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Also, if make late payments twice within a year, many cards trigger "default" rates that you will pay on your balance.

These rates may be five or ten points higher than your regular rate, which may result in interest rates of 25%, 28%, 30%, or even higher.

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For example, with many cards, consumers will not enjoy any grace period on new purchases if a balance is carried over from month to month.

With such cards, you will have to pay the entire balance each month to avoid finance charges on new purchases.

In some instances, the higher rate is applied retroactively to your existing balance at the time the teaser rate expires.

To avoid incurring the retroactive rate hike, you should read the fine print in regards to retroactive rate hikes and avoid such offers.

Generally, when you charge an item to your credit card, the credit card company doesn't pay the merchant for several days.