Free credit cards online: caution when it comes to promises in adverts

You can read this article in German or Polish as well.

Has someone called you to offer you a free credit card?  Did you find “instant credit” or credit “without a credit investigation” on the internet? It might seem appealing but could end up being expensive for you. Our tip: Be cautious when it comes to offers you find online. We explain what you need to bear in mind here.

Verbraucherin sucht online Kreditkarte
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A credit card without a credit investigation: How can you identify untrustworthy providers?

Untrustworthy providers try to get new customers using modern websites with a familiar-looking design, fake reviews and quality labels. Then there are the popular advertising slogans: “fair”, “transparent”, “guaranteed pay-out”, “free”, “no credit check”.  Ultimately, consumers who are looking for financial support are lured into taking out credit and paying hidden costs. 

Loans purporting to be free and credit cards without credit checks are generally associated with hidden costs!

Hidden costs: An expensive pre-paid credit card in the post 

“Free” credit offers like these are usually not trustworthy. If you don’t realise that you are being ripped off in time and you sign a contract, you will probably receive an expensive pre-paid credit card in the post. What does that mean? You have to load a pre-paid credit card with money before you can use it to make payments. What is particularly frustrating is that the cards are not actually free at all. You have to pay for the credit card quickly, which is often “cash on delivery”, i.e. when you receive the letter in the post. You are often sent other bills subsequently too. 

What can you do about that?

If you have already ordered a credit card purporting to be free from an untrustworthy website, you should refuse to accept “cash on delivery” post. You will not find a credit card or confirmation of credit in the envelope but a pre-paid credit card. It is important that you cancel the contract immediately to avoid further bills or debt collection letters.
Are you unsure how to do this? You can get personal advice  from the Consumer Advice Centre. 

Refuse to accept any cash on delivery post and cancel the contract immediately!

You can find more information about being ripped off with credit cards (in German) here