Common Credit Card Mistakes Consumers Make

April 16, 2010
Ridgeland, Miss., May 31, 2010  - As more and more consumers are having difficulty getting or keeping credit card balances under control, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Mississippi offers the following tips for regaining control of credit card debt and finances:

Pay more than the minimum payment.
Paying only the minimum required by the card company will not enable you to pay off the debt. The interest charged on the account will actually keep the balance growing.

Don’t use credit cards for everyday items. It is best to pay for monthly necessities with your monthly income and avoid paying interest on such expenses that accumulate easily on credit cards.

Be wary of credit card “rewards”.
The perks, although nice, are worth far less than the extra interest that accrues on card balances.

Say “no” to cash advances.
Card companies mail “spending” checks which they actually consider cash advances. Therefore, interest begins to accrue immediately once the checks are used.

Avoid using credit cards as a cure for medical bills. If you are having difficulty paying your medical bills, negotiate an agreement with the health care provider to whom you owe money.

Don’t ignore your debt.
Interest continues to accumulate on accounts and balances grow. Also, interest rates may actually increase under the terms of the card agreement if payments are missed.  Your credit score is also impacted when bills are not paid on time.

“Clearing up credit card debt takes time and self control,” said Bill Moak, President/CEO of the Mississippi BBB. “Using cards sensibly and responsibly allows them to become helpful and convenient tools. Using the tools listed above will help you keep control of cards instead of letting them control you.”