Credit Card Upgrade May Have a Downside - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Posted by: George Brown 7/13/04 10:21PM

Credit Card Upgrade May Have a Downside

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We are a credit card nation with millions of card users and the Mid-South is no different. Everyday we get offers to upgrade our current cards to Gold, Platinum even Titanium. A recent survey showed more than half the people whose credit cards were upgraded weren't expecting it. "I didn't ask for the upgrade," said Carlton McCain yet he got one, two actually, "I received two credit cards in the mail saying I had been upgraded. There was a note saying there was a 65 dollar charge for the upgrade." But many people have complained they weren't notified of the fee to change a card. Other complaints include stiffer penalties, increased late fees and higher interest rates in one case from five to twenty four percent. And Jack Hogan will help you, he's a counselor at the Consumer Credit Counseling office here in Memphis. Hogan says one of the tricks of the credit card upgrade is to shorten your billing period meaning more frequent payments or in many cases missed payments, "Right when their statement comes they have less than a week to get a payment in." "Credit counselors say the best thing you can do if you go to the mailbox and find an offer for a new card or an upgrade is read the materials. Afterall the big print giveth, the little print taketh away and that can mean the difference between five percent interest and twenty five percent interest." Hogan says there can be an upside to upgrades or card changes especially if store cards align themselves with a company like Mastercard or Visa, "They get better rates, better benefits, better in house programs for deficiencies regarding your credit cards." If you'd rather not worry about the downside of upgrades, do what Shirley Kee does, "When I see the front of them I just throw them in the garbage." Just make sure you shred them first.

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