Zero Interest Credit Card Balance Transfers by ajw17354

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                                                                                    But you’ll still have
                                                                                    to face these gotchas ...
                                                                                    n Skyrocketing interest payments.
                                                                                    Credit-card issuers can charge
                                                                                    whatever rates they want. And they
                                                                                    can raise them at any time for any
                                                                                    reason on future purchases after the
                                                                                    account’s first year. They’ll have to
                                                                                    give 45 days’ notice before charging
                                                                                    a new rate, but it will apply to all the
                                                                                    stuff you buy starting 14 days after
                                                                                    the notice is sent out.
                                                                                    n A bump up in your minimum
                                                                                    payment. Credit-card issuers can now
                                                                                    raise your minimum payment to the
                                                                                    level required to pay off your balance
                                                                                    in five years. But they can raise it to
                                                                                    any level if they do so without raising
                                                                                    your interest rate.
                                                                                    n Account closures. They can cancel


Sneaky new
                                                                                    your card without notice at any time.
                                                                                    n Tricky zero-interest-rate promotions.
                                                                                    Unless you play by the rules perfectly,


credit-card gotchas
                                                                                    that zero interest rate can end up
                                                                                    costing you big time in penalties.
                                                                                    n Surprise fees. Banks have been
And some new rules that might help save you money                                   coming up with lots of new charges,
                                                                                    including fees to receive paper



I
     f you’ve been aggravated by          your promotional rate has expired,        statements and souped-up charges
     rising credit-card fees and rates    or you are more than 60 days late         on foreign transactions, balance-
     and tight payment deadlines,         making your minimum payment.              transfers, and cash advances. So read
     relief is here. Well, kind of. New   They also can’t raise rates during the    that fine print you get in the mail
rules that took effect in February will   first year of an account.                 from your card company—or brace
limit fees and rates and give you a       n Penalty rates that never go away.       yourself for some rude surprises.
reasonable amount of time to pay.         If your rate goes up because you were     SO WHAT CAN YOU DO? If your rates
But credit-card companies are already     more than 60 days late on a bill, your    or fees go up or your borrowing limit
cooking up new ways to squeeze            card company is required to restore       goes down, call the card company to
more money out of you. Many               your old rate if you make on-time         see if you can get a reprieve. If you
charges are hidden in fine print.         payments for the first six months after   have a good track record and a decent
Below are some of your new rights         the rate increase.                        credit score, you might be successful.
when it comes to dealing with             n Moving due dates that trick you into    Don’t immediately cancel cards or sign
credit-card companies—plus a list         paying late. Your payment will now        up for new ones to boost your credit
of gotchas to watch out for.              be due on the same day each month.        limit—those actions can ding your
                                          As long as your payment is received       credit score. But if you need a new card
You no longer have                        by 5 p.m. at the bank’s location on       and want to make sure you’re getting
to put up with …                          that day, it can’t be considered late.    a fair deal, research cards online at
                                                                                                                               S t e v e n G u a r n acc i a




n Jacked-up interest rates on an          n Fees on transactions that exceed        BillShrink or Bankrate.com. And be
existing balance. Credit-card issuers     your credit limit, unless you ask         sure to check out credit unions and
can raise your rates on new balances      your card company to allow those          small banks, which might have better
only if you have a variable-rate card,    transactions—not a good idea.             deals than major issuers offer.

18 consumer reports    SHOPSMArT

								
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