The website of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau contains information about financial products and educational articles about personal finance making it an excellent resource for potential borrowers.
The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Protection website provides a section with information on dealing with debt problems, debt counseling, debt collection, and other topics related to debt. You can also find helpful information and tips about financial planning.
The FTC’s website also has a section where you can find information on consumer rights and protections, legislation that deals with consumer protection, in addition to providing the ability to file a complaint, if necessary.
The National Consumer Law Center is a nonprofit organization that advocates for consumer rights and protections. Its website provides valuable information about consumer protection legislation across multiple industries including lending and credit.
- Choose the right type of credit card for you
- Different cards have different features, for example, reward points
- Choose the right credit limit for you
- Make sure that there are not high monthly fees
- Examine your budget and carefully decide whether you will be able to pay the minimum monthly payments
What you’ll need:
- Proof of income (paystub, tax return, etc.)
- Information about your current income and expenses
- Copy of your bank statement showing your savings and other payments you have made
- Passport or driver's license
To be eligible, you must:
- Have a regular income, either from full-time employment, self-employment, or disability or Social Security benefits
- Meet the minimum income requirements
- Be at least 18 years old. Each issuer sets the limit on age themselves that's why it can differ
- You must be at least 18 years old, though each credit card issuer has its own specific age limits
- Have a clean credit history and no debt in collections
Main features of credit cards
- Reward points - can be redeemed for gifts or other goods
- Cashback - you can get a certain amount of money back depending on how much spend with the credit card
- Travel miles - can be used to make travel-related purchases, for example, plane tickets
- Gasoline - offer you gas-related benefits
Fees and charges
- Application or processing fee - Some credit card issuers may charge this fee when you apply for a credit card
- Annual fee - a yearly fee for keeping the credit card account open. Keep in mind that exclusive credit cards usually are designed for people with higher income and that such credit cards are more expensive
- Foreign transaction fee - This fee can be charged for transactions that are processed in a different currency than American dollars
- Cash advance fee - a fee for withdrawing money from an ATM or at a bank using the card
- Late payment fee - you may be charged interest if you fail to repay money borrowed from the credit card
If you make only the minimum repayment on your credit card each month, you will pay more in interest and it will take longer to pay off your balance. Your monthly statement must give you information about how long it will take to pay off the entire balance by making minimum repayments.
If you only make the minimum payments on your credit card every month, you will pay more in interest and it will take much longer to pay off the balance. Your monthly statement must, by law, show you how long it will take to pay off the balance making only the minimum payments.
Credit cards tend to have higher interest rates than other forms of credit, and the rate varies depending on what features the card offers. You are charged interest on all outstanding transactions if you don't pay the balance in full each month.
If you have a credit card without an interest-free period, you pay interest either from the day you make a purchase or from the day your monthly statement is issued.
Unless you use a card that is interest-free and fee-free, buying items with a credit card will always cost you more than if you pay with cash.