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Research: 'Gold' and 'Platinum' Cards are Not Worth It -

Watch out! Everything that glitters isn`t gold. This rule applies to your credit cards as well. Be wary of credit card issuers and advertisements that promise to improve your credit score with a "gold" or "platinum" credit card. Credit card issuers use this tactic to entice consumers, but these credit cards actually do very little to enhance your credit score.

These cards are marketed as general credit cards that can be used anywhere, but reality sets in when the cardholder realizes that they can only buy items from specific catalogs. If the cardholder buys items from these catalogs, the credit card issuer promises that you will be allowed access to a major unsecured credit card, such as MasterCard or Visa. Marketers also explain that participating in their program will open up lines of credit for the consumer is national department stores and other financial perks, in addition to raising your credit.

These types of cards are usually promoted t consumers through direct mail, telephone, television or newspaper advertisements. Many advertisements are directed towards people who live in areas with lower incomes and lower credit scores, who would be more likely to accept an offer that promises to raise their credit score.

A lot of these ‘gold’ and ‘platinum’ cards require that the consumer pay an upfront free of around $50. Some of these credit card issuers also charge a minimum of $30 for their catalogs - which is the only place that you can use the card. Marketers of these cards usually call from 900 or 976 numbers - which charge the consumer for the call. Real credit card companies will call from toll-free 800 numbers.

Also, with these ‘gold’ and ‘platinum’ cards you can only purchase items pictured in their catalog. But you can`t even use the card to pay for the item. You are required to pay cash deposit for each item you want out of the catalog. After you pay the deposit, then the balance can be charged to your card. This is similar to the format that unsecured credit cards use.

The difference between this and an unsecured credit card is that data collected from unsecured credit cards is usually reported to one of the three major credit card bureaus. The data from these ‘gold’ and ‘platinum’ cards do not get reported to the major credit reporting agencies, and therefore have no bearing on your credit score.

All in all, try and stay away from these offers that seem too good to be true. You can`t better your credit score with the tip of a hat; it takes time and dedication to on-time bill payments and debt elimination. Stay away from anything that seems too easy, and check out anything that seems misleading to the Better Business Bureau, the state Attorney General or the consumer protection agency.