Money Tip:Credit Cards - Universal Default Clause

If you use credit cards, get out your contractual agreement with the credit card company. Does your agreement have a "universal default clause?" Of course the best option is not to have to use any credit card company at all, but if you do - try to find one that doesn't burden you with a "universal default clause."

The "universal default clause" allows your card company (we'll call it Company X) to raise your credit card interest rate, if it determines from your credit report that you have been late on another bill, (that bill could be another credit card, or say your utility bill, or your mortgage, among others), even if you are making timely payments on Company X's credit card. Company X now has the go-ahead to hike your rate into the interest rate stratosphere - often hiking rates as high as 24.99% and even 31%.

Check your interest rate each and every month, so if they have exercised their right, you can exercise yours and move to another credit card company, or better yet pay off the offending debt.

Let us know of your experiences with the "universal default clause."

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