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Be Wary Of Credit Cards [04/28/2006]

Be Wary Of Credit Cards

Martin Lukac

Credit card companies are very smart and a little tricky.

I recently received a credit card offer that said I could pay off my debts with it and shop without guilt. It was a credit card offer. Pay off my debt?

Those are the two things that most people want out of their finances. And now a credit card says that it can give those things. That's a little far fetched. But many are probably willing to fall for it.

For example, I have a friend that thinks her credit cards are great. She is always saying that she'll just charge something. After all, she says, that's what the cards are for. She says they have zero interest for a year and then really low rates. So far, her credit card debt sits around $15,000. I warned her that she will be in for a surprise. And that credit card companies can raise rates anytime that they want to.

You don't have to know much about finances to know that borrowing money to pay off what you borrow isn't getting rid of debt. It is simply moving it around. I'm sure that you have heard that you have to get out of debt a hundred times. That's because it is the truth. Getting out of debt is the best way to have a sound financial future.

By getting deeper into debt by using a credit card is not the way to go. What the credit card company wants to do is for you to pay off all your debt with their card. Then you owe them the interest from all that debt. You are simply paying them the interest that they will probably hike up to an amazing amount. And you are in debt that will take forever to pay off.

It works for them, but what does it get you? You still have the debt, you still have the payment. Think about it this way: the credit card company isn't looking to help you, they want to help themselves.

Can you shop without guilt with a credit card? I don't see how. You know you are racking up unnecessary debt. If you have the money in your pocket and you don't need it for anything else, you can shop without guilt. And you don't need a credit card.

The problem is that credit cards do actually take that money out of your pocket, making every spending spree a guilt trip. A credit card is not money. It costs you money. By paying off your cards, you free up your money so that you can shop guilt free forever.

Don't get me wrong. Credit cards are not evil. They aren't bad. It's how we handle them that is bad. There are plenty of people out there that handle their credit cards wisely. They pay off their balance each month, meaning that they never pay interest at all.

But credit card companies don't want you to do that. If you do, you don't make them any money. They want you to use your card more. For example, I have a credit card that hasn't had a balance on it for years. I only keep it for dire emergencies. It is in a safety deposit box so that I can't touch it for anything else. The card company is constantly sending me those credit checks and upping my benefits. They offer return rewards, points and cash back if I use it. They want me to have to pay them for years and years.

Rewards are a tricky business. Okay, if you really want them, go ahead and use the card. But pay it off every month. Someday you will realize that you have to spend at least $100 to get one dollar in rewards. It isn't worth the effort.

Next time you are tempted by a credit card offer, look deeper into it. And see the years of debt and misery that most people find there.

Martin Lukac, represents, a finance web-company specializing in real estate/mortgage market. We specialize in daily updates, rate predictions, mortgage rates and more. Find low home loan mortgage interest rates from hundreds of mortgage companies! Visit today

Article Source:

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