Do You Know The Interest Rates On Your Credit Cards?
While you should avoid carrying a balance on your credit cards, it happens. And when that happens, you get charged interest on the balance. Do you know the interest rate on ALL of your credit cards? The Credit Card Act of 2009 went into effect this past February. As a result, most (if not all) credit card companies have hiked up interest rates significantly. And they're hoping that (a) you won't read the notices that they send you or (b) even if you do read these notices, you will forget the contents of them shortly afterwards.
For instance, I just received a notice from one of my cc companies notifying me that my current promotional rate has been extended. Umm...I didn't know that my cc was on a promotional rate. The notice referenced a prior notice that was supposed to let me know that my then-purchasing rate was turning into a promotional rate. Well, I certainly missed that particular notice. After my "promotional" rate expires, my new purchasing rate jumps by an additional 10%. That's not a good thing.
Another little trick that cc companies like to do is convert your fixed rate into a variable rate. Interest rates are low right now but when they go back up, it will hurt your pocketbook in a major way. If you're counting on a certain rate, make sure that you don't get surprised by this type of interest rate switcheroo.
So what's a hardworking girl to do? I will most definitely be calling my cc company when my "promotional" rate expires to see if they can lower my new purchasing rate. I actually do this once every 6 months or so. Most of the times, the cc phone rep will tell me that I'm already at the lowest possible interest rate. But sometimes I get lucky, and the cc phone rep will tell me that a lower interest rate is available. And presto, the interest rate of that particular cc drops. On my cc's that have variable rates, I will also ask if I can convert my variable rate into a fixed rate. That's usually a big fat no, but you gotta ask, right?
One more thing: If you have a cc that charges an annual fee, double check that fee as well. Most likely, annual fees have gone up too. These are easy to forget about because they are automatically billed and not really disputable.
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