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Before signing up for the credit card promo, check the fine print

Many residents of Bradley County no doubt go shopping in Cleveland or in nearby Chattanooga. When they get to the checkout line, they may be offered a store credit card that includes a discount or a wonderful deal too hard to pass up. Others may get special offers through the mail promising rebates, travel miles or special benefits.

Residents can come out ahead with these types of special promotional deals. But, they can entice even the most hard working and financially responsible of families to stretch their credit card balances. If a job loss or other financial setback strikes, the credit card bill goes unpaid and a family finds themselves overwhelmed by credit card debt.

As with any credit card offer, even those that do not come with promotional deals, there are some basic items a person needs to consider. The first is what the annual interest rate is going to be after any temporary zero interest deal expires.

For example, almost all credit cards have high APR's relative to house loans or other lines of credit, but the amount of interest charged can vary from card to card. The interest rate is important though, because it could spell hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of additional payments if the credit card does not get paid off each month. Interest can easily negate whatever promotional incentive the card offered.

Likewise, it is also important for consumers to ask about annual or other fees. Sometimes, the most lucrative incentives seems like great deals on the surface, but annual fees can destroy the value.

There are ways to avoid being financially stuck because of a credit card. Sometimes, high credit card debt is unavoidable. In such cases, bankruptcy may be the right option.

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