Credit Card Offers
Week after week, your mailbox gets flooded with offers for pre-approved credit cards with low interest rates, big credit lines and cash rewards. But before you sign up, read the fine print and make sure you understand the terms of the card.
Understanding these terms will help you evaluate all those credit card offers.
- No annual fee. Many promotions promise you won't have to pay an annual fee. Read the fine print. Some cards are free only for the first year. After that, you may be billed an annual fee.
- Low APR. Many companies offer a low Annual Percentage Rate (interest rate) that makes the card attractive if you carry a balance. However, most of the really low rates don't last long, from 30 days to a year, and then the rate increases.
- Pre-approved. Credit card companies pay credit agencies for a list of consumers who meet certain criteria. If your credit status has changed recently, you may not qualify for the card you've been offered. Once you accept the offer, the credit card company will request your full credit report to decide if you really qualify.
- Grace period. Make sure the card has a grace period so you won't owe interest if you pay your balance in full each month. The grace period does not mean you’ll get a break if your payment is a few days late. You must still pay on time, or end up paying finance charges and late fees.
- Late fees. If you’re late with a payment, you could be charged a significant late fee, even if your balance is small.
- Credit line. The amount of credit offered in the promotion may not be available to you. If you look closely, you'll see the words “up to” before the credit limit listed. Depending on your credit history, you may get a card with a lower credit limit.
- Over-the-limit fee. You may assume that if you go over your credit limit, your credit card will simply refuse the charge. Instead, the credit card company will often allow the transaction to go through but charge you a hefty fee.
- Cash advance fees and rates. Many cards charge a fee for cash advances, or the APR for cash advances is much higher than for credit purchases. If you're likely to use the card to get cash advances, be sure you know what it will cost you.
- Credit insurance. Some credit card offers also include insurance that would pay the minimum monthly payment on your card if you become involuntarily unemployed. Read the terms of the plan carefully before you sign up. It is often expensive and provides very limited coverage.
Want To Stop Getting Pre-Approved Credit Card Offers?
You can opt out of credit card offers by calling 1-888-567-8688 (1-888-5OPT-OUT) or opt out online
.You’ll be asked to provide some personal information such as name, address and Social Security Number, but that information will be used only to process your request.
We Can Help
If you have a complaint about a credit card offer, contact us
toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.