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The college student's guide to credit cards- Part 2

Danielle Bly

Issue date: 11/13/09 Section: News
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In the last segment, general information about credit cards was given, and the pros and cons of owning credit cards were evaluated. For that information, visit the Observer website at cwruobserver.com. This week I'll be addressing how to evaluate a credit card offer (and how to pick the one that's best for you).

How to Evaluate Credit Card Offers

It's easy to evaluate a credit card offer once you know what to look for. Federal laws mandate credit card companies to supply customers with specific information about the terms of their credit card offers. This information is called "The Schumer Box," and all of the information you need is in it. We'll look at each item in the Schumer Box so you know what to look for in each one.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Purchases: If you don't pay your balance in full each month, the APR is the percentage you'll have to pay on your balance. Student credit cards tend to have a higher interest rate than other cards, simply because students generally have a weaker credit history. These rates can be extremely high (some as high as 30 percent).

Other APRs: Other APRs apply to transactions made on the credit card other than purchases. Examples include cash advances and balance transfers. These rates are even higher than the APR for purchases, so avoid making these high interest transactions if you can.

Variable Rate Information: Credit card interest rates can either be fixed or variable. A variable rate fluctuates based on a specific measure. Credit card companies are trending towards these variable rates. Most companies tie these rates to the prime rate.

Grace Period for Repayment of the Balance of Purchases: This information is extremely important because it indicates how much time you have to pay your monthly balance in order to avoid interest charges. This amount of time varies greatly from company to company, so be sure to know this information before you choose a credit card.

Method of Computing the Balance of Purchases: If you manage your credit cards correctly, you'll never have to worry about this metric because it involves how the company computes your daily balance to determine your finance charges. Most companies compute this using average daily balance.

Foreign Currency Transaction Fee: If you ever plan to travel out of the country, this metric is very important. Most companies charge a percentage fee on any purchases made outside the U.S. These fees can be as high as 2 percent, so be sure to weigh the convenience of having a credit card overseas with the cost of this fee.
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In This Issue

News

  • Can you name this place?
  • Class inspires students to start CSEC
  • CWRU's Eco-Party
  • Eyewitness: Editor-in-chief for a day
  • Have you heard about Grupo de Capoeira?
  • Spectrum's sixth annual Drag Ball takes place Saturday
  • The college student's guide to credit cards - Part 3
  • USG creates transparency committee to improve communication
  • USG Brief

Sports

  • Colts and Saints are NFL's teams to beat
  • Five thoughts on the '09 season
  • Football's success is built on this senior class
  • Men win Veale Classic
  • Spartan Spotlight: Erin Hollinger
  • Spartans cap perfect 10-0 regular season
  • Spartans get first-ever win against B-W
  • Women's basketball drops lidlifter

Fun Page

  • Combo Scramble Solution
  • Crossword Solution
  • Sudoku Solutions

Opinion

  • Discriminating against smokers again
  • Editorial: CWRU athletics' accomplishments praiseworthy
  • It takes two to have unsafe sex
  • Nothing much humane about humanity
  • SEC referendum deserves impartial consideration
  • The gap year: volunteering
  • Where is your favorite campus spot to chill, nap or relax?

Focus

  • American Music Masters Series wraps up week with Janis Joplin tribute
  • CIM graduate returns to Cleveland with jazz, cabaret aspirations
  • Delta Gamma swims for sight
  • Green is the new black: eco-friendly fashion
  • Hitting the spot: Atlas Sound
  • Holiday season with a cranberry craze
  • Latest installment in popular Call of Duty series improves on already high quality franchise
  • Sigma Psi hosts Mr. CWRU competition to benefit local communities
  • Starving Student: simple grub
  • The Buzz

Cross Country

  • Women finish third in region, qualify for nationals

Football

  • Bracket Breakdown
  • Football Gameday: Case vs. Trine

Sex and Dating

  • Passive pregnancy prevention plan

Soccer

  • Crooks UAA's Coach of the Year
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