As a member of MusicOntario, I am a frequent contributor to their periodic newsletter. My past few articles have focused on Credit Cards, and hopefully, I have brought awareness to what can be a rather dim sitch for some. In case you missed them, here’s a recap.
- Saddled with credit card debt? You’re not alone. It’s daunting. Many folks only pay the minimum, and even if they manage to pay some down, it’s easy to rack up again. But not all credit cards are created equal. How much is the annual fee? Are there perks like travel points? What’s the interest rate? Bring it back to “dollars and sense.” How much “sense” does it make to be paying $120 a year for a credit card with a $5,000 balance, paying only $100 a month at a 21.99% interest rate? I’ll tell you cuz I ran the numbers. It’s none. Nada. Points Schmointz…(but the banker probably got a high five for talking you into the card). At $100 a month, YOU WILL NOT pay this debt down, till like maybe 30 years? However, a lower rate credit card at 11.99% with a $29 annual fee, and paying $100 a month, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Consider it paid in about 6 years. $200 a month? It drops to 2.5 years.
- Read the fine print! I recently noticed the last 4 pages of my current VISA statement were full of “Important Information on Upcoming Changes” to my VISA. And you know that these “upcoming changes” are rarely a good news story, right? The worst change is that if I miss paying the minimum 2 times over a 12-month period my rate goes up to 24.99% for at least 6 months. Cash Advances? It’s 27.99%. So, check the fine print on your credit card statements, and make sure you pay at least the minimum amount due each month on time. If you are late a lot, it will also impact your credit rating.