If you are a first time credit card user or have had credit cards for years, it is important to know about possible scams that you can be exposed to. Although many credit card companies are perfectly honest, there are also many dishonest ones who want to rip you off. If you are unaware of the ways in which you can be conned or misled then you could end up losing a lot of money. Here are some of the worst credit card scams around and how to avoid them:
Debt suspension offers are sometimes offered by banks as a way to ‘help’ you keep on track with payments. The way debt suspension works is that you pay a certain amount each month so that if you cannot pay your bills then no interest will accrue during this time. Although this might seem like a good idea at first, the benefits are really quite minimal. You cannot use your card whilst you are out of work, and although no interest is being added, your payments are not being paid so once you can work again you still have the balance to pay. In essence you are paying money for something that will not really help you. If you are getting a credit card then make sure that this type of debt suspension offer is not included at a cost to you within your payments. If it is then get it removed and find an independent insurance policy that will help with your payments if you are unemployed.
One of the worst scams around is the advanced fees scam, which targets people are desperate to get hold of a card with good rates. The ‘lender’ will offer you a card at a great rate, but the catch is you have to pay them an administration or approval fee up front so that your application is processed. Once you have paid this fee then you probably will never hear from the company again. If you are ever offered a card but are asked to pay a fee upfront, just refuse. Even if you have poor credit you shouldn’t need to pay fees up front for cards. A lender should either accept or reject your application, and fees are not required.
One of the most common scams around is to add expensive credit protection to your card in case it is lost or stolen. The extra money you pay for this protection is usually very high, and often covers you for very little. If you report your card stolen immediately then it is unlikely that you will lose much, and other insurance policies or consumer laws often cover you already. If you really want protection then get a separate policy from an independent company that will work out a lot cheaper and will allow you to protect all your cards at once.
If you are getting a credit card, then remember to check and double-check all clauses within the agreement you are signing. If anything seems suspicious at all, then do not sign and find a different company. As long as you are aware of the dangers you will find a fair and honest credit card company who can give you great rates.