9 questions before choosing a credit card
How will I be treated if I fall behind?
While it sounds counterproductive, you want to ask some detailed questions on how the issuer will treat you if you run into financial problems, says McClary.
Will you lose points or benefits? Will you be hit with late fees or a penalty rate? Ask what those penalties are or look online at the terms and conditions for the card.
Some issuers have programs to slash interest temporarily for customers who get behind, he says. Others don't. So find out ahead of time what kind of programs the issuer offers that will help you rehabilitate your account and restore your original terms, McClary says.
Ask about the "worst case scenario," he says. "When do they consider an account to be charged off? And when do they send an account to a collection agency?"
"It may be a little tough to get a hold of that information because it might not be readily available at the customer service level," says McClary. "You may have to punch it up a level."