Before getting your first credit card, it is important to be aware of certain pitfalls before getting one. Although there are many advantages and benefits that come with having a credit card, there can also be downsides and consequences that could quickly ruin your finances and send you into debt. To avoid these credit card downfalls, it’s important to take the time to thoroughly research a credit card.
1. Poor Rewards Programs
There are many credit cards that offer rewards such as “cash back,” where you get a percentage of your money spent for purchases you make with the card. However, not all credit card companies offer great rewards programs, and some might even charge an annual fee for this feature. If you are not good at paying off your balance every month, then you can get stuck with a higher-than-average bill and no way to pay for it.
2. Annual Fees
Although some credit cards offer rewards, not all of them do. Before signing up for a particular credit card, be sure to ask about an annual fee since this needs to be considered when deciding which one is right for you. Make it a point to find out if there are other fees that can come with the card as well, such as late payments, over the limit fees, and balance transfer fees.
3. Surprise Interest Rates
Many credit cards offer lower interest rates for first-time customers who sign up using their cards. However, this is only good for a limited time and can quickly be revoked if you are not careful with your spending habits. If an annual fee is also involved, you can end up with a very high-interest rate that will make it more difficult to pay off your bill.
4. Excessive Fees
Another problem with not researching credit cards before signing up is the possibility of other fees being hidden in the fine print. For example, some cards will charge a balance transfer fee every time you move your money from one account to another. This can be avoided if you do your homework and determine how much it will cost before signing up.
5. Unclear Terms and Conditions
Before signing up for a card, it is important to fully understand all the terms and conditions involved. Sometimes customers may accidentally miss some information or discover things in the fine print that weren’t mentioned during the application process. This can lead to overspending and spending more than you should simply due to not knowing what you are getting into.
6. Not Knowing the Credit Limit on Your Card
Another important point before signing up for a credit card is to be sure you understand how much purchasing power is available to you on your card. This information can usually be found online, but it is important to review it and fully understand where your credit stands.
7. Closing Your Account Without Understanding the Consequences
In some cases, customers who have been approved for a credit card will end up closing their account without realizing that this can affect your credit score. The longer you keep a card active and in use, the better it is for your history with that company and your credit score overall. If you close a card, it looks as if you never used it and therefore cannot be trusted with the company’s money.
Although there are many benefits to having a credit card, there are some downsides that you need to be aware of first. Remember the 7 problems with not researching credit cards before signing up and doing your homework first.