Just Say No To These Tempting Credit Card Situations

Submitted by Jen Jones on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 8:00pm

Just Say No To These Tempting Credit Card Situations

Believe it or not, there are some situations when credit cards can be a benefit. They are often the only option when making travel reservations, and can come in handy in the event of genuine emergencies. A credit card can also help you build good credit, or rebuild credit after bankruptcy.

Yep, so that's about four reasons. The reasons NOT to use credit can fill a book, but here are just a few situations in which using plastic seems like a good idea, but you're much better off just saying no!

Department store credit accounts: notoriously high interest rates are just one great reason to avoid department store credit accounts. But did you know that sometimes proprietary credit accounts from merchandisers allow the seller to take an interest in the things you buy on credit? This means that should you find yourself in a financial emergency down the line and unable to repay them, they could be entitled to take your stove or washing machine back. North Carolina law offers some protection against these disguised secured debts, but it's best to just to avoid them altogether

Paying your taxes with your credit card: Taxes are not necessarily dischargeable in bankruptcy the way unsecured debt is…and your credit card debt won't be either if you used the card for non-dischargeable debt! This will apply to other non-dischargeable debt as well, so be careful about putting payments to , for example, student loans, on your charge accounts. But note that only the part of the credit card debt you use to pay non-dischargeable debt will itself be non-dischargeable.

Balance transfers: A classic  marketing strategy of the credit card industry is offering lower interest rates on balance transfers. They way they sell this nonsense is to make you believe that it will be cheaper for you in the long run. But the situation isn't as simple as they'd like you to believe. If you do a balance transfer, you're taking on new debt. Unless you're committed to shutting down the first account for good, you're exposing yourself to the temptation of more debt. Many people believe they will be able to play this game successfully, and the credit card industry has made billions by playing on this belief.

A balance transfer could also force you to delay filing for bankruptcy, because if you do one just prior to filing, it may be viewed as a preferential transfer.

Big purchases right before bankruptcy: Speaking of charging up just prior to bankruptcy, you definitely want to avoid anything that could look like fraud. If the credit card company can convince the court that you made purchases on the card with the intention of filing for bankruptcy, the debt may become non-dischargeable, and you may be putting your whole filing at risk.

Living off credit to avoid filing for bankruptcy: This is an absolutely TERRIBLE idea. All you're doing is creating bigger and bigger problems for yourself. If your situation cannot be managed without credit--if you find yourself taking out credit to pay for prior credit, it's past time for you to consider bankruptcy as a lasting solution to your financial problems.

In North Carolina, call the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt to set up a free initial debt consultation. Convenient office locations in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville and Wilson.

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