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Always Read the Fine Print

September 18th, 2015 at 07:49 am

Yesterday I received an offer in the mail for a credit card. In big letters on the front it says "0% interest on balance transfers for first 9 months". But read the fine print and it says "5% balance transfer fee or $10, whichever is higher". Well it turns out much to my surprise 5% is not 0%. And in fact that interest rate is even higher than 5%, as you're paying that all upfront on the original balance.

One of the things I truly hate about the industry I work in, is that they feel it's their obligation to trick the general public. Fees only disclosed in the fine print, special offers that are almost impossible to achieve, huge penalties if you make even a small mistake.

Here is the problem. Reading and understand that stuff is a) is boring as hell, and b) makes you feel like an idiot because you can't figure out what they are saying. But you have to do it. So here are a few things I suggest you do whenever you're dealing with any contract related to the financial services industry.

1. Ask them to tell you what the downsides are. Ask them what the fees are, what happens if you make a late payment. Getting it in email is best, it may give you ammunition down the road if they don't disclose something.

2. Get someone else to go over it with you. It really will be 1/2 as much pain if a spouse, partner or friend helps you go over it.

3. Ask in the financial forums like Savingsadvice about what to look out for.

Don't let them make you feel like a victim. You work hard for your money. Don't let the financial services firm trick you out of some of it with their confusing fine print.

1 Responses to “Always Read the Fine Print”

  1. PatientSaver Says:

    Amen.

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