The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Keep track of credit, financial adviser says

By Brad Harrell/reporter

Many people in their 20s have bad credit, resulting from too many credit cards or student loans they cannot keep up with, a financial adviser told South Campus students last week.

Others are already filing for bankruptcy and letting their debt pile up, said Sherry Inman, educational specialist with Money Management International, during her presentation Blaze Your Way to Good Credit April 20.

“Make your payment on time, every time,” she said.

Inman used the new Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act passed by Congress in 2009 as an example. The act states that anyone under the age of 21 will have a harder time getting a credit card. 

People must follow certain guidelines, such as having proof that the individual can pay the bill or has a co-signer. In regard to the credit limit, the set amount the creditor decides for the card generally will be low, Inman said.

Along with the new circumstances, other new laws will go into effect throughout the remainder of the year. Inman said one important change is that banks cannot enter any school or go within 1,000 feet to try and coax people into signing up for a credit card.

The law also addressed payment dates, stating that financial institutions must establish one particular day each month and cannot change rates or fees for up to 12 months unless a payment is at least 60 days late.

Debit cards also changed with the law. Banks can remove the overdraft protection on an account unless the individual signs up for it.

However, Inman said the card might be denied when the cardholder tries to use it for purchases if the account cannot back up that amount.

Another change involves disclosure policies. Financial institutions must let cardholders know within 45 days if anything in their accounts will change, Inman said.

“It’s a good idea to keep up with your credit report,” she said. “Annualcreditreport.com is the only free Web site to get your credit report.”

Inman said if people notice an inconsistency, they should dispute it with a credit agency as soon as it appears.

“Never pay anyone to do it for you,” she said.

Inman offered tips for those who decide it’s the right time to obtain a credit card.

Before accepting a card, Inman told the students to make sure to read the fine print, research the credit agencies to find the right fit for their needs and to be aware of their payment dates.

After getting the card, she said to watch for credit agency changes, keep track of their credit reports and not to fall into debt.

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