Recap: Using credit to your advantage

MichaelCongratulations! You’ve learned a lot about using credit to your advantage. Before we leave this topic, let’s recap the most important points.

LuisHaving credit means having the ability to borrow money when you need it. Credit can give you the option of buying something today and the flexibility to act on major purchases and life opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

LuisTo reduce your cost of credit, shop for a credit card with a low annual fee and a low interest rate. Pay off your purchases as quickly as you can. If you apply for a loan, remember to look for a responsible lender — an established company with a good reputation. Comparison shop and understand the agreement before you sign.

MichaelTo keep track of where you stand with your credit, it’s important to know your credit score and study your credit report. These are tools that lenders, landlords, employers and others may use to determine how reliable and trustworthy you are.

LuisIf you want to improve your credit rating, it’s up to you to take action. One of the most important ways is to always pay your bills on time.

MichaelExactly. The key to financial freedom is living within your means. One of the major risks of credit is borrowing more than you can afford to repay.

LuisTo avoid debt problems, use your credit wisely. If you’re in trouble with debt, take action early. If you’re having problems making monthly payments, call your lender immediately and work with them to determine your next steps.

Key points

  • Credit = ability to borrow money
  • Gives you options, flexibility, opportunity
  • Get credit card with low annual fee & interest rate
  • Save on interest; pay off credit card bills quickly
  • Comparison shop for loans
  • Choose a responsible lender
  • Understand terms before you sign
  • Know your credit score; work to improve it
  • Study your credit report; correct errors
  • Debt < 20% of yearly net income
  • Credit card payments < 10% of monthly net income
  • In trouble with debt? Contact your lender.

You have completed Using Credit to Your Advantage.
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