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Credit Card Management Tips for College Students

While you’re in college, chances are you’ll be provided an opportunity to apply for your first credit card. Learning money management skills can be challenging but making mistakes with your credit cards could be costly in the long-run. Oklahoma Central Credit Union offers these simple tips to managing your credit cards while in college:

Oklahoma credit unionUnderstand Your Credit Report

Students who have credit card debt should make sure they pull their credit reports on a regular basis. Each of the three reporting agencies is required to provide you with one free credit report annually. Additionally, if you are denied credit for any reason, you are entitled to a copy of the report from the agency who provided your information to the creditor.

Always make sure the information provided in your credit report is accurate. Immediately address any inaccurate information so it will not hound you later on. If your report shows late payments, contact your credit card company to request they file a correction. Typically, it is best to do this in writing.

Understanding Credit Card Balances

Credit card companies will generally offer you a “minimum monthly payment.” Whenever it is possible, try to pay off the full balance on a monthly basis. Doing so will eliminate costly interest charges on your credit card bills. Even if you cannot make the full payment, do your best to pay more than the minimum amount.

Another caution about your credit cards: Make sure you fully understand the terms and what you are paying in interest rates. Many cards use introductory rates which go up dramatically after a specified introductory period which may last between six months and one year. These higher rates can have a serious impact on your spending ability as well as your ability to pay off your balances monthly.

Using Your Credit Card Wisely

Rather than using your credit card for large purchases, like that big-screen television you may be dreaming about for example, consider opening a savings account and putting away money on a monthly basis so you can make the purchase using cash or your debit card. Your Member Financial Representative at Oklahoma Central Credit Union can be reached at 918-664-6000, select option 8. They’ll be happy to discuss what options may be best suited for your needs.

It's very important to understand how managing your credit cards can affect your credit score. Making your credit card payments on time is one of the biggest contributing factors to your credit scores. Set up reminders or enroll in automatic payments to guarantee you aren't late on your payments. Maintaining a good credit score is simple if you take time to understand how to better manage your credit cards and your debt. Don't let foolish mistakes hamper your credit score in the future.

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