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TheStreet Open House

10 Reasons to Avoid Credit Cards

Credit cards get a lot of bad press for good reason: They come with a lot of pitfalls that need to be avoided. But while avoiding credit card debt seems easy on the surface, it can be quite difficult.

The main problem is that credit card companies make their money when you make financial mistakes with your credit card and thus encourage you to fall into debt.

The other day, I gave you 10 reasons why you need credit cards . Today, here are 10 reasons why credit cards can be detrimental to your financial health, and why you may want to avoid them:

1. They can damage your credit score.
Your credit score determines a lot more than what interest rate your mortgage will be. It will affect how much you pay for insurance (if you have bad credit, you're more likely to commit fraud), if you can find a place to live (many apartment complexes check credit ratings to determine whether you are likely to pay your rent) and what jobs you can obtain (companies check credit reports to determine if you will be a good employee). If you accumulate credit card debt and lower your credit rating, you can expect to pay significantly more money than your friends who have good credit ratings.

2. They can come with universal default.
Universal default basically states that if you make a financial mistake somewhere and it gets onto your credit history, the credit card company has the right to raise your interest rate to its highest level. You read that correctly. It doesn't matter if the issue on the credit report has nothing to do with your credit cards. If you make a late payment on your garbage bill, your credit card rates may jump from their current rate to more than 30%.

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