Pitfalls and benefits to credit cards

Nina Pineda with the report that could save you money.
Seven On Your Side
March 14, 2014 3:08:13 PM PDT
If you have a credit card, and most do, the devil's in the details when it comes to the fine print on your credit card agreement.

Before you use your plastic, it may be time to pick up the paper and read your credit card agreement.

"It's terrible, but it's the brutal reality," said Ross Kenneth Urken, of TheStreet.com.

Urken has the first plastic pitfall, paying your credit card bill late.

First, you'll be hit with a late fee and then you'll be socked with additional interest charges.

"It's sneaky. It's an interest rate that's charged retroactively. So the past 60 days of charges that you've put on your credit card are going to incur interest, just because you're one day late," Urken said.

And if you're late paying bills two times in a row, your interest rate can skyrocket.

"If your standard interest rate on a credit card is 11% or 15% it can almost double. So you can be looking at 25 or 29.99%," Urken said.

And reward cards, plastic that pays you back in miles or points, have limits where the benefits stop.

"So realize the limit is there and cap your spending to maximize the benefits," Urken said.

The news isn't all bad; many cards have benefits tucked away in the fine print like price protection or additional warranties.

So it's important to give your credit card agreement a quick look so you can take advantage of any benefits.