One of the top debates going out right now when it comes to credit cards, aside from whether to have them in the first place or not, would be to look at zero interest credit cards. Many consumers across the UK have gotten many advertisements in the mail about signing up for a new card — often with no interest to pay at all. Before you jump head first into these offers, you might want to step back and think about all of the other points that come with the card offers.
First and foremost, you definitely want to think about the fine print associated with any of the credit cards that you’re interested in. It’s easy to think that you have all of the information just from the advertisement, but that’s not always the case. For example, many zero interest credit cards come with an introductory period only. That means that they do indeed switch over to an interest rate at some point. Many cards will give you anywhere from three months all the way up to a generous 18 months. You just have to shop around.
It goes without saying that a zero interest credit card is usually offered only to the top most credit worthy borrowers in the UK — if you have past credit issues that you are still trying to address, then you will definitely want to make sure that you focus on cleaning those up as soon as you can. The best thing that you can do in order to really know where you stand is to look at your credit report. There’s no penalty to your credit rating to pull your own report, so this should actually be a regular thing. You never know what type of offers you’re being pushed out of because of errors on your credit report — all of which aren’t your fault.
The other important thing to make sure of is that you’re paying off your credit card on time. Late payments can trigger an end to those sweet terms and leave you with an interest rate that’s often a lot higher than you might expect. There’s no reason to panic about it, however, as all of the terms should be spelled out.
Remember that it’s up to you to make sure that you read the terms before you start using the card. If you have a problem with those terms, you can’t use the card and then pretend like you didn’t know. Most legal language now indicates that through using the card, you’re automatically agreeing to the terms.
Be sure that you look to make sure that the zero percent interest rate being offered actually applies to all types of transactions. If you are going abroad and will be using your credit card in a host country, you may have fees to pay for that privilege. In addition, if you are trying to transfer your balance from another credit card in order to save on the fees, you will really need to make sure that there isn’t a balance transfer fee. If there is one, try to make sure that it’s the lowest it can possibly be.
Right now banks and credit card companies alike are trying to get the top borrowers back into the proverbial fold with very good offers. However, before you get lured away by ads, you need to make sure that you take into consideration what’s truly being offered. It’s very easy to fall for an advertisement, apply for a card, and then not get the exact card that was offered as part of the promotion. You may get a card from the company that has a heavier interest rate, or less forgiving terms. Be sure that you always look at what’s really being presented to you. If you do that, then you will always have a good grip on your finances.
As an aside, make sure that you keep ahead of your credit cards with online software support. For example, there’s MoneyVista, a site that offers a lot of clever tools to manage your budget and even save for the future — how cool is that? The biggest factor that determines your financial health is how aware you are of the situation at all times. Good luck, and keep working towards a brighter future — you can do it!