It's funny how people think about money. Each day I meet with people who are contemplating hiring our firm to represent their interests for personal injury, bankruptcy, a foreclosure defense or short sales, and they ask tough questions like: Are you looking out for my best interests? Who will be working on my case? How much will I be charged for the service? Will you return my phone calls?
I wonder if they asked the tough questions to their credit card companies before selecting their cards. I know I didn't. But, what should we be asking these companies? My list of questions is:
- Finance Charges: Do you have a grace period? And how long is it? What is the minimum finance charge? Am I eligible for it? If not, what can I do to become eligible for the best rate? Do I get charged with interest during the grace period? If I send a check to pay the bill, what is the processing time? Can I pay online, and if so, is there a separate charge for this benefit?
- Credit Report Issues: Do you report all on-time payments to the Credit Reporting Agencies? What happens if I make a late payment? Do all late payments get reported to the Credit Reporting Agencies?
- Privacy Issues: Does your company track my buying habits? Does your company have a policy on a consumer's buying habits? Can your company change our agreement if I shop at a particular store? Will you sell my personal information to anyone? Will you use my personal information for any reason?
I don't think any consumer should have a problem asking these questions. I'm sure the credit card companies' customer service representatives have a script ready to respond to your concerns. I like that consumers can do their homework and prepare for the battle with information and consumers can now make informed decisions.