Credit 101 for High School Grads

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Passing math isn't the same as understanding how credit works – and your grade here matters a lot longer.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is warning young adults about the risks of starting off life with poor credit, including high insurance rates and difficulty getting loans, some jobs, and even renting an apartment.

They’ve got advice on preventing those problems…

  • Look for a bank or credit union that charges no monthly usage fee, doesn’t require minimum balances, and has conveniently located ATMs so you don’t rack up out-of-network ATM charges.
  • Enter all transactions in the check register, a simple computer spreadsheet or use a digital tool like Mint.com and review your account online regularly to know when deposits, checks, purchases and automatic payments have cleared.
  • Don’t write checks or make debit card purchases unless the current balance will cover them – many transactions now clear instantaneously.
  • Banks are required to ask whether you want overdraft protection for transactions that would cause you to overdraw your account (versus simply declining the transaction and/or charging you for a bounced check). If you opt for coverage, understand that overdrafts can be expensive – up to $35 or more per transaction.
  • Request text or email alerts when your balance drops below a certain level, checks or deposits clear, or payments are due.

Check out the links below to some of our stories designed to help young adults with money.

Stacy Johnson

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