May 19, 2006, Newsletter Issue #16: Interest Rate Increases on Multiple Cards

Tip of the Week

A little-known secret about late credit card payments is that the creditors actually love it when you pay late. That's right. They love it, because they make buckets of money off the credit card late fees they charge you each time you pay late. Plus, depending on the terms of your agreement, if you pay late even just once, your interest rate can be jacked up to over 20 percent.

For payments that are late but are made within thirty days of the due date, the pain usually ends there. Cross that thirty-day threshold, though, and wheels kick into motion that will haunt you for months if not years to come. That's because if even one of your credit card companies reports a late payment to a credit reporting agency such as Equifax or TranUnion, all your other credit card companies will likely jack their interest rates sky high, too. Plus, your credit score will suffer a little more for each late payment. The lower your credit score, the more you pay for credit. If you pay your bills on time, you can get the best interest rates offered. Pay late and lenders will gouge you with higher interest rates or deny you because they consider you too risky to do business with.

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