Credit card do’s and don’ts

College and university students may encounter credit card sales representatives on campus. Students can get their own card at age 18 in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island, and at 19 in other provinces. If your child follows these guidelines, hopefully the card won’t be seen as free money.

The do’s

  • Aim to limit purchases to what you can pay at the end of the month, to avoid interest charges.
  • If you’re unable to pay the entire balance, at least make your payment on time.
  • Keep track online of what you owe to avoid an unwelcome surprise at month’s end.

The don’ts

  • Don’t continually make only the minimum monthly payment as this practice can lead to a debt you find insurmountable.
  • Don’t treat your credit limit as an allowable amount to owe – the goal is to spend wisely, not spend whatever you can.
  • Don’t use your credit card to withdraw cash because interest charges begin right away.

 

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