You may have seen the following ads or something similar:
Separated? Divorced? Bankrupt? Widowed? Bad Credit? No Credit?
Make the call NOW and get the credit you deserve!
– Even if you’ve been turned down before, you owe it to yourself and your family.
– Your major credit card is waiting.
If you have no credit or a poor credit history, this ad may appeal to you. Using a secured credit card can be an effective way to build or re-establish your credit history. Be aware, however, that some marketers of secured credit cards make deceptive advertising claims to get you to respond to their ads.
Secured and unsecured credit cards work the same way; both can be used to pay for goods and services. A secured card requires security for your line of credit; an unsecured card does not. The savings account for a secured card may range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Your credit line will be a percentage of your deposit, typically from 50 to 100 percent. Usually, a bank will pay interest on your deposit.
Also, you may have to pay application and processing fees that sometimes amount to hundreds of dollars. Before you apply, be sure to ask what the total fees are and if they will be refunded if you are denied a card. A secured credit card also often requires an annual fee and has higher interest rates than unsecured cards.
The Federal Trade Commission has taken action against companies that deceptively advertise Visa and MasterCard through television, newspapers, and postcards. The ads may offer unsecured credit cards, secured credit cards, or not specify a type of card. The ads typically are phrased to make you believe you can get a credit card simply by calling a telephone number listed in the ad.
Sometimes the number is not toll-free. A “900” number service, for which you will be billed just for making the call, may instruct you to give your name and address to receive a credit application, or it may give you a list of banks offering secured cards, or direct you to call another “900” number at an additional charge to get more information. Be aware that deceptive ads often leave out important information.
They often omit the cost of the “900” telephone call, which can range from $2 to $50, or more.
The ads often do not mention a required security deposit, and application and processing fees for the secured card.
The ads frequently fail to say anything about income and age requirements.
The ads may not mention the annual fee for the secured card and a higher than average interest rate on any balance.
To avoid being victimized by a secured credit card marketing scam, look for the following signals.
Beware of offers of easy credit. No one can guarantee to get you credit. Even if you maintain a sterling record on your account, that is only one factor other creditors will consider. Any unfavorable history will be considered also.
Be wary of credit cards offered by “credit repair” companies or “credit clinics.” These businesses also may offer to clean-up your credit history for a fee. However, you can correct genuine mistakes or outdated information yourself by contacting credit bureaus directly. But remember; only time and good credit will repair your credit report if you have a poor credit history, and any suggestion that you acquire a new social security number or other federal ID may be illegal.