MADISON, Wis. (10/29/09)--Personal finance expert Suze Orman is urging consumers to look into credit union credit cards as an alternative to the credit cards offered by large banks. “I think what many of the major banks are doing to their credit card holders is a travesty,” Orman says on her website, referring to the high fees and rates that some charge. “To fight back, I want all of you to look into credit union credit cards as an alternative.” Orman’s website also features a blog posting by Ondine Irving, founder of Card Analysis Solutions. The posting is listed under “The Suze Scoop.” “Your best bet is to get a credit card from a credit union that owns its own program,” Irving writes. Of the roughly U.S. 8,000 credit unions, about half have their own card programs, she said. “I am strongly opposed to credit unions selling their card portfolios to banks,” Irving added. “But in all fairness, some credit unions needed capital to either build new branches or utilize the funds for other purposes.” Credit unions offer the following with their cards, according to Irving:
* Fixed interest rates ranging from 7.95% to 17.95%, based on FICO scores. Federally chartered credit unions cannot charge more than 18%; * Late fees of $20 to $25 with a five-day payment grace peiod; * No penalty annual percentage rates (APR); * No separate cash advance or balance transfer APRs; * No annual fees; and * Generous rewards programs, including points that can be redeemed on any airline with no blackout dates.
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