1. Credit Cards: Introduction
  2. Credit Cards: What Are Credit Cards?
  3. Credit Cards: How to Apply for a Credit Card
  4. Credit Cards: Credit Card Agreements and Consumer Rights
  5. Credit Cards: Types to Choose From
  6. Credit Cards: Making Payments
  7. Credit Cards: Cons of Using a Credit Card
  8. Credit Cards: Pros of Using a Credit Card
  9. Credit Cards: Identity Theft and Fraud Protections
  10. Credit Cards: 10 Key Takeaways About Credit Cards

If you remember nothing else from this tutorial, we hope you’ll take away these 10 key points:

1. Credit cards allow you to carry a balance. In exchange for this privilege, you’ll have to pay interest on the balance you carry, just as you would on a loan. If your card has a grace period and you aren’t carrying a balance from the previous billing cycle, however, you don’t have to pay any interest on your balance if you pay in full and on time. 

2. Before you apply for any credit card, make sure to read the credit card agreement to check the card’s annual fee, interest rate and other terms and conditions so you know what you’re signing up for.

3. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD Act) protects consumers against arbitrary interest rate increases, excessive fees and tricky payment deadlines.

4. There’s a credit card for every type of consumer, whether you need to rebuild or establish credit, want to earn rewards or need a low interest rate.

5. The interest rate your credit card charges is called the annual percentage rate, or APR. Your credit card may have a fixed APR or a variable APR. If you carry a balance, you’ll pay interest, which compounds daily.

6. Making the minimum monthly payment on time is good for your credit score, but only paying the minimum will keep you in debt for a long time.

7. The psychological effects of using a credit card can encourage you to spend more than if you paid with cash.

8. Credit cards protect consumers against check fraud and against the loss and theft of cash. If you lose your credit card or your card is stolen, just notify your credit card issuer and it can close your account and open a new one for you. Many credit card issuers assume all liability for credit card fraud to limit consumers’ risk.

9. Debit cards offer fewer protections against fraud and theft than credit cards do.

10. Credit cards are a convenient way to pay for goods and services, but if not used wisely, they can trap consumers in debt, especially if delinquent payments cause a consumer to incur the penalty APR.


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