Careful with your credit cards!
Here at MICU, we operate as a not-for-profit financial cooperative. That means that our operating philosophy includes advising our members to borrow wisely as we help them build a long-term, solid financial foundation. So we offer the following advice to help you choose which credit card is right for you (or if you should even have one).
Just another way that different is better – and better for you – here at MICU.
There’s no doubt that credit cards can be a great convenience.
They can also be very dangerous because it’s really easy to fall into debt when you’re using credit cards – and it’s very difficult to climb out.
So choose your card wisely and use it responsibly.
Credit Card Tips
Evaluate the features of various types of credit cards. Weigh the pros and cons of secured cards, rewards cards, student cards, and prepaid cards. Find the type of credit card that is best for you.
Pros: These cards reward your credit card spending with cash-back, airline miles, and point benefit programs. If you use your credit cards often and pay the balance in full each month, a rewards card could be a good choice.
Cons: Read the credit card offer closely. Some rewards cards have high interest rates or annual fees that cancel out the special benefits. Make sure you understand how the rewards are calculated and redeemed.
Secured Credit Cards:
Pros: Opening a secured credit card is an easy and affordable way to start building your credit. Secured credit cards can also help you improve and rebuild damaged credit. These cards are used exactly like a standard credit card.
Cons: To secure the card you must put down a $200 to $250 deposit with your application.
These cards also tend to have higher interest rates (14% or higher) and additional charges such as an annual fee (usually around $50).
Student Credit Cards
Pros: Student credit cards are an excellent way to start building credit. These cards are specially designed to accept student borrowers, even if you have no previous credit experience. Having a student credit card can be helpful for unexpected expenses like medical bills.
Cons: These cards usually have higher interest rates than standard cards. Many students end up with debt and damaged credit after using their cards irresponsibly.
Pre-Paid Credit Cards
Pros: These cards look like real credit cards and can be used for most situations that require a credit card. Instead of granting you a credit limit based on your financial standing, these accounts require you to “load” the card with your own money. Approval for this type of card is easy, even if you have credit problems.
Cons: These cards may not report your repayment history to the credit bureaus. If the creditor does not report your account, this type of card will not help you improve your credit. Pre-paid credit cards cannot be used in all situations. For example: hotels and car rental agencies will not allow you to use a pre-paid credit card to secure your rentals.
For more information, go to www.credit.com
Credit Card Calculator
Fed’s Online Credit Card Repayment Calculator (English)
The accuracy of this calculator and its applicability to your circumstances is not guaranteed.
Results should be discussed with a qualified professional before any product purchases or loan commitments are made.