Credit cards can get consumers into trouble quickly. Overspending is easy when all you have to do is swipe a card to make a purchase. And over time, charges can build up faster than you can make payments, and you can end up paying much more because of interest charges. Used properly, however, credit cards can be excellent personal finance tools, not only for the convenience of quick and easy purchases online or in stores, but to build a solid credit rating and improve your chances of getting approved for a loan to make a major purchase.
As U.S. News Money outlines, there are several tips to using credit cards responsibly, including only charging for purchases you know you can pay off at the end of the month, tracking spending carefully, and understanding that credit limits are not the same as having a budget. They also suggest creating an emergency fund, avoid opening multiple cards, making payments early and frequently, and taking advantage of the rewards many cards offer.
To help your listeners/viewers/readers understand how to manage their credit, talk with a personal banker or credit counselor in your area. They can demonstrate how careful use of credit cards can improve credit ratings over time, and they can create sample plans to pay off credit cards more quickly to help your audience members learn how to improve their finances for the long term.
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Jennifer Kraus and Bob Stinnett of WTVF-TV entered the 2016 NEFE/RTDNA awards contest with a story about so-called "flex" loans, with staggeringly high interest rates.