Keep An Eye Out for New Credit Card Changes
If you're shredder-happy when it comes to your junk mail, you may want to start exercising a bit more caution.
Americans are used to being bombarded with junk mail from creditors, from new card offers to routine legal notices. But with credit card companies coming up with ways to counteract the new consumer protection laws, those notices are actually starting to contain important information.
For example, Citibank and Bank of America notified consumers that they would be piloting an annual fee, while another company, American Express, announced plans to punish late-paying cardholders of Delta Airlines, JetBlue and Starwood and Hilton hotels by taking away their mileage and hotel rewards points.
What else could consumers face in coming months? Let's see, bigger late fees, higher interest rates and fees associated with customer service calls, paper statements or simply inquiring about having a higher credit limit. So what can you do to keep up with all these potential changes? Simple: check your mail!
Consider creating a system to file away all those changes so you know what to expect when you get your credit bills. And as always, watch your account closely so you can identify any suspicious charges that show up. When you manage your credit account online, you'll not only have faster bill pay but you'll be able to set up automatic payments so you won't get stuck with any of those higher late fees, not to mention those ridiculous charges for having paper statements. And if you can't afford to use automatic payments because you don't know how much will be in your account each month, it's time to make some changes of your own.
Try negotiating with your creditor to lower your higher bills. If they won't oblige and the new costs are making your financial life miserable, threaten to cancel your card - and mean it (of course, you'll still owe the balance - and, if it's your oldest card we're talking about, you may be better off leaving the account open so as not to affect your credit history).
You shouldn't have to live paycheck to paycheck because of credit card debt. The faster you reduce your debt burden, the faster you'll benefit from lower interest, less stress and more money in your pockets each month. You might be too overwhelmed to take those first steps, but this is where bankruptcy comes in. A bankruptcy plan can provide you with an affordable way to pay down debt, while offering legal protection to boot. Find out for free if bankruptcy is your ticket to a fresh financial start during a complimentary personal debt analysis with an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney. Let us help rescue you from the grip of creditors and their ever-changing fees - and put you back on solid