Money Management: Smart Credit

Credit cards can seem like your ticket to buying anything you want. But remember, that little piece of plastic comes with big responsibilities. Learning how to manage your credit well now will pave your way to a better financial future. These Smart Credit tips from SunTrust can help.

Save your receipts for purchases and payments. Compare your receipts to your statements each month to make sure there's not a mistake or an unauthorized charge.
Make sure you don't go over your credit limit. Most credit card companies charge an extra fee if you exceed your credit limit. It's also not good for your credit history.
Advances are costly. While your credit card may offer a cash advance option, remember that you'll probably pay a high interest rate or fee to get money this way.
Read the fine print. Know all the terms of your credit cards, especially the interest rates.
Try paying off your debts instead of making minimum payments. Check out the chart below to see how much more you'll pay by taking longer to pay off purchases.
Credit can really cost you - it isn't "free money." The balance on your account accrues interest, which you're also responsible for paying.
Read your credit report once a year. It will show you how well you're managing your debt. Get yours by contacting one of the credit bureaus listed below.
Every payment counts. If you make a payment late, you could harm your credit standing, be charged late payment fees and/or have your interest rate increased.
Debit cards and credit cards aren't the same thing! Debit card purchases are withdrawn directly from your checking account at the time of purchase. Credit card purchases add to your outstanding credit card balance.
Identity theft is a serious business. If someone gets your account information, you could be in big trouble - so if your card is missing, report it immediately.
Talk to your creditors if you're having trouble making payments. They may help you work out a payment plan.

Paying Off Your Debt*

Original Balance Monthly Payment Total # of Payments Years to Pay Off TOTAL COST
$2,500 Minimum 404 34 $8,781
$2,500 $50 94 8 $4,698
$2,500 $100 32 3 $3,163

* Calculations based on APR of 18%. Example courtesy of National Association of Federal Credit Unions Money Smart-Financial Education Curriculum

To get a copy of your credit report, contact any of these credit bureaus:

This information is intended to be helpful as general guidance, but is not warranted and is not presented as tax, accounting, or legal advice. Individual situations will differ, please consult an appropriate advisor.

Paying for college can be a challenge. SunTrust can help navigate the options.

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  • Financial Aid Tools

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  • Scholarships & Grants

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