Why Atlanta Consumers Should Weigh Pros and Cons of New Credit Card Offers
How would you like to get money back on qualifying purchases? Or transfer your high-interest balance to a card with 0% interest for an introductory period? Credit card companies are betting that you'll say yes.
After a few years of tightening up credit during the recession, creditors are courting customers more aggressively than ever - in fact, credit card offers almost doubled last year, according to a recent study. And the deals seem sweeter than they've been in a long time - we're talking tons of new rewards cards, low-cost balance transfers, longer introductory periods and, of course, limitations on fees and interest rate hikes thanks to last year's consumer protection legislation. But all is not what is seems, say Atlanta bankruptcy attorneys.
Sure, with all those new cards out there, consumers have the opportunity to pick and choose - and a little competition is always a good thing. But ultimately, borrowers are going to run into the same old problems.
To really understand a credit card offer, browse the fine print - you may find new credit card rewards programs not all that rewarding. For instance, many rewards points expire or come with caps. Some rewards cards carry high annual fees. And if you miss a payment, most cards require you pay an outrageous fee to recover your points.
As for those introductory rates, don't forget that they won't last forever. And when they expire, expect to pay higher interest rates than you would have in the past. Since creditors are no longer permitted to raise interest rates on existing balances, they're raising rates upfront for new customers. And just like with rewards cards, you're fair game for a rate increase if you're late on a payment.
If you're unhappy with the terms of your current cards, you may dream of switching to another account for a fresh start. But until you eliminate your debts, you're likely to run into the same problem - interest and fees that keep you from ever paying off your balance. If you really want to make a difference in your financial future, you can start by lowering debt. A bankruptcy plan can be the most effective way to make it happen. It's free to find out more when you try a free personal debt analysis with an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney.