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Understanding Credit Cards

Credit Cards
A credit card can be a good way to build credit. When selecting a card, you should compare different cards’ Annual
Percentage Rates (APR). An APR is the actual yearly cost of borrowing money, including interest and fees, given as a
percentage. You should also be aware of hidden fees. If you miss a payment, make a late payment, or exceed your
credit limit, you may be charged fees. Here are additional fees to factor into your choice:
I’ve been an approved user on my parents’ credit card for the past few years; will that impact a
FICO® Score?
Being an authorized user on your parents’ account can help establish your credit history and create a profile of your
behavior for lenders to consider. Keep in mind that any payments that are late or missed on that account may have a
negative impact on your FICO® Score.
Should I open a secured credit card to establish a credit history for the FICO® Score?
A secured credit card is like a savings account that you can charge against. Your credit limit is based on the amount
of money that you deposit. For instance, you put $400 into the account and you can charge up to $400. It may be
reported on your credit report as a credit card. A secured credit card can be a great option for people without credit
or with poor credit.
Before you open a secured card, make sure that the issuer reports to the consumer reporting agencies (Equifax,
TransUnion, and Experian). Not all secured cards are reported.
How many credit cards should I have?
There is no one answer for everyone. However, having a single credit card can be risky if you have a large unplanned
expense. You may want to consider having more than one card. On the other end of the spectrum, maintaining a
large number of credit cards can complicate your financial health management. For example, having more cards to
manage and pay may cause you to miss seeing a bill and making a payment on time.

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