Don't Let Hurricane Sandy Wreak Havoc With Your Credit Cards
Of course, if you know you'll be able to zero your balance within a matter of weeks then go ahead and enjoy those rewards. For example, in the last quarter of 2012, Discover is offering card members a 5 percent cash-back bonus on up to $1,500 in department store and online shopping purchases, though you have to register online or through the company's call center to be eligible.
However, if you won't be zeroing your balance anytime soon, it's virtually inevitable that you'd be better off using low interest credit cards. Those with the lowest rates don't generally offer rewards, but you could save a bundle with them. For instance, on that same fateful day Hurricane Sandy came ashore, the Simmons First Visa® Platinum card, which is available only to those with excellent credit, had a variable rate of just 7.25 percent APR.
Balance transfer credit cards
One more trick you might want to pull from your sleeve is to apply for balance transfer credit cards that offer a zero-percent introductory APR. Using these, you can pay down your card debt more quickly because you can use the money that would normally have gone on interest to reduce it. However, these products need to be treated with care: that interest-free 6, 12, 15 or 18 months is going to fly by, and you must be sure you can afford payments when the card moves to its standard rate.
Balance transfer offers change notoriously quickly, and you should click that link to check what's current by the time you read this. But, at the end of October, at least six cards were offering 15 months at zero percent APR, and a couple were giving 18 months. Most -- though not quite all -- charge a one-off balance transfer fee, which is usually 3 percent.Credit cards can be our friends during difficult times such as these, but only if they're treated with respect. If Hurricane Sandy has already wreaked havoc with your home and belongings, don't let it continue to ruin your life through future financial hardship.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV