Fulton County Cooperative Extension Offers Tips for Managing Credit Wisely | Print |

Fulton County Cooperative Extension wants to help residents keep their New Year’s resolution to get their credit in order. The University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (UGA CAES) has posted information to help consumers with managing credit wisely.

“It’s no secret that having good credit opens allows us to do more and most important, to save more,” states Menia Chester, Director of Fulton county Cooperative Extension. “Fulton residents can benefit greatly by using the financial education resources provided by UGA.”

Carefully shopping for credit and avoiding credit dangers offer the best defense against credit problems. The ability to use credit to help you get the things you need today and pay for them tomorrow is both your most valuable asset and your biggest liability. Here are some important points to remember:

• Get a free copy of your credit report. Know what information is being used to make decisions about you. If your credit report contains errors, go through the steps to get them removed or corrected.

• Address negative information on your credit report. If your credit report shows you were late a few times in the past, that’s water under the bridge and you’ll just have to wait long enough for that information to be removed (seven years from the date the incident(s) occurred). On the other hand, if you have an outstanding balance on an old debt, make arrangements to settle the debt as soon as possible.

• Avoid adding new negative information to your credit report. Pay your bills on time, apply for credit only when necessary, and avoid borrowing from high cost lenders.

• Shop around for the best terms. Interest rates vary significantly from lender to lender. Check back with credit card providers periodically to see if they will lower your interest rate. Look into refinancing longer term installment loans if lower interest rates are available to you now than when you took out the loan.

Avoid the following Credit Dangers:

  • Using credit cards to live beyond your means.
  • Relying on creditors to set your credit limit.
  • Carrying a balance on your credit cards.
  • Making only the minimum payment on credit cards.
  • Buying the wrong items on credit.

Use credit wisely. Borrow only what you need, and pay it back as fast as possible. The longer it takes you to repay the loan, the more you will likely have to pay in finance charges.

For more information about Fulton County Cooperative Extension call 404-332-2400. Visit http://spock.fcs.uga.edu/ext/pubs/finances.php?category=Credit to learn more about using credit wisely.