Credit Card woes at the pump - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Credit Card woes at the pump

August 9, 2006

Valdosta - With the price of gasoline putting financial pressure on everyone's wallet, credit cards can be useful.  But they can also be dangerous to your financial well being.  It's a case of pay now or pay more later.

Etehel Smith must drive her sick son back and forth from Gainesville, Florida almost every week.  And the soaring prices at the pump aren't making her job any easier.  "Between going to Gainesville and working, that's taking up my money, especially with gas prices going so high," Smith said.

To help keep some money in her pocket she has joined millions of consumer in paying for her gas with her credit card.  But she's not always paying it off at the end of the month.  "It depends on whether I have it or not."

She, like many people who only pay the minimum each month, could end up paying a lot more in the long run.  To help explain we did some simple math.

Studies show the average consumer purchases about 530 gallons of gas a year.  At $3.00 a gallon that comes to $1,590.00.  That breaks down to about $133.00 a month in gas.

Now if you purchase it on your credit card and pay only the average minimum of 4 %, then by the end of the year you will owe an additional $400.00 with interest.

That's $400.00 you wouldn't have to pay if you purchased your gas with cash.  

"Maybe I should start paying with cash if it will save me money in the long run," said VSU freshman Cameron Hoopes.  He never pays with anything other than his credit card.

If you must use a credit card to pay for your gas, make sure to pay it off on time every month.  With some credit cards you can earn reward points, build your credit, and not pay any more on gas than the high price on the pump.

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