BOSTON (CBS) – April is Financial Literacy month and last week we talked about kids and cash. This week I thought we could spend some time on the grownups discussing money skills. Managing your credit is a learned money skill.
The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act has been in effect over three years now. It was supposed to end unfair rate hikes and hidden fees by credit card companies. Some of the mandated changes appear on your monthly statement.
But do you review your statement each month? There is a column, PAYMENT INFORMATION.
It has your balance, minimum payment due and due date. Now it also tells you what your late fee will be and gives you a warning about paying only the minimum each month.
What I like best is the shock and awe factor; there it is in print how long it will take you to pay off your balance if you only pay the minimum each month or you do it over three years. And then it adds up the interest and lets you know what you will actually be paying. Of course, those numbers will only work if you never charge another thing on that card.
If you are looking for the interest rate they are charging you have to look on the last page of the statement and there it is along with your year-to-date totals for fees and interest charged.
The credit card companies can still raise your interest rate, but they must give you a 45 day notice and if you apply for a new card you do lock in that rate for a year.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling conducted a survey on their website about the credit card statement and 52% of the responders said they were paying as much each month as they could, 27% were inspired to pay more. And 9% pay off their balance each month.
You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.
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