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Avoid Secured Credit Card Scams

May 21, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

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If you are in need of a secured credit card, take time to research card offers before accepting one.  First of all, make sure the credit card company reports to a credit bureau.  If not, the card is not providing any benefit to your credit history. 

Here are some things to help you avoid secured credit card scams:

  • Offers of easy credit without a credit review.  No company can guarantee your improved credit history without first reviewing your credit report.
  • Requirement to call a 900 number first.  After paying for the call, you will typically not receive a card or anything else.
  • Cards offered by credit repair companies or clinics.  Such companies may offer to repair your credit history for a fee.  However, you can review your credit report and correct outdated or incorrect information yourself by contacting the credit bureaus directly.  Plus, only time and regular payments can improve your credit history.

If you are still wary of becoming a credit card scam victim, there are other options for improving your credit history.  First, apply for a small loan from a local bank or lending institution.  You can also apply for a charge card from a local store.  Find out if these creditors report to the credit bureau.

Another option may be to ask a friend or relative with good credit history to act as a co-signer on a card or loan.  Just remember that your payment history affects their credit history as well as yours, so be especially conscious of making timely payments!

If you are still having trouble with your finances, consider visiting a credit counseling service.  Non-profit organizations in every state assist consumers with credit repair and financial planning.

Most services will help you establish a budget and spending limits for recurring monthly bills.  They can also work with your creditors to set realistic payments amounts and possibly consolidate some of your payments. 

Credit services are often operated by universities, military bases, credit unions, and housing authorities at no or low charge to customers.  Check your local phone book, bank or credit union for services in your area.

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