National Get Smart About Credit Day is October 20, 2011 and Community Bank of Florida is urging customers to educate themselves on responsible credit habits.
“No matter your age or financial status, it’s never too late to get smart about credit, especially credit cards,” said Robert Epling, CEO and President. “Learning the basic fundamentals of credit provides customers with a foundation that will prove invaluable throughout their lives.”
Community Bank encourages you to follow these Dos and Don’ts of Credit:
DO pay at least the minimum due. This will help you avoid late fees and a rising interest rate. To pay off your balance quicker, pay more than the minimum due. If you are unable to make the minimum monthly payment, let your credit card company know so they can work with you to create a more manageable payment plan.
DO be wary of anyone who claims they can ‘fix’ your credit report. No one can legally remove negative information from your credit history that is accurate. The only thing that can fix a credit report is time and a positive payment history.
DO read the fine print on credit card applications. An 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.
DON’T feel pressure to get a credit card. If you don’t want one, simply decline the offer. The CARD Act 2009 introduced new regulation that stated 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 .
DON’T ignore the warning signs of credit trouble. If you pay only the minimum balance, pay late, use cash advances to fund daily living expenses or transfer a lot of balances you might be in the credit danger zone. Talk to a financial counseling organization or visit one of our financial centers to receive help regaining control of your finances.
DON’T 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) or visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
We hope this helps you Get Smart About Credit, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.