Rising interest rates force families into ‘credit card trap’ and other news

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

Paying with credit cards is convenient, and you can stretch your payments if cash is tight.

But rising interest rates make these credit cards dangerous these days.

Alicia Turner knows this. This mother says that buying food for her family is getting more and more expensive every week.

“It is very difficult to buy what you are trying to buy,” she said.

Inflation in grocery stores is over 10 percent, she said, adding to her credit card costs.

And if you don’t pay your bill in full every month, that bill can grow very quickly.

More use of credit cards at the same time as rates rise

Inflation and the end of stimulus checks mean many consumers are shopping more with their credit cards right now.

But at the same time, rates are skyrocketing: According to Bankrate.com, the average credit card interest rate now exceeds 18 percent.

As card rates approach 20%, financial experts say it’s easy to fall into the “credit card trap.”

That’s where you don’t have enough cash each month to pay even half of your monthly credit card bill, so the balance keeps going up and up.

Suzanne Powell is a financial consultant and author of The Ultimate Money Moves for Women of 50.

She says, “What could have taken you 5 years can now take 8, 9 or 10 years.”

If you have an 18 percent interest rate balance on your card, Powell says, a vacation or a big-screen TV could cost you a lot more than you ever dreamed of.

“Over time, they don’t really realize that they paid twice as much for it,” she said.

Powell suggests if you fall into the credit card trap:

  • Try to pay off your balance, starting with the credit card with the highest rate.
  • Look for a zero interest balance transfer card if you qualify. There are also cards that will charge zero interest if you transfer your balance to them.
  • Pay with cash or a debit card instead of a credit card if possible. Limit credit card use to gas, groceries, and essentials.

Mom Alicia Turner tries not to accumulate large credit card bills, but inflation is getting in the way.
“It’s getting tighter,” she said. “You have to work twice as hard to earn an income.”

The worst news for many families is that credit card rates are expected to rise even more in the coming weeks.

So watch how often you say “charge” so you don’t waste your money.

___

Don’t Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).

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For more consumer news and money saving tips, visit www.dontwasteyourmoney.com.

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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