With only days away from Christmas, retailers have ramped up their efforts to get shoppers into their stores either for the first time this holiday season or to get them back in for more shopping bliss..
But, it's also been a time where credit card companies have been clamoring to get consumers to sign up for their plastic, offering "perks," "rewards" and "cash back" plans that may end up being more trouble than it's worth for consumers who do not handle credit well..
While the marketing campaigns make it seem so simple to get bonuses, in reality they can be tough to earn or qualify for. In many cases, as Modesto bankruptcy lawyers have seen, people have to spend a certain amount every month, pay off what is owed in a short period or jump through other hoops to get the perks. It's not as simple as receiving the card in the mail, using it and automatically getting money in your pocket. These companies are smart -- they're not giving away any money without making much more.
Credit cards are a necessary evil. Most Americans have at least one and most people have several. In the minority are adults who have no cards and rely on a cash and check system of living. And that's what these cards want because the more we use them, the more in debt we become.
That's where bankruptcy in Modesto comes into play. Many people have fallen for far too many lines of credit, leading them down a path of debt and sometimes financial ruination. These consumers at some point may figure out that late fees, withdrawal transaction fees, and spikes in interest rates can lead them to continually be stuck in debt.
Filing for bankruptcy wipes clean that debt and allows people to live a life without the pressures of creditors and debt collection agencies. There are two chapters of bankruptcy and both are designed with consumers in mind.
According to a recent article by Moneyrates.com, the credit card companies have been putting on a full-court press to lock up as many consumers as possible. They are shooting television commercials with high-priced celebrities, doing mailings and increasing Internet advertising to lure in consumers.
Here are some examples of recent "deals" the companies have been using:
- American Express offered 20 percent discounts when making purchases on Nov. 26 from certain businesses.
- Bank of America pays 2 percent cash back on groceries, 3 percent on gas up to $1,500 every three months. Its Upromise card offers 11 percent cash back for college when shopping through Upromise.com.
- Chase and Citibank are both paying new credit card holders $200 after they put $500 on their card.
- Capital One has a card that offers 1 percent cash back on day-to-day shopping and a 50 percent bonus on earned cash on top of a one-time $100 bonus.
- Discover offers a card with 0 percent interest for 15 months and you get 5 percent back on up to $300 spent.
While the flashy perks may be enticing, don't forget the basics. Read the fine print, find out what the interest rate will be after the introductory rates wear off and do your research. As stated earlier, credit card companies aren't in business to give away money. It's unlikely a consumer can profit from their credit card, so all the promises of perks and cash back are likely just a show. Proceed with caution.