Consumer Watch: Deferred-interest gotchas

FRESNO, Calif.

The terms of deferred-interest cards are hard to understand. The disclosures on those cards are really not enough to help consumers understand what they are actually buying.

Best Buy, Home Depot, Walmart, and other retailers promote deferred-interest loans. You will also find solicitations for deferred-interest credit cards designed for health care expenses in doctors' dentists' and veterinarians' offices, settings where people struggling to pay for care could be most vulnerable.

Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, says deferred-interest cards, though legal, are dangerous financial products and often carry high interest rates. Consumers Union has asked the new federal watchdog, the Consumer Financial Protection Board, to look into deferred-interest credit cards.

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