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Tempted to apply for a store-brand credit card? You should know the risks.

"Do you want to apply for a card and save 15% on all today's purchases?" If you have recently made a purchase at a large retailer, you may have heard these words at the checkout stand. "Save 15%" or "no-interest for 12 months" may seem like a smart move when you're making a large purchase or are short on cash. But what are the risks associated with store-brand cards? It's important to understand the potential dangers associated with these all-too enticing savings.

Store-brand cards, known in the industry as private-label cards, actually present specific hazards for cardholders. For example, did you know that if you carry a balance on a store-brand card and miss a payment or make a late payment, your initial savings may be wiped out entirely. Opening a new credit card account can also affect your credit score, as can late payments on this card. These accounts often carry higher interest rates, at approximately 25%. If you take away the brand name and the store discounts, you may find that you are left with a credit card that does more harm than good.

The lure of easy credit has not gone unnoticed by Congress. The credit card legislation that went into effect in February of last year now requires consumers to list more information on card applications, such as income and assets, to provide a more accurate analysis of their ability to pay for a credit card before they receive the new card. Unfortunately, this may not affect a consumer's ability to receive a new card. Retailers are not required to verify this information.

There are certainly benefits to store-brand cards, particularly if you can make a purchase at a discount and then pay off the card before interest kicks in. It is therefore important to look at all of the consequences of applying for and receiving a store-brand card before you take the plunge deeper into debt.

At Jacoby & Jacoby, we are experienced bankruptcy attorneys dedicated to helping consumers throughout Long Island with their debt-related needs. We can offer helpful guidance and legal representation in the face of overwhelming debt, including store-brand credit card debt.

To learn more about our services and how we may be able to help you, contact a Long Island bankruptcy lawyer at our firm today.

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