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Office of Commuting Student Services and Community Outreach

College and Credit Cards

  1. When applying for a credit card make sure you read all the information, even the fine print. There are a lot of promotional deals. After a promotional deal is over the interest rate will rise and you will be responsible for higher monthly payments.
  2. Think before you use your card. You may think the easy way of paying is to put the charges on your credit card and pay later. These charges will add up if not paid in the next billing cycle. Make sure to put the money aside so you are ready to pay as soon as you receive the bill.
  3. Look at your receipt after a purchase; make sure that you were charged the right amount and hold the receipt if you will need to return item in the future.
  4. Save receipts so you can see what you are spending on your credit card. Keep track of how much are you spending on food and entertainment. Are you using your card to buy your books for class or gas for your car? Consider all your expenses and decide which ones are “essential” items versus “desired” items.
  5. Always review monthly charges! Make sure that you purchased all the items on your statement. If you find a charge that is not yours, call your credit card company immediately. They will void your card and send you a new one. Most credit card companies will reimburse you for any unauthorized activity. You will have to sign a legal document stating that these were not your purchases.
  6. Pay your monthly bill on time! If payment is missed or late you will receive additional fees. Credit card companies make their money off of interest rates and additional fees. Late payments are not easily forgiven and you will be charged no matter how legitimate a reason you may have for missing a payment.

 

SMART WAYS TO USE A CREDIT CARD

  • Do not take out cash advances unless there is a serious emergency.
  • Do not exceed your credit limit.
  • Try to maintain only a few credit cards to avoid unnecessary debt.
  • Read all promotional information before making balance transfers.
  • Use your college years to build a good credit rating.

More details and facts about credit cards can be found at the following website:
http://www.federalreserve.gov/consumerinfo/fivetips_creditcard.htm