It’s holidays once again! For businesses and consumers alike, this is the busiest time of the year. If you’re a student, are you prepared for the holiday spending challenge? More importantly, do you know how you can protect yourself from bad debt, especially if you are a credit card owner? Consider the following tips:
- Protect yourself against identity theft. It’s important to keep a close eye on your credit card when shopping from a store location. Skimming has become prevalent these days and “skimming devices” are small enough to be hidden in the palm of the hand. A skimming device can read and copy credit card information in matter of seconds.
Don’t let the cashier take your card in another room where you cannot see it. If verification steps are needed, be sure that everything is performed in front of you. When dining at a restaurant, it is recommended that you take your student credit card to the counter instead of handing it to the waiter.
- Know your rights as a student credit cardholder. Credit card companies have provisions exclusively for their cardholders so it’s a good idea to review the Terms and Conditions of your issuer and be aware of your privileges.
For instance, you might be entitled to enjoy a longer Return Policy instead of the regular 30-day Return Policy provided by most merchants. Furthermore, understand your issuer’s terms on liabilities and fraud. Most issuers offer $0 liability protection on unauthorized charges so you don’t need to pay for debts you do not owe.
- Limit the use your student credit card this holiday season. As a student, you should take control over your personal spending to avoid the threat of credit card debt. Make a list of the things you need to buy for the holidays and decide whether you will use your student credit card or pay in cash. It might be tempting to use your student credit card to buy gifts for your friends and loved ones but you should seriously consider your repayment obligations.
Will you be able to pay off your balance on time? Can you afford to pay your full balance or are you planning to leave a balance for the next billing period? How much is the interest rate of your student credit card?
Keep in mind that carrying balances would also mean paying more on interest rate charges. Don’t forget to consider your credit limit as well. Check your balance first before you shop. Ideally, you should keep your charges below 30% of your credit limit to avoid over-the-limit fees and protect your good credit standing.
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