Beware of financial shopping traps


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A warning to holiday shoppers looking to save a buck.  The money you’re saving may come saddled with unexpected consequences if you’re not careful. Retailers know you want to save money and they are making it possible, but it could come at the expense of your credit.

It seems that the list you’re required to check twice just keeps getting longer and as it does, money gets tighter.  Retailers know this and will try to entice you with deals like a percentage off when you open a credit card.

“There’s a hidden cost to opening up new credit cards which is, it hurts your credit score. Every time someone makes an inquiry into your credit it hurts your credit score,” said Hartford Attorney Sarah Poriss, who works with people with financial issues.

She says saving that money may feel worth it up front but think about this before you bite: Those cards typically have high interest rates.  So, ask the merchant what the interest rate is before you sign. Find out how much the ticket price will go up if you don’t pay it off right away. Ask yourself, if it’s worth a negative hit on your credit score?

“You might have the unexpected consequence of a lower credit score and you might not be able to qualify for that home you were hoping to purchase in the Spring or to refinance your home or to get that new car you knew you needed,” Poriss said.

Another common temptation the opportunity to finance big ticket items you might not otherwise be able to purchase tablets or other big ticket items. Overtime you may double or triple the ticket price. In that case, ask yourself if you’ll even still be using the product when it’s finally paid off.

Poriss gave us advice to avoid some of these traps. It’s simple really. While you’re home, plan on how you’re going to pay for items: cash, check credit card and stick to that plan. Don’t let the excitement and temptation to take another route cloud your ultimately goal which is to get what you need without starting the year in a heap of debt.

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