Unsolicited credit card offers pour into southeast Texas mailboxes every day offering no annual fee, low annual percentage rates, and pre-approved credit limits. How do you sort them all out? What should a person do? With some suggestions is Michael Clayton, President/CEO of the Better Business Bureau that serves all of southeast Texas.
1. How do you begin to evaluate these offers?
First : Ask yourself, "Do I need this offer? If not, destroy the material and find out who sent the offer and request your name be removed for the solicitor’s mailing list.
Second : Although the reference may be to VISA or MasterCard, don’t assume a bank is issuing the card. It may be an independent marketer attempting to charge you for a credit card application.
2. What if the offer says you are pre-approved?
If no specific dollar amount is mentioned, pre-approval many mean very little. It does not mean that the issuer knows you can handle the extra credit, but it may mean the issuer wishes you to provide more information before he commits himself to a specific amount. Before applying, ask what amount is being offered.
3. What about upfront and other fees?
Application fees, annual and secured amount fees, finance charges, interest and late fees --- find out exactly who you must pay, how much and what for!
4. If you have any questions, contact the BBB --
Get a reliability/ratings report on the company. For secure, free information call (409) 835-5348 or (800) 685-7650, or find us online 24 hours a day at www.bbb.org .