Credit cards are a convenient way to make purchases. However, many credit card companies try to take advantage of your dependence on credit cards. With that in mind, here are five important things that credit card companies don’t want you to know.

1). Everything is negotiable

Did you know that you can negotiate the terms of your credit card before you sign up for them. That’s right, you can negotiate everything from the APR (annual percentage rate) to the grace period and your overall credit limit. That’s because credit card companies have lots of competition.

Be sure to negotiate everything about your credit card before you agree to give them your business. Even a small break in your APR or your grace period can allow you to save big money over the lifetime of your credit card use.

2). Credit card protection insurance is pretty much worthless

Just about every credit card company offers something called credit card protection insurance. This insurance is designed to protect you in case you can’t pay off your credit card due to illness, job loss or other events.

Here’s the problem: These insurance policies have so many exclusions that there is a big chance that the credit card will not honor the policy. Also, the cost of the insurance is pretty pricey. Typically, you could find yourself paying about .90% per $100 on your balance. For instance, if you have $2,000 on your balance, then you will have to pay $18 a month on a policy that will most likely never pay out.

3). Cash advances are not worth it

Credit cards allow you to withdraw money from thousands of ATMs. However, there are many charges that come from getting that fast cash. First, you pay a fee to the ATM machine, then you pay a fee to the credit card company. Finally, the APR on the cash advance is higher than making a product or service purchase. That $100 you want to take out of the ATM can cost you $5 in fee with a 29% APR. It’s simply not worth it.

4). One late payment equals two penalties

If you miss a payment on your credit card, you will be hit with two penalties. First, you will have to pay a late fee. This could run as high as $35. Also, you will have your APR hiked to a higher level. This double penalty makes missing a payment especially painful.

5). Minimum payments are designed to keep you in debt

You would think that minimum payments from credit card companies are designed to make your life easier. However, these minimum payments are designed to keep you in debt. Typically, these minimum payments only cover the interest on the balance. If you only make minimum payments, you will never pay off your balance. This could keep you in debt - to the credit card companies - forever. Learn more on controlling credit card debt here.

Getting the upper hand on credit card companies If you want to make sure that the credit card companies don’t take advantage of you, then make sure that you know all the hidden fees and secrets that the credit cards hide from you. With the right research, you will be able to use your credit card without paying more than you’d expect.

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