Get Smart About Credit Day 2020

posted on Wednesday, October 14, 2020

October 15th is 'Get Smart About Credit Day'. Credit is a crucial part of your financial power. Good credit helps put you in a position to do many things such as renting an apartment, buying a home, refinancing student loans, getting a credit card, and many other things.  It is important to be smart and make sure you are building good credit. Midwest Heritage has provided you with some useful information to help effectively use credit.

  • Read the fine print on the credit application. The application is a contract, so read it carefully before signing. Credit card companies are very competitive, so interest rates, credit limits, grace periods, annual fees, terms, and conditions may vary. 
  • Allow yourself to say “no” to new credit cards. If you don't want or need a credit card, you have the right to say "no." Under the CARD Act of 2009 consumers aged 18-21 cannot be solicited for credit. If you no longer wish to receive prescreened offers, opt-out by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com. 
  • Be wary of anyone who claims they can "fix" your credit report. No one can legally remove negative accurate information from your credit history. The only things that can fix a credit report is time and positive payment history.
  • Know the warning signs of credit trouble. If you pay late, use cash-advances to fund daily living expenses, or frequently transfer credit card balances to other cards, you might be in the "credit" danger zone. Talk to a financial counseling organization to regain control of your finances.
  • Pay at least the minimum amount due on your accounts. This will help you avoid late fees and a rising annual percentage rate (APR). To pay off your balance more quickly, pay more than the minimum due. If you are unable to make the minimum monthly payments, let your creditor know prior to the date so they can work with you to create a more manageable payment plan. 
  • Do NOT share your credit card number. Never give out credit card or personal information if you have not initiated the transaction. Be aware of identity theft and phishing scams that ask for credit card numbers. If you suspect that your identity has been compromised, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); TDD: 202-326-2502, or visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.