When used correctly, credit cards may offer advantages over all the other forms of payment. If you’re using a card with a rewards program, for example, you can earn cash back or points toward travel or merchandise. Unfortunately, credit cards have long held a bad reputation for being gateways to endless debt and financial ruin.
Hiding in the jargon-filled “Terms and Conditions,” credit card issuers reserve their rights to turn a manageable credit card account into a nightmare. Everything may seem fine when you’re swiping your card and making on-time payments. But, miss a payment here or go over the limit there and — with the flip of a switch — you’re faced with fees and penalty rates.
By understanding some of the lesser-known pitfalls of having a credit card, you can minimize the detrimental effects of a credit card slip-up: