PBS did a series awhile back about the credit card industry. I happened to catch most of it and was dumbfounded at how much I didn’t know about the industry. I really hadn’t paid a ton of attention because I’ve never carried a balance, never paid an annual fee and have only paid late (by a few days) once. Here are 8 things to know about credit cards and a link to more detail about them from PBS:
-Even if you make your credit card payments on time, the credit card bank can raise your interest rate automatically if you’re late on payments elsewhere — such as on another credit card or on a phone, car, or house payment — or simply because the bank feels you have taken on too much debt.
-Your credit score — known as a FICO score — has become a vital statistic for many Americans and can be widely shared. It is used to determine how much you can borrow, how much you pay for life insurance, if you can rent a home, and, as already noted, it can be a factor in determining the interest rate you pay on a credit card.
-There is no limit on the amount a credit card company can charge a cardholder for being even an hour late with a payment.
-It’s important to read the fine print on your credit card agreement.
-Many Americans are inattentive about their credit card accounts. (No big surprise there)
-There is no federal limit on the interest rate a credit card company can charge
-Significant credit card debt can put you at a markedly higher risk of bankruptcy
-You can get help
Click here to access the PBS website to get more detail on each of the bullets above
Click here to link to the full PBS story or even view the actual program online