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Survey: Only 47 percent of consumers understand their credit cards

It's common that when people enter early adulthood, they start receiving an overload of credit card offers. With an array of new financial possibilities before them, people might even open numerous accounts and start using them for a variety reasons.

But as many New York residents can attest, credit card debt can turn into a black hole where suddenly a person's financial stability and good credit score seem to swirl away into oblivion. There are debt relief options, however, and individuals and families with heavy debt should be aware of their rights.

Not fully understanding the terms of the account is one thing that leads to insurmountable credit card debt. Credit card companies don't make it easy to figure out the various benefits and penalties associated with a particular card, but consumers should at least be aware of the interest rate and the possible penalties for missed payments.

Still, people who are overwhelmed by their credit card agreements should not feel alone. A survey conducted by J.D. Power asked 14,000 consumers about their credit cards, and less than 50 percent of respondents indicated that they had a solid understanding of the terms and conditions of their accounts. Nearly 75 percent of respondents said they didn't understand their cards' interest rates.

The fine print of a credit card agreement can certainly be a daunting thing to consider, and New York residents with heavy credit card debt may want to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to sort out a way of achieving debt relief. Being educated about your options is the best way to make a sound decision regarding your financial future.

Source: philly.com, "Kicking the credit-card habit," Dec. 10, 2013

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