If you've had credit problems, then you've probably received offers for credit cards aimed at people with bad credit. These offers range from legitimate, to questionable, to outright scams. How can you state the difference? The reply is to read the mulct print, usually to be establish in a written document called "Terms and Conditions." To demo you the difference between "the good, the bad, and the ugly" in the low-end credit card market, let's take a expression at the mulct black and white associated with such as offers.
We'll begin with one of the more than popular low-limit "starter" cards available today. These are existent terms published by a major company at the clip this article was written. The card come ups with a Visa logotype on it and looks like a regular credit card, so you can utilize it as an extra piece of designation when you're booking a hotel room, renting a car, and so on. In the "Terms and Conditions" document, the first thing we see is the annual percentage rate (APR), listed as 19.5%. That's not a particularly attractive rate, but it's not as high as a batch of other cards. A small farther down, we see that the APR for cash advances is higher, 25.5%, which is normal since there is greater hazard involved to the company.
Where it really gets interesting is the subdivision that listings the fees associated with the card. In this example, there is an annual fee of $150! There is also a $29 fee to open up the account, as well as a monthly "maintenance" fee of $6.50. Whew! That's a batch of fees. But wait! It gets better. Toward the underside of the document, buried in the mulct print, we see something called "Available Credit Limitations." In 8-point font (very tough to read on a computing machine silver screen or printed page), you are informed that your generous initial credit bounds will be a humongous $300. On your very first statement, you will be billed for the $150 annual fee, plus the $29 apparatus fee. The $6.50 monthly fees will begin appearing after you do your first purchase on the card.
Let's return a near expression at the mathematics here. It will cost you $179 up front, plus $78 per year, to obtain $300 worth of credit. Your sum cost for the first twelvemonth is $257, assuming you pay off the balance each calendar month and don't incur any regular interest charges. Sound like a good deal? Bashes it do any sense at all to pay $257 to obtain $300 worth of credit? That's 85.6% in effectual interest! If you maintain a running play balance of $300 on the card, and just do the minimum payments every month, your effectual interest rate will be 105.2% for the first year, and 95.5% for subsequent years. That's some pretty expensive credit! This credit card offer, while legal, still numbers as a sum rip-off.
As bad as the above sounds, it still only measure ups as "questionable" rather than being a full-on scam. There are much worse offers floating around out there. I've level seen some "deals" where the fees are so stiff you begin out above the credit bounds before receiving the card in the mail! In the fake class I'd also include cards where you are forced to pay an advance fee prior to receiving the "guaranteed" credit card, which of course of study never arrives. There are also "catalog cards," where you supposedly construct credit by buying points through a card tied to one peculiar company and their catalogue of goods. The problem is that the catalogues usually dwell of grossly overpriced junk.
So what represents a good credit card offer for person who's experienced serious credit problems and desires to take action toward rebuilding his or her credit? At the hazard of bothersome the large credit card marketing companies who target the "sub-prime" market (consumers with bad credit histories), my advice is to completely avoid any offer that come ups to you unsolicited. Instead, make the research on your own. Check out www.bankrate.com for current offers by legitimate credit card companies. Shop and compare before you apply. Remember, the APR is only one facet of your decision, and not necessarily the most important. What you desire to look at very carefully are the annual fees, apparatus fees, and monthly fees.
It's important to recognize that you may not be able to obtain an unsecured credit card when you're just starting to reconstruct your credit. Instead of paying $257 to obtain $300 in credit, you'd be far better off placing $250 as a sedimentation toward a good SECURED credit card from a reputable major bank. In this real-world example, the annual fee is only $29, the APR is 19.99%, and there are no apparatus fees or monthly care charges. Your $250 sedimentation will sack you $250 worth of credit (less the $29 annual fee), and you'll construct positive credit history just as quickly as with the ridiculously expensive offer discussed above. Plus that original $250 sedimentation is still YOUR money. After you've been granted unsecured credit again, and you've paid off any outstanding balance on the secured card, you can get your sedimentation back.
One concluding tip. If you have got the chance to fall in a credit union, you should see checking out their offers for low-limit unsecured and secured credit cards. Credit unions frequently offer much better terms than regular commercial banks. Through credit unions, you can often happen credit cards with no annual fees, lower interest rates, and more than flexibility. Be sure, however, to confirm that the credit union reports account activity to the credit bureaus. Otherwise, your positive payment history on the new credit card won't raise your credit score. And remember, no matter what card offer you're considering, be certain to read that mulct print!