If you begin foaming at the mouth once a month when you receive your credit card statement, join the millions of Americans that are foaming along with you. There is a growing outrage at the seemingly endless journey towards eliminating the balance on your credit card and that is due primarily to the extravagant interest rates charged by credit card companies.
Your bank is probably touting the super rates it offers on Certificates of Deposit or CDs. “Just deposit $5,000 for 6 months and we’ll give you a ‘whopping" return of 2.83%. " Yet, in contradiction to the low rates banks are willing to pay you for the use of their money, the interest on credit card rates can be 10 times the amount offered on a CD. Why?
The interest rates on savings accounts and CDs are based on competition, the cost to the bank of borrowing money and the expected return on investment to the bank for the use of your money. Because a savings account is liquid, the bank does not know from day to day how much of your money will be available for its use. A CD, on the other hand, requires that you place your money in the bank for a specific amount of time. The longer the time period, the higher the return. That is because the bank has greater flexibility with your money and knows exactly how long they have to work with it.
Credit card companies have been highly successful at convincing government regulators that they need higher interest rates to protect themselves. As opposed to a mortgage loan or home equity loan, credit card companies claim that they do not have any collateral to “secure the loan" they provide to consumers that use their credit cards. If a customer defaults or files for bankruptcy, a credit card company had little recourse to recover the balance due on a credit card account. But a recently passed law now makes it much harder for individuals to eliminate all of their credit card debt by filing personal bankruptcy. Many think this is an unfair advantage for the highly profitable credit card companies.
These companies can be their own worst enemy. Every day consumers throughout the country receive an avalanche of credit card offers that make promises of low interest and high spending limits. Many of the recipients are already strung out with other debts but the credit companies still offer and then provide these high-risk individuals with the desired credit. Talk about using gasoline to try and extinguish a fire.
The practice of paying with plastic can be seductive and addictive and the credit card companies are well aware of it. It is obvious that these companies are doing quite well. They use loopholes to gradually increase interest rates and capitalize on the deceptive “minimum monthly payment" scheme to string consumers along. If you have an ounce of wisdom, you will pay close attention to the credit card offers you receive and the progress of your interest rates as you go month-to-month. It is a quite simple matter to let things get out of control and find yourself at the mercy of Visa and MasterCard.
Terry McDermott is the administrator of a variety of specialized websites. Two of these websites are focused on financial issues. They are Investing and Finance Central at http://www.investing-and-finance.com and Advantage Payday Loans at http://www.advantagepaydayloans.com