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Credit Card Booby Traps

Cal Thomas | Syndicated columnist | Friday, May 24, 2002

Credit Card Booby Traps

Do you have a credit card that imposes fees and interest if you don't pay off the entire balance each month? Did you know that the credit card industry made $7.3 billion off people like you last year, up from $1.7 billion in 1996?

They're doing this by shortening the grace period and imposing higher fees. Fifty eight percent of cardholders had to pay a late fee last year. Company executives are bragging about this unearned income. I pay off my cards each month, but recently found a $1 charge buried in one of my bills. When I called the card company, the operator feigned ignorance and removed the charge. Do you check your bills for the due date each month? It often changes. By law, the grace period between the end of the billing cycle and when you must pay cannot be less than 14 days.

So check those statements. Look at the date the bill is due and watch out for hidden charges. As the guy on TV says, "It's your money." I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.