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Key questions to ask before signing up for a credit card

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Whether you apply for a card, ask a phone representative to send you information, hook up with a card company's online applications or receive an uninvited application through the mail, don't sign up until you have asked some key questions.

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• Is there an introductory rate? What is it and how long does it last?

• After that, what will my rate be?

• Is there an application fee?

• Are there processing fees?

• Is there an annual fee?

• Is there a late fee?

• Is there an over-the-limit fee?

• Are there any other fees, like account termination fees or balance-transfer fees?

• When and how can a variable rate be changed?

• What is the grace period before interest is applied?

• How will you inform me of any changes in my contract?

• Will the company inform me if I am about to go over my limit?

• If I go over my limit, what happens?

• What is the company policy if I have trouble paying my bill?

• May I pay my bill online?

From bankrate.com: http://www.bankrate.com/nltrack/green/cc/basics1-2a.asp?caret=3

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