Got 20 Minutes? Do THIS With Your Credit Card

Deciphering Your Credit Card Agreement

GREENSBORO, NC -- OK, you have 20 minutes to yourself. What are you going to do with it? How about reading your credit card agreement? Uh, no. 

Creditcards.com found it takes about 20 full minutes to read through your credit card agreement. Not going to spend your free 20 minutes that way? Then at least do this...

"If you read the stuff in bold print..things like annual fee, your late fee payment, interest rate that at least gives you a handle on the headline numbers and that's a good start, " explains Matt Schulz of CreditCards.com.

2WTK talked with Shulz by Skype Tuesday. He also told USA TODAY  nearly half of card holders ignore their credit card agreements completely, 46% "never" or "hardly ever" read their agreements.

Most of us skip over it because it's all jargon, .including something called security interest. "If you have a credit card account at the same bank where you have your checking our savings account and your late with a that credit card payment they can take money out of those other two accounts without telling you, to pay that bill."

Now,  you can't call your credit card company and ask them to explain everything, but Matt says skim through and if an entire paragraph doesn't make sense to you, ask them to clarify it. 

Local finance expert Jennifer Schurman, Finance Academy Director for East Forsyth High School says, "there are three items you want to pay special attention to."

The process you should follow if there is a mistake on your bill.  You must ensure that you are following that company’s procedures if you want the mistake corrected in a timely manner.  If you don’t pay your bill because there is a mistake, and you didn’t follow this process, you could incur late fees.


Your rights if you are dissatisfied with a credit card purchase.  With so many purchases being made online, we need to understand what we can do if we receive an item that wasn’t what we expected.  If you do a lot of shopping online, it is usually best to use a credit card because you have some added protection from the credit card companies in the event this happens.


What happens if you default (stop paying) on your credit card.  "I spent a few summers working for a law firm that collected on consumers who defaulted on credit cards, and I can say that most of these consumers didn’t realize the legal and financial repercussions of their actions. " You could be liable for not only the outstanding balance, plus interest accrued during the legal process, but also the expensive court costs and lawyer fees.


You can find a lot of credit card agreements online here: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/credit-cards/agreements/
 

(© 2016 WFMY)


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