Would you spend $20 on a soda or $100 on a T-shirt? Probably not, especially if the cashier is only ringing up a few bucks. However, when using a credit card to make purchases, the price tag only represents a portion of the total purchase. You also need to factor interest into the equation – and in many cases – it can be quite steep.
Apple Pie, Baseball… and Credit Cards
If you’re feeling the pinch of mounting debt, you’re certainly not alone. According to the Federal Reserve, consumers in the United States have amassed more than $866 billion in revolving credit card debt (December 2009).
Credit cards have become central to the American culture. They are easy to obtain and even easier to use. They can be vital in an emergency but also require an incredible amount of self-restraint. The temptation to fulfill our wants (rather than our needs) can be overwhelming. If we’re not careful, a series of seemingly small purchases can quickly turn into a large amount of debt.If you’re confused by America’s credit system, you’re certainly not alone either. It’s complex, there’s a lot of fine print and rules often vary from creditor to creditor. In this educational series, we’ll tackle one of the primary sources of confusion – interest rates.
It’s Time to Take an Interest in Your Interest
High interest rates from credit cards and other loans are straining consumers. Many are paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month in interest alone. They’re struggling to make their minimum payments, and meanwhile, debt is piling up.
Are you feeling the strain? We’ll help you understand the credit process and provide you with tips to regain your financial freedom. Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Your rights as a consumer
- Do’s and don’ts for negotiating a lower interest rate on your credit card
- Tips for young consumers on how to obtain cards with low interest rates
We also encourage you to check out our financial calculators , which can help you understand how interest rates impact your unique situation.