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Credit Card Tips
by Steve Gillman
There are credit card tips, and then there are credit card secrets. These latter are little known tricks that credit card companies play on you, as well as tricks you can use to get rid of fees and pay off your debt sooner. Here are some of the best
There are credit card tips, and then there are credit card secrets. These latter are little known tricks that credit card companies play on you, as well as tricks you can use to get rid of fees and pay off your debt sooner. Here are some of the best credit card tips, tricks and secrets.

1. You can get rid of annual fees. If you have good credit, just call and ask for fee to be removed. This worked on three out of four cards I called on, and I just dumped the other. Of course the threat to do the same with the others is what got the fees dropped.

2. Read the fine print, and pay on time. Be aware that under "universal default" rules, if you are late on one card, your interest rate can be increased on other cards as well. They love to get you with this one.

3. Watch for changing due dates. This is a trick used by some credit card companies to get you to pay late, so they can collect the late fees. They will also be able to raise your rate, and the rate on other cards you may have. Don't assume that your payment due date will always be the same.

4. Use promotional checks with care. Transferring balances to 0 interest promotions can be a good idea, but watch out for those that charge "balance transfer fees." Transferring a balance that you were going to pay off soon anyhow will just cost you more if there is a 3% transfer fee.

5. Try credit unions for cards. Their cards usually have lower rates. My credit union Visa rate hasn't been over 10% in years, and I have zero liability for unauthorized charges.

6. Ask to have the late fee waived. If you've never been late before, some credit card companies will waive a late fee - but only if you ask. Why not try it? All it takes is a phone call.

7. Pay in full every month. Credit cards are for convenience, not for hiding the true cost of things. Don't pay interest - just pay the balance every month.

8. Don't buy the credit card insurance. This typically stops your payments when you are injured or unemployed. It is one of the most over-priced insurances out there, and doesn't eliminate the debt, but just delays it.

9. Avoid credit card security insurance. It pays for unauthorized charges when your card is stolen, but you are only liable for the first $50 if you report the theft in any case, and many cards already have 0 liability.

10. Pay high-interest cards first to reduce credit card debt. If you have $200 monthly to apply to your credit card debt, pay only the minimums only on all cards but the card with the highest interest rate. Put all the rest of the money towards that one. Once that one is paid off, work on the next highest. This is the fastest way to get rid of your credit card debt, and the most important of these credit card tips.

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