Banks Get Tricky With Credit Card Rewards Points to Lure Atlanta Shoppers

Those free airline miles on your credit card might not be such a good deal after all.

As many credit card companies add annual fees and other charges to compete with new credit card legislation, they're trying to keep customers happy by padding cards with credit rewards programs like airline miles or cash back offers.

At first glance, rewards points might seem like a win-win for Atlanta consumers: spend money, get money back. But just make sure to read the fine print - those offers aren't always what they seem.

Creditors are tricky, and they'll find ways to keep your hard-earned rewards if you let them. For instance, have you missed payments - or simply paid past the deadline? Your points might be on hold until you become current - and possibly make a late payment fee.

Sometimes it doesn't matter whether you pay on time or not. After 3 to 5 years, many rewards points simply expire. If you don't plan to use your rewards any time soon, it might be a good idea to read the fine print in your credit agreement and see how much time you have left. This is also important if you don't use your rewards card regulary; some rewards points expire due to inactivity.

Keeping a close eye on your rewards points will make sure you get the payoff you deserve. But most importantly, realize that even the best rewards aren't worth risks like debt, credit damage or foreclosure. If you have to go bankrupt in order to earn that tropical vacation, you're getting a bum deal.

That said, it's never too late to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. If you've got too much debt to handle alone, bankruptcy might be what it takes to put you back on the path to financial security. Filing for bankruptcy can offer an affordable, realistic and fast way to pay down debt and get back on track. It's free to learn more with a personal debt analysis courtesy of an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney. Rewards points come and go, but financial freedom is the gift that keeps on giving.

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