Credit Cards: Part 1 of 2 – Things to think about before getting a new credit card – Preventing trouble

Lets face it, credit cards have all sorts of new enticing promotions. Frequent flier miles, "cash back" promotions, school contributions, etc.

Adding to the difficulties is that it is difficult to shop for a card. Fees and high post-teaser rates are buried in the fine print and not well disclosed.

Here are things to keep in mind when trying to compare credit cards:

-Avoid accepting too many credit card offers – There is rarely any good reason to own and carry more than two credit cards.

-Avoid "store cards" like Good Guys Video, Bon/Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sears and JCPenny cards – why do you need these? Is there anything at Sears or Nordstroms that is essential to your present daily life?

-BIG ONE! – Avoid subprime credit cards – Avoid credit cards which advertise themselves as helping with "bad credit". Some of these credit cards are "fee harvesters" with low credit limits and so many fees that you couldn’t even charge any purchases to the card because the card was already maxed out when the account was opened.

This post is largely thanks to the National Consumer Law Center’s "Guide to Surviving Debt" a 2010 publication available for a mere $20.00 from www.consumerlaw.org. Buy it – it is a fantastic book.

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