Best Practices to Get Smart About Credit: In Celebration of the 8th Annual Get Smart About Credit Day

Oct 20, 2010, 11:47 ET from American Bankers Association

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In celebration of Get Smart About Credit Day (Thursday, Oct. 21) the American Bankers Association Education Foundation is sharing its best practices to get America smart about credit.

"If credit came with an owner's manual, it would be filled with the tips and secrets bankers will share today with young adults," said Laura Fisher, executive director of the ABA Education Foundation, which sponsors the Get Smart About Credit program. "If you already have a credit card in your wallet, give yourself a credit tune-up. Whether you download your free credit report or research identity theft prevention, turn off the auto-pilot and take control of your credit today."

Celebrating its eighth anniversary, Get Smart About Credit Day brings thousands of bankers and students together for lessons on developing good credit habits, such as paying on time, protecting your identity, using credit wisely and not borrowing more than you can repay. [List of participating banks:]

Those who don't receive an in-person lesson from a banker volunteer can get credit education resources from the Get Smart About Credit website: The website brings components of the Get Smart About Credit program into the homes of families across the country. The site offers tips, quizzes and a host of credit-related information.

The ABA Education Foundation has a few credit best practices to help consumers be good credit stewards:

  • Want fewer fees? Pay your bill on time. This will help you avoid late fees and a rising annual percentage rate (APR). Under the new CARD Act your payment due dates are the same every month; this helps you to keep track of your due dates and avoid late fees. Be sure to review the disclosure that details how much your monthly payment should be to pay your balance in full within 36 months, another requirement of the CARD Act.
  • In trouble? Get help. Talk to your lender or credit card issuer if you are having trouble repaying a loan. Often they can work with you to establish a more manageable payment plan. Consult with a financial counseling organization; they can help you to regain control of your finances.
  • What are the terms of your card? Read your credit card agreement. Make sure that you understand your credit card agreement -- it's a legally binding contract. Credit card companies are very competitive so interest rates, credit limits, grace periods, annual fees, terms and conditions may vary. If you have questions, contact your card issuer.
  • How does your credit stack up? Review your credit report. Your credit report evaluates your performance as a borrower and needs to be accurate. To obtain a free copy of your credit report from the Federal Trade Commission, visit

The ABA Education Foundation provides financial education programs and resources that help bankers make their communities better. Nearly 100,000 bankers have taught basic finance skills to about 4 million young people through participation in the Foundation's signature programs, Teach Children to Save and Get Smart About Credit. Founded by bankers in 1925, the foundation is guided by a board of bankers and is an affiliate of the American Bankers Association. For more information, visit or call 1-800-BANKERS.

NOTE TO EDITOR: List of participating banks:

SOURCE American Bankers Association