Have you read the terms and conditions of your credit card? Do you still own a copy of the terms and conditions of your credit card? If not, why not?
Yes, we know that the terms leaflet is one of the least-read pieces of writing in the world, but it really does pay to read through and understand how your money works.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where we click through user agreements without reading them, and if Microsoft buried something into the terms and conditions for the latest version of Windows about owning our souls, nobody would ever know about it because nobody ever reads past “Congratulations for buying this product…”
According to a recent survey, less than half of people admitted that they understand their credit card’s terms of trade, and on top of that three quarters didn’t even know what interest rate they’re being charged, even though it’s clearly printed somewhere on their statement every month.
This is a shocking state of affairs, which often mean less than scrupulous financial institutions can get away with deliberately vague wording on their agreements, knowing that they can get away with it without being questioned.
However, there are good companies and bad companies. Good companies have their terms and conditions available in plain and easy to understand language that most customers will understand. Some companies will even display their full terms on their website and accompany it with a FAQ that explains some of the denser points. However, all banks should be able to explain their terms to you and discuss how it applies to your account if you ring their call centre. We’ve found ourselves doing just that on more than one occasion, and found that the operators are friendly, knowledgeable and only too keen to help.
There’s no excuse for not knowing how your credit card works, and what rates or fees you might end up paying. Knowledge is your friend, so get clued up.
Article by Jason Taylor – [email protected]