Knowing when and how to pay for your College education is important, but understanding about your finances and debt are an important part of your journey. The information listed below was provided by the Federal Trade Commission to help students better understand credit and debt.
Did you know that on average, college students have 4.6 credit cards?
Did you know that 1 in 5 students carry between $3,000 and $7,000 of credit card debt?
Did you know that 84% of college students have at least one credit card?
Did you know that the average credit card balance for college students is $3,173?
What many students don’t know is that credit cards are a double-edged sword – useful to pay for school necessities, yet a hazard for those who are not credit savvy.
You have the right to know what is in your consumer credit report and should ask for it. The CRA (Credit Reporting Agency) must tell you everything in your report. There is no charge for this report if a company takes adverse action against you, such as denying your application for credit, insurance or employment, and you request your report within 60 days of receiving the notice of the action. The file includes information on where you work and live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued, arrested, or filed for bankruptcy. The most common type of CRA is the credit bureau. The information CRAs sell about you to creditors, employers, insurers, and other businesses is called a consumer report.
- Credit cards are just like a loan – you have to pay what you owe.
- Keep track of how much you spend. Remember that incidental and impulse purchases add up fast.
- Save your receipts. Compare them with your monthly bill. Promptly report problems to the company that issued the card.
- Never lend your card to anyone.
- Owing more than you can repay can damage your credit rating. That can make it hard to finance a car, rent an apartment, get insurance, even a job.
- Pay your bill on time, and in full when possible. If you don’t, you’ll have to pay finance charges on the unpaid balance – and it takes forever to get caught up if you just pay the minimum.
If you run up a $1,000 charge at a 25% interest rate, it will take over 3 years to repay at $40 a month and cost an extra $430 in interest. New Federal Law requires credit card companies show you this information, but only after you spend the money. Think before you buy!
NEW PROTECTIONS FOR CONSUMERS UNDER 21
Under the Act, consumers under 21 will only be able to get a credit card with proof of their ability to make payments independently or the help of an adult co-signer. The Act restricts incentives given to students who sign up for credit cards.
FEDERAL LAW LIMITS YOUR LIABILITY FOR UNAUTHORIZED CHARGES TO $50 PER CARD.
*For more information and resources, please check their website at www.ftc.gov.