Educational Resources - Borrowing Basics

Borrowing Basics | Types of Credit | Cost of Credit | Applying For Credit | Manage Your Credit | Glossary

Managing Your Credit

Once You Get Credit

  • If possible, pay off your entire bill each month. If you can't, try to pay more than the minimum balance due. This will reduce interest charges and total interest paid.
  • Pay on time to avoid late fees and to protect your credit. If you cannot pay on time, call your creditor immediately to explain the situation. They may waive late fees or be willing to make different payment arrangements.
  • Always check your monthly statement to verify transactions. Call or write to your creditor right away if you suspect errors in your statement.
  • Ignore offers creditors may send you to "reduce" or "skip" payments. You may still be charged interest charges during this period.
  • Think about the cost difference if you purchased your item with cash versus if you purchase your item with credit.
  • Remember, if you purchase a $500 stereo with a credit card with a 20% annual percentage rate, it will cost $1,084 and take 9 years to pay off if you only pay $10 monthly payments.