Reporting Michelle Roberts
BOSTON (CBS) – It’s another sign the economy is improving: credit card incentives are on the rise.
Some of the new deals sound good, but it is important to check the fine print.
Starting a jewelry business and then getting sick was a financial strain for Cheryl Laughlin. Keeping up with her expenses became a challenge.
“I really needed a way to pay them with a credit card and kind of float them for a while, until I could get regular work or business,” said Laughlin.
Cheryl’s solution was a card that allowed her to pay late, or even miss a payment, without a penalty.
Citibank has unveiled its Simplicity card which has those features.
The Discover It card is another card that works this way.
Both cards say it’s OK to let things slide. It’s not what one expects to hear from a credit card company, but it was music to Cheryl’s ears. “Since I was using that card to start up all the research and development, I didn’t have to worry, oops, it’s been sitting there for a week too long.”
Edgar Dworsky of www.consumerworld.org in Somerville says these cards do have some consequences to consider.
For example, they have the potential to bring down a credit score.
These days almost every card has some form of reward points, but you give all those up with the Simplicity card.
The Discover It card only allows you to miss a payment and not incur a late fee once.
Dworsky said a good customer could get these same benefits, without giving anything up, just by making a call. “You can certainly negotiate with customer service, ‘I’ve been with the card for 10 years, 20 years whatever, I’ve never been late before, there were some circumstances that came up.’ They will waive it.”
Cheryl has been happy with her card so far, and feels it was just what she needed for her situation. “You just don’t want to be sitting around waiting to start your business, so when it showed up, it was perfect timing.”