There's a reason why most credit cards require that you pay only 2 percent of your balance each month.
Suppose you owed $2,000. If your card had a 19 percent interest rate and you paid only 2 percent of your balance each month, it would take about 33 years to erase the debt, even if you never charged another item, said Jim Jorgensen, publisher of It's Your Money, a newsletter.
You would end up paying more than $7,000 in interest, plus the original $2,000. Be smart. Pay credit-card debts in full. If you can't, pay as much as you can. It's one of the best investments you'll ever make.
Ford Motor Co. recently jumped into the credit-card market and offering Visa and Mastercard.
The cards carry an interest rate of 15.9 percent through Dec. 31, but it goes to 19.8 percent Jan. 1.
Ford charges no annual fees and has a rebate program that varies with the amount you charge each year. If your charges total at least $1,000, you'll get back 0.5 percent of your purchases. If you charge at least $3,000, you will get back 1.5 percent.
Ford said that the card was being marketed mainly to Ford customers, but anyone can apply. For information, call (800) 638-3673.
American workers earned an average of $15.41 per hour as of March 31 -- $11.14 in wages and $4.27 in benefits, the Labor Department said. Blue-collar workers averaged $15.15 an hour, of which $10.37 was wages and $4.78 was benefits. White-collar workers earned about $18.15 -- $13.40 in pay and $4.75 in benefits.
If you've been skipping court-ordered child-support payments, watch out; it soon may be part of your credit history.
The National Child Support Advocacy Coalition has a new program that will inform credit agencies when parents ignore obligations. TRW Inc. and Equifax Inc., the major credit agencies, agreed this week to include the information in their reports. For information, parents who have custody of a child may send a business-size, stamped, self-addressed envelope to NCSAC, P.O. Box 420, Hendersonville, Tenn. 37077-0420.