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Rebuilding Credit Post-Bankruptcy: How to Become Credit Savvy

Being aware of how to manage credit is not an easy task. Many people post- bankruptcy, need to learn to keep their credit in check and by following some simple tips for credit will help those struggling with credit to make the best decisions possible and become a better consumer with credit.

1. Check who is offering the card and which bank is the issuer. Real credit cards are issued by banks, where on the credit card application it should clearly state the name of the bank the card is issued by. Any applications without banks listed as issuers should be avoided, due to the probability that they are a scam.

2. Compare interest rates when it comes to deciding on which credit card to apply for. You will want to do this to make sure you know exactly how much interest is being charged to you. Store cards usually charge higher interest rates, so it is better to open a card with a bank credit card than a store card.

3. Do not go for offers of "Buy now, pay later". These offers might not be charging interest, but they do expect the full balance to be paid in full before the no-payment period ends. For those who do not meet the payment in time will wind up being charged all the bank interest in the end.

4. Reading fine print is a must. On any credit card application it is important to read the fine print, and pay attention to any alerts of changes credit card companies send out. If you don't speak up to any of the changes they go into effect. These changes could cause extra fees or higher interest rates, and you won't know until it is too late because you did not take the time to read the fine print. To stop this from happening when applying for a new card always remember to ask yourself:

a. What interest rate will I be charged if I use this card?

b. Is there a grace period before the charges I make begin accruing interest?

c. What other fees and penalties are there that I could be charged?

5. Make sure to check the current interest rate. Sometimes the interest rate in the application is a year or older. To find out the current rate one should call the company directly. Also remember to look out for rates that increase after 6 months.

6. Be setting aside money for credit purchases before you buy. Not having the funds to pay off credit card bills is the problem, and can simply be solved by putting money aside each month to achieve your goal to buying that item, such as vacation or a gift.

7. Don't believe sales pitches, such as, you need to buy this item now or you will never get it at this low of a price. You can always find an item for less and never let any business persuade you into thinking you have to buy something this moment.

8. Use layaway or payment plans instead of credit cards. Layaway is making a comeback with stores where the customer pays a deposit on an item, and then continues to pay toward that item until it is completely paid off. Then the store will send the customer their purchase.

9. Stay away from opting for monthly payments. At first glance it might sound better to pay a low price 3 times before you pay off a purchase. However, it is less stress on a consumer to just pay the full price all at once and be done with the purchase, than have the payments carry out over a span of time, and of course interest payments come into the picture, adding to the cost.

Being knowledgeable of credit could save someone thousands of dollars every year. Knowing what you can afford and how you will be paying it off, and on time is a weight lifted off one's shoulders especially for someone who is recovering for a recent bankruptcy.

Works Cited

Ryan, Paula Langguth. Bounce Back from Bankruptcy: A Step-by-step Guide to Getting Back on Your Financial Feet. Tracys Landing, MD: Pellingham Casper Communications, 1998. Print.

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