Credit cards make life so easy, don’t they? All you have to do is swipe them and your payment is done. All that’s left to do is pay your credit card company at the end of the month.
With over 2.08 billion credit cards in use across the globe, one would think that most people know everything there is about credit cards.
However, there are some things that many are unaware of. Here are some things you didn’t know about credit cards:
1. Your credit card interest can change.
When getting a credit card, people tend to spend a lot of time doing research to find out which bank offers them the lowest interest rates. Generally, people get credit cards that have a low-interest rate.
However, what many don’t know is that most banks can change these rates any time they want. Generally, your card rate is only protected for up to 6 months or a year from when your card has been issued. After that period is over, the ban can raise the interest rate.
However, the new rate will apply only to the charges you incur after the change in interest. Typically, banks raise the rate only when you make several late payments. Once you begin to pay on time for a couple of months, the interest will probably be back to normal.
2. Credit cards can protect your purchases.
You may be using your credit cards extensively for online purchases. What if you don’t receive what you had ordered or get some damaged goods delivered to you? Well, most credit cards have got you covered.
A lot of credit card companies offer a number of securities including refunds on products that are not satisfactory for you. You must carefully read the terms and conditions of your credit card to be aware of how much refund it allows and what are the criteria necessary to qualify for it.
3. Your card may not work abroad.
Many people make the mistake of taking their credit card to a foreign trip without considering if it is eligible for payments abroad or not.
A number of credit cards are meant solely for domestic use and you will have to get a separate one if you are planning a trip to a different country. Before you use your card in a foreign land, you need to learn whether you have an internationally accepted card or not.
Generally, Mastercard and Visa are pretty safe bets as most places accept them. Also, remember to inform your issuer about your trip or your card could get temporarily suspended owing to fraud concerns.
4. Card balances can be tricky.
For many people, it is routine to use a credit card throughout the month and pay the issuer at the end of the month. There is nothing wrong with doing this but you should know that banks generally report at the end of a billing cycle which can be a couple of weeks before the due date for payment.
If by then, your amount is not paid, it will reflect in the report and your credit score can take a hit. In a normal scenario, it won’t bother you much as you can simply pay the amount due before the next report.
However, if you are planning to apply for a loan, the lender will be skeptical about your credit balance.
5. Late payments don’t necessarily mean a fine
Despite your best efforts, you might fail to make the payment to your issuer on the due date owing to some financial problems.
However, you don’t immediately have to worry about a late fine or higher interest rates in the future. The issuer can’t report your late payment until 30 days past the due date.
Also, they can’t raise the interest rate before it has been 60 days since the due date. If you pay before that, you can avoid higher interest rates. It is still best to be prompt with our payments because multiple offenses can lead to a fine.
6. Credit card issuers might pay to keep you.
You might feel like canceling the credit card you are currently using because some other issuer is offering better terms for you.
However, make sure that you contact your current company first. When you tell them that you’re considering closing your card, they might provide you with some offers and discounts to retain you.
This is not a given and is generally only done for users who frequently use their cards. It doesn’t hurt to contact your issuer though.
Credit cards are not as simple as most people think. However, after knowing the above details about them, you’ll definitely be able to use them better.