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Top false beliefs about credit cards

A little ignorance can be costly.

By Karen Datko Oct 2, 2009 12:21AM

No matter how much personal-finance bloggers write about credit cards, myths about them persist. Kristin at Twenties Money Magazine sets the record straight with "TMM top 20 dumb credit card rumors."

Here's No. 18, which we think gets a lot of traction, even though it's absolutely untrue: " Cash advance is the same as using an ATM." In fact, credit card cash advances come with a hefty price tag.

Kristin says, "Actually, any cash advances that you take will probably account for the highest interest rate that you will pay on your credit card."

Another whopper: "It's OK to charge your credit card up to its maximum balance." This is untrue for several reasons, including if you care about your credit score -- which you should. Kristin says that "you should avoid spending more than 30% of your available credit line."

To read all of the posts in the Twenties Money series about credit card myths, click here, here, here, here and here.

Possibly the most widely accepted -- and most insidious -- credit card myth is the one about how it's fine to make just the minimum payment each month. Sure, that's fine, if you don't mind making interest payments for years with nothing to show for it. The best credit card advice is to pay off your balance each month.

Published Sept. 8, 2008



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