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Credit is borrowed money that you can use to purchase things you need when you need them and then repay the funds back at an agreed on time. Services can also be paid for on credit such as cable and telephone services. For example, if you use telephone or cable services for a month or two and then pay for them at the end of that period, you are receiving services on credit. Common types of credit include student loans, mortgages, as well as personal loans or lines of credit. The most common "personal line of credit" is the credit card. Source: wiseGeek.com
Credit cards can be useful tools or dangerous weapons, depending on how you use them. Here are some resources for learning how credit cards work, and how to be a smart credit card user.
Bankrate: This page is a portal to information on nearly every aspect of credit card ownership, including current interest rates, types of credit cards, the pros and cons of credit card use, how to avoid and/or manage credit card debt, and more.
Choosing and Using Credit Cards: This page provides an overview of credit card terminology, credit card costs and features, information on what to look for when shopping for a credit card, and how to protect your cards and personal information.
Common Credit Card Mistakes: Highlights common mistakes made by customers when choosing and using a credit card.
Credit Card Debt
The average credit card debt in America is $8,400 and the typical American family pays $1,200 a year in interest on credit card debt.Source: www.bankrate.com.
Credit Card Definitions: Includes detailed information on credit card terms.
Credit Card Smarts: Tips from the College Board website on the wise use of credit cards for student.
Eight Things A Credit Card User Should Know: This page details crucial information anyone who uses a credit card, or who is thinking about obtaining one, should know.
The Fine Print: This graphically illustrates the fine print typically found in a credit card contract.
Good vs Bad Debt: Learn the difference between good debt and bad debt.
Money Mom's Care Package of Helpful Credit Tips: This care package was created to warn college students of the pitfalls of credit cards and provide resources to make informed decisions about their financial futures.
Opt Out of Prescreened Offers: OptOutPrescreen.com is the official consumer credit reporting industry website to accept and process requests from consumers to be removed from all lists of unsolicited offers of credit or insurance. You can also contact them by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688).
Credit repair is of immense importance and the need of the hour for all those who hold bad credit.
Having bad or poor or sub-prime credit is like bearing a curse. Holders of bad or adverse credit are disadvantaged in all their loan or credit seeking ventures. They are either not provided the loans they apply for or they are made to pay higher interest rates and made to accept certain unfavorable terms while settling for their loans.
Credit repair is the only way to be redeemed from the miseries of bad credit holding. The special significance of credit repair stems from the fact that a consumer's credit record or credit score is considered to influence her/his future purchasing power and eligibility of having any credit facilities in the future. Thus, lenders or creditors can feel confident in extending lower rates of interest and longer terms on credit card balances and all types of loans car loans, home loans. Source: www.mastersmba.com.
Credit/Debt Management: Blemished credit is both stressful and costly, but it's not the end. There are 10 things you can do right now to begin improve your credit score.
Do-It-Yourself Credit Repair: Bankrate.com's recommended credit repair guide, since "credit repair services can't do anything for you that you can't do for yourself, free."
Credit Card Damage Control: What to do when your financial institution changes credit limits and interest rates.
Federal Trade Commission: Provides information about credit repair scams. It outlines ways for you to repair your own credit.
How to Help Yourself: According to this site, "you can improve your credit report legitimately, but it takes time, a conscious effort, and sticking to a personal debt repayment plan."
Secret History of the Credit Card...Where You Can Go: Resources for those who find themselves in financial trouble because of credit card debt.
Spotting Credit Repair, Counseling Scams: Tips for avoiding scam credit repair companies.
The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Repairing Their Credit: Find out some common mistakes people make when trying to "fix" their credit which can be easily avoided.
Credit Reporting Agencies
It is your right to obtain your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies FOR FREE once a year to see what is reported by your creditors (loan issuers, banks, utility companies, etc.) about your payment behavior.
These agencies are:
It's a good idea to check your credit reports at least once a year to make sure everything is reported accurately and to correct any errors that you might find there. In today's society, your credit reports will also help you determine if someone has illegally obtained your information and/or is using your identity. You can obtain your free credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com.
NOTE: Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont state laws also entitled their residents to one free copy from each agency at any time during a twelve-month period. This means residents of these states can request TWO FREE reports per agency per year. You can receive a free copy of your credit report under other circumstances: if you've been turned down for a loan, you can get a copy of your report from the agency whose information the creditor used if you request it within 30 days of being turned down. You can also request a free credit report if you're unemployed and looking for work, receiving public assistance or a victim of fraud.
Credit cards and ATM/debit/bank check cards are popular targets for thieves in the real world and in the cyber-world.
Identity theft: most often accomplished when a thief obtains an individual's Social Security number and date of birth, and uses them to establish credit for him/herself - is growing at an alarming rate. It's important to safeguard your information and your finances against the damage that identity theft can cause.
Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Site: "Your National Resource For ID Theft," and a good place to go if you believe your information has been stolen. Information on what to do right away, how to follow up, and how to fight back and prevent it from happening again. Also contains statistics and information on identity theft, what to do if your identity has been stolen, and how to avoid being victimized by identity theft.
Internet Crime: What to do when you suspect any important personal identification information to be stolen.
Internet Fraud: A list of the prevalent forms of fraud and tips to avoid falling victim.
Identity Theft and Fraud: This FDIC portal provides step-by-step information that consumers should take to protect personal computers against identity theft. Also has list of things to do if you should fall victim to an identity thief.
The United States Department of Justice: Provides full explanation regarding why individuals need to take precautions to protect against identity theft. Also has an Identity Theft Quiz.
Understanding Your Credit Score
Information about your credit use and payment habits is reported by your creditors - credit card companies, student loan lenders, mortgage companies, auto lenders, and more - which becomes your "financial resume."
This information is then used to generate a three digit credit score, ranging from 300-850, which helps lenders determine whether to extend you credit as well as the interest rate you'll be charged. Many employers and landlords now check your credit history and score as an important indicator of your "financial character."
9 steps to excellent credit score: Suggestions for attaining and keeping a positive credit score.
Consumer Federation of America: Comprehensive information about credit scores presented in tables.
Credit Scores: What You Should Know About Your Own: This page thoroughly explains the credit reporting system and gives helpful advice to consumers concerning their credit report and score.
FICO Score Estimator: Answer ten easy questions, and this site will give you a free estimated range for your three FICO scores.
FICO Scores: FICO scores are provided to lenders by the major credit reporting agencies. They provide the best guide to future risk based solely on credit report data.