Choosing a credit card is designed to be an easy experience; companies want you to start a business with them! But it’s important for your own financial health that you research any cards you want to apply for. In a lot of circumstances, people scroll right past terms and conditions without actually reading them. In some situations, that’s fine, but not with your finances. Understanding the fine print will enable you to properly manage your credit. Not to mention that understanding terms & conditions can save you from having to get out of credit card debt in the future!
Credit Card Terms and Conditions
Every credit card comes with several terms and conditions that you should read before applying for a credit card.
What Are Terms & Conditions?
Typically, terms & conditions will outline a lot of different aspects of your credit card agreement. Terms and conditions should outline things like: APR, balance transfers, cash advances, fees, offer details, payments, rewards, pricing & cardholder agreement. Within these areas, there will be details such as credit limit information, minimum monthly payments, right to cancel, etc. Don’t overlook any of these areas when applying for a card. Understanding all of the implications that come along with a card will help you to better avoid credit card debt.
Terms & conditions are the contract with a credit card company. The conditions explain your responsibilities as a cardholder and what happens if you break the agreement. Terms & conditions can change at any time, but the credit card company is required to inform consumers within 30 days of changes.
Financial jargon isn’t always easy to grasp, and if you’re struggling to understand credit card terms, there’s no better time to learn than now.
Terms & Conditions Aren’t All the Same
Not all cards are created equal, so don’t assume that if you read one credit card’s terms & conditions, another card will have the same. Each card is unique – even among the same carrier!
Pay particular attention to the terms that may impact the reason for you having one card over another. For example, if you are looking at a specific card for their rewards, then be sure you completely understand how the rewards work. Keep in mind that rewards programs do have restrictions, so understanding how you can benefit may impact your final decision.
Don’t apply for a card to apply for a card or sign up because an offer has come in the mail. Do your research, which can be done online, and with the credit card companies directly. See what card will best meet your needs and when you find one, look at the conditions before you move forward. Like we said before, credit card terms are not all equal. If you’re unsure about something or have questions, contact the credit card company and have them explain it to you.
Lastly, with any credit card comes responsibilities including making on-time payments. Use credit cards wisely and have a plan in place to pay the balance before charging.
If you struggle with credit card debt, ACCC may be able to help. Call 800-769-3571 today to speak to a certified credit counselor.