The Credit Card Universal Default Ripoff
Quick, call your credit card companies and ask if they use "universal default". If they do, you lose.
With this clause buried away in their "Terms and Conditions" of your credit car, they can charge you huge rates --- up to 35% interest --- if you are late on ANY payment to anyone!
A good example is if you are late on any bill, like your utility bill, then your credit card rate can get jacked up even though it has nothing to do with your utility bill. They'll even hit you with high rates just because the mailman runs late! It's just one more way the credit card companies have come up with on how to rip you off!
PBS' Frontline points out that this Catch 22 clause is now becoming standard in most credit card agreements, and it's increasing.
The clause usually says something like this: All your APRs may increase if you default under any Card Agreement that you have with us because you fail to make a payment to us or any other creditor when due, you exceed your credit line, or you make a payment to us that is not honored.
One report says that 39% of the credit card company customer agreements have a Universal Ripoff clause. That means there's still hope that you can avoid it.
Find out if your credit cards have this clause and, if they do, be forewarned. If you aren't careful they will zap you! It'd be wise to start looking for a credit card company that cares more about how you pay them instead of how they can get more of your money.
This post was inspired by an alert received from my cousin, David Burdge in Florida, who was also struck by the unfairness of this little-known credit card company tactic to take your money.