Interest Rates: Right now the average credit card in America has an interest rate of about 13 percent. But the fact is that credit cards today have interest rates ranging from zero percent to as high as 40 percent annually. Today pull out your credit cards and find out (by reading your statement) exactly what your debt is costing you. Then go to a website like or to look at competitive offers. Before you switch your debt to one of the low interest rate cards call your current credit card company and ask to have your rate lowered using the tips in the previous slide.

Late Fees: We've all been late on a credit card bill before. But today it's big business. Late fees range from $15 to as high as $39. And on top of that most credit card companies will up your interest rate on top of the late fee. It's reported that nearly a third of the credit card business revenue today comes from late fees. What many people don't know is that most credit card companies will waive your late fees, if you call and ask them to do so. If you know you may be late on a bill, call in advance and ask for a grace period. Ask the person you speak with to "document" your record, so you have proof you called in advance of the bill being late. If you really are late, call and ask if they can give you a break and waive your late fee. No matter what, make sure you ask for the customer service representative's name as well as their badge number or ID number so you can document your own proof of the call.

Teaser Offers: As mentioned earlier there are droves of credit card companies now offering "zero percent" credit cards. Many are offering zero percent for six months, twelve months, and twenty-four months. Some will offer zero percent on all debt that you move or consolidate to them. The secret is to read the "fine print". All of these offers have to legally share what the "catch" is. The catch on most of these offers is that if you are late just one time the interest rate can jump as high as 20 percent. If you're late two times it may jump up to 29 percent. So read the fine print closely. Also many of these offers charge you a "transfer fee" for debt that is moved (usually ranging from 1 percent to 3 percent with a variable maximum) of the amount transferred.

Annual Fees: Credit card annual fees can range from nothing to as high as $2500. Most credit card companies' annual fees range from $35 to $100 annually. Depending on the card, you may be able to get these fees waived, by simply calling and asking. Typically cards with frequent flyer programs or rebate offers won't waive the fees. Regular cards with no special offers often will waive the fees (especially if you're a customer in good standing).
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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