StonehamBank Encourages Customers to 'Get Smart About Credit'
September 6, 2011
In recognition of National Get Smart About Credit Day on Oct. 20, StonehamBank is urging customers to educate themselves on responsible credit habits.
“No matter your age or financial situation, it’s never too early to get smart about credit,” said Ed Doherty, StonehamBank’s Executive Vice President. “Learning the basic fundamentals of credit provides customers with a foundation that will be beneficial throughout their lives.”
StonehamBank encourages customers to follow these Dos and Don’ts of Credit:
- DO pay at least the minimum due and contact your creditor if you have trouble making payments. This will help you to avoid late fees and a rising APR. To pay off your balance quicker, pay more than the minimum due. If you are unable to make the minimum monthly payments, let your creditor know so they can work with you to create a more manageable payment plan.
- DO check your credit report for errors and dispute anything that is incorrect. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com for more information or to get your free annual credit report.
- DO be wary of anyone who claims they can “fix” your credit report. No one can legally remove negative accurate information from your credit history. The only thing that can fix a credit report is time and a positive payment history.
- DO read the fine print on the credit application. The application is a contract, so read it carefully before signing. Credit card companies are very competitive so interest rates, credit limits, grace periods, annual fees, terms and conditions may vary.
- DON’T feel pressure to get a credit card. If you don’t want one, you have the right to say “no.” Under the new CARD Act 2009 consumers aged 18-21 cannot be solicited for credit. If you no longer wish to receive prescreened offers, opt out by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com.
- DON’T ignore the warning signs of credit trouble. If you pay only the minimum balance, pay late, use cash-advances to fund daily living expenses or transfer a lot of balances you might be in the credit danger zone. Talk to a financial counseling organization to regain control of your finances.
- DON’T share your credit card number. Never give out credit card or personal information if you have not initiated the transaction. Be aware of identity theft and phishing scams that ask for credit card numbers. If you suspect that your identity has been compromised, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); TDD: 202-326-2502, or visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
StonehamBank is a full-service community bank offering state of the art products and services to residents and businesses throughout eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. In addition to providing progressive products and convenience services, StonehamBank believes in making a difference in the community through its Community Involvement Program and Charitable Foundation. For more information on StonehamBank, please visit www.stonehambank.com or call directly at 1-888-402-2265.