American Consumer Credit Counseling explains the truth behind five common credit card myths that can cost consumers’ money and damage credit scores
Boston, MA – February 16, 2018
Although most Americans have at least one credit card in their wallet, there is a good chance they do not fully understand how to use it responsibly. There is a constant flow of misinformation about how to use a credit card when to pay bills, and if consumers should even have a credit card. Unfortunately, some of these myths can cause serious harm to consumers’ credit scores. To educate consumers, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) discusses the truth behind common credit card myths.
“Understanding the difference between credit card fact and fiction is a vital part of using these cards responsibly so that consumers can live a healthy financial life,” said Steve Trumble, President, and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is based in Newton, MA. “Believing in credit card myths can not only cost you boatloads of money but can also have a negative impact on your credit score.”
According to Experian’s State of Credit 2017, the average number of credit cards consumers have is 3.1. The average balance consumers carry on their credit card is $6,354. In 2017, the average VantageScore rose from 673 to 675, making it the highest average score since 2012. Although credit scores are on the rise, credit card debt hit a new high in 2017 – surpassing $1 trillion for the first time since the Great Recession.
ACCC debunks common credit card myths for consumers.
- Carrying a balance on your credit card helps your score. Every month consumers should pay their bill in full if they can. If they can’t, it is important to pay at least the minimum, preferably more, on time. Carrying a balance will also come with growing interest rates charged by the credit card company.
- Don’t accept an increase on your credit card limit. If consumers don’t increase their spending, an increase on their credit card limit can help improve their utilization rate (the amount of a consumer’s credit limit being used) – a key factor in credit scores.
- Close unused credit cards once they are paid off. It could be more beneficial to consumers’ credit scores if they keep the unused credit card open, especially if there aren’t any fees. By keeping the card open, the credit card limit is greater, which helps the consumer’s credit card utilization rate.
- Debit cards can help credit scores. Properly maintaining a debit card only shows that the consumer is responsible and does not improve his or her credit score.
- Only have one credit card. Adding another credit card is okay – especially if consumers are managing their spending and paying their bills on time.
ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:
- For credit counseling and student loan counseling, call 800-769-3571
- For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
- For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
- Or visit us online at http://www.ConsumerCredit.com
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. To help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit https://www.consumercredit.com/debt-resources-tools/