Here are seven ways you can get smart about credit:
- Understand what you are getting yourself into. Read the fine print on the credit application and be knowledgeable about late fees, interest rates, and when payments are due.
- Get your free credit report. View your credit report at least once a year to ensure the information accurately represents your accounts and spending habits.
- Make timely payments. No matter your balance, it’s always in your best interest to pay at least the minimum every month.
- Find the right credit for you. There are several credit choices, but only a few may be able to meet your financial needs.
- Get a credit card only if you’re prepared. Don’t be persuaded to sign up for a credit card if you don’t need one or can’t handle the responsibility.
- Recognize the signs of credit trouble. If you make only the minimum payment on credit cards, this is an early sign of credit trouble.
- Keep private information private. Don’t share your credit card number or your social security number, especially if you didn’t initiate the transaction. Ensure you use trusted sites while shopping online, and use a temporary virtual card number if you want to add another layer of safety to your purchases.