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Resources & Tools

Getting Credit: What You Need To Know

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection champion. The FTC works with the consumer to prevent fraud, deception and unfair business practices in the marketplace. The FTC provides the information consumers need to spot and avoid fraud and deception. Consumers can contact the FTC for free information on a wide range of issues, including:

  • Advertising claims
  • Buying, leasing and renting cars
  • Credit
  • Debt collection
  • Employment and job placement
  • Identity Theft
  • Investment schemes
  • Online shopping
  • Scholarship scams
  • Sweepstakes
  • Tele-marketing
  • Work-at-home schemes…and more

What’s Credit

Being out on your own can be fun and exciting, but it also means taking on new financial responsibilities. The decisions you make now about how you manage your finances and borrow money will affect you in the future—for better or worse.

Did you know that there are companies that keep track of whether you pay your debts and if you make payments on time? Then these companies make this information available in the form of a credit report and score.

A bad credit history can haunt you for a long time—seven years or more. That’s why the best thing to do is learn how to maintain good credit before there’s a problem. While this might seem complicated at first, it gets easier once you understand the basics of credit and how it works.

Credit is more than just a plastic card you use to buy things—it is your financial trustworthiness. Good credit means that your history of payments, employment and salary make you a good candidate for a loan, and creditors—those who lend money or services—will be more willing to work with you. Having good credit usually translates into lower payments and more ease in borrowing money. Bad credit, however, can be a big problem. It usually results from making payments late or borrowing too much money, and it means that you might have trouble getting a car loan, a credit card, a place to live and, sometimes, a job.

(continue on to Getting Credit: How Your Credit History Affects You)…

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