consumers
If your mailbox seems a little fuller lately, it's probably not your imagination.
After all but drying up during the recession, credit card offers are making a comeback. Banks are feeling optimistic that consumers are ready to spend, and to take advantage they're stuffing mailboxes with advertisements, say Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys.
It's a bittersweet milestone. On the one hand, credit card offers indicate the economy - and consumer confidence - is finally improving. On the other, it means new opportunities for us to damage our credit and add to our debt.
Thanks to legislations passed over the last year to protect consumers, many credit customers are suffering from a false sense of security. Sure, most of the laws are helpful. For instance, lenders are prohibited from randomly raising interest rates or from adding new fees without advance notice on existing accounts. But to counteract the new rules, many banks are upping the rates on new cards, which is perfectly legal. And don't forget, banks can raise your rate on any account if you make a late payment.
Aside from higher interest rates, many new cards come with pricey fees - such as an annual maintenance fee, inactivity fee or, in some cases, even fees for making certain purchases. Every card is a little different, so it's more essential than ever that you read the fine print before signing up.
In fact, you may want to think twice before signing up - even if the terms sound OK. Applying for a new card might only be a wise idea if you 1) don't have many cards and would like to start building your credit and 2) know that you can afford to make more than the minimum payment each month - enough to cover interest and actually pay off your balance - and to make that payment on time.
Every time you apply for a credit card, an inquiry shows up on your credit report - and that can hurt your score. Not only that, but each card is a new opportunity for late payments, unpaid fees and mounting debt. Instead of adding to your stress, wouldn't you rather direct your energy towards reducing it? Bankruptcy can help by offering an affordable way to pay down debt you've already accumulated, lowering your balance - and thus interest paid - and freeing up more of your money each month. Interested in learning more? It's absolutely free with a complimentary personal debt analysis from one of our Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys.