If you face a tight budget this holiday season and you are looking to obtain more credit, the Better Business Bureau warns you to be wary of enticing "gold" and "platinum" card offers. Some "gold" or "platinum" cards are not like regular credit cards. Instead, they only permit you to buy merchandise from specialized catalogues. Consumers are falsely promised that by participating in these programs, they will be able to get a major credit card (such as an unsecured Visa or MasterCard), lines of credit from national specialty and department stores, better credit reports and other financial benefits. Rarely can you improve your credit rating or obtain major credit cards by purchasing these "specialty" gold or platinum credit cards.
Offers for these types of "gold" and "platinum" cards are usually promoted through television or newspaper advertisements, direct mail, the Internet or telephone solicitations using automatic dialing machines and recorded messages.
To avoid being caught in a "gold" or "platinum" card deception, the Better Business Bureau suggests you:
- Think twice about any offer to get "easy credit."
- Be skeptical of any promises to erase bad credit or to secure major credit cards regardless of past credit problems.
- Be cautious about calling "900" or "976" telephone numbers. Advertisements may encourage you to call telephone numbers with these exchanges for information about the cards. Remember, you will have to pay for phone calls to these exchanges - even if you never get the card.
- Be wary if you are asked to pay up-front fees when the promotion or ad fails to mention that there may be additional costs. Find out the total cost before applying for this type of card.
- Be aware that when ordering from a "gold" or "platinum" card catalogue, prices are often much higher than at most discount stores.
Before you agree to any such credit card offer, contact the Better Business Bureau for a reliability report on the company.