Surviving Debt: Eight Credit Card Tips from the National Consumer Law Center

I have mentioned it before – but you really need to buy this book, "Guide to Surviving Debt" 2010 edition, available from the National Consumer Law Center at for about $20 bucks.

From the "Guide’s" chapter 5 – "Credit Cards", here are eight tips:

(1) Do not use credit cards to finance an unaffordable lifestyle.

(2) Try to avoid making financial trouble worse – avoid the trap to use credit cards to make ends meet.

(3) Don’t get hooked on minimum paymnents (sometimes set at only 2.0% or 4.0% of the balance) – it could take 25 years to pay off the card at that rate, and nothing requires the credit card company to keep that advertised minimum payment AND it could be raised at any time

(4) Temporary teaser’s – don’t run up the balance in reliance on a temporary promotional interest rate.

(5) Make all credit card payments on time.

(6) AVOID the "special services", programs, and goods taht credit card lenders offer to bill to their cards, such as credit card fraud protection plans, credit record protection, travel clubs, life insurance, and other similar offers – most are bad deals and if you reall want that stuff, you can buy it much cheaper elsewhere in the economy.

(7) Beware of unsolicited allowable balance increases. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can really afford more credit.

(8) Don’t max out credit cards – it’s then easy to get socked and soaked with high over-limit fees. You can also then get hit with a "penalty rate" because having when having maxed out credit cards leads to a drop in your credit score.

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