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Clark Howard: Beware dishonest credit card sites

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The banksters are at it again. The Wall Street Journal says there’s dirty dealings going on, with many popular credit card comparison sites lying to you when you go to pick the best credit card.

Following the CARD Act of 2009, comparison shopping for credit cards became easy; the whole thing was made to order for the Internet. So people set up slews of credit card comparison shopping sites.

But The Wall Street Journal reports the banks that control the bulk of our nation’s credit card portfolio have intimidated the credit card shopping sites with threats of lawsuits if they publish a bad review and by dangling advertising dollars in front of them for top billing on those sites.

Now when you go online to a comparison site, in many cases, the information is manipulated. Six popular sites show credit cards they get paid to show, according to the newspaper report.

That got me thinking about CreditCardTuneUp.com, the site I routinely recommend for research when you want to find out about credit card offers.

So we asked them point-blank if they’re controlling listings based on what they get paid by the big banks. Unequivocally not, they said.

In fact, after we talked, CreditCardTuneUp added an advertiser disclosure on their website that reads in part, “The majority of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which Credit Card Tune-Up receives a commission for new cardmembers … However, these commissions do not impact how or where products appear on this site.”

I will continue to recommend CreditCardTuneUp in good faith. As far as other sites, I’m bummed to have found out that they’re so disingenuous.

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website.

— Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

 Follow Atlanta Bargain Hunter Nedra Rhone on Facebook | Twitter | Email.


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