Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Charge it!

Everywhere you go anymore in the shopping world, someone is trying to sell you their credit card. They offer all kinds of deals, such as freebies or savings off your first purchase to get you to sign your name on that paper that makes another sale to achieve their quota. I can't say I haven't ever taken advantage of one of these opportunities myself, because that's how I ended up with my Sears card. While Christmas shopping a few years ago, I was making a good sized purchase, and when the salesclerk told me I could save an additional 15% off this purchase if I had a minute or two to apply for their charge card. My brain automatically calculated what I could save if I did apply and it was enough for me to accept her offer. After a painless minute or so of answering a few questions, the salesclerk gave me my temporary card and rang in my order, complete with my bonus savings of 15%. I then turned around and made an immediate payment with her for my entire purchase. Ha! Sears wasn't going to make any money on charging me their 28% interest! I planned to cut that card up when the plastic version came in the mail, but then had second thoughts on that, and just kept it. I have to say it has come in handy when an appliance has gone off to appliance heaven and I haven't had the funds to go buy a new one. Personally, I always pay the nominal deferral fee and opt with the no interest plan over so many months. It makes it much easier paying for a large purchase when you don't have the money. So now considering every appliance in my home is a Kenmore brand from Sears, I'd have to say that my credit card with them has been a great little financial tool.

Credit Cards though can be a hazard for many people when not used properly. I was reading this article about shopaholics and credit cards, and trouble can definitely arise for you with credit and bad shopping habits. It seems too that most shopaholics are under the age of 25, which makes them not have as much experience with paying high interest and overextending their credit. They just love to shop whether they have the means to pay for their purchases or not.

Another thing to be cautioned about is the rising credit card fraud that happens all too frequently these days. I tell you, these guys are just too smart for their own good. As you know I work in a bank, and it amazes me the number of people that just come in to pay their bill for their credit cards, and don't even know what the charges were for! I kid you not! So always make sure you do a reconciliation of your charges showing on your bill. You can really only protect yourself so much. Sometimes though if you've used your card somewhere where a not so honest employee gets a hold of your information, it can cause you a little grief on your bill. I'm speaking from experience here, as I had returned from a vacation once and found my next bill to have charges at a place I had never heard of, but it was in the same city I was vacationing in. Turns out one of those dishonest employees was working somewhere I had used my card while I was there. I didn't have any problems with my credit card company getting a credit on my bill, but it did take some time, after receipts were ordered from the vendor, copies sent to me along with an affidavit to sign saying it was not my signature or charge.

I'll end this post with one more thought for you to think about when it comes to checking your bill closely... remember the TJMaxx credit card fraud by the masses? Need I say any more?


~*This is a sponsored post*~

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