Financial Institutions Celebrate National Get Smart About Credit Day

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Just because you’ve been approved for a loan doesn’t mean you should take it, says Allyson Shove.

Prospective borrowers must first make sure that their cash flow, income level and budgeted expenses allow them to repay this loan on time, said Shove, vice president of marketing for Azura Credit Union.

Azura plans to offer various new financial wellness resources on its website starting Thursday as part of the national Get Smart About Credit Day celebration, which takes place on the third Thursday in October.

The day has been celebrated annually since 2003, when it was started by the Get Smart About Credit program run by the American Bankers Foundation Association.

Financial institutions participating in this program encourage high school students and young adults to develop responsible habits in credit and financial management in general, according to the National Get Smart About Credit Day website.

“With no fees or hidden charges for anyone, National Credit Day is only for the financial improvement of the youngest, thanks to bankers who are ready to help! Says the site.

National Get Smart About Credit Day is on the same date as International Day of Credit Unions, noted Shove.

“They combine well as far as the goal is concerned,” she said.

Shove suggested that before taking out a loan, potential borrowers should make sure they understand:

• Specifically what they sign and what they agree to do.

• The amount of the loan, its term and the date when payments are due.

• All costs involved, including whether the transaction involves fees or potential penalties.

• Whether taking out the loan will require additional expenses, such as paying for registration and insurance for someone borrowing money to buy a car.

Potential borrowers should also be aware of all the resources available to them, especially those that are free, Shove said.

Azura will mark National Get Smart About Credit Day this year by creating various new resources to help people assess their financial situation and achieve financial success, which will be available for free on Thursday on a new page on her website at www.azuracu.com/takecontrol, Shove said.

This page should also include some information that was present on Wednesday on the existing Financial Wellbeing page of Azura’s website, which included an article providing advice regarding credit scores.

There are two ways to have a bad credit score, according to the article.

“The first, unsurprisingly, is not to use credit wisely,” he said. “It means spending more than you can afford, not paying your bills on time, and having too much credit outstanding, often spread across multiple credit card accounts.”

The other is to not use any credit at all, according to the article.

Informations about steps to follow when negotiating with a collection agency can be found on the website of the nonprofit agency, Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc., which has an office in Topeka.

“Don’t call to negotiate the payment of a collection agency debt if your budget doesn’t have the cash to pay some or all of the debt,” the site said.

He added that a standard negotiation tactic is for collection agency representatives to ask debtors how much they can afford to pay.

“Be polite, but stand firm and ask the rep to tell you how much the collection agency will take to settle the debt,” the site says. “For example, if you have a debt of $ 200 and you make an offer of $ 150, which the representative then accepts, you will never know that the collection agency could have accepted $ 120.”


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