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4 important sites to visit before choosing a credit card

A major problem that's causing a rising amount of financial challenges and other issues with American consumers is credit card debt. However, for many large purchases, it's important to have a good line of credit. Few people can afford to pay cash for a house or a car, and it's nearly impossible to walk into a car dealership or mortgage lender's office and get a loan with zero or poor credit. Building good credit is also essential for new business owners.

So how does a person obtain good credit without suffering from the many negative issues that come from having too much debt? One of the easiest ways for a person to start building good credit is to open up a credit card account. But once a credit account is opened, it's almost too easy to overspend and rack up more debt than you can handle. Far too many consumers wind up in this trap, and some even end up facing bankruptcy - which ruins your credit for years.

It's still possible to use a credit card and avoid the pitfalls. When shopping for a card, important factors must be considered, such as the interest rate and fee structures, which are different for each issuer. The following is a list of four helpful sites that anyone considering a new credit card should read through before filling out a credit application:

•· Bankrate.com

•· Creditcards.com

•· Federal Reserve

•· U.S. Small Business Administration

Remember, it's important to stay away from the types of bad spending habits with credit cards that contribute to financial problems. But it is possible to make good decisions with credit cards that will lead to the advantages a stellar credit report can offer.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, "How to choose a credit card," Chuck Myers, Feb. 25, 2013 (source not available online)

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